Entertainment

Alton Towers Announce Virtual Reality Rollercoaster

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UK based theme park, Alton Towers, have announced that they will be partnering with Air Space Technologies to launch the UK’s first virtual reality Roller-coaster.

The roller-coaster, titled Galactica, will take users on a ride in to space by displaying 3D rendered visuals via a mobile virtual reality headset. The visuals will accompany the movement of the ride taking ‘Galactinauts’ on a cosmic journey through the universe.

The aim, for Alton Towers, was  “to develop a multi-dimensional portal using the Resort’s iconic flying coaster as the propulsion device.”

The visuals for Galatica have been developed by, UK based, Figment productions and will be shown to users on the ride that is due to be launched April 2016. Figment Productions spoke about their work on the project and said that  “we believe that our close collaboration with Alton Towers and Merlin Magic Making has produced a unique attraction, the first of its kind anywhere in the world.”

The new attraction to the park can support  1,500 passengers per hour and will reach a maximum speed of 75km/h (47mph) with the biggest drop on the ride coming in at 20m (66ft).

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Users will each have a headset that will use sensors to render the graphics according to the users positioning on the carriage. Users will also be strapped in tightly at the shoulders, which will restrict the movement of the head, reducing the chances of motion/simulator sickness.

The ride will adopt the use of Samsung Gear VR headsets, a virtual reality device that runs off of the latest Samsung smartphones. The headsets have been customized for use on Galactica  and efforts have been made to maintain a standard of hygiene for shared use of the devices.

The Galactica coaster is a re-theme of ‘Air’, a coaster that has been at the park since 2002 and is the first new ride to be added the park since an accident on June 2nd last year. Merlin Entertainment, the owner of Alton Towers, released a statement after the event explaining that the accident had been caused by the human error of an operator, and not as a mechanical fault.

Gill Riley, marketing director at Alton Towers said in a statement to the BBC “Obviously the safety and welfare of our guests is our number one priority. Following the incident last year, we immediately put into effect additional safety protocols on our multi-car roller coasters, of which this is one.”

Alton Towers have also released a trailer for the roller-coaster that shows off some of the high fidelity sequences that users can expect.  You can view the trailer above or see the original upload here.

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Joseph Smerdon

Founder of VRRelated and a VR enthusiast with a passion for gaming and all things creative. Joseph has an extensive background in the broader entertainment industry and a hunger to deliver Virtual Reality related news and content as the market develops.

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