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About rctneil

  • Birthday 01/14/1989

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    United Kingdom
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  1. Looking like a quick trip to Thorpe Park next week. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Big Grizzly Mountain, Th13teen, Mega Lites are all really fun rides in my opinion. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. I rode a couple more times during a visit to the park yesterday. My first ride of the day was fantastic. All in sync, audio was balanced and not just in one year, was nice and clear too. When everything is correct it all works to bring quite a nice experience (apart from the video rushing through all the destinations). My second ride in the afternoon was another story. The audio was fine but it was waaay out of sync. Before trying Galactica I didn't think it would affect me as much when it was out of sync as it actually did. Blimey I was wrong, the video was 1-2 seconds behind where I actually was on the track. It seriously makes you feel as though you are going sideways. Very very weird feeling. Thankfully they seem all too aware that things can go wrong with it in small ways like that and promptly gave us fasttracks for another day which was kind of them. I do think the boarding process has reached its fastest (I honestly can't see how it can speed up anymore considering the amount they have to get done to get all riders in place and set up before departing. It's not the fastest but you shouldn't expect it to be as fast as Air was. I managed to get a clearer photo of the small boxes they have between each pair of seats which allows the operatives to manage the VR experience for each person. It's a small touchscreen that gives a read out of the headsets battery status, bluetooth status and also allows the ops to reset the orientation. (Resetting the orientation is such a big thing as to how a rider experiences the ride that I believe they should explain more clearly before putting on the headsets that once they are on and been tightened to sit and look directly forwards (I find a slight tilt of the head up helps too) whilst the reset the orientation so everything is correctly aligned. I also noticed that a lot of the action in the video happens directly in front of you and a lot of people must miss it as they are looking down rather than infront of them. I asked to try a subtitled version which they kindly quickly enabled. This gave me a small translucent rectangle at the bottom of my viewport that followed my vision around. Unfortunately the headset wobbles and bounces too much during the ride that it makes it very hard to read. The rectangle is also placed very nearby to you in 3D space so if you've adjusted the focus to be sharp on the background video, it puts the text slightly out of focus adding the legibility issue. The other thing that made me laugh is that as you are sat in the station you sit and stare at a rather large Galactica logo in the centre of a very black room. This Galactica logo was also subtitled "Galactica"!! Overall, people seem to enjoy but I really can't see it lasting all that long. It definitely increases Air rerideability but on the downside takes away its rollercoasterness. People are so focused on the video and audio and forget they are on more than just a simulator. This is proved from standing in the plaza watching the ride and just seeing silent trains go around the track with no one making any noise!
  4. Is it named that because it's close to the actual tree or just because of Alton Towers? The actual chained oak is very close to it and it's named after that.
  5. Hey, Just some thoughts and photos from myself about Galactica: I visited Alton this past Saturday, mainly to give Galactica a try. The day started out very rainy but we made our way over to the ride and stood by the entrance until it opened. The whole area and plaza is very similar to how it used to be when the ride was known as Air. The Galactica logo has been created in bricks in the plaza and is a nice call back idea to the ride name "AIR" also being embedded into the ground when Air originally opened back in 2002, (now let's just hope Alton don't build a corner of a coffee shop seating area over it this time around!). The new Galactica sign lights up and looks very striking and should look brilliant during the Scarefest and Firework events. The new soundtrack also gets blasted around the queue line and the area and is very reminiscent of Helix (I guess it would do having been composed by the same guys). I've embedded a clip below. Half way through the queue comes a photo building which is actually pretty unique. Due to the fact there is no point in taking an onride photo of people all wearing VR headsets, the on-ride photo cameras have been removed and this new photo kiosk building built in the queue line. When you enter there are six acrylic bubbles on the left hand side. You stick your head in them and look directly at a screen which takes your photo and prints out a ticket for you to scan after the ride. The photos are made up to look like you are wearing a spacesuit. It's a nice effect overall. After the photo op, the queue splits to either the left and over a bridge or to the right and straight on. Each way takes you into the station ready to board your flight. The front queue line option has been entirely removed considering that it is entirely pointless now. As many people have stated, the whole boarding procedure is pretty laborious. Each row of the train had its own dedicated ride operative and the process seemed to go like so: - Train arrives back in station and tilts to seated position - Guests sit headset ontop of storage pouch - Operative wipes headset and places each securely in their pouch and velcros it shut - Restraints are unlocked and rides disembark - New riders board and operative checks restraints and locks them - Operative opens headset pouch and re-wipes each headset then tells rider to place it on their head - Rider adjusts tightening strap and focusing dial to suit themselves - Operative recalibrates each headset by asking rider to look straight ahead and then starting calibration - Train is raised into flying position and departs Staff were getting pretty quick with the whole procedure but it does take time and has impacted throughput. The headsets are pretty heavy but you get used to them. The focusing dial helps but doesn't seem to go far enough (well not for me). Audio was great on my first ride, second was left side only and third was very quiet and could hardly hear anything. One great thing about the headsets is that it really does block all excess light out and really takes you away from