16 Sep 2019 Spa Business: uniting the world of wellness
 
 
HOME
JOBS
NEWS
FEATURES
PRODUCTS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION
PRINT SUBSCRIPTION
ADVERTISE
CONTACT US
Sign up for FREE ezine

SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2015 issue 3

View issue contents

Spa Business - The Ride Makers

Rides

The Ride Makers


Four companies at the leading edge of technology shine a light on the demand for ever more convincing and compelling dark rides

Jason Holland, Leisure Media


HOLOVIS

 

Stuart Hetherington
 
Stuart Hetherington CEO Holovis

What’s your most recent dark ride?
We have just delivered a dark ride called the Forbidden Caves for Bobbejaanland. It’s Belgium’s first immersive tunnel attraction and the latest version of the original U-shaped immersive tunnel that we designed for Cinecittà World in Italy. A key element of our brief was ensuring that the operational aspects of the ride were suitable for a family attraction, accommodating riders from ages eight to 80. The experience features highly organic motion which when synchronised with the visuals creates the illusion of travelling further and faster than people actually are.

Have you made any engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs or advancements?
The Forbidden Caves is the world’s first all-electric immersive tunnel, transitioning away from conventional hydraulic systems to improve the safety and longevity of the ride by removing potentially hazardous challenges, increasing operational efficiency, reducing maintenance and delivering a much more sustainable attraction.

What are the current trends in creating a dark ride?
Dark rides need to be truly immersive to engage audiences and put them at the heart of the story. This is achieved by media that completely engulfs the peripheral vision with 180° or 360° screens, spatial audio and a full suite of SFX effects.

Once these elements have been achieved, the solution must be scalable for attractions of all sizes and budgets, from flagship experiences at theme parks through to adrenaline-filled games within FECs.

Interactivity allows real-time engagement via the latest gaming technology ensuring guest control and decision-making, as the game can be different each time, increasing repeatability and the operator’s ROI.

How does Holovis work?
In some cases we’ve seen a disconnect between ride development teams and creative story teams, with technology and effects being applied as a separate part of the contract rather than being embedded in the narrative. This is due to different third-party suppliers taking responsibility for their element of the attraction rather than looking at the project as a whole and story being the driving factor.

But we offer a turnkey solution: our in-house team works with clients from the initial design phases through to delivery, covering all aspects from motion vehicles and ride systems to CGI media development, show production and game development, offering clients one point of contact to project manage the solution.

We understand the whole process, and our approach is to put the story at the heart of the attraction and use the right scalable technology to facilitate, not overpower, this.


 



Interactivity enables riders to play a different game every time, Holovis says

SALLY CORPORATION

 

John Wood
 
John Wood Chairman and CEO Sally Corporation

What is your most recent dark ride?
Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 4D, which opened in both Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St Louis in May.

It features a well-known IP – Justice League – with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others, pitted against villains like the Joker and Lex Luthor in an battle to save Metropolis.

A team of specialists worked on the installation which features an Oceaneering DOF vehicle (motion-based) and incredible animatronics, show action equipment, real fire and 3D video by Pure Imagination.

The gun and targeting system were created by Alterface and the scenery by Lexington Scenery. Our senior designer, Rich Hill, devised the concept, script, storyline and all video, in conjunction with the design group at Six Flags. It’s the first mixed-media interactive dark ride on a motion-based platform in North America.

Have you made any engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs or advancements?
The transition from all physical sets and scenery to a mixture of 3D media and physical sets and show elements is one of our important new breakthroughs. The other is the addition of the Unreal 4 game engine in our video which enhances the interactivity and game portion of the show.

Can you describe the current market?
The market for dark rides has never been hotter. Partly this has been stimulated by the success of other dark rides in the industry but it’s also a natural evolution. For the past couple of decades large regional theme parks have focused on thrill rides and rollercoasters. However, there’s much more a park can be than a place for thrill rides and they’re increasingly appreciating the benefits of our family-oriented rides.

