There’s nothing cooler than a well-themed space. Whether it’s a ride, attraction, or even a museum exhibit, immersing oneself into a new world is an incredible experience.
Over the years, the process of creating these experiences has evolved significantly. From pen-and paper-designs, to physical mockups, to 3D renderings, creating your own immersive experience has never been easier!
While there are plenty of video games out there that allow you to build your own theme park, I was personally frustrated by the lack of beginner-friendly, professional options for designing themed attractions and dark rides. Many of the options currently available require highly-technical developer knowledge to get started, which wasn’t something I was prepared for.
So… I built one myself for easy, fast, and affordable Imagineering at Home! I’m excited to share my app SceneForge Studio with ThemedAttraction.com, as well as offer an exclusive discount at the bottom of this article! It’s an artist-friendly all-in-one solution for pre-visualization, storyboarding, and Virtual Production, perfect for designing your dream immersive space or dark ride.
Unlike many other professional tools, it offers a lot of key features built right in, including a floor plan builder and editor, Sketchfab integration, and a companion AR mobile app for walking through your experience, making it super easy to visualize your idea – all in one place.
So, let’s talk about how it actually works!
Let’s say I have an idea for a dark ride – I can use SceneForge to design and animate a pre-vis sequence of this scene! Imagine a spooky house filled with ghosts and our guests are taking a tour. This will be our totally original dark ride. For this example, I will only visualize a hypothetical seance room in our house.
I highly recommend getting familiar with the software through our video tutorials, but this will be a fun overview specifically focused on attraction design.
Once you load up a new project in SceneForge, you’ll be greeted with an empty scene.
SceneForge is broken up into three main sections: Stage, Storyboard, and Shoot.
Stage allows you to edit your scene, Storyboard allows you to compile storyboards of your attraction, and Shoot allows you to film your animatics with virtual cameras.
To start, I used the Floor Plan Editor to build out a rough outline of my Seance room. This mode allows me to easily draw rooms, hallways, and add doors and windows – because every spooky house needs a corridor of doors.
Once I was happy with my design, I went back to the 3D mode to begin adding some environment details, lighting, and objects. While I could import any custom model I want, I decided to use the built-in-Sketchfab browser to find objects that fit the scene.
After that, I realized that the scene was looking a bit stiff, so I used the Timeline to add some basic motion to objects in the scene. Now we have a lively, animated Seance Scene, complete with dancing gravestones, instruments, and a crystal ball.
After that, I connected the Companion Mobile app over wifi to use Augmented Reality to physically walk around my seance room to get a better sense of space. This was super helpful in visualizing how my attraction would look at full-scale, and is one of my favorite features.
If I wanted to take it one step further, I could use the Chromakey Compositing tools to actually put live-actors into my scene using included hollywood-level green-screen tools built right into the app – but that’s for another article!
Now of course, we need a way to guide our guests through the attraction, so I continued by adding a Dynamic Track and linking up a blue sphere to represent our ride vehicle.
Then, by simply clicking play, I have a functioning simulation of a ride scene with a moving vehicle at any desired speed. But of course, we need a way of seeing how many people our track can actually accommodate!
That’s where the Module System comes into play. This allows me to quickly add behaviors to objects, such as spinning or moving. But in this case, we can use a special module for Dynamic Tracks called the “Attraction Capacity” module. This automatically calculates a THRC (Theoretical Hourly Ride Capacity) based on the values we set!
After that, I used Shoot Mode to set up a virtual camera, and animated it to show off a little trailer of our attraction, giving a sneak peek of what’s in store for those who dare enter the completely original “Spooky House.”
All joking aside, you can see a more detailed video breakdown of how this was created below:
▶️ SceneForge for Attraction and Ride Design + Upcoming “Module” System
And the final rendered “trailer” here:
▶️ Made in SceneForge: The Haunted Séance
If you’re interested in giving SceneForge a try, it’s completely free to start out, or if you want to upgrade, you can use the coupon code EarlyAccess20 at checkout for 20% off any plan!
SceneForge is a labor of love, developed over the past year by myself, and I’d love to see what you create with it! Feel free to tag @SceneForgeApp on Instagram and Twitter! And if you have any questions, you can email me directly at Judah@SceneForge.app
Thanks for reading!
– Judah Mantell, Founder @ SceneForge.app