Chapter Six
MODELING - Part 2
Building your Ride

~ Flat Ride Modeling ~ Flat Ride Animation ~
~ Tracked Ride & Coaster Modeling ~ How a Coaster works ~
~ Tracked Ride & Coaster Animation ~ Raise your hands! ~

<< Back to Chapter 5  ~  On to Chapter 7 >>


The 3D stage is set. Youíve got a Peep model that youíre happy with. So far, so good. Now we get to the interesting part...modeling your actual ride.

I want to stress again, I will NOT be teaching you how to do 3D modeling. Iíll simply be giving you the basics on making your ride model work with RCT2...and passing along a few tips and tricks that Iíve found to make life easier.

There are two basic types of animated rides in RCT2; Flat Rides and Tracked Rides, which I think of as "Vehicle Rides." There is some overlap in these two groups. The Dodgems for instance is built as a Flat Ride, but itís underlying mechanics are that of a Tracked Ride.

Neither type of ride is "easier" to customize than the other...both have their unique advantages and drawbacks, as youíll soon discover.


Flat Ride Modeling

In one form or another, Flat Rides generally spin, swing, bounce or some combination of those. These movements are repetitive and accomplished by looping a short series of animation frames over and over.

Throughout this exercise, Iíll be using my "Tilted Whirler" as an example. Hereís a close-up view of the completed model.

3D Model of AE's "Tilted Whirler" Ride

Letís break down how this model was built.

I began with the light blue sphere you see peeking up through the center. Because the ride basically just spins, I placed that sphere EXACTLY where the center of the ride will be. Itís grouped together with all of the cars so that when I rotate that sphere, the cars will all rotate with it. You donít see that sphere in the final ride images, because itís set to be completely invisible when rendered. Itís there simply to control other parts easily.

Next we have that undulating base -- painted with pink and white stripes. Remember that the pink will eventually be a "paintable" area in the game. The gray "track" area was simply a duplicate of the striped base object, shrunk slightly, raised slightly and painted a solid gray.

The striped sphere in the center is...well, a striped sphere. It doesnít move at all and is simply there for decoration. The green stripes will become another paintable area when used in the game.

The cars themselves were the most difficult modeling job. I wonít go into all the details here, but suffice to say that they took some time to get just right. The pinks and greens will all be paintable eventually.

The cars rotate around the center of the ride, but they ALSO spin independently. The discs beneath the cars are used for that purpose. They are what is actually grouped with the blue Control Sphere. Each car is then grouped with the disc on which it sits. Hereís the Hierarchy for the movement:

  1. Control Sphere - Rotates all the discs around the center point

  2. Gray Disc - Is moved around the center by the Control Sphere but is also spun independently to control the individual swinging movement for each car

  3. Cars - Attached to the disc and controlled by itís movement

  4. Riders - Copies of the Peep Model we made earlier. Attached to the cars...so they donít fall out

Now, since the Tilted Whirler will use the Twist/Snow Cups as a Base Ride, we need to consider itís animation requirements. The listing in the Ride Table says:

Twist (twist1.dat)
Riders Visible?: Capacity 18
Tracked:
No - 3 x 3 footprint
Hardcoded Pieces:
None
Total Frames:
240 (Ride: 24 /Riders: 216)
NOTES:
24 Frames rotate ride 120-degrees. Riders require ALL 216 FRAMES to reach their original starting point.

Okay, the first consideration is that it needs a capacity of 18. So...

(18 Riders) / (2...because they ride in pairs) = 9 cars needed

It was a bit of a squeeze to get all 9 cars onto that little track and leave enough space for them to swing around, but I managed it...and only had to cheat a little.

Next consideration, a 3 x 3 footprint. Thatís what Iíd planned from the beginning, so thatís done...HOWEVER...

We now need to make sure the thing will render at the right size in the game. To test this, weíll need that RCT2 screenshot again. Remember those nine blocks? Theyíre precisely the same size as the footprint of our ride! (Sneaky, huh? Like heíd planned it all along or something...)

Select one of your view cameras, the ones you used to make your Peep Model the right size, and render the image over the screenshot. Would the ride fit easily on top of those blocks? If not, resize the model and try again.

Tilted Whirler 3D model rendered in front of an in-game screenshot.  Shrink the RIDE BUT NOT THE RIDERS!  They need to remain the same size as the others in the game.

