The need to find a solution to the “entrance” and “egress” requirements of modern theme park attractions, and the limitations in deploying virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs), hopes to have been addressed with the preview of the latest VR theme park attraction.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg, previewed to trade their latest media-based attraction. Called Battle for Eire, this is the latest in the deployment of a VR attraction – but also is the first of this current generation to attempt to address the issues of simple operation of the headset technology.
The VR attraction uses the newly developed ‘Emerald Mask’ – that combines a two-stage operation – with the rider wearing a liner on their heads, that when they arrive at the motion ride attraction connects with the main viewing device (in this case a modified version of the HTC Vive.
The attraction was developed in partnership with Falcon’s Creative Group, a theme park attraction and resort development operation. The company has innovated the idea of a two-part headset approach to large throughput VR attractions, from the same approach employed by early IMAX 3D headsets back in the 1990’s, the Disney Vision in 1994 and most recently proposed by headset developer Sensic for their Public VR goggles (in partnership with VR Coaster).
Battle for Eire replaces the locations former motion simulator ride Europe in the Air, it was the need to create an attraction that still had the high through-put (number of riders per cycle), without the delays that donning a VR HMD can impact upon the speed of operation. Something that has been seen with some of the early VR rollercoaster concepts.
You can see a video report from The Virgininan Pilot below that shows off the Emerald Mask. The attraction opens to the public Spring 2018 – expect a report from the opening in the coming VRFocus news of the VR Out-of-Home entertainment sector, and our Virtual Arena column.