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    • CommentAuthorRizzob2k
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2014
     
    Hi everyone and thanks for welcoming me to the forums! I am now obsessed with roller coasters after recently riding I305 at King's Dominion and discovered NL2 a couple weeks ago. I bought the pro version and began to design my own dream giga. After a good deal of research here, I now believe my attempt would be considered "bad" by many experienced users. I am creating this coaster by hand and primarily use the g-force comb to guide my shaping decisions. I would like some advice on a few key areas.

    Giga-Coaster Style vs Hyper-Coaster
    My understanding is that hypers are often built for speed and multiple airtime hills. The giga-coasters I see here and IRL focus more on twisting elements, overbanked turns, etc. As an airtime junkie, I wonder why an airtime-focused giga is generally not seen. I would love to soar over multiple gigantic airtime hills that provide extended periods of weightlessness, using the extreme speed of the drop to make these periods last as long as possible. Why is this not done, and would my coaster be bad because of this?

    Track Shaping
    I have browsed many posts and commonly see criticisms of track shaping, though many lack specificity. Many of these rides look good from my perspective. These criticisms frequently contain references such as "not like an Intamin or B&M." In my view the track is "shaped" properly if the g-forces and transitions are smooth and the ride well controlled. Apparently I am wrong. What kinds of things are you guys looking for in proper track shaping, and does deviating from elements constructed by real manufacturers make the coaster less good?

    Speed Control
    I have found that with nearly a mile of track laid down my coaster is still moving at an insane speed. My first drop is about 330 feet. I only have 4 elements so far with 3 airtime hills and an element that vaguely resembles an overbanked turn, but is really a pseudo-airtime hill that is very tall and has a brief period of weightlessness as it rounds the top of the arch. I am confused about how these coasters can keep track lengths reasonable while maintaining safe g-forces. Are there certain elements that help bleed momentum naturally without resorting to trim brakes everywhere?

    Trim Brakes
    I usually see trim brakes on long, elevated straight-ways and approaching the crests of airtime hills both in NL2 coasters and IRL. The airtime hill brakes are usually very short. What strategies should i use when planning my brake locations and forces, and how many g-forces should the short airtime hill brakes apply?

    Airtime Hills
    My preference is for floater airtime, but I have found it difficult to achieve this without having at least some negative g-forces. What is considered an enjoyable level of negative-g as one goes over the hill?

    I'm sorry that this is a long post. I have looked at many posts and have not been able to answer these questions to my satisfaction. I believe that if I can answer these fundamental design questions I can make a coaster that is at least semi-realistic (even if quite expensive), meets my personal ride preferences, and would be considered an acceptable design by the community. Any and all perspectives are appreciated. Thank you for your time.
    •  
      CommentAuthorUncleArly
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2014
     
    Your preference for floater and the reason you may struggle getting it is because of what you said earlier in your post.

    'These criticisms frequently contain references such as "not like an Intamin or B&M." In my view the track is "shaped" properly if the g-forces and transitions are smooth and the ride well controlled. Apparently I am wrong. What kinds of things are you guys looking for in proper track shaping, and does deviating from elements constructed by real manufacturers make the coaster less good?'

    B&M have the perfect floater via the shaping of their hills. If you don't shape them correctly, you won't get the floater you desire. It's not attacking anyone, but if you are making a B&M hyper, you need the shaping to get the correct G forces.
  1.  
    Posted By: Rizzob2kWhy is this not done, and would my coaster be bad because of this?


    Usually, it would be the extreme cost from the huge amount of track that has to be laid down. see, the longest roller coaster the world, Steel Dragon 2000.

    Picture:



    Posted By: Rizzob2kThese criticisms frequently contain references such as "not like an Intamin or B&M." In my view the track is "shaped" properly if the g-forces and transitions are smooth and the ride well controlled. Apparently I am wrong. What kinds of things are you guys looking for in proper track shaping, and does deviating from elements constructed by real manufacturers make the coaster less good?


    These criticisms are based on the fact that different roller coaster manufacturers usually have very specific styles of track shaping that they tend to stick to. Look at these two pictures of two Intamin roller coasters, Intimidator 305 and Millenium force respectively.





    Notice how the radius of the curves of these airtime hills usually remains constant. The forces then change around the shape of the track, not the other way around.

