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Thorpe Park unveils VR ghost train designed by Derren Brown

It opens this spring and uses the HTC Vive.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
January 18, 2016
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Thorpe Park

VR headsets have matured to the point where some of the UK's biggest theme parks now want to integrate them into their next rides. Alton Towers announced a VR rollercoaster last week and today Thorpe Park has unveiled its own plans for a VR ghost train. Designed by mentalist Derren Brown, the attraction promises "grand-scale illusions" using a mixture of live-action, 4D special effects and "next generation technology." That last descriptor is important because, buried at the bottom of a press release, the company explains that this is a reference to the HTC Vive.

"A unique feature is that multiple (HTC Vive) headsets can work in the same space with no impact on performance," its creators tease. "This makes it the ideal choice for Derren Brown's Ghost Train."

It's unclear exactly how the headsets will be used, however. The ride revolves around a 20 metre long Victorian train carriage, suspended in mid-air by over three meters using iron chains. The spectacle is contained within an enormous warehouse and visitors will have to board the carriage by crossing an iron bridge. What actually happens while you're inside is a mystery though. Thorpe Park says it's a "smart ride" that lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, with 12 possible journeys and two different endings.

A couple of promotional videos have been released, one of which shows an actor performing in front of a green screen. Later on, you can catch a glimpse of some design software which shows a character wireframe moving around a modern train carriage. Of course, in typical Derren Brown fashion, everything is shrouded in mystery and, probably, a healthy dollop of deception -- to know what's really going on, you'll have to wait until later this Spring when the ride opens to the public.

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