Friday, December 1, 2023

Interactive Alterface Rides Premier at Comics Station Antwerp

Alterface announces the interactive attractions Lucky Luke and Smurfs at Comics Station Antwerp (Belgium). This new and innovative indoor park just opened around Easter this year. It is located at Antwerp Central Station, where the city’s trains arrive and depart at different levels. At the backside of the train station sits Comics Station Antwerp, an architectural high-standing building with lots of glass and light, hosting 60 attractions on a 6000m2 surface over 4 different levels, including the world’s highest indoor sliding tubes.

Comics Station Antwerp is built around six famous and still ‘living’ Belgian popular comics heroes:  Suske & Wiske (Spike & Suzy), Jommeke, Kiekeboe, Lucky Luke, the Smurfs and Urbanus. Attractions include a drop tower, walk-through, bumper cars, dark rides, indoor soft play garden and slides, all bringing the stories alive and guaranteeing fun for the entire family.

Wim Hubrechtsen, CEO of Comics Station Antwerp, comments: “We truly enjoy the cooperation with Alterface, who has proven to be an engaged and invaluable partner. Alongside the comics characters, who are part of our Belgian cultural heritage, we prefer to work with Belgian partners to build the park and the attractions.  Alterface has a proven track-record in interactive rides technology, combining analytical and creative insights with a great commitment. Both Lucky Luke and Smurf attractions feature high-tech and innovative concepts but above all offer great entertainment to our visitors. We do share this same visitor-centric approach with Alterface. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished here, Comics Station Antwerp is unique in its kind and we look forward to entertaining many families here.”


Benoit Cornet, Founder & CEO of Alterface says: “Comics Station Antwerp faced some major constraints when building their park. They want to present quality experiences required by the high-end IP they are implementing. Furthermore, developing such highly innovative concept involves budgetary constraints. And lastly the vertical infrastructure over four floors poses certain space and technical issues. This is the kind of challenge Alterface is always ready to undertake. For the Smurf ride we dug into our 3D Vision background and developed a system that allows to track movements of passive wands in front of a screen. No electronics in any player’s hands, just a magic wand to help the Smurfs accomplish their mission.”

This patented technology brings a totally new dynamic to the way people interact with screens. It creates an interesting balance between the not so natural pure hand-gesture detection and the sophisticated circuitry brought by the interactive devices. The Smurfs are benefitting from something far more sophisticated and magical than other rides in its kind. Vehicles, lighting, video and audio integrate seamlessly for instant reactiveness. A variety of movements can be detected by an advanced approach of the magic wand tracking. The Smurf ride is opening a new era of interactivity with endless possibilities.

The interactive technology is not the only distinctive element in the Smurf ride. The choice of the vehicles (4 people facing front) is bringing a special touch to the ride as well. The open front of the vehicle is exposing the players and therefore enhancing their immersion in the action while enabling cost savings on the decoration.

Lucky Luke

The Lucky Luke theater features an original design. Guests are seated in a wagon-styled room, facing a screen hidden by sliding doors.  Those doors open to reveal the action as the story literally runs alongside the room. Instead of the traditional “drilling through” approach to the content (moving from screen to screen), Alterface created a lateral movement where the scenes are separated by those doors opening and closing. The addition of a physical element to the media-based attraction provides an experience nowhere else to be found. The Alterface Salto! show control capabilities add this layer of storytelling to the robust shooting technology that has proven its reliability and potential for fun around the globe.

“We are very happy with the new rides at Comics Station Antwerp, as it is exactly the kind of projects where we can fully deliver our commitment in terms of design and production of interactive rides! Our “creative idea books” are filled with tips and tricks acquired over the many projects we have been opening around the world. It is our team’s mission to ensure all our customers can fully benefit from this, offering the Alterface attraction visitors an unforgettable experience!” concludes Ben Cornet.


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Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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