Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Rob, 24th Mar 2016.
Specifics aside, if they remove the headsets it is Air.
I think they will get rid of the headsets, either in 2019 or 2020. They are popular with first time (Galactica) riders but the quality of the image and audio is so poor that you can hear the conversations of dissapointment on the exit stairs. Repeat ride VR wearing must be low.
@MakoMania That might be true, but with Alton going through somewhat of a renaissance post-Smiler, first time VR riders don't appear to be in short supply.
If they decided to rebrand it, they'd have to get rid of the current merchandise and get a whole new line in. It was worth it when it switched to Galactica as it allowed them to promote a brand new ride experience. Hardly worth the expense of a rebrand if they just simply remove the VR. I could be wrong though.
The VR was mainly reduced to three rows to reduce staffing costs I believe? Since interest in VR had been seriously reducing last season (less than half of riders appeared to be using headsets) it was an easy decision for them to make when making staff cuts this year. Less staff needed on the station platforms and less maintenance of the VR headsets.
VR hasnt been the success many companies thought it would - same as 3D televisions. Once the craze its now died off as people have realised the limitations of the technology. With regards VR on a ride, many people feel queasy afterwards, particularly is the audio/video out is out sync even by the smallest margin. Graphics are no where near as good as they need to be.
Also, people prefer to be on a ride and experience "the ride" not some simulation and you cant beat a decent very well themed coaster over a VR one. Just look at Nemesis. Imagine that with VR and no theming instead.
Rebranding Air was a good initial test of the technology, although personally, I would have preferred the money was spent on decent theming for the ride with the inclusion of flying over water as in the original plans rather than having a Samsung screen strapped to my face.
VR kits are still expensive (for obvious reasons), so is well beyond the typical household budget...
Like, PS4 and VR kit would set you back around £600 RRP (ignoring deals and stuff), which is obscene given the limited amount of games out there (which is another £50 on top per game)...
I'm guessing most people with a VR headset got it for free with their phone contract.
Whether enthusiasts like it or not, the general public appear to still want VR. At Bobbejaanland last year the Mount Mara queue was longer than the Revolution one (half the train was VR, half without). At Alton Towers many people were riding with the headset, and they were sending out empty rows since nobody wanted to ride without.
The reason we've seen more people want VR this year compared to last year is because of new guests/guests that haven't visited since The Smiler's incident. The vast majority of these people have never used VR so they go to Galactica and check out the VR stuff.
Compare that to last season where the visitor numbers were lower and the vast majority of riders on Galactica were repeat visitors and didn't want to use the VR.
I actually did VR for the first time at the weekend - it actually made me feel really ill. As has been mentioned it is of real poor quality, really hinders despatch times and adds nothing to the ride.
Don’t get me wrong AIR is the weakest of the SW lineup but this has actually made the ride worse. The station and queue are now just a mess, the track looks neglected. A real shame.
I’ve been avoiding the ride for a few years now as I was not prepared to queue - I won’t be rushing back to it either.
Mark my word - this will be removed altogether in the next 3-4 years to make way for future developments. A real shame to what could have been an amazing ride experience. Merlin take note - this is not how to execute an SW project
Galactica was never a SW project? (And Air, which was, wasn't built by Merlin)
I personally think that Galactica's VR was a nice idea, but one that hasn't really held up over time.
I have experienced the VR twice since its debut; once in April 2016 and once in July 2017.
In April 2016, I actually really liked the VR, and thought it was a great way to spice up Air! The sound was good, and I didn't think the quality was that bad, either! I really enjoyed it in 2016! It seemed to run without too many problems, also.
However, when I came to reride it in July 2017, I was far less enamoured with the experience, personally. The headset took quite a while to come on, and it needed the ride host to tamper with a few things on the computer system. The audio also wasn't working, so it wasn't quite as immersive. The quality was still OK, but not quite as good as I remembered. It wasn't awful, though. For this reason, I will probably choose to ride without VR when I visit Alton in August. Should be interesting, as the last time I rode Galactica VR-less was in October 2015!
