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(June 19, 2007): The future of RCT seems somewhat bleak. Chris Sawyer and Atari have been locked in a lawsuit (Atari refuses to honor the contract clause which allows him to audit sales of his games.) The fantastic 3D world of RCT3 and its two expansion packs showed so much promise...albeit with a few bugs. Thanks to Jonathon Wilson's importer utility, the game has been kept alive and vibrant. But it is apparent that there will be no more commercial versions produced by Sawyer or via Atari. Frontier (creator of RCT3) is working on similar games - but they will not have lineage to the Sawyer creations that we ardent fans found so addictive.
Some RCT fans have started working on a new game to carry on the tradition. Its called Theme Park Builder 3D and it is in the early stages of development.
(March 4, 2004): Atari has announced RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D to be released during the holiday (ie Christmas) season this year. The game was written by "Frontier Studios". Apparently, Chris Sawyer had some superficial association with the game development and his name will be attached to it for marketing purposes.
(January 18, 2004): Just an informational update... I have been really tied up at work for the last few months and have not had much time to work on programming. During this time, I have been able to provide some code for the RCT2 ride exchange at RCT2.com and done some preliminary work on a new isometric game project (at my new site: RCT3D.com). But the main "news" is that I've started work again on the object editor. The editor started out with the purpose of handling simple single tile objects with a total of four images. The internal data structures were fixed arrays. As the full variety of single tile objects was elucidated, the editor was modified to handle multiple frames, animation, etc. To handle the larger number of images, the fixed data arrays were increased. As other object types were investigated, the editor was modified repeatedly to handle the new features. Large scenery objects are actually composed of a large number of single tile images. For the purpose of editing, the individual images are combined into a single "composite" image. The editor uses different data structures for single-tile images and composite images. As ride type objects were being implemented, yet another image type/data structure became necessary... large images which are not composites. Also, rides can contain on the order of 26,000 images. Using fixed arrays for these different image types requires a LARGE amount of memory to be allocated. A lot of computers don't have enough memory to handle the requirements. And it seems silly to allocate well over 100 M bytes of memory when only 10 M is really needed! To rectify this situation, I am restructuring the editor to use a single dynamic format for all images. The first (easy) step is already done and most of the single tile objects are working OK. The large (composite and true large) image objects will require quite a bit more work. When the update is completed, the editor should be able to handle any ride object... although I pity anyone who tries to modify 26,000 images this way!
(October 15, 2003): Today is RCT2's First Birthday. To help celebrate, the User Created Expansion Set team has released ... the User Created Expansion Set! Go to the UCES site and check it out for yourself.
(August 19, 2003): Today is "RCT Tuesday"! Version 1.23 of the RCT2 Object Editor is now available. It corrects a bug with height limits. It also allows you to edit Twister style animated flat rides. But it is not easy to do that!. There are 24 images of the vehicle which actually has a 3 by 3 symmetry. In other words, the vehicle only rotates 120 degrees in 24 frames. But because of the 3 fold symmetry of its arms, it appears the same after rotating one third of a revolution. Even after the vehicle arms have gone through a complete revolution, the seats are not in the same position - they have also rotated 120 degrees relative to the arms. Confused - you should be! What this all means is that there are only 24 images of the vehicle but 216 (24 X 3 X 3) images of the peeps riding in a seat. To make things a little easier to understand, the editor will display repeated images of the vehicle in the left window and the entire sequence of peep images in the right window. To get a better appreciation of whats involved, you can activate "Ghost" images of the vehicle to appear in the right window.
I think that the next step in custom object creation is going to require a 3D editor. I've started trying out a package based on OpenGL. If you create a new animated flat ride, a test screen will pop up. It shows a very crude model of a Twister-type ride. You can click on the animation button to see it move. Remember, this is just a test.(August 12, 2003): Today is "RCT Tuesday"! Version 1.22 of the RCT2 Object Editor is now available. It allows you to edit/create non-animated flat rides (eg. Circus, 3D Cinema, Crooked House). Note that many of the features of a ride, such as music, coloring, etc are dictated by the underlying (core) ride type and cannot be changed by the editor.
Mike Young (aka "Buggy) has released a tool for manipulating the images within DAT file. Go to his site and check it out!
(July 29, 2003): Today is "RCT Tuesday"! Version 1.21 of the RCT2 Object Editor is now available. It corrects bugs in the previous version. It also provides crude support for path objects (edit only, no de-novo creation, however.)
(June 17, 2003): Today is "RCT Tuesday"! Version 1.20 of the RCT2 Object Editor is now available. It adds support for:
Large scenery objects
Scenario Text Files (untested)
There are bound to be lots of questions about how to edit/create some of these items. I will try to put together some guides soon. Support for German has not been included yet... but should be available soon.
(June 13, 2003): Today is "Friday the thirteenth"...but don't despair! June 17th is "RCT Tuesday"! A new version of the RCT2 object editor will be released then. It supports large scenery objects and park entrances.
(May 16, 2003): Work is progressing on support for large scenery objects. I will be taking a vacation so there will be no more updates until June. In the meantime, you can play with this recolorable Sphinx object.
(April 22, 2003): Its "RCT Tuesday!" A "test" Version 1.11 of the new RCT2 Object Editor is now available. It supports the four types of walls/fences (simple/ glass/ animated/ door) and the three types of path additions (lamp/ trash can/ bench) and banners. The small scenery objects are, of course, supported as before. The background can be selected as Black, White or a "grass tile" pattern similar to what you see in the game. The zoom feature is now selectable from 3X to 10X. For those of you who prefer German, there is a language setting for choosing between English and German. There is an additional editing tool which allows you to convert existing pixels to a different color. The intensity level is preserved with the "Remap with Selected Color" tool. There are "lock out" controls to protect certain colors. There are two "open file" buttons to make life easier for those who are converting BMP files into RCT objects. Use one of the buttons for the DAT directory and leave the other button to pull up the BMP files from another directory. To make life easier when designing walls, the program automatically generates the images for walls on slopes. This may lead to jagged edges or apparent height mismatch in some cases.
