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Virtual Training Simulation

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Reality doesn't look anything like this.

"War as a video game — what better way to raise the ultimate soldier?"

Showing up mostly in Science Fiction settings, the Virtual Training Simulation is a training session, or perhaps an exam, set in virtual reality.

It can be done by having the participants put on VR helmets or similar equipment and having the perspective switch to inside of the simulation. Virtual training via Holograms, often made of Hard Light, is also possible. Often also involve Artificial Outdoors Display.

May get dangerous if a Holodeck Malfunction occurs. If it is dangerous or becomes so on a regular basis, it is also a Deadly Training Area. Can be used for a Danger Room Cold Open or an Unwinnable Training Simulation. See also Cyberspace and Training Stage.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's manga, the title character constructs a virtual training environment inside her head with the help of a Magitek computer and uses it for combat training without compromising her civilian muggle guise.
    • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, the Riot Force 6 constructs a virtual training environment for the Forwards, however, said environment is made of magical Hard Light, so it is actually very real until dispelled.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED has the Dominion undergo a simulated battle under Natarle Badgiruel's command. While Natarle proves herself more than capable, her crew does not, the Dominion is sunk, and the simulation ends.
  • Early on in Neon Genesis Evangelion there's a scene where Shinji is training to fire the Eva's assault rifle by shooting virtual Angels. The same scene appears in Rebuild of Evangelion but with some notable changes, mainly that instead of Shinji actually piloting his Eva and firing the gun in the training room, he pilots a simulation body (a limbless Eva unit hooked up to the VR program).
  • Rebuild World has Augmented Reality training where the combatants wear goggles that, through a computer, simulate their weapons going off and where they’ll hit. Akira does this while training Sheryl’s gang of Street Urchin rabble into a full blown hunter Private Military Company. He improvised at first with just his Virtual Sidekick and cheap goggles, but after he got a corporate sponsorship from KIRYO, to test out their Flawed Prototype Mission Control and augmented reality system on the gang, the training improves significantly, not only making the kids into warriors, but Akira into a One-Man Army by simulating taking on the whole gang himself.

    Comic Books 
  • In Pouvoirpoint, because of the growing threat of Proximian attack, the crew of starship Entreprise-2061 has to carry out self-defense training in the gym room, in the form of a Capture the Flag game set in a virtual jungle. Players wear big VR glasses and use Amiga joysticks.
  • In Superman story arc Crucible, the eponymous superhero academy has training rooms which use holographic technology to simulate different combat scenarios.
  • The "Danger Room" of the X-Men was originally basically just an obstacle course, but in the later issues it uses holographic technology.

  • American Assassin features the VR goggles version (with the trainees actually moving around in a large gymnasium-like space), complete with electric shocks for shooting non-combatants (and a bigger shock for letting yourself get shot by a simulated "terrorist").
  • Die Another Day puts 007 in a VR training scenario where he gets to play Shoot the Hostage with M.
  • Hot War have C.S and Tangoo evaluating their skills in a digital labyrinth, shooting virtual terrorists as they proceed. Note that this movie came out a year before The Matrix.
  • In The Last Starfighter, an apparent ordinary arcade game turns out to be both a training device and a recruiting tool to find promising pilots.

