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RCT3 [Req] Newbie tips and tricks

Hi all,

I’m just trying to wrap my head around the first simulation game I’ve played since the 1990s, it’s RCT3 Platinum, and I’m loving it so far. I like sandbox type games, the campaigns that came with RCT3 do not interest me at all and I am so glad someone provided downloads for the completed campaign files to unlock everything. I would never have completed those campaigns myself and would have continued to play with so many coasters unavailable.

I thought I was doing rather well learning to make successful parks. I was wrong.

I’ve uploaded a map that I would like to discuss with people so I can learn where I’m going wrong.


I expected this to be “the perfect park”. I expected it to be making $5000 a month profit. Instead my park only gets the rides less than 1/3 full and only makes $2000 a month.

The base map that I built this park on is available for download at RCTgo by the way, it contains the only component of my park that I did get right.


It has 4 entrances and a train ride linking them.

In my Cheated Park version I started with $500,000 in the bank, my whole aim was to get maximum profit from minimum built up area. I built it as 4 separate little parks. I used almost every ride available and no ride occurs twice on the map, they’re all unique. I used the “Frontier” cheat and put the game on fast forward for a few years until averages had settled down and I could look at reliable figures.

I get about 140 people a month through the gate.
I have about 2400 people in the park.
There’s good food and facilities, I usually have a chuck factor of 0.
Rides are cheap. The grounds are attractive.

Where am I going wrong?

Any help would be appreciated.


OK ladies and gentlemen,

I answer a few questions here and open a few more.

I started the same map again but with a few changes. Link to scenario below.

Big Tip My greatest success was my biggest downfall. The train ride. It's very popular, it makes $7000 an hour profit. I made big long queue sections for it, that was a mistake. The ride itself can hold 192 passengers and there was another 800 people waiting in the queues for it, that's getting towards half the population of the park either on 1 ride or waiting for it. If they're doing that then they're not spending lots of money very quickly elsewhere. I shortened those queue lines to just 2 squares each and there was a noticeable improvement in attendance at other rides.

It still wasn't great though. By clicking on people leaving the park and checking all their stats I noticed that many of them were hungry and thirsty so I added many more food and drink stalls and a few more toilet blocks. By the way, people don't start leaving your park until April or May of the second year, and when you check their stats they have spent 48 minutes in the park. A lot of the maths in this game is seriously messed up, check what rides people have been on and how much they've spent, none of it adds up. How can someone spend $13.87?

The ride prices have been greatly reduced, $0.80 and $0.50 for most of them. $1 for coasters. I still make about $1800 a month profit but now food and drink and shop sales make up about 65% of that.

I added 4 more mechanics. There is now no need to use any cheats and you don't need to micro-manage the park, it takes care of itself. As previously mentioned it's really 4 separate parks linked by a train ride, mechanics and janitors can't catch the train so they're stuck in their respective areas. It really pays to know which area of the park you're looking at and which mechanic or janitor you are moving around, there's 2 mechanics and 2 janitors in each section. If you leave them alone and let them sort it out themselves you have a chuck factor of 0 and a ride uptime of 199.

Each separate area of the park has about 10 different rides plus 1 coaster. One of the considerations in this design was to use the minimum possible length of road, this means less travel time for both your staff and the peeps. I also put thought into where I put the entrances and exits to the rides, every time someone goes on a ride they exit deeper into the park.

Big Tip Every ride has a Control Box, that little box the mechanic fiddles with to fix a ride. Use the Z key on your keyboard to rotate the ride before placing it so that the Control Box will end up closest to where you want to put the entrance to the ride. This greatly reduces the amount of time it takes for a mechanic to fix a ride.

Bug I set my Balloon Shops up to sell 4 different colour balloons. When you exit the game and start again Balloon Shop 1 sells 4 different colours but all the other balloon shops only sell the default light blue colour. You have to pause and reset the colours on all but one of them every time you start the game.

Here's a link to my latest version of this scenario with the above changes made.



Don't know how I missed this game when it was first released (I love games where i build things, rather than destroying them); but here are some of my observations from about four years of playing (they may not agree with published FAQs, but represent my experience).

