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It’s was a long and bumpy road but we have reached the destination.
We are huge fans of the original RollerCoaster Tycoon® games, and when working on the mobile version of the game we knew things were going to be different. The idea was not to replicate what the classic games were, but rather to adapt the game to the mobile platforms. Our job was to make it work on smartphones and tablets, and we believe that it has worked out pretty well in that regard.
The initial idea was to re-create RollerCoaster Tycoon® as a modern mobile game. That’s why it adopted the basic economy model modern mobile city-buildings games have. It’s not as much as a modern take on RCT, as a mobile take on it. What the modern take for full fledged RCT game is we will all see later this year when the PC game is out.
It was an interesting development process, one that certainly posed some challenges.
Designing wireframes was one of the challenges and took us a while to come up with something we were happy with. Then, after several visual style iterations we found the one Atari liked too, and everything started to fall into place.
The search for a game style was pretty long. We were trying out different color schemes, from the classical half-tone from RCT2 to very vibrant colors, moved back and forth a few times closely working with Atari on that, until we settled with the final solution.
There’s a large amount of various UI elements around the game. Almost every window had multiple layouts through the project’s lifecycle, improving or just totally changing every time, until it got to the UI that everyone was happy with.
All objects in the game were made in 3D and then given color. It’s the approach to art production that we felt comfortable with as we already had experience with it. Oh, by the way, a lot of us really liked the hand-drawn 2D pictures of the models (see below) and voiced a general opinion that we should just use something like that in one of our next games. Who knows, maybe we will do just that 🙂
Before and during the development of RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ we played the original games that brought us so many hours of fun when we were younger. In a different light, playing them certainly brought a new perspective.
RollerCoaster design, as the title suggests, is an essential part of the game, and we really tried to make it both intuitive and fun. We worked on making the controls simple, yet have all the adjustability that you would want. The construction control design was one of the bigger design problems that we faced making the game, but we are quite happy with how it turned out.
Coasters made with different materials behave differently. To begin with, they have different speed limit and height limit. Wooden coasters also have a limited set of special elements, for example the helix elements are missing for it. Also, their turns aren’t banked, unlike rollercoasters made with all other materials.
We made it impossible to build a non-functional coaster (if the velocity of a car drops too much, a built in motor kicks in, and it keeps moving at minimum speed), and the maximum velocities are limited (differently for different materials). Otherwise the tracks and cars behave in a pretty realistic way suggested by physics. If you zoom in enough, you can see the passengers in cars raise their hands if a certain criterion based on g-force and velocity is met.
By the way, you can build a coaster of any size you want (literally, no limit at all, even the land can be expanded infinitely) and just save it if you lack the funds to build it. It will be there, on your map, as a ghost, so to speak, that you will be able to actually build later. You can even do that when you are offline.