Tutorials/Building a rollercoaster

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Roller coasters are a popular type of build involving minecarts and rail.


Components[edit]

Rail Type[edit]

To maintain top speed throughout your ride, all straight sections of a roller coaster should consist of powered rails activated by means of redstone torches or levers. These redstone power sources can be placed on a block adjacent to or hidden underneath the block that the powered rail is placed on. A single redstone torch or lever will activate 8 connected powered rails in each direction in addition to the rail immediately adjacent to or above it, thus powering up to 17 rails on a track when positioned in the center of a given section. Detector rails can also be used to power 1-3 powered rails when a player is riding the coaster, with the added bonus of sending a redstone signal under or next to the block it's placed on. This creates opportunities for the player to utilize other redstone-powered blocks in their build. Powered activator rails will dismount the player upon passing over one. Only normal rails can guarantee the success of a turn.

Realistic railing[edit]

Most real-life roller coasters only use powered rails to climb the first hill, using the energy from the descent of that hill to move the car along the rest of the track. This can be achieved in Minecraft as well: simply place powered rails up the first hill (along with your choice of redstone power source) and make the rest of the track from plain rails. The minecart should be able to make it around the whole track, as long as each hill is not as big as the previous one. Note that, if you choose to follow this model, your riders will not maintain top speed throughout the entirety of the ride.

Station[edit]

A minecart at the end of a roller coaster track. When the button to the right is pressed, the minecart will roll to the station.

A roller coaster typically starts with a station, which requires a way to start and stop a minecart. One simple example involves placing a block on the ground where you would like your station to begin and putting a piece of plain rail on top of it. Next to that block, go down one block (to ground level) and place an inactivated piece of powered rail, so that it appears to slope down from the plain rail. Then, place either another piece of powered rail or another plain rail next to it. Put a minecart on the slope of the inactivated powered rail. While inactivated, the powered rail will hold the minecart in place against the pull of gravity.

Once this is done, build a 2-block-high pillar next to the sloping rail. Place a button on the uppermost block, facing the powered rail. When you right-click the button, the powered rail will turn on, allowing the minecart to move forward.

Stations can include a variety of complex features. For example, many builds include a switcher, allowing the minecart to go on a different railway into a station separate from the roller coaster.

Track[edit]

A common way to design a track for a roller coaster involves placing blocks where you want the track to go and then placing the rails and powered rails on top of those blocks. For a more realistic-looking roller coaster, place support beams along the length of the ride and conceal redstone power sources under the track.

Rails can be placed on any fully-solid opaque block, as well as on top of hoppers, upside-down blocks of stairs, and upside-down slabs. However, if you are planning to conceal redstone power sources underneath your track, avoid using blocks that follow the laws of gravity, such as sand, concrete powder and gravel. (Note that these blocks can be used otherwise, as long as they are supported underneath by any block that does not fall when unsupported.) In Survival mode, consider using common or renewable materials.

Tunnels[edit]

Tunnels allow you to move a rider safely through an obstacle, including natural features of the terrain, such as a mountain, water, or lava, the Nether, or anywhere else that an obstacle would otherwise block the way. If the roller coaster moves through The End, there is no way to protect the rider from the dragon without killing or teleporting it away when it draws near (which requires complex commands), except for a tunnel constructed fully of bedrock, which is impossible to obtain in Survival mode without the use of glitches.

Both water and lava will break any rail they come into contact with. For maximum visual impact, you can construct a tunnel out of transparent blocks such as glass or barriers for moving through either of these fluids.

Intersections[edit]

Intersections usually combine clever placing of rails with redstone. Intersections are based on the normal rail. If a normal rail is placed at a t-intersection between three rails, it will default to one particular side. Powering that rail, however, will switch to curve the other way.

Drops[edit]

In Survival and Adventure mode, drops must be planned carefully to ensure the rider's safety. No damage will come to the player if their minecart lands directly onto rails or a fall-damage-negating block. Alternatively, the rider can be driven in a boat, since boats negate fall damage no matter where they land.

Jumps[edit]

Jumps are used to add excitement while bridging gaps between rails or increasing the rider's elevation. Detector rails need to be connected to specifically-timed slime blocks attached to pistons. Depending on the timing, the player can be "thrown" anywhere with slime blocks.

Vertical Loops[edit]

An expansion on that idea involves making the jump up circular and bringing the player down to the starting point. This is the closest that the player can get to a vertical loop, since minecarts cannot go upside-down.

Corkscrews[edit]

An expansion on the vertical loop idea turns it into a corkscrew. These are even more complicated to build as there is forward motion brought into the equation.

The only known corkscrews that currently work were built by The Duke MC.

However, Javamonk expanded the idea to the height limits of the world.

Portals[edit]

Minecarts and other transport vehicles in portals will not react to the portal blocks. The only way to make use of the portals is to force the player to dismount the vehicle. This can be done with a powered activator rail or a command block set to kill minecart entities upon activation.

Water Skiing[edit]

"Water Skiing" is a part of the roller coaster which uses uplift bubble columns (by putting soul sand at the seabed) to cause the minecart to quickly traverse a body of water like a boat (but bouncier!). You should have a slime block on a sticky piston to launch the minecart for more speed. There should also be a sloped waterlogged powered rail to prevent the minecart from hitting the side of the landing block. (Build a small platform below if you have to.) There should also be a "landway" of nine rails with above blocks cleared to a great height to prevent the minecart from inadvertently landing on a trackless block.

