Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a world-famous theme park, is updating its popular motion simulator attraction to host ‘Battle For Eire,’ a virtual reality (VR) immersive adventure based on Norse mythology.
Collaborating with Dreamset and HTC VIVE, the Virginia-based theme park is now delivering an immersive and interactive story that can host up to one thousand people per hour.
In a statement Larry Giles, VP of Design and Engineering at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Busch Gardens’ parent company, added:
“We wanted to uniquely blend the immersive experience of high-tech virtual reality with the visceral experience from a state-of-the-art ride system to create a believable, ‘you are really there’ feeling”
— The Coaster Crew (@Coastercrew) April 4, 2018
The attraction allows each rider to interact with VR elements within the immersive simulation for a personalised experience, along with ‘wind-on-guest’ 4D effects as well as theatrical 7.1 surround sound.
The Technology Behind ‘Battle For Eire’
The Battle For Eire ride consists of two 59-passenger motion simulator platforms and each passenger receives an Emerald Mask VR headset built specifically for the attraction.
Dreamset and HTC VIVE designed the hardware, marking the world’s first VR headset made for an amusement park attraction.
The Battle For Eire attraction hopes to solve issues such as long wait times, hygiene concerns, and ride capacity. Explaining further, Larry Giles said Busch Gardens understood the “need to keep people moving” to fully enjoy their experiences.
“We also knew other [theme park] VR experiences had much lower ride capacity, which was the most common complaint among riders”
HTC VIVE provided powerful VR lenses for each Emerald Mask with a purpose-built lens adaptor that is efficient to equip, clean, and monitor. The Taiwanese tech firm also aimed to provide the US theme park with a device that solves many of the issues faced when installing a VR attraction.
Intel also powers the simulation with its NUC Mini computer housing a rugged NVIDIA graphic processing unit (GPU), which supports Dreamset’s custom real-time 3D (RT3D) engine.
In addition, by using NVIDIA GPUs, Busch Gardens Williamsburg engineers also gain access to Redshift, a GPU-accelerated renderer that enables the high-quality Battle For Eire 3D VR visualisations.