Park Tae-hyeon, head of the park planning team at Samsung C&T Resort Division, which manages Everland family park, was shocked when he first saw EntoSoft's three-dimensional positioning technology two years ago. It was when he was considering remodeling Mystery Mansion, a ride that was built 15 years ago. The team wanted to transform the old ride into a 3D shooting game utilizing virtual reality (VR). However, they could not find the technology that allows multiple players to experience VR games at the same time.
"I visited not only theme parks around the world but renowned VR companies, but we could not find the technology we wanted. VR games that many people watch together were less elaborate, and more elaborate VR technology could only be shared between a couple of people,” the Samsung C&T official said.
It was when he almost gave up the project that he accidently met Park Young-bong, CEO of EntoSoft. After working successfully as an internet shooting game developer at a game company, Park left the company at the end of 2014 and set up EntoSoft. At the time, he had just completed the VR technology that he had been developing for 2 years and 6 months. He was confident in the technology but had no chance to test it in a real-world environment. Samsung C&T and EntoSoft immediately started developing shooting games using VR technology. About a year after that, on July 19, a game named Shooting Ghost debuted at Everland. The result was a great success.
Shooting Ghost is an indoor game where users aboard a four-passenger car shoots ghost holograms that appear in every direction. It is popular with families visiting with children as each player can check their own score and compare them in real time. The number of users is growing rapidly. Park said, "The satisfaction level of Shooting Ghost is 92 out of 100, almost equal to Everland's most popular ride, the roller coaster T-Express." The satisfaction level of the previous game was only about 60-70 points.
EntoSoft’s Park never expected that his technology would be applied to a theme park. "I wanted to develop a technology similar to the one in the movie 'Minority Report,' where you can control your computer with hand movements. In the process of development, we needed a location tracking technology that can exchange the hologram location information with the computer quickly."
To accurately and quickly measure the location of many people, EntoSoft introduced a new type of algorithm that measures distance by transmitting radio waves at intervals. Park said, "It is possible to trace more than 100 objects at the same time from 100 meters away with the error range of 1 cm." There are many places to utilize the technology. Initially, Park aimed to commercialize the technology for a dinosaur theme park using VR technology. It is technologically not difficult to enable people to experience dinosaurs vividly through VR devices. But the technology that allows hundreds of viewers to see the same dinosaurs at different locations at the same time has not been commercialized yet. Park said, "There is a huge difference between people seeing VR alone and people experiencing the same reality through VR at the same time." In this regard, he added, EntoSoft's 3D positioning technology is unique in the world. At the moment EntoSoft owns eight patents registered in Korea. It is seeking to gain patents in the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan.
Collaboration with Samsung C&T, which owns the largest theme park in Korea, gave Park a big chance. "It is almost impossible for a startup to get a chance to apply its technology to a place like Everland where lots of users can participate,” said Park. The biggest achievement is creating Shooting Ghost through collaboration with Samsung C&T. “Government officials and large corporations, who have been giving cold shoulders at first, change their attitude as soon as they see Shooting Ghost,” said Park. Entosoft is currently working with the Ministry of National Defense to develop a land, sea, and air operational conference system that utilizes VR technology. Reportedly, it is also talking with global IT companies for new projects.
Samsung C&T also gained a lot of benefits. First, it reduced the cost of developing a ride to one quarter. It is planning to apply for a patent with the Shooting Ghost’s VR–related technology. It is also exploring ways to apply the relevant technology to other rides. "If the related technology is accumulated, we will be able to export it to theme parks around the world," said a company official.