Rollercoaster Renaissance - Planet Coaster, Rollercoaster Tycoon World & Parkitect


Get your Theme Park hat back on!

There are three upcoming Rollercoaster/Theme Park games in development, sparking a bit of a renaissance into the genre after a good number of years. Some details below outlining each. I thought 1 thread covering all three would be a better bet for traction rather than a thread just for a single one of them. All three are in Early Access/Alpha states. Rollercoaster Tycoon World and Parkitect are available via Steam, while Planet Coaster is only available directly from the Developer for now.

Planet Coaster
Planet Coaster is a Theme Park/Roller Coaster Construction and Management Simulation game, currently in development by Elite: Dangerous developers Frontier Developments. The game is available in Early Access at this time. Frontier were the studio behind Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, but have moved out to make their own.

Here's the announcement trailer:

and a 26-minute long 'first look' video with one of the producers:

Roller Coaster Tycoon World

"RollerCoaster Tycoon World™ is the newest installment in the legendary RCT franchise. This next-generation theme park simulation and building game includes fan-favorite features as well as incredible new advancements!"


"Parkitect is a business simulation game that charges you with the construction and management of theme parks!
Build the rides and manage the parks, and management is key.
The parks need planning - more planning than just where to put that crazy rollercoaster!
Lay down the infrastructure to remove trash and deliver supplies to the shops quickly and efficiently. Hire staff to run your shops, rides and attractions, and be sure to keep them happy."

i'm super excited for this one. I <3 theme park builders and put TONS of hours into all the Roller Coaster Tycoon games.

PC Gamer has a great preview article on how it's going and it sound really promising.

It looks neat but they are charging $75 for early access. No thank you.

Yep, a similar funding model to that which they had for Elite Dangerous, which by all accounts was a successful method, although not for everybody.

I wonder how many developers FD have and how many of them are working on this instead of Elite.

There were numbers someone pulled from somewhere.. I'll see if I can find them/ask someone who knows.

Tamren wrote:

I wonder how many developers FD have and how many of them are working on this instead of Elite.

It sounds like a different team...

PC Gamer wrote:

The team making Planet Coaster is made up of ex-RollerCoaster Tycoon devs, as well as a slew of new talent fresh from university. “We have the enthusiasm and the knowledge of the people who developed the RollerCoaster Tycoon games,” says Watts. “But we also have a lot of new people too. New graduates who played it when they were younger and who can keep us old guys on our toes.”

I watched a Twitch stream of the game last night.

It looks nice but it has a long, long way to go. The person running the stream was making a tremendously complicated coaster that physically could not exist in the real world. It was cute but not very interesting because there are no ratings and the lack of true physics does not force the player to be creative and realistic. Thus there is no real challenge currently.

The game looked nice but there was a very limited number of rides, stores, themes and coasters to build. I like where it appears to be going but they are a long way from getting there.

Initial estimated release will be the end of the year, from what I have gathered. So, yes, a long way to go, but they're not exactly hiding that fact. Whether Early Access/Alpha is for you or not, I can't say.

I'm probably staying out of it until at least a Beta phase, much like I did with Elite Dangerous. I've been watching a few people I know stream it, and the level of customization in there already is insane. There are also a couple of 'developer made' parks in the game where you can see little bits of what the game offers so far - in one such park, there is a huge dinosaur shaped mountain creating with the landscaping tool. So, I wouldn't say this game is going for realism, but I'm pretty sure there will be physics based reactions to coasters (i.e. not going on them if they are too dangerous) as well as an economy, etc. Was great fun in Theme Park jacking up the salt levels on the fries, and sitting a hugely overpriced drinks stand right next door and watching the profits pile in

But yeah, if you're expecting a playable 'game' at this stage, rather than just a set of mechanics and assets to play around with, then I doubt Early Access/Alpha at this stage is for you. I sure know it's not for me, but that does not detract from me watching the development closely.

I decided to widen the scope of this topic to include all three upcoming rollercoaster games, rather than just focus on one.

I also picked up Parkitect the other day - I figured dropping £12 on an Early Access Indie title with a less adventurous scope was probably lower risk than either of the 'big' two, which cost considerably more.

