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'Rolls Royce of rollercoasters' perfect for Galactica, says creator of ride's VR
POSTED 18 Mar 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
The designer of Alton Towers’ new virtual reality rollercoaster – the first to come to the UK – has told Attractions Management exclusive new details about the rebranded Galactica ride.

The new VR experience, which has been under development since 2014, is a collaboration between Merlin Magic Making and Figment Productions. The ride is the first in the world to combine a flying-style coaster with VR, something Figment’s managing director, Simon Reveley, says makes the ride formerly known as Air one of the world’s premier rollercoasters.

“Air is like the Rolls Royce of rollercoasters so we’re very lucky to have this as our base model,” said Reveley speaking to Attractions Management.

“We all talked about what would be the ultimate thing you can’t do anywhere else. I guess I’m biased because I grew up watching Star Wars in the 80s relentlessly but the idea of sticking a jet pack on and flying through space was great and it made perfect sense with the feel of Air and what it was designed to simulate.

“Air’s original designer John Wardley came to have a look at what we’ve done with the ride and I said to him ‘thank you’ because it’s such an amazing rollercoaster to work with for something like this. It’s so smooth.”


A preview of the ride’s launch sequence as you ascend the first hill of the ride

Galactica, which was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard and cost £12m (US$17m, €15m) to develop when it first opened as Air in 2002, has been retrofitted with new technology which pinpoints where each specific rider is as they travel around the coaster, ensuring perfect synchronisation and eliminating sickness associated with VR. Powered by the Samsung Gear VR headset and the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone, the experience is fully-customisable with a touch screen controlled by the ride operator, so if a rider has a specific need such as subtitles because they are hard of hearing, that can be easily modified. Another interesting feature to the coaster is that the rails of the ride itself are switched on at night, effectively turning it into a giant charger which gives each headset and phone enough power for a full day.

Reveley added that VR can give an older rollercoaster a new lease on life but urged caution over ‘poisoning the well’ when it comes to VR coaster experiences.

“It’s a great way to reinvigorate things which have had massive investment,” he said. “Air has been here for nearly 15 years and with a much smaller investment we’ve transformed it into essentially a brand new ride.

“There are concerns with poisoning the well however. People who have a bad VR experience might not want to do VR again. If operators look at VR on a coaster and say ‘that rattly old coaster we’ve had for 30 years needs an upgrade so let’s chuck some VR on it’, people might end up having a pretty horrible experience. Here we’ve got what is still one of the best rollercoasters in the world, so to have VR on it and working with a company like Merlin is a massive win.”

The experience itself sends riders on a 90-second journey to multiple planets, using space portals to seamlessly create a non-stop out-of-this world adventure.

“Astronaut Chris Hadfield was one of the first to try our ride,” said Reveley. “After he rode it he told me that just as you break through into space on VR, that was just like the real-life experience. Of course then it all goes awry and you’re sent on your wild adventure but to hear that from one of the few people on this planet who could actually tell you first-hand what that’s like, it’s incredible.”

Alton Towers reopens to the public on 19 March, with Galactica debuting on 24 March.
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NEWS
'Rolls Royce of rollercoasters' perfect for Galactica, says creator of ride's VR
POSTED 18 Mar 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
The designer of Alton Towers’ new virtual reality rollercoaster – the first to come to the UK – has told Attractions Management exclusive new details about the rebranded Galactica ride.

The new VR experience, which has been under development since 2014, is a collaboration between Merlin Magic Making and Figment Productions. The ride is the first in the world to combine a flying-style coaster with VR, something Figment’s managing director, Simon Reveley, says makes the ride formerly known as Air one of the world’s premier rollercoasters.

“Air is like the Rolls Royce of rollercoasters so we’re very lucky to have this as our base model,” said Reveley speaking to Attractions Management.

“We all talked about what would be the ultimate thing you can’t do anywhere else. I guess I’m biased because I grew up watching Star Wars in the 80s relentlessly but the idea of sticking a jet pack on and flying through space was great and it made perfect sense with the feel of Air and what it was designed to simulate.

“Air’s original designer John Wardley came to have a look at what we’ve done with the ride and I said to him ‘thank you’ because it’s such an amazing rollercoaster to work with for something like this. It’s so smooth.”


A preview of the ride’s launch sequence as you ascend the first hill of the ride

Galactica, which was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard and cost £12m (US$17m, €15m) to develop when it first opened as Air in 2002, has been retrofitted with new technology which pinpoints where each specific rider is as they travel around the coaster, ensuring perfect synchronisation and eliminating sickness associated with VR. Powered by the Samsung Gear VR headset and the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone, the experience is fully-customisable with a touch screen controlled by the ride operator, so if a rider has a specific need such as subtitles because they are hard of hearing, that can be easily modified. Another interesting feature to the coaster is that the rails of the ride itself are switched on at night, effectively turning it into a giant charger which gives each headset and phone enough power for a full day.

Reveley added that VR can give an older rollercoaster a new lease on life but urged caution over ‘poisoning the well’ when it comes to VR coaster experiences.

“It’s a great way to reinvigorate things which have had massive investment,” he said. “Air has been here for nearly 15 years and with a much smaller investment we’ve transformed it into essentially a brand new ride.

“There are concerns with poisoning the well however. People who have a bad VR experience might not want to do VR again. If operators look at VR on a coaster and say ‘that rattly old coaster we’ve had for 30 years needs an upgrade so let’s chuck some VR on it’, people might end up having a pretty horrible experience. Here we’ve got what is still one of the best rollercoasters in the world, so to have VR on it and working with a company like Merlin is a massive win.”

