This article lists many hints and tips to keep a park running smoothly while dealing with common problems associated with operating an amusement park.
- Whenever you start a new park or scenario, the first thing you should do is pause the game. Besides being able to scroll around and get a general overview of the map, you can also set up your research & development, make changes to your finances and open/close/demolish rides while the game is paused.
- Some parks already have a developed path network at the start; quite often, such parks have no rides, resulting in overdeveloped path networks that do not lead guests to rides, causing guests to often wander around aimlessly and get lost, while causing any staff you hire to potentially wander a great distance away from any paths or rides that they should be moving around. Footpaths that lead to nowhere should be "disconnected" from the paths that you are using by removing one connecting path tile between them and the paths you are using; any guests or staff already in the disconnected paths should be picked up and placed onto the paths you are using. As you expand your park by building more rides, these disconnected paths can be reconnected if you need to use them, saving you the necessity of building new paths around your park.
- Benches and litter bins are more heavily used around food/drink stalls; placing lots of these path items around these stalls will reduce the amount of litter seen elsewhere in your park. In addition, guests who feel sick after exiting a ride are more likely to sit on the nearest available bench upon exiting the ride; giving such guests enough benches to sit at the exit of a nauseating ride will allow their nausea ratings to drop a little, extending the amount of time they are able to get to the nearest Bathroom or drink stall before they throw up.
- If a footpath is untidy, guests will start to vandalize the path items along it. If your park is kept clean, you do not need to hire any security guards at all.
- Bathrooms and drink stalls help to reduce the nausea rating of guests feeling sick; consider placing some of them near your most nauseating rides.
- Save your game before starting any complex and/or costly landscaping or construction work. This will allow you to reverse any damage done to the park and/or your finances if the landscaping/construction work does not go as planned.
- A higher Park Rating attracts more guests, so keep your park's Park Rating high by building and maintaining a variety of rides that are crash-free, ensuring the park's paths are clean and free of vandalized path items and keeping the number of guests who are lost to a minimum.
- Park awards affect the number of guests entering your park for a period of about 4 months. Positive awards, such as the "Best Value", "Safest" and "Tidiest" park awards, will attract more guests to your park, while negative awards, such as the "Worst Value", "Worst Food" and "Most Disappointing" park awards, will reduce the number of guests visiting your park. The effect of positive awards is similar to that of a free advertising campaign.
- Marketing campaigns temporarily boost the number of guests visiting your park. If your scenario objective is to have a certain number of guests in your park by the end of a certain year, starting a marketing campaign a few months before the deadline may be useful if you only need 50-100 more guests to reach the objective.
- Avoid building double-width pathways as your guests will get lost walking along them.
RCT2 and Later
- When starting a new scenario, check your park entrance fee and any rides already existing in the park to determine if the scenario is a "free park entry" or "free rides" scenario. The general strategy to play a "free park entry" scenario differs noticeably from the general strategy to play a "free rides" scenario.
- Place First Aid Rooms near the exits of rides with high nausea ratings to encourage guests who feel sick after leaving the ride to enter the room and deplete their nausea rating before they throw up on the path. First Aid Rooms serve no purpose in other parts of your park.
- In addition to what you can do in RCT1 and RCT2, you can now also perform construction works and purchase land while the game is paused.
- Park staff now have their own individual moods and thoughts. In addition, each staff has a laziness percentage that affects how well they perform their job, as well as a "discipline" option that decreases their laziness percentage but also reduces their mood. Staff members may also consider resigning if they feel dissatisfied with their job.
- All staff can now be trained to increase their efficiency at doing work. While somewhat costly, investing in an individual employee's training reduces their laziness rating, improves their mood and makes them perform tasks faster, which makes them much less likely to resign from their job. At maximum training levels, your staff are more than capable of managing the problems on the ground without any intervention from you and will never resign on their own. It may therefore be more practical in some cases to have a handful of fully trained and extremely competent staff who are completely devoted to their job, rather than hiring a large number of untrained staff who may resign at any time.
- If the reliability of a ride is low and/or the Park Inspector is harping about the low reliability of a ride, you can manually summon a Mechanic to inspect the ride in question, boosting its reliability.
- Handymen should be assigned patrol areas in larger parks or parks with complex path networks to prevent them from clustering in only one part of the park while other parts demand their attention. Each handyman is capable of keeping a 30-40-tile footpath clean, depending on the nausea rating of rides, presence of food/drink stalls and number of junctions on the path.
- Mechanics do not need to be assigned patrol areas as the nearest mechanic to a broken down ride will usually be assigned to it. However, if your park's path network is large and/or complex, or if a short stretch of footpath has several rides along it, consider assigning patrol areas to some of your mechanics. One mechanic can manage 3-4 rides, inspecting them and fixing them as they break down.
