TPR Video from IAAPA, GG want to build at Alton towers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by davewazere, 20th Nov 2013.

  1. BigAl

    BigAl TowersStreet Member

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    I agree with you regarding wooden coasters never being themed particularly imaginatively, or having a theme that doesn't work well with the ride's aesthetics *cough* Terminator Salvation at Magic Mountain *cough*, but that doesn't mean they can't be given a different theme.

    They're also not gimmicks either as they provide a different ride experience to steel coasters.

    There are no modern wooden coasters in the UK so it's difficult for people to grasp their appeal, but they really are good fun and one would compliment Alton Towers' roller coaster line-up very well (either that or a steel coaster that focuses on airtime and not more inversions would do me) in my opinion. But if you really do hate them, fair enough! :p

    :)
     
  2. Meat Pie

    Meat Pie TowersStreet Member

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    For me, you cannot expect a ride that just has a theme slapped onto it after it's layout is decided upon to be good. That is not to say that some of those rides developed that way do not come out great, but the window of opportunity to mess it up as an intricately immersive experience is increased significantly. The theme and overall experience has to be integral to the ride's development and be reflected in its physical design.

    So to me, an unthemed coaster holds very little value at all, because that it not what I'm looking for. It's like an action sequence in a narrative, but without any surrounding context/description.

    So yeah, if a wooden coaster is built because it is integral to an interesting and engaging theme and is carried out with commitment to meeting that vision, I'd have no problem. But as I said, their visual impact really limits the creative scope.

    If I was to be proved wrong with plans for a woody that addressed all those concerns, then yeah sure why not?! But until that day, I think why bother using a coaster type that is detrimental to the escapism and fantasy realities that are unique to the themed attraction medium?
     
  3. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Garbage.

    Wodan.

    Joris.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
     
  4. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    For god sake towers build a bloody woody it's simple and make the British happy
     
  5. Meat Pie

    Meat Pie TowersStreet Member

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    If those are the best examples that can be come up with, then I think my point is made even stronger.

    I haven't been on Wodan, but from watching POVs, it is severely lacking it's Norse personality/theme once the train rolls out of the station building. Themes shouldn't end at the queue and ride building. I'm not knocking the themeing that is there, which is undoubtedly brilliant, but it doesn't keep consistent throughout the whole experience. Also, I maintain that wooden coaster structures are distracting from an immersive theme.

    I have been on Joris, and I'm even a massive Eftling fanboy, but that cannot stop me from noticing how it completely fails to immerse riders. It's more like a coaster with decoration, rather than a themed adventure.

    The problem with wooden coasters is that their structure is so huge and awkward that your senses are bullied into paying attention to the coaster track itself. The ungainly quality of wooden coasters make it very hard to suspend disbelief. But wooden structures are also almost impossible to hide or explain. Woodies just end up removing and distracting me from the fantasy experience.
     
  6. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    Woden is an epic ride theres no point saying anything else in this matter
     
  7. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I disagree. As much as the structure is more visually commanding, Wodan is one of the best themed ride experiences in the world, let alone Europe. It sets a new definition of how wooden coasters can be themed.

    - Heavily themed trains.

    - Wodan March audio played on lifthill

    - Fire Wolves at the top of the lift.

    - Three subterranean tunnels.

    - Themed station fly through.

    - Music/drapes after brake run.

    That's more than most steel coasters. And that's without mentioning the queue line which, Harry Potter aside, is the best I have experienced.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 2
     
  8. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    I agree that wooden supports look ugly as hell. I can understand why a lot of early Scenic Railways were clad in theming to hide the structure.

    But I think woodies are acceptable in a natural setting, especially if they stay below tree height. If for example, Towers scrapped Rita, the space could be used for the station of a cross valley woody, keeping the DF theme.
     
  9. CGM

    CGM TowersStreet Member

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    I can't see how anyone who calls themselves a fan of Alton would be against something like the cross-valley woodie. The coaster is simply a perfect fit for Alton; it uses the unique topography to its advantage, it takes place in the most beautiful area of the park and the way that it disappears into the forest gives it a real sense of mystery.

