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How to design a Theme park on a PC?

 
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Sfan00



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:53 pm    Post subject: How to design a Theme park on a PC? Reply with quote

I am thinking virtually of course, If I had the money to do it for real I would have done so a long time ago. Smile

My first thoughts were to use something like RCT3 until I found that it
did not support the level of control I needed, So I might need to use
something like Trainz or get some enterprsing programmer to
construct a dedictaed engine Surprised


Whilst the technology develops, I may as well work on story, and would welcome creative review on anything I might say below:

My rough thoughts were for a North Of London park in the UK. UK parks
are often smaller than their US contingent, I had thus decided to possibly use a series of linked 'village' centres... of which 3 were nominaly traditional in character, the other two being more extensively themed
(but deeper into the park, I was thinking possibly Oriental compared to the
more usual Western themes that seem to exist..)

One concept I did decide on was to take a more european approach,
which meant a No Cola policy, and to have some more extensive garden areas instead of the pack in the ride buildings approach of some US parks.
(Disney notably excepted)

The main entrance 'village' would be Elstree , and as well as being the main access to other areas would be a small simple english Village,
the presence of a large hanger object being explained by the fact that the
village is also a 'studio' village, allowing for some of the other themes to
be considered as possible 'backlots'...

Elstree has no major rides, but does have an English style cafe...
(of the design that used to exist - Thinks Lyons Corner House or
altenatly the non alcoholic portion of ye-olde English tavern, That said I
might put the tavern elswhere.)

Bugleskelly, is the second village that I had thought about, and this village
is more rurual than Elstree, but it serves as the ride frontage for the 'O Riley's Pot O Gold' which , is a magical journey into the Leprachaun Kingdom ( OK So I am stretching Geogrpahy a LITTLE bit here) . The area also houses a simple flat 'gallops' type rollercoaster.

Buggleskelly and Elstree are linked by a park railway, which also links other parts of the site. Never one to pass up a good idea, the locos and cars
of the Elstree, 'Swanton' and Buggleskelly Branch Railway, are derived
from a combination of Emmet designs and popular folklore about quaint
English branch and narrow gauge lines...

'Swanton' is the third stop and is the gardens area of the park as well as being where the ride area for a water ride is located
I had two possible ideas about Swanton

The first was to have a 'Swan Lake' ride ... I had to rethink Swan Lake at least twice, and the current thought is to have it as 'flat' ride, with some static swan models represnting swans at various cycles of the year, and at life cycle points. For example the youthful chicks happily playing as the old swans look on from the sidelines. I am not sure how to achive spring/summer/autunm and winter effects on an outdoor ride though.

The alternate was to theme Swanton as vaugely 'oriental' as some gardens of grand English house were and have as the ride something called the 'Path of Life' , which was again a water based ride, and to have static model scenes drawn from for example Buddhist and eastern folk stories. Ok so it might be lost on some people, but whose to say a European park, can't have 'higher' creative values Smile The river being the Path of life in the rides title... Smile

'Hobbs End' was the last of the 'villages' I had fully thought through and it
was essentialy a fronatge for a state of the art Ghost Train. The ride itself
drawn on a backstory that there is some 'evil' presence in the caverns
beneath the village, that was disturbed when the railway company (MY original park location choiche would have been perfect to say Underground for this but changing it to a generic railway works just as well) uncovered the chamber just before the war, the backstory also mentions the sinister wartime work (Think Phildelphia/tesla/Quatermass type stuff) that went on in the caverns.(possible RSG use as well?) After the war the caverns were silent, until tours bagan again recently, the former station and the rail tunnels being used as the entrance... The ride experience begines when you enter the ride, as you get 'alternate-history' afterfacts drifting
into your conciousness... as you descend to the platform it's even more apparent that all is not as it seems. The ride is essentialy a tracked ride
the ride buggy essentialy being a mock up of a simple 'tour' train, but not
nessacrily running on 'visible' rails... It does need to be a 'train' of sorts
given the previous backstory, an ATV type buggy wouldn't do the story justice. Amongst the set peices I had in mind for the ride were a semi- flooded substation- including a swarm of what i could only describe in text as 'electric jelleyfish' , but in essence the effect is meant to be that waht would be normally be old style arc rectifers are possesed and thus move
like jellyfish in the partially flooded substation, the largest one acts like
a kind of 'brain' jellyfish seemingly conductiong proceedings...
I would welcome thoughts on other possible set peices and backstory..

