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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 track takes longer to complete than the universe will exist

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Theme park management sim and vomit-soaked hellscape creation tool RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has played host to some real horrorshows. Streamer Marcel Vos is responsible for many of them, having built record-setting tracks like the nightmarish one that takes 12 real years to complete. His latest work puts that in perspective: it takes over three quinvigintillion years to complete. A quinvigintillion is a one with 78 zeros after it.

Vos calls it the Universe Coaster, and it’s not exactly a thrill a minute. As his 14-minute video explains, via Kotaku, it begins with a looping coaster that runs along a long, spiral track at a speed of about a kilometer per hour. The track ends in nothing, though there is a decorative skeleton in a top hat, but the coaster doesn’t crash at this dead end.

Thanks to a slight incline cleverly placed at the start of the track, which the coaster reverses onto before it descends, RCT2 acts as if the coaster still has a winch attached when it reaches the dead end, as it must have had to back up that incline. It’s not only prevented from crashing by this invisible winch, but pulled all the way back along the track by it at the slowest speed possible.

That’s just the beginning, as Vos explains. I admit that at some point during the subsequent explanation of how the Wild Mouse coasters synchronize with each other in his setup my brain melted, slid out of my earhole, and now lives on a farm in the country where it can play with all the other brains as much as it wants. You’ll have to watch his video to see how it works.

Thanks to the changes in OpenRCT2, the open-source re-implementation of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, it’s possible to make tracks that are even longer than this. Vos set himself the challenge of making a track that would be compatible with the older vanilla and classic versions of RCT2, however, and succeeded. You can download a version of the Universe Coaster that runs in RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, as well as one that runs in a custom build of OpenRCT2. I’m not sure why you’d want to, but you can. 

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