- AI stands for artificial idiocy; the guests are idiots, the janitors are idiots, the mechanics are idiots, and the inspector is a pain in the butt. If trash is detected the game will assign the first unoccupied janitor to clean it up ...even if he is on the other side of the park; five other janitors will walk over this trash, ignoring it, before he gets there. The same with mechanics and repairs. Thus it is mandatory to assign patrol zones to staff; 12-15 linear path tiles per janitor, overlap them a couple of tiles, and extend enough to each side to include queue and exit lines, and one free roaming janitor for each 4-5 assigned ones; one assigned mechanic for every roving janitor and one roving mechanic for every 4 assigned ones. (High traffic areas may require two assigned janitors, and I always assign a mechanic to just the pool area and associated vendors.) The less said about the inspector the better; you've just won an award for best tropical scenery and he complains your tropical juice stand doesn't fit the theme of the park; if a ride breaks down and isn't repaired in half a nanosecond he's screaming that you need more mechanics.

- Guest AI is just as ridiculous and requires you to design your park in unrealistic ways. Do not place stalls (vendor, food, etc.) directly across a single path from each other, many guests will spend all day walking back and forth between them. Also do not place queue lines directly across from each other, guests seem to be confused and may walk past without going to either ride (however two rides where the exit of each is across from the entrance of the other works very well). As best as I can tell guests do not differentiate types of food, they only want "food" or "drink", and will head for the first empty stall for that need ...even if it is on the other side of the park and they walk past a dozen other stalls; even worse, if that stall is busy when they get there, they will complain then head back to where they were (apparently 2-3 other guests at a stall constitutes "too busy"). The same with toilets, when the need arises they head to the nearest "empty" one, wherever that is, and it will probably not be empty when they get there. This is why, when you query guests, it seems at least half of them are "heading for..." Thus you need more stalls and toilets than seems reasonable; it helps to have as few paths as possible so these morons have less distance to travel.

Another guest idiocy comes from the game creating most of them as part of groups; if one wants to go on a high intensity ride and the others don't, they will either wait or wander around for food, toilet, etc.; when the first gets off that ride, the group gets back together, hence the large number of guests always "meeting with group" or "waiting for group". There is a quite useful utility - Peep Generator - which helps with this; you select how many adults, teens, and children, how many male and female of each, how many are solo or in groups of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6; you can even designate how many men wear pants and how many wear shorts, how many women wear one piece bathing suits and how many wear two piece, how many want high intensity rides, etc. When done you select how many peeps to create (it can do 2500-3000 at a time) and hit the button, you have a folder full of custom guests; go to the default peeps folder, delete everything there, and move the new peeps into place; in game the new ones will appear as old ones leave the park (they're easy to tell apart, default peeps have a first initial and last name, generated peeps have full names). My guests start with $75 (inflation over the past 15 years, lol), are typically in the park for around 90 minutes, and spend about $200 (I quickly learned if they are complaining "I've spent most of my money", I need more ATMs ...despite most walkthroughs saying you shouldn't have many).

- Guests are only aware of items within four tiles of the path, scenery beyond that may look nice but contributes nothing to the park but lower fps. Queue lines are seen as part of the ride so rides are not subject to this limit, also any larger scenery item will be recognized as long as at least one tile of its footprint is within four tiles of the path. Thus no dead end paths longer than three tiles, no matter how appealing the attraction at the end the only guests to visit it will be those that happen to wander down there. Exit paths from rides situated a distance from the main path should always have "no entry" signs where they join the main path.

- Default scenery can be mixed with any theme in an area, but with two exceptions (western and corral, sci-fi and steel walls) do not mix themes within an area, not only will the inspector constantly complain but it will lower the excitement level of nearby rides. Different themed areas work fine, of course; it requires fifty themed items within the area for the game to recognize it as such (wall sections, roof sections, fence pieces, etc. each count as one item, so fifty isn't difficult to achieve).

