After finishing my latest project and suffering from pretty burnout, I wanted to relax and play some games. I picked up Planet Coaster and decided on creating a small theme park that took about 3 days to complete. Roller Coaster Tycoon was a huge part of my childhood, and I really love messing around with the terrain and designing parks in these types of games. I spent countless hours on my Windows 98 PC playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, and I love that most of the devs from Planet Coaster were the ones that worked RCT3, and pursued their own passion working on this game rather than following an imposed structure from Atari. Anyways, I’ll be going over how I designed the park in this post!
I started out with creating a simple composition of the entire park. I wanted to have an Inverted Coaster soar through the entire park and a grounded Track Ride to accommodate that. My favorite part of designing Theme Parks is to integrate elevation and terrain into the mix. I also wanted to incorporate buildings + artificial and natural plantlife with the Roller Coaster and Track Ride. I have listed all the park’s elements by creation order to show what my thought process was when creating the park.
The entire park took 3 days to complete (18 hours of work).
One of the first things I designed for the park was a natural path and garden. I created a cool natural path to one of the rides that lays along a cliff and created a puffer fish shrine along the path.
The second thing I did was designing the Main Plaza for the park. It basically includes the information kiosk, restrooms, staff facilities, food stalls, and restaurants. One thing I kept in mind was the composition for the plants/trees. I wanted to ensure that the species of trees remain close to their relatives to make it more natural, and had the composition of the tree colors in mind so that there’s a soft but natural looking gradient for the entire park.
When entering the park, the guests cross a bridge. Under that bridge is a spooky canyon-like section. In hindsight, I should’ve created this at the back of the park so that the layout makes more sense, but at the time I thought it was cool to include this bit.
At the end of the spooky section, if the guests are on the Track Ride, they go through a building that has a cowboy shootout theme. It doesn’t make much sense, but I thought it was cool. The park’s Roller Coaster also goes through the top of the building. The cowboy building also includes the food stalls and park’s restaurant. I wanted to make this building the main building of the park.
This section is at the lower elevation of the park. I included a gentle Teacup Ride, and wanted to keep it simple by avoiding adding too much. This is basically the ‘void’ of the park, as to make the whole composition more interesting on the eyes/brain.
During the whole development cycle, I have updated the Roller Coaster many times. This is the park’s centerpiece and it should be fully integrated with the entire park. I wanted to make the ride interesting by having some intense bits, and some slow bits. I also wanted it to complement the treeline, and I wanted the Coaster to be in view where ever the guests are in the park.
The last section that I designed was the Ferris Wheel section. There’s not much to it, but basically I just wanted something tall and to add an attraction where the guests can observe the park.
The final piece that fits everything together is the cave. I wanted to create a path from the park to the Ferris Wheel section, but because the Car Ride is in the way, and the path looks ugly going over the ride, I decided to create a path that goes under. The cave has a cool entrance to a thrill ride, and also has some food/drink stalls along the path.
I think it was good to create a high-level design of the park beforehand before creating each individual element. It has helped me plan ahead and it makes the park seem coherent. The only things I wish I changed was the placement of the Spooky Section and the Cowboy building, but overall I had fun playing this game and making the park!