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    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016 edited

    I know it'll totally sound like I'm ripping off Joseph's topic, and actually it's kinda true, haha, as I wrote this wall of text after seeing his work. But I had this in mind for so long I couldn't wait any longer to share it with you guys (I've said multiple times that I wanted to create a dark ride, haven't I? :D). I just hope I'm not overshadowing his work... Well, there are more than one coaster going on right now on these boards, so why not two dark rides? =)

    Oh by the way, it isn't a NL2 project.


    The following text will have two parts. First, a reflection about what my ultimate dark ride would be, and second, an exemple with a ride I've been thinking of lately. It's very hard for me to write down my thoughts, and I have a lot more in mind than that I wrote below, but let's jump right into it anyway.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016
    Creating my ultimate dark ride

    I'm using the first person, not to sound selfish or what, but because what I'll be expressing in the following paragraphs is solely my point of view, and definitely not an universal truth.


    I've always wanted to create a dark ride. But not only a ghost-train kind of ride. Not a ride that is only beautiful or fun; but a ride that is a true experience. An experience relies on a good story, and the first thing to consider while thinking about a good story, is your medium. Will it be a book? A movie? A comic-book? Each medium have their codes, their strengths and weaknesses. You can’t tell exact same story through different medium.

    Here, my medium will be a dark ride. It’s an interesting medium, but also a really tricky one. Reading is a personal experience, and finishing a book usually take days. At the movies, you are focused on the screen and nothing else during the several hours of it. At a theme park however, there are various things that can distract you: you are with your friends, you are here to have fun and not to think, and rides only last a couple of minutes and you even get to go on many of them throughout the day. So first point first, whatever your story is, whatever your guests get all the subtleties of it or not, make it entertaining.
    A prime example of that is Phantom Manor (or in an extent, Haunted Mansion). The ride has a complicated storyline and many subtle details. But for the majority of the guests, it’s a creepy haunted house.

    Just like in a book where you have to set your narator, or in a movie where you have to control the camera, in a dark ride you have two levels of stories:

    The first being the story you’ve been told of. Let’s take Phantom Manor as an example once again: It’s a story of a bride, the day of her wedding, which is looking for the groom. But the later has been hanged by Phantom, a mysterious character. And so on, and so on. I’ll call this the storyline.
    The second level of the story, is actually what you, as a guest and thus a character of the whole story, is going through. For our beloved manor, it’s something along those lines: You go past the gardens, then enter the mansion and are greeted by Phantom. He then takes you to a tour of the property. Along the ride, you’ll see the bride ages up and the ghosts materialize as she is condemned to stay within these walls for all eternity. This is what I’d call the ride development.

    Dark rides such as Pinocchio or Peter-Pan only tell us a storyline, leaving the ride development as a succession of snippets of the story. This is only working when you know the original story beforehand; otherwise this could be rather confusing. I personally find it rather frustrating, as the dark ride is relayed as a side-product of an intellectual property.

    That is getting me to the next point: I want my dark ride to be the final product. Let’s ask a question: What is Harry Potter? The common answer would be a series of books, or even films (try picturing Harry without having the image of Daniel Radcliff). Those two mediums are final products. Anything else is a side product, like video games, or theme park attractions. Now video games have succeeded to become a final product, for instance World of Warcraft. It’ll be made as a movie, but this time, the movie will only be a side product. My goal for this dark ride is to make it a final product. Phantom Manor, for instance, is a final product, and the film they made, a side product. Same goes for Pirates of the Caribbean - yet the film franchise dethroned the original attraction, leading to a full-circle with characters and scenes from the movie being added to the ride itself.


    A ride is meant to create reactions on the guests. The most common one is fear. Jump Scares, drop, dangerous action going on, creepy atmosphere… It’s really easy and has been done a gazillion of times. Another one is fun, or enjoyment. Happiness and joy can be easily created via the music, via interactivity (shooters), etc.
    What I’d want to do for my dark ride would be to create emotion. And that one is very hard, because as I said earlier, guests are so easily distracted, and a ride is too short to spend a long time on setting the mood.

