|D-Box Quest Integrated Motion Simulation System|
|Home Theater Accessories Furniture & Racks|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Wednesday, 01 June 2005|
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Software is provided either by CD-ROM or by an Internet subscription. Each CD-ROM contains one year of titles, which comes to approximately 100 movie motion tracks. The cost of each CD is $250, or about $2.50 per movie. If you purchase the Kinetron controller, you get one CD loaded free, a $250 value. If you want all the available movies, sign up for hte annual internet update subscription for which you will need to dish out an additional $250 per year to capture all the new releases as they come. First time subscribers will receive Volumes 103 for free (a $750 value). Update subscriptions are also available via CD-Rom at $500 per year, the additional fee covering production and shipping charges.
The set-up is as easy as unpacking the chair, placing it in your room and plugging in the power, then making the connection to either your PC running the D-BOX software or to the Kinetron Controller. You will then need to load the CD-ROM and wait about two hours while the F/X codes are uncompressed and loaded into your controller. After this initial loading process, all you need to do is load the DVD movie and the controller will figure out which one of the preloaded F/X codes to use. If you are playing music or an unsupported movie, make sure to select the correct simulation mode. You may also need an Ethernet connection to update the firmware or get newer F/X codes from the subscription service if you opt for it.
Music and Movies
“The Incredibles” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment) is the recent Oscar-winning animated adventure that tells of a superhero family out to save the world. The DVD F/X codes had not yet been released at the time we demoed the movie at D-BOX, so this was a rare opportunity to check out the motion-enabled version right as it came off the developer’s computer. I had never seen the movie before, so I was startled whenever a dramatic action scene occurred. The giant robot fight in the finale featured pounding rumbles when the robot arms crashed into buildings. The earthshaking steps of the robots brought up equally amazing movements as well. The chairs would drift from left to right slightly during the flying sequences, giving the user a floating feeling. “The Incredibles” is rich in action content, so there were never more than a few minutes where little movement was felt during the film.
“I, Robot” (Fox Home Entertainment) is the action-packed thriller that hit the big screen last summer. If you went to CES this year, you probably saw this movie a dozen times, since they made a HD-DVD version to promote the new format. The car in the tunnel scene was definitely one of the more intricate action sequences to employ D-BOX’s programmed motion. All the little details, from the robot punching in the car’s windshield to the stutter of gunfire, are captured by the F/X motion codes. My favorite effect was when the left side of the car ran over a dead robot. The front left side of the chair lifted, then quickly shifted to the back left of the chair rising up and then sharply falling back to normal. It felt just like when I ran over my 40-year-old yuppie neighbor. Okay, I just fantasized about it. I would never actually run him over, although the thought has crossed my mind a few times – he does complain about my stereo being too loud.
The Gap Band’s The Best of the GAP Band (Mercury) album is full of old-school funk tracks. The bass-intensive “Wide” is rich with bongos and a pounding bass drum that normally requires me to get permission to turn on my subwoofer from my downstairs tenant. I thought this would be a good demo for the D-BOX system while visiting their facility. The track began with just the bongos and the feeling from the chairs was a small tapping on my seat. As the bass drum chimed in, the vibrations became much more obvious and the shaking intensified. It felt a little like being in my buddy’s Honda Civic with a 1000-watt amp and Bazooka subs. I felt this was a little distracting, so I asked to turn the effects levels down a little. The motions thereafter became more pleasant. I think you will need to experiment a little with what your motion preferences are: for some, the more dramatic motions are righteous, while to others, they are an annoyance.