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Olivus Prime

Rocket Racers

99 posts in this topic

I thought it might be quite cool to start a thread on the LEGO Racers ride, Rocket Racers. Here I'll be posting images of the ride, and information on its history and mechanics.

A brief history of the ride: During 1999, LEGOLAND Windsor park management were going through concepts and ideas for a LEGO gallery at the top of the park. This soon evolved into the Creation Centre, which stands to this day. However, in order to really attract visitors towards this attraction (which was set to open in 2001), it was decided that an extra attraction should be built next to the centre. This ride became an interactive experience based upon the LEGO Racers game, which had been released over the preceeding years.

Rocket Racers, called simply LEGO Racers at opening, was completed ahead of schedule, and opened with the Creation Centre in the winter of 2000. It saw heavy marketing in British LEGO publications, such as LEGO Adventures! and LEGO World Club Magazine. At the time, the ride featured state-of-the-art technology, including eight touch screens in each of the six building rooms, quite a while before touch screens were popularised in the mid and late 2000s. When LEGO Racers 4D opened in 2002, the original LEGO Racers was renamed to Rocket Racers, a name that it has held for the majority of its life.

The advanced technology, however, came at a cost. With several of the ride's part suppliers going bust later on in the ride's history, the parts needed to remedy the ride's frequent technical faults became rarer and more costly to purchase. In 2004, costs were seen as being too high (especially for when LEGO was undergoing financial difficulties at the time), and the Rocket Racers was closed.

Yet, for years after LEGO Racers' closure, the building was left closed off and untouched - nothing was demolished, and the only thing that was removed from the ride facade was the logo itself. In 2008, the Rocket Racers shop was being seemingly refurbished into "The Creation Shop", nixing any chances of the ride's return...

...Until a few staff members tried turning on the ride systems again earlier the same year, and found that the entire thing still had the possibility of working. The ride was hastily restored and refitted with new plasma screens to open once more in 2009. Again, marketing was quite intense prior to opening, which was surprising considering that Merlin Entertainments was now in possession of the LEGOLAND parks. During its return to form, Rocket Racers was billed as one of the top attractions at LEGOLAND Windsor and many more visitors rode it than ever before.

Sadly, Rocket Racers' technical faults had never been fully remedied - the parts needed were still mostly discontinued and the software running the ride was now even older and even more prone to failure. Staff members returned the ride to tip-top shape during October 2011, before saying the final goodbye at the end of the month. Rocket Racers has finally been fully removed, and is set to be replaced with a Star Wars Miniland in 2012.

In the next post, I'll start posting images of the queueline and ride, alongside some information on the (excellent) theming and experience.

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Nice!

Could you also post some pictures of this ride, perhaps even put it on the Racers Wiki (I can't since I lost my password. :P )

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This is quite sad. :(

I would like to see pictures of the ride also.

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Wait, ATD worked on Rocket Racers? Didn't know that, very interesting.

I wish LEGO could release the software for it somehow, or the 3D models, or something... D:

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(I can't since I lost my password. :P )

>Lost Password

>email new password

>success

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This may be interesting to you: http://www.cllw.co.u...ocketracers.php

I was going to link to that! It's a very detailed and interesting article on the ride from a guy who had very in-depth backstage access.

The Rollcage engine certainly made the cars in Rocket Racers the best to handle in the Racers series. In Rollcage, the cars drove on walls at high speeds, and they had quite high preset weights. These aspects were ported across to Rocket Racers - the cars felt far heavier than they did in LEGO Racers 1 and 2 (being attacked would result in a car hopping rather than floating off into the sky...), they had much greater accelerations, and had higher top speeds than the cars in LEGO Racers 1 (but probably not Racers 2).

Wait, ATD worked on Rocket Racers? Didn't know that, very interesting.

I wish LEGO could release the software for it somehow, or the 3D models, or something... D:

Yep, Rocket Racers was their first collaboration with LEGO, so it's quite likely that this ride was why they were chosen as developers for Racers 2 and Drome Racers. A couple of staff members actually worked on all three games (hence Rocket in Drome Racers, a reference to our favourite champion)!

I emailed LEGOLAND Windsor a while ago about releasing the queueline video on YouTube (one of the coolest features of the attraction, in my view), but they said that for commercial reasons they couldn't publish it. Around the same time, the building room and racing room soundtracks were also removed from YouTube. Unfortunately I doubt that, under these circumstances, they would release the attraction software publicly.