  • In Carrera's Legions: The Lotus Eaters, Admiral Wallenstein uses a VR training station to get the Earl of Care up to speed on commanding a starship, as Wallenstein's promotion just before the Earl was put under her left the United Earth Peace Fleet ship she was previously commanding without a CO.
  • In the Cat Planet Cuties light novels, the Catians have holodecks that look exactly like one out of Star Trek when not active. At least, that's the look chosen in the anime version.
  • The Culture has sufficient computing power to create indistinguishable-from reality VR on a whim, and likes to be very prepared before they enter a situation. Gets bizarre in Surface Detail, where we're told the combatants in the War in Heaven use simulations to prepare for "real" battles which are themselves taking place in VR.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, holograms and anti-gravity technology make for incredibly realistic flight simulators.
    • The X-Wing Series starts with a Danger Room Cold Open showing prospective Rogue Squadron pilots attempting the Redemption Scenario, a nigh-Unwinnable Training Simulation nicknamed the "Requiem Scenario." In a Mythology Gag, author Mike Stackpole based it on an infamous level in the X-Wing PC game. Later in the Rogue Squadron books, a captive Rebel pilot is put in a TIE Interceptor simulator as part of an attempt to break him into a Manchurian Agent, but he notices that whoever's piloting the "enemy" X-Wings is trying to fly them like TIEs, which helps him realize something is very wrong.
    • Wraith Squadron features even more. One prospective Wraith, a Talz with aspirations of becoming a fighter pilot, is put through a target-rich scenario based on the Battle of Endor — the biometrics in the simulator pick up enough stress for Wedge to recommend the Talz for freighter duty. After Myn Donos' original squadron is wiped out in a TIE ambush, the incident becomes the basis for a new scenario that the other Wraiths are subjected to and Donos is excused from (though the Wraiths later put him through it in an effort to snap him out of a Heroic BSoD). And the pilots are put through odd training scenarios such as a simulated attack on their base where things immediately go Off the Rails with the "death" of their Mission Control, to see how well they can adapt to a worst-case scenario.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Expanse, Bobbie Draper and her squad are introduced fighting turrets on the surface of Mars, which turn out to be holograms during a training session.
  • The Stargate SG-1 episode "Avatar" revolves around the beta test of a simulator created using Imported Alien Phlebotinum from "Gamekeeper". It goes into a full-blown Holodeck Malfunction when Teal'c sits in the chair.

  • Inverted in Star Trek: The Next Generation; the "Battle Simulation" mission requires the player to shoot (physical) pinballs at targets on the playfield.

     Tablteop Games 
  • Warhammer Age Of Sigmar: The Gladitorium is a fantasy take on this trope; a magical arena created by Malerion, the god of Shadow and a Master of Illusion, as a "gift" to Sigmar. It uses powerful illusion magic tp let warriors, specifically the Stormcast Eternals, fight to the death in every situation and environment imaginable and come out completely unharmed, which is so useful for training that every Stormkeep now has a miniature version of it. Of course, this being a gift from Malerion, it also lets him peek in on those training sessions undetected so he can watch and learn all of the Stormcast's abilities. Just in case.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The tutorial segment occurs in a virtual simulator. The basic mechanics on how to perform combat and other skills are explained which leads to a battle against the Training Boss.
  • Baldur's Gate: during the prologue, in the storage cellars in the southern part of Candlekeep you can meet Obe who will offer to spawn with his magic different waves of illusory monsters for you to practice with temporary companions.
  • It's part of the Backstory of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn game that you're a "telegeneral" leading your troops from a computer screen, as if you're playing a Real-Time Strategy game, and then you were first flagged as potential command talent because the GDI and Nod are monitoring online strategy games for that reason.
  • In Cosmic Star Heroine, once you clear the area of enemies, you can choose "Battle" from pause menu to engage in a virtual recreation of one of the battles from the area, allowing for Level Grinding in a game with no Respawning Enemies.
  • The campaign in Future Wars (2010) is that students are preparing for war in an a simulation similar to Advance Wars, almost as if it's for multiplayer that wasn't included in the original game. However, the training is somehow Serious Business and there's someone who wants to break the main player's winning streak.
  • Headhunter: the protagonist has to take VR tests to obtain new weapons and earn higher-ranked licenses that advance the plot.
  • In Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death, the tutorial level takes place in the training area which itself is real, but the perps and hostages are all holograms.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect DLC Pinnacle Station features the eponymous space station which uses holograms to simulate combat scenarios, both for training and competition. Normally these simulations are harmless, but if you can beat the records in all scenarios, Captain Ahern will offer you a scenario in which you can get killed.
    • In Mass Effect 3 you get the Armax Arsenal Arena, a combat simulator complex located in the Citadel's Silversun Strip. It is actually presented as a game open to public, but it works the same way as a military simulator, and you can access to it freely to combat with holograms.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo let's you play through all of Neo's training simulations, including the fight with Morpheus and an altered version of the jump program.
  • Psychonauts features teachers who construct training landscapes inside their minds, then allow students to enter them to learn Psychic Powers.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, a VR course teaches the player the basics of using two gadgets.
  • In Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages, the tutorial accesible in the main menu is framed as a simulation provided by NERO, an AI implanted into the featureless protagonist's head.
  • During Issue #8 of The Secret World, players discover that the Council of Venice's headquarters at the Sunken Library is in possession of an unimaginably powerful virtual reality machine. As it so happens, this machine is primarily used for training purposes, and players are charged with completing several training sessions in order to earn proper certification to enter Tokyo in the following issue.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
  • Space Quest:
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time virtual training rooms (video games) are implied to be quite popular. The tutorial takes place inside one.
  • The home computer versions of Strider (Arcade) seems to follow the official story. However, completing the fifth stage (by destroying Mecha Pon) reveals that Strider was performing a simulation in preparation for the actual battle, and that his skills will become handy when the real invasion starts. The ending also recycles images, implying that the villains General Mikiel and Tong Pooh were praising Strider for completing the simulation.
  • Ryusei Date's storyline in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation starts with him being recruited to become a mecha pilot based on his performance with a video game created to train and scout prospective recruits. Military-grade simulators are also referred to in several cutscenes.
  • The tutorial levels for System Shock 2 take place in Cyberspace.
  • In Warframe, the digital entities called cephalons can manifest "datascapes" where organic beings can simulate combat scenarios without harm to themselves. The tutorials on advanced movement and Cephalon Simaris's synthesis, the Mastery Rank tests and the Simulacrum are all manifested in such datascapes.
  • ZeroRanger has the White Vanilla Arrange Mode, a simulation designed to train pilots for the real thing (I.E. the main Green Orange mode). You even get to fight the AI Erasure as a True Final Boss.

