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About Martin.C

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    Does my eye look OK to you?
  • Birthday 05/24/95

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  • Favourite ride
  • Favourite Theme Park
    Alton Towers

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  1. Shambhala is without any doubt in my opinion the best coaster in Europe. It's one of the smoothest and most exhilarating rides out there and it is especially excellent at the back when you get whipped over every single hill with plenty of airtime. Plus, the seats are quite comfy and offer lots of freedom, especially on the edge seats. You could ride it over and over again and never get bored of it as every seat offers a different experience. Dragon Khan reminded me a lot of Nemesis even though it isn't suspended. I can't explain it easily, but the forces and nature of it (especially through that zero-g roll) feel very similar as well as the constant speed it has for the most part. Heck, it even sounds like the roar Nemesis has. But. I do find it a little rough at the back when you go through the inversions, so it's not that re-rideable for me. As for Furius Baco, all I will say is if you thought Colossus or Saw was rough and unbearable, you ain't seen nothing yet! Whilst the launch is fantastic and beats Stealth, after you dip straight into the first turn into the ravine, it will shake and rattle you not just sideways but vertically to a degree that made Gwazi look smooth in comparison, especially on the outside seats. It's still worth a try when the queues aren't too long and I suppose it's the best wake-up method if you're either tired or hungover.
  2. Very interesting. Maybe this was why Merlin held back on allowing IMA to release Big Top's audio back in October?
  3. Could I be put down please for both the day and meal? Got that Saturday free so should very likely be able to make it for the full day. I'm up for any ride in the park except for the one I constantly bash. No need to explain which one it is!
  4. The problem is, the quality of these graphics is primarily down to a display where the pixel density of each screen covering each eye simply is not high enough to make it visibly sharp. This is not an issue just with the Vive headsets but across all of the popular ones such as Oculus, Gear VR and PlayStation VR. Until one of these headsets has a display rating of 4K or above, this will continue to be a problem the ride will suffer unless further down the line the headsets are updated to newer ones with sharper resolutions. VR headsets will very soon have 4K displays in them and this should hopefully solve part of the problem with the graphics, but knowing Merlin, I doubt this will happen. As for the green mist section, I'm sure the park will be changing this for 2017 to something much more interesting, but the holding issue that scene can be left on will likely never get resolved due to stacking issues of all 3 trains in the circuit. One solution could be to make each half of the VR sections longer which will therefore eliminate the hold entirely, but then the throughput will be reduced further with even slower queues and more waiting to get on and off the trains. Unless all three trains are perfectly synchronised within seconds of each other, this issue will continue to persist and I cannot see any other way this problem will ever get fixed without there being a massive overhaul of the mechanical system.
  5. So this was all for a slight name change then? This really is 2016 marketing hype all over again... Like many, I am reserving full judgement until I've actually ridden it, but considering there were so many issues with it last year which I doubt very much have been fixed or altered, I'm not holding my breath for anything special here. I'm just expecting a change of VR content and a maze at the end, that's it.
  6. 1) Shambhala. No need for an explanation, most exhilarating coaster ever! 2) Nemesis. Was No. 1 before riding Shambhala. 3) Hex.... when it's open. 4) Dragon Khan. Little rough, but has a very similar feel to Nemesis which I why I like it. 5) The Smiler. Still really enjoy it, even after the accident. 6) Sheikra. Despite queueing hours for this when it has just opened in 2005, it was worth the wait for that single ride! 7) Galactica. Don't shoot me please! The theme works great for me, the VR is far better than it's *ahem*, "psychological" rival, and so's the music. 8) Megafobia. One of the most underestimated and surprisingly forceful wooden coasters I have ridden. 9) Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios). Different ride every time, scared the life out of me first time. Great! 10) Stealth. Short, simple and fast. It must be said though, positions 1-5 might change entirely for me later this year when getting on Taron and Helix for the first time. I hope so as they both look great! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. This is a really tricky one because the only VR I have ever experienced was on both DBGT and Galactica this year and I have had mixed opinions for both experiences offered. As it currently stands, the answer is both yes and no. Yes for the following reasons: It offers an entirely new experience for many riders which immerses you into another world. Many people are yet to experience VR and considering the decent headsets out there such as the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and the Oculus Rift can cost hundreds of pounds, this is an excellent opportunity for people to try it for the first time without forking out lots of money to get your hands on the technology. When audio is added with the visual content, it pretty much shuts you off from the real world and keeps you focused on what is playing, therefore making the experience