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Idea, ideas - the creative process

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Post January 30th, 2014, 10:40 pm

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Seeing many of these cool designs out there, I thought I'd start a thread on the whole creative process we all go through when creating a track. What are some of the thought processes you all go through before you place that first node? Do you grab a pen and paper and doodle out a concept/layout? Do you watch a bunch of POVs to get inspiration? Do you do design something "on the fly" (as in blindly make up a layout as you go along)?

What I think could be a good practice I should really do...

Concept: Usually happens when I either see a random coaster that sparks my interest or somebody tells me that "You should make this ride"

Brainstorm: How can I pull off a similar ride while being unique? Do I want it to be full of twists and inversions, an airtime machine, or both? Once decided what I really want to accomplish and what manufacturer coaster to use, I go to the next step...

Research: I'll hop on Youtube, check out POVs of certain coasters from...let's say, Mack Rides as example. I'll look for traits they have in common and get a feel of what the ride delivers.

Layout: This is where I should actually stop and do this step...often I skip it. This involves going to the basics, grab my notepad, pen and start doodling away. After all, I can't really keep an idea entirely in my head. Unfortunately, a lot of cool ideas I get are done on the fly and ultimately get "creator's block" after the MCBR...not knowing how to finish out the ride.

And finally....Production: Pretty self explanatory, I start placing nodes/vertices, and test out the coaster. If it is going to involve theming, I typically test out a few things, create some supports just to get a feel of what's happening.

So, just out of curiosity, what do all of you do?
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Post January 30th, 2014, 11:11 pm

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I've developed a list in my head of rides I want to make. I just do whatever I want to do and then get inspired after I make it generally If I really enjoy it..

Post June 18th, 2014, 3:21 am

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I design more on the fly. Seeing where forces and velocity are and then what I can do from there. I don't really look at manufacturers for my designs, I usually go for ride experience over designer and do my own thing.

The most I look at videos and pics for are supports. My biggest weakness

Post June 18th, 2014, 3:37 am
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Tend to sketch them out on a piece of paper then never get round to transferring them to NL haha.
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Post June 18th, 2014, 4:05 am
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My design process is exactly as mkingy's.

I love my work but it can be dull sometimes, and when it is, I sketch. Most of the sketches I do are layouts of coasters, or specific element ideas and element interaction ideas. However, these almost never translate to actually creating anything in NL on account of my general laziness and the fact that internet pornography exists.

Post June 18th, 2014, 6:08 am

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Well, I'm thinking layouts for coasters all day. If I discover a layout that I think it can be good and if I'm in the mood I continue to the next step:

Sketching: since I have a good knowledge of real manufacturers coasters I end up with a pretty accurate layout. I usually plan a few layouts. In fact, the layout of my Intamin Blitz is the fifth version.

FVD: well, pretty obvious, I try to translate what is in my head and my sketches in to NL. Few modifications made to the layout. Lots of reference pictures and videos.

Theming: At this point I have a general idea of how I want to theme the ride or if I don't want to theme. So first I sketch the places where I can add theming, where the queue will go...

Reference: search a lot of pictures of the theming I want. I think this is a pretty important step. I recommend all of you to make this for both your layout and 3ds.

Sketching again: final design of the objects, except few things I change on the go.

3ds making: one of my favorite steps.

Translate all to NL and changing the environment, adding vegetation...

Post June 18th, 2014, 10:09 am

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I'm usually really spontaneous when it comes to ideas.
Often I will just go in completely blind and choose a coaster type without even planning, just pick what I feel like making. I'll sometimes have some sort of ride as inspiration or a cool idea to start from though.

From then on unless I have pre-thought of a layout, I just create as I go, making sure that the layout will be interesting and flowing. I sometimes change some things up afterwards e.g. add in an extra roll, turn.

I like to create the terrain or add obstacles such as other coasters first as I feel that it is hard to be really creative with a blank canvas. Having to find an interesting way to get from one place to another is hard when its empty space. But if you put a few trees in the way then it helps you to create a unique and often more interesting layout.

After all that is happened I sort out the scenery, finalising any vegetation and 3ds' making sure that forces are in check. The ride is scaled well (I see so many people who make really unrealistically scaled coasters) and that element wise it is realistic (I wouldn't put a cobra roll on a spinning coaster). My method is really spontaneous and I usually get inspiration from pictures of rides and theming, and aim for realism and detail when I make them.

Post June 18th, 2014, 12:34 pm
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Post June 18th, 2014, 1:33 pm

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Post June 18th, 2014, 4:33 pm
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Just not good at it :P Can't get the hang of the whole, "vertex" thing :P

Post June 18th, 2014, 5:37 pm

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I watch POVs of similar rides I'm making.
To be honest I make a whole coaster simply to try out an element I've never done before. Then combine similar elements from the same ride manufacturer. I made a Intamin mega coaster, just because I wanted to do a similar drop like Bizzaro' at SFNE. I wanted a coaster with a non vertical drop. Just elements I never done is what gets me going.
What keeps me going, is the hardest part. I can easily start a coaster but to finish is hard. Finishing a coaster comes from POVS, that's how I get inspiration. The elements done in real life keep me going.
I can start a coaster, but to finish is hard.
Once the track is complete I add trees and terrain, that make the coaster look real.

I would hope the community make more scenery packs, I would have a better vision on what to add to parts of the ride, make the coaster to over a queue, parking lot, turn around in view of sidewalk. I would have better vision knowing I could mix in custom scenery. The tunnels in NL2 are a big help, don't know what to do next? Put a tunnel!
Stuff like that, when you don't know what to do, mix in CS to make that part of the ride significant.

It's easier to keep the coaster in a general area, make it go back and forth, but don't limit your self either.

That's what I like about it. It's art, you need inspiration, experience and once in awhile get lucky in a design.
It's not easy, it's challenging, and that makes it fun! The end result is worth it.

Post June 19th, 2014, 8:01 am

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TTD03 wrote:
Just not good at it :P Can't get the hang of the whole, "vertex" thing :P

Well, it just takes practice. Sketchup is very easy to use, and it is perfect for NL projects.

Post June 19th, 2014, 12:30 pm

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For NL1, my process (once I got the hang of the editor), I would:

1 Take a fat bong rip.

2 Go to and download coasters and get ideas from other creators.

3 Make contest style boundary lines in weird configurations, choose a ride type and see what I could do, usually in my head. Sometimes I'll do a layout top down view sketch. I do often struggle with ending a coaster well. I can end them, but it always seems forced and sloppy in execution.

For NL2, I'm still learning the editor and new system. Currently no specific projects, just trying to make elements, basic stations and lifts. Pressing buttons. I did import a ride into NL2 from 1 and wow NL2 shows you how bad of ride maker you really are, lol. I plan to try to remake some of my older rides. Definitely Thunderbolt, but with some layout modifications and possibly a different train/coaster style. (oh, like a B&M Flyer, bam, an idea just like that).
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Post June 19th, 2014, 2:07 pm
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