View Full Version : First steps into the world of Haunting

Red Elvis
07-21-2007, 10:34 PM
I am proud to say that my company made its first foray into Haunting at the start of the month in Columbus Ohio.

We were allowed by Origins( www.originsgames.com ) There we presented, 'TerrorWerks', a imaginative, immersive, interactive and for most who attended an adreneline rush of action and terror.

We were given a 6000sq. ft ballroom which we sectioned off into hallways and rooms to represent a orbiting mining station. We then dressed the set with numerous items to aid in the transformation. Players wound their way through from the cargo bay filled with boxes to the Reactor Core that pulsated and for most of the event was on the verge of a meltdown.

The guests were given various roles from Space Marines to Engineers and even a weasely corporation officer. The Marines were given tactical vests, helmets, goggles and a lowpowered airsoft gun. Engineers were given tools and other gear to help them solve some of the mechcanical problems facing the station. The Corporation officers had top secret information about the mining station, access to some of the computers in the station and a bit of knowledge about what was at the heart of the reason the station had lost communication.

After suiting up the guests were given a briefing by our In Character Platoon Leaders who informed that they were awakened from Cryo sleep to investigate why the Mineratek Mining Station had lost contact. They then boarded a Shuttle that would take them to the station itself. As they boarded they could hear the shuttle powering up. As they took their seats they could actually feel the rumble of the engines vibrate the chairs.

After about 5 minutes of flight time they docked with the space station. The Platoon leader then orders the Marines to secure the first room, the cargo bay. Followed by the engineers and Corp. Officer they come to the first Bulk head door. This door has a lock on it that requires a Yellow clearence key card that the Corp. has in their possession. When the key is inserted the panel attached to the door lights up and allows them entrance to the station.

The Marines lead the way with their laser sights cutting through the dark hall that leads the the Geology lab. Here they find another bulk head door that is looked, tons of mineral specimens and a computer. The Bulk head door here is broken with a work notice on it. The parts are located in the Cargo bay. A few marines are sent back to look for them amongest the hundred or so boxes. During their investigation the marines are attacked by a zombie crew member smashing through the boxes. Here they have the first chance to do some shooting and kill it rather quickly. Once they find the part they bring it back to the engineer who then wires it into the door lock. With this completed the door panel lights up and allows them to continue. While this is going on the Corp. Officer has a chance to check out the computer system but finds most of the system from this access point is blocked off. At this time they hear the stations computer system announce that the reactor is going to go critical and meltdown in 45 minutes.

The Platoon leader urges them on with the gusto of a hard charging marine. Gets them all fired up as they move into the next room, Med lab. Here they find their first survivor who begs them not to continue. He has locked this part of the station off from the rest and tries to get them to take him off the station. As they search the room they find various strange embryos in specimen jars. They also locate another computer they can access that has more information about what is going on. It relates how the miners located a strange rock on the planets surface and brought it up to the station. In fact it was an clutch of several eggs that soon hatched and escaped. There are medical logs detailing the infection as crew members are impregnated by the hatchings.

Taking a key card from the survivor the marines move through the next bulk head door into the command control room. Here they are swarmed by 4-6 'Aliens' that shriek madly as they attack. Gun fire erupts as the marines attack and attempt to move into the room. Another warning from the stations computer indicates less time to get the reactor back online. The warnings are timed to the players action. They have 45 minutes roughly from entering the station to make it through the rooms and fix the reactor. It is here in command and control that they can access another computer that has all the final information needed. It details how they need to fix the reactor. Four control rods need to be replaced. These rods have been scattered over the station by some of the survivors to keep the aliens from spreading beyond the station. Also in the room will be a seemingly dead body or two that at times will get up and attack as a crew member who is dying and infected with an alien embryo. At the far side of the room they find another bulk head door that needs to be rewired. The engineer has his work cut out for them as they have to put the wires into a connector in the right order.

Once they do this the panel lights up and they can continue on into the ore processing room. Noise now fills their senses as the processor bangs away loudly. It almost muffles the screams of the aliens as they attack the first marines through the door. As the battle starts more aliens attack from the rear moving through from other parts of the station. The marines should be able to secure the room and here they have a chance to relax a bit as the engineer works to open the next bulk head. Once open they are once again attacked as they try to enter the Reactor room. Here they have to use the control rods that they hopefully have located already to stop the reactor. The reactor dominates one corner of the room and its lights pulsate in the dark. More attacks occur as the aliens move about the station. If the engineer can get the control rods in properly the reactor has four columns that will begin spinning. Success! If they don't get it done in time then the station explodes.

