Our Endeavour Mission simulation project has reached an important new stage with the construction of a prototype studio environment. Modelled on a conceptual starship bridge, the studio provides an immersive environment for participants to familiarise themselves with simulated ship systems such as helm, tactical, engineering and science.
As the prototype is intended as a training simulator, the physical environment is not an ultra-realistic replica of a starship interior. Immersion is achieved with the materials chosen for the simulation enclosure and lighting so that participants focus on the touchscreen control panels. The facility supports training simulations ranging in complexity from simple tactical exercises to full mission scenarios. A control room allows simulations to be managed.
Simulator as Studio
Simulations can be recorded or live streamed, with camera equipment hidden behind two-way mirrors incorporated discretely into the enclosure design. The simulator is also remotely accessible so that participants can take part in the simulation as they watch. This distributed interaction capability is an important aspect of the immersive storytelling concept to test.
The project is in its ‘academy phase’, which is focussed on the recruitment and training of potential crew. As well as the simulator facility, online training courses incorporating video, interactive testing and remote simulation are provided.
While no individual simulator system is overly complex, the need for an unconstrained storytelling environment requires systems to have deeper functionality than would be expected in a computer game. Crew training provides the understanding of the simulated systems needed to respond to unanticipated developments in scenarios.
Or Just for Fun
The simulator can also be used just for fun. Crew are able to book the facility and select a mission scenario they’d like to run. Multi-vessel competitive simulations between crew teams are also planned, with the additional vessels crewed remotely or using the simulator control room.
“It’s great to be able to experience the concept immersively like this,” says Matt Moran, media lead for the project. “By getting people involved in the concept early we’re able to incorporate what we learn from them into development, which has been incredibly helpful.”
Development continues on additional systems which will increase the range and complexity of mission scenarios that can be supported. The aim is to simulate all major ship systems so that regular series production can begin inside a highly detailed and realistic production environment.
For more information visit the Endeavour Mission website.