3D Modelling, 3D Animation, Architectural Visualization, Architectural Conceptualization
LAKELAND, FL - Collaborating from Florida to California, two design studios have joined forces to rethink how themed entertainment is envisioned by developing functional digital twins of attractions before they’re built. This evolution in design thinking promises elevated guest experiences along with a potential savings of thousands of man hours and millions of dollars.
Close your eyes and imagine your favorite theme park attraction, whether it’s a time-tested thrill ride like Space Mountain or an immersive interactive experience like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now think about the untold hours of planning, engineering, and production that went into the creation of the world you love.
Stretch your mind a little more and imagine this: What if creators could experience the entire attraction, from standing in line to exiting the gift shop, before they even put up the scaffolding?
According to Worldbuildr founder Michael Libby, a former Disney Imagineer and Thinkwell Creative Director, we can now do exactly that. With one foot planted firmly in the real world and the other in the developing Metaverse, Libby has created Worldbuildr’s “digital-to-physical” software as a virtual production tool for the development of experiences and attractions, so that artists and engineers can pre-visualize theme park attractions in new, hyper-realistic immersive ways. This begs the question, why?
“So much theme park design happens in siloed efforts,” says Libby. “Engineers envision functionality and movement. Environmental designers apply theming. Lighting, sound, and special effects are all timed and integrated. But until the thing is built, no one knows if it’s actually going to work as intended. And at first it usually doesn’t.”
When this happens, according to Libby, each team goes back to their silo to design solutions for these problems that arise during testing. Often, the problems are expensive to fix and could have been avoided. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Enter The Apiary Studios, a team of multi-disciplinary artists with decades of experience in architectural visualization and themed entertainment. “If you want to develop a new park or attraction,” says Apiary Creative Director Matt Lukens, “we build a digital twin and create the virtual fly-through. This allows stakeholders to visualize what the park will look like. But Worldbuildr takes our work to another level.”
By importing these realistic digital twins into the Worldbuildr software platform, show sequences can be added that include timing, speed, throughput, sound and lighting. Stakeholders and collaborators are then able to experience the attraction through the eyes of the guest in real time 3D from any corner of the globe.
The collection and aggregation of that data is where Worldbuildr shines. Employing a concept known as ‘spatial computing,’ metadata is shared with all stakeholders to identify problems. “We can instantly recognize issues like guest flow choke points, HVAC clashes, and reach envelope intrusions,” said Libby. “Challenges are identified and overcome in the pre-production phase instead of in post.”
Better still, these previsualization efforts aren’t a sunk cost for themed entertainment venues. Digital twins can now act as show controllers, continuing to optimize throughput and eliminate bottlenecks in real-time, during operation. If all of this makes you think of Tony Stark designing his next-generation Iron Man suit, it’s not far off.
But that’s just the beginning. According to Libby, the Apiary / Worldbuildr process can be leveraged to prove pre-market concepts across the industry. “Using crowd simulation, ticket pricing, and throughput variables, developers can confidently assess their revenue and profit before a single brick is laid. This will be a game changer for everything from concert venues to sports arenas to immersive retail experiences.”
By breaking down design silos and aggregating data from real-time simulations, Worldbuildr and the Apiary will help themed entertainment companies of all kinds save millions of dollars while speeding their path to market. All of this with the ultimate goal of making sure guests have the best possible experience in your venue–and can’t wait for their next visit.
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"This will be a game changer for everything from concert venues to sports arenas to immersive retail experiences."
– Michael Libby