Theme Park - Player's Guide
submitted by jeansy
This is a short guide which should help new Theme Park managers learn the
basics of good Theme Park development. As you become a more advanced player
you'll develop your own style and method of play, and discover personal
strategies for creating the ultimate park and dealing quickly with everyday
problems. In the meantime, these hints and tips should get you off to a good
If you are completely new to the game then this is where you should start.
The tutorial is there to aid the neophyte player, and introduces the basic
elements of paths, queues, rides and shops gradually before dropping you into
the action with a fully functioning park. The result of the tutorial is actually
a very competent little set-up - and makes an ideal base on which to build your
Don't try to build the most mammoth of parks on your first go. Start to
build up from a small but well maintained base, and that way you won't suddenly
find yourself out of your depth when everything goes wrong. Don't be afraid to
remove rides that you've placed incorrectly - it's far batter to lose the
money for one ride than to distract your valuable mechanics from repairing your
star attraction so that it blows up with people on it (unless you're a big fan of
the Syndicate style of gameplay, that is).
Always bear in mind that the people who come to your park are very fickle -
they're hard enough to please at the best of times and the smallest thing
will make them unhappy very quickly. It's therefore vital that you listen to
what they tell you by keeping an eye on the thought bubbles that appear above
their heads, and then react accordingly. For example, if several people get hungry
in the same area you should start to think about building a food stall of some
Likewise, if several people are upset about the cost of (or prizes on) a
stall then you should deal with it by lowering the price (or increasing the value
of the prize).
The park with the most rides tends to be the most successful. More rides
means more punters, more punters means more money, and money, as everyone knows,
makes the world go round - enabling you to research better stuff and subsidise
shopping trips by your nearest and dearest.
Customers prefer a large variety of rides to loads of identical ones. This
doesn't mean you should only have one of each type of ride in the park, though,
just that you should choose a different ride over an existing one whenever possible.
As rides age they start to wear down - and need repairing more and more often.
When this starts to happen, it's often best to sell the ride on and replace it
with an upgraded one, thus putting less strain on your mechanics and generally
making everyone happier.
A well-placed shop can provide you with one of the greatest single sources of
income in your park. They provide welcome instant cash returns, and also serve to
keep the little people happy. They do have some drawbacks, though.
Litter is a major problem, because nobody likes a messy park. If there's too much
litter the little people start to stay away (and then you certainly won't
win any awards at the end of the year). Certain shops, such as the Coffee Shop,
have bins inside and so take care of their own rubbish. Unfortunately, they're not
quite as effective as Pokey Cola at quenching the customers' thirst. The only real
solution is to hire sufficient handymen to clear up the mess.
The other main difficulty is keeping them well stocked - shops that run out of
supplies are no use to anyone. You should therefore always ensure that they have
sufficient stocks to last. As soon as they start to run down, order some more
immediately. After a while, you'll learn how often individual shops need
restocking and get into a sort of rhythm so that you don't have to spend time
looking around the map at all your outlets. If the Advisor ever tells you that a
shop is running low and you haven't already ordered for it, then it will
normally run out before supplies can get there. In this situation it's best to
immediately order some stock to minimise the amount of time that the shop will be
closed. (Remember, though, that if you are playing in Sandbox mode you don't have to
worry about this.)
Stalls offer the same advantages as a well-placed shop, and can be a very
lucrative way of gaining some much needed cash. Unfortunately, they can also upset
the little people who feel that they are being conned in some way. To prevent
this from happening, try to match the cost of each game with the chance of
winning and the value of the prize. Don't try to fleece the punters too much,
because they aren't daft and will soon see through your attempts and stop coming.
A small cost and prize, coupled with a moderate chance of winning, provides a more
reliable income than a risky high-cost, high-prize, lower-chance stall.
Stalls, as well as making money, have the added advantage of entertaining
the people (not as much as rides, but every little helps) and don't produce
litter. They are also smaller than rides, so you can slot them into several
places around the park. Bear in mind that, as with rides, the little people don't
tend to have a go at the same type of stall, so variety is the key to success. Of
course, to have this much variety, you need to do a lot of research.
You should never underestimate features such as trees, fences and lakes. A
featureless park is a bland one and unlikely to be very successful, let
alone win any awards. Features impress the little people who are new to the
park, as well as make it look nice on-screen - and besides it's much more exciting
to scream around on a rollercoaster that dives and twists through a dense forest,
narrowly missing the trees.
Staff The number and type of staff you have employed can make or break your
park, so it's important to understand their skills and when they become
Handymen - You should employ these the minute litter starts appearing on the
ground. You have to keep an eye on any new handymen that you employ, because
they may get confused by the intricate layout of your paths and end up
missing a large area of the park that needs cleaning. If this happens you might
want to control their movements using the waypoint navigation system on their icon
Mechanics - As soon as your first ride starts to show signs of breaking down you
should hire some mechanics. The only problem with mechanics is that they spend
half their life eating sandwiches, so you have to keep a watchful eye on them.
