Het Arsenaal (Vlissingen, The Netherlands) is a themepark about the sea, and about good old swashbuckling piracy. The park already owned a spectacular ships simulator, which they used to let people experience the fate of the Titanic. That ride was way overdue for for improvement, and Wennekes Multimedia asked Anitime to do the visual part of a new VR ride. How else but in pirate theme. Shiver me timbers!
The preshow introduces the waiting crowd to Blackbeard, whom they’re about to join on board. They learn about Blackbeards obsession for a Spanish galleon, and about the legend of the albatros. So prepared the audience enters Blackbeards vessel, and sets sail onto the seven seas.
On our search we survive a heavy storm, an encounter with the blasted Spanish galleon, but perish to the Curse of the Albatros. According to seafarers legend, the albatros is the ghost of a dead sailor. One shouldn’t harm one of these big seabirds, as it will bring trouble. Blackbeard doesn’t care, and shoots one. That spells the end for Blackbeard and his crew.
The technical story
The ships simulator (a hydraulic platform by Hydraudyne) is so powerful and at the same time subtle, that the audience can feel the bow hit the waves shaking, and the gunpowder room explode. Light, wind and water effects further enhance the overall realism, so one gets sucked into the experience.
Occasionally, people start to scream in classic rollercoaster fashion during the storm!
The most important aspect of this ride was of course the sea. Special software, used in e.g. the feature film Titanic, took care of the look and feel of a realistic sea in several different circumstances. Due to the tight deadline, a second company initially produced the storm. But Wennekes Multimedia was not satisfied with the result, and asked us to make a better one. The last minute character of this rush job has not prevented a fitting storm sequence.
The Amsterdam Naval Museum was a rich source of information for building the galleon. Wennekes Multimedia produced enormous amounts of photos of ships models, and the exact measures were derived from historic archives. The galleon from the ride closely resembles the San Felipe, the biggest galleon in Spanish history.
Scores of cannons, all the ropings for the ten sails, and sailors in the masts. Even the windows of the captains cabin were modeled separately. A high level of detail enhances realism, and with that the impact on the audience.
The ride ends on the bottom of a tropical sea, where sharks abound. The atmosphere of this scene had to be as natural as possible, where diving experience came in handy. Heaps of holiday pictures were used to decide on the right colors and light. For the sharks a lot of nature films and biology literature was researched.
But the most important aspect remains the final image. If nature stands in the way of a beautful image, the creativity wins hands down. Our creativity decides the look, and we take liberties where necessary: the result should be something to be proud of.
This ride still runs at Het Arsenaal in Vlissingen. Het Arsenaal is usually open every day from 10 AM until 7 PM. Click here
for the website with address and information about opening days.