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September 21st, 2007

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11:01 pm
So when I'm feeling like crap and it's fun to swallow and I'm indoors all day and I'm sick of World of Warcraft and taking naps, what do I do?

I build a roller coaster. Then I learn how to take video footage of it. Then I edit the footage with an app I didn't even know I had (Microsoft Movie Maker in XP? Sweet) and then learn how to put stuff up on YouTube.

Then I build an entire mythos around the ride.

This, then, is YouTube footage of a recreation of the famous Quabbin Lake Park Wildcat. Quabbin Lake Park was a trolley park located in Greenwich, Massachusetts. It opened at the turn of the 20th century, survived the Great Depression and an Eminent Domain attempt to use the land for a reservoir, of all things, but sadly closed in the 70s due to atrophy, neglect and the Energy Crisis. The Wildcat was only one in a roster of exciting roller coasters. All burned to the ground in 1978.

This film, silent cause I didn't bother with a soundtrack (and the NoLimits coaster sound never varies as it should) is a retrospective, as it were, of the coaster, interspersed with quotes from people who knew the park and the ride and loved it. First there's ACTION SHOTS!!1 of a train making the rounds and then, if you're very good, there's a front seat PoV ride in its entirety at the end.

Technically, I think this is one of the best designs I've made ever. There's some nice airtime hills, a great headchopper on the hill that crosses under the lift, and two nice "we're gonna hit the structure" fakeouts. However, the coaster is technically sound -- it passes the "tunnel test" (meaning all clearances are A-OK, so you'd never get whapped on a support beam) and it also passes the E-stop test, which is actually pretty simple cause it only runs two trains anyway. There are no G-forces which exceed practical limits (even though you get nicely tossed around, the laterals never even spike over 1.2 in either direction, and all the airtime is limited to just about -1G.) It's just plain fun, really, and I'm proud of what I done did there.

That's also the first time I used this Microsoft Movie Maker thing to, uh, make movies, but once I figured out how it was handling clips and transitions, it was pretty easy. I don't like the vertical scroll, though, and may "fix" that.

Given how little I can take the QLP gimmick, I may just end up creating a YouTube account entirely for my roller coaster designs, with or without the "this is from an old park no honest" ruse.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 22nd, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
Well done, good sir!
[User Picture]
Date:September 22nd, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
I rode this... this THING on the way from California to Maine for a family reunion, back in 1977. I was only five years old and largely I have never recovered. To this day the "click click click" of roller-coaster "safety" ratchets sound like the firing of machine guns, felling innocent Tutsis or Hutus or Whatsis, whatever they call those poor bastards that're getting blown away in Africa all the time. Anyway they evoke death and destruction, is what I'm trying to say.

You may as well portray the gas chambers of the Holocaust as a laugh-a-minute fun ride, sir. HOW DARE YOU.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
It's a good thing you didn't ride the Hurricane, then. Lordy was that a swirling machine of DEATH.
Date:September 22nd, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
I admit it, I can't resist a good Quabbin crack. And it does look like it'd be a wicked fun ride. You are, as always, full of win.
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
I'm a sucker for alternate history and the Quabbin story has intrigued me since we learned about it in second grade. So I figured, what if the Swift River Valley hadn't been co-opted to provide Boston with clean water sent through horrendously inefficient aqueducts? What if the reservoir had instead been built in Lisburn, Roadtown or Ripton? What if Enfield, Dana, Prescott and Greenwich had been allowed to flourish, hmmmmmmmmm?

(I also enjoy using fake or former town names in works; Lisburn was the original name for Pelham and Roadtown was once the name of Shutesbury, so named because it was, well, on the road between towns. HALLO!)
[User Picture]
Date:September 22nd, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's really nicely done.
[User Picture]
Date:September 22nd, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
Wow. Sweet ride. That pop coming out of the tunnel looks like it would've been killer. And those lateral pops remind me of Americana's Screechin' Eagle (moment of silence for that coaster, please). I really liked the quotes in the beginning too.

You are so talented, hun!!

BTW, I might be coming out to Boston around Halloween, I'd love to get together with you & Alan sometime!! :)
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked the coaster! I agree that the tunnel hop was a nice surprise and, according to NL, gives a bit of floating airtime. I think I'd work a bit more on the landing but I tweaked the darn thing enough as it is.

The biggest airtime hill is the station flyby that goes up into the tunnel dive; the second biggest is the hill underneath the lift with the headchopper. The low-to-the-ground stuff is where the lats start to kick in. I'm quite proud of that pretzel section, too. When I rendered the ride with minimal supports, the interlocking over-unders almost looked like a corkscrews.

(And I'm such a fan of stuff happening deep in the support structure...)

As for Halloween, I'll be busy all that week working on a live on-stage radio drama production. Check it out if you've an evening free!
[User Picture]
Date:September 22nd, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
aw man, now I just want to ride it. You are such a tease.
Date:September 22nd, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
nice coaster! the mythology is sweet!
[User Picture]
Date:September 25th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
I started to watch this when I thought we weren't going to Gilroy Gardens due to rain. (Used to be called Bonfante Gardens until Cedar Entertainment bought it) I was about a third of the way through when my wife told me that we were going. I have since watched the rest of it and I loved it. The train cars remind me a lot of vintage photos I've seen of the Giant Dipper. That looks like that would have been a fun coaster to ride. I was wondering if you had had a chance to ride it before the park closed. I know at the time the park closed, I was not the roller coaster enthusiast that I am now and I would not have ridden it.

I did get to ride a coaster that I've never ridden before at GG called the Quicksilver. What I liked about it were the tree-lined tracks that hid what was coming up from view. Not the best I've ever ridden, but I had a lot of fun riding it and so did my kids.

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