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The VOID puts virtual-reality experience into motion

The VOID, which provides multisensory, immersive virtual-reality experiences, is currently presenting its “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” interactive simulation at the Glendale Galleria.

After debuting its “Ghostbusters: Dimension” at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square in New York City last July, the VOID has hosted hyper-reality experiences at 10 locations around the world.

The new “Star Wars” experience is a collaboration between the VOID and ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s new laboratory for immersive entertainment, and it offers up to four guests the chance to complete a mission in the “Star Wars” universe.

The VOID distinguishes itself from stationary virtual-realty experiences by requiring participants to physically move through a course while completing a variety of tasks in order to reach the end, according to company officials.

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After checking in and signing a standard liability waiver, visitors are given a wristband and queued up to receive a backpack that stores a computer and a set of goggles, which together make the visual, interactive experience possible.

“We do use Occulus in our headset,” said Cliff Plumer, the company’s chief executive. “But we also use companies like Nvidia and the Unreal Engine from Epic [Games].”

Once the goggles and backpacks are adjusted, visitors step into the course and the environment transforms.

Visitors are suddenly on a spaceship with walls of sheet metal and sweeping windows that offer views of Mustafar, a lava-covered planet that plays host to the climax of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.”

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“We believe that there’s an audience looking for new types of entertainment, whether that be people who have always loved bowling or people who are now getting into escape rooms,” Plumer said.

“We’ve observed that people actually do want to go out, and the VOID offers that type of live, social experience,” he added.

“I would happily go back again because it was something unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before,” said Kat Silverston, a mall visitor. “Being a huge ‘Star Wars’ dork, this was right up my alley.”

“I really didn’t know what to expect going in, but it’s my friend’s birthday, so we decided to give it a shot,” said Sam Jeong, another mall visitor. “It was awesome”

Perry Fein is a contributing writer for Times Community News.


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