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Andrew Blitman likes to draw and write about philosophy, poetry, and science. The author of two books, he will graduate from the University of Miami in May 2014 with a Masters of Professional Science degree in Marine Affairs. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail him at thewrittenblit@gmail.com.

Rollercoasters: An Experiment with Videopress

Today I begin my first experiment with Videopress: rollercoaster design. With this newfound technological power, I hope to raise my blogging to a higher level. Before I do, let me take you for a wild ride!

Since I was 6, I have been obsessed with rollercoasters. They scare me. They thrill me. They try to kill me. Despite their attempts I always returned to them, ready for more. There’s something about them that keeps bringing me back. Maybe it’s the art behind their design. Maybe it’s the science of engineering that fascinates me. Maybe it’s the drama behind the coaster-riding experience itself.

The Scorpion, my first rollercoaster.

Because rollercoasters are dramatic, many people fear them:

 “To be honest, I’m scared to death of rollercoaster rides.”

Liam Neeson, badass

Because rollercoasters are fun to ride, many more people love them (hence their presence at every major theme park around the world).

Because rollercoasters are fun to design, many more people use computer software to simulate the experience. Programmer Chris Sawyer set the bar for coaster simulation in 1999, when he created Rollercoaster Tycoon (RCT). The project was so successful that it spawned two sequels and six expansion packs in 10 years.

Last week, I rediscovered one of those sequels—Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 (RCT3). To my delight and surprise, I found the coaster-building experience as enjoyable then as I did in high school. In two hours, I created three rides.

First was Harbinger, the good omen. I imagine myself on a parapet advertising the coaster’s grand opening:

“Come one, come all!

Experience the thrills of life and death

Aboard the Harbinger,

A high-flying, exhilarating breath!”

For Harbinger footage, watch the video below:

Much like my first rollercoaster, Harbinger represents the halcyon days to come. As my first creation (much like my first coaster ride), it also acts as a rite of passage, as a coming-of-age that comes with conquering fear, as a metaphor for the ultimate rollercoaster of life.

Next, I built the Mist Valley Comet, an extended twister coaster that weaves through a mountain range (see below).

Finally, I designed Ozark the Sky Serpent, a red danglefoot coaster that flies like a dragon (see below).

If you like what you see, don’t be alarmed. More is on the way!

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  1. A Tour of Iron Falls, My New RCT3 Theme Park | The Written Blit - January 2, 2013

    [...] Rollercoasters: An Experiment with Videopress (thewrittenblit.com) [...]

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