    Web Comics 
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, Phanty U manages Dream Domes, where students learn to manipulate and move around dreams without actually entering them. The Domes have part of Dream Spring's output siphoned to them to emulate dream environment.
  • In Bob and George the heroes train in a holodeck style room, which malfunctions frequently. In fact pretty much every time they use it.
  • Red Hood: Outlaws: "All Aboard the Watchtower" opens with Artemis defeating Darkseid in single combat before the next panel reveals it to be a training simulation on the Watchtower.

    Western Animation 
  • The Danger Mouse relaunch episode "Megahurtz Attacks" has a Danger Room Cold Open with Penfold taking a training simulation to become a Danger Agent (Grade 2). Because of Rule of Funny, the simulation works like a video game, with inventory puzzles and enemies turning into giant coins when defeated. The eponymous Megahurtz is the Final Boss, who escapes into the real world and causes havoc, continuing to run on video game logic.
  • Virtual Training Simulators are present in Futurama. They can even malfunction and turn the holograms real.
  • The Powerpuff Girls has training simulators for situations of varying severity levels.

    Real Life 
  • Both civilian agencies and the armed forces use a variety of simulators to help prepare them for things they might encounter in Real Life, though generally not of the VR Goggles or Matrix variety.
  • A big argument against video games made by people like Senator Joe Lieberman was that First Person Shooters are too much like the Real Life simulations used by the military. Someone with the actual knowledge and experience with the simulation countered the argument, saying that it is nothing like a video game. If you die in the game, you can just re-load from a save and try again. In the military simulation, getting "shot" means you failed the test, which has Real Life consequences. After all, you can't afford any mistakes when facing the enemy. Also, instead of a mouse or a controller, soldiers use guns that have an actual kick.
    • The best you can learn from an FPS is how to take advantage of the terrain and layout, and how to do coordinated attacks with other people. Any actual shooting skills or dealing with a living enemy who cares about dying requires some actual military training.


Video Example(s):


Neo Vs Morpheus

Neo battles Morpheus in one of his first attempts of entering the Matrix in an effort to test and practice his martial arts skills that he had just learned via Tank's programming.

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Example of:

Main / VirtualTrainingSimulation

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