Watching the Titanic sink in realtime

Written by Simon Wyndham

Four Funnels EntertainmentIn her final moments

A slow, stately animation that tracks the demise of one of the world’s most famous ships in realtime.

April the 14th probably won’t be a date that sticks in the minds of most people. However it marks the night of the sinking of one of the most famous of ships, the RMS Titanic. The sinking, and the ship itself has been subject to many myths and legends, as well as misconceptions. How many for instance are aware that the Titanic’s identical sister ship (bar some very minor details), RMS Olympic, was in service almost a good year before the fated vessel, for instance?

We’ve had many documentaries, and a handful of films over many decades depicting the Titanic’s demise. But perhaps the most engaging is a new animation that has been developed by a games developer, Four Funnels Entertainment.

The developer is in the process of completing a game based on the vessel, but has gone one step further and has released a realtime animation of the ship’s demise. Rendered using the Unreal Engine, you can watch from the point of the Titanic hitting the iceberg to the point of sinking, all as it happened, in realtime. You will see how gradually the ship sank, and you will see how each major crew member decision affected the outcome.

What could have been one of the dullest animations created turns into one of the most compelling. Even better is that by downloading the commentary podcast from you can synch it up with the animation and listen to a Q&A session discussing the events that you are witnessing.

There are no Hollywood quality effects here. It is all fairly basic. But it is extremely interesting how watching a realtime animation of the famous event can help put some things into perspective. From the fairly humdrum way that the disaster was set off, it did after all only appear to graze the iceberg, to the way that events slowly but surely degenerated into chaos after it became apparent that the ship really was unrecoverable. It is well worth noting how many passengers enter each lifeboat as the disaster unfolds for example.

While simple, the animation shows how stark things can be made, and how educational they can be, using such animation. One wonders how engaging education about events such as Waterloo, or the Battle of Hastings and the like would be made for students should they be put into perspective in a way such as this; without sensationalism but by being able to see things as a whole in a certain type of context.

We all know what happened to the Titanic, but by being able to see the events unfold in experiential time, it somehow puts a new perspective on things.

Tags: Post & VFX


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