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Alton Towers | Wicker Man | GCI Wood

Discussion in 'Roller Coaster Construction' started by Dar, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Lofty

    Lofty Social Media Team Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Nah, I agree, Joey. Twister at Grona Lund is absolutely a case to back you up - it's a 'family' coaster, and a really tiny one at that, but what that coaster experience offers is better than some of the larger coasters in the same park.
     
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  2. MakoMania

    MakoMania Member

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    I've only heard good things about InvadR before now? That being said, it was themed appropriately for the target market unlike this looks to be.
     
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  3. Mysterious Sue

    Mysterious Sue Well-Known Member

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    The voice of reason as ever @Joey.

    I've wondered from the start if fear inherited from the Smiler has made them cautious. Like, the creatives on this project had a clear idea of what they wanted and both the idea and themed elements are great. But then, those in charge of comissioning the actual ride have reined the whole thing in.

    Surely GCI would have had a discussion with Alton that involved them choosing between a traditional drop vs the neutered drop we got? OR Alton specifically went to GCI with a request for a neutered ride. It seems to me this is all from Alton not GCI.
     
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  4. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member

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    "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them" Walt Disney
    "Play it safe and cut costs while you're at it" Nick Varney
     
  5. Bert2theSpark

    Bert2theSpark Active Member

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    At least the first part of the ride looks good.

    And the ride still looks faster than some pars Galactica and Thirteen. I don't see why this coaster will be bad, The actual ride will be decent, But nothing overwhelming at least the theming looks great on this and there will be some great headchoppers.
     
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  6. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member

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    It won't be the worst ride in the world, sure. Won't even be the worst woodie in the UK. If Drayton, Lightwater, Oakwood etc came out with this project, the pessimism wouldn't exist. For parks of those size and calibre, this would be very impressive. But this is Alton Towers, and they can afford to take risks, be bold, and more inventive than a GCI family coaster masquerading as a dark, brooding thrill machine. Fair enough if it was a one-off, but we've seen all this :emoji_poop: with Thi13teen and we'll probably see it again in the future.

    Just the thought of queueing for this is already offputting. I guess the redeeming point is that it looks quite nice, but I think wood was always going to suit the natural landscape of Towers.
     
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  7. ATI

    ATI Spammer of the Year & Most Improved Member CF Award Winner 2016

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    Off topic, but I'm sure there was a thread about SW9 that either got locked or deleted. It would be nice to start speculating.
     
  8. Pokemaniac

    Pokemaniac Mountain monkey Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    That's a little early, I think. There's nothing to base it on either, so it would be too "fuzzy" for the time being.
     
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  9. Pear

    Pear Well-Known Member

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    Wicker Man 2
     
  10. scw55

    scw55 Well-Known Member

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    - Afterburn
     
  11. Dar

    Dar Well-Known Member

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    And that's with a John Wardley re-designed drop! He was at a TTF event earlier this year and wasn't very complimentary about the ride. He said the profiling wasn't very good and the first 2 drops were "absolutely atrocious" and had to press them to change the first drop!

    https://towersstreet.com/talk/threads/2018-wicker-man-general-discussion.4051/page-209#post-207534
     
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  12. Efan

    Efan Member

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    So at least now we know how far he can go before being told he can’t say the ride’s complete :emoji_poop:.
     
  13. Mysterious Sue

    Mysterious Sue Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much @Dar I hadn't seen that before. Really interesting.

    Poor John. He spends his whole career trying to get a woodie at Alton and they finally get one and don't bother asking his input til it's too late. Pretty :emoji_poop:ty Alton.
     
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  14. spicy

    spicy Well-Known Member

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    That talk by John Wardley was pretty interesting.

    The fact that the AT director thought that John Wardley was already involved in the project and only found out he wasn’t during a conversation over lunch, shows just how disjointed Merlin actually is.

    Could be the reason we have family coasters that are horror themed.

    Was interesting what he went on to say when he created CWoA, Nemesis, Oblivion etc. It was just him with his ideas reporting to Tussaud’s with a small team around him. Now everything goes through Merlin magic making in London, separate from the park.

    Too many cooks spoil the broth comes to mind.
     
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  15. Joey

    Joey Well-Known Member

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    I think as others have alluded to the real problem is departmental disjointedness.

