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Dreams versus Reality

Not every park you begin will end up a masterpiece and there will be lots of experimentation needed on your part to get results you like. Never underestimate the importance of saving most of what you do as a structure. Even if you intend to trash the park save most if not all of what you’ve put into it so it is available for you to use later in another park.

Lateral Thinking

It will also be helpful if you can pick up some shortcuts. Instead of building something ten times in a workbench park, e.g., ten columns with ten arches: build one column with one arch and save it as a structure, then drop the structure into your park ten times and get a head start with your trials that way. Eventually you’ll find you can’t simply put everything into the one structures folder and that you’ll end up with directories inside of directories inside of those. I have thousands of items saved and, added together, they probably represent several months of work I’ll never have to repeat.

No one gets the results they want using only the pieces in a single set to build one structure. Some of the great RCT3 work seen on the internet could contain anywhere from twenty sets to two hundred. Do make an effort to get to know your CS. Eventually one can reach the point where they realize they can no longer tolerate the five hundred sets in their Themed folder but they find they can clear out only about ten of them – then later that week that same person may download a hundred more CS sets, weed through them, and install twenty of those. RCT3 aficionados have a love/hate relationship with the Themed folder.

Practice and Expertise

At the start we’re usually limited by what we know and how much time we spend playing RCT3. It takes quite awhile before we can routinely get our parks looking like we feel they ought to. As far as length of time to build a great park, assuming one spends 10 hours a week at it it could take as little as one month to as much as six months or more. When you’re finished you’ll be very proud of your first park but by the time you get to your fifth park you may find yourself revisiting your first park, perhaps to check how you did something before, during which you may ask yourself, “OMG did I build that rubbish!”

Finally, when you’re ready for critique take screenshots of your work and post them on the forums. Take all critique knowing that your work is being judged by others’ standards, knowing that what they say is usually meant to be helpful and mindful that you are the one who will pick and choose which parts of what comments you’ll apply to your future work. Nobody’s critique is carved in stone.

Is Your Park Tired?

No matter how well intentioned or interested we are, eventually the day will come when you feel the park has become too much, you’re getting close to being tired of it, and you’re losing your inspiration which means it’s time to put the park aside and forget about it for awhile. To clear a mental block it’s time to be diverted!

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

Open a new sandbox and experiment with vegetation placement or with garden creation. Discover what you can do with the terrain shaping tools in your toolbox. You can mess around with terrain painting, water placement and landscaping in a new flat park, then try and see where you can or can’t put enclosures or a pool. Or put an animal outside its enclosure and see if you can figure out how to use the dart gun. Or try the dinosaur darts cheat. Test the other RCT3 cheats or examine what you can and can't do with Options.txt. Or experiment with the dune buggy. Or with the LOD settings.

Build a coaster with a track type you’ve never before considered using. Or create a mix master display in a new sandbox. Design a water jet effects show. Or a dolphin or tiger show. Experiment with tunnels, the sharks on tunnel walls cheat, and with placing scenery underground.

Try installing that CS set you downloaded but put aside because it came with instructions that looked way too complicated. Or maybe you can open a new sandbox, scroll through your entire list of installed CS, and familiarize yourself with stuff you’ve forgotten by randomly placing stuff from various sets - you'll be amazed how many things get forgotten and how many times this can give you an idea.

Excellence in RCT3

Do a few of these things and you’ll soon find yourself believing that it was not your park that was tired, it was you. You’ll be rarin’ to make progress on your existing park – or anxious to begin a new one.

Excellence in RCT3 is progressive and we all get better at building great parks as we go along.

To see park images and for additional suggestions, my Screenshots article is recommended viewing.