Park Life: Planet Coaster’s Creation Tools

The second developer diary for Frontier’s Planet Coaster [official site] has arrived. It covers the creation tools that will let you modify everything from rollercoasters to individual buildings and rocks. I had zero expectations about the theme park management game but this video, along with the crowd tech in the last diary, is very exciting indeed. It’s almost as if there has been a big SimPark failure that I didn’t spot and this is the Skylines-esque response.

There are times when developers talk about the games they’re working on as if what they’re describing isn’t extraordinary at all. There’s no whooping and hollering, no flashy names for features or snazzily edited videos to crank up of the hype-meter – just perfectly reasonable and realistic explanations of features that are quietly thrilling.

This video is a perfect example of that. From the initial building customisation through to the rollercoaster design, and the knowledge that park visitors will respond to features that they can see even if they’re not directly experiencing those features. The title of the video is “Rewarding Creativity” and if Frontier can manage to do that, Planet Coaster could be phenomenal.

AI characters really struggle with aesthetic judgements. It’s why my Fallout 4 wife insisted I was looking better than ever as I piled on the ugly and why Sims will happily live in a mish-mash colour-clash nightmare of a house as long as every individual component has a high value. It’s why any game that rewards creative endeavours is easy to fool as soon as you learn the rules, whether you’re taking photos during a zombie uprising or trying to sell paintings on the open market.

In Skylines I make my cities functional for the sake of the inhabitants and my bank balance, and make them attractive because I like them to be that way. If Planet Coaster can monitor the effectiveness of layouts and stylistic choices to the degree that the video suggests it might, I’ll be delighted. Anything that causes me to rethink design strategies, long- and short-term, is welcome.

14 Comments

  1. Adi says:

    > It’s almost as if there has been a big SimPark failure that I didn’t spot and this is the Skylines-esque response.

    Well… we ALMOST had a big SimPark failure. That’s called RCT4.

    • brucethemoose says:

      RCT4’s failure is just delayed, but inevitable.

      And this isn’t the only response. We’re also getting Parkitect and OpenRCT… It’s a good time to be an RCT fan.

      • Hobbes says:

        AND Parkitect won’t need you to be tied to Frontier’s always online systems! Neither does openRCT.

        • brucethemoose says:

          Indeed. But that’s to be expected, as OpenRCT is just an upgraded RCT2 while Parkitect is shooting to be RCT3 with more of RCT2’s good bits.

          Planet Coaster is more like an RCT4 that isn’t a disaster, hence we get an online component.

          • lordcooper says:

            Whats disastrous about it?

          • Hobbes says:

            An optional online component would be fine. This will be the kind of “New SimCity” nonsense. The kind that doesn’t let you log off. That kind of online component. They’re not exactly making it very clear but if you dig around the site you can definitely find the pointers on the matter.

  2. dontnormally says:

    But do these fancy-looking things have effect on the simulation?

    I love these sorts of games but can’t bring myself to do all the things to make a cool-looking whatever if the in-game dudes don’t care how it looks.

    • dontnormally says:

      It looks like they addressed this to some degree – so looking optimistic. Still though, big detailed terrain edits – how could they quantify the value of that in-game?

      • Boozebeard says:

        They wont. There is really no reasonable way to make a system to judge something as complicated and subjective as aesthetic taste. It will just work similarly to how Adam describes the Sims where props will have a some kind of aesthetic value assigned to them and as long as you have enough of them dotted around the park guests will like it. Maybe it takes things into account like having pieces from similar themes together and the general level of variety across the park but I’m really not aware of a good feasible way to do it realistically.

  3. BobbyDylan says:

    Looks great. I might chuck money at this.

  4. Hunchback says:

    Much amaze!

  5. Hobbes says:

    There’s a big journalistic blind spot right now where this game is. Namely the fact that they’re doing another obstensibly single player experience and they’re going to hook it up to their always connected “vision” (and there’s already solid evidence to support where that’s going).

    Perhaps RPS might want to ask if this is going to end up with another “Can we play this offline” David says “Yes” and then we find out “Oh but…” at the point at release. As opposed to the non-interview that came up last time.

    Just sayin’

  6. Laini says:

    Every new video or piece of info just makes me want this game more and more :D

  7. Jediben says:

    Surely there is another, bigger story on the Horizon(s) from Frontier right now that you could be reporting on?