Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Ted, 11th Jun 2012.
I don't think merlin particularly care about IT security-source me.
But surely they wouldn’t want a cyber attack to happen to their IT systems? As much as I hate to say it, DBGT is probably one of the biggest potential vectors for a cyber attack within Thorpe, what with all the back-end computer hardware and networks it uses to facilitate the VR. If the VR hardware is obsolete and unsupported by things like software updates, I’m afraid that that does pose a greater risk from things like hackers.
Again not the impression I get. For obvious reasons I'm not going into detail.
Typically, cyber terrorists have higher-profile targets than dark rides. Although the last time I experienced DBGT, it felt like it had been hacked already.
What do you mean, out of interest?
I know it’s probably not a major issue, but I only thought it might be a point worth considering given the age of the ride.
I don't understand why the Ghost Train hardware would need to be online at all?
When I have worked on simulators and flying theatres, the attractions have always been offline with software brought via 'traditional' means from a client with external connectivity. I think perhaps in part for security, but also because most parks don't have data or corporate wifi coverage around the park, nor do they 'need' it.
As such, many card payment machines are GPRS or dial up(!).
DBGT’s problems are threefold.
1) The ride experience is a one-time thing. For most people once you have ridden it and the surprises are over, there is absolutely no need to ride it again.
2) The hourly throughput of the ride is far poorer than was anticipated during the design process. I am not an engineer and so I can’t vouch for why, but this is clearly the case. Reliability is also an issue, the ride still suffers unrelenting downtime despite having been open for a few years now.
3) It is a very staff heavy attraction compared to another E-ticket attraction such as a roller coaster. From an operational perspective, this increases the incentive to close the ride if it is not performing well from a commercial or guest experience perspective.
This ride has been a disaster from the start and has all the hallmarks of a short lived attraction. The sooner it is closed and the next new headlining attraction comes along the better for Thorpe Park.
IP’s only work if it’s aimed at young kids as it’s draws families to the parks. Young adult ages really only care about how thrilling the ride is for example they may love the Fast and Furious movie franchise but they not gonna lie that the Universal studios attraction is rubbish.
Like Angry birds they going on the drop tower for the thrills not the theming.
Saw: the ride begs to differ.
We don’t know how much it does actually cost to run and maintain DBGT. It’s a similar kind of debate to Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, except most people seem to like Valhalla as an experience, whereas they don’t like DBGT.
I thought I’d do some armchair accounting. The numbers I’m using are completely plucked from the air, but hopefully they’ll be credible enough to illustrate my point.
Let’s imagine that DBGT costs £500,000 a year to maintain and operate. Let’s imagine that a traditional dark ride would cost £200,000 a year to maintain and operate. If we replaced DBGT with a traditional dark ride, we’d save £300,000 a year.
Let’s imagine that it’d cost £8 million to repurpose DBGT’s building as a traditional dark ride.
How long does it take to get £8 million back when you’re saving £300,000 a year? 27 years.
I have just made these numbers up, but in terms of saving money the argument is probably quite weak. Of course, you could argue that a new dark ride would give them something to market, it’d have a lower height restriction that DBGT (they need more for families) and it might be a ‘better’ or more repeatable experience.
Is it the best use of their money at the moment though?
Nope. A lot of young adults visit Universal because they have Harry Potter. If a ride is good then adding a character people love will get even more guests to the park.
Fast & Furious is a bad ride. A good IP can’t improve a bad attraction. A good attraction can be good even if you don’t know the original character from elsewhere (Splash Mountain is loved but no one really knows Br’er Rabbit before).
This coupled with the confusing plot and the faff of getting on and off and on the train again is why I don’t rush back. I’ve done it and the jump scares are mainly one and done. Maybe another ride and I’ll get the plot better? But when on it, I just kept wondering if I was seeing what I was meant to, or if the goggles were malfunctioning.
I would assume they clean the headsets while guests are in the tunnel scene as well as after the second train scene? Especially as guests can end up in a different seat. The staff don't have long to clean 58 headsets right?
Yet another reason why its a faffy VR mess instead of a decent ride.
What they could have done is built a physical ride that was exciting and worth riding.
If you strip away the optical illusion trick, the poor VR, the storyline etc, which could all exist in some form outside of the physical ride, and look at what the ride hardware actually achieves, you find that what they have built is an underground train simulator. It's an impressively realistic reproduction of an underground train I'll grant them, but the result is as exciting, as a ride, as that sounds. What's the point in so much effort to accurately simulate something so mundane? I can go and get on an underground train, I dont need that simulated.
If you are going to spend millions of pounds and use complex technology to simulate something that thing ought not be something riders can and regularly do experience in real life for about a quid.
That, for me, is the point at which they went wrong during development. Once they were throwing tricks and VR at that ride system they were always trying to enhance a ride which is inherently dull.
Yep, at least the Hogwarts Express at Universal simulates a steam train with well-known characters. Most people (particularly in the USA) won't get to ride a steam train normally. Whereas an hour from Thorpe I can go and spend hours on the Underground.
I loved the Forbidden Journey ride ( not been to US since the new area been built) but I hate Harry Potter.
Saw the ride is another I seen the 1st movie and thought that was rubbish but I do like the coaster.
That’s why the best Merlin attractions are designed in house like Hex is excellent all the way thou.
The Express is also primarily a themed transit "experience" to link the two areas in the parks. Rather than the "next gen dark ride" DBGT was advertised as.
Out of interest, is it known what kind of involvement Derren Brown had in the attraction’s design? Did he help develop the basic concept, or act as a consultant on how to pull off the illusions? Or did he literally just lend his name as a figurehead for the attraction? I wouldn’t call him an IP as such, because he doesn’t actually play that big of a role in the attraction outside of the pre-show, so I was merely wondering whether he played a creative role as opposed to a thematic one.
I wasn’t sure, because I’ve heard very mixed messages in this regard; the park’s official press releases say that Derren helped develop the ride concept and was “really into the VR thing”, but I’ve also heard rumblings that Derren was less than impressed with the finished product and wanted more creative control.
With regards to the bolded, I’d be intrigued to know what you mean, as surely this would be the case for any dark ride, as all dark rides pack some degree of spectacle and surprise?
This is half insider information and half guesswork, but he was fairly involved in developing the storyline and concept early on, but then went off on tour and to develop other projects. Essentially, the ride was left in the hands of Merlin Magic Making, and when he finally came to visit it (which was closer to the already-delayed opening date than you might hope), he was not impressed with much of the execution. I sympathise with him, as the whole venture was an absolute textbook example of too many cooks spoiling a broth, as well as Merlin trying to shoehorn their successful midway-style approach into a theme park (and the wrong theme park, at that). On the other, given Brown's notorious attention-to-detail, I can't believe either party ever thought this might work out. I also can't think of a more poorly designed experience for an ongoing health pandemic. Admittedly, I can't blame Merlin for that.
Even despite admiring the ambition at the heart of the project and a willingness to give props to the design team for the quality of much of the theming, I'm struggling to think of a bigger financial and creative disaster in the UK theme park industry. I never understood why they bothered with a complex storyline. The pre-show sets up a sort of exploration of fear; imagine how much better it would have been had the premise simply been "you're visiting Derren's spooky warehouse and odd things will happen using a mix of hi-tech effects and classic tricks." I still don't know if it would have been the right ride for Thorpe, where attention spans go to die, but it certainly would have saved an awful lot of headaches, not to mention knee-touching.
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