The whole purpose of Roller Coaster Tycoon is to cause pleasure by satisfying the simple desires of your tiny "guests". Each guest looks like a young adult male wearing a randomly colored shirt and pants. His machine given name is a consecutive number based on his appearance order on the entrance path to your amusement park. Each guest is also randomly endowed with a fixed Intensity Preference, Nausea Susceptibility rating, and wad of money, which helps to make each guest a unique individual. Guests are not invulnerable, and will die if they fall in water or are caught in a ride accident (drowning guests can be saved if you react quick enough with the "pincers"). Although the game limits the number of guests that you can have in a park, a poorly designed park with attractions too close together will still cause the guests to complain about crowding.
Guests can also carry non-consumable items such as maps, photographs, umbrellas, hats, etc.. With the exception of Balloons, guest will never [NOT TESTED] lose a non-consumable item. Guests can only carry one item of each type (when presented with the opportunity to acquire more they will often make a comment about already having one). If a shop can color an item, then the guest who acquires the item from that shop will be seen carrying an item of that specific color.
You can change the name of a guest to something other than the default name assigned by the game. The limitation is that you can not name two guests with the exact same name. The game also includes "easter eggs" which are activated when you rename a guest as one of the following:
Chris Sawyer. Frequently stops and takes flash photographs.
Damon Hill. Drives Go Karts at approximately 2 times normal speed.
John Wardley. Thinks "Wow!" while riding on a ride.
Katie Brayshaw. Frequently stops and waves.
Melanie Warn. Remains constantly happy and energetic.
Michael Schumacher. Drives Go Carts at approximately 1½ times normal speed.
Simon Foster. Frequently stops and paints pictures.
We have also tested E=MC2, E=MC3, John Bibrough, John Mace, Timothy Mcveigh, and Tony Day. Contrary to rumor we have found that these are not easter egg names.
Yes, you can race both Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher together. Because Damon Hill drives faster than Michael Schumacher however, the secret to a good race is to name someone further back in the starting line Damon Hill, while naming someone closer to the front Michael Schumacher. This way, Damon Hill will have to work his way through the pack, which will somewhat counteract his speed advantage.
The guests activities are linked to a number of changing motivations. The major motivations of Happiness, Energy, Hunger, Thirst, Nausea, and Bathroom can be monitored on a bar graph from inside the guests information window. These motivations are linked to a countdown timer, that increases/decreases the motivation level based upon the time since an outside force acted upon it. For example, if a guest eats, the hunger bar will decrease and then slowly increase until the guest eats again.
One of seven icons continuously indicate the happiness level of a guest. Happiness levels decrease over time. High happiness levels increase a guests probability of riding rides and acquiring items. A major design goal of the game is to create a park that will increase the happiness level of guests. Happiness can be increased a number of ways:
1) Changing a guests name to Melanie Warn will instantly increase their happiness level, and keeps it high as long as this remains their name. This feature can be abused to make disgruntled guests instantly feel happy, especially if they are heading for the park exit.
2) Passing through the same square occupied by an Entertainer will usually boost happiness (so consider putting one at the park entrance).
3) Riding and thinking: "_ was great" [exciting rides]. Note that guests with this recent thought are more likely buy souvenirs, so it is a good idea to place gift shops near exciting rides (or even better, between the rides entrance and exit so repeat riders will pass in front of the shop on their way back on the ride).
4) Seeing and thinking: "The scenery here is wonderful" [gardens], "The park is really clean and tidy" [paths], The jumping fountains are great" or "The music is nice here".
5) Buying and thinking: "_ is really good value" [rides], "This balloon from _ is really good value", "This cuddly toy from _ is really good value", "This park map from _ is really good value", "This on-ride photo from _ is really good value", "This umbrella from _ is really good value", "This drink from _ is really good value", "This burger from _ is really good value", "These fries from _ are really good value", "This ice cream from _ is really good value", "This cotton candy from _ is really good value", "This pizza from _ is really good value", "This popcorn from _ is really good value", "This hod dog from _ is really good value", "This tentacle from _ is really good value", "This hat from _ is really good value" or "This candy apple from _ is really good value".