Personally, I admire Alton's effort to keep the VR running, but I think that they should remove the VR, personally. Reviews have been kind of mixed since it opened, and Galactica seems to have had more problems since it opened than it did when it was known as Air and had no additional technology. I would, however, like Alton Towers to keep the Galactica theming (the soundtrack, the portal etc), as I personally prefer this to the old Air theming. I can see them keeping the VR for a bit longer, however.
The whole "VR vs reality" debate extends to more than just rides. (Tangent incomming...)
When I was building my flight sim last year, many people asked me variations on,
"What's the point? Just get a VR headset, it's cheaper."
The point is that they are missing the whole point of the hobby! Aside from the fact that half the fun is building it in the first place, the whole point of simming is to recreate a physical environment. Most importantly, you want to be as close to reality as possible. Real, physical controls with tactile feedback. Hundreds of switches in a known location, so that after a while muscle memory lets you fly with ease. I know that if I reach down to my right and grab the little wheel beside the throttles, I can trim the plane's pitch without having to look down from the instruments to locate a control that is not phsyically there.
And let's not forget that the view out of the windows is far away enough to make "3D" a waste of time...
And this applies to rides as well. The brain is not easily fooled, and pixels alone will never convice us that they are real. Take Star Tours for example. You are sitting in a physical space ship, and the fakery is limited to the forward view. This compromise helps, as at least there is something real to see. I've not done the newer version with 3D CGI, but I suspect that what it gains in depth, it looses in realism, as we all know that CGI will never top physical model work. But that's another debate....
Galactica (winding it back to where we started!) failed to impress me in almost every way. I'll admit I have not done any other VR coasters, however.
On the other hand, I found DBGT (mark 2) to be pretty damn good. I'm still not sure why. The goggles seemed to have a much higher resolution. But I think it was mostly down to the fact that the virtual train interior seemed to be a perfect match to the real one I saw before I donned the goggles (windows excepted). And I spend enough of my life on the tube that it was all a very familiar environment to be in. Maybe I just got lucky and had the right seat to match the graphics? I don't know, I only rode it once.
... Despite all this, at no point did I believe that what I was seeing was "real". Impressive, but not real.
So, TLDR: VR is a waste of time.
I agree the VR itself isn't particularly great, but I did enjoy having a new experience. As others have mentioned I don't think VR has the lasting appeal that a good "traditional" roller coaster has.
Talking about rides that work well with virtual reality, the Harry Potter rides at Universal feel very immersive IMO even though a lot of it is looking at screens.
DBGT felt much more suited to VR than a roller coaster does. After not reading anything about it, I enjoyed the Ghost Train experience as well
I've not had the pleasure of riding any of the Universal "screen fests", but I would imagine that a good mix of screens and physical scenery helps the illusion of reality?
Yeah definitely a screen and 3D goggles felt much more immersive than a headset. IMO the mixture of ride system, scenery and screens worked well for a few different rides. I particularly remember flying through the Hogwarts (I know nothing about Harry Potter) which was a screen but it was very immersive and I imagine difficult to recreate using "real" scenery.
No VR ride has impressed me yet. Did Kraken Unleashed last week and it's better than Galactica in my opinion but still not worth the effort.
Skull Island Reign of Kong is by far my favourite 3D ride and they got it absolutely perfect. Harry Potter forbidden journey is the only ride that gives me a bit of motion sickness and it's not even 3D never mind VR.
The other 3D rides at universal are pretty good too but I don't understand why they didn't do Fast and Furious as 3D. I was shocked at how bad it was. The lip sync was out too which is inexcusable.
How's Galactica doing these days?
I rode it at scarefest 2016 and the VR worked fine, but rode it again the year after and it was horribly misaligned and off-centre. I have never been a fan of VR, and the headsets feel so loose. Has it improved at all this year?
It’s awful in my opinion
Didn't use the VR last week, but dispatches were very slow.
Separate names with a comma.