The Interactive Dark Ride: Fun for All, All for Fun

The wide appeal of Interactive dark rides makes them a must-have attraction for many types of locations, from theme parks to family entertainment centers. But what exactly is an interactive dark ride?  It is a media-based interactive attraction that immerses players in a universe that combines the interactive technology, a rich multi-dimensional experience along with the thrills and speed of a ride in a vehicle uniquely crafted for the attraction.  It’s your old-time ghost train coming into today’s digital world of virtual reality. The interaction is achieved via laser “blasters” and is done on 3D media content featured on immersive screens.

Triotech’s interactive dark ride cart with laser pointers. Clients can change the ride content often with the company’s dark ride systems.

Triotech’s interactive dark ride cart with laser pointers. Clients can change the ride content often with the company’s dark ride systems.

The advantages of the Interactive Dark Ride:

  • Major attraction benefits at fraction of the cost of a comparable quality branded attraction in a large theme park;
  • Wider audience appeal;
  • Easier to re-theme. New content is digital as opposed to expensive animatronics and other physical component;
  • Real time graphics. Reacts to players’ action;
  • The physical space requirement is flexible and there can be from three carts to 12 carts;
  • Customizable;
  • Can upgrade an existing traditional dark ride;
  • Offers an immersive and rich multi-sensorial attraction;
  • Group play.

Interactive products have a distinct advantage; replay-ability is very high with this attraction. As the experience is dynamic, the interaction between player and adventure can be different each time the rider tries the diversion. This drives replay-ability and thus repeats purchases. Furthermore, there is competition among the riders, which also contributes to the fun.

Are these rides affordable? The required investment is only a fraction of the cost required for major branded rides that have been installed in the recent past. Yet some of those rides are not even interactive. Thus, with an interactive dark ride, the thrill is there for the guests and the payback is excellent for the operators because of the high throughput relative to the space required. That space can be as little as 400 pph for a 4,000-square-feet space.

The flexibility to continuously add content rapidly within a certain theme is a great value proposition for the operators. It offers operators the ability to provide different ride adventures at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.

Trends

Interactivity is the new immersion and consumers demand more and more of it. This trend extends outside the industry of course; whether with a favorite tablet, smart phone or other device.  Consumers what to be involved, they want to interact and they do not want to be passive.  Guests crave interactivity and industry experts said it will define future visitor experiences. This is driven by technology but also the content must be compelling with excellent quality of graphics.  A rich and well-integrated experience is what will keep guests coming back.

At Triotech, the core belief is that gameplay is the cornerstone of any successful product. Therefore this is where the company starts. The content is grafted on the game play concept. Since the company has its own studio and the space is shared with its software and mechanical engineers, there is a strong synergy and significant cross-pollination.  The fact that the company owns a movie studio, on top of developing hardware and software, really stands it apart as an integrated solution provider.

Consumers are bombarded with more and more options for spending their entertainment and amusement dollars. Therefore, the user experience i.e. the fun factor, becomes key. If consumers do not feel that they get their money’s worth, they will move on.

Interactive Dark Ride Projects

Triotech re-cently upgraded an existing traditional dark ride to an Interactive Dark Ride at-traction at Tivoli Friheden in Den-mark.  The ride, called “Haunted House 5D” has been a success with guests en-joying the interactivity that de-fines an iDR.

Hello Kitty park in China is a completely new ride featuring media content developed specifically for the ride by Triotech in its Montreal studio. The is slated for an early 2013 opening.

The company’s latest project is Canada’s Wonderland newest attraction:  Wonder Mountain’s Dragon

This project will combine a coaster ride with an interactive dark ride.  The carts will be four-person units running on a track.  Wonder Mountain’s Guardian begins outside the park’s iconic Wonder Mountain then dives into its core traveling through five different layers of an underground world. Riders will encounter and interact with mythical creatures as they navigate through a desolate forest, underground lake and Draconian City. The quest culminates as riders enter the dragon’s lair for the final and ultimate battle with a heart-stopping finale that will shock thrill seekers of all ages. The attraction will feature the longest continuous interactive screen ever built in a ride and is scheduled to open in May 2014.

The ride is highly interactive with real-time graphics which means that no two rides will yield the exact same experience. This gives great repeatability to the ride. Additionally, Triotech’s state-of-the-art targeting and individual scoring system allows guests to compete with other visitors whether family members, friends, or strangers.

A fully functional Interactive Dark Ride that attendees can try will be available at the IAAPA Attractions Expo.

(For more information, contact Christian Martin, 514-354-8999 ext. 210 or email c.martin@trio-tech.com.)

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