Hints and Tips
This article lists many hints and tips available for players to keep their parks running smoothly while dealing with common problems associated with operating an amusement park.
- Players should pause the game at the start of each scenario. This gives them a chance to familiarise with the park and get its finances in order. It is also in most cases a good idea to sort out the park's research priorities now since in most cases (especially in the first two games) the research instructions are set with normal funds and on every branch of the research tree.
- If there are any pre-built rides/attractions in the scenario, now is a good time to check their status and pricing information.
- In already established parks, the starting staff is often inadequate to the park's needs. Hiring the correct amount of staff members and giving them reasonable patrol areas is often a good idea.
- Players should also check whether their park's a pay-per-entrance or a pay-per-ride park, so they can plan their expansion accordingly.
- In vanilla RollerCoaster Tycoon it is the player’s choice, but from Loopy Landscapes onwards this is predetermined by the scenario.
- Before taking on large and costly projects (such as building a new roller coaster), having a basic park up and running is often advisable.
- While roller coasters are the big money makers, it’s far better to have a few small rides turning a monthly profit (or good enough to allow the player to charge a decent entrance fee) to help offset some of the construction/landscaping/scenery costs.
- Most of the flat rides allow very little change in their entrance fee: it's often much better to leave the entrance price as-is, and put effort into rollercoasters and other tracked rides, when comes the time to make a profit.
- In most cases, players will start with little to no-profit, forcing them to take a large loan, then slowly but steadily recover their finances as their parks get more and more profitable. As such, it is advised to take great care of the scenario's loan interest (in the Finances screen near the loan options) before setting on a loan strategy.
- This means that the first important direction to take when building a park, is to set on operating several high-profit rides with great guest capacity and excitement ratings: ally shuttle rollercoasters and well decorated tracked rides. This allows the player to either make a direct profit (in pay-per-ride parks), or to charge a large entrance fee (in pay-per-entrance parks) at the gates and draw lots of guests into the park's shops and stalls for an indirect profit scheme.
- Scenarios with a loan interest of 10% or higher, are much better dealt with by quickly repaying the loan instead of letting the loan run and drain the park's finances. Usually, the best rule of thumb here is to check directly in the finances screen the amount of loan interest paid every month. If it's above $120 per month, then it's wiser to repay the loan quickly.
- Hiring an Entertainer and having them patrol the area right by the park gate will cause guests to leave in a better mood, which will attract more guests after they leave the map.
General Rules of Thumb
for Scenario play
- The ideal number of required staff per job can be determined by the number of each job's "ideal patrol areas" it would take to cover the whole "used surface" (the surface effectively used by both rides & guests) of a park. Said ideal patrol areas' size differs from each job :
- Handymen need around 5 or 6 patrol tiles of land to cover (gardens & lawns included if applicable).
- Mechanics can have larger patrol areas, but need to cover around 4 ride exits located as close as possible for maximum efficiency.
- Security guards need the smallest possible patrol areas for maximum vandalism prevention. Around 3 or 4 tiles of "vandal-bait" paths
- Entertainers have no particular needs in regards to their patrol areas, but tend to prove most efficient in crowded zones : park entrance, queue lines & food courts. As such, one should be set to patrol in each, without any ideal dimension for their patrol areas.
- Hiring as many staff as the park needs to cover each "used space" section of the park according to above guidelines, will ensure the clever player maximum efficiency & minimum staff-related problems.
- Players should always set their shops & stalls' prices so that they make at least $1 profit out of any article they sell. Some products can be charged more according to the weather, but as a general rule of thumb there's no exception below that margin. Any article sold for less than that, is given away.
- Wise park builders would always make sure their park's entrance way has at least one Toilets Slab, one Info Kiosk, one Cash Machine and one Souvenirs Stall according to the availability of said shops. The wisest park builders would also, to these stalls, add one food & one drinks stall, as well as a couple of flat rides set to free admission (so that these retain some guests for a little longer) and set an entertainer there. Those guests will leave the park happier with, than without.
- Toilets should always be charged to $0.20. At that price, they not only cover their own functioning costs, but also turn a helping profit.
- Speaking of Toilets, a solid rule of thumb would have the wise player build a new Toilets slab as soon as at least 50 guests think they need to take a leak. Using the "Grouped Thoughts" panel, said player would click the map button to see if there's some sort of "concentration" of guests sharing this thought somewhere in their park, and if there is, would build a new Toilets there on the spot. At $0.20 the leak, it's better to have too many Toilets rather than not enough.
