Simulator Rides and their Evolution
Of all the amusement park rides, one of the most popular today doesn’t actually go anywhere. However, you still feel like you’ve been on a thrilling journey! Of course we’re talking about the popular simulator rides. One of the first, Disneyland’s Star Tours, takes passengers on an intergalactic journey without any need for rocket fuel! Attractions like these are made possible by moving the passengers’ seats in coordination with the action seen on a screen… and this is what tricks the mind into thinking you are really moving through space.
This technology was originally developed by the military with motion simulators used to train pilots without actually having to put them in a jet or plane. Early flight simulators weren’t equipped with the virtual reality technology we are used to today. What the pilots saw was video footage from a camera moving over a model of a landscape. These model landscapes could take up an entire airplane hangar! It wasn’t until the 1990’s that physical models were replaced by virtual reality computer graphic simulations..
Disney first began drawing up plans for a simulator ride in 1979. However, the film that they originally based the ride on – The Black Hole – wasn’t popular enough to merit its own $50 million ride. Later when Disney partnered with George Lucas the simulator ride plan was brought back out and redesigned as a Star Wars themed ride called Star Tours. Four military flight simulators were used and reprogrammed in a drawn out way with a programmer sitting in the simulator and manually coordinating the ride’s movements with a joystick. As with all great simulator rides, the combination of great storytelling and the thrill of feeling like you are traveling through outer space spelled instant success for Star Tours.
And it’s not just the novelty of feeling like you are actually moving that thrills but the immersive cinematic experience in it’s entirety. It’s no surprise that many simulator rides are based on hit films. Here in the CINE6D we have Lost World (Jurassic Park Themed), Penguins (Happy Feet Themed), Catacombs (Indiana Jones Themed) The Weird Race (Wreck-it Ralph Themed) etc.
Since simulator rides have such a strong connection with the movie industry, the next obvious move for amusement parks was to integrate 3-D technology into simulator rides. The recently updated Star Tours is now enhanced by 3-D effects, as well as virtaully all Universal Studio’s latest productions. With simulator rides becoming so advanced, perhaps someday they will be so realistic that they could replace the sprawling roller coasters that make up much of today’s amusement parks.
Luckily you don’t have to go far to experience thrills like these. The Marina Lanzarote has the only 6D Cinema to be found in the Canary Islands with many films to enjoy on the Universal Studios technology simulator.
Above text taken from the following link: The Evolution of the Simulator Ride