I might get into PC finally.. any advice?

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Offline Elch

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I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« on: October 20, 2018, 01:47 PM »
While I still have a lot of plans for RCT3, and will surely keep playing it for at least another year, I finally consider getting into Planet Coaster parallelly.
I made my very first steps with it back in 2016, and haven't touched the game since.
My goal is to first see if my computer can handle the game, playing around a bit, and eventually getting more content and attempting my first small project.

What are some advices you can give me when I just get started again, besides looking at tutorials? What are some of the biggest complaints about PC, so that I know in advance that it's not me but a quirk of the game? Any do's and don'ts to keep in mind as a beginner? And what other content to get first after the update?

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Offline Bullethead

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Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2018, 02:41 PM »
...
My goal is to first see if my computer can handle the game, playing around a bit, and eventually getting more content and attempting my first small project....

Most computers with reasonably decent vidcards can handle an astronomically high number of scenery parts, BY THEMSELVES, no problem.  What bogs things down is all the separate AI threads for each group of peeps.  The more peeps you have, the more CPU load until eventually this starts impacting FPS, even if your vidcard/GPU still has spare capacity.  Peep numbers, not visuals, is what you need to test your computer with.

What I recommend is that you download some reasonably fancy but CLOSED park (most parks on Workshop these days are closed).  You might start with the recent summer contest parks.  See how your vidcard handles that much scenery.  Then open the park, set the max # of peeps to 1000, and see what happens once you get that many.  If things are still smooth, increase the peeps to 2000, etc.  Then try a more intricate park and do the same thing.  This will let you know where you stand hardware-wise.

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What are some advices you can give me when I just get started again, besides looking at tutorials? What are some of the biggest complaints about PC, so that I know in advance that it's not me but a quirk of the game? Any do's and don'ts to keep in mind as a beginner? And what other content to get first after the update?

The main complaints with PC are from folks who continually whine that it doesn't have feature X or that feature Y should be done totally different, rather than enjoy the great game they've got.  Lots of folks watch the hole instead of the donut.

That said, PC as it stands has a number of annoying limitations that you have to work around or accommodate.  The big ones that trouble me are:

1.  Minimum gridded wall width is 4m, EXCEPT from some very tall, nearly useless-except-for-the-Alamo 1mj-wide adobe bits from the recent WF DLC.  The good news is, the Spooky and Studios DLCs included a bunch of thin panels of 1m and 2m widths that you can use as the base for making a custom wall to fill such gaps, so this doesn't bother me nearly as much now.

2.  Most PC scenery items, especially those in the base game, are WAY over-sized for the peeps.  Doors, windows, props, etc., all due to the 4m height of most wall pieces.  And of course all the shops are 4m tall, too.  The last few DLCs have provided some smaller-scale stuff and its possible to work around most of the rest.  Still, it's a bit of a bother to make anything life-size.

3.  Coaster stations are built on a 4m grid and you can't change anything but their length, which is a function of how many cars the coaster train has.  You can't change the width at all, nor can you change the station length by less than 4m at a time.  This causes issues when trying to make life-size, compact/portable coasters.  But with enough whiskey and swearing, you can get the job done despite this.

4.  Coaster track banks have hard breaks at track segment joints.  Thus, it's quite difficult to hand-build smooth heartline rolls without using MANY very short track segments each banked a little, instead of longer segments each banked 90^.  If you use the longer segments, there's a jerk at each 90^.  There are still the same jerks at the joints of the shorter segments, but they're not nearly as noticeable because there's not as much bank change going on between segments.

PC coaster friction is considerably higher than real life so it used to be nearly impossible to make a life-size coaster replica because the trains would run out of steam before reaching the station.  There were many complaints about that.  So a few updates ago, we got a slider for each coaster that you can adjust to change the friction.  This has finally made it possible to make life-size coasters, especially the small, portable ones.
-Bullethead
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Offline wabigbear

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Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 07:26 AM »
Frontier released PC with basically no instructions, and while some of the controls are pretty intuitive, others certainly are not, so just starting off in the game can be rather daunting.  As you already know there's a number of tutorials that cover the basics, there's also some handy helps like a pdf with a list of most of the controls that helps get you started, I believe there a link here at sgw.