- Guests recognize everything as "rides", including toilets and stalls. They do not recognize transport rides as a means of getting around the park, but merely longer rides which they will exit when tired of riding; so, unfortunately, these rides cannot be used as the sole means of carrying people from one part of the park to another, you always need a path. This also negates using elevators as a means of reaching elevated stations.
On a positive note, on a transport ride with multiple stations guests will experience the entire ride even if they only go from one station to the next. I often have a monorail loop around the park, going through four or five stations spaced roughly equally apart from each other and about half way between the center and outer wall; the track goes from each station out to near the wall and back to the next station, like petals on a flower, with an event (shark, tyrannosaurus, etc.) at the farthest point of each loop. With a themed structure around each station/queue line and, when possible, part of the circuit over water, the excitement is often 6 or greater, and the riders experience this even if they get on at station 2 and off at station 3. With five stations I use four trains and block signals so the trains never stack up at one station.

- When landscaping around rides I keep the ride's stats window open so I can see the effect on its excitement (I know many do not care for these stats and just build for appearance, to each his own). The four tile limit applies here also, anything within four tiles of the queue line and station can, not necessarily will, have an effect, which is why I monitor while building - an oak tree placed by the queue line may give a 0.2 boost to excitement but the same tree and same ride in a different park may have no effect, or may even lower the excitement. Animations are especially problematic, even within the same park. Almost universally, placing appropriate hedges around queue lines has a great effect; double them (place the hedge, move the cursor slightly so the adjacent tile is highlighted and place another) to fill the four tile area and see as much a full point added to excitement (the default "small hedge" works with any theme, even sci-fi); the "sinking ship" pool ride stats gain remarkably from being surrounded by hedges like this (leave one strip behind it to partially bury a shark event). Some rides, notably Gravitron, Bumper Cars, and Motion Stimulator, are not affected by scenery, not even by being placed over water.

- The game allows a max of $10 ride admission, but even this cannot be achieved since half the guests will complain they cannot afford it; set the admission to $9.50 and everyone rides while commenting the ride is a great value.

- Animal enclosures are one of the best money makers in the game, but the animals are brain dead. I have a screenshot of a lion starving to death ...because he is behind the lion house and hasn't the sense to walk around it to the front (apparently when an animal needs something the AI draws a straight line from the animal to its need, if that line passes through anything solid - a tree, a rock, the animal's house - the animal is stuck and refuses to move). Also make sure there are at least two empty tiles between any two objects in the enclosure, including between objects and the fence; if only one tile separates two objects I can guarantee an animal will get stuck there. Keepers occasionally get stuck behind houses for the same reason, don't assign them patrol zones and another keeper will do the job and the first will eventually find his way out. Placing the houses with their backs to the wall helps, as does placing two houses in the center of the enclosure back to back.

Guests respond primarily to the size of the enclosure and the number of baby animals. Forget the panda, in real life a favorite but useless in the game. They are quite solitary, it's a complete waste of space to build an enclosure large enough for two of them to be happy, and a complete waste of resources to put one in a small enclosure; either way you'd be lucky to get $1 admission.

My favorite enclosure is big, about 15-20 tiles deep and 50-60 wide, with three large galleries down one side; one elephant house, one giraffe house, one zebra house, against the back wall. Two adults and five or six babies of each, same sex unless you want to spend all your time dealing with new animals. Guests will fill the galleries at $9.50 a head and comment on the great value. As the baby animals grow up, release them to the wild and replace with more babies.


Lately I've been having fun working with smaller maps, 64x64 or 96x96; it's interesting getting good ratings and over 1500 guests without extensive monorails, huge animal enclosures, or extensive pool compounds.
Thank you very much for your reply, jgf.

Your information is very helpful. It sounds like we play a similar style of game, ie, we are both more concerned with the mathematical game rather than the aesthetics.

To me this is more fun than actually playing the game, working out all of it's little secrets.

I have so far found the janitors to be reasonably efficient but the mechanics are hopeless and I pause the game and shift a mechanic every time a ride breaks down. My idea of 4 separate parks connected by a train ride seems to help with this, mechanics and janitors won't catch the train and are forced to remain in their local areas without being assigned a designated patrol area.