NOTE: DONíT DO IT BY ZOOMING THE CAMERA! That would change the size of the Riders, too! Youíll need to change the scale of ONLY the objects that make up the ride itself! The Riders MUST remain the same size as the originals in the game, but your ride can shrink or grow a bit.

Once you have adjusted the model to the size you need it, you may have to rearrange the Riders a little...moving them closer together on the seat, adjusting their knees, putting their little hands on the grab-bar, etc. All just details, but ALL important.


Flat Ride Animation

The next important bit of information weíll need to examine is the number of animation frames. Remember WAAAY back in the Tools section, I mentioned that your 3D program should be able to output as an animated .gif? That comes into play here.

Weíll keep things easy by adjusting the frame rate that our animated .gif uses to MATCH the requirements of the ride.

According to the Ride Table entry, this ride has a 24-frame animation sequence...so, weíll set the 3D program to output as a .gif animation at 24fps (frames per second).

Now, we finally do some animating!

According to the "Notes:" in the Ride Table entry, the Riders use 216 frames -- nine FULL loops of the animation -- to return to their original starting point. How in the world do we do that?!

Warning! MATHEMATICS AHEAD!

View your ride from directly overhead and imagine that the cars are numbered.

Looking directly down at the model - 40-degree rotation per 24-frame animation sequence

Say you start at Car 1 and use your 24 frames to make it move to Car 2ís position -- 40-degrees (1/9th of a circle). If you allowed that animation to loop nine times, at the END of that last loop, the car would finally appear to end up back where it started. Although thatís PRECISELY what we want, it wouldnít move very fast...far too slow for the ride we have in mind.

Looking directly down at the model - 80-degree rotation per 24-frame animation sequence

Say you make Car 1 move TWO spaces (80-degrees) to Car 3ís position. That would move TWICE as fast as the first version. At the END of each animation the car would be in the following positions: 3, 5, 7, 9, 2, 4, 6, 8, 1. It WORKS! Nine loops would bring it back to itís original position. But again, itís still a bit slow for this particular ride.

Looking directly down at the model - 120-degree rotation per 24-frame animation sequence

Okay, letís try moving three spaces...Car 1 moving 120-degrees to Car 4ís spot. The end positions would be: 4, 8, 1, 4, 8, 1, 4, 8, 1. Hmm...it works, but not entirely. In order for THIS particular ride to work properly, the ending points of the animation MUST include all 9 positions, due to the way Rider images are handled. Well, the speed would be about right, but due to technical restraints it wonít work after all.

Looking directly down at the model - 160-degree rotation per 24-frame animation sequence

Try moving four spaces - 160-degrees (4/9ths of a circle). Where does that put us at the end of each animation sequence? The speed looks about right, too...a hair too fast, perhaps, but you canít have everything. FLEXIBLE, remember?

Gadzooks! Iím thinking we have a winner, here!

Okay, so how does that translate into our animation? Well, the ride would need to rotate 4/9ths of a rotation in a single animation sequence. Using the current position as a starting point, we simply rotate the center sphere 160-degrees (4/9ths of a circle)...allowing the 3D program to animate it automatically to the end of the sequence.

Because the track is not level on this ride, the discs may need to be adjusted in order to keep them on the track. Simply moving them vertically until they appear to be sliding on top of the gray track does the trick. Now weíre ready for a test render of the animation.

The animation repeats NINE times.  They key is that the car is in a DIFFERENT position at the end of every cycle.Looking at the rendered sequence, we follow ONE car around the track...if it takes 9 rotations to return to the exact point where it started, then weíre one step closer to our ride! YAY! YAY! Break out the Champagne!

Um, not so fast, Sparky. We havenít made the cars spin around on their discs, yet. Thatís gonna take some doing, first.

You see, at the end of each loop, the Car 1 is actually replaced by Car 5. At the end of the next loop, Car 5 is replaced by Car 9, then Car 4, 8, 3, 7, 2, 6 and finally Car 1 again. To make THIS happen, we need to do it by hand.

We begin by animating Car 1, rotating the disc beneath it so it turns realistically as it travels around the track. REMEMBER THE POSITION YOU LEAVE IT IN AT THE END OF THE ANIMATION! Youíll need to MATCH it in a minute.

Going back to Frame 1, Car 5 is now sitting exactly where Car 1 was a second ago. We need to rotate Car 5ís control disc to match it. It doesnít have to be perfect, but the closer, the better.

