Transforming Theme Parks

Transforming Theme Parks

A month ago I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky few to preview the newest attraction at Universal Studios, Transformers the Ride.

It is a $40 million technological tour de force, packed with more high tech gadgetry than any electronics superstore and is purpose-built to deliver a more immersive jolt than audiences could ever expect.

Here's just a few figures:

  • Cost to build - $40 million
  • Building size – 60,000 square foot 
  • Height – 60 feet
  • Ride Track – 2,000 feet
  • Ride Vehicle – Custom Platform that can roll, pitch and rotate 360 degrees
  • Screens – 14 including oversized, front projection, rear projection, flat and compound curved
  • Projectors – 34 projecting imagery at 4K x 4K

Pretty impressive right?

The custom designed motion-platform vehicles take 12 passengers on a simulated ride through a Transformers battlescape; towering screens depict attacking Transformers in photorealistic 3D. This is where several elements come together to make the riders feel like they have truly entered a realistic robotic rumble.

The 3D imagery boasts 4K x 4K resolution, four times greater than the original movie. In addition to this, some of the ride’s 14 screens are curved around the audience, deepening the illusion of being immersed in the action.
The ride vehicles themselves are quite cool. Each is like a flight simulator with every motion synchronized to the onscreen action and each is equipped with 5,000 watt, 14 channel audio system to heighten the entire experience.

The impressive visual’s for Transformers the Ride were painstakingly rendered at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) over the course of two years. The challenge was to render all-new content using huge datasets in 4K resolutions, in 3D, at the correct perspective for each screen. As you can tell it turned out to be harder than the folks at ILM expected. But the team leveraged NVidia GPUs to make the high-resolution happen and here is the result.

It is without a doubt the most technological advanced ride and I thought it was just amazing, unfortunately I only went on once but I wish I could do it again!

2 Comments Emanuela Ferrante

Posted by
Emanuela Ferrante
Wed 30 May 2012: 10:00am

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  • Emanuela Ferrante:

    Well now I know where to go on my next trip :)

  • Tim jackson:

    I went on this in Singapore... like 20 times!! It was incredible to say the least.

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