I also found this video quite revealing, and it appears to mirror many thoughts from the interwebs (including steam reviews) when it comes to RCTW: Nerd3, so language warning as standard:

So, there doesn't seem to be much traction here for any of these three games, but I'm going to carry on regardless.

I've been streaming Parkitect for a little while, and it's been a lot of fun. If you're interested, I uploaded my playthrough on Twitch to youtube as a playlist.

It really got me back into just how good park sims can be, even though it's still in Alpha and has a good way to go before it will be complete. Already an excellent modding community, too, mostly hosted by ParkitectNexus. It tickled me so much, though, that I went for it and purchased the Planet Coaster Alpha pack. I plan to dig into that on stream after I hit a lull in Parkitect and am waiting for their next update.

Still think I'll be avoiding RCTW, though.

I'm looking forward to Planet Coaster and everything I've heard about it is great - I just do not have time to play an alpha product at this time - especially one of this type where I can sink an inordinate amount of time into it before a game crashing bug.

RCTW is something that also interests me too. I like where they are going with it, but I only have time for one of these types of games - and it will be the one that allows me to model go cart tracks the best (I want to make a park that models each of the F1 tracks for go carting).

Planet Coaster looks amazing. Some of the creations I've seen amaze me like few games have in the last decade. But I want to see how it runs bigger parks as I see slowdowns on even the small parks people have created. I want to see how it plays as a game and not just a theme park designer. I'm also unwilling to pay that kind of money for an alpha. But I can not say I have not been tempted. It appears to be an amazing creation tool.

RCTW appears to be bust. Changing the development team that many times does not generally bode well for a decent product.

I will purchase Parkitect relatively soon. It appears to be the most "old-school" game of the three but it does have a certain charm and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

PS - Oh hell. I finally lost my intern label. It only took 6 years.

I got the itch from stumbling across the same comparison video you posted above. I grabbed RCT 1+2 in Steam sales a while back, but the nostalgia of playing them in the early 2000's really couldn't get me past the late 90's UI.

Of the three I actually wanted Planet Coaster, but I can't afford a copy that lets me play now, so I went with Parkitect and so far I'm having a blast with it. It feels a lot like the older versions of RCT, is easy to get through the UI, the graphics are smooth, and you do get a decent amount of control. I've got a park in year 7 now that's pretty much automated to keep making money, so expanding is just a waiting game for when I have enough for a new ride. The only issue I had (that almost bankrupted me) was I accidentally removed one square of path and that prevented my haulers from being able to restock shops in 2 of my 4 zones. Well, that and my PC is aging, so once I got around 700 people in the park I had to turn some of the settings down because the framerate was stuttering.

I just went over to parkitectnexus and downloaded a few mods and a ton of blueprints. The base game doesn't have preloaded blueprints for all the coasters, and I suck at making them, but the nexus client makes it idiotproof to install them (seriously just click on the mod, click the client to install, and that's it).

I love theme park design in general, and what has disappointed me about just about every theme park sim released since, well, Theme Park, is the emphasis on building coasters. I want to make a dark ride based park or one with a wide variety of rides, not a Six Flags style "big coasters in a parking lot" kind of park.

Any of these new releases promising on that front?

I'm exactly the same. I'm not even a huge fan of coasters in real life either. My current park in Parkitect has 5 coasters, and peaks about 1100 people. the rest is 'flat rides' as they are known.

All 5 coasters can (just) be seen here in this screenie:


So, while the coaster building is actually pretty fun, it's not necessarily the main focus of the game.

I'm hopeful that Planet Coaster will also open up for the 'Sim/Management' side of things in the future, and become less of a designers playground. I'm fine with that being an option in the game (sandbox mode etc), and it is truly amazing what some people have created, but I do actually want it to be a Theme park Management sim also. Tonight's stream I think I will carry on filling in the little gaps and build more stuff around the wooden coaster (you can just see the edge of it on the far left).

30 hours so far and no sign of wanting to stop. And with the next Alpha version 'probably' next weekend or so, it's looking bright for this lovely Indie venture.

Ah, so Parkitect has a good variety of non-coaster rides then? That sounds neat. Nice looking park Is that a tram/monorail system in the middle there?

It has quite a few on offer by default, but the flat-rides are also quite prevalent on the mod scene. As PurEvil said, the mods are literally a one-click install affair, and they mostly look just as pro as the in-game ones. No doubt more in-game ones will be added throughout development, but for now the mods fill out the selection nicely.

