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Parchment Background Image for RCT3 FAQ: The Existential RCT3

As is well known, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is a game which, in a 3D environment, players may manage all aspects of an amusement park. The existential side of RCT3 is ordinarily given little thought while we make ourselves busy rearranging terrain, deciding upon rides & attractions, placing infrastructure & scenery, hiring & managing staff, and then throwing open the park gates to the expected flood of park guests.

Like a good book or a good film RCT3 resembles reality while at the same time departing from it just enough to make it interesting and entertaining as well as enjoyable. RCT3's attributes are enhanced by the fact that it's core features are based on the previous two games in the franchise and this gave the game a familiarity that was essential when considering the huge number of RCT2 fans that were prepared to buy this first 3D version of RollerCoaster Tycoon. RCT3 is truly an amusement park simulator.

Since the time of its release, without many of the limitations experienced in RCT1 and RCT2 this exciting installment along with its new characteristics represented an exacting balance of new & old with more similarities to real life than the previous two versions. The requirements of managing an amusement park in real life and in RCT3 are alike in some ways yet these similarities display differences in varying degrees of subtlety.

We review some of these below.

Distance, Height, & Speed

Because terrain tiles are 4m x 4m, and both terrain & paths adjust up or down in increments of 1m we know that the game was initially developed around the metric system.

Using Metric measurements, our path that's 1m above the terrain will display as exactly that. If we then convert to Imperial measurements this same path at the same height above the ground will indicate that it's 3.28ft above the terrain. When we convert these values from Metric measurements to Imperial measurements these conversions are true to life. It is highly unlikely the game was initially designed to raise and lower items specifically in units of 3.28.

Without using the John Wardley cheat the in-game Woodie can be built a maximum of 81.25m. Converted into feet with RCT3 that same height gives 266.5ft. This too is an accurate conversion.

Conveniently, adult males in RCT3 are exactly 2m tall while child males are spot on at 1m in height. The height of adult males in the game (converted from 2m to 6½ ft) indicates that in RCT3 people are rendered a little larger than in real life. This would have been a very standardized way to scale everything in the game while it was being developed. Those of us who create CSO's find it most convenient to use the Metric scale in our 3D modeler and to scale our creations to park guests that are 2m tall.

There are three different systems of measurement available in RCT3. Nearly everyone is familiar with the differences between the feet & inches of the Imperial System and the meters & centimeters used in the Metric System. However, SI Units are a mystery to most of us.

The International System of Units (SI) defines seven base units of measurement from which all other SI units are derived. For gamers, the three SI System base units that are useful to us are:

time counted in seconds,

length measured as meters, and

acceleration rated at meters per second squared (m/s2).

In RCT3 the SI acceleration unit is known as the speed unit. If our track design has a maximum track speed of 37.53km/h in the Metric system, this same track design will give a maximum track speed of 10.42m/s in the SI system. This information presented in meters per second means very little to most gamers, and, just like isometric view, the majority of RCT3 gamers avoid the use of the SI system.

When it comes to temperature the SI System uses the Kelvin scale which is often utilized to measure the color temperature of light sources. Digital devices often refer to it when we need to make adjustments to their color settings. Kelvin values are not written in degrees like Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Flames on wax candles and real life sunsets are around 1,850K (near the infra red end of the scale). Depending on the season and where in the world you're located, looking straight up into clear blue sky ranges from 15,000 to 27,000K (towards the ultra-violet end of the scale). Due to the white light reflected from clouds, overcast daylight is a neutral 6,500K.

LCD and CRT screens range from 6,500K to 9,500K. In the Kelvin scale this is just where neutral lighting leaves off and heads into the blue end of the scale. RCT3 sunsets have the difficult task of simulating lighting effects, that occur in nature at around 1,850K, on computer screens that have a minimum K capability of 6,500. As a result of this RCT3's simulated sunsets lack the genuineness of real sunsets while, for the same reason, mid-day skies starting out at 15,000K in real life lack true luminance and depth when simulated in RCT3 on computer screens that max out at 9,500K.

Although the SI temperature unit is measured on the Kelvin scale, temperature readings in RCT3 are only available in Celsius or Fahrenheit.


The only time gamers need a temperature reading is when considering the current weather in our parks. Making this conversion in RCT3 is accurate to real life, with the conversions dropping any decimals and then rounding up or down accurately.

Thusly, in RCT3 75°F equals 24°C. This is certainly an accurate enough conversion for our everyday gamers' needs in RCT3 where we don't really need to see at the top of our RCT3 GUI that this same temperature is 23.8888888888889 in Celsius.

0°C is about 273 Kelvin. If RCT3 used the Kelvin scale, park temperatures might range from a crisp 275K in winter parks to a tropical 300K in desert parks, and 75°F would convert to 297K. Although Celsius and Kelvin degree increments are scaled similarly, a park temperature listed in three figures on a scale of about 25 increments would be almost meaningless to gamers which is probably why the developers didn't include the Kelvin temperature scale in RCT3.


