The attractions industry is being transformed by the use of storytelling and innovation to create some of the most immersive and narrative-driven experiences visitors have ever seen. Since the rise in popularity of media-based attractions, the ability to put guests at the heart of a powerful narrative and take them on adventures has changed guest expectations and boosted demand for significantly better all-immersive, multi-sensory attractions. They want engaging and unique experiences, not just a thrill.
Experience design firm Holovis knows this only too well and has been developing a recipe for taking immersive storytelling a step further by giving guests the ability to experience their own personalised interactions and engagements – and the secret to this lies in real-time technology.
“Real-time technology is driven by content rendered live from a game engine, rather than having a pre-rendered film with a fixed path and narrative that it always follows,” explains Peter Cliff, creative director at Holovis. “This opens up a whole new world for guests, allowing them to interact and influence connected experiences throughout a venue, not just at one specific attraction or experience. Each guest has their own journey and based on the decisions they make or paths they choose to take, the world around them reacts differently each time, every time.
“Unlike a game that plays out on a second screen, be that a computer, phone or in VR, the compelling approach Holovis delivers, through our Extended Experience platform, is having this take place in a real-world setting with physical objects and real-time media reacting differently for each guest based on their own interactions as well as the data collected.”
Ride and Realm
Holovis brought its Extended Experience technology to the traditional dark ride attraction to create Ride and Realm (R&R), the world’s first guest and data driven real-time dark ride attraction. R&R gives guests the ability to choose their own adventure and then personalises the experiences they have based on these interactions and the data collected, with specific AI and analytics working behind the scenes to enhance the overall affect.
“It begins with a real-time game-driven attraction, using onboard interactive devices to put control in the hands of the guest,” continues Cliff. “However, as guests leave the ride for the first time, there are a number of ways that the adventure continues to play out around the park. This includes through tracking technologies with no visible guest engagement required, therefore making the experience frictionless, through phone apps with AR experiences and physical devices utilised throughout the park. These all allow gameplay to continue throughout the day and even afterwards at home, triggering complex multi-threaded narratives that continue the guest’s journey as the story unfolds.”
Guests must solve puzzles, find clues in physical locations to unlock achievements and ‘level-up’ and engage with physical entities, or even cast members, before returning to the starting point, where the experience on the dark ride will have evolved to reflect their progress, making it a unique attraction all over again.
“Ride and Realm is a near limitless experiential platform that is always different, truly re-ridable, and scalable. Whatever guests do within the ride or across the whole park has a real-time impact on their adventure as it unfolds before them. This is more than just gamification and non-linearity; this is letting guest control and determine their own destiny whilst being at the heart of a multidimensional and compelling narrative.
“Holovis is now working with clients who want the capability expanding further so that all park-wide media, both on and off their rides, reacts differently for every individual, depending on where they are in their game and the evolving storyline. This is a true revolution in theme park-wide personalisation. This is what creates memories that guests will talk about for years to come,” says Cliff. “In this age of social media and the increasing demand for everything to be connected, this solution results in highly rich content being shared by guests continuously throughout their journey, further supporting and enhancing the parks social communications and brands.”
Behind the scenes, Holovis’s team of software engineers has been developing advanced data capture and artificial intelligence analytics, as part of the Extended Experience platform, that allow the story to become personalised to each guest based on their physical, intellectual and emotional reactions.
“We can now use our tracking technologies to measure reactions in highly personalised ways, with patents pending around our latest solutions. Artificial intelligence is being used to understand emotional responses from our audiences and to further adapt the story and the intensity of the attraction to their own preference. Our machine-learning systems are also being applied to interactivity platforms in order to learn about people’s responses, so we can, for example, alter the difficultly of the gameplay to keep them involved and engaged based on their individual skills and abilities, making the attraction far more inclusive for all.”
Cliff says: “This is the power of real-time-everything and we’re just at the beginning of telling this story.”