reality. With your headset on and fully adjusted you sit there feeling quite alone staring at a rather large Galactica logo and what feels like a giant very black room. Ok, so, the ride experience, once the trains start moving, the room opens up and you find yourself in a quite elaborate space station corridor moving forward. Quite a lot is going on and it's nice to be able to look around and see things either side rather than just infront of you. As you engage the lift you get the best part of the whole VR experience in my mind. Such a lot goes on and it's hard to decide where to look next. It's quite a strange sensation. This is the part that Alton is calling the launch. At the top of the lift you exit the portal and you are in deep space flying around the planets. As the fly to lie inversion arrives you are portalled (new word!) to a fire planet to witness the birth of a new star apparently. This part is where you are lying on your back. Due to this the headset does wobble quite a lot. After you are portalled again to an ice planet that crumbles away infront of you. Near the end of the circuit something happens that seems to take you offcourse and you are told you are landing and head through an emergency portal to land back on your original spaceship. I enjoyed trying a VR coaster but it does have some issues. The two biggest personally are the resolution is not quite good enough to give you that feeling of escapism and secondly you do see the edges of the scenes a lot more than you should. Just turning your head slightly you notice them and it was very noticeable on the barrelroll as the headset video could not keep up with the physical motion and showed me the edges a lot. One thing I was highly impressed by is that it did not make me feel queasy or ill in the slightest. No problem at all. I'm not too sure what others will make of it but this was my experience. Overall, I think it's a nice update to Air and gives it a bit more rerideability and I think the public will love it. I did notice however that it does not feel like you are riding a rollercoaster anymore. It's like a glorified simulator. It has lost it's sense of height when you are at the top of the lift and there is no real sense of speed. It's very hard to explain and I think just needs to be tried out to understand. Anyway, some photos and a short video I took: The old Air Shop is now home to the Rollercoaster Restaurant opening in May This is the spaceship you take a flight on A Galactinaut ready for their flight These are two of the small panels between each pair of seats. Apologies for the bluriness but I didn't have long the snap the photo and failed. As far as I could tell, this panel shows the operatives the current battery level, bluetooth connectivity status, allows them to calibrate the headset and to enable such features as captions and subtitles which is a great addition!) Galactica soaring through space Weird seeing people climbing the lifthill Wheeee! Launching! The new entrance logo The test seat New covering on the bridge heading to the left hand station The newly enclosed station.
  6. Really love the Efteling advert posted and looking forward to visiting there! One of my favourites from my local park, Alton Towers is one advertising Oblivion in 1998.
  7. Just got back from Alton Towers today having ridden the Smiler three times. I have to say that it was great to see the ride back in operation. No fuss was made, it just opened as usual and people rode it. Not one person I saw/heard mentioned the accident or that it would put them off and most people were perfectly happy to get back on and enjoy the ride. The ride experience was practically identical to before the crash minus some TV's and audio not on (they could make a comeback but who knows?) The ride also seemed to run all day with no issues whatsoever. The Smiler is back!
  8. Looking like Blackpool Pleasure Beach in just over a week for me!
  9. Nemesis - Alton Towers Euro Mir - Europa Park Mystery Mine - Dollywood Dinoconda - China Dinosaurs Park Blue Fire - Europa Park Helix - Liseberg Valhalla - Pleasure Beach Blackpool Overall best ambient sound is when inside Mysterious Island at Tokyo DisneySea.
  10. Would love to see this go ahead but as of now it just seems like a bit of a dream. That's a LOT of coasters for what is just a small caravan site. On the other hand, it would be amazing to see another Vekoma Stingray open up. The first one is a great but weird ride.
  11. That reminds me what did they do with Submissions spot when they closed the ride? I always preferred Energizer over Submission (that ride was so uncomfy) although it always seemed tamer once it became Boneshaker. All the smaller holes were filled in and the larger concrete foundation was just filled in and a patch of grass laid on top. So not much. Yes, Energizer was a much better ride. Wish one of those would return.
  12. Arrow - Cyclone (Dreamworld) Beijing Shibaolai - Hanging Roller Coaster (Crab Island) B&M - Nemesis (Alton Towers) Cavazza Diego- Nessi (Ocean Beach Amusement Park) CCI - Villain (Geauga Lake) Fabbri - Screamin' Deamon (Castle Park) GCI - Roar (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom) Gerstlauer - Coastersaurus (Legoland California) Giovanola - Goliath (Six Flags Magic Mountain) Golden Horse - Spinning Coaster (Sun Park) Gravity Group - The Voyage (Holiday World) Hopkins - Dragon (Adventureland) Intamin - Shockwave (Drayton Manor) L&T Systems - Wild Mine Ride (Gulliver's World) Mack - Runaway Mine Train (Alton Towers) Maurer - Spinballl Whizzer (Alton Towers) Meisho - Thunderbolt (Dreamworld) Morgan - Santa Monica West Coaster (Pacific Park) Pinfari - Gauntlet (Camelot) Premier - Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios Hollywood) RMC - Twisted Colossus (Six Flags Magic Mountain) Setpoint - Canopy Flyer (Universal Studios Singapore) Schwarzkopf - Black Hole (Alton Towers) S&S - Mumbo Jumbo (Flamingo Land) Togo - Manhattan Express (New York New York Hotel) Vekoma - Corkscrew (Alton Towers) WGH Transportation - Dragon (Legoland Windsor) Zamperla - Mountain Buffalo Coaster (Drayton Manor) Zierer - Space Invader 2 (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)
  13. I know it's a feature coasters have had for a long time but switch tracks. Definitely overlooked parts of a lot of rides. Rides that have switch tracks as part of their layouts are becoming faster and faster (examples are Th1teen and Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars) Both those two rides use switch track elements during the ride and both are very reliable and change super quickly so most people just don't realised the track has moved until they are travelling a different part of track!
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