There are over three hundred known world currencies. Eleven currencies, two of those considered to be interchangeable, are available in RCT3. Those eleven are the:

American Dollar

British Pound


Japanese Yen

Swedish Kroner/Danish Krone

Taiwan Dollar (New)

Australian Dollar

New Zealand Dollar

Hong Kong Dollar/Singapore Dollar

It would take the furthest stretch of the imagination to believe that currency conversions in RCT3 resemble those in real life. For the conversions that RCT3 does make the decimal point is simply moved two places resulting in a reading that's somewhat closer to reality.

This conversion in RCT3 is only made for two of the currencies. If we start out with a value of one US Dollar, for those two currencies our one American Dollar becomes:

one hundred Japanese Yen, or

one hundred Taiwan Dollars.

This means that we'd pay either 300 American dollars to place a Burger stall, or pay $30,000 for it in a park using Taiwan dollars. A ¾ lb burger bought from that stall would cost our park guest $4.50 in American dollars or 450 Taiwan dollars. In a park where the use of the toilets wasn't free of charge the minimum charge possible would be 10 Taiwan dollars or 10 Japanese yen.

In the game all the other currencies are considered to be at par so in RCT3 we'll find, for example, that the RCT3 British Pound is at par with the RCT3 American Dollar, the RCT3 Hong Kong Dollar, and the RCT3 New Zealand Dollar. Plainly the gaming code was written in this way because RCT3 is a park strategy game and not a currency conversion application which is a good thing too because today's currency converters require an internet connection. With unnecessary realism eliminated and all the game's currencies being static and calculated in the same way (with the exception of the aforementioned two decimal points), doubtless this approach by the developers has cut down on the processing needs of the game engine.

As a matter of interest, in comparison to the one American Dollar conversion made above, real-life bank exchange rates for these currencies at the time of this writing are:



British Pounds






Japanese Yen



Swedish Kroner



Danish Krone



New Taiwan Dollar



Australian Dollar



New Zealand Dollar



Hong Kong Dollar



Singapore Dollar


American Dollar

In real life the foreign exchange market is constantly live; it never closes, even at night. Because the rate reflects the market’s assessment of each country’s economy (good news from one country compared to bad news from another) these rates are assessed and re-assessed every second. Indeed, by the time the above list was typed some of those rates had already changed. Rates change less frequently over weekends and during holidays.

If your RCT3 guest visited an RCT3 bank to exchange $US1,000 into Taiwan Dollars for his family's upcoming holiday in RCT3 Asia, the RCT3 bank would convert his $US1,000 into $NT100,000. A person in real life who took $US1,000 to the bank to convert it into Taiwan Dollars would be informed by the bank that the conversion (at the abovementioned rate of exchange) would total $NT30,850.

Incidentally, in real life the only currencies pegged to the American Dollar are the Bahamian Dollar, the Bermudian Dollar, and the Panamanian Balboa. The Central Bank of each of these countries maintains this peg because their main trading partner is the United States.

Track Design Measurements

Designing a Track Builder for RCT3 would have been a win-win situation. A completely new track builder would have been just as appreciated by our community as would have been an updated RCT2 track builder. As it happened the developers opted into giving the RCT2 Track Builder a re-tread.

Some gamers are mystified by the fact that they've used Track Browser to open a track they know for sure has been tested and rated, yet Track Browser indicates all this information is missing and the track design details are unknown.

There are three reasons for this:


The track design has been converted into a TRK from a TD4 or a TD6. While RCT3's Track Builder was similar enough to allow the importation of RCT1 and RCT2's 2D track designs, there were enough differences in its design to make it necessary that converted tracks be re-tested and re-rated to more closely match the scale of RCT3's 3D track pieces and RCT3's physics.


It's a downloaded TRK that was uploaded from an RCT3 that'd been set up with Metric measurements and you're attempting to open the track on your own RCT3 which is set up with Imperial measurements.


You've saved the track design with Metric measurements set up in RCT3 and have later attempted to view that track's details in Track Browser in RCT3 that in the intervening time has been set up with Imperial measurements.

When 2 and 3 occurs, we're sure the track design has been tested & rated, and the design isn't giving the anticipated details in Track Browser the fix is to switch your game from its existing measurement system to an alternative, i.e., from whichever one you're using to either Metric, Imperial, or SI, and then to re-load the track design in Track Browser. To do that simply close and re-open Track Browser. If you have selected the correct alternative measurement system and the track design has indeed been tested and rated the track design specifications will now display. RCT3 switches from one measurement system to another on the fly without requiring your park be re-loaded or the game to be re-launched.