Any thoughts on how various areas could be developed?

Noting of course that the first issue for any park is finding a location
(In this case finding a plausible location, and getting 'free' DEM data
for 3D work...)




















but
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admin
Site Admin


Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Posts: 381

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can definitely see from your description that this has a European flair and that you're coming at this from a British cultural standpoint. I'm not sure if applying an American / Disney style template to the design would be appropriate. But then again, good entertainment can (and does) work on any continent with lots of different cultures, so why not try? Shall we start with your high concept?

1.) High Concept - This is the basic idea, the show premise, boiled down to the fewest number of words possible. A "1-liner," if you will. If you can get the basic thrust of the story/attraction across in one short line, then chances are you have a strong concept.

Nate
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Thriller



Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: the Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to play RCT (thoe original) a lot, but when I got more serious about theme park design, I quit that. Anything I do now is done with help of whatever software is useful. I must admit, I haven't been working on my ideas much lately. I've got the rough concept set in a few written reports. In the future, I might use No Limits for coaster design (very helpful), some regular 3D CAD design, etc. Concept art will probably be scanned from paper. I think a pc gives a lot of possibilities for (amateur) design Smile
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Sfan00



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="admin"]I can definitely see from your description that this has a European flair and that you're coming at this from a British cultural standpoint. I'm not sure if applying an American / Disney style template to the design would be appropriate. But then again, good entertainment can (and does) work on any continent with lots of different cultures, so why not try? Shall we start with your high concept?

1.) High Concept - This is the basic idea, the show premise, boiled down to the fewest number of words possible. A "1-liner," if you will. If you can get the basic thrust of the story/attraction across in one short line, then chances are you have a strong concept.

Nate[/quote]

High Concept : A series of linked 'villages' or backlots that act as frontages
for rides or other attractions.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the ideas!! It sounds like a relaxing park, not a high-powered thrill experience, which is definitely more European. Based on the atmosphere, you'll want to hide the rides a little, and give the rest of the park more ambience. I think it sounds lovely! Very Happy
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admin
Site Admin


Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Posts: 381

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Berger (show writer for theme park attractions) may disagree with me on this, but here's my take on the high concept line. Have you ever been to a really cool place, whether it be a restaurant, a new store, a mall, a theme park ride, a movie....? You try to describe it to your friends to get them to go and it generally goes something like this:

"It's a great Western cowboy themed restaurant, where no ties are allowed. And if you wear one, the waiter will cut it off for you and post in on the wall." -- Traildust in Denver, Colorado

To me, that's your high concept: It's what you tell your friends to get them to want to go.

Another example: "It's a restaurant that is themed to look like an old Road House burger joint. They have peanuts at your table and you're encouraged to throw the shells on the floor" -Logan's Road House.

If you present your high concept as a selling point: 1) What it is and 2) Why it's unique / why people should want to go, this is how you pull it off successfully.

The same can be said about a great movie: "It's a story about a guy who loses his long term memory. And the audience gets to live in his world because the entire film is cut into segments and shown in reverse order." -- Memento

Then at that point, everything in the script and guest treatment reinforces and expands upon that high concept. So anyway, perhaps you want to expand on the high concept and then go from there.

By the way, you'll notice I haven't mentioned a THING about how you should design this in the computer as of yet. Why? Ideas and storylines come first. Smile First things first!

Nate
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Sfan00



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="DancinBelle"]I love the ideas!! It sounds like a relaxing park, not a high-powered thrill experience, which is definitely more European. Based on the atmosphere, you'll want to hide the rides a little, and give the rest of the park more ambience. I think it sounds lovely! Very Happy[/quote]

You've clearly not riden Hobbs End Smile

Hobbs End - " The train Now arriving...."
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Sfan00



Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="admin"]
...
Then at that point, everything in the script and guest treatment reinforces and expands upon that high concept. So anyway, perhaps you want to expand on the high concept and then go from there.

By the way, you'll notice I haven't mentioned a THING about how you should design this in the computer as of yet. Why? Ideas and storylines come first. Smile First things first!

Nate[/quote]

OK Well I did have some advertising lines, I don't quite get this whole high concept stuff, but quite happy to expand storylines and stuff..

I've included Back to The Reality, which was amongst the notes I made ages ago concerning Studio 9...