    B&M on the other hand, usually bases their shaping around forces. They say "I would like to make this hill have 0 gs", and the shaping of the track changes around it.



    As you can see, this produces what would be expected, a parabola. This design philosophy also creates the classic "camelback floater" feel that you seem to be going after.

    Posted By: Rizzob2kI have found that with nearly a mile of track laid down my coaster is still moving at an insane speed. My first drop is about 330 feet. I only have 4 elements so far with 3 airtime hills and an element that vaguely resembles an overbanked turn, but is really a pseudo-airtime hill that is very tall and has a brief period of weightlessness as it rounds the top of the arch. I am confused about how these coasters can keep track lengths reasonable while maintaining safe g-forces. Are there certain elements that help bleed momentum naturally without resorting to trim brakes everywhere?


    You might be surprised at how fast real roller coasters hit the brake run at the end. Some are in excess of 50+ mph without being launched roller coasters. Since I do not believe NL2 has a dynamic friction engine, there are no elements that help you bleed speed. Also, you'd be surprised what the actual limits are in real life. I suspect that your coaster uses much lower forces than you could fit in, therefore making the layout more compact. See BBSpeed's article here.
  2.  
    Posted By: Rizzob2kI usually see trim brakes on long, elevated straight-ways and approaching the crests of airtime hills both in NL2 coasters and IRL. The airtime hill brakes are usually very short. What strategies should i use when planning my brake locations and forces, and how many g-forces should the short airtime hill brakes apply?


    The brakes at the top of hills simply act to slow trains down to achieve optimal forces.

    The elevated brake runs on long straight aways are known as Mid Course Brake Runs, or MCBRs for short. These divide the main track up in to blocks, in which it is safe to send another train out on to the track because if the train that has passed the MCBR stops somewhere, you are able to have the second train stop before the next block. MCBRs are usually placed in a way that make the capacity of the ride greater, but avoids stacking. Stacking is having to stop a train on a brake run to avoid having two on the same block. Lift hills also act like MCBRs so you are able to send another train out as soon as the first one crests the lift.



    This is Intimidator at Carowinds. The lift green, the first block is red, the MCBR is purple, the second block is blue, and the final brake run is yellow. As you can see the blocks are divided by anything that isn't plain track (multi launch coasters and other rare cases are the exception to this. See: Volcano and Top Thrill Dragster/Kingda Ka).

    The ride is designed in a way such that the operator is able to send off Train 2 as soon as Train 1 clears the top of the lift hill. Train 1 is able to get to the MCBR and on to block 2 (blue) by the time Train 2 reaches the crest of the lift. This is so that if any problems occur, the trains avoid a collision. Train 1 then continues where it hits the final brakes (yellow) and goes past them, thus allowing Train 2 to continue past the MCBR without stopping.

    Rides that you design should have MCBRs placed in a similar way to this (usually), so that the operator can send off a train as soon as the first crests the lift.

    As for forces, refer to the chart I posted in the article by BBSpeed.

    Posted By: Rizzob2kMy preference is for floater airtime, but I have found it difficult to achieve this without having at least some negative g-forces. What is considered an enjoyable level of negative-g as one goes over the hill?


    It's all down to rider preference, so just design as you would like as long as it meets industry standards, and if you going for a realistic ride, meets company style as well. In general this means intamins have higher and lower forces than B&Ms on turns and hills respectively.

    Finally, after familiarizing yourself with the editor, I recommend that you pick up FVD++ by altlenny. It is an extremely powerful force vector design tool similar to those used by real coaster companies. You can control forces, roll, pitch, yaw, speed, set custom heartlines, etc, and all of the things made are exported into NL2 via the .nl2elem file type.

    if you have any more questions feel free to ask. Good luck!

    Edit: Sorry for the long post.
  3.  
    Posted By: Rizzob2kTrack Shaping
    I have browsed many posts and commonly see criticisms of track shaping, though many lack specificity. Many of these rides look good from my perspective. These criticisms frequently contain references such as "not like an Intamin or B&M." In my view the track is "shaped" properly if the g-forces and transitions are smooth and the ride well controlled. Apparently I am wrong. What kinds of things are you guys looking for in proper track shaping, and does deviating from elements constructed by real manufacturers make the coaster less good?