2 and 3 are dependent on your computer platform, configuration, and RCT3 installation and are usually only a problem when the measurement settings haven't once been changed since RCT3's installation date. Ordinarily your game will simply make the conversion and list it in Track Browser in accordance with the measurement settings in use at the time without your having to make any switch.

RCT3 converts distance and speed accurately to real life.

G Forces

G is the standard symbol for the gravitational constant and is most widely used in aviation. More often than not G Forces are measured with an accelerometer which in its simplest form, is a damped mass on the end of a spring with some way of measuring how far in a particular direction the mass has moved on the spring. The direction of movement is called an 'axis'. In RCT3 the direction of that axis will change dependent on whether we want a vertical G reading or a lateral G reading. The term g force is technically incorrect because G is the gravitational constant and g is the measure of acceleration; therefore G forces are measured in g units of acceleration.

While the graph in the ride's control panel will display left lateral G's as positive G's and right lateral G's as negative G's, RCT3 will take the highest of the lateral G readings whether positive or negative and list that value as the overall maximum lateral G specification.

In real life there is also a horizontal G force. At the time their cars leave the station and continue travel along a straight track section, the Reverse Freefall track and the Air Powered coaster are the best examples of RCT3 guests enjoying horizontal G forces. Another type of horizontal G force is created when trains travelling at high speed slam on brakes as they enter the station. The horizontal G force isn't acknowledged by RCT3 either in the ride's control panel graph or as a rating in the ride's specs.

Whether we prefer Metric, Imperial, or SI measurements RCT3 makes no conversion to any ride's G force readings or its EI&N rating.

Clocks & Calendars

Fortunately, time as it passes throughout the day is measured in the same way world wide and requires no conversion. We're all familiar with clocks & watches and the hours, minutes, and seconds that they measure.

RCT3 measures time in our park with hours and minutes which eventually add up to months. Our game only acknowledges weeks while tabulating staff wages and calculating credit and debit amounts on the Finances sheet. Each park season is made up of the 245 days spanning 1 March until 31 October. Rides and attractions are timed using minutes and seconds. Except for tracks entered in contests and example track designs, if your ride time is given in hours you'd definitely need to shorten that ride.

It is believed that humans began using some form of calendar in the Neolithic era. Calendars back then were uncomplicated, simply marked the seasons, and served as an aid in sowing and in harvest. Today there are around a dozen calendars in use world wide but the most widely used civil calendar is the Gregorian calendar. The RCT3 calendar is based on the Gregorian calendar but only spans 1 March until 31 October. This is based on the assumption that almost no one will want to attend any of our parks from November 'til February during which time the weather is often too cool for most guests to enjoy a park visit.

The months in RCT3 are represented accurately with either 30 or 31 days just as they are in real life. With there being no February in RCT3 there is also no leap year in RCT3.

With only day mode enabled, the longest day possible in any scenario will be from 9am until 7:40pm. Parks set to only night time will have a short nightly run from 8:35pm 'til 11:30pm. With day & night mode enabled it is possible to set up a scenario so that the park operates 24 hours a day. Park opening and closing times may be adjusted in increments of 15 minutes. While it is possible to operate our parks in RCT3 for several park seasons it is not possible to extend any of the individual park seasons beyond 245 days. Of course it is possible to gain busier and more profitable park seasons by increasing the opening hours given to each day and by putting more attractions in your park sooner rather than later.

Without the use of fast forward, an hour in RCT3 is the equivalent of 24 seconds in real time. 24 hours in RCT3 is equivalent to a little over 9½ minutes in real time. Some of the times in RCT3 are managed on different scales. If RCT3 says one of our guests has been in the queue for 9 minutes that's 9 minutes of real time; in game time they've been queuing all day - if instead of 24-hour days your park is operating twelve-hour days then that same guest has been queuing for nearly two days. If we're planning to spend an hour in real time playing RCT3 we'll spend about six days of RCT3 time in the game.

Confusingly, if we open the Finances tab for any stall or attraction we are presented with readings on the projected income, running cost, and both sets of profit data based on each hour in real time. Instead of this forecast being based on the RCT3 hour, as we've seen in the previous paragraph this data actually represents about six RCT3 days.

To run a park for three complete RCT3 seasons that that's opened to guests for twelve RCT3 hours a day will take a little over 19 hours of real time. Very few RCT3 gamers have 19 hours to spend (or want to spend 19 hours) with RCT3 all in one go so of course if one wanted to run a park for three seasons this would be done in stages, giving the three-season run two hours on one day, one hour on another, and so on, being careful to name your parksaves so you'd know where to resume the park's progress whenever you're ready to return to playing RCT3.

Neolithic people, the first people known to use a calendar, were also the first to abandon the hunter/gatherer lifestyle and settle into collective/village communities. Their original way of life was very peaceful and there is no record of their having taken part in war activities. It is unknown if Neolithic people played RCT3.