'Welcoming the New Mages'
The Queue Line
Guests queue for our experience in a line outside of our project room. The proper experience starts just before they enter the room. An elemental mage greets the guests as new mages and proceeds to give the elemental dragon scales that are outfitted with RFID tags.
Our experience uses Phidget technology. The company defines their product as, "building-blocks for sensing and control using a computer, tablet, or phone" (read more here). Phidgets are well known to bridge the gap between physical interactions and digital software. Moreover, we created our experience with various phidget sensors that interface with a Unity Build.
To create "magical" interactions, we relied on the power of Phidget RFID sensors. In the next sections, I'll explain how the dragon scales we give in the queue is the key for guest to activate interactions throughout the experience.
'The Story of Eigenrac'
Pre Show Video
Our new mages enter the room, thus entering the land of Eigenrac. A new mage shows them a preshow video that explains the history of Eigenrac, elemental mages, and the elemental dragon.
'Learning the Elements'
Introduction to RFID Magic
After learing the history of Eigenrac, the new mages are guided into an area where they can learn how to use the elemental dragon scales. In this area, RFID readers are hidden behind elemental sigil in lasercut boxes. These RFID readers communicate with our Unity program. When guests tap their dragon scale to the right elemental sigil, Unity will turn on a corresponding elemental feature via a DMX dimmer pack:
fire feature = fire cauldrons
wind feature = fans
water feature = a waterfall
'The Elemental Puzzle'
Testing the Guests
Using their new found knowledge, the guests try to unlock the elemental dragons eggs from their cages by solving a puzzle. The puzzle is accompanied with a poem that hints towards the solution.
The puzzle wheel has several elemental symbols inscribed on it, but only three of them are the elemental symbols of fire, water and earth. The guests must align the wheel and tap a dragon scale to the RFID reader if they want to unlock the corresponding elemental egg from its cage; however, they answer is not as simple as tapping the scale with its matching elemental symbol. The poem reveals that each egg requires an elemental power, other than its own, to unlock it.
The elemental puzzle wheel is a giant wooden wheel painted to look stone with elemental symbols covering it. Three of the elemental symbols are fire, water, and air. On the backside of the wheel are magnets that align with these three elementals. When one of these three elemental symbols are aligned with the red arrow, the corresponding magnet will trigger one of three reed switches connected to a computer running the Unity. Since the three elemental symbols have their own corresponding magnet and reed switch, Unity can read which elemental symbol the wheel is pointing at.
The cages holding the elemental dragons eggs were designed in Fusion360 and cut on laser cutters. The doors are on hinges and they are locked by a solenoid underneath its pedestal. An LED strip is also placed underneath the pedestal, and a DMX light is behind the cage. The solenoid and LED strip are controlled by Relay Phidgets. When the guest correctly performs one of the three solutions (detailed above), the LED strip and DMX light of the corresponding egg turn on. After all three solutions are performed, all the DMX lights go white and all of the solenoids locks are deactivated, thus unlocking the cage door.
'The Elemental Dragon'
The Big Reveal
After successfully releasing the elemental eggs from their cages, our new mages take the eggs down one final corridor. As they exit the corridor, they come face to face with the elemental dragon! The roars and billows of smoke coming from its maw shows that the dragon is enraged. The only way to calm the dragon is to put its eggs into the empty nest in the room. Putting the eggs back into nest calms the dragon. At this point, the new mages can approach the dragon and takeaway new scales from the dragon for use in future adventures.
'Watch them Grow!'
Post Show Experience
The main experience has ended and the guests have now left the project room. In the final moments of the main experience, they receive new scales with new RFID tags that can trigger post show videos in rooms across the ETC. These videos will show baby dragons hatching from the elemental eggs, learning their elemental powers, and flying with their mother.
Louise Cutter - CMU Drama 24'
Todd Brown, CMU Lighting Professor in the School of Drama
ETC IT Team: Dave Purta, Steve Audia, Jon Underwood, Bryan Maher
CMU Fire Safety: Shane Schmidt, Jason Heider, Trevor Mahan
ETC Faculty and Staff