A virtual reality entertainment business
Virtual reality technologies are currently experiencing their third rebirth. Original solutions were not commercially successful mainly due to low resolution (visibility of individual pixels) and low processing power (tearing of the image when moving the head). Today these disadvantages have been eliminated, but there is still a fundamental lack of high-quality virtual reality software applications. However, this new solution brings additional added value to virtual reality, namely “real stories”, another dimension of virtual reality perception. Existing virtual reality solutions are degraded to merely „merry-go-rounds“ and do not take full advantage of available technologies. The ultimate goal of this solution is to create a repeatable virtual reality model of the entertainment business and to gradually “install” it in all profitable locations..
The basic goal of this innovative solution is to build a pilot entertainment center consisting of several rooms. Customers will then, after paying an admission fee, walk in groups of twelve people from one room to another. Each group will have its own guide who will be dressed in a commander´s futuristic space suit and will be equipped with a wireless radio headset, necessary to coordinate the movement of customer groups around the entertainment center. As long as one group does not leave the room, another group cannot enter the room. The guide must be selected and trained to be able to play one´s role as convincingly as possible. The guide must therefore convince most of the group’s customers in their behavior, movements, speech, and facial expressions that this is not just a game, but a serious experiment to monitor and evaluate the behavior of untrained astronauts, while traveling to and from another planet. Another goal is to fine-tune the operation of this pilot entertainment center to almost complete perfection and then replicate these entertainment centers „one-to-one“ to other cities around the world.
After paying the entrance fee, customers will immediately be assigned a wireless vibrating wristband with a chip, which customers will have to attach to their wrists. At the same time, each customer will be assigned an automatically generated nickname (the cashier enters the gender, age category and customer language into the system). The customer will also be able to change the nickname on his own, but only pre-written on the form, along with the customer’s signed consent to adhere to the visitors‘ rules (so as not to delay the checkout through inventing and changing nicknames at the checkout). In order to store valuables, small and larger lockers (under the direct supervision of cashiers) will be placed in the cash register, lockable by a chip in the bracelet. Children will be restricted in height by measuring a minimum height of, for example, 130 centimeters through the gateway at the reception. It will also be possible to purchase historical space items, coffee and soft drinks at the ticket office.
The designated guide comes to his group of customers at the checkout for the first time, summoning group members together according to laptop data, giving them basic lessons and introducing them to the dressing room, where he also briefs them on further procedures.
Customers will be guided through the door to the dressing room, where according to the guide’s instructions put their clothes and luggage in lockers with chip locks (jackets, coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, backpacks, briefcases, etc.). Customers keep their trousers, skirts, t-shirts, blouses, etc. In the dressing room they will also wear disposable paper fluorescent space suits according to their size. The dressing room will also have access to toilets.
Lockers in the locker room will be divided into color sectors of twelve cabinets, which will also form groups of customers (locker numbers will always be assigned to customers already at the reception, and therefore customers who want to be together in the group must join one queue at the reception, about which they will be warned in advance and clearly). The changing room is one of the largest rooms, as several groups meet at the same time, including incoming and outgoing customers. Access to the next room will only be allowed in the given suit.
Once customers change their clothes, the guide takes them to another dazzling bright white room, where all blood pressure, body temperature and breath will be measured by electronic devices to all customers (the suggested alcohol tolerance is up to 0.8 per mille, but customers can test themselves in the vending machine at the reception before purchasing the ticket). These measurements get customers even more involved. In addition, customers will be familiarized with their nicknames by the guide, trained in emergency situations, including evacuation, all vibrating bracelets will be tested and, among other things, customers will be instructed that they may never get up, exit and alike. Here the customer guide also gives out polarizing glasses. At all times, a hologram of the route plan will float in the room, the guide explaining it in detail to the customers.
After training the customers, the guide will lead them to the next room, which will enter the space module on the rocket. The module will be located on a conventional hydraulic platform, which will not be visible when entering the module. The module hatch must look very solid and will close like an aircraft door. Customers will be fastened with three-point belts to space seats with the assistance and guidance of the guide and customers will put on polarizing glasses.
Then customers will be shown 3D HD movie with space flight, not only on the front screen, but also in the side rectangular windows. Before the start, the hangar door will be displayed on the front screen, which will open up in the movie before the start (after the lights go out). When flying around the stars, the installed air conditioner will heat up so that it will be warm in the rocket, while flying through deep space it will cool down, so it will be cold in the module. For stars, customers will also experience ozone (generated by the ozone generator). When passing through a swarm of meteorites, in addition to the platform, all customers´ bracelets will vibrate. The rocket will fly through a wormhole, float in distant brightly colored galaxies and fall „uncontrollably“ on an alien planet, even more excitingly than, for example, in Contact.
All the way through the universe will be lively commented on by the guide´s speakers from his headset, and in the background will be played throughout the flight the sound of noise (rocket engines, orientation jets, air leaks, clicks „relays“ and so on). With loud sounds, the guide pauses for a moment, then explains the noise. Finally, the rocket will reach the target, to a distant planet (for example, Mars). At the end of the projection, the module must be ventilated from ozone in order to be a shock to other customers. More films will be made, at least two at the beginning, so customers who have already traveled can choose a new experience again.
Customers exit the module through the opposite door to the next room, which will accommodate twelve small hydraulic platforms, one person each. Each platform will look like a miniature space rover, similar to the Moon’s LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle). The entire „hangar“ will be illuminated only by UV light, so that only the suits of customers, fluorescent paint painted, dashboard rover and the front of the hangar on the wall projected roller shutter doors hang.