I seem to have used ' Beyond the Reality...' as a tag line Smile

I still SOMEWHERE have the Hobbs End notes that got lost in the
previous forums crash...

Sfan00

"Hobbs End" - "The train now arriving...."


Beyond The Reality,,
(Part I)

Studio 9 at Elstree is not so much a themed park as a collection
of neatly themed rides.

As usaul the ornate gateway to the park was a stunning as ever,
the banner prodly proclaming the slogan that has been both Sutdio
9 and Imaginix's coprate advert for the past decade.

The go faster stripe has been repainted follwoing comments last
season.

A special pass lets me in for free and it is
with excitment that I look down Empire Parade.
The usual praphenlia is on sale in the shops
but I am heading straight for Grandma Smith's
for a chance to examine this seasons map that
was graciously provide to me on entry.

Grandma Smiths is reasonably sized and has a family atmopshere,
and it is suprising that some of the charcter of an English tea room
has been succesfully 'faked' despite the self-service counters.
Early in the morning it's rather empty so there plenty of space (tip.)

The one thing I like about Studio-9's catering is it's
originality, you won't find Coca-Cola anywhere.
Instead I get an (uncarbonated) Lemonade and
a fairly hefty biscuit (1.20UKP)

The map is quite easy to understand and soon it is laid out
and I am thinking about what to see or ride first.

Swan Lake it seems has been retired, (not unxpected)
but some old favourites such as Kinght Quest ,
Timestorm and O-Riley's Pot of Gold remain..

There is an LU roundel marked in the North east of
the park site which bears further investigation as it
wasn't there at the close of the season last year..

I decide to go for a nice gentle ride first and head for
Elmo's barn.. It's a nice, simple and reminds me of the
former Magic Mill at Thorpe Park. Elmo's Barn is an
area just off from the common and it's only short walk on
finishing my drink.

The Queue is short so I have little time to hear the
pre-ride music as a 'haycart' pulls in.

What follows is an enjoyable ride around a mid-west
farmyard as the animals rock and sway gently in time
to a specialy prepared ballad(?)

The finale of the ride is inside the barn as
we see Elmo and the mice dancing away
as he plays away on this choosen instrument.

Thanks to an inside source I've got the full lyrics here
but the tune on-ride is insturmental only and may not
quite fit to the lyrics owing to ride speed.)

In terms of music style I'm not sure how to describe
it but it's defintly a 'banjo' sound.
(NB to Sanford.. If any of languge sounds wrong for the theming LMK)

The Ballad of Elmo the Cat..
by Alex Farlie(Imaginix)

Way out on the western plains
There was a farm, ma and sons
and with one of the sons ma dispaired
cause all Day Elmo played... on the Banjo!! Oh-Oh...

Now Elmo was something of a crazy cat
And playing banjo he thought was where it was at.
Each day he sat an strummed and thought
All day playin away ..... On The Banjo..

All the time he was playin away.
not keeping out the 'guests' that had come to stay
The mice they grew and grew.
And all Day Elmo played... On the Banjo!! Oh! Oh my...

The mice loved him and saw thier chance
away with the grain store thy did prance
and whilst ma and sons tried to cope
All Day Elmo played ... On the Banjo!! Oh-Oh.

Now Ma she got mighty cross
and told Elmo Get rid of the mice or pack your bag</MADMA>)
Now Elmo thoguht and thought some more as he sat
and all Day played .... On the Banjo!! Oh-no!<Shock>

<squeaking mice join in >
It was the late the following night,
when up from the barn cam an almighty din
the music playin as the the mice came in.
Elmo sat there and played .. On the Banjo.. Oh! Oh!(Smile)

The sign outside read Elmos Barn Come right along
anthe mice responding to Elmo's Song.
They danced and drank and danced some more
As Elmo sat strumming away... On the Banjo..
<Mice are absent >
Then in the morning the mice were gone and Elmo too
No Paws in the dirt, nor shapes in the dew.
And yet from the over the hills , sound faintly came
of Elmo , Yes Elmo Playing ... On the Banjo..

<Final Verse accompanies a final scene of elmo
wlaking off into the sunset still playing, the mice
following with a handcart and some barrells;-) >

Today this day he hasn't been found
but niether have the mice from out of town.
Some say he's dead some say he'e gone
but Elmo, Well Elmo, He Plays on!...
<Music crecsendo and fades out as haycart approaches ride station>

Whilst this is a essentialy a kids ride there are some 'jokes'
that will appeal to all ages. Like the Faberge eggs Smile or
ominusly smoking 'still' that looks like it will blow at any minute,
whilt making very strange hissing and blurple noises!