(April 16, 2003): RCT Station has announced its sudden closure. This was the most popular RCT web site. I often referred people to the "Knowledge Base" at their site. The webmaster, Jim Chamberlin A.K.A. Red Phoenix, was a class act who spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to support the on-line world of RollerCoaster Tycoon. Jim is the one who goaded me into advancing the SaveGameModifier to support scenario files, etc. I will miss the "Station" very much.
(January 5, 2003): Henry has made a DAT organizer program so that you can group your custom RCT2 objects into "themes". They will show up under a single tab within the game. Hop on over to his new site: TRG
(December 22, 2002): I've been working on adding walls to the object editor. Its not quite ready but here is an example: a waterfall with user selectable color.
(December 12, 2002): Its "RCT Thursday!" Version 1.01 of the RCT2 Object Editor is now available. It corrects the bugs with animation editing. There is now a setting for delay between individual frames of animation. There are a couple of options added in - choose between a default crosshair cursor or the "tool specific" cursors as in the first release. There is a setting for the default transparent pixel handling (which few of you will notice any difference.) There is provision now for retaining remap color 1 dat when copy/paste of images within the editor is conducted. I still have not tested the clock object so its best to avoid making clocks for now.
Note: Scenario Gaia has
a nice tutorial to demonstrate some of the basics of using the object
Here are some tutorials in German: Deutsche Tutorials
(December 5, 2002): The first
version of the RCT2 Object Editor is available. There are
still some bugs... so exercise some caution (back up files before you
edit them.) Don't run more than one instance of the program - it may
experience a crash while requesting resources from windows (too many
palettes, etc). This scenery object editor is only for use with
single tile objects. You can make a variety of objects, if you have
the patience to learn the details. For example, "Swamp goo"
has a unique subtype: single view (perspective) with 16 single-view
animations / no static frames. The "Garden Clock" is a
unique subtype: two static frames (4 views each) and two sets of
single-view animations, the first set has 60 frames and the second
set has 48 frames - they are synchronized to the computer clock in
the game. Confused? You should be! But don't worry; most of us just
want to make simple, non-animated objects with a single image for
each of the 4 views. That subtype is called "simple" in the
editor. :) You can import four bmp files generated with a paint
program or 3-D editor, etc. Make a few adjustments for "stackable",
"rotation arrow", etc. and then save it as a new custom
scenery object. But don't forget...be sure to include translations of
the object name in the string tables!
(November 24, 2002): I'm making progress on an editor for RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 scenery objects. The first object made with this editor (as part of a test) is now available at: Scenario Gaia. "BladeX" provided the images for this bubblegum machine object.
(November 13, 2002): RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has new file structures of the tracks, save games and scenarios. I've updated RCT Explorer 2.00. to work with the new files. There is a considerable delay with each SV6/SC6 files to perform the decoding - but its faster/easier than loading the file in the game to check the specifications!
(November 9, 2002): RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 allows the use of custom objects which can be downloaded etc. The simplest objects are small scenery items. Henry Winkelstein has made a scenery object based on the South Park character "Stan Marsh".
(October 15, 2002): RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has been released in the US. I'll make updates to the technical info when I can
(September 7, 2002): I've made a simple program "Water Ride Speed Up" to add lift chains to the water rides. This makes them go uphill at the same rate as the coasters in the game.
Michael's "Roller Coaster Rider" allows you to finally ride your own rides in 3D in your own parks! Check out this site and try out the demo! An experienced DirectX programmer has been working on a program to make this dream come true. Naturally, some compromises have to be made to acheive an acceptable performance on currently available computers. The current approach is to render only the track style being ridden. Other rides are not drawn. Only a few of the scenery items are currently implemented. The full version allows you to ride any coaster style and costs $10..
(July 1, 2002): Visitor #100,000 to this site was Alex who has his own RCT site. TycoonEden. Drop in and give his site a visit!
Another news item - another programmer is joining the fray - David Wallenberg has asked me to provide his TD4edit program so here it is! I normally only provide my own programs at this site, but hey - I guess I can make an occasional exception.
(June 1, 2002): RCT 2 has been announced and screen shots are available at Chris Sawyer's site. It appears to be a modification of the existing game engine with a few extra features. Some of the restrictions have been eased as well. Although I had hoped for a 3-D walk through capability, etc, I guess we'll have to settle for this "expansion marketed as a sequel.". The good news is that it is priced like an expansion ($30). It will be released in the fourth Quarter - presumably the middle of October. It will contain a scenario editor!
(Apr 1, 2002): can you find "RCTwaldo" in this image? RCTwaldo
It seems that I've been rather busy lately and haven't done much with RCT. One of the concerns I have is that it is difficult to do much more with my utilities without having a graphical display similar to that in the game itself. To implement that is quite a lot of work. So... I'm not sure what I will work on next. In the meantime, a program I'm testing for displaying the graphics was used to generate the "RCTwaldo" image available above. I set the program to draw 5000 random images. One of the image is a peep face - hence the "waldo" connection.
(Mar 1, 2002): Another new version of the Save Game Modifer 3.13 is available. This update consists mostly of small bug fixes. Climate settings are now available. You can also set the intital hunger/thirst of newly created guests. Sorry, but the Scenario Manager component is still not incorporated.
Shameless plug: I've been interviewed by Jacko at RCT Inc.