6) Drinking a drink.
7) Using a bathroom.
A) Thinking "This path is disgusting" will cause a rapid drop in happiness level, and if the thinker already had a really low happiness level, possibly cause him to become a vandal in the vicinity (Vandals will only attack lamps, litter bins, and benches that are not in ride queues). Note that you will never actually see a vandal being destructive, the vandal just walks by the item and it breaks (and in the case of benches, the guests sitting on them don't even bother to get up, although no one will intentionally sit on a broken bench). Surprisingly, guests who are allowed to commit vandalism will see a slight increase in their happiness level and stop their crime spree (however any guest viewing the vandalism afterwards may comment negatively).
B) Thinking "I need to go to the bathroom", "I'm thirsty", "I'm hungry", or "I want to go home" and then are prevented from satisfying their desire.
C) Thinking on paths: "The litter here is really bad", "The vandalism here is really bad", or "It's too crowded here" [blocked entrance, queue may have to be lengthened].
D) Thinking: "I want to get out of _", "I want to get off _" [ride duration longer than approx. 4-5 minutes], "I've been standing in line for _ for ages" [note that after approx. 15 minutes guest will abandon queue], or "I'm not going on _ - it isn't safe" [note that a rides bad reputation takes approx. 2-3 months to diminish].
E) Thinking: "I can't find _", "I'm lost!", or "I can't find the park exit".
A guests icon will change when he gets tired. Energy levels decrease over time. Energy level affects the speed at which guests move through the park. A guest with low energy level will shuffle along with his head hung down, slowing any other guest that enters the same square behind him. A minor design goal of the game is to create a park that will increase the energy level of guests. Energy can be increased a number of ways:
1) Changing a guests name to Melanie Warn will instantly increase their energy level, and keeps it high as long as this remains their name. This feature can be abused to make tired guests instantly feel perky.
2) Riding on a ride will usually increase a guests energy by an amount base upon [NOT TESTED] the rides Intensity rating.
3) Tired guests who are allowed to sit on a bench [NOT TESTED] will see a slight increase in their energy level.
A guests icon will change when he gets sick or very sick . Nausea levels decrease over time. Guest with a high nausea level will desire to sit on a bench or consume a drink. If the level is too high, they will also vomit . Surprisingly, guests who are allowed to vomit will see a slight decrease in their nausea level (however any guest viewing the vomit afterwards may comment negatively). Nausea will be increased in a number of ways:
1) Riding on a ride will usually increase a guests nausea by an amount base upon [NOT TESTED] the rides nausea rating.
2) Eating food [NOT TESTED] will usually increase a guests nausea rating.
Hunger levels increase over time. Hunger decreases when a guest acquires food (but eating increases Thirst). A guest will not attempt to acquire food until he reaches a high enough hunger level. A guest must take time to consume food, and will prefer to sit on a bench to eat. When finished eating, guests will normally toss food wrappers on the ground (any guest viewing the trash afterwards may comment negatively) unless they have access to an empty litter bin within 3 squares [NOT TESTED] of their direction of travel from their current location. Don't be overly concerned about placing food too close to a nauseous ride, because a sick but hungry guest will seek out a food stall (and then vomit) regardless.
Thirst levels increase over time. Eating Fries or Popcorn also increases thirst. Thirst decreases when a guest acquires drink (but drinking increases Bathroom). A guest will not attempt to acquire drink until he reaches a high enough thirst level. A guest must take time to consume drink, and will prefer to sit on a bench to drink. When finished drinking, guests will normally toss drink containers on the ground (any guest viewing the trash afterwards may comment negatively) unless they have access to an empty litter bin within 3 squares [NOT TESTED] of their direction of travel from their current location. Note that high nausea increases thirst, so it is a good idea to place drink stalls near the exit of nauseous rides (guests do not vomit drinks).
