Planet Coaster [official site] has had a few developer diaries so far, but each one shows a little bit more of the game in action and gets me a little bit more interested in playing it. There are more shots here of track being laid, twisted and looped, alongside discussion of how you can create and share buildings and props within the game.
I like the look of the rollercoaster manipulation tools, which seems far more flexible than the games from my youth. Obviously there will still be physical limits – I hope so anyway, so I can launch unwitting park visitors to their doom – but otherwise you can do things you couldn’t before like create tunnels and arcs in the terrain and have the coaster loop through them.
I’m less convinced by the customisation tools, which let you take buildings such as shops and customise them with new windows, walls and decorations. I can imagine using those to tweak the minutiae of how a park looks, but it doesn’t appear to have the flexibility necessary for people to create the kinds of things I’d want to share. There’s not yet any word about more flexible mod support, which would seem a shame given how much entirely new models and building types have added to a building game like Cities: Skylines.
“Planet Coaster is a great game for telling stories,” says lead artist Sam Denney early in the video. “It’s got great characters, it’s got beautiful props, beautiful scenery, and the rides themselves. When you go to a theme park, it is like a story in itself. You go out and the things you do throughout the day when you’re in a theme park. You remember key moments and the same will happen in Planet Coaster.”
I mean no disrespect to Mr. Denney because this is not what he was saying, but his comments do remind me of one of my favourite videos, titled “You are not a storyteller“, in which Stefan Sagmeister explains why he’s skeptical of the “storytelling” theme of the design and technology conference the video is made by. “Recently I read an interview with somebody who designs rollercoasters,” he says. “He referred to himself as a storyteller. No, fuckhead! You are not a storyteller. You’re a rollercoaster designer! And that’s fantastic. […] Or if you are storytelling then the story that you tell is bullshit.”
Planet Coaster is due for release in 2016.