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Happiness Levels & Angry Guests

Author/Contributors: Greg Wolking & Steve Franks *

As a guest walks through the park, his happiness level slowly declines over time. Some events cause his happiness to improve, including:

1. Riding a ride that he likes. The more exciting the ride is, the greater the effect usually is.

2. Thinking good thoughts about your park such as "This park is really clean and tidy", "The scenery here is beautiful", "The jumping fountains are great", and "The music here is very nice."

3. Buying a food, drink, souvenir, or entering the queue for a ride that is priced low enough to produce the "[name of attraction] is a really good value" thought.

4. Walking past an entertainer or, if waiting in line, having an entertainer walk past him. Nearby guests' moods are a bit more likely to improve while an entertainer is doing his "dance".

5. Drinking a drink and quenching his thirst.

6. Going to the bathroom.

Other events cause a guest's mood to decline more quickly, including:

1. Walking along a vomit-encrusted path, producing the "This path is disgusting" thought. This particular thought causes a major mood drop, and there will usually be a number of "angry" guests (see below) and a great deal of vandalism in the vicinity. You need to either hire additional staff, or adjust your existing staff's routes so as to keep the path clean. If the game is warning you that "guests are complaining about the disgusting state of your paths", it's a very good idea to pause the game to find out where the problem is and get a handyman to that spot to clean it up as soon as possible. This situation can cause your park rating to decline very quickly, especially when the "vomit patch" is in a high-traffic area. For what it's worth, guests don't usually complain about "disgusting" paths unless there are two or more "vomit patches" on the same path tile and/or several adjacent path tiles with vomit on them.

2. Encountering litter on the path (red dots are soda cans, white dots are food wrappers) or a trashcan that is full, producing the "litter here is really bad" thought. The effect of litter isn't as severe as the effect of vomit, but you still need to address the problem. If there is litter on the paths, you probably need more trashcans in the area (I generally use one trashcan for about every 10 path tiles, more in the vicinity of food/drink stalls). If the trashcans are full, you need to adjust your handymen to keep the bins emptied.

3. Broken benches, lamps, or trashcans, producing the "Vandalism here is really bad" thought. Either remove or replace the broken items as soon as possible.

4. A ride that is too long, producing the "I want to get off [ride name]" thought. Sometimes this is only temporary because of a breakdown, but more often than not the ride is just too darned long. Guests get tired of any ride after about 4 to 5 minutes. Once they start thinking, "I want to get off.", this can either cancel or reverse the otherwise positive effect that riding would have on their moods. Common culprits are Ferris Wheels, log flumes, car rides, and other "slow" rides, even go kart tracks that are either too long or running too many laps. In the case of the Ferris Wheel, the bizarre loading mechanism that the game uses means that each guest actually gets 16 rotations for every one you set in the ride parameter window. Therefore, if you set the wheel for more than one rotation, the ride will be too long.

5. A ride that crashes either while the guest is on that ride or within sight of the crash. Deaths due to ride crashes cause an immediate drop in your park rating but it will usually recover fairly quickly, especially if you demolish the ride. If you can't afford to demolish and rebuild a crashed ride, it's generally a good idea to close the ride and leave it closed until it loses its "bad reputation" after about 2 or 3 months. Otherwise, the resulting "I'm not going on [ride name], it's not safe" thoughts can keep your guests' moods and park rating down, especially when the ride's entrance is on a busy path.

6. Poor path structure that causes your guests to get "lost", producing the "I can't find [name of attraction]" or, when they want to go home, the "I can't find the park entrance" thoughts. Once a guest starts thinking "I want to go home.", there is nothing you can do to change his mind. If such a guest is already in a foul mood, it is worth the effort to grab that guest with the pincers and drop him right at the park entrance so he can leave before his mood gets any worse.

7. Reaching a ride queue that is full so he thinks "It's too crowded here." However, this doesn't always mean that your park has a problem. A guest considers a queue to be full when the first "slot" in the queue is occupied by a guest who isn't moving, even if there is space ahead of that guest in the queue. Therefore, it's not uncommon to see a number of "crowded" complaints when a slow guest (tired, nauseous, or eating/drinking) causes the queue to "back up" behind him. The same can happen when a "flood" of guests from recently-unloaded coaster train gets back to the ride entrance, producing a temporary "flurry" of "it's too crowded" thoughts.

8. Queues that are too long, producing the "I've been waiting for ages" thought. This one doesn't have too bad a negative effect but is usually an indication that you need to make an adjustment; either make the queue shorter, or adjust the ride's operating parameters so it handles more guests. On rides that run a large number of cars/trains, adjusting the ride's minimum wait time to get regular spacing between the cars/trains can reduce this problem; guests are less likely to complain about a queue that moves at regular intervals. Also note that some scenarios have more impatient guests than others. In some scenarios, I have seen guests start thinking, "I've been waiting for ages!" in a ride whose queue time is less than 5 minutes. Also, any guest who waits more than about 15 minutes will give up and leave the line, and will usually be very unhappy by the time he does.

9. Having to go to the bathroom when there aren't any bathrooms nearby. I try to have at least one bathroom for every 100 to 200 guests in the park, and space them liberally around the park so a guest never has to walk very far to find one. In Loopy Landscapes, this is how you win the "best bathroom facilities" award.

10. Eating a food item while sitting on a bench. However, this is part of a sort of "cycle". The guest buys food and his mood declines fairly rapidly as he sits and eats it. However, the food makes him thirsty, so he'll usually head for a drink stand. Buying a drink that's a good value will improve his mood a bit, as will drinking the drink and quenching his thirst (and raising his bathroom need). After that, he'll usually head for a bathroom, where relieving himself improves his mood even more. By the time this "cycle" is complete, the guest's mood is pretty close to what it was at the start.

11. Closing a ride and dumping its queue, or resetting a ride while guests are still on it. In some cases, you may need to reset a ride to prevent a crash. Making some guests unhappy is preferable to killing them. Hint: If you pause the game while you reset and re-open the ride, you will not lose the guests waiting in the queue as long as you don't change any of the ride's parameters (such as the number or length of the trains/cars) that cause its rating to be reset.

When a guest's mood declines far enough, he gets "angry". An angry guest is indicated by a red, snarling face in the guest "actions" list and his details window. Every time an angry guest passes a bench, lamp, or trash can, there is a random chance that he will smash it. The resulting "cathartic release" will improve his mood so that he is no longer "angry" but he's still pretty darned unhappy.

You can hire security guards to reduce vandalism if you want, but I generally don't bother. The only thing security guards do is prevent angry guests from smashing things while they are within sight of the guard. In my opinion, security guards are a complete waste of staff resources and money. They only serve to mask the real problem: unhappy guests. Note that the "safest park" award is based entirely on ride maintenance and reliability -- it has nothing to do with security guards.

Finally, some scenarios have very long and winding paths between the edge of the map and the park entrance. Some guests are already tired and/or unhappy when they first walk onto the map, and their mood continues to decline as they make their way to the park entrance. Some of those paths are so long that it may take a guest two or three game months (especially if he is already tired and walking slowly) just to get to the entrance. In those scenarios it is generally a good idea to put plenty of "mood-enhancers" (entertainers, jumping fountains, gardens, rides playing music, etc.) near the park entrance so your guests will get a mood boost as soon as they walk through the gate.

Note: All original articles have been transcribed and illustrated by Steve Franks for exclusive use at RCT Station, and are posted with the permission of Greg Wolking.

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