Bathroom levels increase over time. When a guest uses a toilet, their Bathroom urge decreases and Happiness significantly increases. A guest will not attempt to use a toilet until he reaches a high enough bathroom level. Guest needing to use the bathroom will usually head strait for it. It is a good idea to have at least one bathroom for every 100 - 200 guests. Tip: Keep bathroom rental at $0.20 or less. Above this amount guests tend to 'hold-their-water' and complain.
Each new guest arrives with a fixed "Preferred Ride Intensity" and "Nausea Tolerance". These two settings appear to be separately generated (so for example a person with a desire for high ride intensities could have a weak stomach).
The game appears to have a pool of pre-defined intensity choices from which a Preferred Ride Intensity Preference is randomly selected for a new guest. These selections consist of a range of intensities (rather than a single number), with the narrowest being a range at least three Intensity levels wide. Note that the pre-defined patterns are a mix of "greater-than / less-than" along with "fixed" range intensity numbers. Although a random selection would normally form a linear pattern, the pre-defined ranges force a bell curve pattern.
I examined 700 guests that had entered one of my parks, and created a chart showing what percentage of the parks guests would be likely to choose a ride of a specific Intensity:
On the left of the chart is the percentage of the 700 guests that would be willing to go on a ride of a specific intensity, and on the bottom of the chart is a whole number intensity for a ride. Because the guests Preferred Ride Intensity is a range, they are equally likely to choose any of the rides within their preference, so each guest was plotted more then once. For example, a guest with a range of 3-6 would be plotted under 3, 4, 5, & 6 and a guest with a range of 'less-than' 5 would be plotted under 0, 1, 2, 3, & 4. Note that a large amount of ultra high Intensity preferences are an artifact due to the 'greater-than' qualifier. The notch appearing at Intensity levels 3 & 4 also appears to be a qualifier mixing artifact.
Examination of the spreadsheet indicates that even your wimpiest guests can go on rides with an intensity of up to 2.99. The greatest thrill seekers however will avoid rides that don't have a minimum intensity of at least 5.00. Note that the 'notch' Intensities of 3.00 - 4.99 falls exactly between the greatest wimp and thrill seekers preferences. As guests will avoid riding on a ride that falls outside their Intensity Preference, patronage of Transport rides can be affected. If necessary, you may have to create a "roller-bus" (a multi-station side-friction wooden roller coaster in the form of a "scenic railway" is an excellent choice) to transport your thrill seekers.
I had not expected such a large percentage of guests who prefer ride intensities of 10+, especially since the Excitement ratings of rides fall off dramatically when the rides intensity becomes 'Extreme'. This must then be the source factor for the tip of placing lower intensity rides near high intensity rides, so guests can build up their "nerve" (low excitement / high intensity tolerance) for the intense rides.
Based on this chart, I suggest that Ride Intensity be kept between 2.00 and 10.19 (actually 12.99, but the reduction is due to the ride Excitement rating drop factor at 10.20). I further suggest that one low priced ride between exactly 1.00 - 2.99 intensity and one ride between exactly 5.00 - 5.99 intensity be placed near the park entrance gate, to assure that 100% (based on examination of the 700 guest survey) of your guests will have the opportunity to go on at least one ride in your park (the lower intensity ride addresses the "_ looks too intense for me" comment and the higher intensity ride addresses the "I want to go on something more exciting than _" comment).
