Wuhan Movie Park Star Journey Ride - Comet Storm Sequence (2012)

In 2012 I was contracted by my good friend and mentor Allen Yamashita to help out on a motion platform attraction for a new theme park in Wuhan, China. It was to be a Star Tours-style motion platform ride that cycled through a series of scenarios resulting from a spaceship trip through a black hole. I was initially tasked with writing specific beat-sheets for the three space-based and three alien-planet based scenarios, of which the rider would experience one of each randomly with every ride. I painted concept storyboards for the three space-based segments as well as the connecting trip through the black hole myself, and well as developing "look boards" and art-directing the storyboarding of the other 3 sequences.

This first segment involved your convoy of ships being overtaken by a "comet storm", only to fly through the core of an exploding planet as a comet collides with it.

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We exit the black hole to a beautiful star field. The long tails of comets streak by ever closer as we are overtaken by the storm.

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Comets streak by from behind ever closer as we’re overtaken by the storm. Hail beats down on the hull as we watch a glancing impact spin our sister ship around, not moments before—

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--We’re hit ourselves! We’re knocked around until we’re looking straight into the mouth of the storm… and the mother of all comets in the center of it. Captain hits full reverse and we shoot past our sister ships facing the wrong direction–-

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--but not fast enough! The spinning ice and rock still bears down on us, its dumbbell-shape sweeping closer with every tumble. Captain times it-- launches us straight toward the comet, following the tumbling form into the tail but—

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-- WHAM!! We’re knocked spinning into its dense wake! We’ve lost power to main thrust and we’re being dragged along in its slipstream. What’s worse, on the monitor the first mate plots its trajectory straight at the planet!

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As we weave in and out of the debris tail with attitude jets we watch a smaller comet impact a moon in a massive explosion of ejecta.

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One of the Shenzhou ships is headed right for a collision with a chunk of ejected rock, but a comet knocks the debris like a billiard ball right at the point of collision and the ship passes between them unharmed.

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The first mate screams that we need to get clear now, but the captain boldly retorts that the safest path is through the impact point, all debris will shoot outward from there, just as we saw with the sister ship.

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No time to argue as before us the impossible happens – the core of the comet collides with the planet, cleaving it in a world-shattering explosion.

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As the planet splits asunder, we fly between the monoliths of shattered molten core as titanic forces are unleashed—

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--until the massive pull of gravity draws them back together again. The door is closing fast, and the colossal masses threaten to crush us --

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We escape in the nick of time, our sister ships passing unharmed ahead of us until the concussion hits. The captain tries valiantly to keep the ship righted, but as we watch our sister ships fail and spin, so do we, in time to watch the planet collapse.

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The captain rights the ship, riding the shock wave at unheard-of speeds toward our destination.