For myself, when it came to building structures, I think downloading a few from the Workshop in a style/theme you like and then taking a look at how they were build helped a lot as well. 

With your considerable skills in RCT you'll do great in PC, looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 08:20 AM »
Always enjoyed your RCT3 work, Elch.  It will translate well here because there are a lot of similarities.  In a lot of ways PC is just a more versatile version of RCT3, with some of the same limitations, and a few key features still missing.  They make up for it in other ways and I think overall your build time in PC will end up faster, and the end results can be even more stunning.

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Offline Elch

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Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 04:28 AM »
Thank you all for your replies!

What I recommend is that you download some reasonably fancy but CLOSED park (most parks on Workshop these days are closed).  You might start with the recent summer contest parks.  See how your vidcard handles that much scenery.  Then open the park, set the max # of peeps to 1000, and see what happens once you get that many.  If things are still smooth, increase the peeps to 2000, etc.  Then try a more intricate park and do the same thing.  This will let you know where you stand hardware-wise.

I did this. I went to the steam workshop and was shocked how many parks there are.. coming from RCT3 and only seeing what people showed on SGW, this amount was quite a surprise. So, I just randomly picked some that seemed both interesting and not too large. MKP Festival and MKP Columbus World by Nimzhul, and PortAventura by alfatm. Maybe these are already considered "large", dunno, but at least MKP Festival had "medium size" in the description.
I started with Columbus World, but instantly saw that my computer can't handle it even in closed state. It was more lagging than running.
PortAventura was going okayish, just kinda slow... and with 1000 peeps in, it was still working.
MKP Festival worked the best of the three (and what a spectacular park it is), 1000 peeps in and still quite smooth, but it felt like the computer starts to get problems around 1750 peeps.

So, I think my computer can handle what I want to do. I don't think I will build huge hi-end parks with 10.000 peeps. As long as I can do small or mid-sized parks in sandbox with just 1000 peeps in, I'm fine.

I'm on a Windows 7 computer from 2009... some more specs:

Intel core i7 920 @ 2.67 GHz
6 GB RAM
nvidia GeForce GTX 660 (2048 MB memory)

So, I don't exactly meet the system requirements stated on the official website. But so far it works... just my fans get loud very quickly.


Frontier released PC with basically no instructions, and while some of the controls are pretty intuitive, others certainly are not, so just starting off in the game can be rather daunting.  As you already know there's a number of tutorials that cover the basics, there's also some handy helps like a pdf with a list of most of the controls that helps get you started, I believe there a link here at sgw.

For myself, when it came to building structures, I think downloading a few from the Workshop in a style/theme you like and then taking a look at how they were build helped a lot as well. 

With your considerable skills in RCT you'll do great in PC, looking forward to seeing what you come up with!


Thank you wabigbear :) I printed out the controls, but I guess it will take time to get used to everything. I still have to download and inspect a structure from the workshop, that's a great advice!

Always enjoyed your RCT3 work, Elch.  It will translate well here because there are a lot of similarities.  In a lot of ways PC is just a more versatile version of RCT3, with some of the same limitations, and a few key features still missing.  They make up for it in other ways and I think overall your build time in PC will end up faster, and the end results can be even more stunning.

Thanks JPAlmighT  :blush: I hope I can achieve what I have on my mind / on paper. Without a grid it's a totally new workflow to translate a park layout from paper to in-game, but many things indeed remind me of RCT3 in a good way.

Some more notes and questions:

I started to work on a test-park and I really, really like it so far, and I think I will show PC parks in the future on SGW. Right now I'm working on a small test park, and might even start a WIP thread about it this weekend. I think I have never done WIP threads with RCT3, but I guess it's a good way to have the community seeing what I'm doing wrong, and helping me getting into the game and understanding it a bit better.