more enjoyable. An example with Six Flags where you wear the headset but with no audio is not a great introduction to VR for riders in my opinion. If it is optional, this is a huge selling point and advantage for riders because they can still get the same previous experience they were used to before as well as a new one if they wish, which is a big reason why I firmly believe Galactica is better than Air. Over time, the technology will advance and the hardware accompanied with the software will too. So it can only get better, not worse. However, there are some reasons why I believe it doesn't have a place in theme parks: Reliability. This is the biggest problem for me because both Galactica and DBGT fall victim to this where several headsets are broken which can cause issues with the throughput of each ride. In addition, if the VR content is not synchronised properly with the physical movements you experience, it can really mess with your head if you are easily nauseous with motion sickness. Also, the content needs to be consistent and not glitch everywhere similar to Galactica, unlike Ghost Train which only seems to work about 10% of the time. Dependability. Whilst I mentioned as an advantage the VR being optional, when it is mandatory like DBGT, this is where it fails for me. If you need to have a VR headset on to ride an attraction, you've already failed. It eliminates an entire market of people who either do not wish to use the headsets or cannot even use them due to medical conditions such as epilepsy and motion sickness for example. Making it optional is a crucial goal to make it a success. Novelty. Much like most things in technology, once everyone experiences it and have become accustomed, the whole novelty and excitement wears off and the popularity will naturally decrease. This is why I believe Ghost Train will suffer in the long-term starting the end of next year, not just because the ride is absolutely abysmal, but the dependance it has on the headsets as mentioned on the previous point. The novelty will wear off, people won't ride it anymore and therefore it will suffer from popularity. Galactica on the other hand is optional, so many people will still ride it in the future regardless whether the VR is there or not. Ghost Train needs VR to function and that's a huge problem. Quality. It's no lie to say that virtually every single VR headset out there at the moment has displays which when viewed through the lenses looks pixelated and blurry to the viewer, even if the display is classified as high definition. The truth is, until the pixel density of these displays becomes high enough that your eyes cannot discern the individual pixels at such a close proximity, this will always be an issue. When a small display that is 4K in resolution comes along which could be very possible in 2017 with the Samsung Gear VR, the problem will be fixed and the density of those pixels will be enough to make it a sharp and clear image. So to conclude, for me, I would say VR does and can have it's place in theme parks, but only when it works the way it is intended and is optional. Not only do you then sustain interest for riders, but you offer something entirely new to them which was never available before at a theme park.
  8. In the event some of us get delayed by the trains, I take it it would be best to wait until everyone has finished inside one of the attractions before joining the rest of the group?
  9. These attractions that have been shipped from Weymouth Sea Life for use at Thorpe Park is a strange one to me. It's almost as if Thorpe Park have finally admitted that alienating your 3-7 year old audience from the park after Octopus Gardens were removed in 2010 was a mistake and are trying once again to attract them. But is it too late and would it be enough to persuade some families to visit Thorpe over Chessington I wonder? One can hope the park will be working on getting Loggers Leap back open in addition to this, but it will never happen. The cheaper route is obviously the better route in the park's eyes, but I am intrigued to know what is happening to Canada Creek right now as that area seriously needed updating. Anything in the park is better than DBGT, so that's not a huge feat!
  10. Sadly it's been boring for me this year: • Thorpe Park - 11 times. • Chessington - once (likely to remain this for a while). • Alton Towers - 6 times. • Legoland Windsor - once. • Paulton's Park - once. I really want to finally make some trips to other European theme parks such as Phantasialand, Liseberg and Heide Park which many praise as being great theme parks all of which I've never visited before, but I've been occupied for the best part of 2016 with uni work and a weekend job sucking all the available free days I had. Fortunately, as I'm now on an industrial placement year until August 2017 getting experience and income, having all weekends free and that we are leaving the EU soon, I finally have some valid excuses to visit all of these places in 2017. So hopefully 2017 will far more interesting than this one has been!
  11. Yeah, I'm good for this. Haven't visited London for a few years so will be good to try the new attractions I haven't done yet, including Winter Wonderland. Just hoping that I can get to Waterloo station on time in the morning, as I have to use Southern to get into the city...
  12. Going way back to 1999, Depth Charge was my first ever ride at the park and I still have the picture to prove it. In terms of hitting that magic 1.4m height mark and being able to get on everything big in the park, it was July 2004 when I was 9 years old and I just scrapped the height restriction where I had to have a band to confirm I'm on the limit. Vortex was the first one I did and it will always be my favourite flat ride, as that was the one that started it all for me.
