My previous excursion to the fairground had me inspired to go back and revisit some of the other rides I looked at back in the day. There are few rides which encapsulate the old-fashioned fairground feel like the Rock-O-Plane, with its trusses, bulbs and cables strung around those huge arms. No surprise too, as the ride has been around for seventy years.

This ones’s a little different, though. Rather than the egg-shaped pods that so iconically house the passengers, this later variant ditches them in favour of front-facing chairs, meaning the ‘rocking’ is an altogether different experience. The common name for this version appears to be Sky Dancer.

The 2016 Rock-O-Plane model wasn’t actually that bad. The biggest issue was that it was about a third of the height it should have been. I did rebuild the wheel though, with some more detailed framework. The cars were transplanted from the Space Loop mostly.

To try and get the chairs to ‘rock’ authentically, I thought of using connectors and hard body simulation to actually have them swinging from the wheel but, fearing for my computer’s safety, chickened out. I instead added a step effector in two regions of the wheel – one at the top-left quadrant, the other at the bottom-right – with angular parameters of around 90 degrees.

That said, the rendered simulation actually looks and behaves quite a bit worse than it seemed to in the viewport, with some pretty sharp swings at points. It does at least seem to be the right kind of idea; I think the key is getting a balance between the strength of the effector region and the speed of the wheel itself. Below is the obligatory animation. I think that’s the fairground thirst quenched for now, but it’s been quite a fun ride!

  1. The art looks great, the ride looks horrible. I can go on any rollercoaster but can’t cope with even a kiddies roundabout without nearly passing out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Yeah, I can see how it wouldn’t be great for those susceptible to such things. I think it looks quite fun, though you’d probably still have to force me onto it. There’s no medical explanation for my fairground wimpiness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can blame my inner ear, I’ve had issues with it my whole life – so at least I have something I can blame šŸ˜€

        In my early twenties I was pressured into going on one of those rides against my better judgement, maybe I hoped I’d grown out of it. When it was over I literally fell out the car and had to crawl away slowly on all fours through the fairground mud, I expect the people laughing at me thought I was raving drunk but I hadn’t had a drop. I was still dizzy and wobbly days later.

        Never again !!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        I can empathise to a degree; when I was fourteen, I had an inner ear infection (labyrinthitis) and everything was spinning then. I missed two weeks of school, laying around – did get out of PE for a few weeks after, though, so every cloud I guess.

        Christ! Well, don’t you just love being pressured into things. I hope whoever it was felt rotten afterwards!


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