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Posted 21 May 2013
Licenced CPOL

Roller Coaster

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Build and ride roller coasters on Windows 8. Use your Ultrabook to play the game using touch.

Editorial Note

This article is an entry in our AppInnovation Contest. Articles in this sub-section are not required to be full articles so care should be taken when voting.

  • App Up Store Closed

    Roller Coaster did fairly well in the free section of the AppUp Store, ranking in the top 10 at times. It was a great run, and I appreciate being invoked in the contest from Intel And CodeProject. But Times are a changing and its time to look forward. I have decided to rebuild the back end and open source it (This is a work in progress). Although I enjoyed the style i coded it, it was way too complex, and hard to debug (More on this later If I create another post). So the new focus is simple straight forward minimum dependency's. I have Created a WebGL Version for testing, but keep in mind the new backed isn't done, but it will in the end have the same functionality.

    I plan to build a front end in Unity at some point, to push out to several devices. As This is really branching off from this post, I may create another post focused on its new focus and purpose at some point. Everything In Introduction on this page and below ill leave as is.

    Open Source:

    RCWebGL: (This is running the game server side and displaying it in webgl)

    Flow charts:

    I Built this along with the AppUp Project, and it shares the same code base the AppUp Version has.

    Windows Phone:


Roller Coaster. Build and ride roller coasters with ease. Designed to be able to learn to play in seconds with touch. Use of gyroscope while riding to get coins for high scores.

Its designed to be able to play it in varying time spans. Its a game you could pull out at lunch and build a coaster in 2-3 min and show a friend. Also one that you could spend much more time building the perfect coaster.

The game is written in C#, and is using XNA as a front end (a Windows 8 "Desktop App").


My name is Mark Dickinson I am a student at ASU, and am a CS major. I have been working with roller coaster design since I made my first mod on Warcraft 3 with triggers. I learned a huge amount from watching players struggle to learn the game quickly. I stopped adding features and spent over a year on and off making the features that existed very easy to use and straight forward. I have since spent most of my time in c#, sliverlight, and xna.

Key Features

  • Fully playable with keyboard, mouse, and touch.
  • Building coasters, with a large amount of flex-ability yet designed to take only seconds to learn.
  • Ride coasters, from in the cart or from a third person perspective.
  • Ability to lean in your cart left or right in your cart to get coins while riding.


Riding (Cart View)

Riding (Third Person View)

The code


The back end of the game is built in c# in a library called "RCLIB" .

Here is a function I have in "RCLIB".

Build Track

  • Is coaster finished
  • Where would the track be built
  • Check for flipped on bools, (e.g., iqnoreOutOfBounds)
  • If its on, make sure it can fix the issue, or return zero tracks built.

Note: When it attempts to fix the issue, it allows the game to build additional tracks, or back up a small amount.

static public int BuildTrack(Direction direction, 
          List<Object3D> myTracks, ref List<Direction> directions)
    //No Building Tracks IF Coaster is finshed, this is a fail safe.
    if (CoasterFinshed)
        return 0;

    Object3D track = new Object3D();
    Vector3 newOrientation = new Vector3();
    Vector3 newLocation = new Vector3();
    Vector3 LastOrientation = new Vector3();

    //Find Where Next Track would be
    if (myTracks.Count > 0)
        LastOrientation = new Vector3(myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Orientation.X, 
          myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Orientation.Y, myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Orientation.Z);
        newOrientation = new Vector3(myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Orientation.X, 
          myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Orientation.Y, myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Orientation.Z);
        newLocation = new Vector3(myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Location.X, 
          myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Location.Y, myTracks.Last<Object3D>().Location.Z);
        LastOrientation = new Vector3();
        newOrientation = new Vector3(0, 270, 0);
        newLocation = new Vector3(0, 0, -40);
    newOrientation = GetNewOrientation(newOrientation, direction);
    newLocation = GetNewLocation(newOrientation, newLocation, LastOrientation);

    track.Location = newLocation;
    track.Orientation = newOrientation;
    track.Scale = new Vector3(Constants.TRACK_SCALE, Constants.TRACK_SCALE, Constants.TRACK_SCALE);

    if (iqnoreAllButStandard)
        //Build The Track Standard
        return 1;

    else if (iqnoreFinshArea == false && InFinshArea(newLocation))
        FinshCoaster(myTracks, ref directions, 1);
        return 0;

    else if (iqnoreAutoLoop == false && AutoLoop(myTracks, ref directions))
        return 0;

    else if (iqnoreCollision == false && CollisionDetected(newLocation, myTracks))
        return 0;

    else if (iqnoreFlaten == false && Flaten(myTracks, direction, track, 
             newOrientation, newLocation, LastOrientation, ref directions))
        return 0;

    if (iqnoreTracksToLow == false && TrackToLow(newLocation, newOrientation))
        return 0;

    else if (iqnoreBounceOffWall == false && BounceOffWall(newLocation, direction, myTracks, ref directions))
        return 0;

    else if (iqnoreOutOfBounds == false && OutOfBounds(newLocation))
        return 0;

        //Build The Track Standard
        return 1;

The point of showing this is that the game attempts to fix rules broken by the user, so to lower the learning curve in such a way that they can keep building, with out having to deal with rules most of the time.


The front end is using standard XNA, to for user Inputs, loading content, and showing visuals.