Now animate Car 5ís spin as it travels through the animation...up and down the rolling track, noting itís position in the final frame. Two down, seven more to go.

Returning to frame one, Car 9 has now replaced Car 5. We repeat the animation process with each car in turn, 9, 4, 3, 7, 2 and 6...matching the final position of Car 6 to the STARTING position of Car 1.

"SkyDiver" Ride animation...only eight frames.  One car replaces the next when the sequence begins again.  This happens on a LOT of RCT2 Rides.Note: This is the same method used to animate the spinning cars on my "SkyDiver" ride. Exactly the same thing, but done vertically around an axis instead of on the discs.

Granted, all of this IS NOT NECESSARY if your cars donít spin. For instance, a Merry-Go-Round type of ride wouldnít need this extra animation since the seats on it donít spin...just rotate around the center of the ride. But if you wanted them to go up and down, the process would be very similar.

Render your one second, 24-frame animated .gif and save it as "MyRIDE.gif." Take a look at it in action. Do the cars spin convincingly? Do they move the way you want them to? Perhaps youíll just want to look at it for a while...a lot of work went in to that 1-second movie! And more is to come before it ever sees the world of RCT.

Take a break, have a cookie (maybe a nap) and weíll continue...but SAVE YOUR FILE FIRST!


Tracked Ride & Coaster Modeling

Okay. If youíre NOT looking to do a Flat Ride, then you can ignore much of what Iíve said so far in this chapter. Much, but not ALL. Modeling a tracked ride or coaster gives you a lot more freedom...and takes far less ACTUAL modeling. However the animation portion can easily make up for that in difficulty.

However even if youíre NOT doing a coaster, ALL the Vehicle Based rides follow the same basic format as a rollercoaster and have the same basic modeling requirements.

For this exercise weíll be using my "Dream Woodie" as an example. Itís the first custom coaster train I ever created...and pretty basic as rollercoasters go. I may even give some insights about how the riders were animated.

First of course, youíll need your Peep model arranged however you want him to ride...sitting down, standing up, upside down hanging by his ankles...whatever.

But, just like the Flat Ride section, weíll begin with a Control Sphere. The sphere will be rotated by the 3D program to animate the various views of the vehicle.

"Dream Woodie" 3D Model Detail

The center of this Control Sphere is located at the EXACT CENTER of the BOTTOM of the vehicle...right where it would meet the surface of the track.

If the vehicle has wheels, the sphereís center would be level with the bottom edge of the wheels.

"Peter Pan's Flight" Model detail.  Note the position of the control spheres!  This is identical for tracked rides that "swing" or "slide" on curves.If you were doing a suspended vehicle of some sort -- one that hangs below the track -- it would go right at the point where the vehicle hooks to the track.

If you happen to be doing a ride based on the Bobsleds, Dinghy Slide, etc., treat it like a vehicle that hangs from the track. Although the vehicle isnít actually attached to an overhead track, the swinging motion is the same and accomplished in the same way.

For many coasters, a second Control Sphere is required. This one goes in exactly the same place, but is used for a different reason. It will control the banking angle of the vehicle. Any time that the vehicle is required to swing wide on turns, take banked curves or corkscrews, etc., youíll need a second Control Sphere.

The Linking Hierarchy looks like this:

  1. Main Control Sphere (MCS) - Controls rotation. Turning this will rotate the entire model.

  2. Secondary Control Sphere (SCS) - Linked to the Main Control Sphere. Controls banking angle. Changing angle on this will tilt the vehicle up, down or sideways independently of the position of the Main Control Sphere.

  3. Vehicle - Your model. Grouped with the SECONDARY Control Sphere.

  4. Riders - Your Model(s). Grouped with the vehicle...strapped in and hanginí on, I suppose.

"Space Mountain" Vehicle 3D Model - THIS much detail isn't really necessary...but I did it anyway.Modeling the vehicle isnít all that hard. Theyíre so tiny that very little detail is necessary. I sometimes get pretty elaborate with them, though...like the ride vehicles I did for the Disneyland "Space Mountain" Coaster.

The important thing on these is size. Ride vehicles, especially coaster trains, are set a particular distance apart. Thatís hardcoded. Youíll need to take that into consideration when building a train of any type...coaster or transport. Make the vehicles much larger/longer than the originals and youíre in for trouble with them overlapping down the road...er...track.

