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Universal theme park patents could point toward Mario Kart, DK themed attractions

Richie

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Credit to gaffer The Xtortionist for finding this Orlando Business Journal article that brings up the patents in question. It discusses five patents but two of them are especially interesting...

Drift racers: A two-rider, car-based amusement racing attraction with the ability to simulate drifting sensations. Two passengers, who could be in time/points competition with another car, will have control over some aspect of their ride vehicle: The driver would have a steering wheel and an acceleration and brake pedal to control the turning/drifting of the vehicle and speed; the rear passenger would have a control interface with buttons that could control the vehicle or bounce the ride vehicle, provide a boost to the vehicle during the race or affect the performance of another ride vehicle on the track, said the patent. For any Nintendo fan, that description brings to mind the video game company's popular Mario Kart game series. In one version of the series, called Mario Kart: Double Dash, each car had two racers — including a driver and a rear passenger — who controlled the use of items during the race that could impact their car or others in the race.


Boom coaster: This is a unique arm that would attach to a ride vehicle to help enhance rides that appear to be on a track system, but are actually controlled by a separate arm. For example, the arm could be C-shaped connected to a secondary hidden track underneath the track guests see. As a result, rides that have story element breaks in the track — say like an upcoming jump from one track to another — could cause suspense. "Because the passenger may believe that the simulated ride surface controls a path of the passenger vehicle, the passenger may fear or anticipate that the passenger vehicle may crash or otherwise incur damage as a result of the elevated gap," said the patent. This has many fans thinking it could also be related to Nintendo via the Donkey Kong Country video game series, which features areas with cars traveling through dangerous mines filled with jumps, dips and turns.



Rumors pointing toward attractions based on Kart and DK are preeeetty much confirmed now, I think...
 

LordKano

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Will the DK themed rollercoaster have David Wise music ?
It's worthless if that's not the case.
 

HStallion

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They should make an actual cart racing track where I can run kids off the road and give them the Luigi death stare

Will the DK themed rollercoaster have David Wise music ?
It's worthless if that's not the case.

Will there be breaks in the track that the riders have to time just right to make it over the gap?
 
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i'm organizing a trip to japan next year and i noticed something about Mario in USJ (going for Monster the real).Havent really seen news of that anywhere in English media though.
 

LordKano

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The patented "Boom Coaster" ride system opens up design space for "jumps" between different pieces of track, though I wouldn't expect interactivity on this particular ride.

So you can't even get hurt ? Damn, they're making Donkey Kong Country casual.
 

Mushroomer25

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Damn, both of those look really cool. A Donkey Kong Country minecart ride would be perfect, and the 'huge jump' illusion would really wow people. Mario Kart IRL could also be phenomenal, especially if they can simulate the sense of speed & verticality of tracks like Rainbow Road, Koopa Cape, Waluigi Pinball, etc.

Can't wait to ride them in 2020, or whenever they actually finish.
 

SkyMasterson

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A DK mine cart ride sounds amazing.

I seriously cannot wait for all this stuff to be open.

Between the Nintendo stuff at Uni and Star Wars at Disney, it's pretty surreal.
 

OricWindstar

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I didn't think they'd actually do a DK Minecart coaster, but that sounds amazing. And here's hoping they can pull off a Rainbow Road section (complete with music) for the Mario Kart ride.
 

Nights Owl

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That Donkey Kong Ride seems like that sorta thing I didn't know I wanted until you present the idea to me. It'd be so cool to feel like I was doing the first Minecart Level of DKC1. God. I really love the atmosphere in that level. It needs the right music though, or I'll be upset. Lmao. I can only think of DKC1's Minecart music when thinking DK and Minecarts.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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That Donkey Kong Ride seems like that sorta thing I didn't know I wanted until you present the idea to me. It'd be so cool to feel like I was doing the first Minecart Level of DKC1. God. I really love the atmosphere in that level. It needs the right music though, or I'll be upset. Lmao. I can only think of DKC1's Minecart music when thinking DK and Minecarts.

Considering that a well-themed, if traditional roller coaster for DK would probably satisfy most guests, Universal developing an innovative ride system to simulate cart jumps just like in the game shows a high degree of effort for authenticity imo. I definitely wouldn't bet against accurate music and atmosphere at this point.
 