I'll be uploading a couple of photos soon (though CLLW's photos are superior in quality and give the best look at this ride that you can find on the net), as well as the music for the building room and racing room. Things are just a bit hectic at the moment.

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This may be interesting to you: http://www.cllw.co.u...ocketracers.php

I was going to link to that! It's a very detailed and interesting article on the ride from a guy who had very in-depth backstage access.

The Rollcage engine certainly made the cars in Rocket Racers the best to handle in the Racers series. In Rollcage, the cars drove on walls at high speeds, and they had quite high preset weights. These aspects were ported across to Rocket Racers - the cars felt far heavier than they did in LEGO Racers 1 and 2 (being attacked would result in a car hopping rather than floating off into the sky...), they had much greater accelerations, and had higher top speeds than the cars in LEGO Racers 1 (but probably not Racers 2).

Wait, ATD worked on Rocket Racers? Didn't know that, very interesting.

I wish LEGO could release the software for it somehow, or the 3D models, or something... D:

Yep, Rocket Racers was their first collaboration with LEGO, so it's quite likely that this ride was why they were chosen as developers for Racers 2 and Drome Racers. A couple of staff members actually worked on all three games (hence Rocket in Drome Racers, a reference to our favourite champion)!

I emailed LEGOLAND Windsor a while ago about releasing the queueline video on YouTube (one of the coolest features of the attraction, in my view), but they said that for commercial reasons they couldn't publish it. Around the same time, the building room and racing room soundtracks were also removed from YouTube. Unfortunately I doubt that, under these circumstances, they would release the attraction software publicly.

I'll be uploading a couple of photos soon (though CLLW's photos are superior in quality and give the best look at this ride that you can find on the net), as well as the music for the building room and racing room. Things are just a bit hectic at the moment.

This just keeps getting more and more interesting, I didn't know RR was the first time ATD and LEGO worked together. Very interesting. I did notice Rocket in Drome Racers, but just assumed it was more of a coincidence then an intentional reference. Cool!

If you could upload that music, that would be AWESOME, those are the two I'm missing (Perkyboy13 had all three uploaded to YouTube, but like you said, they were removed, along with his snip from the queueline video). The composer has the ending music on his website, which I downloaded, but I didn't get to grab Perkyboy's uploads of the other two before they were taken down. I think Perkyboy still has the file for the queueline video on his computer though, from what he told me. He said it was like a half hour long, though, and that he wouldn't be uploading the whole thing due to size. D:

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Oh wow, am I glad I found this thread!

I had found some of the videos on Youtube showing the ride, but it's great to hear all of this background info. Its too bad the ride was closed down, I would've liked the opportunity to try it at some point.

In a way, it seems kind of strange ATD was involved in the development. The ride stays a lot truer to the original game then the sequel did... I definitely wouldn't have guessed they were from the same developer.

I'm very excited to see the pictures and music!

On a separate note, I see you mentioned LEGO Adventures Magazine. Would you be able to explain it to me? You see, I've been curious about the magazine ever since this Brickshelf folder surfaced back in 2010. For the most part I was unable to translate it, so I was happy to find through Bricklink that the magazine wasn't exclusive to Russia. Unfortunately, the magazine seems to be rather scarce online, and so it is still largely a mystery to me.

Aside from what appears to be multiple exclusive comics, what interests me most about the magazine is when it was published, from 1999 to 2002. This seems odd to me, as at the same time Bricks n' Pieces, the magazine that had run since 1974, was still being published (although it soon became World Club Magazine).

So I guess what I'm asking is if you know how Adventures came about, or what its purpose was.

Sorry if I'm derailing the topic here, I'm just very curious. :P Thanks again for all of the info on the Rocket Racers ride!

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Hey hey, I'm that "guy who had very in-depth backstage access" :P. Got linked to this thread by a friend.

I wish LEGO could release the software for it somehow, or the 3D models, or something... D:

From what I've seen, the Lego Group are remarkably 'tight' when it comes to copyrighted content, be that music, videos, software, whatever. I know people who have quickly had to remove stuff that they didn't want distributed, and numerous requests from a variety of people for music/video/whatever have mostly been met with the same response. It's a shame, really, but I suppose it's entirely to be expected.

