The Void VR - Star Wars Secrets of the Empire

Recently while in Florida we spent an hour or so at something called The Void, which is a VR experience with Star Wars that uses portable VR equipment and physical rooms. It’s a rest day today, so wanted to write-up the experience as it had all sorts of tech toys before I forget.

It was excellent. Here’s the marketing blurb site:

I won’t put any spoilers in this before you read on. It’s not really a spoiler type adventure, but it is nicer going in fresh I think.

The Set Up

So the four of us (my wife, plus two teenage kids, with one of the kids pretty keen on Star Wars with everyone else a little less into it) didn’t really know what to expect. You go into a building in Disney Springs, which has a bunch of black t-shirt people in a reception area. Everyone one is like ‘Welcome to the Rebellion, good luck in your mission!’. You then are expected to sign like a thousand page waiver (my wife actually read it, got them to print it and struck out the bits she said made no sense (long story… they said she’s not the first, so were cool with it)) and after that the four of us got ushered into a star wars themed ‘briefing room’.

The mission was outlined by the Mexican guy from the Rogue One movie with a huge screen video. We got to pick some uniform colors on a control panel in-front of us and basically get an explanation of what to do. This is obviously set before that movie (we were told six months or so). The robot K-2SO would accompany us on a behind-the-lines spy mission where we would all pretend to be storm troopers to steal some sort of McGuffin from the planet Mustafar (the lava one that cooked Anakin over-easy on the lack of high ground).

The Tech

Essentially there is backpack that you wear that sports a powerful laptop computer, an Oculus(? there were Oculus logos but the headset felt more like a Vive, so not sure but definitely custom and far better than anything I have at home) based HMD. These weren’t the consumer ones, as different lens as the field of view was wider and the sweet spot bigger. The outfit was pretty impressive, with lots of straps and adjustments. It wasn’t that heavy, but did feature all sorts of vibration/hit impact effects on it. I think a kid would need to be at least 10 or so, so it’s not for the small ones (their site probably has age restrictions, so check). You wear the headset and the jacket pretty tight, sort of like mini scuba gear.

The Void staff ‘crew chief’ helping suiting us up wouldn’t break character when I tried to peek inside the backpack to get some specs. He was all ‘You’re a rebel spy now soldier, get into the gear!’ and I was all ‘Is this Nvidia based with some sort of water cooling?’. I guess after the waivers it was my turn to nerd out.

So the four of us are all suited up, headset on and VR headset down (they flipped up/down, which was really useful in getting suited up and helping others). We then look around and saw each of us as storm troopers (the good kind, i.e. old school New Hope style). The Vive lighthouse base (I checked out the base station tech with one last yell from the Chief) was full body tracking, so effectively we all danced around and it showed each other as dancing storm troopers. You looked down at your hands and saw your arms, white armor and all, as if in storm trooper uniform. Crazy!

Audio-wise we had good headphones/mic’s so could hear between the four of us fine, albeit with a ‘radio’ audio filter (sort of like DCS SimpleRadio).

The room then transformed so we were standing in an imperial shuttle (stolen) with the ever sarcastic K-2SO leaning over us from the cockpit above. You could walk around the shuttle bay as it flew down to the planet and touch the walls and then actually feel stuff on them. It was a pretty immersive thing, although with that nagging doubt you might walk into a wall at first.

My wife’s impression of VR is basically ‘a device to make you see less, while inducing vomit’ but she felt great in this. The fact that everything is one-to-one and no ‘pretend’ movement at room scale is a huge thing for VR. It was hilarious for the four of us to dance around ignoring orders - much laughter. Our shoulder pads were the colors we chose of troopers in the mission briefing, plus the audio was directional, so it was easy to figure out who was who, even in full storm trooper uniform.

The Mission

So no spoilers but it was great. Lots of shooting, running, puzzles and teamwork. About 20 minutes, which felt about right. We obviously didn’t take it as seriously as you could of (my daughter’s reaction to be told to take out targets by her brother was to shoot him and all of us in the face) but it had a plot and pace. You pick up and use physical objects, which is very immersive. The body tracking means you can duck behind cover. The suit actually lets you feel where you get hit by gun fire with a thud (I got shot a lot). When you get near lava it feels really hot. You can smell sulfur. You go through doors and walkways as the mission continues, with physical doors and floors really being there.

It was pretty neat.


We would definitely do it again. It was about $140 for the four of us, which in Disney is basically a cup of coffee and a 5 second wink from the Mouse :wink: It was obviously more fun in a group, and nice in that you didn’t need to be into VR, and would actually be a great introduction if you’ve not tried it. The Void has locations in a few places, so this isn’t just a Disney World thing.

They do a horror (nope!) and a Ghostbusters experience at other locations, but after trying this, it does feel like there is a lot of potential for all sorts of fun things. It probably takes less room than something like a ‘laser tag’ arena (the ‘rooms’ or scenes we were in were probably not really that big in reality, but of course we couldn’t tell), and there is so much they could do with these toys.


That sounds frikkin awesome.

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Almost convinces me to find 3 other people and go to Disney :slight_smile:

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I could picture one of these is pretty much every mall / cinema in the future. The company is SLC, Utah based and seems to be opening a ton of places around Europe and the US.

Unlike a lot of attractions, they could reconfigure it to lots of things as fashions etc change. I bet a big cut of the money we gave them goes to Disney for the Star Wars license as well. More unique things could be cheaper if they scale up a bit.

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The Star Wars ones seem pretty locked down to the Mouse.

The Ghostbuster’s one, which seems like a fun fit what with ‘crossing the steams’ and backpacks etc and all that is at a few more places, including Toronto, Canada…

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