Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Creating the Experience

How exactly does a small converted classroom or trailer get turned into a star ship? If you are going to understand how that works we'll have to give you a peek into how the simulators work.

As explained before, each of the students on a flight are given a position on the ship. Almost all of them have a computer station except for a few positions like the Captain and the Ambassador. On their station they will have the controls to different parts of the ship. Some control the engines and steer the ship while others repair any damages that occur to the ship. This is very unlikely when all you are doing is investigating a spacial anomaly near a suspected black hole on the other side of an unnavigable asteroid belt. These stations they control their ship as they try to accomplish their mission.

On the other side of the curtain is where the magic happens. Separated from the bridge of the ship is a small control room. In this control room is the Flight Director and staff which is generally made up of volunteers. They also have computers that allow them to see what is going on inside the ship and what the students are doing. Now, without giving away too much about what goes on to destroy the illusion, I'll tell you that the story is developed and the students are able to interact with endless possibilities from the control room . This is unlike any computer game. The result of what happens in a computer game is somewhat fixed and once it has been programmed, it will respond the same every time. In the control room, the students decisions are processed into lighting, sound, and visual effects.

In order for a classroom to be changed into a star ship you will need some computers, the programs for the stations, a sound system, a tv or projector (so the students can see where they are going and what's happening around them), a separate control room, and some trained employees & volunteers with lots of imagination. Of course to help out the visiting students imaginations, we do all we can to make the classroom look like a space ship. That way when they step into the ship they're instantly transported into another world and they can immediately begin enjoying the experience. It is no small task to create this kind of experience which is why we are reaching out to build this as a community and need any help you have to offer.

No comments: