Chapter Four
DESIGN
Making your Ride work in RCT2

~ Flexibility ~ Flat Ride Movement ~ Flat Ride Loading ~
~ Hardcoded Elements ~ Clearance ~ Footprints ~

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I'm certain you've already got a ride in mind that you'd like to make. Get a piece of paper and WRITE DOWN the following things about your idea. (Iím serious! Writing it down helps you to focus...DO IT! DO IT NOW!!!):
  • SIZE - Not the height, but the footprint it will have. How many tiles it would cover.

  • BUILD MODE - Is it a Flat Ride or a Tracked Ride?

  • MOVEMENT - Can you work with one animation mode or will different modes be necessary? (One mode is advisable for most Base Rides)

  • SIMILARITIES - Are there rides in the game that are even REMOTELY similar to what you're planning?

  • RIDERS - Would the Riders NEED to be visible?

  • CAPACITY - How many Riders can ride your creation at a time?

Once you have those, you need to choose a ride whose programming will serve as a "Base Ride" for your project. The previous chapter includes a table listing all of the rides and car/train types in RCT2. I've included all the pertinent information you'll need to find one that fits your needs.

Iíve said it MANY times so far, and Iím sure Iíll say it again. (Actually, I know that I will...Iím about to say it.) Your design MUST BE FLEXIBLE. Many ride concepts simply WILL NOT WORK within the bounds of RCT2. Since we cannot change the gameís programming, WE must be what changes.


FLEXIBILITY STUDY: "The SWINGER"

Screenshot of the "New Swinger"When creating The Swinger, I completely 3D modeled the ride from scratch...giving it 18 swings and Riders (9 sets of two swings each) instead of the three dozen most real-life rides of itís kind can hold. Since we can't increase the ride capacity...the ride becomes very unstable when you do...I had to bend my idea to fit what the ride's programming would allow. FLEXIBLE!

I also noticed that the Twist/Snow Cups (their programming is identical) used 24 frames of animation to turn the ride 120-degrees...1/3 of a rotation.

Watch the ride carefully and you'll notice something else, the riders use nine FULL rotations to return to the exact same point on the ride. This meant that the Swinger riders would NOT go 1/3 of the way around the ride in my 24 animation frames, but 4/9 or 160-degrees.

At the end of that 24 frames, the Rider is replaced by the one that STARTS the animation in that position at the beginning of the sequence...which is why the seats on RCT Flat Rides must all be the same color. (If you look closely at the Swinger, you'll notice that there are 18 stripes on the purple canopy...for exactly the same reason.)

In the original SimRide (Scenery) version, the Swinger also moved up and down...like the real life ride does. That kind of movement would necessitate a second animation mode that kicks in after the ride starts spinning. Because the programming of the Twist doesn't support that kind of movement -- a single animation that merely speeds up and slows down -- the upward movement had to be sacrificed. Again, bowing to the limits of the game.

It WOULD be possible to create a Swinger that increased speed (causing the swings to move outward) and then rose upward. The programming of the Enterprise supports something similar to that. BUT, the Enterprise does not show Riders...it's programming doesn't allow that. The ride would have to be ALWAYS full or ALWAYS empty, making it no better than the non-functioning SimRide version.

So, I had to make a few changes from my original idea...fewer riders, seats not swinging outward, ride not rising upward, etc. But if I HADNíT allowed these changes, the ride would never have become a reality in the world of RCT2.


FLAT RIDE MOVEMENT

Donít be locked into what you see happening on the screen during the game. The animation of any ride comes from what YOU give it during the picture-drawing process. You may look at the Twist and say, "Canít use that one...it spins around. I want to make something that bounces up and down." WRONG!

If you were to assemble a 24-frame animation of a ride going up and down and plug it in to the Twistís programming...your ride would go up and down.

However, the Twist does NOT always stop in the same position every time, so your ride MIGHT stop to load/unload Riders while the thing is still up in the air! Thatís something to consider.

Ripsaw animation - Notice that the seats spin around...although the original Base Ride's seats did not.  It's all in the animation YOU give it!Another example is my "Ripsaw." Itís based on the RCT2 Swinging Ship which doesnít spin...yet the Ripsaw does! I simply made it turn in my animation sequence. The game doesnít care...itís just displaying the pictures.

Youíll notice that the ride doesnít spin completely around (as Iíd hoped). The Swinging Ship uses itís animation frames both forward AND backward, so there was no way to accomplish that in RCT2.