I still can't the Ballad tune out of my head..

Gentle start so lets go for a biggie.

I head out of Empire Parade towads the Futuris section
of the park. Nemo to the left and Timestorm to the right..
The queue on Nemo looks longer so I choose to ride
on Timestorm.

From the outside Timestorm is simply a futuristic looking
skyscraper, the ride building containing both Timestorm
and Dr Who :The Dark Dimeinson.

The Queue has built up but this give me a time to listen
to Colin Baker drone on endlessly about the 'vortex'
If you ignore 'Shame about the Video' Fx's (soniauditory vortex
interference) then the atmosphere works .. partially.

The ride itself is mediocre, and some of the lighting
FX were not on when I rode. This is no great loss as
I personally find some of them do nothing to help the
limited motion sickness experinced if riding in one of
the rear seats

I retrive my bag having left at the desk upon entry,
The color coded wristband was an easy enoguh
system to understand, apparently Studio 9 adoptaed
this after they had problems with earlier schemes.

I decide to leave Nemo till later..

I'm pleasently suprised as I find that someones fixed
the floodlighting in Three Rivers City. The Gardens are
nice and a lot of effort has obviously gone into the
flowerbeds this year.

There is a sound of gentle oriental music and suddenly
a sharp sound of metal balls...

I'd forgotten that the arcade in the Three Rivers
had pachinko(?) machines! Whilst these are for
mainly for amusment only the ocassional payout
in tokens means a skilled player can win the usual
cudly toy.. Although why anyone would want a
rag doll with eyes filling half it's head is perhaps
a question for someone with 'professional' qualifcations.
Stuffed Ghosts and cudly Pacmen of both (genders) also
seemed to be in abundance..

The major 'ride' in Three Rivers is Knight Quest.

Whilst the name might suggest some gory scenes.
it is in fact is a rather pleasent boat ride...

(although it is in the open air and with static models)

The basic story line in the pre-ride intro concerning
the legend of a cup into which the tears of an enlightend
one had fallen. Supposedly finding the cup and drinking
from it was a step on the path to enlightenment.

Part of the story is below

<Voice over is in English but sounds like a old
wise man reciting a tale.. NB The accent is Oriental
not John Hurt[2]>

"Many Centuries had passed and the cup had
been lost with sayings that it had dissapered
into the forest wilderness or the caves in the
mountains.

It was said that only a brave warrior pure
of spirt could seek and find the cup of the
enlightened one.

As the years passed, many brave smaurai tried in vain,
some returned driven mad by the wilderness
telling tales of strange beasts that preyed upon the unwary.
There were those that did not return to face
the dissproval and dissapointment of failure.

A time came when none but the youngest of the clan
would choose to seek the cup. Before leaving he sought
the advice of a wise one...

'If you seek then let the journey, your head and your
heart guide you for enlgitenhment is within you,
as well as in the cup you seek.'

The young warrior did not quite understand
but the sage would speak no more...

So it was that the young warrior set out
of down the river into the wilderness
and the quest of adventure..."

The ride is pleasant enough without the scenes
on the banks.. Needless to say that they depict
a number of scenes from both the Arthurian
and Japanese legends.

When the ride first opened I thought that melding
the essentially Christian grail legends with those
from eastern Zen and other traditions wouldn't work..

I remain pleasantly surpassed that Imaginix have been
extremely successful and the melding between the two
has worked extremely well.

The models are superb and the tableaux are
well thought out. In places the ride genuinely
feels like it is a journey of sorts.

Whilst there may be some that do not
understand the parables depicted there are
others who will enjoy both the music and
scenery just as much.

Although the queuing may be an issue the
fact that the queue is routed around a 'willow pattern'
garden though which an early part of the
ride wanders is a nice touch...

For some reason this ride is popular with grandparents
and 12 year olds as it is with the crowd you would
normally expect to see on Timestorn or Nemo..

The cave at the end of the ride is also nice althoguh I will not reveal what is in it.. As a sage says 'Enlightenment shall come with the journey' Wink

With the final thoughts of the ride still in my head I
decide to take a stop and get something to drink.
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