top-driftWhile roaming the alleys of Global Mobile Vision (GMV), I’ve stumbled on the Motion Device (a Korean company) booth in which a Top Drift motion simulator was being demonstrated. I jumped into it and had a really good time. The concept is seemingly simple: use 3 hydraulic cylinders to move a platform around 2 axes (pitch, roll), and rotate the whole system around the Y-axis (pointing up) to allow for left/right (yaw) motion. However, there are not a lot of competitors in this space.

This monster weighs about 620 lbs (280 Kg) and plugs onto a regular 220 Volts outlet, from which it sucks between 1000 and 2000 Watts… 

This setup works particularly well for land vehicles, but it could in theory be used for anything that requires this type of motion, including boats just to cite a very simple example. The demonstration works with the Drift 2 game, but in theory, other racing games could be adapted to it.

The goal here is to create as much immersion as possible, and that was my metric for success. After jumping in, I started to race right away, and oh my – this is a blast. Although I am under the impression that this is not a “simulation” in the scientific sense, it felt right in the context of a game. Things were very fun and I was very quickly more worried about winning the race than about the accuracy of the motion.

In my book, this is the sign that the immersion was believable and entertaining enough to fulfill its purpose. The Top Drift simulator was clearly built for entertainment first, and this was a huge success to me. Check the official video demo:

Before you get excited and order one, this two-seat system costs about $25,000 and the single seater is $20,000. Motion Device’s customers are mainly arcades, theme parks and malls. When I talked to their staff, they mentioned that although it’s not impossible for individuals to purchase one, it’s not the intent.

I can wait to see a good tank battle or maybe a helicopter game running on this simulator. What do you think? Hot or not?

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