Zackat

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I would just expect the music and thematic aspect of the rides to be top notch. Diagon Alley is pretty incredible.
 

Dark Cloud

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The Harry Potter section of both sides of Universal has to be the most immersive of any area ever. You literally feel like you're in the movie. I loved waiting in the lines because of how you felt like you're in the school and other areas.

I want Nintendo Land to feel just like that. Other areas like the Dr.Seuess section don't quite feel like that because they're so open.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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How are the rides for the Harry Potter stuff? I haven't had a chance to go.

Forbidden Journey (the Hogwarts ride) is considered at least a top 5 dark ride worldwide, often even higher depending on who you ask. It also has maybe the most innovative ride system among dark rides to this day.

Gringotts has exceptional presentation, though the pacing can be a bit wonky for some people. It has some excellent scenes and sets, and one of my favorite openings of any ride. A bit uneven with how it flows, but still very good overall.

Both have industry-leading queues, Gringotts in particular.
 

OricWindstar

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Forbidden Journey (the Hogwarts ride) is considered at least a top 5 dark ride worldwide, often even higher depending on who you ask. It also has maybe the most innovative ride system among dark rides to this day.

Gringotts has exceptional presentation, though the pacing can be a bit wonky for some people. It has some excellent scenes and theming, and one of my favorite openings of any ride. A bit uneven with how it flows, but still very good overall.

Both have industry-leading queues, Gringotts in particular.
I guess my main worry was that I'd imagine the Mario Kart ride is going to be used with a screen, rather than an actual track, which would be a bit of a bummer. But I haven't been to Universal in ages, so I'm sure the tech has gotten way better.
 
May 30, 2013
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I guess my main worry was that I'd imagine the Mario Kart ride is going to be used with a screen, rather than an actual track, which would be a bit of a bummer. But I haven't been to Universal in ages, so I'm sure the tech has gotten way better.

No way. It'd be a huge bummer if Mario Kart USED a track. It'd be the same ride every time, with no meaningful interaction from the players, and the whole point of a Mario Kart ride would be putting you in control. And the only real wau to do that is by being a simulator, where it can be different every time you ride. Not to mention they can update it with new tracks whenever they want
 
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I guess my main worry was that I'd imagine the Mario Kart ride is going to be used with a screen, rather than an actual track, which would be a bit of a bummer. But I haven't been to Universal in ages, so I'm sure the tech has gotten way better.

The patent for Mario Kart doesn't really suggest a simulator of any kind. While some screens may be used, the vehicle is moving along a track with functions built in specifically to simulate drifting. I would maybe expect screens to establish large environments and such. If Universal wanted to build a simulator, (or even a roving simulator) there's already ride systems out there for that.
 

OricWindstar

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No way. It'd be a huge bummer if Mario Kart USED a track. It'd be the same ride every time, with no meaningful interaction from the players. By being a simulator, it can be different every time you ride, not to mention they can update it with new tracks
True, and that's why I totally get why they're doing that. I'm just a sucker for the crazy animatronics and such you get from the more physical rides. The DK ride's tech already has me super pumped.
 
May 30, 2013
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Cool that they are looking into the drifting carts idea. I found this patent which I didn't see in the article: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2016/0287999.html

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160287999.pdf

Which would support multiple cars that can drift and spin out.

The second one looks crazy--I'm just not sure if in a good way or not! Is it suggesting you'll race as packs of three? I guess it could then rotate to represent whomever's in the lead to be in the front

The patent for Mario Kart doesn't really suggest a simulator of any kind. While some screens may be used, the vehicle is moving along a track with functions built in specifically to simulate drifting.

What about the patent makes it seem like a track? I'm not seeing anything that would indicate that, beyond some potential limited forward and back movement. But the patent is pretty vague
 
Aug 19, 2006
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The second one looks crazy--I'm just not sure if in a good way or not! Is it suggesting you'll race as packs of three? I guess it could then rotate to represent whomever's in the lead to be in the front

Yes only glanced over the description so far but it says they'd be able to change position and get different results
 
Jul 29, 2010
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What about the patent makes it seem like a track? I'm not seeing anything that would indicate that, beyond some potential limited forward and back movement. But the patent is pretty vague

The driver would have a steering wheel and an acceleration and brake pedal to control the turning/drifting of the vehicle and speed; the rear passenger would have a control interface with buttons that could control the vehicle or bounce the ride vehicle, provide a boost to the vehicle during the race or affect the performance of another ride vehicle on the track

.
 
