|My UCES Notes|
Pull up a chair and relax. You've checked out the User Created Expansion Set (UCES), right? Good.
As you may know, I did a few UCES scenarios and collaborated on a few more. I've got some tales to tell about them. If you've played them, or plan to play them, you might enjoy the discussion.
First off, I need to say a word of thanks to all the object makers whose work appears in my scenarios. I am in awe and admiration of your skills. There's no way my scenarios could have been possible without your considerable talents.
If you've read the stories that accompany the scenarios, you know that they weave the scenarios together. This was experimental - to try to make a whole that is more than just adding up the pieces.
Was this idea a success? I'm not sure. I haven't seen much feedback yet. The only comment was about the "cheesy stories." This is not a promising indicator, but time will tell.
A more subtle experiment - nobody's caught on, so I'll reveal it here - was that some of the scenarios were intended to "match up" against original RCT2 scenarios.
Amity Airfield vs. Choo Choo Town
Both of these scenarios feature transportation themes. Both are four year, paid admission parks and have a goal to get a certain number of guests in the park. Both have scenery and paths that you can destroy for cash, if you want. Both have a lot of room to build.
Once you get past these similarities, differences emerge.
Amity is more cash-constrained, so the player can really benefit from demolishing the scenery.
In addition to having more cash, Choo Choo Town has those railroad lines. This will give the player a jump-start. The initial staff in Choo Choo Town is "fast staff," which will save the player a lot in staff wages for the first couple of years. These factors tend to make the game easier.
They have been balanced with other factors that make it harder. The goal in Choo Choo town is slightly higher. Choo Choo Town has four entrances. This makes the game play different than most scenarios as peeps are running all over the place from the start.
When you take the multiple entrances and the railroads into account, it means you can't start building the same way you do in most scenarios, starting small in one area and building out. Right from the start, Choo Choo Town will have you managing a very large, spread-out park.
Amity has a very limited ride selection. The intent is to make the game more difficult. I felt my park became repetitive when I played it.
Choo Choo Town uses gentle peeps, compared to the regular peeps of Amity. Every peep visiting Choo Choo Town is happy to ride the rails, which is helpful. However, it also means some care is needed to build gentle coasters to meet their tastes.
The biggest difference is the amount of detail provided to the landscape, and the potential each provides to build an attractive park.
All things considered, Amity is probably a bit more difficult to complete, but very unlikely to be attractive at the end. Choo Choo Town is no pushover - you'll have to work and make some good decisions to win the game. The big difference is that Choo Choo Town gives you a chance to make a very attractive park along the way. This was a major consideration for all the UCES scenarios.
Rocky Mountain Miners vs. Ghost Town
Rocky Mountain Miners was a collaboration among Squid, buckone and I. Here we compare two scenarios that are intended for coaster builders. They both require that you build ten coasters of a certain length with an excitement rating of 7.0 or above. Both require very long coasters, with Ghost Town's length set a notch higher.
Both scenarios use a Western theme. Ghost Town is strictly "Wild West," while Rocky Mountain Miners gives you mining with some farming for good measure.
Finally, both scenarios are pay-per-ride. You should be able to generate lots of cash by the end of the game with either one.
A similar overall strategy can be adopted successfully in both games. You may wish to initially build a small, profitable park and not concern yourself about reaching the goal. Once the cash is rolling in, you can then turn your attention to winning the game.
Here the similarities end. Ghost Town's park is half the size of Rocky Mountain Miners. In addition, Rocky Mountain Miners lets you purchase additional land.
In Ghost Town a basic gaming idea is squeezing in a lot of coasters into a tight space. This is an idea that was beaten to death in RCT1. I did not find it original or compelling here.
Since Rocky Mountain Miners is so large, there is no need to squeeze your coasters together. You can let them flow over the mountainside.
Rocky Mountain Miners also poses some initial challenges. There is the matter of the railroad that was damaged by a rockslide, and the unfinished Trolley. There is more than one way to overcome these. We were pleased that play testers made different choices. This means that players can approach the problems posed in different ways and start creating unique parks right from the start.
The mountain in Rocky Mountain Miners is the dominant feature on the landscape. Coaster builders will, I believe, find it interesting and fun to integrate coasters into a challenging and detailed landscape.
The additional space in Rocky Mountain Miners is somewhat balance by the more challenging terrain. Ghost Town is probably more difficult to complete because of the space constraints. But you pay a price for the "bonus" of additional difficulty.
At the end, Ghost Town will have a park that is not nearly as attractive as the UCES counterpart. Most players' Ghost Towns will be a jumble of twisted, metal spaghetti. If well played, Rocky Mountain Miners should be an attractive park worth revisiting.
Extreme Heights vs. Dragon Islands
These parks both use "extreme" peeps - guests that prefer attractions with intensity 9.0 or above. Both start with a large coaster. The similarities end there. Dragon Islands is the "Anti-Extreme Heights."
I found Extreme Heights to be tedious. It is a huge, almost featureless park. Since it is a no-money scenario, it can be flattened, so there is no advantage to wrestling with the landscape. The high goal, 4500 peeps, means that the game takes a long time to play. I flattened a piece of the park, built a coaster, and repeated this process ad infinitum.
Dragon Islands is a relatively small, quick scenario. Play three years and it's over. A lot of detail has been built in. The scenario uses Midwest Boy's new backdrop scenery and stone slab/castle theming and paths. A nice brick path by BladeX, Tom2549's fire theme, Amazing Earl's dragons, Kaffe's rusty roofs, plus the standard jungle theme round out the featured scenery items. Together, they give the scenario a somewhat eerie, tropical island feel, and really set the scene.
Just be careful of The Dragon - sometimes dragons can be dangerous!
I hope that players who were worn out by Extreme Heights will feel refreshed
and invigorated from a tropical vacation at Dragon Islands.