A Study in Virtual Queues
2021 - CART 457: Independent Study I,
Concordia University, Montreal
This study in queue design was undertaken as an independent study project to explore techniques for environmental storytelling as a pre-show queue experience, at once providing context for an accompanying ride as well as keeping guests entertained. Built virtually using the Unity engine, guests can look around and zoom-in using a mouse, but cannot control their forward progress, only periodically advancing for a full 30-minute experience. The completed work was displayed at the Concordia Design & Computation Arts year-end show, projected onto a wall large enough to fill peripheral vision and create a sense of immersion in the experience.
I modelled all 3D assets in Blender and textures were a combination of stock images and original graphic design. The original treatment document outlining the queue as well as reference material can be found here.
Upon entering the show building, guests find themselves in the circular rotunda of a 19th century style edifice, updated with all the trappings of a modern museum. Hallways stretch out of reach to unseeable galleries and posters advertise upcoming exhibits.
From the rotunda, the queue leads into an exhibit on "The Marlen Beach Tablets", which the displays explain are a set of undeciphered artifacts found in the stomach of an unidentified beached creature. The creature's enormous skeleton hangs articulated from the ceiling.
Moving deeper into the exhibit, guests pass by the Marlen Beach Tablets themselves. Their scrimshaw surfaces are carved with strange and unsettling images and they seem to glow with an otherworldly light as a storm can be heard growing outside.
Exiting the exhibit, guests find themselves in one of the administrative hallways of the museum, home to various offices. However, the paint begins to peel and the smell of sea air hangs heavy in the air. A strange metamorphosis overtakes the far end of the corridor.
The museum's stately architecture gives way to a damp subterranean tunnel. Fossils and living invertebrates alike cover the smooth stone walls and somewhere deeper rushing water can be heard. Guests have certainly been transported somewhere beyond the museum's walls.
Exiting the tunnel, the ceiling arches high to reveal a subterranean city in ruins. Bizarre carvings in the architecture suggest a civilization both ancient and not altogether human. At the far end of the hall, coaster trains periodically pass through the station, gathering passengers for the next journey into the unknown.