- Mechanics assigned a patrol area will not leave their assigned patrol area in order to enter a ride entrance/exit. At the very least, the tile connected to the ride entrance/exit must be within the mechanic's patrol area.
- While costly, assigning one mechanic to patrol the tiles around a single ride's entrance/exit will ensure that the ride will always have a mechanic to fix it quickly whenever it breaks down, keeping its downtime low and reducing the rate at which its reliability drops.
- Security guards are only required along stretches of path that constantly experience vandalism; their patrol areas should be set accordingly.
- Entertainers help to increase and maintain the happiness of guests who see them, but are also useful in extending queue length times and manipulating guests' initial and final impressions of your park. Setting an Entertainer to patrol along a queue line path will lengthen the tolerance for guests to wait by about 2 minutes; setting an Entertainer to patrol the tiles immediately after the park entrance(s) makes guests entering the park more eager to stay and helps to leave a slightly more positive impression of your park on guests who are leaving.
- In the Staff window, there is a button with blue footprints; pressing it displays all assigned patrol areas for the current staff category listed. This can be used to quickly identify areas in the park that are already covered by your staff, as well as areas that are currently not in the patrol zones of any staff member.
RCT2 and RCT3
- An additional option to cancel the patrol area of a staff member you are viewing will appear if click and hold the blue footprint button in the staff member's window. This is extremely useful if you want to completely remove all of the staff member's assigned patrol areas at once, rather than hunting for all the grids they are assigned to and removing them one by one.
- Staff patrol areas are no longer fixed to a 4x4 grid and can be toggled for individual tiles. You can also click and drag in the park, while assigning a staff member's patrol area, to create (or remove) a patrol grid for that staff member.
Research & Development
- You can set up your research & development options even when the game is paused.
- Increasing research funding speeds up the rate which you get new rides. If you are given a small variety of rides at the start of a scenario, considering increasing research funding to get new rides; you can reduce funding at a later time when you feel that you have enough park elements to work with.
- Some saved track designs use special track pieces or cars that may not be available at the same time the ride type is researched or for that particular scenario. These track designs will remain unavailable unless the track pieces or cars they use are available through researching Ride Improvements.
RCT1 and RCT2
- You can choose which research categories to focus on in the Research Funding window by ticking the categories you want to research. Research & development will then prioritize the categories you choose over the other categories until all items in your chosen categories have been researched. Unless research is set to No Funding, unticking every category is the same as ticking every category.
- A greyed out, unclickable research category means that everything in that category has been researched, or there is nothing in that category to research. Once all research categories are greyed out, set research funding to No Funding as you will no longer receive anything from sinking funds into research & development.
- If you have the Soaked! or Wild! expansion packs installed, the 18 scenarios included with the base RCT3 game will have their research trees updated to incorporate elements from any installed expansion pack.
- The amount of money guests start with varies across scenarios. Within individual scenarios, this amount also varies by $30.
- If guests are thinking that a particular ride in your park "is (a) really good value", you may wish to consider increasing its admission price. Alternatively, you can set the pricing of your rides such that most of the rides in your park have guests thinking that they are "(a) really good value", which gives you a high chance of getting the Best Value park award.
- A good way to determine if the admission fee for a ride is too high or too low is to check that ride's Satisfaction rating. In general, the optimal Satisfaction rating is 75%.
- Where applicable, note the loan interest rate for the scenario you are playing. Some scenarios have high loan interest rates to dissuade you from borrowing too much money from the bank. It is possible to actually lose a huge chunk of your monthly earnings to loan interest if the interest rate is high enough. As a rule of thumb, you should exercise caution when borrowing money from the bank if the loan interest rate exceeds 10%.
- Before starting larger projects, you should already have a basic park with a few rides running, and you should be generating a consistent monthly profit. This will help to defray the construction and/or landscaping costs for the project.
RCT1 and RCT3
- As soon as you have any park entrance fee (even $1), your guests will pay considerably less for your rides. The higher the park entrance fee is, the lower you can charge for individual rides. In addition, as your rides age (and their value drops), you may need to reduce their admission fees so that guests will continue riding them, or otherwise demolish and rebuild them as "new" rides.
- Make sure that even the poorest guests can afford your park entrance fee and still ride some rides afterwards, otherwise they will leave very unhappy, increasing your chances of getting the "Worst Value" park award.
"Free Park Entry/Pay per Ride" Parks
- As soon as a guest is out of money, they will usually leave your park, unless you provide free rides, food, drinks and bathrooms. If a scenario's objective requires your park to have a large number of guests and a high Park Rating, earning as much money as possible might be counterproductive.
- Build enough food and drink stalls and toilets so that your guests will stay in the park longer. There should also be enough Information Kiosks distributed around your park so that guests won't lose their bearings and become unhappy getting lost in your park. If the cash machine/A.T.M. is available, build a few of these around your park as well so that guests can withdraw additional cash when they are running low, greatly increasing the amount of time they might spend in your park.