    Let's try anyway.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016
    Point Solitude - The dark Ride

    This is the dark ride I’ve came up with after taking the points I made up above in consideration. I haven’t fully imagined the ride yet, this is a work-in-progress. The description is almost the bare-bones of the ride.

    This ride is loosely based on SecretImbecile’s flying coaster ride with the same name. All credits to him for that. What I took from it is the setting: a lonely lighthouse. And that name will also make perfect sense eventually.

    I’ll describe the ride as a guest’s point of view (ride development), because that’s how the ride will be experienced.

    I have no idea what the exterior would be, but basically you’d find a working lighthouse, standing on a pile of rockwork. The thing, while not totally in ruin, will look like no one’s been here for a long time. It would feature some additional architecture at its base, like the actual house of its keeper, a conservatory... Some artificial water sprouts could be casted here and there to give some kineticism to the scene, and suggest the lighthouse is located near the sea. The visitor would be invited (by its own curiosity) to walk toward the lighthouse, to find what’s going on inside. The first part of the queue line happens in the rockworks, and eventually it’d get into a tunnel that seems to lead straight into the lighthouse, but actually lead the guest inside the show building. Simple trick used for instance at the Nautilus walk-through attraction at Disneyland Paris. What you think you are going into is only a piece of scenery.

    The real ride story begins here. You go inside the lighthouse and starts wandering around. Of course, wandering is a loosely term, as you are following the queue path. There are many things in here. It’s like the keeper has been living here for a long time, and there are various clues of it. But you don’t seem to see him. A gramophone is quietly playing music. There is a vase that has felt off on its side, and white petals from the flowers are drifting on the water that is flowing. When you go to the conservatory, you see, if you go past your own reflection, that it’s raining outside. There is model of a three-master on a table, and behind it a fire in the chimney. There is a telescope. You can pick up the phone and hear someone (the wife?) asking when he’d go back to the land (I think interactive elements are really important, especially in queue line. Guests want to be curious, so let them be.) The queue goes on and on and you pass through various rooms and see many theming elements. Then, beside a bed, you find a way that goes inside the rocks, into a mysterious cave. You go down there. You walk a little more, and you find an underground river, with a loading dock. This is obviously the dark ride station. You take place on a flimsy, flowing-looking white boat, and the journey can start.

    Let’s get a bit technical for a second. The ride would use a trackless path system, slightly submerged underwater. The boats aren’t really boat then, but roll on the floor that is hidden by the water. Such technology exists on Aquatopia.
    There are no oar blades, nor any motor or even a sailor. The boat moves by itself, it’s like it’s drifting on the water. You start the trip inside the mysterious cave, and at the moment things are pretty much normal, as I would say.

    I'll rush things a bit here as I don't have imagined the whole ride development. In one room (maybe the main one), it’s raining. You are still underground in that cave, but it’s raining. Your boat starts to gain a bit of speed and goes under the rain. It also goes with other boats and they all start dacing under the rain, as a music is playing. Well, not really under the rain. Because, weirdly enough (yet convenient for theme park guests), you’re not getting wet. It’s like the rain stops right around you, and that lull follows your boat wherever it goes.
    In another room, you encounter a giant sailboat and you go through it. But it suddenly takes fire, so you get out of it. You go to other rooms and things only get more and more weird, like sirens that you don't see and that are calling your name, or even a scene… in space, among the stars?

    Things are really mysterious and seems more and more surnatural. Yet everything is beautiful.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016
    I’d have to disappoint you, but I’ve yet to write the end of the story. Eventually, though, you get of the ride and wonder what the heck happened. Even if you didn’t understand it all, it was a wonderful experience and you were mostly in awe.