Skating[edit]

Skating is a part in a coaster where you are on ice and sliding around. Advanced users can utilize redstone alongside a slime block and sticky piston to change the other player's direction.

Water Flows[edit]

Water flows can be used as a much slower alternative to rails. The water should not flow backwards. To make a flow faster, add soul sand below (see Water Skiing, above).

Teleportation[edit]

Use a Command Block to target the minecart and teleport it to the destination with /tp @e[c=1,type=minecart] DESTINATION in Bedrock Edition, or /tp @e[limit=1,sort=nearest,type=minecart] DESTINATION in Java Edition.

Rider Protection[edit]

It is critical that your rider doesn't die during the journey! Use these additions to make the rider safer.

Partial Protection[edit]

Fences[edit]

Flank the rails with fences and remove blocks right next to or above the fences.

Pros: Easy to build; looks nice; easy to integrate with other protection methods

Cons: Does not fully protect the player against evokers (and their vexes), skeletons, phantoms, spiders, and boss mobs

Glass[edit]

Surround the rails with glass.

Pros: Easy to integrate with other protection methods; provides total protection against non-boss mobs unless broken

Cons: Obstructs the player's vision; fragile against explosions; a single gap can let a baby zombie in

Armor[edit]

Equip enchanted diamond or netherite armor to the rider.

Pros: Good protection

Cons: Strong attacks can still kill the player; the armor will eventually break; the Curse of Binding will be needed; the player's armor does not look nice

Beacons and Conduits[edit]

Set up fully powered beacons and conduits along the track. The beacons should provide Resistance, Regeneration, and Strength (the latter may be omitted in some instances). The conduits will let the player breathe underwater.

Pros: Long range, just one is needed for a short ride

Cons: Regeneration may not be fast enough in some instances; you will need to build multiple for longer rides

Resistance 5[edit]

Resistance 5 makes the player completely immune to all damage. It is available through an upgraded Potion of the Turtle Master or Commands.

Pros: Player cannot take any damage; easily accessible with commands

Cons: Minecart can still be destroyed; resistance 5 may only be applied with the potion in non-Java/Bedrock editions, leading to additional cons below

Potion Cons: Must be reapplied frequently; drastically decreases FOV

Kill, teleport, or freeze nearby entities[edit]

Set a Repeating Command Block to automatically kill, teleport, or immobilize entities that get too close with one of the below commands:

  • Kill: /execute @e[type=player] ~ ~ ~ /kill @e[TARGETOR]
  • Teleport: /execute @e[type=player] ~ ~ ~ /tp @e[TARGETOR] DESTINATION
  • Freeze: /execute @e[type=player] ~ ~ ~ /execute @e[TARGETOR] ~ ~ ~ /tp @s @s

The targetor will depend on the edition of Minecraft you play on.

  • Java: [IGNORELIST,distance=...DESIREDDISTANCE]
  • Bedrock: [IGNORELIST,x=~-X1,y=~-Y1,z=~-Z1,dx=X2,dy=Y2,dz=Z2]
    • This equation should be used for the dn values: 2N1+1=N2 (for example, an X of 2 would become 5 from the equation)

The ignore list is also dependent and is what entities you want to spare.

  • [type=!player,type=!minecart] is the bare minimum you need.
  • [type=!player,type=!minecart,type=!painting,type=!item_frame,type=!fireworks_rocket,type=!leash_knot,type=!armor_stand,type=!falling_block] is a good kit that covers a wide variety of mobs that you likely want to spare or pose no threat
  • [type=!player,type=!minecart,name=!SPARENAME]will ignore the minimum needed entities as well as entities with the name SPARENAME.
  • You can expand targetors to other entities with ,type=!ENTITY

Example: To freeze entities that get within 5 blocks of players, with the exception of mobs named Jeff: /execute @e[type=player] ~ ~ ~ /execute @e[type=!player,type=!minecart,name=!Jeff] ~ ~ ~ /tp @s @s

Pros: Works every tick; variable range; deflects boss mobs

Cons: ‌[Java and Bedrock editions only]; laggy; fills operators' chat menus if the gamerule commandBlockOutput is true; does not protect rider against non-entity hazards (lava, fire, cacti...); the simple mistake of forgetting the ! in type=!player will make worlds unplayable and uneditable

Peaceful Mode[edit]

Peaceful Mode completely stops the spawning of most hostile mobs.

Pros: Almost completely safe; does not obstruct the view at all

Cons: Does not stop some hostile or neutral spawns; does not work if the coaster has a mob as a part of the ride

Complete Protection with Barriers[edit]

Arguably the best method of shielding the rider, barriers are indestructible and transparent. Surround the track with barriers.

Pros: A bulletproof method of keeping mobs away; barriers are invisible, players will not know they are being protected until something hits the barriers

Cons: Can suffocate the rider; hard to keep track of; do not block the Ender Dragon

Sample[edit]

Roller coasters in Minecraft range from simple designs to highly complex ones. Players may choose to add complicated assets, such as command blocks, custom sounds and textures, and particle effects. Here is an example of what a modern Minecraft coaster may look like. The creator decided to add thematic elements to the ride, such as an immersive queue, custom music, and command block elements (particle effects, sounds, etc.). The massive size of the coaster, as well as the theming, compensates for the lack of traditional roller coaster elements such as inversions and hills.

Shop[edit]

You could build a shop for benefits if you're on server by selling/using vending machines by connecting a hopper (point downward) to a dropper (point forward) and observer (point backward). Place a solid block on it facing the same direction and lastly, under the solid block, place 2 redstone dust connecting it to the dropper.