I had also been keeping my path area to a absolute minimum possible to try and save money on janitors, this turned out to be another mistake. There seems to be a population density limit on the paths, essentially this governs how many people you can have in your park at one time. If your park is "full" people stop coming in.

I have one park I simply called Big that has 2 of nearly every ride available and about 12 coasters. Population peaks at just over 4000 then drops back to a stable 3500 people in the park.

I appreciate the suggestions about the animal enclosures. I haven't played with them yet, I guess I'm influenced by my own childhood experiences and what it was that I loved the most when I was little. I was never much interested in the animals, I just wanted to go on the Zipper and the Mad Mouse. Smile I have never seen a roller coaster in real life. I have also never seen a "water park".

I did see a lion safari park once, we had one for a few years before it went broke. I still remember the sign on the front gate: "Adults: $2.50. Children: $1.50. Mad Poms on Bicycles: Free.". I'm Australian, "pom" is our slang term for the English. Smile

Thanks again for your help. As I work more things out about this game I'll add them to this thread, hopefully it will become a useful resource for other people new to the game.


What I've learned so far.

And a new base map to build on that reflects this.

Large paths. If you want thousands of people in your park then there has to be somewhere for them to be.

Decoration is everything. How you decorate around each ride affects the excitement and intensity of that ride. Thank you jgf for that information.

So here's a new version of my Major Rager map, it is only a base map to build on but it's a good layout that should lend itself to many different ideas. I still haven't played with animal enclosures yet, one step at a time at my own pace.




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That is a good layout, particularly with a train or monorail looping around the outer points.

BTW, the name of that utility is "Peep Factory" not "Peep Generator", sorry (encroaching senility).

The overall number of people in the park is a factor in profits, but must be balanced against length of paths, guest happiness, etc. There can be 3000 people in a park but if, due to path lengths and design, 2500 of them are "heading for..." something at any given time, they are not spending money; better to have 2000 people in a smaller park with only 1000 milling around. This also figures in with charging admission or not; in small parks an admission fee might net you more - people pay up front, ride a few rides, buy some food, and leave, so more come in; but in larger parks, even with a higher entrance fee, you'll have lower relative profits because there isn't as much turnover - people pay to get in then stay all day going on ride after ride for that one fee. It's all a balancing act between how many people are in the park and how many of them are actually spending money on rides and vendors. (Randomly check different guests periodically just to see what they are doing. Too many commenting, "I've spent all my money" usually means you should add more ATMs. Also check the guest list for those angry red faces, there will always be a few, but look for common complaints - hungry? more food stalls, tired? more benches, sunburn? more sun cream stalls, lost? put him back on a path (lol, it happens).)

I've never had a problem with mechanics, train them to lvl 3, give them a patrol zone 2-3 times that of an average janitor, and leave them alone (always have one mechanic free roaming). Janitors are more troublesome; those with patrol zones i only train to lvl 2, free roaming janitors are trained to lvl 3; and always uncheck the "water plants" option, plants are static and need no attention, the little bit of added realism from their watering animations merely wastes computer resources and detracts from the time they could be cleaning the park. (Training staff is an odious repetitious task which I hate, especially when having to add 20 keepers to an animal enclosure; there is a mod which eliminates this irritation - all staff come fully trained, at a cost equivalent to the training.)

Also, rides break down more often the longer the ride time so adjust mechanics patrol zones accordingly. Two minutes seems about the longest a ride will go before guests are complaining "I want to get off"; this does not apply to "transport" rides with several stations, as long as no individual leg runs more than about 1 minute. For most rides 60-90 seconds seems optimum, the higher the intensity the shorter the ride should be (I have some popular coasters for which guests pay $9.50 for a 20 second ride). I once built a large wooden coaster with a four minute ride time, it was popular though half the guests complained and it was lucky to do one full circuit without breaking down, even with a mechanic assigned just to it. Some low excitement flat rides can be given a noticeable boost by setting them to 2 or even 3 circuits, basically doubling or tripling the ride time; and with the go-karts three laps around a short track is more exciting than one lap around a longer track, even though overall time is the same. This multi-lap boost also works for coasters; wondering what to do with that small empty lot? pick a coaster with a block brake, use enough cars for 6-10 people and a station no larger than necessary for that, build a short track with a couple of hills, maybe an ess curve, a loop ...whatever works in the space you have, use just enough block brake boost for one smooth lap, and set the ride to 3 circuits; guests will love it (one caveat - there must be at least one section of track between the station and the block brake, otherwise the coaster will creep out of the station and take 30 seconds to launch).