- As a rule of thumb, you can raise the price for coasters up until their excitement rating, rounded down. For non-coaster tracked rides, the standard fee is usually okay.
RCT2 and Later
- Cash Machines/A.T.Ms. should be placed near the entrance to rides with a high admission fee, which will "help" guests pay for the ride's admission fee by putting them within reasonable walking distance of the nearest cash dispenser.
- Adjusting the admission fee of your rides is seldom needed if a reasonable cost is initially set. For the most part, ride admission fees should be set to around $0.40 multiplied by the sum of the intensity and excitement ratings.
"Paid Park Entry/Free Rides" Parks
- Your park entrance fee should be set to the lowest amount of cash a guest starts with. For instance, if the guests in a scenario start off with $40-$60, your park entrance fee should be set to $40. It is usually not advantageous to get more money from richer guests at the park entrance while turning poorer guests away.
- Guests usually pay the most at the park entrance; once they enter the park, the only way for you to get money from them is through food and drinks, merchandise and services only. The amount that they will usually pay during their time in your park is almost never higher than what they can potentially pay at the park entrance.
- You need to ensure that there is always a steady flow of guests entering the park. As the number of guests in your park is largely determined by the number of rides you have operating in your park, this can be achieved by any of the following methods:
- Continuously building new rides;
- Not building any food and drink stalls, toilets or cash machines/A.T.Ms. in your park, which will force guests to leave your park once they are hungry, thirsty, need to go to the toilet and/or run out of cash buying merchandise;
- Closing the park for a brief period of time so that most of your older guests leave before re-opening the park to allow guests in again.
- See also: Crash#Prevention
- Rides with high nausea ratings should not be placed near food stalls as guests are more likely to throw up due to them possibly buying some food before riding the ride, causing their nausea rating to increase faster.
- Placing a ride near other rides, scenery objects, water or footpaths, or building a portion or all of a ride underground, will affect and usually increase the ride's ratings.
- Tracked rides should not exceed 5 minutes in ride time, otherwise guests will start thinking about wanting to get off the ride. Ride breakdowns also aggravate this issue by artificially lengthening ride time.
- Roller coasters with the Powered Launch operating mode allows you to create cheap, compact shuttle tracks with relatively good ride ratings and a high guest capacity due to how short the ride is. The most basic shuttle track is a station platform leading to a vertical loop and, from RCT2 onwards, with a steep slope or another vertical loop built at the back of the station as an overrun track in the event of brakes failure. Set the launch speed just right so that the train goes halfway up the loop, then down again. Even though the ride's excitement rating won't be too high (about 4), its low ride time (below 10s) allows the coaster to be vastly more profitable than many continuous circuit coasters due to the number of rides it can complete within a short span of time. Such tracks are also extremely cheap, usually costing less than $2,000.
- The following is a quick reference guide to the various forces detailed below a ride's ratings, as well as the recommended maximum limits for each. Tracked rides (predominantly roller coasters) are more likely to generate desirable ride ratings if the maximum forces generated during a ride are within these limits.
- Vertical Gs are generated on any track section that pushes guests down to their seats (e.g. banked curves, flat to upward-sloped and downward-sloped to flat tracks, vertical loops, etc.); higher vertical Gs are generated on these track sections if a car/train passes through at high speeds. Try to keep the maximum vertical G on a ride to below 5.
- Negative vertical Gs are generated on any track section that pushes riders out of their seats (i.e. crests of hills, flat to downward-sloped tracks); higher negative vertical Gs are generated on these track sections if a car/train passes through at high speeds. The maximum negative vertical G on a ride varies:
- Tracked rides with unattached cars, such as Dinghy Slides and Bobsleigh Coasters, are likely to Crash if their maximum negative vertical G exceeds -0.96 unless covered tracks (where available) are used on sections with high negative vertical Gs.
- For other tracked rides, the maximum negative vertical G should not exceed -2 unless the ride in question is an Air Powered Coaster.
- Lateral Gs are generated on any track section that pushes riders to the left or right (i.e. turns, corkscrews); higher lateral Gs are generated on these track sections if a car/train passes through at high speeds. The maximum lateral G on a ride should not exceed 2.75 under most circumstances. High lateral Gs can be reduced by using banked corners (which "converts" some lateral Gs into vertical Gs) or reducing the speed of the car/train on sections where riders experience high lateral Gs (such as via braking or reducing the height of the lift hill leading to the track section).
- Watch out for rides running on Continuous Circuit Mode that have more than one car/train and their car/train enters the station at a speed above 28 mph (45 km/h). These rides are likely to crash if their brakes fail during a breakdown.
- Rides with covered cars, and tracked rides with 40% or more of their overall length constructed underground, will attract guests even when it is raining.