More often than not, a mechanic will get to a nearby damaged ride before it
completely blows up, but if there is more than one ride in trouble you should
direct the mechanic to fix one immediately and either shut the other down or
hire another mechanic. A single mechanic can normally maintain three to four
rides on his own, but this varies with the quality of the rides, how often
they're used and how long they're used.
If you do have two rides in danger of blowing up, but don't want to hire
another mechanic or shut one down, there is a risky tactic that sometimes works -
slow one ride down while the other is being fixed. Hopefully, it won't blow up
before the other ride is mended, and then the mechanic can deal with it. The upshot
of all this is that you only have one mechanic employed and the little people
always have at least one ride to go on. If it works, it's great. If not, then you
can have disaster on your hands.
Entertainers - Placing these guys next to queues that have a particularly
long waiting time will ease the stress generated by waiting to get on a ride. In
addition, at least one entertainer should be placed near the park entrance, to hand
out umbrellas if it starts to rain.
Guards - You only need hired muscle if thugs start to appear in the park.
You'll notice the thugs when you start seeing beaten up entertainers and rides
start breaking down a lot faster than normal. When these fellas appear you must
deal with them immediately, because they can quickly reduce a successful park to
ruins. Hire lots of guards and try to move your entertainers away from
troubled areas. Guards only escort thugs out of the park if they see them doing
something nasty, like kicking in an entertainer or breaking a ride, so you may
have to move the guards around with the thugs until they do something wrong.
When designing your park always try to think about what the little people
want at any one time and place things accordingly. Put a Balloon Shop right near
the entrance so that the people part with their money while they are still
happy. This puts them in a good mood for the rest of their stay - unless something
People get enjoyment out of going on rides and winning on stalls, so try to
cut down the amount of time they spend walking between one attraction and the
One method of doing this is to have a straight path with rides coming off
either side. Each ride is butted up against the side of the path, with the entrance
around the back and the exit leading back onto the main path. A short queue should
link the path to the entrance. Try to stagger the rides so that anyone leaving
one ride is pointed straight at the queue entrance to the next one. In this way,
the little people zig-zag between the rides and the amount of time they spend just
walking is minimised. The big problem doing this is that it leaves very little room
for decorative features which make the park look nice, and this may put some
people off. If you start making a complex path system with rides and stalls all
over the place then you'll have to place signposts so that people know where they
If a person comes across a sign pointing to a ride that they want to visit,
then they feel happier about walking towards it (rather than just wandering around
aimlessly). Also, signposts that point towards the exit enable annoyed
people to leave more quickly and not wander around for hours getting more and more
Unhappy people tend not to go on rides or buy things from shops and just
clutter up the place, reducing the average happiness of the people in the park.
As a result of this, your reputation and popularity suffers, so unhappy people are
best off out of the way and out of your hair.
Another method of design is the 'one-way system,' where the park is
organised in such a way that the people have no choice but to walk around the
park in an organised and orderly manner. The main advantage to this method is that
it enables you to predict what each person will want at any one moment - and so
design your park accordingly. In addition, the need for signposts is greatly
reduced because there are less junctions for people to worry about. The
problem arises when too many people enter the park. Queues fill up and people are
unable to get a go on any of the rides. In addition, because of the 'one-way'
structure of the park they are unable to return to rides that they may have missed,
so they end up not getting maximum enjoyment from your set-up.
At the end of each year you'll be presented with various charts which show you
how well you are doing. In addition, there are several awards that get handed out
if you happen to be doing particularly well in certain areas of your park.
These awards are great things to aim at because they both improve your reputation
and add a substantial sum of money to your bank account. They are also a measure
of how well you are doing in relation to your opponents. If you are constantly
winning the 'Good Technology' award then you must be more advanced than all
of your competitors.
Keep your park running smoothly and you should also pick up a couple of neat
awards (but if a ride blows up then it is unlikely you'll win the 'Ride
Safety' award...). It's a good idea to concentrate on winning a single award at a
time, by the way, because the money you gain gives you a greater chance of winning
the others later on in the game.
Here are a few more things to bear in mind.
Open your park immediately upon starting. This enables a few people to turn
up even if most stay away.
Slow the game speed down when designing the park. This gives you more time
to place the rides and a small amount of leeway while playing.
New rides are vital if your venture is to succeed - and you should always be
researching new ones at every opportunity. This will help you gain the 'Most
Advanced Park' award eventually.
When placing rides allow for the fact that you may wish to move the
entrances and exits.
It's always worthwhile buying up your own shares - this not only prevents
you from being bought out, but if your park does well, the value increases and
you can use them as extra cash later.
Whenever you add a new ride to the park you should immediately increase your
ticket price. The more rides you have, the more you can charge.
Try to buy new rides as they become available.
If you notice a large amount of litter building up, it might be a good idea
to increase the price of your food stalls to dampen down demand.
Make spare handymen work exclusively outside shops.
If you have more than one of the same type of ride you should position them
far apart to avoid overkill.
Always have shop stock on order. You can delay its arrival by re-ordering.
Never leave your park unattended - there's always something to be done,
especially in the larger parks.
Large capacity rides need larger queuing areas because they accommodate more
people. To begin with, try to have at least one of each type of ride...