OceanGate used $350 video game 'Second Life' to teach students how to use Titan sub

31 July 2023, 08:50

i466 OceanGate Immersive Tour

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

OceanGate used a $350 online video game to help explorers simulate the experience of operating its doomed Titan submersible.

The deep sea diving company used the immersive online video game 'Second Life' to recreate the experience of exploring underwater on a submersible.

"We chose Second Life as our medium for this tour because it allows us to design high fidelity interactions between our audience, the submersible and the underwater environment," a spokesperson for OceanGate said.

"Our virtual environment gives our audience a strong sense of social and spacial presence through their interactions with the environment and their ability to communicate with one another in parallel."

Read More: 'Forget Stockton': Titan sub co-founder to build floating colony on Venus

The game costs $350
The game costs $350. Picture: OceanGate
You can swim around the ocean
You can swim around the ocean. Picture: OceanGate

During the tour, users are able to simulate a scavenger hunt using the OceanGate Titan sub, alongside other users at the same time.

The spokesperson also revealed that virtual simulation was chosen in order to reduce the cost of training up crew members, which would typically cost $20,000 per day.

"OceanGate can use this virtual environment to teach trainees about the possible physical applications for the Cyclops 1...and learn how to operate the submersible vehicle" she said.

Read More: OceanGate's Stockton Rush said 'obscenely safe' sub design never evolved due to regulation

According to Second Life Marketplace, where you can buy the online experience, the game costs $350.

A number of positive reviews have been left for the game, which is described as "well scripted".

One user commented: "It was just what I was looking for, it works perfectly in the ocean in Second Life."

A second said: "Is really complete build, exceeded my expectations. has control scripts, hatch door opens from front. Lots of attention to detail in this build."

The Oceangate submersible 'Titan'
The Oceangate submersible 'Titan'. Picture: Alamy

It appears OceanGate promoted the use of the virtual simulator from around 2016, years before last month's catastrophic implosion.

Five people died in the catastrophic implosion while aboard the Titan sub, including the company's CEO Stockton Rush.

Rush had been travelling down to the Titanic wreckage with British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman.

Since the implosion, OceanGate Expeditions has wiped its existence from the internet as its social media accounts and website have vanished from online.

The deep-sea exploration company has gone dark across the web after it announced it was suspending all exploration and commercial operations.

When OceanGate first announced the suspension of services its website still remained in tact with the notice at the top of the site.

But when trying to access the company’s website on Friday, it redirects to a black backdrop page with the message: “OceanGate Expeditions has suspended all exploration and commercial operations”.