Tutorials/Building a rollercoaster
This tutorial seeks to teach you, the player, how to create a rollercoaster that is fun and creative. This is simply a starter guide, or a tool kit, to build whatever crazy rollercoaster you want.
Generally speaking, all straight parts of a rollercoaster should be made of powered rails, with redstone torches next to them. Detector rails are only necessary if there are dynamic elements in it. Powered activator rails would dismount the player upon passing over one. Only normal rails can guarantee the success of a turn, however.
Most rollercoasters in real life, instead of being made up of powered rails all over, have powered rails to get up the first hill, and use the energy from the descent off the first hill to move the minecart for the rest of the track. You can do this in Minecraft as well as in real life. Place powered rails with redstone torches next to them up the first hill, and make the whole rest of the track 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 hill.
Generally, a roller coaster always starts with a station. A station requires a way to start and stop a minecart. The easiest way to make this is to place a block, put a rail on top of it, and next to that block, place a powered rail (don't power it yet), one down from the normal rail. Then, place a plain rail next to the powered rail you just placed. It should look like this:
Then, build a pillar 3 block high pillar next to the block you put the powered rail on. Put a button on the top block, facing towards the powered rail. When you right-click the button, the powered rails should turn on, allowing the minecart to move forward.
Stations can be a lot more complex. Many times, there will be a switcher, making the minecart go on a different railway into a station separate from the roller coaster.
The most common way to make a track for a roller coaster is to place blocks wherever you want the track to go, and place the rails and powered rails on top of the blocks. You will need redstone torches to power the powered rails, which you can either put next to the track or below the track. Although this is not necessary in Minecraft, your roller coaster will look much more realistic if you put support beams under the track.
Tunnels are a way to move the rider through an obstacle. This can be placed through natural terrain, such as a mountain, underwater, under lava, through the Nether, or anywhere in which an obstacle stands in the way of the rail line or threatens the safety of the rider. Tunnels that protect the rider may be necessary in the case of the Nether; a rider in Survival Mode would probably not want to be attacked by a ghast while they are riding a rollercoaster. If the player is traveling through the End dimension, there is unfortunately no way to protect the player from the dragon without killing it.
Another circumstance where tunnels are necessary are underwater and under lava. These two fluids will destroy the rails in a rollercoaster and threaten the rider’s safety. One solution is to construct a tunnel, where the inside is clear of the water and lava, and the fluid is outside the tunnel. If a tunnel is used for these purposes, it is preferred to build them out of a transparent block such as glass or barriers.
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.
If the player wishes to implement one of these, he or she must determine the audience of the rider. If the rider is in creative mode, then there is no problem. If, however, the rider is in survival or adventure mode, the player must ensure the rider’s safety. In the case of drops, the rider must land on rails or a fall-damage-negating block in order to ensure the safety of the rider. Alternatively, the rider can be driven in a boat, since boats negate fall damage no matter where they land. At that point, it is up to you, the builder.
These are fun and exciting ways to bridge gaps or increase in elevation. Both generally use jumps, which use detector rails connected to specifically-timed slime blocks attached to pistons. Depending on the timing, the player can be “thrown” anywhere with slime blocks.
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.
These loops can reach a maximum height of 255 blocks in diameter, which is what Javamonk built.
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.
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 very easily with a powered activator rail, or a command block set to kill minecart entities upon activation.
See the following video for an example of a roller coaster. This one has two lift hills, meaning that there are 2 places with powered rails, and for everywhere else, the minecart is carried by just gravity:
< If you know of more roller coaster videos, please add them >