That is indeed a Monorail system going across the centre - a recent addition. Also, strangely, it has become the 'favourite ride' by quite a few guests Not sure what that says about the rest of my park...

It just means that the people hunger for the classics! I love monorails and peoplemovers. And that's a sweet looking monorail station. It'd probably be my favorite too :p

The first monorail station is the half-timber building on the very mid-right edge of the screenie. I have two other stations still to theme - one in Pirate land in the bottom left and the other in kiddie-world bottom mid. I'll probably also expand it up north a bit from Sci-Fi land to where the new wooden coaster is, but I haven't decided on a theme for that area yet - maybe Halloween with a Haunted House and some graveyard props, or something.

I'm not very great at it yet, but if you want an example of how much detailing you can get into in the game, Silvarret does a pretty good job of attention to details (he also does a Planet Coaster series) Mostly does a timelapse of what he's building with commentary, but it gives you an idea.

Here's two areas I've spent some time actually customizing. These are using mods I downloaded about an hour ago. This first game I'm not really worried about things looking perfect, I'm just getting used to controls and playing with ideas, which is why the slide is cutting into my pirate themed area. The second shot is just a small picnic area which I really wanted to build and couldn't until I found the mod. It felt weird just having people sit on benches to eat near my food court areas. I also found some dinosaur props, so I figured I'd play with that theme a bit. I really like how it came together, and I used one staff walkway block to keep people from walking out of the broken fence.



Looking good! If I was starting again with what I know now, I would definitely play with the teraforming a bit more rather than leaving things flat, but I'm happy enough to carry on as I am, learning as I go.

I couldn't find a Catch-All for Planet Coaster, so I'll put this here: beta preview at RPS

Yeah, I didn't think there'd be enough traction here for any of the upcoming coaster games, do I made a cover-all.

I've started playing alpha 3 of planet coaster and, while I'm pretty terrible with the coaster builder, the rest is pretty seamless so far, just need more themes.

I'll post more thoughts once I have more experience with the game, mostly restricted to 2 hour streaming sessions per evening, so progress isn't rapid.

EDIT: Actually, now that I've read the article, it's not really a Beta preview, as all of those features are in the current Alpha. Not sure if they're planning an Alpha 4 between now and Beta which is estimated at the start of November.

omni wrote:

EDIT: Actually, now that I've read the article, it's not really a Beta preview, as all of those features are in the current Alpha. Not sure if they're planning an Alpha 4 between now and Beta which is estimated at the start of November.

The terms "alpha" and "beta" have, unfortunately, basically lost all their original meanings, based on how developers use them these days. I only used the term "beta preview", because that's exactly what the URL calls it.

As for the game, no other rollercoaster/amusement park sim has interested me enough to buy it, but based on what I'm reading for Planet Coaster, I might break that trend if reviews are good.

I dunno, Frontier seem to be doing it the 'old' way. Alpha is for massive content and engine work, with major bug fixes. Moving towards a Beta phase where no new content is added, just bug squashing and refining. I guess we'll see how it actually pans out though.

It certainly is the only 'modern' one worth considering at this stage. Parkitect is incredibly fun, but is more in the style of the older generations. I really have no idea how RCTW is actually going to turn out in the end, but it still isn't looking pretty for the title.

Also, I absolutely *adore* the terrain tools in Planet Coaster. I could just spend days enjoying making a map, never mind building an actual theme park.

I'm watching the Idle Thumbs stream from a bit ago of Planet Coaster. I really want to play that now. I was a huge fan of Roller Coaster Tycoon 2.

It's so beautiful!

The current version (Alpha 3) still has some.... issues.. that I really hope they iron out by Beta/Release in November. My main concern is the path system, both in terms of building a path in a 3D environment, and also how the game calculates the navigational path that guests will take. That hasn't stopped me having loads of fun with it though. Alpha 3 introduced the start of the 'Management' side of things, but it doesn't add to the game that much in its current state, I'm sure they're really beefing up that side of it though. My current park, which is so far just the Pirate area:


Click for a bigger version.

omni wrote:

So good! That needs to go in the video thread too.

That video is glorious and it makes me more upset that I can't play it yet.