Update, 6/10/16, 12pm PT: A rep reached out to us again to clarify that "Rapture" refers to not just an HMD, but the whole package, including the "backtop" (backpack plus PC), gun, vest, HMD and so on. The custom Rapture HMD will not debut with the attraction on July 1.
Update, 6/9/16 5:40pm PT: Representatives from the Void reached out to clarify comments made by company CVO James Jensen at the press event. The Rapture HMD was simply on display at the hardhat tour with a shell of what the Ghostbusters experience backpack will look like, but the attraction will not feature the proprietary HMD at launch.
Madame Tussauds is launching a new attraction at its New York City location, teaming up with Sony Pictures and The Void to present Ghostbusters: Dimension. The new attraction combines real-world elements such as water mist, temperature, fans and physical objects with immersive VR content to add even further depth to the experience. This hybrid attraction is being marketed at “hyper-reality.”
House Of Wax
The joint project was announced early last month, and we were recently invited for a guided tour of Dimension’s staging ground. However, it’s still a work in progress, with construction only barely underway on the wax museum exhibit. The hardhat press tour wasn’t just a figure of speech – we were required to wear an actual hardhat during the briefing. Although much of the set was nowhere near completion, we were given a brief rundown of what to expect from each of the rooms in the Ghostbusters-themed attraction.
The tour consists of two different experiences – a guided, non-VR, Ghosbusters-themed tour, and the Dimension hyper-reality experience. The first half of the tour features locations, characters (some made of wax) and authentic props from the new movie, and of course, ghosts. However, the real adventure (at least for us here at Tom’s) is at the end of the tour, where you and up to two of your friends can strap on a proton pack and bust some ghosts yourself.
The Void’s Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) and founder, James Jensen, was on hand for the hardhat press tour, and we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the specifications of the Rapture system, HMD, haptic-feedback vest and gun. Although we weren’t given the full specs of hardware, he was able to disclose a few of the features.
The Rapture Is Upon Us (Updated: Nevermind)
The Rapture was designed from the ground up to suit the specific needs of The Void. It features an Intel Core i7 CPU, the latest Nvidia GPU and a custom cooling solution, but the CVO was not exact on which CPU and GPU are inside. However, he did say that the computer uses a desktop GPU, but it could be an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 MXM module, considering the size and weight of the actual PC (it’s 3.3 lbs.). The whole vest weighs roughly 13 lbs.
Rapture features a custom BIOS that enables the corporate office (in Utah) to monitor and communicate with any setup in the field. It also provides the means to change or update its VR experiences remotely, which The Void plans to do periodically throughout its exclusive tenure at Madame Tussauds, and then with other deployments in the future.
Originally, representatives from The Void told us that Ghostbusters: Dimension would launch using a DK2 headset, not with its proprietary Rapture HMD. So, naturally, we were surprised to see the full Rapture setup (fashioned after the movie’s proton pack) prominently displayed on a bust. It turns out the company is extremely close to the finished commercial product, and it decided to display the Rapture HMD at the hyper-reality experience, however, it turns out the company isn't using it for the attraction. But, the system also features a haptic feedback vest with 22 points of contact that can produce trackable sensations in real time, and a sweet rifle-like gun. Technical specs for these components aren’t yet available.
Rapture uses the Unity 3 engine for most of its experiences (although the company has dabbled with Unreal and other engines). The Void (and Ghostbusters: Dimension) also features an account-based Avatar. These player-created characters carry over to any location and hyper-reality experience, along with any items or rewards you earn from your adventures. You can play Ghosbusters: Dimension in New York and then visit The Void in Utah for a different hyper-reality experience with the same user profile.
We’ll Call You Back
We’ll have to wait until we get a chance to back to Madame Tussauds to give a full analysis of the Ghostbusters-themed hyper-reality attraction, but it looks like it’s going to be completely different from any other VR experience currently available to the public, with a combination of real-world environmental effects and physical objects.
Ghostbusters: Dimension debuts on July 1, and you can preorder tickets now directly from Madame Tussauds. Who you gonna call?