    It's not like Alton have recently demonstrated that they are capable of producing an immersive theme with steel coasters either. These days, the theme tends to be implied by a few fibreglass objects cable-tied to some scaffolding. If this is going to continue, it might as well be applied to a decent, or at least different type of rollercoaster.

    I'd argue that a ride of this type wouldn't even need a theme. There are some coasters such as Voyage and The Ultimate that don't require additional embellishment, they are just by their very nature epic. What amount of theming can compete with charging through the forest, the views into the Churnet valley and performing 200ft dives that span the two sides of the park?

    The park is currently full of compact, low rise steel coasters that never wander far from their station. The cross-valley woodie was a chance for something completely different on a scale never before thought possible at Alton. Why would you turn that down for the likes of Rita or Thirteen?

    And to call wooden coasters a gimmick... I don't even

    But 99% of all themed coasters in the world make no explanation for the existence of the track and train. Nemesis is the only coaster I know of that does and even then it comes across as very labored and does nothing to change the fact that everyone who rides it is fully aware of the fact that they're on a rollercoaster.

    I'm all for immersive experiences but we shouldn't have to apologise for coasters existing, there has to be a limit. If you want a level of immersion whereby you can believe that the events in the story are actually happening to you, coasters are not a suitable medium.
     
  10. BigAl

    BigAl TowersStreet Member

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    Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain is themed from beginning to end and that's a wooden coaster. Freizeitpark Plohn's El Toro interacts with a few scenes and a Western themed street (not truly immersive, but it's a pretty fantastic effort for such a small park). Magic Mountain's Apocalypse might not work well with it's theming, but it has the theming, tunnels, effects and on-board audio to progress from the ride's pre-show.

    Universal's Islands of Adventure have plans to build a wooden roller coaster themed to exploring amber mines in their Jurassic Park area. This would, again, be themed from beginning to end. Tivoli Gardens are also going to be returning Rutschebanen to its original appearance by building a new mountain for it (Scenic Railways were the most heavily themed roller coasters in existence and were all about taking riders on a tour around mountains, castles and more).

    But when rides are so large that you're travelling at, say Wodan's 62.1mph, having exceptionally heavy theming is both impractical and pointless as it'd pass by in a blur.
     
  11. Meat Pie

    Meat Pie TowersStreet Member

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    The problem is Astro, in good themed experiences, you shouldn't be able to just list off elements of themeing. The ride should be intricate enough that themeing isn't just a set piece moment in the middle of an otherwise under-themed attraction. But even so, you are right in that Wodan probably is the best the themed woody in the world, and yet it still is not enough as the track still dominates the eye.

    CGM - Well I am a fan of Alton, but only because I'm a fan of well constructed immersive live entertainment. Whether that take roller coaster form, dark-ride form, scare-maze form, performance art, etc... So for example, I think that Nemesis Sub-Terra is probably the best ride added to the park since Hex. Also I don't see the 'mystery' in a coaster that goes between trees.... Mystery can be given to a coaster through themeatic/narrative contribution, but a coaster itself is not mysterious. We know what it is... It's a rollercoaster.

    I think whether Alton's recent coaster contributions are immerse are debatable. I think the Smiler comes close, the exterior of the building is noticeably cheap which does somewhat remove you from the experience, but despite having been critical of the Smiler's themeing during construction, after riding it in October, I think it actually works really well. It's only problems is the way too featureless concrete landscape. It's almost got it perfect but falls just short. The Smiler ride wouldn't work with most other themes because there is so much visual emphasis on the track, but the chosen theme of a brainwashing machine works because it makes the track part of the narrative. Oblivion and Nemesis also acknowledge the track in their fantasy reality and therefore also don't suffer that problem.

    13 almost works but falls short because it is surrounded by an area that is too loud and abrasive (largely due to that hateful ride, Rita). It also has the problem of it implying there is some greater narrative and then refuses to communicate it. Then there is Rita and Spinball which have next to no themeing and are the worst culprits, and abjectly fail to immerse anyone into a alternate.

    Personally, any ride that doesn't have a theme, doesn't interest me. It stops being about creative fantasy, and has nothing to offer in the terms of drama. I get why people might still enjoy them for the physical sensation but with no psychological/artistic dimension, you are limiting a ride's scope for entertainment. Ask anyone whether they'd rather ride on a rollercoaster or go on an exciting ride experience around a hostile alien with near misses with rivers of blood... Most thrill-seekers would still pick the latter.

