Evolution of Infinity FVD++
After a hiatus from designing in NoLimits I purchased new computer and with new credits under my belt, I wanted to head back in with all the ideas and elements I loved from real life to create something new. This was my first time using the physics design engine FVD++ (Force Vector Design) which takes inputs of force, change of banking roll and time to create shapes along with normal geometry. I was very much into Newton2 as design tool so falling into this was easier than a new timer, I would recommend reading up on FVD++ if you are interested in coaster layour design.
I wanted to just show my design process, and what went into the final layout. This took around 6 months to finalise and there are plenty of fails in-between them all, but hopefully I can show the thought that went into each element. I plan to fully release the ride this summer.
PHASE 1: I WANT A MULTI-LAUNCH
So the first choice I made, this has to be a multi-launch. Every creative person will know that “blank page feeling” where every single opportunity lies before you, you could do ANYTHING yet you sit down to create something new and it’s overwhelming. Choosing the type of coaster and drawing in the real life inspirations is great starting point.
Taron and Helix easily nabbed my top coaster list, and with Icon opening round the corner it was a no-brainer as to the most versatile and interesting model to choose from. I loved how the multi-launches I’d ridden focused on a fab first half then amped up the intensity for the second half, I wanted to capture that feeling of increased intensity, which is so backwards from a traditional coaster.
This layout doesn’t resemble much of the final one, but it shows some of the shapes I was playing with initially and getting to grips with FVD. I loved how Taron kind of went back and forth before launching in the opposite direction to the starting point. Also trying to get some fast transitions and sweeping corners in. As you can see it’s very unfocused and messy at this point.
PHASE 2: A GOOD STARTING POINT
A coaster’s first element is always a tricky one, you don’t want to show all your cards at once, it’s more of a satisfying taste of what’s to come while still taking advantage of what it usually the fastest part, it’s a tough balance.
I took inspiration from a few elements I’ve been looking at, the hill on the new Hagrid coaster that floats up and turns into a dive, and on a larger scale, Hyperion's massive air-time dive loop. This was the first element I loved the feel of so it stayed, it gives some floater air-time and then catches the train into positive Gs midway through rolling before diving to the ground. I’ve named it a Floating Dive as it rides very different from a dive-loop. Infact I wouldn’t even class this as an inversion.
Following the dive, it catapults into a huge ejector air-time hill. I love how on Helix, the layout is interjected with these huge powerful hills. So why not start off the ride with one? You may notice some other elements (immelman, outer-banked hill) here that were scrapped, but I went back to these later.
PHASE 3: THE OUROBOROS
So you may have noticed that I was going down an Intamin path, and up to this point you’d be correct. But as I carried on with elements and shapes I was finding the MACK shaping and design ideas, specifically Helix and Icon, were far more fitting to my vision of the ride. A trip to Liseberg in October informed a lot of the first half.
The first half was finalised after establishing the MACK style and Helix influence by taking and re-ordering some of the best parts, this entire sequence of elements is designed to be a heavily paced punch of air-time and direction changes that gradually tumbles down the terrain to the base of the second launch. I wanted that feel that Helix gives when it picks up speed while still providing something new and original, I also added another powerful hill paired with a zero-g roll (a highlight from Helix..) just before the return up the terrain.
When I was designing this section I found that the cutback-loop, over-bank and s-bend into a helix resembled an infinity symbol ∞ from various angles and I’ve named this part of the track The Ouroboros. I’ve always liked a figure 8 as a shape to base a design around, it can give a nice balance of direction changes and force and if you play with it enough you can end up with something original. Plus the german and dutch word for a rollercoaster pretty much translates to “figure 8”, this was the start to getting the entire concept of the ride together.
Non of this second half however made it into the final ride. I wanted a boost of intensity, but I think I added bit too much speed, it was difficult to get something that meshed well with the first half of the ride with so much speed! But you can see I started playing with the idea of a top-hat and some interaction ideas.
PHASE 4: TRYING TOO HARD
Every design will reach still stage of fatigue. You kind of like aspects of what you’ve done, but it’s not quite right, but you don’t wanna scrap it, how will it connect? will it be too long? maybe I should scrap it? URGHHHH. I was reluctant to delete the second half as some parts were really exciting, that hug top-hat over towards the station feels great! It’s just not right! I took some time out here and came back when my head was clearer.
PHASE 5: F*** IT!
Sometimes all you need is a large glass of wine and bit of bravery to scrap what isn’t working, after all, if I kinda don’t like something, it will bug me to the end of time, and all those elements were just … kinda ok. But a purge is what it needed! I brought the speed down and suddenly the elements flowed.
The second half starts with one of my favourite elements, a top-hat that floats above the station. After riding Icon, I adored that first element and how steep the entry and exit is so that the front and back of the cars get some mega air-time. The placement of my tophat also gives it a false sense of height due to the terrain, before it dives down into an intense corner that pulls up into the vertical loop.
I know vertical loops are a little old hat. But there seems to be a bit of a revival in 2019, with Copperhead Strike containing 2 and Yukon Striker being the first dive coaster with one! They’re definitely iconic and mostly overlooked for it’s simplicity and commonality, but you know what, it fits so well on that spot and balances the skyline so beautifully, it had to stay.
Next up, the return of the outer banked hill! This is the most on-trend element of the ride, Intamin are about to put them in all their new coasters and manufacturer of the moment, RMC , have popularised these in the past few years. I rode Wildfire in 2016 and I have to say, it’s such a incredible feeling, and with the ride already having almost 5 moments of “traditional” air-time, this was the perfect opportunity to add a little spice.
The final part of this section is a speed roll. The train is still carrying some speed at the point and due to the sloping terrain it’s now at the lowest level of the entire ride. This element was abit of a happy accident really, I wanted something that was punchy and dived right through the structure and ended towards the other side of the footprint. I played with an high change in roll value and a few sudden floaty positive Gs with no lats and FVD churned out this stretched our corkscrew. After riding it within context of it’s placement and the slowed down speed of the previous immelman, it just complimented in perfectly. Now it was time to bring it home.
PHASE 6: THREADING THE NEEDLE
The structure at this point is pretty dense which caused a little trouble in pulling the track from it’s lowest point up and between the dive-loop and vertical loop and above two corners, but also in a way that allowed for enough space to place the brakes and transfer track! It was tricky to slot something in, but I also didn’t want the ride to be any longer than it needed to be.
My solution was to thread the track into an air-time hill at an angle that allowed just enough room for clearances between the two half loops. This allowed for a touch of floater air after the intense speed roll and pulled the track out of the mess of track. Following this, I did a flat helix before a pop into the brakes. Neither of these elements are particularly intense, but they flowed so well and gave the finale a kind of “victory lap” feel. There there it is, a layout I was happy with from start to finish, something I can be proud of and it only took 6 months! Now it was time to think of a name, theme, branding, landscaping, building work, music, colours, supports… watch this space.