The Space Loop


Is it early 2016 again? Alas, it is not. Sorry for getting your hopes up. However, we’re getting into the retro spirit here with a new fairground model to add to the collection from way back then – well, not entirely new. It’s another Top Spin, actually a very similar, slightly later (1993!) model by the same manufacturer, just with a cooler name: Space Loop. Seems a curious colour scheme for a space theme, but who am I to comment on such things?

This wasn’t really something I set out to do. It came about, actually, during the spring, when my spare time was almost non-existent and I desperately wanted to try and fit something in, so I took my 2016 Top Spin model and tried to glam it up a little, using what I’d learnt since then. It was going alright I suppose, but the old model’s clunkiness was starting to catch up with it. I thought it better to forget this build and start from scratch.

Skip ahead to a week or so ago, when I was afforded both some time and inspiration.

spaceloop-v5_0001I actually had some dimensions to work with this time, so not having to approximate height was a great help. Models do look better when they’re in proportion, I guess.

spaceloop-v5_0002The gondola is probably the biggest improvement of the ride itself, though more through greater patience than any shiny new tools. When tweaking my old model, I tried to apply some snazzy physics/simulation to a basic setup to see if I could replicate the brakes and achieve an authentic spin. I had little success with this, though, as Carol Vorderman might say, I’m sure it’s possible. Give me another few years.

Also the staging and lighting is much more involved than it was before – we have some  decoration and signage, actual lightbulbs rather than flat textures, and the strips on the supports are animated to flash on a loop – something I’ve only recently learnt how to do, after so long of manually animating entire sequences like a lemon.

With all this time to myself, I even went as far as rendering a sequence, attempting an evening setting to achieve a more sensible render time but actually losing rather a lot of its atmosphere. It might have been almost four years but damn, there’s still lots to learn when it comes to animation. But anyway, what’s old is new again. Kinda. Life truly is a Space Loop.

  1. So fun! Love this! 😍Well done! Life is truly a space loop, but that’s what keeps things so interesting! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Charlie! And indeed, we must hold on tight and try to enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is so cool! Love the colours actually, all those reds, oranges and yellows definitely give it a retro vibe plus an old school carnival atmoshere. I imagine stuntmen and daredevils and motorbikes and flames and walls of death and the crowd going wild. The animation is also cool – a bit trippy watching those movements. Very nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks! This was really fun once I got going. Glad you like the animation, too. When I was a kid, a Top Spin would be part of our annual Easter fair, and I’d always find myself strangely captivated by it. Spinny things are cool, I guess! Never dared go on it, though – I love the fair, but the dodgems were and are around my limit!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, the dodgems and ghost train are about my limit, though I did try recently some downhill log and tyre rides on water, and those huge slides where you sit in a cloth sack. Those were great fun. Also tobogganing on an artificial ski slope. But roller coasters and such… yikes! No way!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Good stuff. We have one of those slides on the pier here, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on it. Tobogganing does look great fun, and I bet it is, it’s just getting me onto the thing that’s the problem. You’re braver than I 😛 At least these days I can take my young nieces to the fair and have an excuse to stick to the carousel and teacups.

        Liked by 1 person

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