    I wouldn't turn down a woody for the likes of Rita or Thirteen... I would have turned them all down for a ride experience that genuinely takes me on a journey. Preferably with pre-shows and post-shows, and actors. That is the future for Theme Parks, experiences that break down your rational barriers so that you are in a mental state where your disbelief is not necessarily broken but shaken when you get to the physical ride.

    And yes a lot of Steel coasters do not explain their track, but steel coasters can be far less dominating to your senses so you are much more able to suspend disbelief and be absorbed by the themed landscape (although only to a certain degree, I accept nobody fully inhabits the fantasy world).

    And who am I making apologise? I'm just saying some rides do not lend themselves to immersive experiences and others do. I entirely disagree with you that coasters are an unsuitable medium but I don't think there's much more to be said on the subject other than me saying "YES IT IS" vs. you saying "NO IT ISN'T".

    BigAl - I've not heard of Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain or seen plans for the U:IOA plans for the Jurassic Park coaster. I'm happy to be proved wrong, but I expect a great deal more investment was/will be put in these rides than Alton would put into a woody.

    I disagree that it pointless to heavily theme a ride like Wodan. Even if you don't see every detail, the fact that it would be closer to removing people from their reality for the duration of the ride would make it entirely worthwhile.
     
  12. Ben.

    Ben. TowersStreet Member

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    Walter Bolliger "we don't follow trends, we do what we like". Sounds about right.
     
  13. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    We're delving into the murky waters of what people are actually looking for in rides. I'm an thrillseeker pure and simple, and for me the most important aspect of any ride is the physical hardware. A good theme/narrative can improve the overall experience, but it can't save an uneventful coaster which is why I don't rate Big Thunder Mountain. As a result, my favourite rides at Alton Towers are Nemesis, Smiler, Rita and Ripsaw. Meanwhile, any meet up regular will tell you I rarely ride Sub Terra at all, as it simply doesn't interest me in the slightest, and I'm not much of a dark ride fan (though there are exceptions, Fata Morgana jumps to mind here).

    The majority of my top coasters are either minimally themed or completely unthemed - El Toro, Ultimate, Expedition Ge Force, Boulder Dash, Tonnerre De Zeus, Raptor (Cedar Point), Bizarro & Green Lantern (both @SFGA), Phoenix, Top Thrill Dragster, Magnum XL and Skyrush all fall into this category. I like a ride to be well presented and landscaped (Blue Fire and Euro Mir are two of the best examples), but that's about as far as my aesthetic considerations go.
     
  14. Jem8472

    Jem8472 TowersStreet Member

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    If AT could manage to build a wooden coaster half as good as Wodan I would be happy.

    I don't mind the look of wooden coasters. They just have a different style to them compared to steel ones. But I mainly like big thrill rides, I don't mind more sedate rides but I like big fast rides. Thats why I have been to Orlando twice and not set foot in a Disney park. When we were working out the budgets for it we did not feel there were enough big thrill rides to justify the expense.

    I think Wodan works really well at EP, its got a good and appropriate theme, all the Norse mythology and wood works well together. As for the ride, its mad! So much fun, it is a lot lot faster than I expected. There is a lot more movement on the ride, I am sure I could feel the trains sliding sideways on the track. Its got a great view from the top before the first drop. There are lots of nice little touches in the queue line and in the station that you will not notice after only a few rides.
    The seats are nice and comfortable, I did not think it was very rough for a wooden coaster. Not like Gwazi. What it will be like in a few years I don't know but right now it is on of my favourite rides in EP and one my favourite Wooden ride. Even beating the one at Great Yarmouth pleasure beach :p
     
  15. Tuggerz

    Tuggerz TowersStreet Member

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    Isn't one of the main selling points for a woodies structure for it to look imposing?

    Not that I care anymore.
     
  16. Alastair

    Alastair TS Forum Team Team Member

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    It's pretty difficult to theme decent wooden coasters in detail because they're so long and cover such a large area that immersive theming would be near impossible. I don't even get (beyond headchoppers) why theming is that important in the larger coasters - you don't focus on/notice it that much whilst you're riding anyway (at least if the coaster is doing its job).
     