The biggest flaw that I see in Planet Coaster at the moment is the lack of classic rides, especially flatrides. Most of the rides in the game at the moment are for big parks in the modern age, with a focus on thrill. But building a small, low-budget, family owned European park with a 1970s setting, that's quite not possible yet. I am trying my best to do it anyway. :)

Now some remaining questions:

Is there any way to display coordinates or a "grid" to layout your park like you've drawn it on paper? Right now I just placed posts as markers to outline my park and refer to that, but not sure if there's a more convenient method?

Any recommended graphics or other settings?

Is there no park overview like the map tool in RCT3?

What about custom supporting, I always hate to do that in RCT3.. are people doing that too in PC or are the in-game supports good enough? Asking because I'm not a rollercoasters tech expert.

Any essential downloads from the workshop that you can recommend?

Is there any way to copy colours from one piece to another?

I am sure a lot more questions will pop up in my brain along my way into PC, but so far that's all... and I would be very thankful if you could help with one or the other above mentioned things. Especially transferring multiple colours from one item to another is annoying me right now, hope there's a more comfortable way to do it. :)

Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2018, 05:37 AM »
Things I do, other people will probably have better ways:

To copy colors, click on something that has the color you want and then click on the color.  It should show up as your most recently used color now.  Then go to what you want to change and apply it.  You can select multiple pieces at once to recolor as long as they are the same piece (or sometimes, from the same set).  Sometimes when clicking on a ride color I find that it won't save it to my recently used, so I just nudge the hue slightly to make it a bit different and then it will show up.  RCT3 does have some superior tools in this regard, unfortunately.

I tend to only do custom supports to fill in gaps created by tracks or paths underneath my ride.  The in-game supports are graphically much better than RCT3, and if you do want to go custom, they've given you most of the pieces you need.  And the ability to use advanced move to put things where you want them is a functionality that exceeds RCT greatly.  But yeah, just like that other game, people who know what they're doing will go entirely custom.  The results are great if you're into that level of detail and you have a lot of time to kill :P

You're right that there is a great lack of classic rides at the moment.  If you're ok with rides not being functional, almost anything you can imagine has already been built on the workshop and some of them are so good they look like real rides from the game.  The "essential" workshop downloads are whatever you need at the moment that you don't know how to build yourself using the in-game parts; just search for it.  Using those items and figuring out how they were made will help you learn how to make your own stuff.

That didn't answer all your questions but hopefully helped at least a little.


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Offline Bullethead

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Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2018, 04:20 PM »
Glad you're happy with your computer.  It would be expensive if you weren't :).  BTW, I love all 3 parks you tested, all of which I consider "highly intricate" as in involving a ridiculously high number of scenery parts, but that's what great art requires.  Glad I'm not an artist ;).

The biggest flaw that I see in Planet Coaster at the moment is the lack of classic rides, especially flatrides. Most of the rides in the game at the moment are for big parks in the modern age, with a focus on thrill. But building a small, low-budget, family owned European park with a 1970s setting, that's quite not possible yet. I am trying my best to do it anyway. :)

Yup, this is often complained of.  The big hope is that now that TMT is coming out, Frontier's further efforts (if any) will be devoted to making rides.

It's possible in many cases to make life-size compact coasters (down to minimum of about 24m x 40m footprint due to not having narrow-gauge coasters) with a fair bit of whiskey and much blaspheming but, for the flat rides the game doesn't have, you're pretty much limited to building fakes.  There's a whole industry devoted to making fake rides (big and kiddie); most folks have made a few so there are plenty on the Workshop.  However, you can't have a working park with nothing but fake, static "rides" in it so this only goes so far.

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Is there any way to display coordinates or a "grid" to layout your park like you've drawn it on paper? Right now I just placed posts as markers to outline my park and refer to that, but not sure if there's a more convenient method?

Nope, that's what we all do.

The use of gridded columns as markers is actually quite useful in many aspects of creating buildings where you want to space multiple copies of the same non-gridded assembly evenly along the building's grid.  For each such wad of non-gridded parts, stick a gridded post next to it, then select that post along with the non-gridded parts.  Then repeatedly copy the lot along the grid and finally go back and delete all the gridded columns. 