Once the station is saved they then have to make it back to the shuttle and save any survivors that they have found. This again forces them to fight both aliens and zombies to get back to safety. If they save the station and get back to the shuttle they find their seats and can feel the the rumble of the trip back.

Lights up and the sweating, excited guests can then take all their gear off and trade war stories. Also this is a chance for them to visit our gift shop. Get a real United States Space Marine patch, Dog Tag and even a realistic Field manual that details close quarter combat in space.

This was a huge undertaking and while not on the level of many of the excellent haunts out there it is something that I think was unique. It merged the Haunt concept with a live action storyline that you could immerse yourself into. During some of the runs the guests would really get into the acting out of their characters. For example two Corporate officers fought over whether they should save the station and secure one of the aliens for study or destroy them completely and let the station blow up. The Marines were stuck in the middle as the two began arguing. Another time one of the Corps ordered two of the marines who were almost out of ammo to capture alive one of the Aliens and bring it back onto the ship.

For those who are fans of the movie 'Aliens' this was our homage to it. We really played up the space marine aspect with the gear we used and the actors we had playing the platoon leaders. The leaders were there as guides to help the guests if they got stuck and to provide some motivation to keep them moving. We had some really good 'Drill sgts' tirades as guests would use too much ammo or not be aggressive enough in moving forward. The guests loved it and those that came back through later actually started getting into the character of their marines and yelling as well.

We probably saw about 500 guests go through our event over the course of four days. Each group was between 3 and 18 guests at a time. One of the highlights was Richard Hatch aka Apollo from the original 'Battlestar Galactica' showed up to play.

This being our first year running it we were on a very tight budget when it came to walls(black plastic and fabric drapes), Bulk head doors were made out of PVC, and other home depot construction items.

The Aliens wore a latex chest piece and tentacled mask. The highlight of the costume were Demon wings that were from Spectre studios. They donated several awesome items and sponsored the event for us. We were proud to have their representive, Stephan, in attendence. In addition to the wings they provided an excellent zombie kit(chest peice, gloves and mask) as well as some incredible prop tools.

Anyone who is thinking of buying a set of their wings all I can say is DO IT! They are the best in looks and also durablitly. Our actors were rolling in them, getting shot at, and flying against walls and not one of them showed any sign of wear.

The soundtrack was designed so that each room had its own seperate tracks playing. Above all that were the computer warnings giving the guests an idea of how much time was left.

It was beautifully timed from the moment they entered the shuttle, felt the seats actually rumble under their butts to the moment they either succeeded or blew up.

Here are some pics and video. While it looks bright remember that it is almost completely dark inside so the effect is somewhat lost unless you were really there.



As we do more conventions we are going to tighten up and make it look more and more like a real station. Its not much yet but we will grow!!

07-22-2007, 10:48 AM
Looks very cool.....how many guest did you run thru?

Red Elvis
07-23-2007, 02:28 PM
Total was about 500 people. We moved groups through at roughly 15-18 guests per hour. No where near what most haunts do but at the same time it was a much more personal experience.

Already have two conventions wanting us to set up for them. So we are going to be growing and adding alot more scenary and action to the events

07-23-2007, 02:43 PM
This may not be a fair question, but didn't you lose alot of money with only 500 people?

Red Elvis
07-23-2007, 03:02 PM
Yes and no. Our partner did but he did not prepare himself for the possibility of a lose.

Most of our expenses were already covered by the fairly profitable airsoft events company we run in Florida. The gear that we use is stuff that we already use for police and corporate training. The biggest expense for us was actually traveling to the event and transporting all the gear.

The convention supplied us with the room, pipe & drape, and advertising.

We ran this first year knowing we would lose money but it came down to something we have always wanted to do and we can see in the future as we add more to the event the price will rise and we pretty much know that we will be sold out. Next year we are going to add more hours to the event and if we can secure the space we might have two sets running at the same time.

Hopefully thats a decent understandable answer. Overall it was a blast to do and worth all the effort.

07-25-2007, 03:05 AM
hi (first post for me in this forum),

i am having something like this on my mind for quite some time now. i live in germany and haunted houses are quite rare, so i think this would be a great opportunity. as i am thinking about telling stories and let people solve riddles and mysteries and fight creatures, i am very interested in your concept. i was thinking about using airsofts, too. what type were you using and wasn't it too dangerous for the actors?