What are you doing that other dark ride makers aren’t?
Our company’s been in the dark ride business for three decades. As a result, we offer a wide spectrum of successful dark ride products. We’re a full-service company providing everything from initial concept design through project management, manufacturing and installation.

No one in the industry has installed as many dark rides for as many satisfied customers as Sally Corporation.

What have been the biggest changes for ride makers in recent times?
The first trend-setting element was ETF’s trackless ride systems that can go anywhere, point in any direction and get there at almost any speed. The next was the Oceaneering multiple degree of freedom vehicles that allow riders to move along with the movies or show action elements.

When it comes to the show elements of rides, new ideas are almost always born out of the hard work and success of the Disney or Universal creative teams. They set the high water mark for us to aim to float on.


"The market for dark rides has never been hotter"

 



Animatronics and interactive gaming feature in the new Justice League rides

CAVU DESIGNWERKS

 

Daryl White
 
Daryl White President CAVU Designwerks

What makes CAVU stand out?
A number of manufacturers supply a four-, eight- or 12- passenger dark ride vehicle, but until the recent Asian Attractions Expo (AAE) in Hong Kong, no company had been able to provide an attraction to compete with the incredibly successful Harry Potter ride at Universal.

At AAE, CAVU Designwerks unveiled a 10-passenger multi-axis dark ride vehicle system called the Storm Chaser that has all the exciting movement used in Harry Potter, but isn’t limited to four passengers. It’s also less expensive. We’ve received a strong response, especially after clients learned we have a running prototype.

Have you made engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs?
We’ve been following the trends in engineering and manufacturing over the last few years and seen a maturing in the Chinese ride manufacturing sector.

China is poised to take the next step from reverse engineering and duplicating existing rides to generating new products which are competitive in the global market.
Heavy hitters such as Disney and Universal have begun expanding into China and are actively sourcing products from local and regional fabricators. As a result, these fabricators are receiving technical advice that will assist them in stepping up their overall level of quality, beyond just supplying to the major parks.

What are the current trends in creating a dark ride?
The biggest trend in theme park design is towards the inclusion of trackless dark rides. This includes the use of autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs).

Disney has created its own trackless dark ride systems, such as the one used in the Ratatouille attraction at Disneyland Paris, but on the open market, few suppliers are offering them.

For many design concepts a track- or fin-guided vehicle delivers the desired ride experience just as well as trackless vehicles. The key to making an AGV system worth the expense is to approach the ride layout and concept with a free mind and let the vehicles take different paths or wander more freely.

What’s on the horizon for the ride-making industry?
I believe the industry will follow in our footsteps and start manufacturing in China. The key is to success in this is to set high-quality standards and enforce them.
The current boom in the industry means some suppliers are booked up for two or three years. That’s great for short-term work, but there are so many parks slated for construction that want to buy rides now, those suppliers are having to say no, or delay opening. This has opened the door for new companies and in five years, you’ll see a number of new faces in the industry.

I predict many of the existing Chinese manufacturers that were “me-too” makers, will have come up with novel ideas after learning from the likes of Universal and Disney about how to develop rides and work to world class quality standards.


 



Midnight Express, a touring simulator with high-walled projection screen

MET

 

Peter Karn
 
Peter Karn Creative director MET

What is your most recent dark ride?
The most recent dark ride MET completed was the Deep Sea Odyssey at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Hengqin, China. The ride sets itself apart from others because of its unique blend of different mediums, including set works, live aquariums and media. All these mediums are used to tell the captivating story starting from the queuing area all the way through the ride.

Have you made any engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs or advancements?
As well as the obvious technological advancements in ride creation, such as 3D software that allows the modelling of unique designs, we’ve also found that communication technology and collaboration enhance ride design quality.

Creating rides involves different parties working on various parts of the process. Communication technologies such as the GoToMeeting video conferencing and screen sharing software really help us achieve the effects and conceptual designs we’re working towards together. This is especially helpful when working with set builders and sculptors who are aiming to create organic forms as close to our drawings as possible.

We’ve also started to utilise virtual reality technology in the design of our experiences. Using this technique we can now see our proposals through visitors’ eyes and craft them from this perspective, allowing a far more intricate control over our creative and development processes.

