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How to Start Your Park in Roller Coaster Tycoon

Updated on August 8, 2017
davidlivermore profile image

David is an avid video gamer across multiple platforms such as PC, consoles, handheld devices, and mobile phones.

Starting Your Park in Roller Coaster Tycoon

About the Game

  • Released in 1999.
  • Designed by Chris Sawyer, who designed the popular game Transport Tycoon.
  • Has two expansions - Loopy Landscapes and Corkscrew Follies.

Roller Coaster Tycoon Main Menu

Main menu from Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Main menu from Roller Coaster Tycoon. | Source

Roller Coaster Tycoon

Roller Coaster Tycoon is a game that was first released in 1999. Not only did this game spawn two expansion packs, but multiple sequels as well. The player was given full control over a theme park, essentially becoming the manager. The player could decide what rides to place, where to place them, what price to charge, the decorations, etc.


This article covers how to start your own park in Roller Coaster Tycoon. All images and videos contained within this article were made by me while playing the game. I have spent many hours in this game since its release, and made multiple theme parks that were successful.

Roller Coaster Tycoon Title Screen

Menus in Roller Coaster Tycoon

Various menus used in Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Various menus used in Roller Coaster Tycoon. | Source

Learning the Menus in Roller Coaster Tycoon

There are various menus you must familiarize yourself with if you want to run a successful theme park. Those menus are:

  • Finances - This menu will cover anything you need to know about your money situation. You can take out loans here and set up advertisements for your park.
  • Research & Development - Here you can see what attraction is being researched, and set how much money you want to sink in each month to hasten the research. I recommend you set it to the maximum value to unlock as much as you can as fast as possible.
  • Rides & Attractions - This menu is very important as it can show you the profit of each of your attractions, as well as other statistics.
  • Front Entrance - Bringing this menu up will bring up the window for your front entrance. On this screen you can set the admission price guests must pay to enter your park.
  • Guests - This screen will show you what rides your guests are on, and more importantly, what they are thinking. Pay attention to what they are thinking and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Staff - On this screen you can hire and fire your staff.
  • Recent Message - Think you missed a message? Then check this menu.

Staff in Roller Coaster Tycoon

You will need staff to run your park. Here are some tips on how you should utilize your staff members:

  • Handymen - These guys are important for a well maintained park. However, I would recommend you click off the option to mow grass. They can waste a lot of time doing this task which provides little benefit. Hire these guys as you see your park getting messy.
  • Mechanic - I hire one of these guys the moment I place down my first attraction. For every 3-4 rides, I hire another one. If you get warnings your rides aren't being repaired, hire another one.
  • Security Guard - These guys keep order in your park. At the mostly you will only need a few of them, as they cover a large area. If you see areas being vandalized, then hire another security guard.
  • Entertainer - For small parks these are nice, but in larger parks you will need to hire so many they wouldn't be worth it in the long run. I tend to hire a couple just so they can hit the long lines and keep the guests happy.

Roller Coaster Tycoon Menus

New Rides & Attractions Menu

New Rides & Attractions menu in Roller Coaster Tycoon.
New Rides & Attractions menu in Roller Coaster Tycoon. | Source

Placement of Items in Roller Coaster Tycoon

Next up are the various menus that cover the placement of items in your theme park, which is how you will make money. You won't have a successful park without a good bit of attractions, and you have to constantly add new ones to keep your guests happy. The items you have to place are:

  • Land - Here you can raise and lower land, or select different land types to use. Very useful if you have a park around a general theme.
  • Water - Great for creating lakes for water rides or for decorating your park. While costly to make, it can be well worth it.
  • Scenery & Gardens - Decorating your park is very important. It keeps your guests happy, and can even make some rides more exciting for your guests.
  • Footpaths - The only way for your guests to get around your park is by the footpaths you place. You will also use this menu to set up the queue line to your attractions.
  • New Rides & Attractions - Obviously the most important part are the rides. This is the bread and butter of your theme park, so you will be spending a lot of time in this menu while you try to figure out what rides to place.

Ride in Roller Coaster Tycoon

There are various attraction types to use when determining how to start your park in Roller Coaster Tycoon:

  • Transport - Slow and steady rides such as the monorail are available here.
  • Gentle - For those who don't need a thrill, rides like the Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round are here.
  • Thrill - For a short term thrill, rides like the Swinging Ship and Scrambled Eggs are located in this menu.
  • Roller Coasters - You have various ride types to choose from, all allowing you to design your own roller coaster.
  • Water Rides - Anything dealing with water, such as the Log Flume, can be discovered here.
  • Concessions - Contains the burger bar, restroom, and other types of services for your guests.

