On Thursday morning I found out that a video game company had made an elaborate 3D rendering of the Titanic sinking in real time—a full 2 hours and 40 minutes. The timing of the disaster and the dimensions and features of the ship itself are based on historic documents and oral testimonies (and I’m guessing: historical analysis of those documents and testimonies).
Because I am a giant history geek I decided that I would watch the entire thing while working from bed. AND I decided that since I was dedicating my time to this extremely valuable endeavour, I would give a little live blog rundown.
The video-rendered Titanic is, as the linked article suggests, very Mary Celeste-esque: the company hasn’t (yet) created human figures to represent the crew and passengers. So the captions describe what was happening on the boat at the time, while ghostly lifeboats are lowered into the sea and the ballrooms fill up with seawater. Sometimes there are distant shouts and screams (which I found quite macabre).
8.48am. I’m still in bed, the Titanic has hit the iceberg. Doesn’t appear to be slowing or stopping at all. Evidently they’ve all been moved to the port side (as per the request of a disembodied voice) but as there’s no human figures onboard the boat it’s rather hard to tell. We’re getting a very slow 360 view of the outside of the ship.
8.50am. The article said that the action was slow but the reality of watching this on and off all morning is just beginning to occur to me. Also: there really aren’t many lifeboats, are there? I mean, I knew that—but still, there is barely a handful on the boat.
8.54am. Crap, just missed a caption. But the noise of the engines has stopped and the ship itself appears to slowed… so I’m guessing it’s something to do with that (turning off the engines?).
8.56am. The caption notes that engines are half ahead now, so I think that noise will resume. Ooh, it’s quite a different noise… chugging. There’s some things next to the boat that I thought were tiny lifeboats but are actually supposed to represent wake.
8.58am. The new noise is eerie. Actually, the idea of a lone boat moving through a starry night—miles and miles away from any other people or land, an island of humanity as it were—feels quite eerie full stop. And that wake looks totally wacky. Caption tells me that almost 4,000,000 litres of water has entered the ship.
9.03am. Looking at the starboard side again, thought I’d be able to see the crack in the hull but apparently not. Is now a good time to have a shower? YouTube check: I read the first couple of comments and they confused me. Full of naval engineers arguing and someone complaining that they didn’t get to see anyone drowning? YouTube is truly the home of the worst of humanity.
9.15am. Boat has started to make a weird noise. I’m going to have a shower.
9.24am. I didn’t have a shower, I started doing some work instead (no pants, still in bed). Boat is definitely listing towards the starboard side, and the caption notes that the orchestra has started playing the lounge so I guess they’ve decided it’s all over? I’ve only seen Titanic once but I definitely remember that bit
9.27am. I’ve been watching this boat sink for half an hour now and there is no sign that any lifeboats have been launched.
9.42am. The camera appears to be zooming into the ship which is an extremely exciting development! The way the details are rendered is quite amazing.
9.44am. Swinging out the lifeboats! Finally! That’s one hour since the ship hit the iceberg FYI.
9.54am. Shitballs! The front of the ship is definitely sinking and the backend of the boat is lifting out from the water. The second lifeboat has been launched.
10.06am. Shots of the hallways filling up with water. Great foley sound (creaks, groans, water rushing etc).
10.11am. More interiors.
10.43am. The interiors are the best thing so far. I think the lights will blow out any second now. Very eerie watching the chairs tip backwards and realising that their position must mirror how they were found on the seabed.
10.56am. Aaah! Navigated away from YouTube by accident and thought I was going to have to find my place again, but it had been saved (thank goodness). Prow of boat well and truly swamped by now. Again, very eerie: this animation doesn’t have any people in it so I’m watching these scenes and imagining the pandemonium and screams and terror in my own head—which is probably more intense than it would be to just see someone else’s idea of it.
11.15am. 20 minutes left. This feels simultaneously as though it’s been going on forever and that it’s been happening for hardly any time at all.
11.24am. Sinking very rapidly now. The silence continues to be the most disconcerting thing.
11.29am. Smokestacks falling over and exploding spectacularly, suddenly lots of creaks and groans and explosions. The realisation that there were hundreds of people killed and that they’re trapped inside that sinking metal shell. SO SAD. When I saw Titanic at the movies aged 16 I cried and cried and cried because all those people drowned in a stupid, avoidable accident caused by hubris and arrogance. I left with my jacket over my head because I couldn’t stop sobbing. Natalie was embarrassed.
11.32am. Approximately 1500 people still on board the ship. The boat just broke in two and now there are lots of screams. It’s gone from completely silent and still and slow, to frantic and loud and—oh shit. Now sinking very fast. Imagine the speed needed for something that large to sink so quickly.
11.34am. The boat is gone. And because there are no people or debris at all in this animation, it has totally completely and finally gone, the ocean just closed around the ship completely. Have I used the word eerie too much? It was very eerie.
My thoughts on Marie Antoinette’s penchant for snaffling other people’s children.
SCP history (week of 24-30 April)
Edited for truly embarrassing entries of the kind written in the mid-2000s, for posts that have mysteriously lost their images, and for those where an embedded video has been pulled down from YouTube or Vimeo.
- 2011: Epiphanies, of a kind
- 2009: A picture I liked
- 2009: Wednesday list
- 2008: Weekend of derby
- 2008: I *heart* you Squiddy
- 2008: Julz makes my muscles feel like head cheese
- 2008: Gumdigging looks like a seriously miserable profession (images have disappeared but quote is still good).
- 2007: My new glasses
- 2007: Friday night playlist
- 2007: Not a healthy dinner
- 2006: Tuesday night trash TV
- 2005: Liza Minnelli hair
- 2005: The lights go out and boredom ensues
- 2005: Rates rises in Auckland and the people who care
- 2005: Stuff and stuff and stuff
- 2005: Amateur theatre