On occasion we have mentioned interactive 4D/5D/6D/7D Theaters, which at a certain point they can end up being like giant multiplayer arcade games. The trend for such theaters has been growing in recent years, especially for interactive rides that do more than just jostle the users around like they were in a virtual roller coaster.
Simuline is a South Korean based company which we have mentioned before in trade show coverage; they have occasionally dabbled with arcade game development (Aquarace Extreme) although their main focus has been on motion theaters. They have a new project which will be at IAAPA 2014 which is called Valkyrie. Here is a 3D Mock-up of the unit:
This unit is just showing you the hardware, which provides 8-seats upon a motion base, 4 of the players facing different directions. On each side the players will have a screen where they will be able to interact with the software using a light-gun.
One interesting part of this new development is the first piece of available software which is called Project HADES. This is a zombie shooting game developed by Specular Interactive. We have profiled SI’s work on here many times – from H2Overdrive, to Dirty Drivin’ to the most recent BATMAN game. Those developments were all done in conjunction with Raw Thrills so as far as I am aware, this marks their first time working with a different company in the out-of-home entertainment industry.
I reached out to Specular Interactive, specifically the VP of the company Chien Yu, with some questions and here are some details about the game. note that this system will be making it’s first public appearance at IAAPA 2014 in Orlando, FL two weeks from today.
Adam Pratt, Arcadeheroes.com: Do you guys have a unit there at Specular HQ that you have been working with?
Chien Yu, Specular Interactive: Simuline provided us with almost all of the Valkyrie components here at the Specular offices in Foothill Ranch, so we have the projectors, 3D glasses, guns, sound system, and the computer hardware to power the ride experience, but we don’t have the actual motion hardware here.
Specular handles the end-to-end development of the game software and Simuline’s R&D team in Korea handles all of the motion programming. Both Specular and Simuline jointly interface with each other’s systems to make the complete ride experience.
The first complete motion hardware is on its way to IAAPA now, and so just like everyone else attending the show – Orlando is going to be the first time where the Specular team gets to ride and experience the new Valkyrie platform!
Q: That is quite interesting on how that has to work in not being able to experience the motion portion of it. So I assume that they have done everything with the hardware, including the design of the guns?
A: Simuline definitely did the heavy lifting in terms of hardware, because that’s their expertise and rightfully so. We helped out wherever we could in the design and specification of components, requirements and such.
Q: How do they compare to typical arcade light-guns? Do they have force feedback of any kind in them?
A: I’m not entirely sure what the final specification of the guns will be, but the guns that we are testing with do have force-feedback capability.
Q: Is it just one level(which most motion theater content tends to be), are there multiple levels or paths for players to follow?
A: There is one main level, but I would expect environment and level objects that can be used to affect gameplay, and perhaps a few Easter eggs too.
Also, it’s important to note that the Valkyrie system has inherent replay value because of the dual screen nature of the Valkyrie, i.e. front seat riders can expect a different experience and perspective than rear seat riders. We’re putting a lot of work into this -Valkyrie’s dual screen setup is really unique and it gives our team here a lot of creative freedom to build the kind of experience that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve without the dual screens.
Q: How are players able to distinguish their shots from the other players, is there a colored targeting reticule used?
A: Yes, we will have colored aiming reticles so all the riders can distinguish their shots from other riders.
Q: Is there going to be a leaderboard?
A: Yes we will have scoring and a leaderboard and we will have rider cameras taking pictures of the riders, although I’m not sure if we’ll be showing the rider camera and the full leaderboard functionality at the show.
Q: Does this have extensive voice acting like Batman had or to a lesser extent, Dirty Drivin?
A: Project HADES will have a variety of voiceovers
Q: For the gameplay to work with the seated motion ride, is it something akin to players being seated in a car or jeep?
A: Simuline outfitted Valkyrie with an awesome motion base, and they have a talented team of motion programmers there, so both of those combine to give us the capability to integrate not only vehicle sections, but also on-foot sections. I don’t want to spoil all the details now, you’ll just have to wait and see in Orlando!
That’s all for now. We will have more details about this soon as well as a hands-on look from IAAPA 2014!