Almost exactly 104 years ago today, the RMS Titanic, a British passenger liner, struck an iceberg and sank into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, dooming over 1,500 passengers and crew out of 2,224 total people aboard. The adjective “titanic” was also ruined forever that day. It took James Cameron three hours and change to tell this story in his 1997 film Titanic. But the entire sinking of the ship can be painstakingly depicted in real time over the course of two hours and 40 minutes, as demonstrated by an eerie YouTube video containing an extremely detailed, computer-animated simulation of the historic event. It’s a fascinating if morbid undertaking. It was created by the makers of Titanic: Honor And Glory, an upcoming video game based on the maritime disaster. Impressive as their work is, the creators of the video insist the video is just a demo:
This animation is, however, a bit rough around the edges. Some details, like guy wires and boat falls, are not rendered, and a few other things might appear glitchy, incomplete, or animations a little bumpy. In order to release this video in time for the 2016 anniversary (April 14/15), we needed to hastily render this. It’s not easy working with a nearly 3 hour video file!
There’s no Kate Winslet in this version, but there are no Celine Dion songs either. Though the desperate voices of shouting crew members are occasionally heard, the video is entirely unpopulated, which somehow only makes the experience of watching it that much more unsettling. Generally, the point-of-view is from far enough away that the viewer can see the entire ship at once. But occasionally, there are views from within the ship, too, as its rooms, corridors, and stairwells fill up with water. Subtitles at the bottom of the screen also keep viewers informed of what’s happening at various times during the sinking, such as the deploying of lifeboats and the sending of distress calls. For those who found Cameron’s Titanic altogether too soapy and melodramatic, here is a spare, sobering alternative.