    One of my other goals I didn’t tell you about earlier, was to create a plot twist, or at least, an experience that has at least two reading levels. Guests that go on the ride for the first time will describe it to you as it: "I went to an abandoned lighthouse where someone’s been living. Then I discovered a mysterious cove with an underground river and weird things happened."
    But as soon as you get to re-ride the ride, something will strike you in the face. When you go inside the lighthouse, look around. The white, flimsy petals on a small stream of water. The three-master in front of the chimney. The phone pledging one’s to come home. The conservatory, where outside it's pouring rain. The music of the gramophone, etc.

    Have you encountered the keeper that lives here? No, but maybe you just went… inside his head, and experienced his very own solitude.


    There, these are the bare-bones of the ride. Many, many things are yet to be set, but in essence the key element is to have a parallel between real, physical elements you see during the queue line, and imaginary ones you have in the ride. The man has been living alone for so long he is imagining stories with what he has under his eyes. It has to transcribe the need for the man to escape his reality (-> solitude).

    What it is left to be decided is how the trip must end. Do you have to encounter the keeper eventually? It could be neat to see him in the cave, aka in his head, as if he wasn’t anymore physically alive, but still vivid inside his head. I mean, you found no dead body inside the lighthouse, so maybe that’s where he went.

    Another thing I’m not too keen on, is the transition from reality to the man’s imagination. It has to be subtle, yet I’d like it to be a metaphor. So far I choose the bed, as it’s the place where you’re more likely to have dreams… But... Meh. I also would have preferred the guests to go up instead of down (the mind is up there, and it’s a cultural reference), but for practical reason, it's easier to have the action going on inside a cave, rather than in the outside world.

    That's it guys. I wish I was skilled enough to provide you with sketches, 3D models or any visual material, but for now this will have to do.
    I hope you enjoyed the read, and can't wait to hear your input, or questions!
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016
    Wait, you're not gonna make the ride? Why not? If you don't have the necessary skills to make the ride in NL2, then use RCT3! There are a lot of successful dark rides out there (like Fisherman's ones) that proves that you can take your idea to "reality" with hard work.

    Apart from that I enjoyed the reading. You really nailed the concept of a dark ride, and I think the story is really cool. It really reminds me of a book I read when I was in school. Can't remember the name though.

    So, as I said, do it!
    • CommentAuthorTheBeatles
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016
    Wow, awesome idea! You and I are thinking alike in a lot of areas, specifically the idea to create true emotion rather than raw fear or happiness.

    I have more faith that you'll finish yours than I do in myself, but it looks like we both have very similar white whales to go out and catch!

    Good luck, Arthur, I'm excited to see where this goes :D
    I have had an idea for a similar ride for a long time that I call project 'MusicBox'. I wanted to compose an album and have each song be a different element of a fantasy dark ride... Seeing that this might be an idea that could be well-received by the community I'd love to talk to you, and TheBeatles, about it. It's been on my mind for about two years now and it would be wonderful to get a team together to complete it (it would be a monumental task) if you'd be interested? Anyway, just a thought! I can give you the details if you're interested!
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2016
    Thanks for the comments, guys!

    Posted By: dapalmWait, you're not gonna make the ride? Why not? If you don't have the necessary skills to make the ride in NL2, then use RCT3!

    I... I don't have the skills in RCT3 neither. (I got my username in a box of cereal)
    Actually, I dont' think the ride would be possible in both of these software. Because the ride would need the uses of advanced lightning, video projections, squinching, music production and advanced audio tracks spatialization, complex animations, water, fire and smoke physics (think about the rain effect...), trackless vehicles with multiple paths, character design and voicing, and many, many more things that are just beyond any of those two softwares alone.

    But the first issue actually, is that I'm no even nowhere near the point where I can get this done. I have the basic concept, some basic ideas but that's it. No visuals, no artistic direction set (you all know I love Myst, that would be a starting point), no... No anything basically!

    Posted By: TheBeatlesI have more faith that you'll finish yours than I do in myself

    I won't put my money on that, haha!

    Posted By: Ajax_CoastersI wanted to compose an album and have each song be a different element of a fantasy dark ride...