    Track shaping is an interesting subject because it's a very subjective thing. While G-forces, speed, block sections, capacity, etc. are the "engineering" of the track, shaping is basically "the art" of making a track. This can lead to differing opinions based off of people's perspectives. A lot of shaping ideology comes from the look of the track and element in space, and the look and feel of the train as it moves through the shape. It's really an exercise of spatial and abstract thinking - composition and stylistic choices are up to the creator. Then there's the execution of said composition, which pretty much involves immersing oneself in past and present designs to draw inspiration.

    It's a lot like car exterior design - especially in coachbuilding companies I'd think. (Pininfarina, Zagato, Bertone.) Or really any "design firm" for that matter. Werner Stengel's group, from what I hear, is very much an architectural team rather than a pure engineering firm. (BTW, Werner Stengel designed track layouts for a lot of coaster companies, including B&M and Intamin. He does what you're doing in NoLimits, only in real life.)

    Since you are new, shaping will likely be a fairly new concept for you. When others criticize you, I'd look at what they say and see if you want to put it in yourself. But you don't always have to listen to them - it's your ride after all.
    • CommentAuthorRizzob2k
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2014
     
    Thanks a lot for the advice guys. I appreciate your examples, pictures, and nuanced explanations with respect to the track shaping concepts. It's exactly what I needed to get things moving.

    As gigacoasterfan pointed out, a giga coaster with huge airtime hills will necessarily be long and expensive. After watching more videos, it appears that most coasters of this class eschew airtime hills in favor of elements that keep the coaster elevated, reducing its momentum and allowing for tighter turns and a greater number of complex elements. The pictures comparing the Intamin and B&M airtime hill styles were quite interesting. My initial design uses parabolic hills like B&M, which of course need much more track length to form at these scales. While I want my coaster to be realistic, I will have to accept a long track length to accommodate my design goals. It will have to be ten to twelve thousand feet long with price tag of $70-$80 million. So much for economic realism :p

    I am changing my next iteration by slightly reducing the drop height and switching to the open train type like that on Apollo's Chariot.

    I still have a few more questions though.


    Trim Brakes
    I understand the difference between block and trim brakes. I would like to place magnetic trim brakes at a few points to gradually reduce speed. I need some guidance on realistic locations to place magnetic brakes, as well as what level of g-force to use for deceleration. Should I use long banks with low g-force or short ones with high g-force? Are there locations that are totally unrealistic/inappropriate to place magnetic brakes? Do friction brakes offer any benefits over magnetic brakes in terms of smoothness or placement flexibility?

    I am also unclear about the role of the brakes I see on airtime hills in videos. Are these always active or only under certain sets of conditions? I have read some quotes from people describing how the brakes "sucked the life out of the hill." I wonder if they can be placed in a such a way that leaves the airtime intact by adjusting the curvature of the hill, or if they are simply some sort of necessary evil that is always a detriment to ride quality when they activate.

    Essentially, I want to understand how to place trim brakes (preferably magnetic) in a way that is realistic from an engineering perspective without negatively impacting the rider experience.


    Editor G-comb versus in-game Forces
    The g-comb in the editor differs somewhat from the forces I see when riding. I can make an extremely smooth parabolic hill but there seems to be a slight jitter on the real ride. Why is this?


    Lateral G-forces
    I have read that some modest laterals are acceptable for some coasters. Does this hold true for the type of coaster I have described?


    Heartlining
    Since I am new and am not in position to use advanced tools (such as FVD++), I will set the spline to heartline for this particular coaster. Will this result in an acceptable ride?


    I apologize again for another long post, but for those with the patience to read it I would appreciate all advice. Thanks again guys.
  4.  
    Posted By: Rizzob2kShould I use long banks with low g-force or short ones with high g-force? Are there locations that are totally unrealistic/inappropriate to place magnetic brakes? Do friction brakes offer any benefits over magnetic brakes in terms of smoothness or placement flexibility?


    You should go for an in the middle approach. Enough that it is noticeable, but not uncomfortably so.

    Any time the track yaws, brakes are never allowed. Pitch up/down sections it depends on what you are doing. Magnetic brakes are preferred because they have less moving parts, but cannot be used to stop a train, so are only used for trims/slowing the train down.

    Posted By: Rizzob2kThe g-comb in the editor differs somewhat from the forces I see when riding. I can make an extremely smooth parabolic hill but there seems to be a slight jitter on the real ride. Why is this?


