Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Design a Week #3 - Caverns of Charybdis

Here is this week's design project for my own amusement.  This one took 2 weeks because of my unusual work schedule and the Sketchup complexity.  This time, I've figured out how to do a "ride-through" video.  You can watch the video on the right or click HERE to see it without the vehicles and track.  There are short scene descriptions behind the cut as well.


The Charybdis Caves River Ride Company provides a unique adventure for the whole family! Our 4-passenger barrel boat rides combine the thrill of river rafting with the mystery of cave exploration. Hop on board our unique and unsinkable barrel boats and take a spinning journey through the legendary whirlpool caves of the Charybdis River.

In Ancient Greek mythology, Charybdis was the sea serpent goddess responsible for the creation of whirlpools. Local legend tells us that Charybdis sleeps below the river in these caves and the numerous whirlpools are the gateway to her realm. We’ve never seen her ourselves and our boats are specially designed not to get stuck in the whirlpools. Sorry, you probably won’t encounter any monsters on your ride today but the caves are spectacular. Time to board. Your swirling journey on the Charybdis River awaits.

The Caverns or Charybdis attraction is a combination of dark ride, river rapids ride and roller coaster. Although the boats are in contact with and propelled by the movement of the water, they are not floating. Instead, they are suspended from a single rail track hidden in the ceiling. This track keeps the boats upright and controls their path. However, the boats are free-spinning and swinging so they move in a unique way depending on rider weight distribution and contact with water and the sides of the flume. By moving the track out of alignment with the flume, spinning and tilting is intentionally created. The ride is also enhanced in several scenes by lifting the boat out of the water completely to allow for short “suspended roller coaster” effects like drops and banks.

I have some still shots in a Flickr Set as well:

The 12 show scenes are described below with brief technical notes after each.

Scene 1: Load
Riders board boats that look like large half-barrels with a fake sail mast mounted on top. The boats seat 4 passengers on 2 benches that are back to back.

Tech: The spinning mechanism is locked in this scene for ease of boarding. Boats are advanced through the load stations by chain drives on the overhead track.

Scene 2: Caves
The boat bob and spin through the iridescent caves. The boat also tilts and bounces slightly off the rocks at the edge of the river.

Tech: The boats are propelled by the movement of the water but the tilting and bumping is caused by moving the overhead track out of alignment of with the flume.

Scene 3: The Whirlpool
The boat enters a large chamber with a swirling whirlpool in the center. Instead of passing around it as planned, the boat gets caught in the whirlpool and sucked down through it.

Tech: The overhead track lifts the boats just above the water for this scene. This circular drop to the lower floor is gravity driven like a roller coaster.

Scene 4: Temple of Charybdis
Riders splash down into a decaying underground temple made of Greek columns. Suddenly, the tail of a giant sea serpent snaps one of the columns in half over the boat. As riders pass the tail, they see another barrel boat that crashed into this temple long ago.

Tech: The boats land back in the water after the drop and are propelled by the water movement again.

Scene 5: A Rock and a Hard Place
In a large chamber filed with rocks and whirlpools, the boat spins and bounces around the large green humps of the sea serpent.

Tech: The boats briefly lift out of the water and are driven by inertia and gravity over the whirlpools.

Scene 6: Wonders of Water
In another chamber of the underground temple, Charybdis displays her power over water. The boat twists and turns through the rooms while surrounded by a spectacle of dancing water spouts and overflowing vases.

Tech: This room features small choreographed dancing fountains integrated into the scenery between the flumes.

Scene 7: From the Depths
The boat swings violently as it is pulled toward a large vertical whirlpool on the wall. The sea serpent erupts from the center of the whirlpool and leads the boat around the corner into a large chamber.

Tech: The boats are lifted above the water and gravity driven through a sharp turn, which causes the boat to swing toward the whirlpool.

Scene 8: The Monster
In a large chamber, the monster Charybdis reveals herself as a 30’ tall monster. She grabs the boat, lifts it high up to her face and tells the riders that they don’t belong in her realm. She then throws the boat into a spinning vortex.

Tech: The large animatronic Charbdis moves her hand in sync with a chain drive that pulls the boats out of the water and up to the top of the room.

Scene 9: The Vortex
Riders fall from Charybdis’ hand into a spinning tunnel of water created by her spiraling serpentine body.

Tech: This is a gravity driven drop back to the 2nd floor.

Scene 10: The Tail End
The boat splashes down into cave where the barrel ride started. Charybdis reminds them of their encounter with a quick wave of her tail before they leave.

Tech: After the splash down, the rest of the ride is propelled by the movement of the water in the flume.

Scene 11: Back to the Caves
Riders pass through the last of the iridescent caves of the Charybdis River before returning home.

Scene 12: Unload
Riders disembark the boats in a similar room to Scene 1.

Tech: The spinning mechanism is locked in this scene. Boats are advanced through the unload stations by chain drives on the overhead track.


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