When using events on a ride, do not adjust the trigger point, even if the animation doesn't start til the ride has passed; moving it to start the animation at another point invariably lowers the excitement boost. And the volcano event is broken, apparently just eye candy, it adds no excitement to any ride and takes up a large amount of real estate; in fact I see no evidence the guests or the park are even aware of its presence.
One of my complaints with RCT3 is the events, or rather with their lack of variety - most do not fit visually in most parks and are too large to easily "camoflage". The two smaller ones - tyrannosaurus and shark - can be hidden; decide where you want it, hold down the shift key and lower the event into the ground til the trigger highlight disappears, raise til the highlight reappears and click to place it, then build an appropriate themed structure over it; the shark has a 1x6 footprint on the surface, buried you only need a 1x4 building; the tyrannosaurus has a 2x6 footprint always and needs a three level high structure on the surface, often only a 1-2/3 high when buried. Oddly, events also work on the golf course and go-kart rides, though only the two smaller ones seem appropriate; the animations do not trigger on the golf course but the excitement boost is there.

And, while not events, I was disappointed to discover the waterfalls, nice as they are, are apparently mere resource hungry eye candy; they seem to have no effect on park ratings, guests do not seem to notice them, and they definitely have no effect on rides passing by them, over them, or behind them.

On an entirely personal note, as stated I prefer to play as the game was designed - going for ride ratings, guest opinions, and park ratings (though the latter are too simple), rather than just eye candy. So I question many of the mods available for this game. I have downloaded and used some very impressive construction sets - a couple of Japanese themed sets, with pagodas and bridges and gardens that are beautiful; a couple of sci-fi themed sets, with flying saucers firing ray guns, radar dishes and strange weapons scanning the horizon, odd machinery with pipes and panels and grids and animated lights .... and apparently none of this registers to the game as scenery. Build a coaster, build a default structure over the station and queue line, notice the excitement boost; now, over the same coaster, build a structure with one of these custom sets ...no effect. I can only assume mod developers have not deciphered what in a scenery file controls this. (Perhaps this is also why the broken volcano has not been fixed, nor the coasters with ludicrously low stats no matter what speeds and G-forces you give them ...even at 100mph and pulling 6 Gs laterally the Towering Coaster has ratings of 4.5/4.5/4.5.) Guests will comment on the default fountains, install some of the nice custom fountains and the guests don't even notice them. This eventually led me, on my old gaming rig, to have two installs of the game; one for playing, one for building eye candy.

A favorite design of mine is a large lake in the center of the map, the injection point about three levels underground near it, steps bring guests up to ground level where the path circles the lake with an average of three tiles between path and water (seem to make the guests happy to see water frequently). There are custom spaces in the lake for a dolphin/orca show and submarine ride (not always used), vendors, toilets, etc. go to the inside of the path, flat rides to the outside with space between them for paths to larger rides and coasters beyond (plan ahead, that four spaces of scenery works equally well for a queue line on each side of it); 3-5 monorail stations built directly above straight path sections, with the track looping out near the edge, past events, and back; a pool complex, if used, on the side opposite the entrance. A variation of this is a desert locale with a large mesa instead of the lake and the injection point inside the mesa, the top of the mesa is a great place for the pool complex, with a couple of staircases and elevators for access.

And should anyone ever decide to update this game .... KILL THE DUCKS!
Hi jgf,

I'm glad you're pitching in and responding to people here, it seems a very quiet forum these days. It's also very pleasant to have an online conversation with someone who writes well, that's becoming less common these days. You are very easy to read and very informative.

I'm using that Major Rager base map to try and achieve a personal goal, I want to create a park that makes better than 5000 a month profit.

