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Head Chopping & X-Ray Vision: Using Paths to Increase a Coaster's Excitement Rating

Author/Contributors: Victor "Madman" Davis

The excitement rating a coaster generates can be greatly affected by path placement. Proper path placement can give riders the impression of an imminent collision with innocent peeps sitting on benches below or above the roaring coasters. Perhaps more importantly, good path placement will give peeps a view of the coaster, and attract them to you ride. Here are 5 tips that illustrate some of these most basic principles; all of them are demonstrated by using the "Doubleboomerang" steel corkscrew coaster.

Tip #1: Path Bridges

The most obvious way to have your paths interact with your coaster is to build a "path bridge" that goes right over the coaster. Generally, the path will have to be 2 units above the coaster in order to provide enough clearance for the coaster cars, although some coasters require more. The motivation for this is two-fold. First, wandering peeps can get excited about going on a coaster by standing above the track and watching the cars zoom by. Secondly, the peeps on the ride will be whizzing along and suddenly there is this path in their way! If combined with a drop, this can provide the peeps with the famous "Head Chop" effect.


Path Change #1: Exit path over the coaster.

In the above photo, the single path bridge increases the excitement level from 4.91 to 5.00. You can generally add as many path bridges as you desire, but it's unlikely you will experience a significant enhancement to a path-bridge effect if you randomly place these bridges. The gain in excitement to your ride will depend on how exciting your initial ride is (the more exciting to begin with, the bigger the gain), and how many other path bridges you've built (the fewer bridges that are in place, the greater the likelihood that another bridge will add to excitement).

Tip #2: Paths and Special Sections

Perhaps more important than simply knowing that path bridges can add to excitement is the discovery that the location of a path is a significant factor in whether or not it will aid excitement. In the "Doubleboomerang", we have two special ride sections - - two sets of half-corkscrews. We'll explore here how to take advantage of these coaster features.


Path Change #2: Add paths under the corkscrew at ground level.

In the above picture, the tiled path returns to ground level, and then covers all the land below the corkscrew. You'll find that the coaster's excitement has been minimally affected. We can do better.


Path Change #3: Replace paths under corkscrew - raise them 1 unit.

It turns out there are two secrets to path placement under corkscrews. First, you must have the path at a height 1 unit above the coaster's height going into the corkscrew. Here, that means the paths have to be raised one unit. Even this isn't enough to make the red path add significantly to excitement. The second secret is that it's important to have the path underneath the downward side of the full corkscrew - the tiled path in the above picture. In this case, the tiled path will add about .26 or .27 excitement to your coaster just by itself! And keep in mind that what is critical here is that the tile directly under the coaster in this specific spot must have a path on it. The surrounding path doesn't seem to have any significant affect.

Basic Tip #3: Use the Entrance Queue!

Not all types of paths are created equal. For example, the entrance queue line can have a bigger effect on excitement, all else equal, than a regularly tiled path. You've got to get those peeps pumped up to ride your ride!


Path Change #4: Place Entrance Queue under corkscrew.

In the above pic, I've moved the entrance so that the entrance queue itself now adds to excitement in two ways. First, notice that it crosses under the corkscrew at this side's "secret" location. Also notice that it's actually going downhill here -- don't worry, it still counts. The height of a path for these sorts of calculations is the highest point of the path. Thus, the coaster calculations still consider this "downhill" section of path as being close enough for the special bonus. Secondly, the entrance queue adds to excitement because it runs parallel to the track for several sections. If your path is at the same level (or one higher) as the coaster, then there's a chance it can add slightly to the coaster's excitement rating. Here, this trick nets us about .02 points. Overall, both tricks combined push this coaster up to 5.43 from 5.26.

What's that you say? That's only a .17 increase? Yep, that's right. But that doesn't mean the entrance queue added less to excitement than a path would have. In fact, the opposite is true - a generic path here would have added far less than the entrance queue. The problem is that we've already taken advantage of one "secret" spot; doing the same trick twice gives a smaller effect. Peeps like variety!

Basic Tip #4: Paths Under Coasters!

Another way to give a coaster a bonus is to put a path under the coaster. In this pic, I've lowered surrounding land by 2 units. This also means that I took the station platform out of its tunnel. Overall, this pulls this coaster's excitement all the way back down to 5.11. But we're not done! Let's add a path that goes under the whole length of the coaster. This should give the peeps a great view of the coaster screaming above them at 33 MPH.


Path Change #5: Add Path under coaster (and lower land 2 units.)

When you've finished this construction, you'll notice that we've boosted the excitement rating by another 0.11. Again, if we hadn't already had so much pathing around the coaster, this effect would have been bigger. But that's still not a bad return . . . But wait! We forgot that peeps have X-Ray Vision!

Basic Tip #5: Use the Peeps' X-Ray Vision!

Let's return the coaster back to where it was for Tip #3. Namely, we'll raise all the land back to normal, and also bury the station. This will return this coaster back to a 5.43 rating. Next, let's prepare to do the same path trick we used in Tip #4, but put the path underground, like this:


Path Change #6: Raise Land back to where it was (and bury station). Add path under coaster.

The excitement rating jumps a staggering 0.18 points! Wow! Don't forget about the peeps' X-ray vision. Peeps walking in the tunnel below will look up and get pumped up as the coaster flies along the ground. And the peeps in the coaster will use their X-Ray vision to look through the tunnel walls and wave to their peep parents! Even more importantly, peeps love to use their X-Ray vision - they think it's cool. So the excitement effects you'll get when you allow them to use their X-Ray vision are higher than if you did the same trick in open land. Here, the path added 0.18 when underground, but only 0.11 when it was simply 2 tiles below.

Note: this X-ray vision effect also works for coaster-to-coaster excitement. If you place two coaster tracks close to one another above ground, the excitement ratings of both coasters are enhanced. The same effect occurs if you are below ground.

Conclusion

Well, there we have 'em - 5 tips to use pathing to increase your coaster's excitement rating - use path bridges, use the special track elements in your coaster, use your entrance queues, use the areas directly underneath your coasters, and, most famously, use your peeps' X-ray vision! These tricks can even turn a mundane "Double Boomerang" into an exciting ride that will attract peeps for years upon years. Good luck!

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