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In spite of the fact they're often restrictive in the number of attractions and the quantity of scenery that can be included, small parks are cozy and have a charm all their own.

To get a little more scenery into a small park one might think about using custom content which nearly always comes without any of the collision issues included with in-game scenery. When considering the possibility of squeezing more out of our rides and attractions things become a bit more complicated.

One of the most obvious solutions towards maximizing our park is to minimize the number of paths there are. With considered thought we can usually come up with a system of general walkways that are compact while at the same time enabling our guests to freely access all areas of our park. Apart from the main paths, our tracks and rides are the biggest utilizers of access paths.

It’s a given that our rides or tracks need to have queues but might there something we can do about their exit paths? One solution is to simply ignore placing exit paths with the expectation that the guests who exit our rides will simply wander over the terrain back to the main paths. Unfortunately this passive idea isn’t good park building nor it it good park management and it won’t work with rides situated over water or located in hilly terrain.

A more proactive solution is to integrate our paths into our queues. If we do this with all the rides and tracks in our parks we can immediately halve the number of access paths throughout our parks.

With the use of this Options.txt flag

AttractionSceneryAllowSceneryIntersect 1

we've come up with a variety of ways that enable us to minimize the number of ride & track access paths throughout our parks, and otherwise maximize our small park’s real estate. We'll begin with ride and track access.

The Overlap Access Stack

With the aforementioned Options.txt flag we may place each ride’s entrance and exit on the same terrain tile. This makes it possible for there to be only a single path leading to and from each of the attractions which gives the stations and the park a more open appearance due to there being half the number of paths that the guests need to use for ride access.

To overlay our ride entrance and exit simply place the ride entrance and the queue as desired, then place the ride exit in the same place where we put the ride entrance. This sort of overlayment is often known as stacking.

After we've stacked our ride entrance and exit like this, with the queue we've already placed there no exit path will need to be built. To exit the ride our guests will use the queue as if it is a regular path. If we have queue line entertainers on that queue the exiting guests will stop to watch the entertainer while on the queue.

Once we've accomplished that we'll realize we now have a total of five options for getting guests to access our rides. The following screenshots display these options in use in an example park with the first one showing the overlap access stack technique that we just discussed.

Image 01 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

By using this access stack method, each ride's entrance and exit both meeting at the same place on the main path makes it more likely for guests who plan to ride the attraction again to return to it immediately without the worry that we’d otherwise have of alternative paths leading those guests elsewhere in the park.

Let's compare the streamlined appearance of stacked access with the standard access setup. Although this standard setup is the original method or ride access that comes with RCT3, for the sake of following this article we'll call this the second access method.

Image 02 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

A third option is to merge only the exit paths. The exit paths may be merged so there is only one exit path feeding into the main path system from the two rides.

Image 03 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

As many exit paths as desired can be merged in this way. Of course, no entry signs will be needed so that guests may promptly leave the merged paths area without getting lost.

Image 04 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

The Offset Access Stack

Our fourth access stack variant to be considered is the offset stack. When offset stacking, the entrance and exit don't need to overlap but they do both need to be on the same side of the attraction or on the same side of the station.

To start we'd place our entrance, then place our exit on the same side in a position that's offset from where we put the entrance, and then place our queue ensuring that we've butted the queue up directly alongside the exit we just placed.

Image 05 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

Just like with the overlap stack, guests who exit offset stacked stations will find themselves on the queue and will then use the queue as it is the exit path. Whichever method of stacked access is used, if the exit path function of the stack results in negative guest throughflow and if we don't wish to change the direction of the queue/path stack then we will need to place no entry signs. Whenever we use offset stacked access a no entry sign should always be butted against the ride's exit so that guests exiting the ride will immediately be guided into the correct direction.

