Alton Towers converting Air roller coaster to Galactica with virtual reality

Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2016 11:06 AM | Contributed by Rick_UK

Alton Towers has announced plans to open a rollercoaster ride on which passengers wear virtual-reality headsets. The Staffordshire-based adventure park said Galactica would open in April, following two years of planning. The flying roller coaster Air will be renamed Galactica.

Read more and see photos from The BBC.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016 8:42 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

But a roller coaster put indoors with props and special effects is still a roller coaster surrounded by an environment, designed to be enjoyed as it is. Whether the environment is nature or a themed, enclosed experience, the rider is still enjoying the ride as it was designed to be enjoyed.

Likewise, Spiderman was designed from the ground up to incorporate the 3D and physical sets and effects.

Of course, a coaster and virtual reality can be combined in one attraction. Where I'm drawing the line is, I make a distinction between a ride designed from the ground up to encompass VR and the idea that a wretched ride can somehow be improved by VR.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 8:54 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

So, they can't later design VR around a ride experience? It has to be implemented from the get go or else it sucks?

So, any time they add anything to a ride, it's no longer running as designed, and therefore, RUUUUUINNNNED!!?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 9:34 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

You've ridden said wretched ride? I've actually heard it was decent and fun for what it is.

Again, I'm not sure how it'll work from a motion sickness standpoint, but added now or later, I don't get that arguement.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 9:42 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

Sure, they can design a VR experience around an existing ride. What I don't understand is how that would make an existing crappy ride be not crappy.

I can don a VR headset and watch "me" playing a violin while hitting myself in the head with a hammer. What I'm watching isn't going to change what I'm physically experiencing. It doesn't matter what I might watch in VR whilst riding, X-Flight at Great America is still going be a boring, lumbering, unexciting waste of steel.

As mentioned above, I can wrap my head around taking an existing good or great coaster and creating a VR experience around that.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Wednesday, January 27, 2016 9:49 AM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 10:22 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

But how do you know? Have you experienced VR on a crappy ride before? Have you experienced VR? It can be pretty awesome if it's done right. It's very immersive, and can make it seem like you're doing something you're not - hence the "reality" part of it.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 11:23 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Your opinion is subjective. I've talked to people that really like Air. What did you think about it when you rode it? Was it that bad?

So there are people that like the ride. Perhaps they'll like it even more, less, or about the same, regardless, this is a cheap way to market an existing attraction with a new experience.

Last edited by Tekwardo, Wednesday, January 27, 2016 11:26 AM

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 2:42 PM
Thabto's avatar

Now it looks like Cedar Point is looking into doing this:

http://www.cleveland.com/travel/index.ssf/2016/01/cedar_point_hopes...ine_r.html


Brian

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 4:57 PM
OhioStater's avatar

I would be willing to give it a try.

Let's say, for example, Cedar Point gave it a whirl on Iron Dragon.I think the target market would be people who frequent the park quite a bit; specifically guests who simply pass by Iron Dragon as an afterthought. I have little doubt a significant number of those folks will be suddenly getting in ID's queue to see if this can breathe new life into it.

Let's be practical here. They are not talking about adding this to coasters that are already intense, they are adding it to coasters that are, for the average coaster-nut, dull to say the least in terms of thrill.

They are not permanently altering the ride in any way. If you want to try it, try it...but you can also enjoy the awesome "au naturale" Iron Dragon if that's your fancy.

If the simulation is timed well enough to even subtle drops, dips, and ride elements, your brain can easily be convinced it is having an experience that is significantly more intense than what is "actually" happening to you.

Does anyone honestly think rides like Star Tours or Soarin' without the film in front of you would be even remotely interesting? Point being, a coaster of mild intensity is the perfect choice for something like this.

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, January 27, 2016 5:10 PM
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 8:06 PM
bjames's avatar

Jeff said:

I just can't imagine having something strapped over my head while riding a coaster. It sounds like an awful ****ing idea.

A coaster is fun. A coaster with virtual reality is funner. A coaster with virtual reality and a person riding being the equivalent of DUI might be magical lol.


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

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Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:17 PM
Vater's avatar

OhioStater said:

Does anyone honestly think rides like Star Tours or Soarin' without the film in front of you would be even remotely interesting? Point being, a coaster of mild intensity is the perfect choice for something like this.

This is essentially what I was trying to get at with my VR vehicle without corresponding video analogy. Same idea, and to slither's point Star Tours and Soarin' were designed with film from the get go, but still...it can't be that difficult to imagine designing a virtual reality-based video to work in tandem with the forces (however slight they may be) experienced in a moving vehicle...whether that vehicle is pivoting/tilting/pitching/yawing in place or navigating a coaster track.

Last edited by Vater, Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:18 PM
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Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:41 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

But... But.. They weren't *designed* for that. Change is bad, remember?

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Thursday, January 28, 2016 5:26 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Vater said:

...it can't be that difficult to imagine designing a virtual reality-based video to work in tandem with the forces (however slight they may be) experienced in a moving vehicle..

It's not hard to imagine. I'm just having trouble understanding how VR improves an uninteresting physical experience.

Maybe, if the VR headset looks like a stereopticon....

...codgers like me will get it easier :-)

It did occur to me, today, maybe why I'm having trouble here is my Asperger's. Back when I was seeing a therapist, during one session she suggested, as I tend to have muted emotional experiences, riding roller coasters was a way to "breech" the barrier and deeply experience something. Joy, in the case of coasters.

Which reminds me of riding Raptor with a friend several years ago who told me afterward he looked at me and I had an expression of sheer, pure joy on my face.

Sorry to ramble. Maybe I'm having trouble embracing this idea because -- to me -- it takes away part of what I enjoy: the wind in my face, the supports racing by. The visual and physical experience.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Thursday, January 28, 2016 5:26 PM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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