"Chaotic" Ride Animation (slowed down to show movement detail)One final example is the "Chaotic" which uses the RCT2 Enterprise as a base. The cars/pods flip around in the Chaotic, but DONíT on the Enterprise. I simply added that to my animation.

One other thing about movement...SPEED! Certain rides move faster than others. Thereís really no way to really slow them down or speed them up.

However with that being said, you MAY be able to alter it SLIGHTLY via your artwork.

Say a ride uses 16 frames of animation per revolution (most rides spin). By making it spin only HALF that distance in those 16 frames, the ride would appear to move more slowly. Likewise, making the animation into only eight frames (and duplicating them to complete the cycle), it would spin twice as fast.

Itís very limited...but possible depending on the ride.


FLAT RIDE LOADING AND UNLOADING

Most flat rides load and unload completely when they stop. If thatís what YOUR ride would do, thatís wonderful. If you want to stop on individual cars and load incrementally, thereís only one option in the game...the Ferris Wheel.

Iíve had many requests over the years for a "Zipper" or "Double Ferris Wheel." The ONLY ride to support their incremental loading patterns is the Ferris Wheel. So far, so good...Ferris Wheel as a Base Ride.

However, the Ferris wheel has only a FEW frames of animation (8, I think). Since the movement of each ride requires them to turn completely around, that would make the ride turn incredibly fast...ruining the illusion of reality weíre trying to create. Thereís no way to slow it down enough with that small number of animation frames to make it believable. Thatís why Iíve never made one.

Some things in RCT2 just arenít possible.


HARD CODED RIDE ELEMENTS

Sometimes you'll find that a ride already moves and loads like you need it to. That's great! Although there may still be hard coded elements in the way.

Not ALL of the artwork is included in the ride's .dat file; entrance/exit buildings, station platforms, splashes on water rides and even the support structures are generally not changeable. Hardcoded items are listed in each rideís entry in the previous chapter.

"Super Looper"  I really HATE that support...but what can you do?When I created the "Super Looper," I found that the Swinging Inverter Ship moved just like I needed it to. It didn't have any programming to show Riders, but for my design, it didn't have to.

The problem is, the rear support for the Inverter Ship is hard coded and NON-removable. Since that was the ONLY ride available that moved in that fashion, all I could do is attempt to work it into the design as best I could. (Making it look like it was holding up a ride sign helped...but I still HATE that it's there!) Hard-coded elements are also something that you will need to take into account when choosing a ride to use as a base.

Sound effects can also be hardcoded into a ride...canít be changed or turned off. If they are there, youíre stuck with íem.


CLEARANCE

One other thing to think about is the clearance of the Ride you're making. (NOTE: If you don't know what "clearance" means then you've never made any scenery for RCT. Rides should NOT be your first project! Go make some scenery and come back when you're comfortable with that.)

If you've created a piece of scenery, static or animated, and exceeded the clearance limits, you've seen what happens inside the game...the top vanishes or "strobes" when something passes near it, etc. The same thing will happen to your ride if you make it too much higher than the original Base Ride.

For example, I once attempted to make a rocket-themed Huss "Condor" ride based on the RCT2 Double-Deck Observation Tower. The ride was modeled, fully animated and looked AWESOME!

But when I finally got to the testing phase, I found that the clearances simply wouldnít allow for a ride vehicle that big. As you can guess from the image, it was a sad, sad day.

The ill-fated "Condor" Ride - Notice how it's cut off at the bottom and sides.

It's devastating to work long and hard on a ride only to find that it gets cut off at the top or sides...so plan in advance and you'll save yourself from banging your head against your monitor later on.


FOOTPRINTS

The number of tiles a ride covers cannot be changed. If a base ride uses a 4 x 4 tile area (itís "footprint"), then you canít make it use 5 x 5 or 2 x 6. There are certain rides that Iíve not been able to make simply because they required too much space.

If you try to extend your artwork past the horizontal boundaries prescribed by the rideís programming, stuff will simply get cut off and disappear. You canít go beyond the brown tiles.

You CAN make a ride smaller...a kiddie ride for example. Nothing says that you MUST completely fill the Base Rideís footprint. However if you use a base ride that requires 3 x 3 tiles, it will STILL require 3 x 3 tiles in the game...the brown tiles will fill in automatically.

Now, keeping ALL that stuff in mind...letís get to work on your ride. If you allow your idea to remain pliable, you just may find a way to make it work...

 

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