Sunday, September 26, 2021

Alterface: Inside Action League, the interactive revolution

Unique mix of tournament, interactive gaming and motion

Interview by Martin Palicki

ABOVE: An artist rendering for the gaming arena of Action League. All photos courtesy of Alterface

Alterface recently introduced its latest ride, ‘Action League,” offered as a turnkey attraction. This new interactive attraction pits multiple teams against each other while utilizing a dynamic multi-axis rotation system to provide physical thrills. Etienne Sainton, Product Manager of Alterface, answers questions about the new offering.

Tell us about the Action League guest experience.

The attraction runs like a tournament where each team competes against each other until a final winning team is determined. The whole concept has been designed around that idea.

For example, the show is set up as a stadium or arena, with the action all in one large room. The queue surrounds the ride area so guests in line can watch the action below and cheer riders on as they progress in the queue. The effect is to create a high-paced, energetic environment. Guests are separated into teams and once on the ride they duel against one another, in three to five different scenarios.

Screens are installed around the arena and the ride system will shuffle the teams in the rotation phase, and then remain stationary during the shooting phase. Each shooting phase contains one game and two teams compete against each other per screen, using the shooting devices on their vehicle. Each game takes around 30 seconds. After that short duel, the vehicles move around for the next round of competition. The rotation and shooting phases will alternate until each team has played against every other team, and the final winner can be announced!

Are there different modes of gameplay?

As this is a fast-paced tournament it is very important that during the shooting phases the visitors are playing an intense game. So we will always have an easy-to-use shooting device and a lot of interaction on the screens. Each game will have a different theme and different role, but always the same gameplay. The full experience has been tailored to match the concept of real-world competition.

But it is also possible to change the content to have media related to an IP, to young children or to a teenager audience. While the gameplay will not change, the whole feeling and the games themselves will change.

Do all players get to play all rounds, whether or not they are winning?

Every team plays the same number of matches! The tournament is not using a “bracket” style of competition, but a “pools” system. This means that every duel will give a team the chance to score points and gain places in the ranking.

Of course, the final duels will feel more important to some teams (a chance to be the winner, or not rank last), so the content will ramp up in intensity from one round to the next. The games themselves become more intense each time, and the music and the lighting will reflect that.

Even those not in competition for first place will enjoy their gaming experience. Everyone will load and unload at the same time.

How many players does Action League accommodate?

It’s a scalable attraction. The largest format accommodates 72 players across 12 teams in vehicles seating six people each, which results in an impressive 1,000 persons per hour throughput. The standard format hosts six teams of six people per vehicle, with a total of 36 players and throughput up to 500 people per hour. There is built-in flexibility to this: operators can change the number of shooting phases to adjust throughput, allowing more visitors at busy moments or giving more time to players during quiet periods.

Where did the inspiration for the attraction come from?

Based on our experience with interactive rides and feedback from the market, we decided to develop this new tournament formula. We wanted to add another layer of competition to traditional interactive dark rides. We also wanted to add some thrilling motion sequences between the gaming elements.

It is our belief that the most popular interactive attractions are either strongly story-based (for example Basilisk) or “game” based (for example Maus Au Chocolat or Popcorn Revenge). Our company is focused on both. We continue to work on innovations for story-based attractions, as well as strong alternatives for shooting attractions (which Action League is designed to be) employing elements that are inherent to amusement parks: motion and group entertainment.

Is there IP for the attraction?

The media content can vary, including existing IP or custom-developed characters. Alterface delivers the ride as turnkey solution, but we work with the client to create an attraction that fits their specific needs.

Where can people experience Action League?

We already have multiple customers interested and we hope to give a definite answer to this question by the end of the year.

Joe Kleimanhttp://www.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, 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 has been News Editor and contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, and MiceChat. His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @themedreality Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his fiancé, two dogs, and a ghost.

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