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Any recommended graphics or other settings?

Always set everything as high as your computer can stand.

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Is there no park overview like the map tool in RCT3?

I never played RCT-anything but in PC, the only way to get a map of your park is to put the camera overhead and look down.

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What about custom supporting, I always hate to do that in RCT3.. are people doing that too in PC or are the in-game supports good enough? Asking because I'm not a rollercoasters tech expert.

It really depends on what you want the coaster to look like.  The in-game supports work pretty well for the most part but have several limitations.  The main ones are:
*  All wooden coasters and hybrids use the modern "toothpick" boards instead of old-school heavy timbers.  There's no ability to switch to anything else provided by the game.  This might not be the look you want.
*  All steel coasters use widely spaced round pipes of fairly small diameter.  There's no option to switch to anything else provided by the game.  This might not be the look you want.
*  The steel supports for in-game track elements like loops and rolls generally don't resemble anything in the real world.
*  When you put 1 section of track near (vertically or horizontally) to another, often 1 or both of those sections' in-game supports will be deleted.  This results in gaps you have to fill with custom supports.

So, if you're not making a replica of any specific real coaster, or saying your custom track design in your imaginary park was actually made by a real company at a particular point in time, the custom supports work OK, although you'll probably have to fill a few gaps where different parts of the track come close together.  And you might just take offense at the way the in-game supports do loops and corkscrews and prefer to do your own thing for those elements.  In which case, you just turn off supports for those elements and build your own.

If you ARE making a replica, or want to replicate the style of a certain make/model of coaster whose real-life supports don't match what the game gives you, then you have to build your own supports.  This got MUCH easier in the 1.7 update when Frontier gave us a whole arsenal of custom support parts.  No more making them out of art shapes.  However, these are all for steel coasters, no heavy timbers for custom wooden supports yet.  Still, these parts are VERY useful for MANY purposes besides supporting coasters.  I've made entire bridges and buildings out of them :).

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Any essential downloads from the workshop that you can recommend?

I recommend you avoid my crap like the plague :)

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Is there any way to copy colours from one piece to another?

Yup.  Just click on the color box you want to copy and it will show you a text box with a 6-digit hex number.  Click on that text box, select all the digits, and hit CTRL-C.  Then select the part you want to repaint that color, open its color box, click on the text box, and hit CTRL-V.
-Bullethead
NIHIL INIQVIVS QVAM ÆQVITATEM NIMIS INTENDERE
My Steam Workshop page

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Offline Elch

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Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 03:56 PM »
Thank you JPAlmighT and Bullethead :)
Lots of great advice there.

I was just wondering.. are you guys building fences all around your parks? A park like the one I'm currently working on would require a fence in real life, but that's one huge headache to do with non-even terrain... (again, RCT3-spoilt)

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Offline Bullethead

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Re: I might get into PC finally.. any advice?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2018, 04:47 PM »
I was just wondering.. are you guys building fences all around your parks? A park like the one I'm currently working on would require a fence in real life, but that's one huge headache to do with non-even terrain... (again, RCT3-spoilt)

For me, it depends on how far out from the edge of the park I build stuff.  If I'm going to the trouble of building a detailed parking lot and even a street or 2 of city buildings adjacent to the park, then yeah, I'll put a fence, wall, or hedge along at least those sides.  Such a thing is part of that level of realism.  If I don't build those external things, however, then why build a perimeter fence? 

I don't even put fences around all my rides. sometimes just long flowerbeds.  I figure if peeps and/or staff are too stupid to stay out of dangerous places, who am I to deny Darwin his due?  I'm only really concerned with funneling everybody through the ticket booth so I can get their money, and keeping out those trying to sneak in.  Unfortunately, we don't have minefields or razor wire so my options there are limited :)

-Bullethead
NIHIL INIQVIVS QVAM ÆQVITATEM NIMIS INTENDERE
My Steam Workshop page