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Why I’m So Excited About Planet Coaster

Frontier Development’s massive upcoming theme park simulation game, Planet Coaster, has been in Alpha for several months now, and will finally be released for Windows PC on Nov. 17.

With 20+ types of roller coasters, dozens of flat rides, shops, modular building, and lots of other basic and advanced features, the game is already on many gamers must-buy list. But it’s Planet Coaster’s attention to detail that really makes the game stand out-and leads to player creations like this Hogwarts-themed park.

Planet Coaster

And this sci-fi-themed one:

and these:

And unlike some games that have failed to deliver on their lofty pre-release promises, many of Frontier’s promised features have already been introduced and tested by players during the Alpha. It also works much better than its famous competitor, RollerCoaster Tycoon World, which has been plagued with technical and design problems since it’s launch into Early Access earlier this year.

Here are just a few of the small things about the game that have me counting down the days to its release.

Blueprints can be created, customized and added to the Steam Workshop in only a few clicks

Frontier has made it so easy share you creations with other players (via “blueprints” that are created, shared and accessed in-game) that even those who’ve never created a mod in their life are likely to want to do so in Planet Coaster. The game also offers you the ability to tag your blueprints, customize their thumbnails, and add short descriptions.

You can already see some early creations in Planet Coaster’s Steam Workshop, like this blueprint for a Main St. corner shop:

As someone who isn’t particularly great at creating roller coasters, I’m especially looking forward to nabbing some made by other players-like this monstrosity:

Guests dance when they hear music

Most theme park games include entertainers and attractions, but don’t actually show guests physically reacting to them. Planet Coaster’s guests, on the other hand, will put a little shimmy or bounce in their step as they walk past a band or musical entertainer.

They’ll also hold hands and interact with each other as they walk.

These little touches really help make your park feel alive.

You can create priority queues for rides (i.e. FastPass lanes)

The game’s version of Disney’s FastPass is called “Priority Pass”, and the ability to create special paths just for this makes the game even more realistic.

No more ugly paths

Most theme park games offer a variety of texture options for paths, but they rarely blend in well with the environment. In Planet Coaster, your pathways can fit right in with the terrain, so you can keep your park immersive.

Lighting is effected by terrain

So, for example, lighting that’s placed inside terrain displays differently than if it was placed outside of it-see an example in this video.

This video provides another showcase of how detailed the game’s lighting effects are.

“Dark rides”-rides with lots of enclosed space that are dark inside even during the daylight, like, say, Disney’s Haunted Mansion or Space Mountain-still aren’t in the game, but Frontier’s game devs say they are working on it.

The guests have their own language called Planco

With its own words and syntax! So the reactions guests have to your amazing rides and creations sound like more than just a few phrases of gibberish on repeat. This dev diary explains more about it (at 7 minutes and 30 seconds in), as well as the attention paid to other sounds in the game.

There are terrific sound effects for pretty much everything in the game (and the soundtrack is awesome, too).

“The audio for roller coaster and rides is something we’re really pushing from a technology POV,” Lead Artist Sam Denney explained in a recent Reddit AMA. “We are looking into individual track elements and parts to ensure they sound totally convincing…. We have broken down the [roller coaster] cars into their component parts and looked at emulating how the coupling will sound under braking and how the wheels transfer when the weight shifts and when they are under light and intense G-forces, plus much more. The physics of the coaster will play a big part in how we reproduce the sounds too.”

You can create floating islands

Yes, really.

Is is November yet?!

Sarah Warn is the Editor-in-Chief of remeshed.com and an avid player of console and PC games of all kinds. She was previously the founder and EIC of AfterEllen.com, and online editorial director for MTV Networks. Follow Sarah on Twitter.
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Sarah Warn is the Editor-in-Chief of remeshed.com and an avid player of console and PC games of all kinds. She was previously the founder and EIC of AfterEllen.com, and online editorial director for MTV Networks. Follow Sarah on Twitter.

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