    Cuz you'd think the process would be thus - we need a new attraction for x target audience, we have y space for it and z budget, from which the team(s) design a thing that meets ALL the criteria. But it seems to be all disjointed and then a scramble last minute to force it all into a necessary box. Marketing decide late in the day to change the target audience, the design team being too fanciful for the budget and having to cut back crucial elements and the legal guys only making it known after money has been wasted on planning applications that the local species of frog cannot be disturbed.

    Merlin aren't alone here - my favourite example is Skyrush, because the general manager of the park literally said that the winged seats offer families choices. :emoji_zipper_mouth:ing moron. But the sad thing is that Tussauds used to be REALLY GOOD at this gelling of experience to marketing umph. What happened?

    I instinctively want to blame marketing for this crap, but their reliance on the absurd gimmicks is created by poor products. If you've got a cool new ride opening (as was the case proven with Smiler), it sells itself. It's a huge problem that is exacerbated by insisting on having opening dates that cannot be met instead of soft openings like the rest of the industry, or lying about mannequins loosing arms and worlds firsts.

    Everyone has been saying maybe Icon will give Merlin a kick up the arse and prove this, but Smiler already did, and here we are back where we were in whatever year it was Thirteen opened.

    Like I said, everyone just gets amnesia every year.

    As for the Wardley thing... That's both hilarious and so upsetting. But it begs the question, WHO designs layouts? I always got the impression that the parks would give a space and some elements they want and the manufacturers would have one of their guys do it, explaining why they are so rarely ... er, narratively paced. (What I mean here is that they don't go from beat to beat like other forms of entertainment do, they don't present an experience the way a creative person would. A few coasters do, and my favourite and best example is Tatsu. It's high up and conveys flying well and builds up to the signature element. Most coasters, good or not, just fill a space and do some stuff without much care for this. They're engineered, not designed. Waffle waffle waffle.)

    Really need to remember to just straight up ask the manufacturers next time I have the opportunity. If anyone reading this ever is at one of the trade shows, please ask around.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  16. Mysterious Sue

    Mysterious Sue Well-Known Member

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    I think Spicy already answered your question.
    If you listen to the JW interview, he goes on about the past and how the industry has changed. How it went from basically just him doing a doodle on the back of an envelope and being in charge of the whole direction of the project, to Merlin Magic Making and a whole team of people as we have now. The larger the company, the more the bureaucracy and the greater the chance for things to get lost in communication. Literally seen this happen in my own work so am sure it happens in a company as large as Merlin.
     
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  17. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member

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    Smiler was a big hitter but to be fair, the ride was designed to be a gimmick. It is a pretty huge gimmick in theory, "let's cram as many inversions into this space as possible, and hope it works". The only real difference is that they (surprisingly) marketed it to an appropriate audience and the creative team behind it really polished up the turd. The Smiler also had plenty of issues pre-opening, so really, Merlin have no point of reference when it comes to building a ride without relying on a gimmick.
     
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  18. davidm

    davidm Well-Known Member

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    Coaster design "by committee" ; just let the goons design them FFS.
     
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  19. Joey

    Joey Well-Known Member

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    Ah, see, having as many inversions as possible isn't like the other gimmicks at all, though. If you asked normal people what would make a good coaster, I bet most people would say "goes upside-down loads".

    And, beyond that, it's a legitimate gimmick. Having the most inversions, being the tallest, fastest, or even at a wider push being the first to do something actually meaningful, like a vertical drop. Those are actual things to write home about. It's not the same as "worlds first psycho-coaster" or "worlds first wooden coaster with fake fire". What does that even mean? :emoji_zipper_mouth:ing nothing.

    EDIT: ALSO they didn't advertise the inversion thing like, at all. Well maybe a bit but, compared to WORLDS FIRST blah blah lies they do with everything else, Smiler was just left to being an obviously well-thought out product that sold itself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  20. Sandman

    Sandman Well-Known Member

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    I agree that compared to some of the watered down gimmicks of today, 'most inversions' is less meh as gimmicks go. Still though, after watching/reading some of Wardley's interviews about The Smiler and his consultation with the team, it seems like a bit of a cop out over a viable effort to achieve something good. The inversions thing wasn't borne out of a desire to do something great with an interesting concept, it was rather like throwing :emoji_poop: against a wall and seeing what sticks. I mean, Merlin already owned Colossus which by that point nobody gave a :emoji_zipper_mouth: about, and that has a hefty 10 inversions.
     

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