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The Start

This is the very first park I've created that was entirely dependent on finance. After our recent involvement in Atari's Campaign scenarios, I chose to make the scenario landscape for Insect World an experiment to see if running a park in profit was something I could achieve. Originally I thought it might be interesting if I ran this park for an entire year but it was while developing it that I thought I’d go for three seasons (three park years).

When playing Insect World’s first mission the stark cliff edges that came with the landscape gave the optical illusion that this was such a tiny park. I had no idea just how large this park property was until I started placing the animal enclosures and it was after I had deleted the rides that came with this scenario and had made some alterations to the terrain in the first mission that my entire perspective on it changed. I finally looked up this park’s map size while writing this article and discovered it's a 159 x 159 park.

To begin Vanguard West, I re-opened the copy of Insect World with which I had gained my Tycoon status. All the land has now been made as owned by the park, the spider shape in the terrain has been removed along with the spider colors suggested by the terrain painting. The original paths, the animal enclosures, the artificial pond, and Safari Train remained intact as they’d been built in the missions, with the rest of the park being redeveloped. Pool Complex also remained in its original location although later it too would be further developed.

Developing Insect World into Vanguard West without any custom content has brought back the charm of playing RCT3 before we began to enjoy all the custom content released by our community's talented Custom Artists. The way I’ve built overlapping tracks & rides at the west end of this park does give a bit of a feel of many of my RCT1 parks (and a few of my RCT2 parks) that I’d made in the past so, oddly it was while developing Vanguard that I occasionally felt like I did when building some of my RCT1 parks.

This article is accompanied by financial spreadsheets that I've assembled representing accurate snapshots of this park’s finances over the three seasons of this study. Three years of financial reports as provided by RCT3 are also included. Links to those spreadsheets may be found at the end of this article.

Guests & Guest Entry

There are 11 park entrances which are all in the same area. These park entrances arrangements started out as a study to see if there were any guest preferences for particular park entrances, and to determine if there was a maximum number that could be used by park guests. Initially intended to be a temporary arrangement I decided to keep all these park entrances and further develop and integrate them into the park for their dramatic value. I can confirm that all guest injection points/park entrances are used by the guests whether arriving at this park or leaving it.

There seems to be no guest injection point or park entrance preference for guest arrivals. To further explore guest interaction with guest injections points and park entrances see my article Setting Up And Switching Your Park Entrance.

The original park plan called for a dozen information booths all along the path immediately north and parallel to the park entrances.

Image 01, My Projects, My Parks, Vanguard West Financial Report, Page 1

Were so information booths necessary? I believe they were for these reasons:

Directions are the most beneficial item we can provide to our park guests and they should receive these as soon as possible after they enter our park.

If we look at the numbers of customers that received merchandise from the information booths that were placed about in this park you'd see nearly all of them were necessary. Fewer booths would have resulted in some customers not using any information booth because the booths as a whole were too busy.

Guests not accessing stalls due to busy-ness will negatively affect our park rating so I did what I could to ensure there were enough information booths, in addition to there being plenty of other stalls and facilities.

Considering that there are a total of twenty-three information booths they did perform at decent averages for customers, popularity, and satisfaction. Over the three seasons they made Vanguard nearly £5,000 in profit.

Originally the guest injection points were placed at the foot of the stairs on the south side of the park entrances. The blue lines illustrate the extent of the paths in that area at the time. The green arrow heads represent the previous locations of the guest injection points.

Image 02, My Projects, My Parks, Vanguard West Financial Report, Page 1

South of the guest injection points there was undeveloped terrain with there being no south monorail station, no south food court, no paths south of the guest injection points, and because the terraforming hadn’t yet been done, no South Slope.

Halfway through this park's development the paths were extended past these stairs towards the park’s south on the downhill side of the park entrances. This was done with a view towards the park being further developed in that area. Additional information booths were placed at the bottom of the stairs around the previous location of the guest injection points and alongside the newly added south food courts.

