Mock Mock City

A Caricature of Synthetic Training Environments

Ryan Thomas
MDes ULE 2020
1 Stylized representation of the mock city flight simulator, made in Unity Engine.

At present, across the United States exist hundreds of artificial cities devoted to simulating warfare in urban areas. These proving grounds have been designed and purpose-built to reify an image of cities as austere environments, one that justifies a preparedness for urban warfare. The result of this assumption has permeated everywhere from the creation of new doctrine and tactical handbooks on ways to fight in dense urban terrain, to massive investments in virtual and augmented reality gaming industries, to the makeshift and widespread construction of mock-cities and villages across the country and its greater territories.

The intent of this project is to turn these heavily invested tactics on their head, through a satirical gaming simulation. The outcome is a flight simulator, showcasing an example of the villages built for tactical exercises, crafted using aerial imagery, typological examples of typical urban terrain for tactical training, and the most expensive aircraft the U.S. government has procured. The project is meant to be intentionally cartoon-ish, to further showcase the absurdity of government expenditure through its own medium.

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Project video
2 The components of the flight simulator involved a digital elevation model derived from LiDAR, and architectural objects
3 Left: Army Research Lab publication on urban terrain. Right: F35 view engaging with such terrain in the simulator.