(Click on images below to view full-size versions.)
The Virtual Brewery is an immersive Virtual Environment experience
developed for Sapporo Beer of Japan. The exhibit is permanently
installed in the Visitor's Center of Sapporo's new office building
located in the Yebisu Gardens Place Development in the Ebisu area of
Tokyo - originally the site of Sapporo's Yebisu Brewery built in 1887. The Virtual Brewery has been opened to the general public 6 days a week since the complex opened in October.
The visitor's experience begins with a view of Sapporo's old Yebisu
Brewery under construction at the end of the 19th Century. Suddenly,
they plunge through the image into a virtual world containing a 3D,
color reconstruction of the old brewery:
Inside the brewery, visitors discover a modern control room with large
windows overlooking different areas of the Beer- making process:
Brewing, Fermentation, Filtration, and Bottling. During their visit
they can choose a tour of one of the 4 areas. Each visit is about 5
minutes in duration.
For example, if the visitor chooses the fermentation process, they
enter a tank where yeast is added to the cooled wort. Inside the
tank, they fly through a vast liquid-filled space that contains a 3D
representation of the molecular structure of beer and its components.
Each of the elements has a unique sound associated with it and
additional sounds surround the visitor when various objects interact
with each other.
If the visitor chooses a different process in the control room, they
can enter another virtual world at a different scale that represents
that stage in the brewing process. Because of time limits for each
visitor, one experience can be explored at a time and a return visit
is required to see additional experiences. The scenarios are designed
to provide a quick and entertaining introduction to the elements,
equipment, and science used in the process of brewing beer.
The exhibit is designed to allow different levels of interaction with
the Virtual Brewery world:
The primary viewing station provides a head-coupled, high- resolution,
stereoscopic color viewer that is comfortably used like a pair of very
wide-angle binoculars looking into the virtual space (Fakespace
BOOM3C+ Viewer). Realistic, 3D localized sound cues are linked to
characters and events in the virtual space by means of a special 3D
sound system (Crystal River Engineering AcoustetronII). And, the
virtual environment is generated by a high performance, real-time
computer graphics platform (Silicon Graphics ONYX Reality EngineII).
Surrounding this station, there are 12 additional 3D viewing stations
where visitors can see and hear the experience through the viewpoint
of the BOOM user as they navigate through the virtual world.
Also, a large rear-screen video projector and several monitors display
2D images and sounds of the virtual world throughout the exhibit
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