Image 06 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

With these no entry signs in place the queue in this stack will function as a queue ordinarily does; the no entry signs placed on the queue/path stack will not affect the functionality of the queue nor will it stop guests from entering the ride. Put another way, this means that guests will enter the queue in our queue/path stack as if the no entry signs weren't there, while at the same time the guests on the main paths who view the queue/path stack as if it is another path will be prevented by the no entry signs from entering the queue/path stack and walking the wrong way up.

Image 07 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

Additionally, the no entry signs will stop guests who have exited the ride from walking back & forth along the access stack, something else that often happens in any areas of negative throughflow. This aimless walking back and forth will delay our guests' departure from the area of negative throughflow and will put a temporary hold on their park visit until they return to the main walkway.

Any ride's exit that is overlap stacked or offset stacked will result in an entrance and/or exit floor that's invisible, something that is probably a result of the game engine not knowing what path piece to place there. This will require separate path cover scenery to give the appearance there's a path there.

Image 08 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

To give a coordinated appearance, if desired the path cover can be placed at both the entrance and the exit.

To further customize the appearance of our park, instead of using the in-game entrances and exits we can stack the invisible entrance and the invisible exit in this same way for ride access points that can be thoroughly designed into any theme.

The following screenshot shows the results we can achieve from this method. Displayed in this image from A Woodland Clearing are the access stacks for Rip Tide, WaveSwinger, and the station to DasMatze's Old 99 Kiddie Railway.

Image 09 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

Because each Kiddie Railway car only takes two guests at a time I've butted its access stack directly against the main path which has dispensed with the need for any queue or path. Along with using stacked access, DasMatze's Fences & Railings and custom vegetation have done an excellent job of enhancing the theme I've got going on here.

Nearby, I've also used invisible entrances & exits for the rides in the playground located at Kiddie Korner. There are five functioning rides there:

GTT's Schaukelpferd (1),

GTT's FederWippe (2), and

GTT's Schaukel (2).

Image 10 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

Without adding any scenery to reveal where each ride's access is, and by adding decorative pieces from Pat's Nostalgische Speeltuin set, this method of ride access gives a free, open appearance to this charming playground area of the park.

Image 11 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

When overlap stacking ride entrances all of the stacked entrances can use the same queue. Here in Hillside On The Lake, I've stacked four Windsurfer rides because demand called for far more than the eleven windsurfer craft that would have come with a single station. All four entrances are overlap stacked over the same terrain tile and all are being serviced by a single queue - in this case the queue is a short one that's made up of a single stair.

Image 12 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate

There was so much demand for windsurfers in this park I could have probably stacked six or seven Windsurfer stations instead of only four but I needed to strike a balance between satisfying my guests' needs for riding Windsurfer and the number of guests I wished to see using the remainder of the park.

Because there was a good amount of room in this park I kept the ride entrances and ride exits separate, although in instances where I stacked the rides, the ride exit stacks have been placed separately from the ride entrance stacks.

The Cross Access Stack

The fifth and final variation in stacking ride access paths is the cross stacking method which involves stacking the access for two different rides. For example, we can merge one ride's queue and another ride's exit path. We've illustrated this here in this screenshot from A Woodland Clearing where we've used cross stacking so that guests using Observation Tower's entrance utilize the same access stack as guests leaving Sports Cars.

Image 13 - How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate


Underground Paths

To further minimize the appearance of paths about the park we can place some of them below the terrain. These underground paths can be further disguised by hiding them with scenery.

The following slideshows taken of my park, A Woodland Clearing, show the underground queue/path placement in relation to Magic Carpets ride, and then in relation to the Sports Cars track.

How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate, Slider A Thumbnails Collage

How To's: Maximizing Your Small Park's Real Estate, Slider B Thumbnails Collage

By using the Options.txt flag I was able to stack the Magic Carpets entrance in the same spot as one of the pool complex deck pieces. The guests enter and leave Magic Carpets as they regularly would, and guests enjoying the pool in that area simply walked over the Magic Carpets entrance as if is wasn't there.

To view the slideshow, click on a thumbnail

To view the slideshow, click on a thumbnail