I keep stumbling into people who would never declare themselves gamers but who nonetheless have hours of happy memories of making people hurl on RollerCoaster Tycoon (opens in new tab). Tormenting ordinary citizens and making them pay for the privilege is, apparently, a universal pleasure. Frontier is rennovating that thrill ride with Planet Coaster (opens in new tab), for the modern entertainment tycoon. Previously the team have shared how they simulate every visitor (opens in new tab), and now they're back to talk about building tools and showing off (and with these building tools, I'd want to show off).
In the Minecraft era, connecting up pre-fab sections of track was never going to cut it, but even so I'm impressed by the extent of the metalworking you can undertake. Tracks can be stretched, twisted and bent through a simple UI, adding a real personal touch to coasters that torment their riders for 210 days at a time (opens in new tab). You can tunnel through solid rock, too, Planet Coaster taking care of the manual labour. For the trickier stuff, like cobra rolls and loops, you drop one in from the library and deform it to your satisfaction.
Naturally, the video also addresses how to extract the most money from your esteemed guests: if you want to scalp them on theme park tat, you'll be responsible for decorating the gift shop and surroundings. Be still my micro-managing heart.
Sharing in Planet Coaster is hard-wired. You can pop into another theme park on a whim, copy people's rides and tweak them for use in your own venture. Sensible stuff, if you ask me—the RollerCoaster Tycoon subreddit is still flourishing over a decade (opens in new tab) since the last PC release.
"That's not just making a bit of curious artwork," art director John Laws says. "That's actually making something that is purely yours, it excites the community, and it actually feeds back into gameplay."
Planet Coaster looks gorgeous, intuitive and alarmingly comprehensive. It's due this year.