Geeks at the Wellhead

This morning, one of the now-interminable news items on the oil spill took a look at the Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) that was being used to do all the actual work. The reporter made a good deal of fuss over how difficult the things are to fly, and spent some time with a demo model in a pool, under a professional operator’s supervision.

When he said that it was “like driving a car on ice,” I realized that video-gamers would probably be perfect ROV flyers. Not only does the ROV handle like a brick on skates, but you have only a TV monitor as your main sensor… and gamers have become expert at maneuvering in a virtual 3D world with only a 2D representation and totally screwed-up ballistics.

At the very least, I hope that operator training for these things includes a good many hours at Wolfenstein, Half Life and Descent.


  1. I can’t help but think of Descent whenever I read about these.. but I hated that game. I could never get used to the zero-friction of things where you don’t stop until you hit something.

    Give me virtual boots on a virtual ground and I will circle-strafe you into kibble any time. 😉

Leave a Comment.