I'm playing with this map in the scenario editor, I don't particularly want to "play the game", I just want to make a successful park. I will be taking your advice and including a couple of animal enclosures as well as playing with other ideas.

Please take a look at the screen shots below of my progress so far, it has surprised me how many hours I've spent just to get it this far. I also include a link to a copy of my map as it currently stands.


I have made each of the 4 entrance areas identical, except for the trees. I laid them all out the same first with hedges and all, but after that I just machine gunned it with many different types of tree. I should have taken a little more notice of which trees I was placing where, some rides ended up with slightly better excitement values than their identical counterparts at other gates. The only difference between them is the mix of trees that surround them.

The middle of the park is where I'm putting everything else. It has 4 coasters so far and I think that's as many as it's going to get. Now I need to add every other ride that hasn't already been included.

This park is going to need a lot of janitors and mechanics. I'll go through when I'm near finished and set all of the ride's service times to Every 20 Mins. So far I have never set patrol areas for mechanics or janitors, I have found that if you have enough of them and they're well trained that you no longer have to micro-manage those aspects of the game. The exception to this rule is the train ride.

There's 4 stations and that means there's 4 different control boxes where the mechanic does his work, if you let them sort this one out themselves then the "closest mechanic" that gets assigned the job might travel all the way across the map to get to the particular control box that has the fault. Here's a trick I found that works:

Work it the same way as when a shop breaks down. Pause the game, pick up a mechanic and place him at the front of the queue next to one of the train ride entrances, then click on the train ride at that gate and down the bottom in the right hand corner you can click on the button to call a mechanic. Then when you unpause the game that mechanic goes to that control box and fixes the ride straight away.

That train ride is by far the largest earner in any park I have built so far. It works really well. There's 4 stations and 8 trains. It takes 30 seconds to travel between stations, each train waits for 15 seconds at each station and they seem to regulate themselves reasonably well. After the first year, when queues are big enough, you can change those settings so that they always wait for a full load. That maximises your profits and the trains still mostly regulate themselves fairly well. It carries a maximum of 192 passengers at 2 dollars a head, roughly 8000 an hour profit.

I will set a couple of Ride Events around that train ride afterwards but there's something else that has an even greater effect on the ride excitement, that's when a couple of roller coasters go over the top of the train ride. For some reason the peeps love that. Going over the top of the train ride also increases the excitement value of the coaster.

The very centre of my park is actually a park surrounded by food and drink vendors, lot's of benches and rubbish bins, fireworks, the whole show. I still need to put in that many again food and drink vendors closer to the outsides of the park. A few T-shirt and Cowboy Hat vendors too. Some more sun-burn cream vendors and a few more information booths. There's plenty of toilets, and nicely spaced ATMs and First Aid Stations.

It will take quite a few more hours before I can run my park and see if it's going to get close to my goal of 5000 a month profit. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it performs.

In all the games I play I mostly like creating scenarios and maps more so than actually playing the game. For this reason I almost never install modded scenery or textures. If I create a map using nothing but the defaults then anyone can load and install my map and see it as I intended them to see it. If I use custom scenery then I am creating maps for only the people that like using those custom scenery packs.

Thanks again for your input, jgf.



P.S. I'm with you on the ducks.

Just a few updated notes on the last map I posted.

First up, the coasters are too expensive. They're all currently set to 4.50, you have to knock that back to 3.00 on all 4 of them.

I used the Frontier cheat so that I didn't have to worry about mechanics then played the game on fast forward to see what I'd get. Interesting to note that even with the Frontier cheat you still have to have at least one mechanic. He doesn't have to do anything but every ride must have access to a mechanic.

I added 12 fully trained janitors and I never assigned patrols to any of them. I had an average chuck factor of around -20.

Without adding any other attractions, just putting that map on fast forward, you get more than 1800 people in the park and make about 2000 a month profit.

That park is only about one third filled. I'm aiming for more than 4000 people in the park and more than 5000 monthly profit.

I reckon I can do it.

But the proof of a pudding is always in the tasting.



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