    Neat idea! ;)
    I'd suggest you to go ahead and share your idea, you might get people interested. As for me I don't know if I can be any helpful, as I more the kind of guy that have the initial sparkle of an idea, and then let it to talented people to do the rest.
    Posted By: KingRCT3the kind of guy that have the initial sparkle of an idea, and then let it to talented people to do the rest.

    Haha! I understand, I am also that guy ;)
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016
    I love highly-themed dark rides with elaborated storyline and impressive technology like Disney and Universal do, but there is another kind of dark ride that I’m fond of… The good ol’ funfair ghost-trains!

    They are fascinating, although in real life, due to the constraint of being transportable, most of them are just a bunch of tasteless props without any proper concept behind it...
    So what I love is imagining new concepts, with features that might be too complex to be part of a transportable ride in real life I know, but with always keeping the general shape and philosophy behind ghost trains (or so I hope).
    Here are some of them.

    Nightmare Hotel

    This one makes you seat in a bed-shaped vehicle. The goal is to make it looks like you quickly woke up and sit up straight from a terrifying nightmare.

    The story is that you’re going to spend a night at a creepy hotel… and nightmares will ensue.
    You board the bed in the outside station like a regular ghost-train, pass through a door and stop in a room, a hotel room. A door that is part of the scenery opens, and the old hotel hostess wishes you a good night with a grin. When she slams the door, thunder cracks, shadows from a lamp form a monster and you’re swallowed by the grand armoire. Your trip will be a succession of nightmare-inducing tricks: spiders, clowns, honking train and all the jazz.

    Some tricks will come from where you least expected them: your vehicle itself. It has some 4D effects like a leg tickler, but also a hidden jump scare in the hood… or rather in the blanket.
    As your bed is long in shape, there is place for a hidden compartment in front of you. When the time comes, a prop will pops out right in front of you, where you thought was your safe zone! BOOH!

    The grand finale would be no-less than an unexpected freefall section. You know that freefall sensation you sometimes got that wakes you up all sweaty? Here, that would be the transition between the nightmares and the reality. You would directly fall from the first floor to right in front of the station. In fact, guests from outside can clearly see the freefall section - so you know what’s up, only the timing will took you by surprise. The facade is like the hotel is collapsed at this point, and the bed went through the broken floor.


    A variant of this ghost-train would be with hospital beds, putting you at the heart of an asylum. The anticipation would grow as you past through double-doors, never knowing what’s next.

    The crematorium

    This one is only a simple idea: what if, instead of being seated, you were lying down during the entire ride? It could work with crematorium/autopsy beds, or coffin or I don’t know. Of course it will have some padding and you won’t be laying on a straight surface, but the idea is really to have your head facing upward.
    It puts you in a more vulnerable position (imagine a big, naughty dog dropping its saliva on you), and you can’t see what’s next.

    Medieval Torture

    This one is actually an interactive ghost-train in form of a challenge. Guests put their hands up and the goal is to keep them like so during the entire ride that, despite everything that can happens… scares or even tickles, you must keep your arms up to win!

    How to make that work without looking dumb and tiring the arms?
    The vehicle puts you back-to-back with a wooden pillar in the middle shaped like a T. You would insert your hands into handcuffs - obviously not tightened and rather padded with soft foam - and grab an upside-down T-bar that you will pull toward yourself. The bar is put in tension via a spring for instance. Release it and it’ll go up, out of reach! You lose.

    Magic Palace

    Instead of having jump scares, this one will rely on magic tricks. Pepper ghosts, levitation, etc. Although the best one -and the one that will make the customers go and ride it- will put your vehicle at the heart of the trick. I have various sketchy ideas, but basically your vehicle will be on the balcony of the top floor, enter a box or having a curtain put around it, and then disappears. Magic!

