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Lucas, Hughes create space Mirage

George Lucas is dabbling in the theme park ride business again.

His LucasArts Entertainment Co. has co-developed a simulation ride called Mirage, with Hughes Aircraft Co.’s training division, a unit of General Motors Corp.

The effort combines Hughes’ experience with flight simulators for pilot training, and Lucas’ expertise in computer-generated images and story telling.

Mirage will let visitors simulate space battle aboard a two-person capsule designed by Hughes and Lucas. A large screen depicts rival spaceships attempting to repel an uprising on planet Vernost. The pilot can interact with the screen, firing missiles to ward off enemy ships. While the Mirage doesn’t move, a combination of sound effects and visuals give the impression of speeding through space.

The “Vernost Mission” was designed by Lucas’ former Rebel Arts division, which created the simulation system two years ago. That unit has since been closed. According to LucasArts COO Gordon Radley, Vernost was done for “a quick demonstration experience to show what the system can do.”

A smaller simulator project also developed by Lucas and Hughes is called “Commander.”

The visuals were programmed by Hughes, according to an exec in its Arlington, Texas, office. Hughes is negotiating to sell the system to theme parks and entertainment centers in early 1993 at a price under $ 200,000 for both the hardware and software. According to the company, Mirage ships can be networked, allowing players to compete against each other.

LucasArts’ special effects unit, Industrial Light & Magic, created the Star Tours ride for Disneyland in 1987.

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