Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide for Amusement Park Fans

The 2013 holiday shopping season is upon us and if you’re on the hunt for that special gift for a friend or family member who happens to be a fan of amusement parks and roller coasters then you’ve come to the right place! Listed below are my recommended gifts to give or receive this holiday season.

  • Coasters 101: An Engineer’s Guide to Roller Coaster Design. Learn how roller coaster designers spend hundreds of hours creating, tweaking, and re-imagining ride paths to push the exhilaration envelope while carefully maintaining the highest safety standards. Features design example problems real roller coaster engineers face in the field today as well as career advice for any aspiring theme park engineers. Available in Kindle or paperback formats from
  • American Coasters: A Thrilling Photographic Ride is a  relatively new book by photographer Thomas Crymes. The pictures are large and crisp. The colors are vivid. The book’s simple design places more emphasis on the photographs. Nothing beats seeing pictures of roller coasters printed on a physical page (sorry, internet).
  • Creating My Own Nemesis by John Wardley. The story follows John’s professional career beginning with how he got out of the boring family business and into the crazy world of theme parks If by any degree you’re into magic, illusions, theater production, theme park design, or roller coasters I highly recommend you read this thoroughly entertaining book. See the making of RCT3 with John Wardley.
  • Theme Park Design by Steve Alcorn. Take a peek behind the scenes, with a theme park engineer, and learn about the multitude of roles and skills needed to design a world class theme park attraction – a must read for all aspiring theme park designers!
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon Triple Thrill Pack Instant Download.  This compilation of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and expansion packs Time Twister and Wacky Worlds brings together all the rides, building tools, as well as five real-world Six Flags amusement parks and 25 of their signature coasters. My personal favorite of all the RollerCoaster Tycoon games.
  • Transport Tycoon for tablets. Chris Sawyer’s Transport Tycoon is now available on tablet devices everywhere. Reviewers say they managed to bring this classic game to mobile devices extremely well.
  • K’nex Rippin Rocket Coaster. Loaded with over 500 KNEX pieces including classic parts, this model boasts over 20 feet of twists, turns, and daring loops. A special motorized blaster launches the coaster car into its exciting journey around the track.
  • Coaster Dynamix Models. The most realistic working roller coaster models currently available. Choose from Wooden coasters, steel coasters, Tumble Bugs, and Lego coaster sets.
  • Cincy Amusement Park Shirts. From the early days of Chester Park to Americana and Kings Island, these vintage shirts will be a nice stroll down memory lane. This shop not only sells The Bat shirts, but also a few other defunct Kings Island coasters, including Son of Beast, Phantom Theater, and King Cobra!

I highly recommend joining Amazon Prime. If you order something off of Amazon on average once per month then it pays for itself, or if you're ordering a bunch of gifts this holiday season it probably will too. The FREE two day shipping is awesome and everything I've ordered really has come in two days or less. You can also stream movies, TV shows, and get a Kindle book every month. Great alternative for Netflix or Hulu and well worth the investment in my opinion. Cheers!

What's on your 2013 holiday gift list? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ultimate Coaster Design Book Updated

roller coaster wheel carrier cad model 3d rendering
Roller coaster wheel carrier
I've just released the new edition of my book, Coasters 101: An Engineer’s Guide to Roller Coaster Design. If you purchased the Kindle version previously you get free updates. If you purchased the paperback version, you can get the latest digital version for free now too! The latest edition (third) has pictures, diagrams, new content, a better layout, and other general improvements. My goal is to make this book simply the best, most complete, most detailed guide to designing roller coasters you can find. A few of the most recent reviews tend to agree:

“Very impressive! What a great resource to have..for anyone.” - John S.

“Thanks for writing a very good book. I could not put it down. Lot's of great information. I am a technology and engineering teacher and the information I found here is very helpful in trying to get students more excited about engineering.” Amazon reviewer
roller coaster track rotation diagram
Rotation about the track spine

Some of the questions about roller coaster design you will have answered after reading include:

What software do roller coaster engineers use?
What college major is best to become a coaster designer?
How many engineers does it take to design a coaster?
How do roller coasters reach their highest point?
Why don’t coaster cars roll backwards down the lift hill?
Why do wheels on steel coasters come in pairs?
Why do we see so many clones of the exact same ride built at multiple parks?
How does a 4D coaster work?
How much does a roller coaster cost?
How much time does it take to design a roller coaster?
What is the difference between LIM and LSM propulsion?
What sort of background is necessary to get into the roller coaster engineering field?
How do you calculate the amount of power needed for the lift hill?

Currently, there are three options to purchase: 

Paperback - $11.99
Kindle - $9.99
Digital PDF - $5.99