Tetrastar Spaceport · Stephen Ray
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Tetrastar Spaceport

About #

An immersive experience at the National Space Centre , featuring a 20-seat simulator and 6 unique zones that take visitors on a wild space mission to Mars and back.

My role in the project was varied, creating both Unity applications for the Tharsis One and the Terminals, as well as undertaking show programming responsibilities using Medialon Manager to control the multiple AV elements of the experience, designing how interactives should work and prototyping these systems, and being involved with designing how parts of the experience work during the latter parts of the project.

Components #

Tharsis ONE #

A state-of-the-art spaceship fitted with the cutting-edge Tetracore Warp Drive!

After their low Earth orbit trip gets cancelled, visitors are roped into a mission to travel to Mars to retrieve important specimens that may have the answer to the question “is there life on Mars?”.

Details #

A 3 Minute motion ride using real-time content driven by user interaction. The trip begins on Earth and blasts off into orbit before warping to Mars. Once at Mars, it’s learned that the Martian GPS systems have been knocked offline by the recent solar storm, sending the ship into manual control. The passengers have to press their buttons at the correct times to get the ship to Noctis Labs in one piece.

Tech Specs #

  • Unity (HDRP) to create the interactive ride
  • Branching Unity timelines controlling both the visual camera and the physical seat motion.
  • Networked button input and illumination via Brainboxes.
  • Motion Seats controlled in real-time.
  • Editor solution to allow editing of seat motion and camera animations inside of the physical space.

Responsibilities #

Main Deck - Noctis Labs #

An active Martian research base.

After stepping off the Tharsis One, its passengers enter Noctis Labs, an active Martian research base at the forefront of the search for ancient life on Mars.

Details #

Public Mode #

For public operation, vistors come into the base and have to complete a small task in order to find out the location of an important specimen. After retreiving their specimen they need to evactaute the base due to an incoming dust storm.

Schools Mode #

When students arrive on the base, they carry out a collection of tasks for 30 minutes. These tasks are designed to teach the students about Mars, whilst getting them to use some of the skills that they would have learned in school, all the time encouraging working as a team to search for life on Mars.

Terminals #

The zone has 12 unique stations, each of which has a Unity application to provide tasks themed around the station’s role, for example, Remote Pilots sees vistors control rovers and drones on the surface of Mars, whilst Hydroscience examines different ice cores for traces of gases and searches for signs of life through a digital microscope.

Each of the stations has an RFID reader so it can be unlocked by the relevant keycard, LED lighting to show it’s status, and most of the terminals have custom interactives relevant to the tasks that they are undertaking.

Tech Specs #

  • 12 Terminal Applications, made in Unity
  • Buttons, Joysticks, switches, locks, and LEDs controlled by the Unity applications using UHIDs
  • 3 Player Mars exploration experience controlling rovers and a drone, carrying out tasks on the Martian surface, made in Unity.
  • Voxon volumetric display running a Unity application allowing visitors to explore the Martian surface from space with satellites.

Escape Pod #

Get off of Mars. Fast!.

Escape Pod

After retrieving the speciemens, vistors have to evactate Mars due to the violent dust storm that has hit the base.

Details #

To get off of Mars, the visitors have to pack into the escape pod and work as a team. Pressing the launch buttons at the same time to take off and start the journey back to Earth. After using the warp drive, the pod is put into the perilous position of re-entering the Earths atmosphere. They’re coming in too fast and need to hit the brakes! As a team they need to press the aerobrake buttons to slow the pod down enough to safely return to the surface.

Tech Specs #

  • Custom Unity video player app.
  • !2 Button inputs to control the launch and re-entry of the pod.

Show Programming #

Details #

The whole experience is controlled through a Medialon sever, providing control over 6 distinct zones, controlling lighting effects, sound, video playback and smoke for up to 4 concurrent groups going through the experience.

Responsibilities #

  • Show logic programming for the latter half of the project.
  • UI Control Panel Implementations
  • Brightsign Presentation Creation