- A general rule regarding pay-per-ride parks allows the player to charge tracked rides (especially rollercoasters) up to the price of their excitement rating (rounding down).
- This means that every scenery/pathing/layout addition or twirk that boosts a ride's excitement rating up (intertwining tracks, interlocking loops, queues and pathes over the ride, extra scenery, elevation of terrain over the track, etc) becomes important, since it allows the wise builder to charge more for his rides, and therefore make huge profits.
- On the bad side though, this tends to drain the guests' wallets dry faster. Counting on a faster guest turnover (in RCT1), or having Cash Machines nearby (in RCT2) will be necessary. However, this tip brings money in faster, which allows a quicker re-investment.
- As rides age, they become less desirable and often force the player to drop the ticket prices for some older attractions despite the Excitement Rating. For example, a player can charge at most around $7 for a Merry-Go-Round that is 5 months old or less. After 13 months, this price would have dropped to around $3.
- This can be circumvented by replacing rides every few years. Simply delete the ride and rebuild the same ride in the exact same spot. This allows you to keep ride prices high, and, in turn, keep turning a profit.
How paths work
See Also: Paths
- In most cases, guests will wander in a park aimlessly (“walking”), and only occasionally will some guests want to travel to a particular location (generally a specific ride or the park exit). At every junction in the path, guests will make a decision.
- Junctions are created by paths meeting, shops/stalls, ride entrances/exits, and the entrance to a queue line. If a guest has interacted with a path item (bench or bin), then this also acts as a junction, since it's the moment when guests "decide" to interact with an item (sitting on a bench or throwing an item in a bin... or even destroying an object).
- “Walking” guests will make a random decision at each junction (however, they are slightly more likely to continue straight).
- As a quirk of this system, a ride entrance/queue joined at a 90 degree angle (or “T” intersection) to a path is less likely to attract guests than those joined straight on.
- Guests who have a destination will make the decision at each junction to choose the direction (north, south, east or west) that leads them directly to their target tile. This means that guests don’t use path finding, but rather make a judgment based on two points.
- For rides, the target tiles are the first tiles of the ride's queue line (the one with the panel on top of it), where their behavior changes from wandering around to queuing.
- Complex path systems with a lot of dead ends (Tree systems) should be avoided as often as possible. Grid systems are the most efficient way to prevent guests from getting lost, and should be preferred to Tree systems at all costs.
- Guests cannot turn around on a straight single section: they require a junction or dead-end to do so.
- Park maps allow guests to take them out and pick a destination to go to.
- This means that Information Kiosks selling maps will not prevent guests from getting lost because of a poorly laid out path system. Rather, it only prevents random decision making at junctions. However, guests do not gain pathfindings - they still make decisions based on the distance between two points.
- Many scenarios include pre-existing path networks. When this is the case, it is a good idea to “disconnect” long sections of paths that lead nowhere to prevent guests from getting lost and stop the staff wandering too far.
- The "No-Entry" Signs from Added Attractions onwards, aren't always enough to close dead-end paths : staff still crosses them.
- Rather than deleting entire sections of path, simply deleting one path tile at an intersection is enough to “disconnect” it. As players do expand their park, this solution allows them to reconnect sections of a path at a glance, simply by reattaching path sections.
- In extreme cases, it may be wise to completely demolish an existing path layout and start from scratch.
- In RCT paths wider than one tile should be avoided as guests are likely to end up walking in circles (considering each tile of a wide path as a junction) and getting lost.
- Unclean and littered sections of paths are more likely to be vandalized, so ensuring their park has enough handymen to keep its paths clean will minimize the chance of vandalism in most parks.
- Rides with covered cars, or that have at least 40% of their track constructed underground will bypass the "rain drain" effect and keep attracting guests when it is raining.
- Tracked rides that have a ride time of 5 minutes or longer will have a negative impact as guests will want to get off the ride, and so should be avoided above all costs. This also affects the ride’s excitement rating.
- Broken down rides also aggravate this issue so it is important that players hire enough mechanics and have them patrol properly.
- Players should always take advantage of the different operating ride modes. “Powered Launch Mode” or "Reverse-Incline Shuttle Mode" on some Roller Coasters can be used to make relatively cheap and compact “shuttle” rides that still draw a decent crowd and therefore, mighty profits.
