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A Word from John Wardley

This was all taken from the RCT Manual.

The world of theme parks is one of the most exciting businesses to be in. Now, you too can be a roller coaster tycoon and make your fortune by designing, building, and operating some of the biggest and most sensational theme parks in the world.

There's much more to a theme park than roller coasters, height, speed -- and making people feel sick! You are about to become a real-estate developer, an engineer, an accountant, a landscape architect, a manager of the people, and an entertainer.

Your park must provide a fun day out for everybody, at a price they can afford. They must be kept comfortable and happy, well fed and amused -- but you have bills to pay, advertising costs, wages and big problems ahead of you. You will need to use all of your skills to be successful.

Here are some tips. As a ride designer, think of yourself as an entertainer; you can make your riders laugh or cry, you can amaze them, mystify them, scare them, amuse them, or terrify them -- it's all under your control. Just think of the power you have!

But entertainers need to understand their audience. Who are you trying to entertain? ...families with young children?...teenagers who want the ultimate in white-knuckle terror?... or everyone who comes to your theme park, including grannies and little kids?

Think of a ride on a roller coaster as a journey through an adventure. It must have variation -- not just its ups and downs, but its surprises and shocks, its gentle scenic sections to lull you into a false sense of security, and its wild mean parts to scare the pants off you.

A ride should be impressive, yet fun to watch, and it should fit into the layout and landscape of the park. Your guests must be able to see some of it from the walkways, but keep some bits hidden so they come as a complete surprise during the ride. An adventure journey must take your riders through an exciting, disorientating, and spectacular environment. Position trees, tunnels, and other obstructions so as to enhance the thrills. Use water for effect, and create hills and valleys through which your ride will race. All these elements are at your fingertips, so use them.

Remember, any fool can build a roller coaster with an impressive first drop, but can you keep the fun and action going right through to the end of the ride? When I designed Nemesis at Alton Towers, I wanted to ensure that there was speed and exhilaration even right up to the last section of track before the station, so I dug a hole just in front of the station brakes and dropped the ride down through a corkscrew below ground level. It comes as quite a shock when you ride it. If the riders get off feeling that the ride has dulled-out halfway through, they will be disappointed, but if they get off on emotional high, they'll come back for more -- and they'll be more likely to buy an on-ride photo of themselves. (Position the camera in the best place for good expressions on riders' faces to maximize sales).

Locate your big spectaculars towards the back of your park, to draw the guests right through the park past as many "spending opportunities" (food kiosks, etc.) as possible.

Once you've designed your coaster, you've got to operate it at maximum efficiency. Should you wait till the train is full before you send it out of the station? Keeping riders waiting is boring, and the more frequently the guests walking around the park can see the ride running, the more attached they'll be to ride it, but a full train is the most efficient way of running the machine. Even the best-designed roller coaster won't make money unless it is operated and maintained efficiently.

It has taken me 25 years of hard work to gain my experience in the theme park industry. With RollerCoaster Tycoon, you can get there in 25 minutes!

A plot of land is out there waiting ... rides are available for you to design and build ... and guests are ready to visit and spend lots of money.

Good luck, and have fun.

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Roller Coaster Tycoon is copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Hasbro Interactive and Chris Sawyer.  This website is copyright 1999-2008 Jim (Red Phoenix) Chamberlin.  No part of this site maybe reproduced without express permission from the copyright holders.  Please check out our online privacy policy and legal section.  This site works best using Internet Explorer 6 or Netscape 6, with a screen resolution of 800x600 or larger.