Simulation Chambers

Credit for revisions to this writeup belongs to Dan.

NOTE: The simulation chambers are NOT strictly reserved for team members; they are available for everyone on campus to use, though they will generally be prioritized for training purposes.

The simulators - three of them - can be found on the lower sub levels beneath the Rec Center. The entrances into them are along a long, gray corridor, and are marked clearly with 1, 2 and 3 outside of hydraulic-powered gray metal doors.

At the head of the corridor, a flight of stairs leads up to an observation deck which can be used to peer down into any of the simulators, assuming they are not set to private. The control booth is located on this level, where users can program custom scenarios, or authorized individuals can control simulations in progress. This is frequently done during team training exercises to provide additional challenges or prevent users from anticipating what will happen next.

The rooms themselves are large, spacious, empty and rather spherical in shape, each with a capacity of about 50 (though after a group of students decided to test how many could fit into one simulator, many would swear that during a simulation, it can be double that amount. It's a conundrum.) They are stark covered with curving gray panels.

What Can The Simulators Do?

Some say that first simulator - located at Charles Xavier's ground-breaking institute - was the product of alien technology, so advanced was it beyond the state of the art at the time. It sounds too far-fetched for belief, perhaps a story made up to explain the incredible intricacy of these machines. What is known, however, is that numerous refinements, improvements, and upgrades have been made to the technology over the years by technopaths, hyperinventors and other technologically inclined mutants to create an ever more sophisticated and realistic experience.

They measure every occupants' vitals and can trigger any type of sensory stimulation. Combined with holographic projection and hyper-realistic 3D modeling, a user of the simulator becomes immersed in the world that has been created for them, able to use every sense and interact with whatever they encounter as though it were real. The actual technology powering the simulators is a closely guarded secret, and the blueprints for them seem to be non-existent.

The computers which control the simulator are connected to (and protected from intrusion through) external networks. This means that a realistic simulation can be created by polling countless databanks of information, by composite photographs, by video footage from news and research agencies and more. Hypothetically, anything that's happened can be recreated if there is enough documentation on it. Otherwise, the simulation uses what knowledge it has of time periods, cultures, measurements and more to create a realistic facsimile of a user's desired setting.

There are programs that are defaults - training modules, novelty settings, etcetera. Users are also able to create their own settings either through the console by using a simple, human-readable programming language, or by going into a blank construct and giving the simulator voice commands - hands on, user-interactive creation.

One of the chief limitations of the simulators is that they are of little help to telepaths and empaths in developing their powers, nor can they simulate telepathic powers. Some telepaths have reported that the virtual people inside the simulations feel like mannequins because they do not have an actual mind that can be felt or interacted with. It is not clear whether this is a limitation of technology, or whether it is a limitation in place because of the ethical concerns over creating and destroying what would be essentially sentient individuals.

What Can the Simulators Be Used For?

The most common use for the simulators is providing a safe environment for students to practice their abilities. Students can learn to better control their powers and refine their uses under controlled conditions. There are also a variety of tactical training simulations that allow students the opportunity to test their powers against hostile opponents or other adverse conditions. Some faculty members use the simulators for educational purposes, holding virtual field trips or conduct demonstrations that would otherwise be impractical or impossible for logistic or financial reasons. The administration can also arrange for students studying in specialized fields to use the simulators to telecommute for classes.

Finally, students, staff and faculty members all receive a budget of recreational simulator time each semester. Some students with extreme physical mutations use their recreational time to do things that they otherwise would not be able to, such as take a virtual trip to the beach or an amusement park. Some students use their recreational time to play live action versions of their favorite video games, play for their favorite sports team, or appear on stage with their favorite band. Still others use it to take music lessons, cooking classes, or receive self defense training. Faculty and staff also receive a research time budget to put the simulators' massive supercomputing abilities to work on personal projects. Users can reserve simulator time in advance through the Academy's website. Educational and training simulations get top scheduling priority over recreational use.

Simulator Access

Only those with an ID card can use the simulators - students can access many but not all of the programs, can program their own simulations but have certain settings and commands disabled to them, and can not access the private mode that faculty members use for meetings. And while faculty can use simulators to make things similar to conference calls to any location that has compatible software, students can only 'conference call' between other simulators located on campus. For training scenarios, all participating users must swipe their IDs before the simulation begins. If the chamber detects a discrepancy between the number of occupants and the number of identified users, the simulation will not begin until all users are properly identified.

Safety Mode

Simulators are always on safety mode, this can not be changed. There has yet to be a single death inside of a simulator, and the possibility of this happening is nil - barring aneurysms or other methods of sudden death. Were someone to have a heart-attack inside of a simulator, the program would simulate someone capable of providing life-sustaining attention while it contacted Medical to come and retrieve them. While the chamber can simulate all manners physical injury and harm, its sophisticated damage mitigation and compensation subroutines ensure that users receive no more than minor scrapes and bruises when the simulation ends -- also non-debatable. If a user manages to do something which the simulator cannot adequately compensate for, the safety systems will cause a hard shut down of the simulation in progress, returning the users to the empty chamber.

Privacy Mode

Simulators can be used by faculty and staff in this mode, often to conduct business meetings or necessary transactions with cross-Atlantic conferencing abilities. During this mode, the observation windows go black, and all sound from the inside is muted.

Simulation Logging

Simulations are recorded and backed up to database. The simulator's computers analyze statistics, "scores" and other data, and can relay this to the user in a variety of different manners. More detailed analyses can be printed out from the console. Users can receive an analysis of what injuries they would have actually received in a real-life scenario. Flagrant violation of mission parameters or simulation objectives - such as killing innocent bystanders - will flag a simulation log for review by the faculty or administration.

Logging on private mode works differently - simulations are recorded and backed up to the private data drive of the faculty member whose login ID was in use at the time. Faculty members also have some leeway to delete the logs of their private sessions, but a permanent log entry remains showing the date, time, and duration of the original simulation, as well as the date and time of deletion.