    No photo-realistic drawing for this one, sadly.
    I really love that bed/ghost train idea. Perhaps the car could speed up towards the end of the ride as if you're running (well, sleep-running, in a bed) away from monsters that chase you down the hotel corridor?
    • CommentAuthorDelay
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016
    Excellent drawing skills, 11/6.
    I love the creativity. I don't trust people, beds, and dark spaces...but the ideas are cool.
    • CommentAuthorlujach92
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016 edited
    Interesting concepts, I specially like the "Nightmare Hotel" and the "magic Place", I just think the drop-section of the Nightmare Hotel shouldn't be visible from outside. Lying down in a coffin and that torture-darkride might be a little much maybe, but nontheless I can imagine that there is a target audience for such an "extreme" ghosttrain.

    Oh, and I love that shocked face of the guy sitting in the bed-shaped vehicle.

    Edit: Fun Fact: this was just my 666th comment added here on the forums... coincidence?
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016
    When I become an Imagineer someday, I can see if any of your concepts could be used for whatever attraction comes up :p
    I wanted to be an imagineer but i realsied it would
    Almost be impossible (for me personally) but i still wonder what it would be like if i chose that job as a possible option.
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016
    ^^ Haha, we will get back to each other in a few years, then. :p

    ^ Don't lose hope, Diamond. The first key to be an Imagineer (or any kind of ride designer) is motivation!


    Posted By: TheDarkStarPerhaps the car could speed up towards the end of the ride as if you're running (well, sleep-running, in a bed) away from monsters that chase you down the hotel corridor?

    It would be awesome to find a way to emulate the state where in your dream you want to run, but can't. Anyway, chasing is really something found in a lot of common nightmare, so yup, great idea.

    Posted By: DelayExcellent drawing skills, 11/6.

    I know right. :D

    Posted By: DC High HeatI don't trust people, beds, and dark spaces...

    Well, ghost-trains are made to put you out of your confort zone, aren't they? ;p

    Posted By: lujach92I just think the drop-section of the Nightmare Hotel shouldn't be visible from outside.

    Having it visible would have two benefits:
    - Attract thrill-seekers like "wow, this ride ain't kiddin', yo!", and create a dynamic element. Like, it's not just the car passing through a slamming door like your usual ghost-train ; it's the car comming from upfloor with a bang!
    - End the ride like you woke up from a nightmare, and really getting back from "100% nightmare" to "100% reality" with the minimal transition. You would get off the ride still stuned by the drop.

    Posted By: lujach92Lying down in a coffin and that torture-darkride might be a little much maybe

    Mwahahah! Maybe, but that was the goal. I mean, ghost-trains are usually cheep and cheesy, and less and less people are really afraid of them. My goal was to go with a more frightening approach, by taking in account what makes people afraid. The coffin and the torture both put you in a vulnerable position.
    • CommentTimeSep 7th 2016
    There's no way you thought of these while sober.
    lol not what I meant KingRCT3. I meant people may get a bit too comfortable given the setup.
    Am I the only one imaging some drunk guy on the bed one leaning forward and getting smacked in the face by something popping up.
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2016 edited
    Posted By: DC High Heatlol not what I meant KingRCT3. I meant people may get a bit too comfortable given the setup.

    That's it! I'd never ride it, but that's me not feeling fine with it. But I'm sure other people would love it. It's a very cool idea anyway and pretty realistic, and I could see it being real :)

    Edit: sorry, I only read one! I think I'd ride the first one, and maybe the third one could be funny (although a lighter theme would do wonders!). But again, really cool ideas, just make them less creepy.
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2016
    Posted By: DC High Heatlol not what I meant KingRCT3. I meant people may get a bit too comfortable given the setup.

    Oh wow, oh my. My mind was pure and innocent!

    In either cases, you're stapped in. For the hotel, well, it's a regular vehicle, and for the coffin one, imagine a Vekoma flying coaster in station mode, only with less restrictive restraints but still holding you from moving. No baby-making process on board.

    Asfor the theme, that's the funfair side of it and their infamous good taste. (no but really, you got to be straight-forward)
    • CommentAuthorA113
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2016
    I know it might be a stretch but I would be careful with the "crematorium experience" due to possible association to historical events, but the bed idea with integrated show action props is pretty sensible, I like it! Very clear ideas
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2016
    Posted By: KingRCT3imagine a Vekoma flying coaster in station mode, only with less restrictive restraints but still holding you from moving. No baby-making process on board.

