Alton Towers to augment roller coaster with virtual reality

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,056   +130
Staff member

3D and "virtual reality" has been used at theme parks for years as a standalone attraction but now that we're at the dawn of true virtual reality, we can expect theme parks of the future to look vastly different.

British theme park Alton Towers has announced plans to open a virtual reality-based roller coaster called Galactica. Rather than replace a coaster entirely, Galactica will have riders wear Gear VR headsets during their face-down thrill ride.

The three-minute ride will take passengers on a visual trip through space, timed perfectly with the dips, twists and turns of the actual coaster. Galactica will employ three sets of coaster carts at a time, each carrying 28 passengers. The track measures 2,775 feet with the highest drop measuring 66 feet. The coaster itself, which is a modified version of the park's Air roller coaster, will hit a maximum speed of 47 mph.

Obviously, the ride will only be as good as the VR experience. A custom tethering system is said to ensure the headset won't fall off during the ride while shoulder restraints that limit head movement are designed to minimize motion sickness.

Alton Towers is no doubt hoping the attraction will help boost attendance following a horrific roller coaster accident in June in which two women had legs amputated after their coaster cart collided with an empty cart on the tracks.

The Galactica attraction is slated to open in April.

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Posts: 2,113   +918
Now that's a use for VR I can get behind, it just makes so much sense, incorporate the natural movement of the roller coaster with a virtual environment. I immediately thought of the motion sickness factor however, it'll be interesting to see how it's implemented and if it causes excessive nausea.

The last bit about the accident also brought on some slight nausea, something I didn't expect reading on TechSpot today, good job?


Posts: 3,099   +1,487
That last half paragraph really puts things in perspective O.o.O Exactly how much do I trust them to do this safely?

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
I'm more worried to find out if I can virtually toss my cookies, or will there be a feature to allow me to do the real thing while I'm enjoying the ride .....


Posts: 2,051   +733
Being able to feel the geforce and ultimate realism inside the cockpit of a Star Fighter or a fast Jet is going to be something amazing. As long as they pull off the realism within the VR, it will be hella great!