What are the current trends in creating dark rides?
Mobile technology is becoming far more integrated into these kinds of experiences. Visitors can now begin their journey before they get on the ride and continue it long after they’ve got off and headed home.

The rides themselves are becoming more detailed and the effects are improving in quality every year. However, the level of interactivity through mobile devices is transforming the experiences.

What have been the biggest changes for ride makers in recent times?
“Change” is the key word here; the worry is that rides don’t change and as a result, they stagnate and this has a negative impact on repeat visits.

This is becoming a very competitive industry and visitors get used to the same types of experiences. In a world where choice is seemingly infinite and everything is an “experience”, rides must compete. To do this they must innovate to stand out – simply having the largest or loudest ride no longer guarantees success.

What’s on the horizon for you as a company?
We’re focusing far more on the experience economy and want to use our expertise as experiential designers in more sectors of business and design.

With the tools now at our disposal we can turn most projects into true experiences that become something powerful, entertaining and memorable for visitors. In essence, we want to make the world a more entertaining place to be.

And for the wider ride industry?
Technology is currently at an astounding level of sophistication; so much so that with the right budget virtually anything is possible. With all these toys at our disposal, we must not forget that telling stories is at the core of what we do and that for visitors to feel, they first need to care and be really engaged with the experience.


"Technology is currently at an astounding level of sophistication; so much so that with the right budget virtually anything is possible"

 



MET Studio worked on Deep Sea Odyssey at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom theme park

Originally published in Attractions Management 2015 issue 3

Published by The Leisure Media Company Ltd Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ. Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd
Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
Rides
The Ride Makers

Four companies at the leading edge of technology shine a light on the demand for ever more convincing and compelling dark rides

By Jason Holland | Published in Attractions Management 2015 issue 3


HOLOVIS

 

Stuart Hetherington
 
Stuart Hetherington CEO Holovis

What’s your most recent dark ride?
We have just delivered a dark ride called the Forbidden Caves for Bobbejaanland. It’s Belgium’s first immersive tunnel attraction and the latest version of the original U-shaped immersive tunnel that we designed for Cinecittà World in Italy. A key element of our brief was ensuring that the operational aspects of the ride were suitable for a family attraction, accommodating riders from ages eight to 80. The experience features highly organic motion which when synchronised with the visuals creates the illusion of travelling further and faster than people actually are.

Have you made any engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs or advancements?
The Forbidden Caves is the world’s first all-electric immersive tunnel, transitioning away from conventional hydraulic systems to improve the safety and longevity of the ride by removing potentially hazardous challenges, increasing operational efficiency, reducing maintenance and delivering a much more sustainable attraction.

What are the current trends in creating a dark ride?
Dark rides need to be truly immersive to engage audiences and put them at the heart of the story. This is achieved by media that completely engulfs the peripheral vision with 180° or 360° screens, spatial audio and a full suite of SFX effects.

Once these elements have been achieved, the solution must be scalable for attractions of all sizes and budgets, from flagship experiences at theme parks through to adrenaline-filled games within FECs.

Interactivity allows real-time engagement via the latest gaming technology ensuring guest control and decision-making, as the game can be different each time, increasing repeatability and the operator’s ROI.

How does Holovis work?
In some cases we’ve seen a disconnect between ride development teams and creative story teams, with technology and effects being applied as a separate part of the contract rather than being embedded in the narrative. This is due to different third-party suppliers taking responsibility for their element of the attraction rather than looking at the project as a whole and story being the driving factor.

But we offer a turnkey solution: our in-house team works with clients from the initial design phases through to delivery, covering all aspects from motion vehicles and ride systems to CGI media development, show production and game development, offering clients one point of contact to project manage the solution.

We understand the whole process, and our approach is to put the story at the heart of the attraction and use the right scalable technology to facilitate, not overpower, this.


 



Interactivity enables riders to play a different game every time, Holovis says

SALLY CORPORATION

 

John Wood
 
John Wood Chairman and CEO Sally Corporation

What is your most recent dark ride?
Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 4D, which opened in both Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St Louis in May.

