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Ride Profile www.parkworld-online.com


Quick Q’s


Park World talks with David Schaefer, vice president, Falcon’s Creative Group:


Total immersion Battle For Eire uses an existing motion-based simulator, but reprogrammed to work simultaneously with proprietary 360º virtual reality headsets that let riders experience Addie’s home (The Otherworld) in an immersive experience that surrounds them. “Battle For Eire is the first of its kind in North America to combine 360º VR technology with a motion simulator. Unlike Corkscrew Hill or Europe in the Air, this attraction utilizes a custom designed VR headset. We created the Otherworld by focusing on imagery and resolution. Our design teams spent countless hours on research and operation of this one-of-a- kind VR headgear, which led to the creation of a two-piece system.”


“Battle For Eire is a phenomenal new experience. It’s


something that has never been done before,” said Giles. “You really feel like you’re there. You’re not just watching it. You’re part of it.”


Maintaining authenticity At Busch Gardens, authenticity is important, even in a mythological attraction. “One of the important components of Battle For Eire is that we have incorporated authentic Irish mythology and folklore, including the characters’ names, the colourful scenery and lush landscapes,” Lembke emphasised. “In anything we do, we want make sure attractions fits seamlessly with the essence and character of the park and with the authentic Irish theme of this ride, I think we accomplished that goal. Battle For Eire’s features and design complement the park’s Ireland village and adds a unique family attraction to our already diverse portfolio of rides. It’s a great addition to the park.” Battle For Eire is situated in the Ireland section of Busch


Gardens Williamsburg. From the country’s warm-hearted people and lush landscapes to ancient castles and fine Irish wares, guests visiting Busch Gardens get a taste of true Irish spirit. This adaptation of an authentic Irish hamlet features a brightly-coloured tavern, shops, stone castles, blooming flower boxes, and contemporary Celtic music. Building facades incorporate elements dating from Ireland’s Megalithic Stone Age (circa 2400 BC) through the mid-19th century. The park offers a tour through Europe, with representations


of the European countries of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy serving as the setting for Busch Gardens’ 134 acres (54 hectares) of fun-filled exploration of authentic themes based on European culture.


How is the level of VR immersion that is seen in attractions like Battle for Eire transforming themed experiences? VR is another tool in a designer/producer's kit to deliver immersive experiences to guests. And, as with any technology, it can be used both wisely or poorly. We are strong advocates for weaving the VR system together with the storyline to reduce the impact of breaking immersion due to the technology. Battle for Eire was a positive step forward in this regard as guests are outfitted with ‘magical lenses’ in order to visit the Other World.


Where is virtual reality headed in theme parks? There will continue to be technological advancements that improve resolutions, frame rate, etc. of VR systems that will result in more rich experiences. We also believe we will begin to see more bespoke VR based attractions that are designed to leverage VR from the ground-up, rather than simply utilizing VR as an upgrade to an existing attraction. This will also result in richer, more immersive experiences.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


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