Image 03, My Projects, My Parks, Vanguard West Financial Report, Page 1

These additional booths are for guests who entered the park, took those stairs down to access the park, and utilized the additional attractions I had built there which included a newly built south station for Monorail. It was due to there being two monorail stations that four additional information booths were placed near the north monorail station for park guests who for whatever reason hadn’t used the information booths placed near the entrance area, had then boarded the monorail via the south station, and then exited at the north monorail station. The information booths near the north monorail station got used by a moderate number of guests.

Image 04, My Projects, My Parks, Vanguard West Financial Report, Page 1

As gamers we know that the value of our park and its attraction value to new guests will increase with each additional ride, coaster, stall, and other attraction we add. Our park’s value and attractiveness is also affected by the age, condition, statistics, and cost of those assets.

Added to this is any existing scenery within which there should be consistency in varying our theming. We also need to take care to maintain a good rating for our parks from which is subtracted for untidiness, crowdedness, unreliability and lack of safety. The happiness/unhappiness of other park guests, the rate at which new guests arrive at our park, and the reason the guests in our park are leaving are also important.

As your park progresses the game engine uses this information to calculate the maximum number of guests that your park can attract. When attendance at your park subsequently peaks based on the game engine’s calculation, your park has reached its maximum guest attraction level. This guest saturation level for Vanguard West is around 4,500 guests. Before I did this study, another time when playing this park (I returned to Season 1 Day 1) it peaked at around 4,600. Still another time (again returned to Season 1 Day 1) it peaked at 4,400. Because these figures represent the exact same park they are roughly the same but their slight differences confirm that the maximum guest attraction level is calculated many times during the park’s progress and can vary in the same park dependent on what’s going on in that park each time it is being played.

With popularity represented by the number of park guests who walk past the stall, facility, ride or track who actually stop and use the attraction, and satisfaction represented by the number of guests who return to an attraction, it is likely that suitable popularity and satisfaction levels also factor into the attractiveness of our park to guests.

Ordinarily I prefer creating all my park guests through Peep Factory but decided it best to let Vanguard West get on, as originally intended by Atari, with guests that are generated by the game.

Rides & Tracks

About half of the coasters in this park were built from scratch. Others found in Track Browser turned out to be suitable as a point of departure from which to start so as to make them suitable for the terrain and to complement the surrounding rides. These are the tracks I used from Track Browser:

The Juicer (H2O Slide Bowl),

Aqua Launcher (Master Blaster Slide),

Crossover (Body Slide),

Sea Wave (Ring Slide),

Jungle Cruise (Lazy River),

Caterpillar Racer (Junior Coaster (unlocked from Campaign scenario)),

Splash Down (Dinghy Slide),

Menace (Pipeline Coaster),

Tower of Steel (Rotating Tower Coaster),

Inferno Drop (Towering Coaster),

Speedway (Turbo Bikes (unlocked from Campaign scenario)),

Touchwood (Wooden Coaster).

As seems to be routine with the coaster designs Atari created for us in the Coaster Designs folder, all these coasters have had minor adjustments made to improve the Intensity rating (sometimes due to errors during their construction by the game developers) while a few (Pipeline Coaster, Wooden Coaster, and Lazy River) have had huge overhauls so they’d better integrate with and be more suitable for this park.

I intended to replace Launched Freefall with Sly Sling but overlooked doing that until after there wasn’t enough space left in that area of the park for me to make the switch.

Pool Complex

This is the most interesting pool complex that I’ve ever made - I’ve made bigger but this has more to it than any of my bigger pools. This is also the first pool complex where I’ve managed to integrate the decking for Lazy River into the Pool Complex decking.

Image 05, My Projects, My Parks, Vanguard West Financial Report, Page 1

There were four changing rooms for this pool arrangement, each with ten minute inspection times. Two mechanics were assigned to the Pool Shops Plaza along which were situated the changing rooms:

The pool slides & rides each come with EI&N readings in addition to their own levels of popularity and satisfaction so it is not known how these figures relate to the popularity and satisfaction levels of the pool itself, or of the changing rooms all four of which offered a popularity reading of 76, and satisfaction levels that ranged from 71 – 76. Whether or not there are pool rides & slides included in the pool complex the changing rooms do not come with any EI&N readings.

Included in this complex there is a single wave pool that is about 600 meters squared in which are eighteen wave machines. The wave height, length, and timings were all left at default settings.

