I've jotted down quite a few ideas for my Animated Board Game. I don't want to give much away just incase I can't figure out how to animate it or someone ninja's my ideas.
Using the Helix spline I made 3 parallel Helix shapes. The outer 2 were lofted with a circle to make the visible track. The centre one was then joint via Animation Path Constraints with a sphere. This centre track was then raised vertically to give the illusion of the ball sitting on the visible tracks.
Helix Track Ball Test from Jay Jackson-Hicks on Vimeo.
Rendered at 24FPS and 100 frames long with high quaility mental ray and codec it took ~8miniutes to complete. I'm quite sure that wasn't as fast as my computer could do it as iTunes was running fine as it was going. When I move on to bigger stuff i'm going to allow rendering 100% CPU power.
I’m aware that this video is really short and the ball moves incredibly fast, but I’m planning to have a very fast paced animation.