- This means that the "Shuttle Loop" coaster from RCT1, with a rear-incline, can still work well in RCT2 and draw lots of guests, for lots of money in pay-per-ride parks. This makes such a coaster a powerful tool when beginning a scenario.
- For long Go Karts tracks it is in most (if not all) cases much better to reduce the number of laps to 1, or even change from race mode to continuous circuit mode. In race mode, the winner gets a victory lap and so the next race can’t begin until previous race's winner actually completes it, then crosses the whole platform out for the next guest to load in. The drop in excitement rating from continuous circuit mode is generally offset by the ride's increased guest capacity.
- Spiral Slide, Space Rings, Maze, Bumper Cars and Flying Saucers are the only rides that do not require a queue path to work efficiently. The Ferris Wheel only requires one square of queue path to work perfectly, even if a longer queue never really is wrong : it's just not necessary. In vanilla RCT1, rollercoasters that load only 2 guests per dispatch, such as the Wooden Wild Mouse, could also function well with a single tile queue line despite the sheer drawing power roller coasters all exert on guests.
- Queue lines should at least be long enough to hold enough guests for one car/train but never exceed a length of 8 minutes wait time (as any longer than this will displease guests and affect the overall park rating).
- This can be worked around in RCT2/OpenRCT2 thanks to the block brake system, by allowing multiple trains for increased capacity.
- Any guest that meets a patrolling entertainer while queuing for a ride, will wait up to 11 minutes and 59 seconds (instead of 10 minutes 59s) before leaving the ride's line unhappy. This means setting an entertainer to patrol on a very demanded roller coaster, indeed has an effect on the game's mechanics.
Tips for building tracked rides
- Roller Coasters and other track rides with multiple fast moving cars/trains are more susceptible to crash if they enter the station at a speed greater than 28mph (45km/h).
- Brakes can be used to minimize this risk. From RCT2 onwards, block brakes can be used to completely negate this risk.
- Understanding how G-forces work is a mandatory aspect of Roller Coaster building that is required for efficient custom ride design. An in-depth guide can be found here, but in general terms, players should always :
- Try to keep the maximum positive vertical G (the one guests feel when hitting the bottom of a fall/dive) below 4.5.
- Make sure the negative vertical G (on top of a hill) should not exceed -2. For rides with detached vehicles (such as Dinghy Slides or Bobsled Coasters) excessive Negative vertical G can result in trains leaving the track and crash. For these rides, the limit is -0.9G.
- Make sure the maximum lateral G (the G-Forces that push guests away from their trains when turning in high-speed) should never exceed 2.75. Banked curves serve the purpose of reduce lateral Gs by “converting” them into vertical Gs.
- Use the graphs tab (on the ride window) that displays line graphs of the velocity, altitude and G forces experienced throughout the ride. These graphs can be used to visually identify any sections of a ride that generates high G forces.
- OpenRCT2 has a feature that allows said graph to automatically highlight these problematic G-Forces in red, for easy scanning & fixing. By keeping both the first train of a rollercoaster and the graph tab in check, any player can see at a glance where the G-Forces are too high for human bodies, and fixing problematic elements easily. Good players often end up developing an "instinct" of what to do and what not to do when designing a custom roller coaster.
- Consider examples of real-life coasters of said type as references, for easier understanding when building roller coaster layouts.
- Most Roller coasters have "key-elements" and concepts that help any player designing efficient custom layouts :
- Wooden Roller Coasters require fast speed and high hills set so that the trains do offer "air-times" on top of each hill.
- Wild Mouse Roller Coasters (any kind) require multiple tight turns taken at (not too) high speeds so that guests feel like their car will dislodge and fall off the track at any curve. As such, aiming for (not too) high lateral G-Forces is a must.
- Spinning Wild Mouse has a key-element called "Spinning Control Toggle Track", that switches the behavior of the train passing it, between "Free-spinning at curves" and "No-Spinning at curves" modes. Making a clever use of these notions is the key factor for success when designing a custom layout with this coaster.
- Steel Looping Coaster needs — as its name implies — loopings. Interlocking them with other tracks, other parts of itself, queue lines or regular paths, will boost the Coaster's Excitement rating to the roof, with the best option being interlocking loops through other loops for massive high-drawing rollercoasters that will draw guests into any park by the hundreds, if not by thousands.
- Suspended Swinging Coasters and Bobsled Coasters rely on helices much more than drops for high excitement ratings.
