Over the years children of all ages have enjoyed going to theme parks and getting scared at the ubiquitous haunted house ride. But these are steadily in decline as parks go for bigger and bolder rollercoasters that grab the public attention. Now Joel Zika a lecturer at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia wants to preserve these old rides using virtual reality (VR) with an initiative called The Dark Ride Project.
Zika, along with Alex Murray (videographer) and Kate Moon (motion graphics) has begun documenting old rides in the US and Australia that are more than half a century old, using a custom built 360-degree camera that’s been designed for the low light conditions of the rides.
So far the project has been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to record The Haunted Mansion at Funland; The Haunted House in Ocean City, Maryland, the oldest two story ride still working and in Huntingdon, Virginia, a gravity fed Haunted House ride, to name just a few.
The team are looking to raise $60,000 USD to achieve all their main goals for The Dark Ride Project. Being an Indiegogo campaign the project is using the fundraising site’s flexible goal system so that it doesn’t need to hit the top amount to succeed.
The first target is $20,000 which will allow The Dark Ride Project to archive eight new rides on top of the ones already recorded and create a pilot episode for a TV series. Achieving the $60,000 will enable the team to add four European rides to the archive, create two episodes for the TV series and begin development of a VR app for head-mounted displays (HMDs) such as Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and others.
While the backing tiers begin at $2 its the $35 Dark Ride Member tier that supporters will really want to start with. This tier will give immediate access to all of the captured rides once the campaign finishes in October 2016. Future content recorded next year will also be available straight away and much more.
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