By Peter Ogden
Early on, roller coasters were designed by hand and made from wood. Building technique stayed relatively consistent for decades until 1985 when Intamin pioneered computer aided roller coaster design. This has led to the so-called “coaster wars” of making longer, taller, faster, and smoother roller coasters. Since then, multiple roller coaster design tools have become available to the public in the form of games. In 1999, Roller Coaster Tycoon was released to the public as a game allowing the user to create their own theme park. Since then, more realistic programs have been released culminating in the most realistic software today, NoLimits 2. One feature of NoLimits 2 allows users to export their track designs from the game into modeling software.
Figure 1. Final rendering of coaster designed in NoLimits 2
By Laura Brownstead
An electromagnetic roller coaster launch is a system that, using electrically induced  magnetic fields, propels roller coaster trains forward and slows down the trains, depending on the type of launch. Although these launches are relatively new and are typically used with steel coasters, electromagnets are used in a variety of roller coaster types, including wooden structures! (see Fig. 1)
Figure 1. View of Lightning Rod LSM Launch at Dollywood Amusement Park (CoasterFanatics)
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