Under the research tab, players can choose between different types of rides, shops/stalls, special track elements or scenery, that they want to get developed for use in their park, and how much money they want to spend on researching these additional things.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 & 2
Players can choose out of 4 different fundings. The more money you spend on research, the faster new things will be researched. The type of item being researched is revealed 20 days before its completion, and the item being researched is revealed to the player 10 days before completion of research.
Cost: $400 a month.
Additional things for your park will be developed every 30 days.
Cost: $200 a month.
Additional things for your park will be developed every 45 days.
Cost: $100 a month.
Additional things for your park will be developed every 60 days.
No additional things for your park will be developed.
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
Instead of having four options of payment, players can raise and lower their research in increments of $10. The maximum amount is $500.
What can be chosen to be researched
Players can allow or not allow six different categories of ride research. If no category is selected, or if all selected categories are fully researched, research will occur in all remaining categories instead.
- Transport Rides - New Transport Rides will be developed for use in the particular scenario.
- Roller Coasters - New Roller Coasters will be developed for use in the particular scenario.
- Thrill Rides - New Thrill Rides will be developed for use in the particular scenario. This includes water rides, including the Water Coaster, except for Boat Hire and Jet Skis.
- Gentle Rides - New Gentle Rides will be developed for use in the particular scenario. This includes all of the transport rides.
- Shops/Stalls - New Shops/Stalls will be developed for use in the particular scenario.
- Scenery/Theming - New scenery themes or certain scenery items will be developed for use in the particular scenario.
- Ride Improvements - Only appears in RCT1 - Ride improvements will be developed for use in the particular scenario. This includes additional special track elements, additional vehicles, etc. Note that if the next Ride Improvement to be researched is for a ride type that hasn't been researched yet, research will instead be conducted for all categories until the necessary ride type is researched.
In RCT2 and OpenRCT2, items within each category are researched in a set order specified by the scenario.
Sometimes in RCT 1 & 2, one of the categories will be yellow, and the box next to this category can't be clicked anymore. This means that every single thing that could be researched in that category, that's available in that particular scenario, has been developed. When all categories are yellow, everything that is available in this scenario has been developed, and nothing new will be researched. The player should then put funding on "no funding", to avoid unnecessary expenses. Note that in RCT3, the player is not told when there is nothing left to research.
RCT1 has a feature that will swap entries in the research list. For example, the following entries in Forest Frontiers can be swapped:
- Miniature Railway & Monorail
- Wooden Wild Mouse & Suspended Swinging Coaster
- Fruity Ices Stall Candyfloss Stall
- Popcorn Stall & Candyfloss Stall
- Pizza Stall & Chip Shop
- Spinning Cars & Log Cars
- Dodgems & Hedge Maze
- Log Flume & Steel Roller Coaster
For each of these pairs, a coin is flipped to decide whether to swap the entries. Since the Miniature Railway is in the "invented" list, while Monorail is in the "not invented" list, swapping them means that the Monorail will be available at the start of the game, while the Miniature Railway has to be researched, instead of the other way round. In other cases, like the Spinning Cars and Log Cars, it will mean that sometimes the Spinning Cars are invented before the Log Cars, while other times it's the other way round. Randomly swapping three items is achieved by creating two entries, which is why the Candyfloss Stall appears twice in the list. In Forest Frontiers, this has the effect of making one of these stalls available at the start, while requiring research for the other two.
The code for this feature is strangely also present in RCT2, but no official scenario utilises it, and the Scenario Editor does not allow using it either.