It features a well-known IP – Justice League – with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others, pitted against villains like the Joker and Lex Luthor in an battle to save Metropolis.

A team of specialists worked on the installation which features an Oceaneering DOF vehicle (motion-based) and incredible animatronics, show action equipment, real fire and 3D video by Pure Imagination.

The gun and targeting system were created by Alterface and the scenery by Lexington Scenery. Our senior designer, Rich Hill, devised the concept, script, storyline and all video, in conjunction with the design group at Six Flags. It’s the first mixed-media interactive dark ride on a motion-based platform in North America.

Have you made any engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs or advancements?
The transition from all physical sets and scenery to a mixture of 3D media and physical sets and show elements is one of our important new breakthroughs. The other is the addition of the Unreal 4 game engine in our video which enhances the interactivity and game portion of the show.

Can you describe the current market?
The market for dark rides has never been hotter. Partly this has been stimulated by the success of other dark rides in the industry but it’s also a natural evolution. For the past couple of decades large regional theme parks have focused on thrill rides and rollercoasters. However, there’s much more a park can be than a place for thrill rides and they’re increasingly appreciating the benefits of our family-oriented rides.

What are you doing that other dark ride makers aren’t?
Our company’s been in the dark ride business for three decades. As a result, we offer a wide spectrum of successful dark ride products. We’re a full-service company providing everything from initial concept design through project management, manufacturing and installation.

No one in the industry has installed as many dark rides for as many satisfied customers as Sally Corporation.

What have been the biggest changes for ride makers in recent times?
The first trend-setting element was ETF’s trackless ride systems that can go anywhere, point in any direction and get there at almost any speed. The next was the Oceaneering multiple degree of freedom vehicles that allow riders to move along with the movies or show action elements.

When it comes to the show elements of rides, new ideas are almost always born out of the hard work and success of the Disney or Universal creative teams. They set the high water mark for us to aim to float on.


"The market for dark rides has never been hotter"

 



Animatronics and interactive gaming feature in the new Justice League rides

CAVU DESIGNWERKS

 

Daryl White
 
Daryl White President CAVU Designwerks

What makes CAVU stand out?
A number of manufacturers supply a four-, eight- or 12- passenger dark ride vehicle, but until the recent Asian Attractions Expo (AAE) in Hong Kong, no company had been able to provide an attraction to compete with the incredibly successful Harry Potter ride at Universal.

At AAE, CAVU Designwerks unveiled a 10-passenger multi-axis dark ride vehicle system called the Storm Chaser that has all the exciting movement used in Harry Potter, but isn’t limited to four passengers. It’s also less expensive. We’ve received a strong response, especially after clients learned we have a running prototype.

Have you made engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs?
We’ve been following the trends in engineering and manufacturing over the last few years and seen a maturing in the Chinese ride manufacturing sector.

China is poised to take the next step from reverse engineering and duplicating existing rides to generating new products which are competitive in the global market.
Heavy hitters such as Disney and Universal have begun expanding into China and are actively sourcing products from local and regional fabricators. As a result, these fabricators are receiving technical advice that will assist them in stepping up their overall level of quality, beyond just supplying to the major parks.

What are the current trends in creating a dark ride?
The biggest trend in theme park design is towards the inclusion of trackless dark rides. This includes the use of autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs).

Disney has created its own trackless dark ride systems, such as the one used in the Ratatouille attraction at Disneyland Paris, but on the open market, few suppliers are offering them.

For many design concepts a track- or fin-guided vehicle delivers the desired ride experience just as well as trackless vehicles. The key to making an AGV system worth the expense is to approach the ride layout and concept with a free mind and let the vehicles take different paths or wander more freely.

What’s on the horizon for the ride-making industry?
I believe the industry will follow in our footsteps and start manufacturing in China. The key is to success in this is to set high-quality standards and enforce them.
The current boom in the industry means some suppliers are booked up for two or three years. That’s great for short-term work, but there are so many parks slated for construction that want to buy rides now, those suppliers are having to say no, or delay opening. This has opened the door for new companies and in five years, you’ll see a number of new faces in the industry.