The experience itself sends riders on a 90-second journey to multiple planets, using space portals to seamlessly create a non-stop out-of-this world adventure.

“Astronaut Chris Hadfield was one of the first to try our ride,” said Reveley. “After he rode it he told me that just as you break through into space on VR, that was just like the real-life experience. Of course then it all goes awry and you’re sent on your wild adventure but to hear that from one of the few people on this planet who could actually tell you first-hand what that’s like, it’s incredible.”

Alton Towers reopens to the public on 19 March, with Galactica debuting on 24 March.
RELATED STORIES
Alton Towers creates 'gravity-free zone' at home of astronaut Tim Peake


Alton Towers has turned UK astronaut Tim Peake’s home street into a ‘gravity-free zone’, also announcing a new space education programme to promote the upcoming launch of its virtual reality rollercoaster Galactica.
Alton Towers confirms plans for UK's first virtual reality rollercoaster


Alton Towers has confirmed plans to launch the UK’s first ever virtual reality rollercoaster, rebranding its Air ride as Galactica for the all-new space-themed VR experience.
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Danish architects COBE and Norwegian beer maker Lervig have unveiled plans for a major waterfront visitor centre and brewery in Stavanger, Norway.
Designs revealed for new aquatics centre on an artificial quay in Copenhagen’s harbour
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LATEST JOBS
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Salary: £30,000
Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
Director of Operations
WWT
Salary: £78,000 p.a.
Location: Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Head of Product Excellence
Legoland
Salary: Competitive
Location: Winter Haven, FL, United States
Customer Insights and Analytics Manager
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Salary: Competitive
Location: New York, NY, United States
General Manager
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Salary: Competitive
Location: Concord, NC, United States
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Salary: Competitive
Location: Washington, DC, United States



 
 
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Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

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NEWS
'Rolls Royce of rollercoasters' perfect for Galactica, says creator of ride's VR
POSTED 18 Mar 2016 . BY Tom Anstey
The designer of Alton Towers’ new virtual reality rollercoaster – the first to come to the UK – has told Attractions Management exclusive new details about the rebranded Galactica ride.

The new VR experience, which has been under development since 2014, is a collaboration between Merlin Magic Making and Figment Productions. The ride is the first in the world to combine a flying-style coaster with VR, something Figment’s managing director, Simon Reveley, says makes the ride formerly known as Air one of the world’s premier rollercoasters.

“Air is like the Rolls Royce of rollercoasters so we’re very lucky to have this as our base model,” said Reveley speaking to Attractions Management.

“We all talked about what would be the ultimate thing you can’t do anywhere else. I guess I’m biased because I grew up watching Star Wars in the 80s relentlessly but the idea of sticking a jet pack on and flying through space was great and it made perfect sense with the feel of Air and what it was designed to simulate.

“Air’s original designer John Wardley came to have a look at what we’ve done with the ride and I said to him ‘thank you’ because it’s such an amazing rollercoaster to work with for something like this. It’s so smooth.”


A preview of the ride’s launch sequence as you ascend the first hill of the ride

Galactica, which was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard and cost £12m (US$17m, €15m) to develop when it first opened as Air in 2002, has been retrofitted with new technology which pinpoints where each specific rider is as they travel around the coaster, ensuring perfect synchronisation and eliminating sickness associated with VR. Powered by the Samsung Gear VR headset and the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone, the experience is fully-customisable with a touch screen controlled by the ride operator, so if a rider has a specific need such as subtitles because they are hard of hearing, that can be easily modified. Another interesting feature to the coaster is that the rails of the ride itself are switched on at night, effectively turning it into a giant charger which gives each headset and phone enough power for a full day.

Reveley added that VR can give an older rollercoaster a new lease on life but urged caution over ‘poisoning the well’ when it comes to VR coaster experiences.

“It’s a great way to reinvigorate things which have had massive investment,” he said. “Air has been here for nearly 15 years and with a much smaller investment we’ve transformed it into essentially a brand new ride.

“There are concerns with poisoning the well however. People who have a bad VR experience might not want to do VR again. If operators look at VR on a coaster and say ‘that rattly old coaster we’ve had for 30 years needs an upgrade so let’s chuck some VR on it’, people might end up having a pretty horrible experience. Here we’ve got what is still one of the best rollercoasters in the world, so to have VR on it and working with a company like Merlin is a massive win.”

The experience itself sends riders on a 90-second journey to multiple planets, using space portals to seamlessly create a non-stop out-of-this world adventure.

“Astronaut Chris Hadfield was one of the first to try our ride,” said Reveley. “After he rode it he told me that just as you break through into space on VR, that was just like the real-life experience. Of course then it all goes awry and you’re sent on your wild adventure but to hear that from one of the few people on this planet who could actually tell you first-hand what that’s like, it’s incredible.”

Alton Towers reopens to the public on 19 March, with Galactica debuting on 24 March.
RELATED STORIES
Alton Towers creates 'gravity-free zone' at home of astronaut Tim Peake


Alton Towers has turned UK astronaut Tim Peake’s home street into a ‘gravity-free zone’, also announcing a new space education programme to promote the upcoming launch of its virtual reality rollercoaster Galactica.
Alton Towers confirms plans for UK's first virtual reality rollercoaster


Alton Towers has confirmed plans to launch the UK’s first ever virtual reality rollercoaster, rebranding its Air ride as Galactica for the all-new space-themed VR experience.
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

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

©Cybertrek 2018

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