The hardware configuration was designed in-house by maelstrom and includes 2 projected views and also two other views shown on LCD screens. The two large (2.5m x 3.5m) projected views show the live and immersive underwater scene - one view looks ahead along the ocean floor and the other view shows the creatures swim by overhead and through the scene. Both projectors have 1:1 ratio lenses, this means that we can position the projectors very close to the screens allowing for better contrast of image during daylight open times.
The first of the two LCD screens is an information screen, this displays interesting creature specific information such as size, diet, habitat and also when they lived. The final screen is an interactive view-screen which has two joystick controls for zooming in and rotating around the creature on screen at that time - great for getting a closer look at the creatures.
The software is designed to introduce seven different creatures at random intervals. It gives the audience a seamless immersive underwater experience similar to an aquarium tunnel, except these creatures lived over 165 million years ago. The image above shows the creature information screen, this displays the current creature that is passing through the virtual scene on the overhead projected screens. Also displayed on here is the creatures name, evolutionary, dietary, habitat & scale information.
Working closely with the museum experts including Mark Evans (Curator) we honed the creature animations to be as accurate as possible, this is also true of the underwater environment that the creatures inhabit.
The the final screen in an interactive controllable (zoom & rotate) view that orbits around each creature whilst it is in the scene. This view enables users to get a much closer look at the creatures under their own control.