But if the vehicle youíre building is NOT part of a train, like a water ride, go-kart or wild mouse...itís not that much of a consideration. You STILL have limits on size (donít go crazy on them), but theyíre a little bit more forgiving.

Vehicle Model rendered in front of an in-game screenshot...scaled to fit on the track later.You also need to make sure that your vehicle will fit on the track, later. Remember what we did back in the Flat Ride modeling portion of this chapter? The Rendering-Over-A-Screenshot Trick? That works for vehicle based rides, too.

Open RCT2 and build the coaster/ride that youíre using as a Base Ride. Then take a screenshot of the track - and maybe a few cars when itís in operation. Use that screenshot image as a background and follow the instructions given in the Flat Ride section of this chapter...making sure that your vehicle fits on itís proposed track design and isnít much bigger than the rideís original vehicle.

Canít we make our OWN track styles in RCT2 to go with our new custom coaster? Nope. Track images are all completely hardcoded. Did you SEE any in the .dat file when you opened it? NO? Well, I guess they can NOT be edited, then. Sorry, Mate. Youíre stuck.


How a Coaster works

Okay, youíve got your vehicle model created and your Peep model is anxiously sitting inside this death trap youíve made. Now what?

We animate.

LOTS!

As in the Flat Ride modeling portion of the chapter, weíll be outputting the artwork as an animated .gif. Believe me, it saves a LOT of time. I wouldnít go back to the OLD way for a MILLION bucks...well, make me that offer and weíll see.

Since the "Dream Woodie" will be using the RCT2 Wooden Coaster Trains as itís Base Ride, letís see what the Ride Table entry has to say about it:

Wooden Coaster Trains (ptct1.dat)
Riders Visible?: 4 Riders per car
Tracked:
Yes
Hardcoded Pieces:
Track & Station
Total Frames:
2,160 (Ride: 720 /Riders: 1,440)
NOTES:
None

Four Riders per car...got it. Looks like the Track & Station are hardcoded, but itís not like we really needed to change them anyway. 720 Ride Images needed of the vehicle. Okay. But what pictures exactly?

Glad you asked!

Letís rip the ptct1.dat file apart with Buggyís RideMaker program and have a look at itís guts.

The preview picture (pic000) is standard, as are those two single-pixel images (pic001&002) that every RCT2 ride has. Analyzing the Ride images we have...

pic003-034 A 32-frame clockwise rotation sequence (ALL Vehicle-Based Rides go clockwise, by the way)

-----If your Base Ride does NOT do hills, the images probably stop here-----

pic035-038 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees

pic039-042 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic043-074 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 22.5 degrees

pic075-106 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

-----If your Base Ride does only GENTLE hills, the images probably stop here-----

pic107-114 An 8-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 45 degrees

pic115-122 An 8-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 45 degrees

pic123-154 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 67.5 degrees

pic155-186 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic187-190 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 78.75 degrees

pic191-194 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic195-226 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 90 degrees

pic227-258 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic259-262 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 105 degrees

pic263-266 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic267-270 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 120 degrees

pic271-274 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic275-278 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 135 degrees

pic279-282 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic283-286 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 150 degrees

pic287-290 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic291-294 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 165 degrees

pic295-298 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic299-302 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 180 degrees (completely upside down)

pic303-306 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees

pic307-310 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic311-314 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 22.5 degrees

pic315-318 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

pic319-322 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 45degrees

pic323-326 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN the same amount

-----If your Base Ride does NOT do banked turns, the images probably stop here-----

pic327-334 An 8-frame rotation with the car NOT tipped, but tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic335-342 An 8-frame rotation with the car NOT tipped, but tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic343-374 A 32-frame rotation with the car NOT tipped, but tilted to the Riderís LEFT 45 degrees

pic375-406 A 32-frame rotation with the car NOT tipped, but tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 45 degrees

pic407-438 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic439-470 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic471-502 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic503-534 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic535-538 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic539-542 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic543-546 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic547-550 *A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic551-554 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 22.5 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic555-558 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 22.5 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic559-562 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 22.5 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 22.5 degrees

pic563-566 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 22.5 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 22.5 degrees

pic567-598 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 45 degrees

pic599-630 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 45 degrees

pic631-662 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 45 degrees

pic663-694 A 32-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 45 degrees

pic695-698 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 45 degrees

pic699-702 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped UP 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 45 degrees

pic703-706 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís LEFT 45 degrees

pic707-710 A 4-frame rotation with the car tipped DOWN 11.25 degrees...AND tilted to the Riderís RIGHT 45 degrees

pic711-714 A 4-frame rotation of the car FLAT. First frame of an animated loading sequence...door closing, lap bar moving into place, etc...if you want to make one.