The Rollcage engine certainly made the cars in Rocket Racers the best to handle in the Racers series. In Rollcage, the cars drove on walls at high speeds, and they had quite high preset weights. These aspects were ported across to Rocket Racers - the cars felt far heavier than they did in LEGO Racers 1 and 2 (being attacked would result in a car hopping rather than floating off into the sky...), they had much greater accelerations, and had higher top speeds than the cars in LEGO Racers 1 (but probably not Racers 2).

Another interesting thing to note, which I think is different from Racers 1 and 2 (though I'm no expert) is that leading cars in Rocket Racers were heavily 'rubber banded' to slow them down. This was done with the intention that most races should be very close-cut, with no clear winners emerging early on (i.e. keep the excitement going!). It was also to try and avoid any racing pros who visited storming to an easy victory, leaving young kids (the target market) way behind. It worked frustratingly well, though with practice it was still possible to get a fairly good lead.

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Hey hey, I'm that "guy who had very in-depth backstage access" :P. Got linked to this thread by a friend.

I wish LEGO could release the software for it somehow, or the 3D models, or something... D:

From what I've seen, the Lego Group are remarkably 'tight' when it comes to copyrighted content, be that music, videos, software, whatever. I know people who have quickly had to remove stuff that they didn't want distributed, and numerous requests from a variety of people for music/video/whatever have mostly been met with the same response. It's a shame, really, but I suppose it's entirely to be expected.

The Rollcage engine certainly made the cars in Rocket Racers the best to handle in the Racers series. In Rollcage, the cars drove on walls at high speeds, and they had quite high preset weights. These aspects were ported across to Rocket Racers - the cars felt far heavier than they did in LEGO Racers 1 and 2 (being attacked would result in a car hopping rather than floating off into the sky...), they had much greater accelerations, and had higher top speeds than the cars in LEGO Racers 1 (but probably not Racers 2).

Another interesting thing to note, which I think is different from Racers 1 and 2 (though I'm no expert) is that leading cars in Rocket Racers were heavily 'rubber banded' to slow them down. This was done with the intention that most races should be very close-cut, with no clear winners emerging early on (i.e. keep the excitement going!). It was also to try and avoid any racing pros who visited storming to an easy victory, leaving young kids (the target market) way behind. It worked frustratingly well, though with practice it was still possible to get a fairly good lead.

Hey, thanks for the info!

Regarding the rubber banding, LR1 certainly didn't have any. LR2 did, but it wasn't too severe, and there was an option to disable it somewhere in the game menus. Drome Racers, however, has the most rubber banding I've ever seen in a game, the cars behind you will practically murder you with homing rockets and send you to last place for the rest of the race if you get more then a few seconds ahead of them... And there's no option to disable it like there is in LR2. >_<

Anyways, I did notice in some videos of Rocket Racers that the cars tended to stick together. I guess that explains why...

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(I can't since I lost my password. :P )

>Lost Password

>email new password

>success

LAIR, YOU LOVABLE TROLL YOU!

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(I can't since I lost my password. :P )

>Lost Password

>email new password

>success

LAIR, YOU LOVABLE TROLL YOU!

Not trolling, it's the truth.

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I went on the ride in late 2009, and it definitely felt different from LR and LR2, and a lot more difficult, as I finished in second-to-last place. Looking back on it, this can be put down to the rubber-banding from the CPUs racing me, and technology in serious need of repair. Still, it was a good ride, and it's quite sad that a ride based on a classic video game has been replaced by a licenced theme attractrion.

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Stupid licensed themes, stealing all the creativity these days...

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Hey hey' date=' I'm that "guy who had very in-depth backstage access". [/size']Got linked to this thread by a friend.

And may I say that your site is truly fantastic - many thanks for all of the info! You've really revealed to us details that would have otherwise been lost in the depths of time. Also, your Rocket Racers photos are second to none!

It was also to try and avoid any racing pros who visited storming to an easy victory' date=' leaving young kids (the target market) way behind. It worked frustratingly well, though with practice it was still possible to get a fairly good lead.[/quote']

I never really noticed the rubber banding in Rocket Racers, but I found Tomb Racers a lot harder as a track than Space Port. I think that, strangely enough, it was partially the terrain that caused this - Space Port featured a rugged track that was harder for younger and less experienced racers to traverse (even with rubber banding), while Tomb Racers had flat stone surfaces, which caused less of a problem and meant that all racers kept relatively close together in the races. After the ride was reopened, the only time I came anywhere below 1st was on Tomb Racers, and I came extremely close to coming second on the same track on another occasion.