    The track most likely has what is known as a "pump" by us people here at NLE. If you look at the radius comb, if it goes from one direction to the other very quickly, it is uncomfortable. Highlight the vertices where this happens and use the "depump vertices" tool in the elements menu.

    Posted By: Rizzob2kI have read that some modest laterals are acceptable for some coasters. Does this hold true for the type of coaster I have described?


    Most modern coasters, save woodies, use little to no laterals. They are usually produced by rotation alone. However, if it is needed to get the track in the right shape or get it to point a certain direction, that is fine.

    Posted By: Rizzob2kSince I am new and am not in position to use advanced tools (such as FVD++), I will set the spline to heartline for this particular coaster. Will this result in an acceptable ride?


    Yes, that will make it so that there will be as few laterals as possible.
  5.  
    Modern steel coasters have complex changes in both Normal and Lateral force, which are paired to a Roll/Bank. However, since the laterals are nuanced and small, these forces are where a majority of new FVD/Newton users tend to simply ignore and not build with them. Typically you can use laterals to influence shape, but they're also helpful when countering "rotational laterals".

    Modern coasters use them a lot more than most people think, especially in the world of Intamin. Nonetheless, playing with laterals aren't the key to success to a good coaster - it really takes a detailed analysis of all three aspects (plus more) of track design to hit the nail on the head.

    I think most of this applies to FVD though. First and foremost, just build stuff and try to make it safe, smooth, and fun. Afterward, if you're interested in delving deeper, you can always look further as you build your skills with the program.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKingRCT3
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2014
     
    Posted By: Rizzob2kAre there locations that are totally unrealistic/inappropriate to place magnetic brakes?

    Build a trim brake (which is no longer than one or two devices) and look at how the magnets are oriented. On B&M, they are horizontal. That means you can place them only on a straight section. On Intamin however, they are vertical. So you can't place them on a turn or a piece with a rotational change, but you can place them on vertically curved sections (top of a hill).
    Another rule is to place them when the track is going up, as the train will already loses speed by gravity, it's easier to slow it a little bit further.


    Posted By: Rizzob2kI am also unclear about the role of the brakes I see on airtime hills in videos. Are these always active or only under certain sets of conditions?

    A coaster is designed with a theorical speed. But in real life, there're various factors that can change it. Heat, weight of the passengers, rain, rust, etc. The role of a trim brake is to make sure the train will not be too fast. Sometimes, it's also to tame a ride and prevent abnormal wear and tear (see Intimidator 305).


    Posted By: Rizzob2kThe g-comb in the editor differs somewhat from the forces I see when riding. I can make an extremely smooth parabolic hill but there seems to be a slight jitter on the real ride. Why is this?

    When you design a ride, the g-forces displyed are calculated from the center mass of the train, AKA a virtual point in the middle of it. But when you ride it, you're in a seat which is offset from it; so the forces are differents. That's why the forces at an extremity of a train are more intenses than in the middle, where they're closer than your design.
    Also consider playing with the radius comb in the editor, it can help to spot the imperfections.
    • CommentAuthorRizzob2k
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2014
     
    Thanks again for the advice guys.

    I've started over twice and keep having a few issues.


    Lateral Force Sway
    It seems that no matter how much I manually tweak and depump vertices, I can never get perfectly smooth rolls that have near zero laterals. I can get no laterals at the roll point, but in between these points there is general a small "sway" of laterals from one side to the other that I can't seem to squash. This problem is generally worse as whatever twisting/turning element I make becomes more complex. I can often get these much better than they are initially by moving vertices around, but at the expense of the original track shape I had. Am I doing something fundamentally wrong, or is a little bit of lateral force sway inevitable? What degree of force sway is acceptable, if any?

    G-forces on "Floater" Hills
    The editor does not display a 0 on the G-comb. The combs are always either positive or negative. Should a floater hill have the comb as small as possible on the positive G side or the negative side?

    Early Mistakes
    I think I have to start over again :( I realized that the forces at the bottom of my drop through its transition into my airtime hill are a bit too strong and lumpier than I would prefer. Fixing this early mistake ruins the force distribution on my perfectly formed camelback airtime hill. I spent maybe 2 hours shaping this hill, carefully adjusting and re-adjusting the vertices until I had a perfect G-comb that has the smallest possible negative value across its entire airtime portion. I don't really have a question here. I'm just realizing that even a small error can wreck the force distribution of the entire track when you attempt to fix it.