Each rover will have its own glowing dashboard with display, while customers identify themselves to their rover with their chip bracelet. With the help of a guide, customers in the rover secure themselves with three-point seat belts and put on virtual helmets. In the virtual application (in their virtual helmets), customers will see all the other levels on which, in addition, the customer’s nicknames will be written virtually and, of course, they will virtually see the entire hangar, including the roller shutter.
Once all customers can navigate themselves space and basic control of their rover, then the hangar door in both virtual projection and stable film projection slowly opens upwards. Behind the real doors will be projected a static 3D image of the planet, in virtual reality, the computer program will provide 3D projection to each customer separately. At the same time, when the door opens, the smell of burnt gunpowder will start to develop (based on the Apollo astronauts‘ real experience). Then the projected “solid” hangar door close again in case any customer removes the virtual helmet (in order to return to the actual closed hangar).
Customers then virtually exit the hangar and be able to move freely on the planet, while seeing other colleagues (including their nicknames visible on the rover). For example, they will also be able to compete. The rovers will be driven by two levers for the right and left hand, the so-called „shifts“ as in the tank, and two pedals (brake and throttle on the right foot). The sampling device will be operated by two buttons on the tomatoes (up and down). Rover crashes do not cause damage to the rover. The task of all involved will be to find as many samples on the planet as possible and to collect them by a virtual collection device on the rover. A customer who collects as many specimens on the planet as possible will receive a discount on the next entry to the entertainment center (for example, the first 20%, the second 10%, and the third 5% off). This will introduce a competitive factor into the process. The hydraulic platforms of each rover will simulate starting, braking, cornering, bumps, uphill and downhill, etc. for each customer separately. Unevenness and operation of the sample collection equipment will also be highlighted by wrist vibrations. All customers will be connected by headsets and will be able to hear each other as they do in online gaming, with voice guidance from a guide. As a subsonic, noise will be added to each customer separately (braking, starting, turning, moving the sampling arm, etc.) that other customers will not hear.
If there is a technical fault in the rover (hydraulic platform) or in the virtual helmet, then the affected customer will be given another full admission free of charge. Until the rover is repaired, the number of customers in the group will be reduced (for example, to eleven customers). Repair must be carried out by replacing the defective components with a faultless (or complete rover). In the event of a customer’s nausea, the affected customer can take off the virtual helmet, turn off the application immediately (the helmet detects its removal from the head), and the customer actually finds himself in a closed hangar, waiting for other customers or leaving the hangar by going straight into the dressing room. For safety reasons, the customer may under no circumstances wear a virtual helmet unless he is seated in a rover, which must be ensured by the guide.
At the end of the planet’s sampling time, all levels are automatically returned to the hangar without operator intervention (backing up into the hangar themselves) and each customer will receive both a text and a clearly spoken audio message in their language to their virtual helmet, to take off their virtual helmet. The hangar area will have to be ventilated again from „gunpowder“ to make other customers surprised by its odor.
Customers will then move on to the next module on the rocket (on a hydraulic platform for 12 passengers), where they will be shown another 3D HD movie with a return to Earth. This time it will be the old Russian module Mir. The flight will be as thrilling as possible with many faults and failures. The Russian module will have to give priority to a supply ship for a month with, for example, the advertising sign Coca-Cola (paid advertising), which due to its error almost collides, but will actually clash with Apollo 13 in the middle of the flight. At all times, the flight will be accompanied by the sounds of explosions, squeaking, creaking, knocking, and knocks. Customers will fall unmanageably several times and eventually break the tip of the Empire State Building and the torch of the Statue of Liberty before landing. Passengers´ bracelets will vibrate in every collision.
Two hydraulic platforms are necessary in case of failure of one of them so that the entertainment center will never stop completely. During the repair of the defect on a large hydraulic platform, customers will fly to planets and back only on one functional platform. In the event of a failure of both platforms, customers will only be able to travel to planets at reduced rates.
Upon returning to Earth, customer reviews, award and commemorative medals and discounts, and sale of module cockpit photos will take place. Then the customers move to the dressing room where they change into their civilian clothes. Customers will keep the space suits or throw them into their baskets, or they can reuse them at a discount on the entrance fee (if not damaged).
The course of the attraction will be divided into six periods, each about ten minutes (with a reserve of fifteen minutes), so the passage through the entertainment center should take each customer sixty to ninety minutes, which corresponds, for example, the average time to visit a castle or a chateau.
The whole entertainment center will have to be given a different name than „Virtual Reality“, as this concept, after failed projects, has lost the necessary attractiveness. The working title of the project is „Space Odyssey“, or „Odyssey“ for short, but will have to be changed for copyright reasons. Surely there will be more striking names, such as „Mars Attacks“, although it will also „fly“ to other planets.
The big advantage is that the technology can easily be placed in any shopping center, in which simple partition walls made of plasterboard or other cheap material are best built on one floor of approximately 400 square meters. Thus, the entertainment center can be realized anywhere in business or exhibition premises and the like. Another advantage is easy transportability.
Another advantage is that applications will evolve for unknown environments on foreign planets, which is easier than processing specific locations on earth. For the first apk applications, readily available images from the Moon and Mars will be used.
The space for the pilot project must be selected at the metro station, with a sufficient number of reserved parking spaces. There should be a modern restaurant near the resort, with which close cooperation will be established. The entertainment center can also operate its own restaurant with space equipment and decorations, servicing in space suits, space food and drinks, space music, cosmic movies projected, entertainment center footage and the like.
As the center evolves, applications will need to be expanded, flying to other planets, chasing aliens, collecting artifacts underwater, in the past, in the future, and so on, with the hardware always remaining original. Marketing strategies are dealt with in a separate document.