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Europa Park adds world-first virtual reality experience to attraction's oldest rollercoaster
POSTED 18 Sep 2015 . BY Tom Anstey
Europa Park has teamed up with Mack Rides to debut a world first, incorporating virtual reality into its oldest rollercoaster to create a whole new experience for visitors to the attraction.

With several theme parks having toyed with the concept of using virtual reality on rollercoasters, Europa Park is the first to implement the technology, using the wireless Samsung Gear VR headset to completely transform the world around them.

The VR experience on Alpen Express, which originally opened in 1984 under the name Grotto Blitz, is based on MackMedia’s ‘The Mystery of Castle Balthasar’. The VR film immerses riders in the world of the park’s mascot Ed Euromaus, taking them for a ride on a mine cart and then on the wings of a dragon, before returning back to the theme park. Using precise synchronisation, riders are shown a 3D animated world, matching the track and completely reinventing the ageing rollercoaster.

“The VR glasses create an immersive experience that would be almost impossible to surpass. It won’t work if you look at the same movie at home in your living room, it’s what you see and what you feel," Steffen Kottkamp, director of MackCreative at Europa Park, told Attractions Management.

“It’s cheaper than building an entirely new coaster but that’s not the aim of it. One possibility is giving an existing coaster a new chance. That’s the way we did it here, this is our first step. In the end there will be a lot of companies that will want to build a new coaster and integrate virtual reality from day one.”



Mack has been testing the technology since 2013, revealing test footage in September 2014 shot at Europa Park, which used Oculus Rift linked to the park’s Blue Fire and Pegasus rides. The test used an automatic synchronisation system to detect speed via the train’s wheels, sending the data to the computer to calculate position and match the virtual experience to the real-life one.

Kottkamp also revealed to Attractions Management that Mack, which also owns Europa Park has started to distribute the one-of-a-kind technology to interested parties.

“If you ride the coaster you feel like this is an immersive experience you've never had before, so we are trying to make a business model out of it and sell it to theme parks worldwide,” he said.

“Today is day one and it’s gone very smoothly which we are very happy with. I’m sure a few topics of calibration will come up but it couldn’t have gone better. For the first time, we are able to place an attraction in any themed world and seamlessly increase the intensity of the experience for visitors.

“The future of the rollercoaster lies in a combination of real physical forces and appropriate thematic content. Using VR, we can create a much more elaborate and interactive themed world.”
RELATED STORIES
TEA to host SATE Academy Day at Europa Park in June


The Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) Europe and Middle East Division will hold a SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) Academy Day in June hosted at Germany’s Europa Park.
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Germany’s Europa-Park looks set to smash its previous attendance record after a bumper summer season, with the visitor attraction expected to pass the 5 million guest mark for the first time in its 39-year history.
Oculus Rift offers mind-blowing results when paired with a real-life roller coaster


Researchers have taken the completely immersive Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets for a test run, sending roller coaster technology to a different dimension.
Europa Park to expand with €100m waterpark development


Europa Park in Rust, Germany, has revealed details of its €100m (US$136m, £79.2m) waterpark expansion, due to be located 1km (0.6m) from the theme park.
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NEWS
Europa Park adds world-first virtual reality experience to attraction's oldest rollercoaster
POSTED 18 Sep 2015 . BY Tom Anstey
Europa Park has teamed up with Mack Rides to debut a world first, incorporating virtual reality into its oldest rollercoaster to create a whole new experience for visitors to the attraction.

With several theme parks having toyed with the concept of using virtual reality on rollercoasters, Europa Park is the first to implement the technology, using the wireless Samsung Gear VR headset to completely transform the world around them.

The VR experience on Alpen Express, which originally opened in 1984 under the name Grotto Blitz, is based on MackMedia’s ‘The Mystery of Castle Balthasar’. The VR film immerses riders in the world of the park’s mascot Ed Euromaus, taking them for a ride on a mine cart and then on the wings of a dragon, before returning back to the theme park. Using precise synchronisation, riders are shown a 3D animated world, matching the track and completely reinventing the ageing rollercoaster.

“The VR glasses create an immersive experience that would be almost impossible to surpass. It won’t work if you look at the same movie at home in your living room, it’s what you see and what you feel," Steffen Kottkamp, director of MackCreative at Europa Park, told Attractions Management.

“It’s cheaper than building an entirely new coaster but that’s not the aim of it. One possibility is giving an existing coaster a new chance. That’s the way we did it here, this is our first step. In the end there will be a lot of companies that will want to build a new coaster and integrate virtual reality from day one.”



Mack has been testing the technology since 2013, revealing test footage in September 2014 shot at Europa Park, which used Oculus Rift linked to the park’s Blue Fire and Pegasus rides. The test used an automatic synchronisation system to detect speed via the train’s wheels, sending the data to the computer to calculate position and match the virtual experience to the real-life one.

Kottkamp also revealed to Attractions Management that Mack, which also owns Europa Park has started to distribute the one-of-a-kind technology to interested parties.

“If you ride the coaster you feel like this is an immersive experience you've never had before, so we are trying to make a business model out of it and sell it to theme parks worldwide,” he said.

“Today is day one and it’s gone very smoothly which we are very happy with. I’m sure a few topics of calibration will come up but it couldn’t have gone better. For the first time, we are able to place an attraction in any themed world and seamlessly increase the intensity of the experience for visitors.

“The future of the rollercoaster lies in a combination of real physical forces and appropriate thematic content. Using VR, we can create a much more elaborate and interactive themed world.”
RELATED STORIES
TEA to host SATE Academy Day at Europa Park in June


The Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) Europe and Middle East Division will hold a SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) Academy Day in June hosted at Germany’s Europa Park.
Bumper summer means record-breaking business for Europa Park


Germany’s Europa-Park looks set to smash its previous attendance record after a bumper summer season, with the visitor attraction expected to pass the 5 million guest mark for the first time in its 39-year history.
Oculus Rift offers mind-blowing results when paired with a real-life roller coaster


Researchers have taken the completely immersive Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets for a test run, sending roller coaster technology to a different dimension.
Europa Park to expand with €100m waterpark development


Europa Park in Rust, Germany, has revealed details of its €100m (US$136m, £79.2m) waterpark expansion, due to be located 1km (0.6m) from the theme park.
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COMPANY PROFILE
Alterface

Alterface’s Creative Division team is seasoned in concept and ride development, as well as storyte [more...]
+ More profiles  
VIDEO GALLERY

Animalive - Introducing AnimaChat!
Introducing AnimaChat, one operator can live-stream into multiple venues. Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion: Meet the Team - Introduction – Red Raion
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Experience the experience – Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

18 Jun 2019

Next steps for the UK tourism industry post Brexit: skills, growth and delivering a sector deal

Central London, United Kingdom
25-27 Jun 2019

BALPPA Summer Conference 2019

The Balmer Lawn Hotel and Carey’s Manor Hotel, New Forest, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 


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