pic715-718 A 4-frame rotation of the car FLAT. Second frame of an animated loading sequence...door closing, lap bar moving into place, etc...if you want to make one

pic719-722 A 4-frame rotation of the car FLAT. Third frame of an animated loading sequence...door closing, lap bar moving into place, etc...if you want to make one.

(*Aside from the fact that these pics are angled at 0, 90, 180 & 270-degrees to the camera, IF and HOW these differ from the ones we did earlier, I donít know.)

Amazing Earl's Basic Coaster Frame ReferenceHere is an animated .gif of the ENTIRE sequence.  Each frame is labeled with the car's inclination.

Open it in a Bitmap Editor and scroll to individual frames to use it as a reference.  The frame number should be indicated in your Editor.

 To get the "pic***.bmp" name for that frame, simply add 2 to the frame number.  (The Ride images start at 003, remember?)

NOTE: Be aware that while all Vehicle Rides follow the same BASIC format, they will each have their own slight differences. Additional or alternate images may be necessary if the track includes corkscrews, helixes, reverses, swings the cars on turns or has other special features. Some images may not be needed at all. Use this list ONLY AS A GUIDE to understanding your Base Rideís images.


Tracked Ride & Coaster Animation

Well, now that we know what we need, might as well figure out how to MAKE it.

It seems that the rotations are all in multiples of four. Setting the 3D program to output an animated .gif with 8 frames per second should work pretty smoothly.

The first sequence is a simple 32-frame rotation. These rotations ALL (well, MOST Rides) start with the car pointing NorthEast. Choose the camera and use the Main Control Sphere to rotate your model into that position.

Four seconds later, the model should be in exactly this same position, but at the 1, 2 & 3-second marks, it will have turned 90, 180 and 270-degrees. Make those adjustments now and render your model as an animated .gif.

What have we created? A four second animated .gif that contains 32-frames of the vehicle turned 11.25 degrees from one picture to the other...the EXACT series of pictures we need to make the first sequence! How COOL is that?!

For many Vehicle Based rides that run on water or flat track only, this may be ALL you need. But for this coaster, itís just a drop in the bucket.

You may want to save your file at this point. It gets wild and woolly from here on in.

Rather than making a separate animated .gif for each sequence, weíre going to make one BIG one that contains the WHOLE SET of images needed for the ride. This will require some tinkering with your animation timeline, but in the end, the convenience will be worth it.

In making the preceding 4-second animation, you probably put the final keyframe on the 4-second mark. Weíre going to move it backward just a hair to 3.99 seconds.

Why? Wonít that mess up our animation? Not really. One-hundredth of a second is not really enough to affect the position. Since weíre only using 8 frames per second, the last image (frame 32) is snapped at 3.875 seconds anyway. The minuscule change wonít be noticeable. The NEXT image of the larger .gif (frame 33) will be snapped at 4.000 seconds exactly...and we need THAT picture to be of the vehicle in a completely different position.

Returning to your timeline, the next sequence we need is a 4 frame rotation of the vehicle with itís nose tipped UPWARD 11.25 degrees.

How do we do THAT? Thatís what the Secondary Control Sphere (SCS) is for.

Putting keyframes for each Control Sphere on your timeline at 4.000, use the SCS to tip the nose of your vehicle upward. Since this sphere moves independently of the MAIN Control Sphere (MCS), it will keep it in that position regardless of which way the MCS is pointing.

Since this is only a FOUR frame rotation, go to the four-and-a-half second mark and make another keyframe for both the MCS and SCS. Youíll need FOUR, actually...another set being at 4.49 seconds since that is the end of this particular sequence.

Adjust the MCS so that it makes a full rotation during that half second...and the sequence is complete! If you were to render an animated .gif to this point, you would see 36 frames...the original 32 we saw earlier, PLUS the next four frames showing the vehicle rotating a second time, but with itís nose tipped upward slightly. HOORAY! Another baby step toward glory!