Roller Coaster Tycoon Placement of Items

Beginning Theme Park in Roller Coaster Tycoon

Screenshots of my initial theme park in Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Screenshots of my initial theme park in Roller Coaster Tycoon. | Source

Starting Your Theme Park in Roller Coaster Tycoon

The introduction video showed how you can start a park, but below is more of an explanation into what you need to do.

  1. Lay down some pathways. They don't have to be perfect, and can be corrected later, but they give you a basic layout.
  2. Place some rides. Don't start with the roller coasters, focus on the gentle and thrill rides. You want your guests to work up to the big rides, and not just go straight to them.
  3. Place your exits behind your entrances. Your guests will push forward through your park. If you put your exits behind your entrances, it will force your guests to revisit the entrance of your rides, tempting them to ride again.
  4. Concessions. Start placing concession stands, but spread them out. If you group them together, they won't make as much money.
  5. Hire staff. Ensure you get some Handymen and Mechanics hired to keep your park up and running when you first start out.
  6. Decorate. It may seem trivial, but it's not. Guests love a nicely decorated park, so do this around all of your attractions. Watch the video below on how I improved the decorations in my park.

Roller Coaster Tycoon Decorating

Rides in Roller Coaster Tycoon

My car ride in my park in Roller Coaster Tycoon, with guests riding on it.
My car ride in my park in Roller Coaster Tycoon, with guests riding on it. | Source

Ride Menu

Screenshot showing my car ride still being profitable.
Screenshot showing my car ride still being profitable. | Source

Experiment and have fun when you are designing your attractions. You can always make corrections later.

Roller Coaster Design in Roller Coaster Tycoon

Once you have your park up and running, it's time to design your own ride. Don't move on to the coaster just yet. Below are some tips when designing your first ride.

  • Stick to a gentle ride, such as Car Ride. You can pick a transportation attraction as well, but those are meant to traverse the entire park. Car Ride, for example, is easy to design in a small space.
  • Design the ride around other attractions. If you lay tracks that go above or around other places in your park, it increases the excitement rating of the ride. In the video below, you can see how I placed mine around my existing park.
  • Test your ride. Test your ride to see how exciting it will be. If you get anything between a 3.5 - 4, then you have a decent first ride that you designed yourself.
  • Don't use the already designed rides. While they can be easy to place and you don't have to worry about building, it won't have the same flair as if you built it yourself.

Roller Coaster Tycoon Ride Design

Completed Roller Coaster

My first roller coaster with guests on it, with other coasters intertwined around it.
My first roller coaster with guests on it, with other coasters intertwined around it. | Source

What is your favorite kind of attraction in Roller Coaster Tycoon?

See results

Making a Roller Coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon

Finally, you are ready to make your first roller coaster. Below are some tips when designing a roller coaster:

  • Build it in an open area. What I like to do is build my coaster in an open area, with some parts going around existing areas. This allows me to expand my park around my coaster, and make improvements as I go.
  • Design it as if you are riding it. The physics in the Roller Coaster Tycoon universe is the same as our own. You can build a coaster with so much g-force it will make your guests sick, so design it appropriately.
  • Always test your coaster. You won't know if your coaster will be successful until you test it. This will determine if it is too intense for your guests, or maybe not exciting enough.
  • Develop the area around your coaster. Once your coaster is built, put rides, decorations, and other attractions around it to increase the excitement rating and to get more people in your park.

Making a Roller Coaster - Part 1

Making a Roller Coaster - Part 2

How to Start Your Park in Roller Coaster Tycoon

In the end, it's up to you how to design your park. Each and every park is unique in nature. With the tips above it should be easy for you to earn money and be successful when designing your park in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Have fun!

© 2013 David Livermore

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    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 3 years ago from Australia

      Really great run down of how to start a park in RCT, still one of my favourite games.

    • davidlivermore profile image
      Author

      David Livermore 4 years ago from Bakersfield, California, United States

      Always love the water rides. Thanks for the comment!

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

      I used to love this game! I loved the roller coasters the most, followed by the water rides. Voted up!