So I guess what I'm asking is if you know how Adventures came about' date=' or what its purpose was.[/quote']

I have loads of Adventures! magazines (in English) and info, so I could probably start a separate thread on that! There are plenty of Rock Raiders comics to scan in too!

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There are plenty of Rock Raiders comics to scan in too!

Please do. We're always willing to see Rock Raiders stuff from printed media.

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No, not just Rock Raiders. Scan ALL the magazines! :af:

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I have loads of Adventures! magazines (in English) and info, so I could probably start a separate thread on that! There are plenty of Rock Raiders comics to scan in too!

You have the Adventures! mag? if you have iss. 6 please show us the comic for that issue

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It would be great if you could scan some of the magazines. Reading this topic actually got me to try to translate the Russian version of the magazine again (see here), but it's very monotonous and slow work. There's also the fact that I'm using Google Translate, so there's bound to be several errors in the comics I've translated. Being able to read the original English versions would be awesome.

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Reading through this, with a little work I could probably rebuild the thing myself. The software would need to be replaced 100% but with a few retrofits the hardware and machinery could be restored to full working order. In fact, Rocket Racers seems similar to a battle-tech center, so the hardware and machinery already exists for a full retrofit.

Actually, SEGA, in collaboration with Nintendo, released an arcade game in 2004 called F-Zero AX, with one of the cabinet versions being their ultra-ride hydraulic actuating arcade unit, so there's room for improvement if it wasn't already hydraulically actuated.

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I always loved Rocket Racers, this really is tragic D':

On a separate note, I see you mentioned LEGO Adventures Magazine. Would you be able to explain it to me? You see, I've been curious about the magazine ever since this Brickshelf folder surfaced back in 2010. For the most part I was unable to translate it, so I was happy to find through Bricklink that the magazine wasn't exclusive to Russia. Unfortunately, the magazine seems to be rather scarce online, and so it is still largely a mystery to me.

I have a load of issues of that magazine, if you're still interested I could make another thread with more stuff about the magazine some time.

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I have a load of issues of that magazine, if you're still interested I could make another thread with more stuff about the magazine some time.

That would be great! Like I said, it would be great to be able to know more about the original English magazines, as right now I've only got a few comics translated from the Russian issues.

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I wish the boss cars from LR1 got released into actual physical Lego sets.

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When I went into the new Star Wars Miniland attraction that replaced Rocket Racers, the main thing on my mind, to be honest, was finding references to the ride that previously stood there. Well, I spotted a few, only some haven't been posted on the internet before:

  • A lot of the original queueline has been preserved. In the first section, the toolrack has been preserved, except for the screwdrivers, which have been changed into lightsabers, and the three screens mounted on the wall are touchscreens from the building room (though they are no longer interactive). The "warp tunnel" between the first and second queueline sections is identical, bar some new lighting, and the brilliant alien rockwork in the second section has been repurposed into waterfalls for the Naboo scene.
  • Looking up at where the upstairs race rooms once were, one of the instructional signs found around the attraction is still mounted to a wall (it's so obvious that I presume it's intentional).
  • The most obscure and fascinating one of all - on the left exterior wall of the attraction, by what used to be The Pit Stop Café, there is an access door - when the attraction became Star Wars Miniland, one of the screen covers for the original CRT racing pods was mounted as a shelter above it! Perhaps the whole racing pods are hiding somewhere...

Overall, while the models of Miniland never cease to amaze me, the attraction seemed incredibly weak compared to what preceded it, especially considering the poorly implemented former queueline, and the horrendous wallpapers (featuring stock images of minifigures and sets that will be outdated a few years from now). This was all eclipsed though by the fact that they had refurbished the Creation Centre next door into a Star Wars shop. That's right, one of the only places in the park where LEGO could be witnessed as an art form is now a shop, right next door to the biggest shop in the park.

 

On a brighter note, a new comment on this video has revealed that the music playing outside the Rocket Racers building was "Soul on Desert" from SEGA Rally 2. With this, my collection of Rocket Racers music is now complete (bar a full version of the main theme/exit music), so PM me if you would like to hear some of it!

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