IP:  How do you think the simulation and special effects theatre industry has changed in the past 10 years or so and what has been the most significant change?
TM: Without any doubt, the big change has been the advent of 3D and 4D technologies into attractions. 10 years ago, we were supplying large scale, highly dynamic motion theatres, but in 2D. Now it is quite rare for us to supply an attraction that does not have 3D film and 4D effects included. Having a platform of products made it fairly easy for us to integrate the new technology and having developed new products which are now based around 3D and 4D means that we are able to stay at the forefront of technology changes and development.
IP: Does this sector of the attractions industry face any particular challenges at the present time?
TM: 4D really seems to be at forefront of the industry with most venues embracing the technology. The key is to truly deliver what the customer wants, whilst maintaining a sensible reign on budgets. I believe that companies in our sector have done really well in ensuring that we move with technological advances. As long as we continue to develop new technology and film content, then hopefully operators will continue to demand our products and services.
IP: What challenges do you think the theme/amusement park industry as a whole faces at the moment?
TM: The great thing about the industry is that it offers a level of flexibility to respond to the needs of not only its visitors, but also to global economic demands. There is definitely a culture that the public will respond to an attraction when they open something new. A visitor may have been to a theme park last year and ridden all of its attractions, but if they open a new ride this year, they will be back. A bit like the Field of Dreams scenario – “Build it and they will come!”. Admittedly, there are a few new attraction projects on hold, but they will happen.
IP:  Are more special effects theatres and simulators opening around the world at the moment than ever before? If so, why is this the case?
TM: Indeed they are. All of the main players in the 4D sector have plenty of current projects. A 4D effects theatre / simulation attraction offers a high wow factor attraction at an affordable price. Suitable for all ages, and of course being an all weather attraction, definitely helps. While 3D is becoming more commonplace, with most of the major film studios now producing blockbuster films in 3D, a 4D attraction delivers a 5-15 minute non-stop blast, in a manner that visitors cannot experience at home or in a conventional cinema. 
IP:  Is there currently a particularly active area of the world as far as effects theatres and simulators are concerned, or are new openings spread quite evenly around the globe?
TM: I would definitely say that it is fairly well spread. There are areas that go quiet for a few years, but during this time, another area will pick up. The weakening of the pound has helped British manufacturers in general in that our prices against, say, the Euro and Dollar have effectively reduced, sometimes by as much as 30 per cent.
IP: What do effects theatres/simulators offer the operator and the visitor that traditional amusement rides don’t?
TM: I am a big fan of roller coasters and ride attractions – although admittedly drop towers are not my forte (I quite like my stomach being somewhere between my waist and chest!!) Effects theatres and simulation attractions offer a totally different experience that is accessible to people of all ages and of course run successfully independently of the weather. In addition, with the ability to change the film content, it means that operators can effectively offer a new attraction each year without the major capital equipment outlay. However, I firmly believe that all attractions find a complementary place alongside each other.
IP:  In relation to this sector of the industry we talk about 3D films and 4D effects, while some even talk about 5D attractions. How will Simworx develop its attractions further and will 5D ever become part of the company’s repertoire? 
TM: I do not like the term 5D. 3D film and 4D sensory effects are real and people can relate to what these mean. 5D seems to be a term that has been given to a moving seat or platform. However, motion simulation and effects theatre attractions have mostly had moving seats or platforms of some variety for years. 5D should be reserved for something really sensational. Maybe something like where the riders actually see themselves acting in the 3D film that you are watching. Now there’s an idea! 5D PeopleWorx © 2009 Simworx Limited.  With regards to the future, we are developing a dynamic 4D dark ride.
IP:  It’s a very competitive marketplace at present, particularly in view of the current worldwide economic climate. Is the effects theatre/simulation sector in good shape to deal with this situation?
TM: The simulation attraction sector has been around for over 20 years. In the course of this time the sector has been through many peaks and troughs. Fundamentally though what our sector has in its favour is that we are finding unique and novel ways of presenting and delivering a medium that has been around and in demand for almost 100 years – cinematic style film. People always enjoy films and by continuing to develop our technology, and with a quality inflow of new and entertaining ride and attraction film content, I believe that our sector is in a good position to weather current and economic challenges.
IP: Looking at the wider attractions industry, how well do you think it is served by the main trade associations, notably IAAPA and other, individual country associations? In particular, do you think they serve manufacturers and suppliers well or could they do more?
TM: IAAPA brings the industry together on a global basis, offering shows on three continents. And not only for exhibition purposes, but also for tremendous networking occasions. The TEA, while not arranging exhibitions, also offers great networking opportunities. In the UK, BALPPA has been first class, making the association essential for both operators and suppliers by arranging several key events each year. They actively take an interest in their members and take the time to make recommendations as and where necessary. All of these associations offer more than just networking though. If you have the time to drill down into their other services, I am sure that they could be beneficial.
IP: Where will Simworx be in 10 years time? What do you hope the company will have achieved in this period?
TM: I hope that we will continue to develop new technology and will be renowned for supplying some of the worlds greatest 3D, 4D and by then 8D (!?!) simulation and effects theatre attractions. 
Personally speaking …

Not a lot of people know this but I am very good at … FIFA 09 (PS3 game). My sons might argue against this!

The best thing my parents taught me was … Hide your wallet from your children

The most interesting place I’ve ever been to is … Dubai. Favourite place though is Orlando

If I could pass any law I’d … reduce the amount of tax that we pay in the UK. It’s so high compared to all other countries

If I could be anyone else for 24 hours I’d be … Tiger Woods
I always laugh at … Blackadder (UK TV series)

My favourite musician/band at the moment is … Too many – Coldplay/Keane/U2/White Stripes
To really chill out I … listen to music or play golf

I really dislike … fruit! (seriously!)

If I could, I would … eat fruit!