RollerCoaster Tycoon World at PAX West 2016

I was a bit let down by Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, despite it being one of my favourite childhood game series. When I went to check out Roller Coaster Tycoon World at PAX this year, I got to check out the newest addition to the game, Piece-by-Piece. Currently in early access, Roller Coaster Tycoon World has received ten updates since being released at the end of March, and generally receives a patch or update every few weeks. Piece-by-Piece is all about building and designing your own structures, which you can then save for later or share with the RCTW community.

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One of the best parts of any sandbox game is the ability to make your own designs. I created many roller coasters and rides back in the day, and had fun making them look cool and fit in with the rest of my park. Roller Coaster Tycoon World‘s newest update, Piece-by-Piece, allows you to design the buildings around your park, one piece at a time as the name suggests. Single sections of wall, floor, and roof, as well as a variety of decorations, can be put together to allow you to design buildings in any way you want. Buildings can then be saved to be used in the future, and edited to fit your new park’s needs. Designs can even be shared with the community and rated by others, via RCTW‘s servers or Steam. You can even group a series of buildings together, for example designing a western town and saving it for later use. After designing a building, you can keep it as merely scenery, or use it as a “skeleton building” to add generic shops and stalls to. Generic shops behave in the exact same way as regular shops, however they are just shaped like a box. By fitting them into your building design, you can make your shops look however you want.

Currently, Piece-by-Piece has four different design themes to choose from: generic, western, space, and adventure. Themes are more than just an aesthetic choice this time around though, guests (or “peeps”) now have style preferences in the same way they have ride preferences. It’s not going to be a good idea to make your entire park western themed, some people are going to dislike it and leave. If the themes aren’t quite what you want, you can edit them to your liking with things like personalized colour designs.  Colours are more than just a paint job, actually integrating with the object you’re colouring. For example, a red window frame will be more than just flat red, you’ll still be able to see the grain of the wood, almost as if it were dyed. Piece-by-Piece currently has over 260 pieces, however an official RCTW plugin allows players to create their own pieces, allowing for near limitless design opportunities.

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As a whole, Roller Coaster Tycoon World contains everything a modern sim game has. Building is spline-based, with snap-to-grid available, and ride tracks can be designed in a fully 3D environment. Land and water is fully deformable, once again in a 3D, spline-based environment. The physics engine has been revamped from earlier games to be more realistic, meaning coasters might just pop off their rails and crash if you don’t design them safely enough. And if you want to see just how dangerous a ride is, hope in the front of a roller coaster cart and see for yourself. Finally, guests are smarter, and have more preferences. Designing your park in different styles to keep everyone happy will help you to maximize your profits.

Roller Coaster Tycoon World is designed with lots of a multitude of sharing and social media features. Like I said before, you can design and share rides, buildings, and building pieces with your friends and the RCT community. That’s not all however, you can also design scenery, and even peeps! Roller Coaster Tycoon World is built in the Unity engine, any 3D modelling program that works with Unity will be able to create designs for the game. When you’re done designing, you can go to your friend’s parks, check out their designs, and ride their rides. Friends can be added from your Steam friends list, or a connected social media account.

RCTW still contains all of the park-running aspects of earlier games as well. You can get information on each of your guests, or check out your finances as a whole. Manages services throughout your park, from medical to mechanical. Graphs and charts are easy to understand, but contain all of the information you’ll need to run a successful business. You can choose from a variety of game modes, from a freeplay sandbox, to a tutorial-like campaign, to various pre-made scenarios. Heat maps show where your guests are hanging out, and which sections of your park may need a bit of working on. Use the data and information you can get to design your park how you want, in a way that will maximize profit and happiness!

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Roller Coaster Tycoon World is currently in Steam Early Access, and the development team is making regular updates with the help of community feedback. It looks interesting, but right now I am leaning more to Planet Coaster, a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 by RCT3‘s developer, Frontier Developments. Despite my dislike of RCT3,  it feels like a huge improvement on the game, and I don’t mind having the same team (who also did Elite Dangerous and the console version of Zoo Tycoon) behind it. Roller Coaster Tycoon World, meanwhile, is being developed by Nvizzo Creations the team behind the space survival game ROKH. I’ll have to wait until both are out in full to make my full decision, and heck, I may just end up grabbing both. The game is currently available for the price of $49.99 / £29.99 / €45.99 for the Standard Edition and $59.99 / £44.99 / €54.99 for the Deluxe Edition, which contains additional park features, maps, and an art book. Feedback and bug reports for the game can be given on the Roller Coaster Tycoon forums, specifically the Early Access Sub Forum.

Are you a Roller Coaster Tycoon Fan? Have you been playing the early access of Roller Coaster Tycoon World?

Tell us in the comments below, or on our subreddit!