  13. 1) Derren Brown's Ghost Train with a fully working Vive headset. 2) Dragon Khan's zero-g roll. 3) Saw's indoor drop.
  14. I'm going to be the oddball here and put forward the opinion that not only do I believe Galactica is far better than Air, but it also offers a superior virtual reality experience for riders compared to Ghost Train. Haven ridden both Galactica and Ghost Train approximately 10 times each over the course of 2016, there has never been a moment where I am worried or concerned I will get a bad experience with Galactica because it all boils down to two simple words - reliability & re-rideability. To me, I have seen a far more complete and enjoyable experience with Galactica for a few reasons. Not only do I believe the footage used is more fun and even thrilling, but the quality of it too. Far more exciting things happens with Galactica when you fly through the portals to 4 different worlds, the audio is loud enough so you can hear the brilliant music and voiceover in perfect synchronisation with the visual content making it more exciting, and I have had no glitches occur on my screen out of all the 9 times I have ridden it. I don't know if I have been incredibly lucky having no issues, or I'm not seeing the problems other people are having. Compare this to Ghost Train where the content begins well with human characters interacting and talking to you, but it falls flat very quickly in the second half where simply put, a few creatures simply stare at you so you can admire the incredibly low resolution textures used on their faces, aliasing that makes my 14 year old PS2 system look impressive and then some lovely green smoke to fill in the waiting time whilst the system breaks down on a daily basis. And to top it all off, to be thrown into the ground filled with fire and magma which is not convincing one little bit and finishes the ride rather boringly. Not once have I had a single issue that is hardware related to the Samsung Gear VR headsets used for both visual and audio wise on Galactica, mainly because I believe there is only a single cable providing the headsets and headphones power that is not as susceptible to wear and tear compared to Ghost Train. There are no extra cables needed to sync the headsets to the control unit to keep the content in sync with the movement of the train, all of this is done via the units in-between the seats and is communicated to the headsets via Bluetooth. Not only does this ensure there are less cables, but it makes the system more reliable for long-term use. Again, look at Ghost Train. How many cables power these headsets alone? 5 or 6 isn't it? And when you use them, almost every time there is a hardware issue somewhere; whether it's the connection between the headset and the black lighthouse box on the ceiling becoming weak resulting in a glitchy as hell visual signal, audio being too quiet through the headphones, or the left and right channels getting mixed up, or even not working at all and is covered in a bag. Lastly, the biggest advantage with Galactica over Air and Ghost Train is that the VR experience is optional. People who are complaining about wanting Air back and Galactica's VR removed, all I ask is currently, what has been lost or taken away from Air that you want back so badly? Sure, the queues might be slower, there's no longer a single rider queue and the faff involved with the headsets might be a nuisance to some. But honestly, is there anything else that has been taken away? The fact the experience is entirely optional (from June onwards) is a selling point for Galactica. You can still have the same old experience of Air if you choose without the headsets with the same track layout, the same scenery (plus the portal), the same speed, the same beautifully themed concrete tunnel and the same experience if you choose. But for those who want to try something different and immerse themselves in an entirely new environment in space or want to see what VR on a coaster is like, this is the ideal ride that suits both audiences. Ghost Train is entirely dependant on using VR and that's a big problem I see with the experience, because you are forced to wear them which narrows down your market to a selected group of people who will ride it only for the VR experience, nothing else which sadly over time the popularity will diminish for it. So I honestly don't see what the fuss is over with wanting Air back over Galactica except for betting back a slightly quicker queue. To conclude, Galactica is a great example of what VR can be when done (for the most part) correctly and I will stand by this until I am proven otherwise. I'm not saying Galactica is perfect in anyway and it does need some enhancements made to make it even more enjoyable for riders, but it's a vast difference compared to the frankly abysmal experience you could sometimes get with Ghost Train. Also, when you consider Galactica and the Rollercoaster Restaurant combined is an investment that is under £2M with generally quite favourable reviews from riders and guests in comparison to Ghost Train which cost over £13M (projected) that has opened up to generally very negative reviews due to reliability, quality and hardware issues, this is a perfect example of how money is not everything when it comes to who can provide the better experience. As I said at the beginning, Galactica wins hands down as a better experience compared to both its predecessor and its rival and I hope the virtual reality stays with minor enhancements made to make it even better, because feedback has been considerably more favourable compared to it’s “future for theme parks across the world” rival embarrassment and I would recommend Galactica over it to anyone who has never experienced virtual reality before.