I examined 700 guests that had entered one of my parks for nausea tolerance. The results were 69 with None, 178 with Low, 286 with Average, and 167 with High. Compensating for statistical error, this chart illustrates the resultant bell curve:
This next chart show the assumed correlation between Ride Tolerance and Ride Nausea Rating. On the left is the percentage of the 700 guests that could become ill due to the rides Nausea Rating, and on the bottom is Nausea Rating for the ride. Note that on a ride with an Nausea Rating greater than High all guests Nausea Tolerance is exceeded, so every guest has a possibility of becoming ill:
Note the large jump between Average and High nausea rides. I suggest therefore that to limit the possibility of your guests becoming ill, you limit your rides Nausea Ratings to Average or below (guests tend to under estimate their nausea tolerance, although if the separation is too great they may comment that "Just looking at _ makes me feel sick"). Nauseas guests do not generate revenue for your park, and their vomit has potential to lower your parks ratings.
Park Rating + Park Value = number of park guests. Advertising will affect the actions of new guests who enter the game during the advertising period (and may also increase the number of guests arriving). The new guest will usually attempt to take advantage of an advertised attraction by heading straight for it when he enters the park. Guests heading strait for an attraction will become confused if a path forces them away for too long a period from the compass direction of the attraction they are heading for.
When it rains, guests will open their umbrellas if they have them. Many guests without umbrellas will attempt to immediately acquire one. Most guests will also avoid entering queues for rides that are not considered "covered" rides, and will try to quickly get into a queue for one that is. Guest will pay more to buy an umbrella or ride on a "covered" ride while it rains.
Rides upon which an accident occurred or rides that have not been tested will not attract guests. Guests know the ratings of rides and will make a judgement to ride based upon them (see "Ride Motivations" above). Guests will become unhappy and step out of the queue if the wait for a ride is too long.
A guest will not enter the park, acquire a item, or ride on a ride if they consider the price too high. Price also effects the facilities "Satisfaction" level for guests. Guests are less willing to pay for rides that are older or have lower excitement ratings. When a guest runs out of money, he will leave the park. Don't overlook manipulating guests by pairing attractions. For example, salty food will make a desire for a drink more probable and an exciting ride will increase a guests desire to purchase a souvenir.
Guests have only a limited knowledge of the park, which is why you must place observation points and paths near facilities in order to make them 'aware' of the facilities existence. A guest possessing a Park Map only doubles his knowledge (but maps do help guests determine which ride to go on next). Guests will become "lost" if they travel long distances without encountering entrances to attractions, so plan your park layout carefully.
A guest will blindly continue down a path until he reaches an intersection (or passes an entrance to an attraction). If a path turns 90 degrees the guest will continue walking forward along the turned path. If a path dead ends, the guest will make an about face and walk back the way he came. If the path forms a "T" or "+", the guest will randomly select one of the forward directions (right, left, or straight as appropriate). Be aware that each square of a double (or triple) wide path acts like a "T" (or "+") intersection, and can cause your guests to spin around in circles. Marking one of the branching paths with a sign will increase the probability of a guest selecting that path. Conversely if the sign is a "NO ENTRY" sign, then a guest will never enter the marked path.
Unless the guest is in the process of heading for a specific attraction (or the park exit), if a guest passes an entrance to an attraction, he will make a choice about using the attraction or continuing along the path. If there are two attractions on each side of an ongoing path, he will randomly ignore one and choose between the other and the path. If there are three attractions on the path, he will randomly ignore two and choose between one and making an about face to walk back the way he came. It is usually best therefore to only put one attraction entrance on a path square. To really maximize exposure to an attraction, you may want to continue the path just one square beyond the attraction entrance. If the guest chooses to continue on the path instead of using the attraction, he will be forced to make an about face in the next square, reenter the square with the just passed attraction entrance, and again make a fresh choice about using the attraction.
Special note; in the case of a shop/stall, the guest may change his mind after walking up to the counter and not use the facility (similar to a guest who changes his mind about an overpriced ride), even if the shop/stall is priced FREE. When the guest turns away from a shop/stall (whether he used the service or not), he will randomly choose a new direction to walk. Because of this effect, it is suggested that shops/stalls (or overpriced rides) not be placed too close to the Park Entrance so guests will initially tend to travel deeper into the park before turning around.