I’ve always been a huge fan of the Back to the Future movies and I loved the Universal Studios theme park ride when I was a kid. When the ride was permanently closed down in 2007, the reality that I would never be able to experience it again hit me pretty hard. In 2009, the dvd and blu-ray release of Back to the Future included most of the ride footage as bonus content. Unfortunately, the 180 degree ride footage that they released was heavily cropped and edited from the source material to accommodate watching on a television at home. It was still really cool to watch either way, but when I came across some leaked videos of the original ride, I began to notice how much of the footage was missing.
Luckily, I came across a YouTube user that goes by “Themaxleydog“, who has devoted countless hours to restoring and remastering the original ride footage. He came up with a brilliant idea to combine the leaked VHS footage of the ride and combine it with the blu-ray footage from the bonus disc. He then worked some magic to add color and restore everything frame-by-frame. On his YouTube channel, he has uploaded multiple videos where you can see the progress that he has made over the years.
I showed my 6 year old son the ride footage and he thought it was awesome. He is naturally a huge Back to the Future fan like I am, and he asked me if we could go to the theme park to ride it. I broke the news to him that the ride was permanently closed down and tears began streaming down his face. I guess I wasn’t expecting that sort of reaction, but I quickly promised him that I would remake the ride in vr to cheer him up. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to accomplish this, but I had a pretty good idea of where to start.
I am one of those types that try to be a little bit good at everything, so I had some experience working with Unity and various other creation tools on the pc. I currently have a passion for vr and I own an Oculus Rift headset, so I have been dabbling with creating vr content lately. I figured now would be as good of a time as any to make a Back to the Future ride in vr. It currently isn’t anywhere near perfect by any means. The model of the DeLorean will eventually be replaced with a higher quality one, and I am experimenting with ways to recreate the dome shaped screen that the original ride had.
Right now, the project is currently a proof-of-concept and I haven’t released anything to the public yet. There is still much work to be done, but be sure to check back here or subscribe to my YouTube channel if you would like to stay updated with my progress! For now, here is a video of what the ride currently looks like:
Update: Added a 360 video version of the ride to YouTube. Tested and works with PSVR headsets. Just use YouTube on the PlayStation 4 in “VR Mode” and search for the video below (or add it to your favorites to find it quickly and easily). This should also work with Google Cardboard.
Also added a Facebook video version of the ride, which works well with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR headsets: