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My personal tips for building good, realistic woodies

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I build woodies a lot as some of you may have noticed. I also see other build lots of woodies but for the most par, they're pretty bad. They tend to snake along the ground aimlessly and take up way more space than necessary. Anywho, here's my step-by-step instructions on how to build a good woodie.

1. Decide what layout to use
While woodies tend to look like they are just strewn about, they are actually very carefully planned. That being said, after you decide on where you're going to build and have considered the terrain, you'll need to pick a general layout. Woodies have several common distinct layouts; Oval, a simple oval-shaped layout typically with tall unbanked turns at both ends;Figure 8, like an oval except the tracks might cross in the middle to switch sides; Hourglass & Telephone, both of these designs can be summed up as an Oval that's been pinched in the middle the only difference being that a Telephone has turnarounds on one side of the lift hill but an Hourglass has them on either side; Out-and-Back, a long straight or L-shaped coaster with a turnaround on the end; Twister, long erratic coasters that quickly change directions; and Terrain, coasters that are similar to twister except they follow the terrain around them and typically don't stray more than 25ft from the ground except for the lift hill. If you have a flat area in the middle of a map, Oval, Figure 8, Hourglass, and Telephone are good designs to consider as they often make good centerpieces and are difficult to build around terrain. If you want to build near the map edge or along some sort of obstruction you'll most likely want to use an Out-and-Back layout. Hilly terrains are great for Twisters and Terrain coasters.
2. Think of elements to make your coaster distinct
While most wooden coasters fit into the aforementioned categories, they all tend to have some sort of element or gimmick that separates them from others. Elements are anything in a coaster that isn't straight track. Curves, bunny hills, brake runs are all elements albeit simple ones. Only keep in mind one or two distinct elements that you want to use as many other elements often come naturally in the design e.g. replacing a flat unbanked turn with an overbanked turn.
3. Build the most difficult part first
Most people tend to start with building the station or chainlift but I don't recommend this. This frequently leads to complications with space later on. My suggestion is instead, build an element first. Elements are typically the hardest to build out of any coaster so try to perfect those first and then build the coaster around them. I also suggest putting your first element right after the first drop as this is when your coaster will have the most speed and give you the freedom to try new things without risk of failure. Afterwards, I you're building like I do, add the first drop and chainlift. At this point your coaster should look like a chainlift and hill, followed by some wicked turns or whatever it is you chose to build. (from this point on, in my head I'm building a Telephone layout so some advice might not apply at your own discretion)
4. Separate your elements; Keep your layout tight
First off: don't have one element immediately followed by another. It looks cluttered and frankly boring. Elements are eye-catchers and putting them too close together makes them compete for your attention. Space them out a little bit but not too far. If you built your chainlift from the first drop to 5 or 10ft, then I recommend using it as a good marker for where to separate the elements: The beginning of the lift hill and after the first drop should be the length of your coaster give or take. Secondly, use existing track as a magnet. What I mean by this is you want your tracks to always gravitate back to another existing track. Your chainlift is a good first example, when passing from one element to another, that track in between wants to get as close to the lift hill supports as possible. That being said, the track also wants to mimic the style of the adjacent track so if it's next to a lift hill, don't build a snaking and winding track, build a straight track with hills. When you come to an element that isn't straight, try either going around it's supports or going under/over it and coming out where the element comes out. Repeat this step as necessary.
5. Finish with variety and go nuts with your station
By now, you might've done 2 or 3 loops around the layout of the ride, it's important to keep in mind that using the same designs over and over gets boring and you'll either have to think of new elements or try and end the ride. If you do end the ride, you can place your station just about anywhere as long as you can still connect it to the bottom of the lift hill. It can even be on the other end of the ride but the track between the station and lift hill doesn't need to be interesting (although it can be). This long stretch of nothingness and straight track can also be beneficial as it pads out the ride time and often increases stats on the ride. Don't forget to have brake run before the station. I advise making the brake run the same length as the station.
6.  Miscellaneous

    -A good ride time is typically between 1:30 and 2:30 minutes long
    -If unsure whether or not to bank a turn, the golden rule is 15-35 (also applies to inversions). You want to the train to be travelling between 15 and 35mph. Slower, you don't need to bank the turn. You can go a bit faster than 35mph even with a bank but at that point you're playing a dangerous game. Try to keep the speed on turns below 35mph otherwise you'll get lots of g forces which can ruin your ride.
    -Check your stats, they can be useful in determining many things like: if your coaster is going to fast, if it's too short or too long, how likely peeps are to ride it, what's causing it to be unpopular, etc.

And that's about it. If you have any questions, I'm more than happy to answer them in the comments.

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