- Corkscrew, Inverted, Steel Twister, LIM and Air-Powered Coasters require careful planning regarding inversions and hilltops, so that each one of them is taken at
the slowest possiblereasonable speeds on their top.
- Hyper, Giga & Hyper-Twister Coasters are evolutions of the Wooden Coaster in principle, and as such require massive (very tall) drops and high speeds with reasonable G-Forces. Due to the sheer drawing power these scream machines have on guests, they also require high guest capacity, therefore very long stations (in RCT1) or an extensive use of Block Brakes (in RCT2) as well as long queues to function at full capacity and therefore bring the biggest buck in.
- Building Tracked rides underground (or partially underground) usually adds a boost to the Excitement rating.
- This rule doesn't apply to Go-Karts, where driving under the ground has a negative impact on the Excitement Rating instead of a positive one.
Shops and Stalls
- Information Kiosks should be built close to the park entrance. This ensures as many guests as possible have access to a park map which will give them destinations to go to (instead of wandering aimlessly).
- In RCT1 and RCT2 Information Kiosks (Toilets, ATM machines and First Aid Rooms in RCT3) can be accessed by guests from all 4 directions, which means that the direction of the construction arrow is irrelevant. Players should use this to their advantage and build those structures on existing path corners, or construct a 3x3 path square with the kiosk in the centre to maximize guest access.
- Using the umbrella cheat is always interesting for quick income, and especially in pay-per-entry parks, where they constitute a "second entrance ticket" when rain joins the party.
- By accessing the Guests tab and selecting both the "Group" tab and "Guest's Thought's" options, wise players can see what the most common complaints about the park are. Checking these complaints and where the guests making the complaints are at regular intervals can help them determine when and where more Shops & Stalls are needed.
- Guests will only carry one food or drink item at a time, and have to consume it before buying another one. Therefore, there is little to no advantage (outside of aesthetics) to building “food court” areas in parks.
- Food items such as Popcorn, Fries, and Pretzels increase the guest's thirst meter faster than normal. It is wise to build these in conjunction with Drinks Stalls, for the best results.
- Merchandise stalls (such as the Souvenir Stall or Hat Stall) should be built near the exit of the park's most exciting rides as happier guests are more inclined to buy merchandise.
- In RCT3, food stalls are operated by a shop vendor. They are only capable of serving a certain number of peeps at a time, and will walk away from the shop if overwhelmed.
- Like other staff, they can be trained (via the human resources window) which increases the number of peeps they can deal with simultaneously.
- Building First Aid Rooms, and benches, near the exits of nauseous rides is good practice in helping keep paths clean.
- The amount of money guests spawn with varies across scenarios, and within each one the amount varies between individual guests by $30 (as an example, in a scenario guests will have between $60 and $80).
- It is important to keep this number in mind when charging an entrance fee, as raising the entrance fee too high might render some guests unable to afford admission. Depending on the scenario's financial position/objective, it may be better to charge less money when it ensures more guests inside a park.
- If guests are commenting that a particular ride “is really good value”, then it means its price is low enough for the player to consider increasing it for a little extra profit.
- Another viable strategy is to try and get the Best Value park award by keeping all admission prices slightly lower.
- Park awards aren’t just passive : they actually affect the number of guests visiting a park. Positive awards attract more guests (similarly to advertising campaigns) while negative awards will reduce the number of guests joining the park.
- It is extremely important to constantly check the thoughts of guests into any park, especially the screen which classifies thoughts according to the number of guests thinking them. Not only will addressing their problems help boost a park's rating, but it also will help the player avoid receiving negative park awards.
- Advertising campaigns are great ways to temporarily boost the number of guests joining the park. They constitute last resort boosts when nearing the end date of a scenario and still haven’t reached the objective of guest numbers or park value, where a well-placed advertising campaign can definitely be more effective than a new ride.
- Saving the game before starting construction on a complex and/or costly construction/landscaping project, can save a park if said project doesn’t go as well as initially planned.
- Where applicable, players should always note the interest rate for the scenario they're are playing. Big loans with high interest rates are dangerous and very costly, usually killing monthly profit
- In particular, if interest rates are 10% or higher, Players should seriously assess whether it is more financially viable to wait a few months and save up rather than borrowing money from the bank. If a loan is already on at this rate, players should take time to think whether it is wiser to spend all their hard-earned money into a new ride, or to repay their loan and save money on the long run.