The simulator was as close to real warfare as was humanly possible. It worked as a kind of flotation tank in which the recruit was immersed fully and a number of electrodes were attached to neural pathways to stimulate sensations of pain, loss, joy, confusion, boredom and a host of other positive and negative emotions that fluctuated in a semi random pattern.
Typically this was one of the later stages of development of the recruits. Basic training included firing weapons, handling the ships and other essential formation drills. But this stage was where most recruits either passed or failed. After each successful completion they were debriefed and given time to recover. Failure sometimes occurred in which case a lengthier time was given for them to prepare anew unless they decided to quit.
Here they were tested in a safe environment to see whether they could survive the rigours of battle - both the conflict stages and the downtime. Both aspects were dangerous to a pilot. The obvious dangers of physical harm during engagement were complemented by the more subtle dangers of mental breakdown during downtime.
During downtime a recruit's mind could wander, could focus on the what-if scenarios and ruminate on endless scenarios that might never occur. The simulator had a good understanding of human behaviour and knew how to trigger different emotions at different times, as well as triggering different lines of thought.
Max knew that with enough training in the simulator the recruits would be ready for anything. EarthHope Second Division fleet had one of the toughest simulators and was known for producing quality pilots above all else.