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