Diving back in, the next sequence is identical to the last one, EXCEPT that the carís nose is tipped DOWNWARD 11.25-degrees. Putting your keyframes at 4.99 and 5.00 seconds, adjust the MCS and SCS to their proper positions...and that sequence is done!

The next sequence we need is a 32-frame rotation, so it will take FOUR seconds on our timeline. Itís done in precisely the same way as the last two, except that itís longer and the vehicle is tipped up or down at a 45-degree angle. All the same keyframe rules apply.

If the ride youíre creating is only capable of GENTLE hills, then this may be the end of your animating nightmare. This 104-frame, 13-second animated .gif might be all you need! But otherwise, we need to keep going.

Actually, YOU will keep going. Iíll be resting while YOU do the work. Itís all the same process from here on out. Just follow the previous instructions and make the adjustments listed for each sequence earlier in this chapter. Just remember that a 4-frame rotation lasts HALF a second, an EIGHT-frame rotation takes a FULL second and a 32-frame rotation takes FOUR seconds.

Iíll meet up with you again at frame 301 when things get funky again.

---------FRAME 301----------

Okay, made it this far, eh? Youíre more persistent than I thought. GOOD FOR YOU!

At frame 301, the views change slightly. Weíve got a series of 4-frame rotations -- which you KNOW how to do -- but the rotation angle is different. Instead of pointing NorthEast at the beginning, the next few start out pointing directly EAST...at a 90-degree angle from the camera.

Thatís the only real adjustment you need to make for them. By starting the rotation there, youíll get four images that are pointing East, South (directly at the camera), West and North (directly AWAY from the camera).

We did make images exactly like these in the some previous rotations...as part of an 8 or 32-frame rotation, but for some reason the game wants to look for these particular ones here.

You COULD just copy those images, rename them and plug them into the sequence here later, but itíll be a lot easier if you just animate the rotation and put them in here now. Itís not like itís THAT difficult, right?

Another quick nap for me. Iíll see you at frame 325...

---------FRAME 325---------

Something funky happening here again. The images youíre about to do next are for when the vehicle takes BANKED turns. Your ride may not require these, but most coasters in RCT2 will.

Itís quite simple, actually. Weíve been using the Secondary Control Sphere to tilt the car up and down...now weíll use it to tilt the thing SIDEWAYS as well.

No big deal. Pretty much the same as youíve been doing, but with that extra little surprise. BY THE WAY, make sure you tilt it the proper direction! The vehicles always tilt to the RIDERíS LEFT first, then to the RIDERíS RIGHT. Reverse the two and itíll look REALLY strange on turns.

Well, thatís it. Iíll leave you to your work. Thereís nothing else unusual coming up that you havenít handled already. Iíll see you at the end of frame 708.

---------FRAME 708---------

Here we have what looks like a simple four-frame rotation of the car pointing NE, SE, SW & NW. Know WHY it looks like that? Because it is! And the same sequence is there three times.

Whatís that there for?

Thatís used for an animated loading sequence. Although you donít usually have mechanically moving lap bars or doors closing on a wooden coaster, THIS is where the animation would go if you did.

The first rotation would be of the doors completely open, then closed a little, then almost completely closed...but since Iím not using them on my Dream Woodie coaster, theyíre simply all the same image. The game STILL animates them, but you donít notice it because the images are identical.

You make your three rotations and Iíll see you in a few minutes at the end of Frame 720.

---------Frame 720---------

HEY! I wasnít sure youíd make it. BRAVO!

In the next chapter, Iím going to show you a REALLY COOL time-saving trick, but since youíve finished this part, probably the most difficult of the tutorial, take a little break. Have a snack. Do something nice to celebrate this HUGE accomplishment.

Actually, you may just want to take a nap. (Youíll need it.)


Raise your hands!

OH! I did say that Iíd give you a little insight into my animated Riders, didnít I? Well, thatís really all I did...animate them.

On the Dream Woodie, I went through all the trouble of making certain Riders raise their arms on hills & drops...and even lean with the centrifugal forces when going around banked curves.

Since I know which images will be used on hills, drops, banked turns, etc., I just moved their little bodies for every frame. It took a LONG time and is barely noticeable in the game...but I know itís there, and Iím proud of it. <grin>

 

 

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