  17. BigDave

    BigDave TowersStreet Member

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    The track and supports themselves are the biggest bit of theming for any coaster. Wooden coasters just look huge and imposing and that's kinda the whole point of them. Also I find the beautiful craftsmanship of woodies to be visually stunning.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk
     
  18. BigAl

    BigAl TowersStreet Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmRMwy3-cnk#ws

    A rather peculiar ride (see the cars themselves), but it looks like fun and the wooden track surely lends to the experience, something a smoother steel coaster wouldn't be able to achieve (in both the way it rides and its appearance). :)



    As for theming a ride like Wodan as heavily as, say, a dark ride like Forbidden Journey, there really is no point. The ride's simply far too big for it. Part of the beauty of heavily themed rides (and the reason they're heavily themed in the first place) is because the creators want you to see the details. Blasting past scenes leaves you no time to appreciate the theming, unless it's done on a gigantic scale, but again, for a ride the size of Wodan, would force Europa to go into Universal and Disney levels of investment.

    What's the point in having intricate details when most riders are concentrating on the fact that they're travelling at 62.1mph down a steep 131.3 ft. drop? They're not going to see them and they're not going to be able to appreciate them.

    That's also not just a problem that wooden coasters face. Steel coasters travelling at that speed and at those heights aren't heavily themed either.


    Besides what AstroDan has already pointed out about how Wodan does attempt to immerse rides, there's also the way the surrounding area is presented, the way the ride interacts with the midways and the way it interacts with other nearby attractions (both of which make the ride more engaging for both those on it and those who aren't):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    There are very few roller coasters the size of Wodan that are heavily themed for those very reasons. But like BigDave has just pointed out, part of the beauty of wooden roller coasters is their structures. Especially when they're well-lit...


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Few steel coasters can look as good as that, come nighttime.

    :)
     
  19. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    So the point is that wooden coasters aren't as interesting because they cannot be heavily themed outside of stations and what-not?

    Like most rides then, especially at Towers, where the likes of Air and Rita exist...

    The idea that to be good a ride needs a heavy level of theming just doesn't seem right, as at the end of the day, different parks have different approaches to the way in which a ride is perceived... And even then, theming doesn't always make a ride good (as an example, Black Mamba still ends dully after the inversions, even with the landscaping/theming), it can perhaps improve the experience sometimes, but it doesn't always work...

    Indeed, if I look at my top 10 and ask "what rides have theming throughout the entirity of it?", only really Revenge of the Mummy fulfils that criteria, and half of that is just cardboard cutouts... Whilst Fluch von Novgorod is also well themed, none of the outdoor section can be considered as such, similarily for Blue Fire and Oz'Iris, although we then need to ask if landscaping can be considered as a suitable subsitute for physical theming (Nemesis as well)...

    Then things like Beast, Top Thrill Dragster, Katun, Tonnerre de Zeus and Shambhala fill up the rest... None of these are themed to an incredible level (Katun probably is an exception due to the area it's in), but when on the ride, I didn't say to myself, "Nope, I can't like this ride because it has no theming", because that's not what a ride is about at the bare bones... To not give B&M, Intamin and CCI credit for building those coasters which are all extremely good rides just because the parks have chosen to not theme them severely is just a weird view to have on the industry...


    tl;dr, A heavily induced theme does not automatically make a ride good, and some of the best rides in the world (those I personally rate and those that others rate) have barely any theming at all...
     
  20. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    Pardon my not reading the intense debate, but it totally misses the point.

    Woodies; not meant to be themed. If they are? Bonus.

    They are a classic structure. Some do/have been themed, better for it on the whole, but the purpose of a woodie is fun. That's it. The escapism is within the ride itself, and one that ultimately feels a little more uncompromising, and even a little closer to nature.

    It is of families, of hands in the air, of seaside smells, of tradition/of something a bit old fashioned. It matches the smell of doughnuts.

    [​IMG]

    A cross valley woodie, would be it's own theme. It would be wood, in wood. It would be immersion into the terrain (like so many sea front woodies were). It wouldn't need a daft theme lashed all over it.

    Much like the house itself, it would be a grand folly!
     

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