Shops & Stalls

When the park was up and running to my satisfaction every stall had all the extras increased to maximum levels and price increases of 150%. The exceptions to the price increase are inflatables and maps which both seem to be sensitive to price increases and have only been increased by 125%. I hand out water for free from all drinks stalls in my parks. There is no reason that a guest who is thirsty and will be satisfied with a drink of water should have to pay for a drink.

I’m happy to provide my guests with free drinks of water because I do so from a stall already set up to provide other cold drinks to my park guests. In the long run it’s likely we’ve benefited from handing out free drinks of water. Doubtlessly, after having done this for a few months, hundreds of guests have walked around my park feeling slightly happier about their park visit because they'd enjoyed one or more "good value" drinks.

Although I have a liberal attitude towards handing out free cool drinks of water to my park guests I do charge for toilets, which are specialized facilities that serve a single function. Because each guest needs to get the impression they’re the first to use that facility on that day, toilets need to be frequently cleaned and maintained which requires cleansers & equipment and our staff need to be paid to do this so I do charge a token amount for the use of my toilets. I thought 50 pence would be too much to charge so I took that price down to the next pricing increment, 30 pence.

I like it best to have one balloon stall and to double the default balloon prices. In a park several years old I don't want all the paths awash in a sea of balloons, yet at 200% the default prices, just enough balloons are sold to make the park paths look festive when the park is full of guests. The balloons stall is the only stall in this park that has been marked up with a 200% price increase.

Just like inflatables and park maps, umbrellas are also sensitive to price increases, yet I've chosen to put their prices up by 150%. Just like the balloons, at those prices there are only enough umbrellas sold so that every time it rains the activity on my paths is not obliterated beneath a defense made up of thousands of umbrellas. Almost no one bought umbrellas when I tried pricing them at a 200% increase. Vanguard West has a Plains climate which means the rainfalls here are drier and shorter than they would be in, say, a Tropical climate. I prefer the Plains climate because in addition to seasonal fluctuations of invigoratingly cool to very warm, when it rains the rain can't actually be seen and it never gets dark, it only rains for a short time, and the umbrellas are only ever briefly on display.

I believe it unprincipled to up the price of umbrellas when it looks like rain. Ditto for raising the price of cool drinks when it gets hot, and raising the prices of hot drinks when it gets cold. This level of micromanagement will quickly make it tedious to run a park.

Besides balloons there are no other gift shop type items on sale in Vanguard West. Ordinarily I’d have sold postcards but I forgot to place any Souvenir shops. As for the other gift items I can’t tolerate offering them for sale in my parks because I can’t stand to see the guests wearing or carrying around all that cheap, trashy merchandise.

Popularity and Satisfaction were not monitored at any time during the three park Seasons. These readings have been extracted from the park data as it stood at the very start of Day 1 of Season 4. Because this park spent a considerable amount of time in development many of the stalls and attractions already had a history prior to this park being officially opened, therefore, the number of customers was recorded at Day 1 Season 1 (“A”), then again at Day 1 Season 4 (“B”), after which “B” was subtracted from “A” to get the true customer counts for the three seasons of this financial study.


When the park was ready to be opened to guests, with enough already on my plate to focus on for this study it was decided to flag DisableAutoAnimalInjection in Options.txt so there would be a minimum of animal breeding.

Because it isn’t possible to disable animal adoptions, at the last minute I decided I’d adjust the animal adoption fee from £1 to £5 for all new animal arrivals and also adjusted all the existing animal adoption fees in this same way. I wanted to see how well it was possible to do on adoption fees and to see how I got by without buying animals, selling animals or releasing them for publicity. To simplify matters animal enrichment items wouldn’t be used so that the “Other Animal Costs” row would remain blank. You’ll observe that I lost a few animal adopters during my first few months of operation in Season 1 because of my adoption fee increase.

The animals in Vanguard West remained in good health during our three-season run with all of them maintaining a health rating of 60% or better. I am pleased to report that none of them were removed by the Animal Protection Society. Because our mechanics were not stretched too thinly all the enclosure fences remained in good repair with no animals escaping.

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