R3ex – VR at Theme Parks Just Got Real
Experience designer Holovis has achieved a VR world-first – real-time immersive visuals with gesture based interactivity, synchronised with the dynamic motion of being onboard a giant robot arm.
Created initially for the attractions market, this takes the thrill of the experience to a whole new level when compared to other onboard rides and VR attractions. The R3ex technology achieves new levels of interactivity, graphical quality and sustained physical forces on the rider and uses real-time, networked, guest-to-guest storytelling, game-play and interaction instead of the usual 360˚ pre-rendered ‘look-around’ content as seen in current VR attractions such as VR coasters.
For the first time, players are given complete agency over all elements of the experience, from the story that evolves in real-time based on decisions made, to the real-time control of the motion profile.
Holovis is calling this R3ex – Rideable Realtime Robotic Experiences.
Stuart Hetherington, CEO of Holovis comments:
“Anyone could put a VR headset on the end of a robotic arm, but it is our proprietary Interact software that makes this experience successful. The real-time VR world needs to synchronise perfectly with the motion and gesture interactivity, so we’ve developed specialist software to achieve this. The movements that our solution can achieve coupled with the immersive VR world take experiences of this nature to a new dimension, previously only dreamed about in science fiction.”
Complete player agency is granted through the ability to control every element of the experience. With the media rendered in real-time, this includes the story that changes depending on the decisions people make in the game play and synchs through to the motion profile – something also never before achieved in the theme park space.
With a team of over 100 people based in the UK, US and China, Holovis has created all the elements that make up R3ex, from the CGI gaming media and story integration to the motion profile and the gesture interactivity on its proprietary Interact system.
Outside of the attractions space, this same software can be used to recreate potentially lethal scenarios safely and efficiently for highly compelling and emotive training. Through complete sensory immersion using robots or motion platforms, perfectly synched real-time content, surround audio and SXF, emergency service personal such as firefighters, site and factory workers, pilots and anyone entering high risk environments can be immersed in them virtually to carry out training with no risk of physical harm.
R3ex launched at an industry trade show last week (14th June) with content depicting a futuristic flying taxi ride through Singapore. Guests could use the interactivity to explore things in the cab, such as change the radio station, scroll through the news and pick up elements that fall from the glove box as it opens during the first inversion.
Within the content, each rider also sees and interacts with the virtual world from their specific seat position, with their 360-degree view rendered correctly in true perspective. They also see avatars of their fellow riders, adding to the shared interaction and immersion.
The full system that will be brought to market will have four seats per robot arm, with the nodes for each player networked together so that interactions are synchronised across the shared virtual world.