    "No baby-making process on board."

    Am I the only one who laughed at this?
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2017 edited
    Portal effect

    Everybody once attempted to do a portal-like effect in one of their coaster. Don't lie.

    Here's my version. I'm struggleling with what I call the "contextualization" of the effect and I'll need you help, but first, I'll be describing the scene as you would experience it being a clueless guest - so I can see if the trick is obivous or not.

    You enter a dark room, standing on a platform. On the other side of a dark void, lies another plateform.

    A gun or whatever open the two portals simultaneously (using mapping + hidden sliding doors, like this never properly working effect on POTC Shanghai).

    Once the portal opened, it looks like this:

    You get to see the other side from both across the room, and through the portal.

    Swoosh, you get through the portal. You're now on the other side, and you can see your friends who were behind you, now back there on the other platform.

    Here it is. What do you think? Not about my Sketchup skills, but the effect? Does it work, or can you spot the trick easily?
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017 edited
    This is a pretty neat idea! If this was something that you would want to accomplish in real life, then I did a little sketch to show how (I believe) this could be easily achieved.

    Basically, there would be a window that you could look into, and in that window would be two mirrors angled at 45 degrees from each room, showing what would appear to be people either before, or after you in a room across from yours. Stuff like this makes me want to see a Portal ride IRL sooo bad.
    • CommentAuthorDelay
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017 edited
    Posted By: KingRCT3Everybody once attempted to do a portal-like effect in one of their coaster. Don't lie.

    Nah, still planning.

    I think the portal idea could be better for coasters. You could really mess with directions (up is suddenly left, stuff like that).

    Edit: Not sure if you could use the textures from the Hammer Editor for a NL2 map.But I haven't seen them outside the editor yet, so I don't think so.
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017
    ^ The advantage of getting it by foot is that you can experience it yourself. Really going through the portal, turn your head, going back, get confused, etc. That's a good idea trying to get the textures, but so far it's only a sketch. ;) And I'm curious to see what you have planned, now. I hope you'll make it to fruition.

    ^^ DING DING DING, we have a winner.
    That did not took so long, haha.

    So yup, mirrors. Here is the setup:

    In red are the (unwanted) first reflection of each mirror. What we want is the reflection of a reflection.

    I tried this effect in real life (thanks to Ibis Budget old room layout, always featuring a double mirror) and it totally works.

    ALTHOUGH. You gotta be extra careful for sightlines, and that's where it gets tedious.

    Here, that's almost good (what's greyed out doesn't exist), but the red parts are unwated

    There it's even worse, as you could see the man twice. The greyed part still doesn't exist, but the two red parts do and are unwanted.

    That's where it would need tricks and scenery to properly and sneakily hide all that, while maintaining the effect. I thought about filters
    It reminds me of a Pepper Ghost in a sense. It's very effective, but has to be carefully crafted (most of the time you don't notice it, but a pepper ghost effect takes twice the size if not more than the scene you're looking at eventually)

    This having double reflections gave me a hard time figuring it out, at first. Now that I see it, it seems pretty obvious, but when I was thinking about it only by head... Ugh, headaches.
    Also, I looked for softwares capable of rendering mirrors and double reflections, but in vain.
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017 edited
    Posted By: KingRCT3Also, I looked for softwares capable of rendering mirrors and double reflections, but in vain.

    Every raytracer should be able to do this, here is an example from blender's "old school" renderer for your setup using half reflective mirrors.
    Watch it

    Sounds like a cool idea!
    • CommentAuthorDelay
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2017
    Posted By: KingRCT3I'm curious to see what you have planned, now. I hope you'll make it to fruition.

    There are a few problems to solve (obviously). For example: If you have one portal horizontal (or even worse: vertical) and another one at 45°, how do you change the angle of the ride in a convicing way?
    Also, it's probably very anticlimactic.