Hi everybody, welcome on board !
Haven’t you ever felt like you wanted to explore the stories behind some of your favorite songs ? Well I’ve felt that a couple of time, and as I’m in love with marine universes, I wanted to do something about it, because we are dreamers, right ? Dreamers who are all about making it a reality, so this is with great pleasure I’ll present you my ride design
WELLERMAN – The Ride
A little bit of context before we get into it : this project has been in reality two projects merged together : the first project was my first year of drawing classes “end of the year project”, where I had to tell a story in 10 illustrations (traditional drawing only), and the second one is my end of the year project for this year of class (as a 3D generalist), where I had to make a scene in unity and put cameras in it. I just bent the subjects as much as I could so I could make a ride out of it, so sometimes the format isn’t the most efficient, and as it was my first steps in both disciplines it is what it is in term of technical skills (also, first project ever on unity). Enough context, let’s get to the fun part
WELLERMAN – The Ride, is based on the old sea shanty “Wellerman”, you may have eard this song almost everywhere on social media at one point. It tells the story of the “Billy Of Tea”, a whaler ship, that goes hunting and will come back with goods from its business.
In this dark ride, you’ll board on a ship and go along with other marines on their adventure, but you’ll find along the way that whale hunting isn’t beautiful, the nature will eventually get back its rights and fight back, as you come back to the harbor as a different person.
The whole point of the ride is to provide a beautiful experience, along with some nature sensibilisation, and lessons.
First, let’s look at the queue-line
THE QUEUE LINE
We enter the queue line by the entrance of a warehouse, and then go down, between harpoons, nets, and posters with nature facts revolving around the ocean’s health and more importantly, whales.
At this point, we tease the visitor with few sets elements and props that make him want to go further, as it’s usually the case in most dark rides. Further, we encounter the captain, pressing us to come on board, we set sails.
Note : the first door (right) in the warehouse may become an access for disabled people
THE BOARDING DECK
And here we are, the boarding deck ! Unfortunately I couldn’t fit more props in it for time purpose as it was for my studies, but I’ve made a video in unity to show the design I intend to give to this ride, you can now take place in your seat and enjoy the ride, this harbor will be the first step of a life changing adventure !
Note : We can put the operator either in the right or left cabin, I choosed the right one in the video. I would have loved to make the whole ride in unity but it will certainly be my next personal project.
Here is the full map of the ride in orthogonal perspective, you may follow it while reading (the instructions on it are in french because the original drawing was for my art school in France)
The departure – the final teasing
Ok so now you can’t go back, right ? You’re in for a great adventure. First, we continue the teasing with some coasts sets, you’re living a fishing village for the cold deep seas, you go past a fisherman’s house, and through a beautiful arch, before starting to go up.
I tried something a little weird but maybe could be cool : simulating nets going up with us just like we were fished (some mechanism would roll the nets at the same speed we go up so we would think we were getting tracted). and here, my dear friends, marks the end of the teasing, let’s transition in the action : after going up, we end up in the middle of the sea and look !: a sperm whale, just here !
The big sperm whale tail just dive in front of us ! At this point, we could implement a mechanism that would gently lift or hit the boat from under, just like the whale was poking us (I’m not an engineer but I guess with a bump or a magnet it would work) the captain yell something at us and the boat could go a little faster. Now we’re transitioning into the action, but I didn’t want people to be able to look at two scenes in the same space, so I imagined a transition in an iceberg, where we could see some fossils trapped in the ice, while we were taken to the next step without getting bored.
Note : One problem I had was making a set with the idea we were in the middle of the sea, and talking about great sets and props we don’t have many to put in the middle of the sea
The Fight – into the action
Here we are, in the middle of a fight between some whalers and a great sperm whale. It got harpooned and the huge whale animatronics moves in the water, it’s clearly not happy with what is hapenning and we can already tell it was not a so good idea to hunt such a whale, but we’re now in the action and we’re going faster ! We fall, through an iceberg, another transition between two scenes, but this time it adds some thrills for the visitors as they get this little drop (family friendly).
Now, apparently some visitors thinks nowadays when we’re in dark rides we look at the action, but we’re not IN the action, so I imagined a scene where we enter the back of the big whaler ship by a hole in the hull, the ship is damaged, and we go from the slipway to the deck, passing through fishing materials, crew quarters, and finally the deck where it is chaos, just after we get to the deck, we go through another little drop, where we understand the ship is severely damage and we pop out of it, only to find the huge sperm whale appearing in front of us, wounded, angry, a thrilling view, as we understand the whale had just destroyed the ship hull to free herself from its predators. We change direction and look at the ship from outside, and then we transition from the action to the the outcome
The whale is free, the fight is over – the outcome
One last fall, one last iceberg, one last adrenalin shot, before all goes pretty calm again, you’ve experienced the action in its plenty, and now contemplate the outcome of the fight between the nature and whalers, the ship is sinking, the crew is going back to the harbor by launch, you finally sea a familiar set, some coasts, a warehouse, and you’re back to safe lands.
Take a deep breath, and process all the things you’ve seen in this adventure, wanna ride again ?
Some notes concerning the design, some technical aspects, and the design of the boat the visitors are sailing with :
- It may need more idea to diversify the props and sets in the action scene when we’re in the sea, as I coudln’t come with other idea than iceberg as we’re hunting whales in cold seas in the midde of nowhere.
- This would require huge animatronics and we know what happened with the last sperm whale animatronics that existed at the Pleasure Island Theme park, so I don’t know if it would be realistic to have such animatronics in this ride, even though it’s not outside, but maybe with the technical progress we’ve made in the theme park industry it would not be such a big deal
- this would take a lot of place, and the queue line may need some “compacting” in case of missing space
- I have tried to think about everything from a technical aspect to an artistic aspect, but as I am alone on this I may miss things
- Even if the message I try to communicate is about prevention, and sensibilisation to the beautiful animals that are whales, the ride still shows whale hunting so it’s still touchy
- Mack Ride just invented a new boat ride system that looks incredible and could feel amazing in this ride as I tried to make it as dynamic as possible and the new ride system they invented is all about moving the boat in all directions smoothly and somewhat realistically.
- I got inspired by some blueprints and exemples of already existing rides for the scenario, the ride system, and the boat, showed bellow
I really appreciate the time you took to read and look at my design, I hope you liked it as much as I took pleasure making it. I’m proud of the things I could come up with after only one year of learning how to draw, and one year of 3D, especially for my first time on unity, but it’s still first year projects, it’s all about frustration when you don’t know how to do things when you learn new skills, I will surely make future designs to post here maybe for the next student showcase, as it was my first time designing a ride.
Have a wounderfull day and keep dreaming !