I predict many of the existing Chinese manufacturers that were “me-too” makers, will have come up with novel ideas after learning from the likes of Universal and Disney about how to develop rides and work to world class quality standards.


 



Midnight Express, a touring simulator with high-walled projection screen

MET

 

Peter Karn
 
Peter Karn Creative director MET

What is your most recent dark ride?
The most recent dark ride MET completed was the Deep Sea Odyssey at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Hengqin, China. The ride sets itself apart from others because of its unique blend of different mediums, including set works, live aquariums and media. All these mediums are used to tell the captivating story starting from the queuing area all the way through the ride.

Have you made any engineering, design or manufacturing breakthroughs or advancements?
As well as the obvious technological advancements in ride creation, such as 3D software that allows the modelling of unique designs, we’ve also found that communication technology and collaboration enhance ride design quality.

Creating rides involves different parties working on various parts of the process. Communication technologies such as the GoToMeeting video conferencing and screen sharing software really help us achieve the effects and conceptual designs we’re working towards together. This is especially helpful when working with set builders and sculptors who are aiming to create organic forms as close to our drawings as possible.

We’ve also started to utilise virtual reality technology in the design of our experiences. Using this technique we can now see our proposals through visitors’ eyes and craft them from this perspective, allowing a far more intricate control over our creative and development processes.

What are the current trends in creating dark rides?
Mobile technology is becoming far more integrated into these kinds of experiences. Visitors can now begin their journey before they get on the ride and continue it long after they’ve got off and headed home.

The rides themselves are becoming more detailed and the effects are improving in quality every year. However, the level of interactivity through mobile devices is transforming the experiences.

What have been the biggest changes for ride makers in recent times?
“Change” is the key word here; the worry is that rides don’t change and as a result, they stagnate and this has a negative impact on repeat visits.

This is becoming a very competitive industry and visitors get used to the same types of experiences. In a world where choice is seemingly infinite and everything is an “experience”, rides must compete. To do this they must innovate to stand out – simply having the largest or loudest ride no longer guarantees success.

What’s on the horizon for you as a company?
We’re focusing far more on the experience economy and want to use our expertise as experiential designers in more sectors of business and design.

With the tools now at our disposal we can turn most projects into true experiences that become something powerful, entertaining and memorable for visitors. In essence, we want to make the world a more entertaining place to be.

And for the wider ride industry?
Technology is currently at an astounding level of sophistication; so much so that with the right budget virtually anything is possible. With all these toys at our disposal, we must not forget that telling stories is at the core of what we do and that for visitors to feel, they first need to care and be really engaged with the experience.


"Technology is currently at an astounding level of sophistication; so much so that with the right budget virtually anything is possible"

 



MET Studio worked on Deep Sea Odyssey at Chimelong Ocean Kingdom theme park
LATEST NEWS
The Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa opens
The five-star Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa has opened its doors.
CIDESCO announces speakers for 67th World Congress
CIDESCO, the world standard for the beauty and spa industries, has announced the speaker line up for its 67th World Congress and Exhibition.
Four Seasons and Harley Pasternak create fitness video series
Four Seasons has teamed up with fitness expert and Four Seasons Global Fitness Advisor Harley Pasternak, have teamed up to create a comprehensive video series designed to give guests help with five of the most common fitness challenges experienced by travellers.
Aman to open Bangkok resort
Hotel and resort brand Aman has signed a long-term partnership with Nai Lert Group to manage a hotel and branded residences in Bangkok, which is set to open in 2022.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILE
Barr + Wray Ltd

Being able to create award-winning spas, offering a full interior design package and a technical a [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

The benefits of Rasul to the spa offering
Over the past few years, Spa Vision has built up both its expertise and offering of non-therapist spa treatments, particularly Rasul. [more...]
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

16 Sep 2019

UK Spa Association - Summer networking event

South Lodge, Horsham, United Kingdom
19-20 Sep 2019

Termatalia: 19th International Fair of Thermal Tourism, Health and Welfare

Expourense, Ourense, Spain
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS