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Hello everyone! Rollercoaster Tycoon has been something of an obsession with me the past several weeks. I've been playing a bunch of it and have been having a pretty good time! I actually considered doing a full LP, but thanks to my commitments regarding the FFXIV LP, that just can't happen.

Also this game, when everything goes well, is kinda boring to read about. As you can see, I'm playing in OpenRCT2, which adds a lot of quality of life features. Not the least of which is widescreen support! This update was recorded at 1920x1080 and most of it is gonna be trimmed-up screenshots of stuff I want to point out.

So let's start a new scenario and see how things shake out, yeah? Haunted Harbor is listed as a "beginner park" but it's one of the expansion scenarios from the first game. All the expansion scenarios that I've played so far are much harder than anything in the base game. So while this is "beginner" difficulty, it does require you to know what you're doing!

Upon starting, we're immediately greeted with the scenario objectives and any stipulations or conditions. In this case, we need to have at least 1,200 guests by the end of year 3, and we need to have at least a park rating of 600 by that time. For the most part, that's not that difficult. If you play well, a high park rating is the least difficult part of any set of objectives.

We are also told that several rides in the park can't be destroyed or edited in any way!

This resized screenshot covers most of the park. There's one more ride down off to the south, but the other four are in plain view...

The carousel...

The spiral slide...

The Ghost Train, which is just a generic haunted mansion ride.

And then finally the big one... the wooden roller coaster!

Zooming out, we can see that the available land area in the park isn't especially great. It's not as tiny as some I've played, but it's certainly not gonna win any prizes. Also we can see a ferris wheel down south of the coaster, which is the fifth ride in the park.

And if I click around on the park menu and hit the "buy land" button, we can see that there is a metric fuckton of land available to buy! There's a bunch more above the shot as well. That's where we're meant to expand!

The "buy land" button is the one below the green flag, for what it's worth.

Finally, if we click on the admissions ticket button on the park menu, we see that admission is free, which means we make all our money from ride tickets..

Speaking of money, if we check our finances, we can see that we have $5000 of starting loan money, which is not a lot at all. So we need to spend it wisely.

Another tab on the finances screen lets us check research status. By default we pay $200/mo for reasearch. I go ahead and kick that up to the maximum of $400/mo and leave it be after. Research speed is directly proportional to how much funding you give. At maximum, it takes about a month between innovations. I also untick several of the options...

This park is so small that we will certainly not need a transport ride to ferry guests around, and there's no money to be made from gentle rides. I'm sure for most of you, those terms make no sense. So let's actually take a minute to discuss types of rides so we're all on the same page.

From the left you have: Transport Rides, Gentle Rides, Roller Coasters, Thrill Rides, Water Rides, Shops/Services, and Research Status.

Transport Rides - Ferries guests around the park. Not an especially great choice because many guests don't like riding the same ride over and over. If you build a Transport ride to get around, be damn sure you have a path leading to its destination or guests will get furious and your rating will plummet as they will feel "stuck."

Gentle Rides - Stuff like carousels, ferris wheels, slides, and so on. This is the domain of kiddie rides and bumper cars.

Roller Coasters - Do I really need to explain this one?

Thrill Rides - Things like swinging ships, launched elevators, scramblers, and so on. This is the midpoint between Gentle and Coasters, and is an especially great way to set up a trickle of money early on. In real parks, these are sprinkled around coasters to help guests hype themselves up.

Water Rides - If the whole purpose of a ride is to get wet, then it can be found here. This is where all your log flumes and river rapids-style rides can be found.

Shops/Services - Food stalls, bathrooms, ATMs, souvenier shops, and so on. Not especially glamorous, but every park needs them!

Looking more in-depth, we have eight different kinds of gentle rides. Three of which are different types of "ride around on a track." We're fairly well set for this for the entire scenario, in my opinion.

Coaster availability is much more dire, sadly. Four types to build, and outside of Wooden (third from the left), none are especially great.

Thrill rides are even worse. Twists, as they're called in this game, are vomit factories. Guests love them, but they tend to pollute your paths nearby with everyone's lunch.

Water rides are pretty decent. I really only typically use the log flume in most parks I build, so having one available from the start is really helpful! The other option here is a "boat hire" where you can rent a boat and take it out on the lake.

Finally we have shops. I'm sure you can guess what most of these do from just their appearance. The two most important here are undoubtedly the information kiosk and the restroom. The former because it sells maps, and the latter because they're a form of preventative maintenance against vomit.

One last bit of setup before we really dive into the park is to go into the cheats menu and turn on building in pause mode. I don't really mess with anything else in there, but that is invaluable in giving me space to think without having to worry about idiot guests walking across paths I'm trying to get right!

Anyway, I know that's a lot of preamble and setup. But I want to be sure we're all on the same page before I really get started. Because once I do, I take off and really don't stop. First things first: the coaster is one of the heritage-listed rides, so we have to keep it around. So let's look at its stats.

Sure, why not? I'll take that gladly. The really important numbers are the top three. A high excitement rating means we can charge a boatload for this sucker, while a high intensity means that while some guests won't like it, we can charge even more. And we have middling nausea to boot! So this is a pretty intense, pretty exciting ride, that only makes you feel moderatly queasy after getting off. These stats are wonderful!

Over on the admissions tab, we can see the previous owners were charging a single dollar to ride this beast. That's an absolute steal... and we can't have that at all! So let's plug those numbers up above into a handy dandy website and...

This table is a little hard to follow at first, but bear with me. We're only interested in the MaxOpenRCT2 price column. Here we can see that the ride price decays over time up until a certain point. If we look at the <13 row, we see we can charge $15.80 per ride. While we could charge almost $20 if the ride were brand new, we'd have to refurbish it every 5 months which just isn't feasible. But once a year? That's doable!

Speaking of refurbishing the ride, we find out that this particular coaster is ancient! Any ride over 17 years old qualifies for the ancient price. But $7.20 is not a lot per ticket. So let's look into refurbishing this coaster first. We can't demolish it, and we can't edit it, but we can certainly make it look and act brand new!

First we gotta close it down for renovations.

Over on the wrench tab is a crane button. That's the "refurbish ride" button!

Reminder that we have $5000 right now. This will cost almost a full half of our funds, but it's absolutely worth it. At almost $16 per ticket, it will not take very long at all for this investment to pay off.

Not long at all indeed! If you look a few screenshots up, it says the ride is capable of servicing 1,536 guests per hour. Now let's do some quick math. 1536 * 15.8 = $24,268.80 per hour if the coaster can operate at its estimated peak.

We don't have quite that many in the park, and not all of them will buy a ticket on top of that. But we'll be fine. This is definitley not going to be a map where money being tight is an issue.

Let's turn our attention away from our money printing machine for a moment and instead look at this stall. It sells yellow balloons and we can already see several guests carrying them around. It's something of a trick, but if you set up a bunch of these stalls all over the park, you can track how many guests go to certain spots in your park judging by the balloon they carry.

Now naturally, someone with a balloon will not buy another one, but guests also have slippery fingers and they're always letting them go. It's a nice way to provide some color to your park. The $0.90 that the stalls charge by default isn't going to make or break anyone that's for damn sure.

Because our park is ostensibly horror themed, I go on a renaming spree. The coaster is renamed to Quoth the Raven (because it used to be Woodpecker). You can sort of work out what everything else is based on the name. Except for Booo! That's the spiral slide.

Finally, this park comes with information kiosks researched, but does not have any built yet. We need to remedy that, and so I plop one down near the entrance. If guests have a park map, they're a lot less likely to get lost.

Maps are so important that I'm willing to lose money on each "sale" by giving them away. I also set the price of umbrellas to $4.50 which is approximately the cap for how much guests are willing to pay for one.

There's a well-known exploit where once it starts raining, you can set the price of umbrellas to the maximum of $20 and everyone will be forced to pay for one to stay dry. Given that we're making $15.80 per ticket on Quoth the Raven, I feel confident that we don't need to do that exploit.

We don't kinkshame in this park, even if BDSM isn't strictly horror-themed.

Anyway, it's time to build a coaster to give us some more income. Also each ride we build increases our guest cap. There's some complicated math involved in figuring it out, and I can't be bothered to do it myself. The upshot here is that the more rides we have, the more guests we can fit in the park.

There are penalties to doubling up on ride types. So if we built another wooden coaster, we wouldn't be able to charge nearly as much for either of them. In some cases, the benefits will outweigh the drawbacks. In this case, though, I'm not giving up that juicy $15.80.

So let's build a Side-Friction coaster instead. So named for the side-friction wheels that keep it on the tracks. As you can see, I have several generic-sounding designs. I got them from a lovely youtube channel called Marcel Vos. Here I grab the middle ground design to plop down.

I hear some of you asking why I don't build one? Because I'm shit at it and these designs are much better than anything I could make.

The prefab is put down on the beach and we're ready to go!

Gotta build paths and a queue line as well, so guests can get to the coaster and get in. I also run the path up the beach to meet with the pre-existing path.

The laws of physics can be pretty scary! Also our coaster has pretty decent stats, so it'll be a nice companion to QtR.

This is kinda meta-gamey, but this restroom is directly across from the ride's exit. Why? Because every time guests come to an intersection, the pathfinding algorithm has a much better chance to pick them to continue straight ahead than other options. If we, therefore, put bathrooms across specific intersections, we can herd guests into them before they puke on our nice clean paths.

While I'm thinking about services... this is something I forgot to do during setup. I need to open the cheats menu and go into the object selector. Every type of ride in the entire game is found in here, and we can enable any of them that we want. So what am I cheating to get?

Something that isn't otherwise available in RCT1 scenarios. ATMs only start appearing in the second game, and they're too invaluable to not use. So I enable them pretty much in any scenario that I play. They do exactly what you might imagine they do. We naturally want guests to stay for as long as possible. Well, each guest only comes in with a certain amount of money. So without the ATM, once they're broke, they leave.

I immediately close the objects selector menu once I have the ATM ticked and available.

I could get into the reeds explaining how staff members work. But that would be boring and eat up like 10 screenshots and it only affects me. So here's the quick and dirty version: Handymen keep paths clean, empty trash cans, and water flowers. Mechanics fix rides and perform inspections. Security guards and Entertainers do nothing and are a waste of money in 99 out of 100 cases.

So when I say I tell the Handymen to only walk on certain tiles, you don't have to see me painstakingly setting up their patrol routes. The reason I do this is because handymen are dumb as hell and will happily go off to who-knows-where to hang out. By focusing their efforts, I can try to keep the park's pathways relatively clean.

Each handyman costs $50/mo in wages, so you can see they quickly add up. We'll still be making money hand over fist, so we can afford to spam them as needed.

Once you get a park set up, it more or less runs itself. So there are large periods of downtime where you're either waiting for something or just watching rides move around. In those times, it's almost always a good idea to keep the summarized thoughts list up. This lets you identify potential problems before they become bad. Here we can see that we're doing pretty good!

The most common thought up on the board is caused by people walking around in front of the drink stall, followed by some pretty extreme kink views, and then general appreciation for the authors at McGraw-Hill in third.

During downtime, it's also a good idea to be decorating your paths. You can never have too many park benches. Guests get tired easily, and like to rest and recuperate. Also guests who are feeling very sick can sit on them to calm their upset stomach. Benches are one of the most important decorations you can place!

I also have a bunch of trash cans, because this central area is where most of the food stalls are at. Guests are animals who will toss trash away without a second thought, and so giving them ample places to put it will go a long way to keeping the park tidy.

After a few minutes of hanging out, I decide to build a log flume. The Soaking Plunge is actually a track of my own design! It's a very simple ride that isn't very long, and so it can make a lot of money!

The stats aren't great, but this isn't as dire as it seems! Being such a low intensity and nausea means that even the most squeamish of guests can comfortably ride this. So it will actually attract more attention than either coaster in the park.

It's also the first ride we have to sell souvenier photos! Guests are weird and will say $3 is a "great deal" while $3.50 is way too much. I prefer to fleece them on the admission ticket and give them a "deal" on the photo.

It's also the first ride we have where we need to fuck with the operating modes. I've got it set up where each boat will wait between 5 and 10 seconds before departing. This ensures that the maximum number of people possible can be on the ride at any given time. More people on a ride means there are less people on the paths, which means less people thinking "It's too crowded here."

My condolences on your monetary troubles, friend.

To help avoid your park from feeling like a maze, you should make travel as easy as possible. Here we have two different ends of the park relatively near each other. But if one of those people with a yellow ballon wanted to go from the wheel of torture to the sinking ship, they'd have to go all the way to the middle and back out. That's not ideal!

Connecting two paths like that helps facilitate quick travel, and also helps avoid having too many people in any one area.

The park is doing so well, in fact, that I pay off the loan to avoid having that hang over our heads.

Being debt-free means that our on-hand cash reserves look even better than before. This is a graph of on-hand cash minus the loan, on a scale of -3000 to +3000.

Not too bad. Not too bad at all. It's May 20th and we're already making almost $1000 in weekly profit from everything.

We have a tiny spit of buildable area in the mouth of the bay, so I briefly entertain the idea of building a boat hire on a track out there. You never want to build a boat hire without a track, because guest pathfinding AI is pretty bad when given choices. You can see this in action if you have paths on the ground more than 3 tiles wide. They don't know what to do when there's that many choices and so they get hopelessly lost on an otherwise straight path.

It's a pretty decent boat hire, but you can see a bit of a problem. The station platform buts right up against the track on Laws of Physics, so there's no way for guests to exit unless I get into path fuckery. It's not worth it for the middling returns a boat hire gives, so I scrap the idea entirely.

While I'm building that, the Wheel of Torture breaks down, and one of the mechanics has a devil of a time finding it. He keeps going halfway across the park to find the exit, even when dropped right on top of it. I finally give up and eventually delete it too, freeing up the space for something else.

Over to the right side of the park is a bunch of buyable land. It's $25 per tile, so it gets kinda expensive.

I buy a lot of it.

A lot. The old borders are on the left. You can see the new borders on the right.

I've been ignoring these for the most part, because the researchers are nothing if not spiteful. But this pirate ship is the first thing they've invented that I've actually wanted to use! It's a thrill ride, and it's going to go right on the spot previously inhabited by the Wheel of Torture.

Thrill rides like this aren't glamorous, but they're workhorse rides that the majority of guests will ride. Many are too scared to ride the bigger coasters where you make all your money. But they're quite happy to go on a ship that swings back and forth a few times. And unlike gentle rides, they tend to have decent excitement ratings, so you can charge pretty decently for them!

Anyway, I have a pretty decent park set up, I have all the paths covered by Handymen. So all I need is a good coaster. So it's time to wait. And wait. And wait...

This means that there aren't a bunch of guests complaining that they need to use the bathroom. Positive awards like this mean more guests coming in! Because who doesn't want to poop in the best park bathrooms in the country?

The researchers are being very spiteful.

So I fast forward. A lot.

The end of September rolls around and we get a Junior coaster. These are good starter coasters, but not when we're almost a third of the way to this scenario's time goal. So our waiting continues...

October ends and then suddenly it's March of year 2. Parks are closed during the latter half of autumn and all winter. Because it's March 1st, it's time to refurbish all the existing rides to make them brand new once more!

Our purse doesn't really feel the sting very hard. We're also over halfway to the guest goal! Not too bad for skipping 3 months out of 8 that the park is open during the year!

March rolls past and all we get is another mediocre coaster type. Bobsled is better than some, but it's still not great. But we've now gone a very long time without building something, and so our park value is about to start plummeting. So even though I'd rather not, I decide to build a bobsleigh coaster.

It goes up on the hill we bought last year.

The exit ramp is a little awkward because it's so high up, so I slap a "do not enter from this direction" sign up at the bottom.

The stats aren't great, but they're better than nothing. And this does, at least, provide more guest cap. By the way, we're still charging almost $11 per ticket. And it has a photo track piece, so that's an additional $3 per person who wants one!

The ride's name, by the way, technically isn't a lie. There's things man wasn't meant to know at the top of that lift hill.

For the sake of more guest cap, I build a scrambler up on another nearby hill.

The stats are terrible. Look at that nausea rating compared to everything else!

The name is pretty fitting. Scared straight PSAs fit the horror-themed billing... right?

More Thrill Rides! I'll take them!

It's not really worth showing the stats of future thrill rides. They're typically pretty low, but they're still popular for that reason.

This stacks (additively) with our previous "best shitters" award. So now we have even more guests coming!

Now that we're more than halfway through the scenario, I plop down another wooden coaster against the southern border. I swear to you, that isn't my name.

My names aren't nearly that good. Tachophobia, the fear of going fast, is an insane ride. It has 5 trains of 7 cars each. Each car fits 4 people. So 5 trains of 28 people each. At maximum, 140 people can be riding it at once. Even if the presence of Quoth the Raven means we can't charge quite as much, we can still rake in money at a rate that usually flags a business as a front for organized crime.

What I'm saying is it's really fucking good broken. We're just over halfway to our guest goal and money-wise we're entering what is functionally creative mode. Once the new coaster gets going, we'll be making it faster than we can realistically spend it.

Adding line TVs isn't really worth it here, but I do it anyway. When guests are stuck in longer queues, they start getting impatient. Queue TVs arrest the fall and even regenerate their patience up to a certain threshold. Tachophobia will never have that problem. Even if the queue fills up, there's more capacity on the coaster than there are spots in the queue line.

I can't understate its throughput enough.

Go-Karts are a really good ride. Everyone loves Mario Kart, right?

As I get ready to build a track, I learn some of my guests have pretty crippling anxiety and are afraid of the fear of speed.

This is another one of my designs. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

Decent stats, too. For some reason people get really fuckin' excited about go karts!

While decorating the kart track, I get this notification. A Launched Freefall is the single best type of Thrill Ride! It's got stats to rival a coaster and so you can charge a boatload for it. It probably has a throughput to match tachophobia.

Anyway, for some reason my guests really find it exciting to race through a dense forest like this. Don't ask me why.

There's a joke to be made here somewhere.

And a few minutes later while building the launched freefall, the seas start boiling, the dead start rising from the grave, there's 40 years of darkness, and dogs and cats start living together. It's mass hysteria!

On the upside, the launched freefall is beyond absurdly good. 8 people at a time, nearly $18 per person, and a 22 second ride time... well, I'm sure you can do the math.

Towards the ends of September, we recieve a sign from above that we are favored by the researchers after all!

Do you see this incomplete design? If you treat this 6-track piece coaster like a shuttle loop, suddenly you have something extremely broken. Send the vehicle launching out of the station at 31mph and it will not get enough speed to clear the inversion, and thus crash. And so it becomes an incredibly space efficient shuttle loop!

Don't let the middling stats fool you. Look at the ride time. Two seconds. And we can charge almost $6 for those two seconds. The guests happily pay it and think this is the greatest ride ever! The price would be higher, but I'm about to build another looping coaster as a sister on the other side of the park.

The ride's name is also oddly prophetic. Keep it in mind as we continue.

This looping coaster design is incredibly efficient and really popular with guests.

The name isn't very inspired, though. It's a safe ride on a closed track, the opposite of the shuttle loop by the beach. So you can see where I was coming from when I made the name.

Year 2 ends on an extremely high note. We only need 35-some more guests to hit our goal, we have a fuckton of money, and our park rating is 999/999! What could go wrong?

Tell me, do you see a problem with this picture? Don't worry if you can't. I didn't at the time. If I had, I would have been able to prevent an imminent disaster.

It's around here that I happened to notice the problem but not the cause. Do you see it yet? Let me zoom and enhance...

It's March 20th. In 20 days our rating has gone from 999/999 to less than 400.

Two days later, we have a serious crisis brewing. The scenario needs over 600 rating and we're well below that and dropping faster!

Click this for a full sized image. You can see all the pieces of the puzzle to put it together. I still hadn't gotten it by this point.

By March 30th, we have lost every single bit of park rating we once had and I don't understand why.

And then I see it. The reason why. The exit path from my shuttle loop didn't connect back to the rest of the paths in the park.

After I let them out of their cage, a few hundred people make RIGHT for the exit.

Seriously about 400 people left all at once. But you can see once they did, the park rating immediately recovered back to full!

There's not much else to say about year 3. Once the grumpy people who were upset about being abducted left, the park immediately recovered.

I spend most of the rest of the year on extreme fast-forward. We hit the 1200 guest goal on July 10th.

And so year 3 is oddly quiet. There isn't really a need to build many new rides, and so just coasting along, we finish the year out at 1400 guests, which is well past our goal.

And so that's all that I care to do for Open Rollercoaster Tycoon 2! Thanks for reading everyone, and have a great day!