- Although a large number of scenarios focus on constructing rides on uneven terrain, consider preparing some compact rides and save the track design to use in scenarios. You will usually find a spot for these rides in most scenarios, giving you a head-start. Consider checking the Ride Exchange for track designs you can use.
- If a ride offers more than one operating mode, you can build multiple versions of this ride and have them run on different operating modes. Your guests won't get bored of this.
- Queue lines should at least be long enough to hold enough guests for 1 car/train.
RCT1 and RCT2
- All tracked rides have a graphs tab that displays line graphs of the velocity, altitude and G forces experienced throughout the ride. The graphs log data from Car/Train 1 or, if you are loading the scenario from a save file, the first car/train that leaves a station platform. These graphs can help you to visually identify any sections of a ride that generates high Gs.
- Guests will board and alight from rides at half-speed if the path tile connecting to the ride entrance is sloped. In addition, Mechanics will take twice as long to fix rides if they enter a ride entrance/exit from a sloped path. Plan your path network, design your rides and place your ride entrances/exits such that the path tile connected directly to them is flat to ensure that guests board and alight quickly and your Mechanics fix rides at full speed.
Shops and Stalls
- Place an information kiosk as close to your park entrance as possible—most guests who enter will usually stop by the first information kiosk they see and purchase a park map and/or umbrella, reducing the chances of them getting lost in your park and keeping them happier when it is raining (while you earn some easy money from selling them these items).
- Information kiosks built elsewhere in the park aside from near the park entrance can help to point guests in the right direction and are convenient places for guests to purchase umbrellas if it starts raining.
- Before building a food/drink stall, make sure there are litter bins already built 2-4 tiles away from each other within a 10-tile radius from the spot where you intend to build the stall.
- Do not place food stalls near rides with high nausea ratings as guests are more likely to throw up due to them possibly buying some food before riding the ride, causing their nausea rating to increase faster.
- Make sure you are making money for each food/drink item or merchandise you sell at your shops/stalls.
- Try not to squeeze all your food/drink stalls in only one area of your park as guests will only consume one food/drink item at a time; if a guest walks up to a food/drink stall while eating/drinking something, they will not buy anything new from that stall.
- If your park is very spacious, it is usually more practical (and profitable) to distribute food/drink stalls evenly around your park as guests will not have to walk as far to get to the nearest food/drink stall at any time.
- If space in your park is a concern and you have many guests, you can go the other way and set up large "food courts", consisting of many food/drink stalls and a restroom clustered together, located at convenient places throughout your park.
- Setting an admission fee for each bathroom in your park will help to reduce their monthly running cost.
- Merchandise stalls, such as the Souvenir Shop, T-Shirt Stall and Sunglasses Stall, should be built near the exit of the park's most exciting rides, since happy guests are more inclined to buy merchandise after exiting the rides.
RCT1 and RCT2
- The information kiosk is a 4-way stall, meaning that guests can use it from any direction, so it is not necessary to have the construction arrow facing the path when you build one.
- Toilets and A.T.Ms. are now 4-way stalls, so peeps can use them from any direction. It is therefore not necessary to have the construction arrow facing the path when you build one.
- All stalls are now manned by a Shop Vendor, who is only capable of serving a certain number of peeps at any one time. If a Shop Vendor serves too many peeps at once, some of them will walk away from the stall, saying that it is "too busy". Like other staff, Shop Vendors can undergo training (via the Human Resources window), which will increase the number of peeps they can deal with simultaneously. Unlike your other staff, however, Shop Vendors cannot be disciplined or fired under any circumstances; they will only leave when the stall they are running is demolished.
- Guests have different preferred intensity ratings, with some scenarios locking all guests' preferred ride intensities to 5 and below or 9 and above. Your park should comprise rides with various intensity ratings.
- Guests will start to feel that they are spending too much time queueing for a ride if its queue time exceeds 7 minutes, and they will start to leave the queue unhappy from 9 minutes onwards. Queue Line TVs and Entertainers can raise the latter to 11 minutes. If a ride's queue time is 7 minutes or more, consider shortening it so that guests will not feel frustrated waiting in line.
- Guests are more likely to use benches if they are eating/drinking or feeling sick. Since guests slowly lose energy by walking, but some parks place more focus on guest "turnover" instead of "retention", building benches to cater for your guests may work for or against you.
RCT2 and Later
- If guests are complaining that "it's too crowded here", you can widen your footpaths into double-width paths. Guests will quickly adapt to the widened footpaths and not get lost walking along them.
RCT2 and Later
- You can prevent adjacent footpaths from merging into double-width footpaths by building a fence or wall in the middle of the would-be double-width path before you actually construct your footpaths; you can remove the fencing/wall after the paths are built as they will not automatically merge together. This is very useful if you want to double the number of path items you can build on a stretch of footpath.