    Hammerhead Turn
    I know what this element looks like, but making it is proving difficult. I have a decent shape but lateral force sway is an issue along with getting rolls that are smooth and don't rock back and forth to control lateral forces. Are there any good guides on hand-shaping this element? I have not found any.

    FVD++
    I don't have an engineering or background. Is this program very difficult to learn without one? I'm wondering if the problems I described are unavoidable when hand-built coasters. For example, I see the lateral force sway in the Kumba recreation that comes with NL2 to a much greater degree than what I have on my coaster.


    I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the forces. My coaster might not be artistically amazing, but I want to make something that would be fun to ride with lots of airtime and smooth force control. I just haven't figured out how to do it right yet.
    •  
      CommentAuthorllamaboy
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2014
     
    Lateral Force Sway

    There will always be some away during rotations. This is called "Rotational G Force". As a general rule, I try to keep this under 1 g, but it depends on the ride. For Intamin Giga Coasters (I305) I wouldn't go over 1 but I would probably get pretty close. For B&M Gigas and Hypers (Intimidator, Leviathan) I would keep it more towards .5.

    G-forces on "Floater" Hills

    I like to keep gs on floater hills inbetween -.1 and -.2.

    Early Mistakes

    Don't be afraid to start over! Make something you like, but also try to finish the ride. Once you are satisfied with the track, move on to supports.

    Hammerhead Turn

    I can't really help you here, but if you can't make as Hammerhead, there are plenty of other cool turnarounds that work.

    FVD++

    Well... to start I'll say that FVD++ is a pain in the butt to learn, but is worth it in the long run. The difference I saw from before I started using FVD programs to after is amazing. Using FVD programs also allows you to be more precise with your forces.

    I can't wait to see the finished product. The amount of work your putting into your first ride is amazing.
    • CommentAuthorRizzob2k
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2014
     
    Hi guys! Progress has been slow but I feel like I'm getting somewhere. I'm back with a few more questions though. Once again they are about forces.

    I have considered downloading some examples, but I feel that I am not in position to rate other people's work so I have avoided doing so. If you guys could recommend one or two prototypical B&M-style hypercoasters with multiple camelbacks that are highly regarded by the community I would really appreciate it.


    Coaster Style: 4 Seat Hypercoaster vs Staggered 4 seats
    I want the view to be a big part of this ride's experience. I initially used an 8-car 4-seat hypercoaster, but recently tried the staggered version. The view is greatly improved, but the train is much longer. This leads to higher G-spikes at the front and rear. For example, my camelback hills produce as much as -0.5 G at the front and rear of this train! The middle is closer to 0 G to -.3 G at various places. I am wondering if this train type is a reasonable compromise for the greater variance in forces.

    Editor G-comb reliability.
    It has been explained to me that the editor uses the center of the train to calculate the G-comb. However, I have noticed that G-forces in the middle cars are off by an order of magnitude. For example, the editor might say -.02 G, but the 4th and 5th cars experience -.3 G at some point on the camelback. The differences seem much smaller on the large positive G elements. Which should I assume is correct, the editor or the on-ride accelerometer?

    B&M Camelback G-forces
    I am not calling this ride a B&M since it does not resemble Leviathan or Fury 325 in any way. However, I want to emulate their airtime hill forces as closely as I can. The evidence suggests that it is not possible to create a true 0 G hill for all cars, with the middle being close to 0 G and the extreme ends being closer to -.5 G. Should I be shooting for slight positive G values in some cars to tame these extremes, or is -.5 G acceptable for a "floater" hill? Producing a sensation of weightlessness has proven to be the most frustrating issue for me thus far, and I would appreciate multiple perspectives regarding what I should do here.

    Thanks again for everyone's input.
  6.  
    Coaster style: This happens on real life rides with trains like this. You're fine.

    Comb vs Sim: Assume that the simulator is correct.

    Camelback forces: Having a longer transition from positive to zero will help.

    P.S. I'm sure a few users would be glad to send you their work for reference. I'm glad that you're aware of you're inexperience and are acting responsibly about it.
    • CommentAuthorRizzob2k
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2014
     
    Thanks gigacoasterfan. Here is what my first 2 camelbacks look like from a perfect side profile. What do you think?



  7.  
    Those looks fantastic.