Vulcan hopes game will beam up visitors
Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald
Friday, April 13, 2007
Alberta's Trekkiest town is poised to take its tourism promotion to the next generation with a high-tech, virtual reality game sure to send fans scurrying for their Captain Kirk costumes. In the game, there is unrest in the Federation and it's up to the new recruits -- through a series of holographic projections and motion sensors -- to fight off the bad guys. After a briefing session, the space ship's doors will open with a swish, with Star Fleet trainees hurrying through the rounded corridor on their way to the battle bridge, Vulcan tourism co-ordinator Dayna Dickens explains. "Red alert, the aliens invade. You're the last ship standing in space. You have to come into full battle mode to protect the Earth from the alien invaders," Dickens says. The attraction -- designed to make users feel like they're in an actual star ship -- will take over about a third of the space at the town's tourism gem, the Vulcan Trek Station. The $250,000 game, called Vulcan Space Adventure, beams users into the Star Trek world using cutting-edge GestureTek technology, which picks up on hand motions to project controls onto a holoscreen. "The game itself is pretty much a basic 'save the planet, shoot the enemy starships' kind of game. But instead of using a mouse or a lever or anything like that, you simply point and shoot with your finger," says Sylvia Arthur, creative director of Westwind Design, which is designing the game.
The official launch is June 8 during Trek convention. Vulcan has carefully cultivated its Trekkie years. Mayor Dave Mitchell said the new traffic at the tourist space station. "We've gone quite a ways with our Trek additional interactive game that people and do something active," he said.
Virtual reality game to add to Star Trek experience in Vulcan
Caroline Boschman, The Lethbridge Herald
Apr 11, 2007, 15:567
VULCAN - A new virtual reality game coming to the Vulcan Trek Station is probably the closest thing to a holodeck anywhere. Trekkies of all stripes can become Starfleet trainees and save the Earth from alien invaders in a game called Vulcan Space Adventure. Trainees will go through an archway into a room the size of an elevator where they watch a video outlining the game. A Captain Kirk-like leader describes the perilous times for the Federation as aliens threaten to invade. But a new weapon holds some promise and trainees will use it. "Then a set of sliding doors open. You walk through a corridor that looks like a spaceship corridor and onto a scale model of the bridge of a starship," said Dayna Dickens, tourism co-ordinator for the town and county of Vulcan. Three consoles are on the bridge, allowing for up to three players, a captain, a navigator and a first officer. A large holographic projection screen captures the motions of the player at the centre console as he or she waves a finger through the air in target practice. Other players are in charge of shields and warp drive. Sensors pick up the motions and translate them into action on the screen using technology called Gesturetek. "It´s a relatively new type of technology. To have something like that coming to little Vulcan is even more exciting," Dickens said. Once the action gets started, mayhem ensues and trainees will fight off virtual aliens who beam aboard the starship. Local actors were hired to be characters in the game. The game is a $250,000 attraction being built exclusively for the Trek Station. Dickens said Gesturetek technology is used at the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame. Construction should start this week. "The intention is to have the game in testing mode by May 1," she said. Dickens expects to launch the game officially June 8 during the annual Star Trek convention. This year´s special celebrity guests are Aron Eisenberg and Max Grodenchik who appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the Ferengi´s Rom and Nog.
Tickets for the Vulcan Space Adventure are $10 and available now at Trek Station. Other attractions include a Star Trek walking tour of Vulcan. Visitors will see space-inspired murals, a space-themed waterpark, and a five tonne starship modelled after the USS Enterprise. A plaque, in English, Vulcan and Klingon, greets visitors. People can also dress up as a Trekkie and have their photo taken on the bridge of a starship beside a cutout of their favourite character and browse the station´s collection of Star Trek memorabilia and gifts. Star Trek and historic walking tour maps are available at the Vulcan Tourism and Trek Station, 115 Centre St. E. in Vulcan.