An enterprising soul has designed a calculator from rollercoasters using Rollercoaster Tycoon 2’s creative toolset. YouTube user Marcel Vos posted the above video demonstrating the calculator in action, which uses a pair of trains running along a labyrinthine track setup to input two numbers and output the resulting calculation.
The video shows off three calculations performed by the gigantic coaster, multiplying 2 and 8, multiplying 7 and 7, and adding 1 to 1.
The track arrangement is mind-bogglingly complicated, including massive sections of it hidden underground. But the principles behind it are straightforward enough. The calculator is set up to perform both multiplication and addition calculations, with tracks running between each input integer and all 200 possible output results.
For each calculation, the track must be set up to send the two trains toward the correct input numbers. One train is sent on a mazy route underground, while the other is directed to a long sequence of hill-shaped tracks that it slowly rolls between. Eventually the first train collides with the second train, propelling over the correct hill to the appropriate output station. In effect, the whole system is a gigantic multiplication/addition table connected by tracks.
In a post on Imgur, Vos explained in detail how the calculator works when set up to multiply 3 and 6. “Since 3 and 6 are the fourth and seventh exit, the trains will collide on the fourth row of hills and the seventh hill from the left. The blue and purple tracks are for train 1 and the yellow and orange tracks are for train 2. Train 2 will smash into train 1 at high speed after which train 2 explodes, giving train 1 enough speed to make it over the hill.”
Speaking as someone who struggles with basic mathematics at the best of times, this seems like a fun (albeit incredibly inefficient) way to brush up on those multiplication tables. If you want to try it yourself, first you’ll need to grab OpenRCT2, then download the calculator here.
Here are a few more images of the calculator’s beautifully ridiculous design.