Over the years, many improvements have been made to our remote control car and boat attractions. Even so, we still caught ourselves saying "If we were to rebuild the equipment, we would do it differently." Well, in 1995 we finally did just that, we used our thirteen years of experience to redesign the attractions from the ground up.
From design to final product, our new tug closely resembled its real counterpart. The other part of the process was integrating the computer technology and electronics developed for our Hovercraft attraction. With the new technology, we have a tremendous amount of control over how the attractions operate. At each attraction there is a computer terminal that interacts with the attendants, technicians and managers. When something breaks, the attendant places that boat "out of order" by entering the symptoms into the computer. The computer electronically opens the coin acceptor so it rejects tokens and a light indicates that it is not working. Only the technician can put the boat back into service by entering what he did to fix it and indicating what parts were used. Our parts inventory is automatically updated and the information is stored so management can determine what parts are breaking and how often. If there is a trend that indicates a weak link, steps can be taken to modify that part.
The computer can also directly affect the operation of the boat or car by controlling the top-end speed and turning radius. It also can be programmed to control the "off the line speed" by allowing more power to temporarily go to the motor as the player switches into forward or reverse. By using this technique, the cars and boats are much more responsive.
Besides the "behind the scenes" improvements, both attractions have taken on a brand new look and have been designed to be more durable. The design of the new car driver control was noticeably influenced by the dashboard in a real sports car. It was also important to design the attractions to stand up to the day to day exposure to weather, therefore all exposed metal surfaces on the boat controls were replaced with stainless steel.
The car body itself was painstakingly designed in clay to resemble its NASCAR cousin. Two different models are available to suit different locations: the authentic racecar design and the caricature model.
The electronics in the car were designed to be used with a dynomometer to insure that all our cars run at the same speed (important to players who race against each other). The entire front and rear ends can be quickly removed and replaced so the car doesn't have to be out of service while the technician is diagnosing a problem.
The extra money we spend on this type of technology will substantially limit downtime. And if there is one thing we have learned over the years, it's that downtime directly and adversely affects revenue as well as the guest's overall experience.
Designed and Maintained by Bill Elgin. Copyright © 1995-96 Thola Productions. All rights reserved.