Theme Parks and Unreal Engine 4….

How To Train Your Dragons Dark Ride

A 2014 Look-Back to early applications of Unreal Engine 4 (and VR) for this now completed ride, acting as a stepping stone to advancing uses of UE4 for Rides, Lands, and other Theme Park systems.

Dragon Gliders opened in 2017 part of the DreamWorks Land at Motiongate Dubai Theme Park.

The attraction is based on the popular How To Train Your Dragons film franchise from DreamWorks.

In 2018, it received a THEA Award as part of the DreamWorks Land.

2014: Me with Jeffrey Katzenberg (in the Oculus DK1) looking at ‘Dragons’ in UE4.

2014: Me with Jeffrey Katzenberg (in the Oculus DK1) looking at ‘Dragons’ in UE4.

Using UE4 & Oculus VR … in 2014

Upon Launch, Unreal Engine 4 quickly became a key tool in the rapid development and iteration of the ride because of the strong capacity to create a unified context for ride development. This was due to the compelling real-time visuals as well as the ability to work with new VR headsets.

Dragons has been a stepping stone for the currently secret work that has advanced the uses of UE4 for Theme Park Development continuing into 2019.

Dragons_RT_UE4_2015 (4).jpg

A Unified Context

Unreal Engine 4 provides the most effective tool for bringing in the often disparate parts of Theme Park and Ride Development. This allows for earlier decision making across the dozens and often hundreds of people from different teams during the development and deployment life cycle. From technical teams, to IP Holders and project owners, Media Content Creators, Architecture Teams, and more.

UE4 Allows for faster, more accurate decision making at a reduced cost.

In 2019…

Current works continue to build upon the original works in UE4, while updating and adding additional capabilities:

  • FULL Ride Event Timing

    • Using Sequencer

    • Easy Rapid Iteration

  • Animatronics (true to ‘life)

  • Animated Media Content

  • Integration of additional Park features / lands /etc.

  • Ride Audio & Sound Cues.

  • … and much, much, more.

In 2014…

Setting the stage for later enhancements, the original Dragons UE4 Project included:

  • use of Full Film Assets

  • use of Contept Art

  • BIM Facility Models

  • CAD Drawings

  • Static ‘Media’ Callouts

  • Ride ‘Profile’ Movement

    (Dragons is a Programmable Powered Coaster).

  • Viewing

With more recent (and current) efforts, the UE4 projects have gone beyond one way visualization into feeding back into the design of the attractions across teams.

Current efforts are focused on providing additional utility, including through incorporating additional data (egress, on/off-boarding, and adapting materials for viewing on-site during construction.