Due to not wanting my back end to have any ties to my front end I had to rebuild parts that existed in xna.

Here is my draw method, showing a downside of my choice of making them completely separate instead of sharing some of the xna code base. But overall it makes for a much more flexible code base.

Draw loop

protected override void Draw(GameTime gameTime)

    GraphicsDevice.DepthStencilState = DepthStencilState.Default;
    GraphicsDevice.BlendState = BlendState.Opaque;

    drawManager.DrawModel(layoutModel, new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(0, 0, 0), 
      new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(0, 0, 0), new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(.25f, .25f, .25f));

    for (int i = 0; i < core.Tracks.Count; i++)
          new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(core.Tracks[i].Location.X, 
              core.Tracks[i].Location.Y, core.Tracks[i].Location.Z),
          new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(core.Tracks[i].Orientation.X, 
              core.Tracks[i].Orientation.Y, core.Tracks[i].Orientation.Z),
          new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(RollerCoaster.Constants.TRACK_SCALE, 
              RollerCoaster.Constants.TRACK_SCALE, RollerCoaster.Constants.TRACK_SCALE));

       new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(core.Cart.Location.X, 
           core.Cart.Location.Y, core.Cart.Location.Z),
       new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(core.Cart.Orientation.X, 
           core.Cart.Orientation.Y, core.Cart.Orientation.Z),
       new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector3(RollerCoaster.Constants.CART_SCALE, 
           RollerCoaster.Constants.CART_SCALE, RollerCoaster.Constants.CART_SCALE));


    //Draw Mouse
    MouseState currentMouseState = Mouse.GetState();
    float mouseX = (1980.0f / GraphicsAdapter.DefaultAdapter.CurrentDisplayMode.Width) * currentMouseState.X;
    float mouseY = (1080.0f / GraphicsAdapter.DefaultAdapter.CurrentDisplayMode.Height) * currentMouseState.Y;

    Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector2 posMouse = new Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Vector2(mouseX, mouseY);
    spriteBatch.Draw(pointer, posMouse, Color.White);


    //Clean Up
    GraphicsDevice.DepthStencilState = DepthStencilState.Default;


Final Note

Building a game project that makes sense for the Ultrabook has been sort of like building a project built for computer and a tablet at the same time. Finding the fine line from additional features/ Options and keep simplicity has been a interesting struggle.

In the end roller coaster is a perfect fit for causal play on an Ultrabook in nearly any setting.


Change Log

10/8/2012 - Uploaded Roller Beta Version (1.0)

10/27/2012 - Uploaded Roller Coaster Version (1.14), Fixed Menus (ride menu still needs finished), added coin mode, fixed several issues and bugs. Next version will be on the app-up Store.

11/21/2012 - Finished Game, Cleaned out bugs, streamlined UI. Submitted App to AppUp Store, Awaiting approval.

11/21/2012 - Approved in the Appup Store. Removed old Versions from this post.

3/31/2014 - Appup Store has been shutdown. Added Section At top with a open source links and more information about the future of roller coaster.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Rover2341 - Mark Dickinson
United States United States
Student at ASU, CS Major.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: My vote of 3 Pin
Rover2341 - Mark Dickinson23-Oct-12 8:10
memberRover2341 - Mark Dickinson23-Oct-12 8:10 
GeneralMy vote 5 Pin
Nitin Sawant22-Oct-12 20:23
memberNitin Sawant22-Oct-12 20:23 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
AndrewAylett20-Oct-12 12:06
memberAndrewAylett20-Oct-12 12:06 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Yvan Rodrigues19-Oct-12 13:26
memberYvan Rodrigues19-Oct-12 13:26 
QuestionMy Vote of 5 Pin
Ratish Philip16-Oct-12 18:02
memberRatish Philip16-Oct-12 18:02 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Paul Daniel Dickinson12-Oct-12 3:42
memberPaul Daniel Dickinson12-Oct-12 3:42 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Chris Maunder9-Oct-12 14:45
adminChris Maunder9-Oct-12 14:45 
SuggestionRegarding Downloads Pin
Ranjan.D8-Oct-12 1:26
memberRanjan.D8-Oct-12 1:26 
GeneralRe: Regarding Downloads Pin
Rover2341 - Mark Dickinson8-Oct-12 6:11
memberRover2341 - Mark Dickinson8-Oct-12 6:11 
GeneralRe: Regarding Downloads Pin
Ranjan.D8-Oct-12 6:55
memberRanjan.D8-Oct-12 6:55 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
IInjac7-Oct-12 11:48
memberIInjac7-Oct-12 11:48 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
lukeadickinson7-Oct-12 8:52
memberlukeadickinson7-Oct-12 8:52 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Ranjan.D7-Oct-12 8:25
memberRanjan.D7-Oct-12 8:25 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Faithcz7-Oct-12 3:58
memberFaithcz7-Oct-12 3:58 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Rover2341 - Mark Dickinson7-Oct-12 5:25
memberRover2341 - Mark Dickinson7-Oct-12 5:25 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Faithcz7-Oct-12 7:42
memberFaithcz7-Oct-12 7:42 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Rover2341 - Mark Dickinson7-Oct-12 8:08
memberRover2341 - Mark Dickinson7-Oct-12 8:08 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Faithcz7-Oct-12 9:15
memberFaithcz7-Oct-12 9:15 

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