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Since 1954, the U-505 Submarine exhibit has been a popular draw at Chicago’s world-renowned Museum of Science and Industry (MSI). And while the submarine’s WWII technology was still quite fascinating to audiences, the museum’s leadership recognized the need for a modern new media component to enhance visitor engagement.

Chicago-based creative agency Leviathan was brought aboard by the Lincolnwood, Illinois–based design agency Luci Creative to help rethink the concept of a “diving simulator” attraction across three interactive stations. Each station used 4-D sound, three large screens and console game–quality graphics via the Unreal Engine, as well as analog controls for each of the three simulation units, engineered and fabricated by the Lincolnwood-based fabricator Ravenswood Studio.

The result provides visitors with a unique opportunity to interact with the past. In each station, visitors first receive training on the U-boat’s unique physical controls, along with information on the dangers that submarine drivers, or planesmen, had to face to avoid capture or destruction, like evading torpedoes, depth charges and catastrophic water pressure. Next, visitors are catapulted into a thrilling mission where the fates of ship and crew are placed solely in their hands.

Leviathan’s leaders also addressed the intricacy behind the simulation’s design and development. “Balancing historical accuracy with modern technology can be challenging, and the MSI team gave us latitude to design navigational elements inspired by the sub, which actually improve users’ experiences,” says Leviathan cofounder and president Chad Hutson. “For example, we developed the dive controls to make sense to modern gamers… and unlike the real planesmen of the past, visitors are able to watch all the drama unfold right before their eyes across a mesmerizing panoramic display.”

lvthn.com

lucicreative.com

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