Behind the scenes in the Vulcania theme park near Clermont Ferrand in France’s central Auvergne province, Medialon Manager controls the new Magma Explorer simulator ride, which takes visitors on a journey into the inner life of a volcano. Vulcania is located close to the Puy-de-Dôme in a chain of long-dormant volcanoes.
Park visitors become “Vulcanauts” when they board the futuristic Magma Explorer vessel to take a virtual trip into the depths of a volcano, through the magma chambers and back to the surface through the volcano’s pipe.
The ride begins with a preshow where the Vulcanauts are welcomed by a volcano expert who appears on a large plasma screen and describes the experience about to take place. After entering the ride through automated doors they view on all four sides and above them projected HD images of the volcano’s interior while standing on a motion-base platform which dynamically rises, trembles, rolls and stops with accelerations and decelerations that can reach up to1G. Special effects are added by infrared beams, lights, and multi-channel sound.
Medialon Manager was selected by integrator Electrosonic Ltd. in the UK which handled the ride’s entire AV installation. Electrosonic’s project manager for the Magma Explorer was Rob Stallard. Paul Notebaart of Hugo Janzen AV Projecten B.V. did the Medialon programming.
“The complexity of the system had to be translated to a simple, easy-to-use interface” which made Medialon a logical choice," says Notebaart. Medialon’s embedded GUI programming tool has been designed to allow fast and easy programming of control panels and touchscreens inside the software itself."
In addition, “Most subsystems have their own safety system and everything is connected to the building management system. This way the ride can be stopped in case of emergency and visitors can leave the Magma Explorer safely,” Notebaart explains. Medialon’s ability to use variable as a parameter in a command cue gives incredible power to show-control programming. The cue remains the same but the value sent depends on another process.
Medialon manages the entire attraction via an Ethernet network. It controls three dual-output Seventh Sense HD servers for the main show; an Electrosonic multichannel SD server for the preshow and main show; a PC to manage the Bosch Rexroth motion base; five Projection Design F30 video projectors for the main show; one 60-inch NEC plasma screen for the preshow; four 40-inch NEC LCD screens for the main show; four three-meter wide LED text displays for the main show screens; and an Allen & Heath iDR audio controller for the main show.
A Medialon Show Control system also handles the management of temperature effects, sends DMX lighting commands to a dimmer, controls the movements of the gates and front and exit doors, and interacts with the building management system.
Options available to technicians include the ability to display customized messages on the LED screens to welcome company seminars held at Vulcania, track the life of the video projectors lamps, and test the lights used on the show.
“The Medialon Manager interface for the operator is very convivial and easy to use,” adds Jérôme Dehodencq, event and stage design manager for Vulcania.