Jan 18, 2013
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I guess my main worry was that I'd imagine the Mario Kart ride is going to be used with a screen, rather than an actual track, which would be a bit of a bummer. But I haven't been to Universal in ages, so I'm sure the tech has gotten way better.

Honestly, if any ride begged for VR, it'd be a mario kart one.


Track could mean two things. Either a literal track, or a virtual mario kart one. I think it'd be very tough to safely build a literal track where the ride doesn't boost/slow down at a very deliberate set of points.
 

Dark Cloud

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Yes only glanced over the description so far but it says they'd be able to change position and get different results
So they would tie 3 or 4 karts together with two people in each racing each other?

And it'll somehow be able to maneuver the 3 karts around each other as if they're racing?
 
Jul 29, 2010
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And it'll somehow be able to maneuver the 3 karts around each other as if they're racing?

That's the million dollar question.

The patent doesn't state anything about a trackless ride system, which suggests to me that the vehicles will each run along an individual busbar to power them - this would likely eliminate any cross-crossing potential. It's unclear at the moment how this element will function.

I took that as in reference to the simulated or "in-game" track, since it's a gokart

It specifically mentions other "ride vehicles" that can be interacted with, not "simulated/virtual racers" or something like that.

I suppose it would be possible to like, line up multiple cars in front of a giant screen, though I would think the drift sensation would be incredibly hard to pull off in a pure-simulation setting.
 
May 30, 2013
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It specifically mentions other "ride vehicles" that can be interacted with, not "simulated/virtual racers" or something like that.

And even in that context, "on the track" may not literally mean "on a physical track"

I suppose it would be possible to like, line up multiple cars in front of a giant screen, though I would think the drift sensation would be incredibly hard to pull off in a pure-simulation setting.

I don't think it'd be that hard, considering the entire car seems to be capable of swinging around--that combined with the visuals should be more than enough to sell the effect. Consider that in Soarin Over California, the ride system doesn't isn't even capable of turning at all, yet it feels it
 

Gartooth

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I'm holding hope that the rides make limited use of screens like earlier rumors suggested. I do think some screen applications could be incredible. Like maybe one gets used to simulate driving on Rainbow Road.

Also the patent for an Iron Man ride sounds crazy. Would be incredible if Universal one-upped Disney on that.
 
Aug 19, 2006
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So they would tie 3 or 4 karts together with two people in each racing each other?

And it'll somehow be able to maneuver the 3 karts around each other as if they're racing?

Something like that. Maybe you could suspend the cars from above so they could put a realistic track underneath.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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And even in that context, "on the track" may not literally mean "on a physical track"

I don't think it'd be that hard, considering the entire car seems to be capable of swinging around--that combined with the visuals should be more than enough to sell the effect. Consider that in Sorain Over California, the ride system doesn't isn't even capable of turning at all, yet it feels it

Been perusing the Orlando United forum for reactions and came across this post. He's a trusted member that's been leaking Universal stuff for a long time.

The Kart is to be a busbar of some type. It might even be an inverted busbar which is new to me. Too, the back end of the karts may be designed to slide back and forth when going around corners. Also, the iterations I have seen have it seating four, not two.

The karts seating four fits with Universal's designs. Most of their attractions seat four per row or vehicle.

Inverted busbar would be an interesting concept. So there would be a track the vehicle moves along, but it wouldn't be visible if it's high enough above guests. (woah Graphics Horse with the clutch idea above)

Wish they'd release more official information so we don't have to speculate so much.
 

thefro

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Universal is usually pretty coy about what's in their rides until they open. We'll just know the games being featured and the type of ride when the initial announcement is made.
 
Jul 29, 2010
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Universal is usually pretty coy about what's in their rides until they open. We'll just know the games being featured and the type of ride when the initial announcement is made.

For content, yeah, I'm just curious about the ride systems.

Yeah I'm wondering about this too. Weren't we supposed to get ride announcements for Japan this year? I wonder if F&F delay pushed Nintendo back in Orlando...

That was the rumor. The recent Uni/Nintendo promo video did say we should get new info "soon", whatever that means.