User-Generated Content (UGC) has kept the RCT community thriving for years.
Previous games had thousands of custom pieces that users could choose from, giving players the ability to customize their parks in almost any way they liked. This was even more impressive when you consider the fact that none of these games had built-in support for UGC.
With the upcoming release of RollerCoaster Tycoon World, that all changes. We designed the game from the ground up to support your creativity, with native UGC as the centerpiece of this new game. It’s the only way to truly allow unlimited freedom and customization. We believe this is one of the most exciting developments in the history of the franchise. It was a core architecture decision early on in development, and one we’re extremely excited about.
So, without further ado, here is a short video showing you some of the power of UGC in RollerCoaster Tycoon World. One quick note before watching – the video taken is from an in-progress development build. The game is currently being optimized and the frame rates are being improved.
As you just saw, we have created a system that is custom-tailored to both the UGC “Creators” and the UGC “Users.” Let’s focus on the UGC Creators first.
Our UGC system takes advantage of the game engine that powers RCTW – Unity. Unity 5 already natively supports a wide variety of 3D editing programs. This allows creators to use any of these editing programs to make their models, animated objects, and more. We made this a key architecture decision for the design of our UGC system, instead of creating our own proprietary editing tools. Once you have created your model, you simply load it into Unity 5. There, you use our custom-made Unity Plugin that packages it into something that can be used in the game. Lastly, with the click of the export button, it’s brought live into the game. All of this works today and will be available at launch.
Any piece of UGC content you make will, at your discretion, be available to share with the entire RCTW community through the Steam Workshop, or directly with friends. Any coaster or park you build can be shared with other players through our in-game UGC hub. This means that if you build an awesome coaster, you can simply click a button to create a blueprint and place it on the Steam Workshop for all to use. You can also do the same with entire parks.
It’s also worth mentioning that UGC can be created in-game and doesn’t have to be limited to custom 3D models.
Want to use the creative power of the community without making your own UGC? We have built a beautiful UI and easy system to allow you to seamlessly interact with UGC assets uploaded by the community. The game utilizes all of the great APIs Steam has to offer. This allows you to go to the Steam Workshop, select any asset, and place it directly into the game.
UGC is integrated seamlessly into the RCTW experience. The exact same building and placement tools that work for other models in the game are available for UGC. Every single scenery object imported into the game can be manipulated like any in-game object, rotated, snapped to a grid, and more. We’ve also allowed for UGC to be moved up and down in vertical space – without stilts forming under it. This means that if you want to import a cool UGC blimp and have it hover above your park displaying an ad for your next awesome ride – you can.
You never have to leave the game to use UGC – it works just like any other in-game asset. This was important for us since we wanted to lower the barrier to using custom content in RCTW. We also took the casual user into mind – our saved game sharing feature allows you to see your Steam friends and visit their parks with the click of a button to see what they were up to.
This is only the beginning. The system we built can be endlessly expanded as needed. At launch, we are going to support custom static and animated scenery. So whether you want to place a cool castle in the game, a new type of tree, a Tiki idol, a rocket ship, or a whole volcano – you can! We have been testing the game with a number of different types of UGC assets and we are already seeing content being made by the team that we didn’t think would be possible. Even more exciting are the ways that our testers are mixing UGC with in-game content. We recently saw a UGC castle made with passageways and tunnels big enough to fit an entire coaster inside. This is possible.
So where do we go from here? We are making the final tests to ensure you don’t need collision boxes with UGC. It will allow you to place objects almost anywhere in the game and build entire unique parks and environments with them – animated or static. This too will be at launch, and is the foundation of our eventual darkride system.
UGC is also being utilized as the foundation for our Piece-by-Piece Custom Structure System. We know that not everyone will want to play with a 3D editing program or use custom content from the Steam Workshop, and we know a lot of you just want to be able to build cool things in the game. Now imagine the possibilities if we take the idea of Piece-by-Piece and mix it with UGC! This feature IS coming – but will be post-launch. We need to make sure we have the foundation of this UGC system just right, and validated by the community, before we start working on expansions to it.
We are excited and we hope you are too! UGC will give RollerCoaster Tycoon World, and you, an endless well of creativity to draw from. It’s the foundation for a bright future for the franchise, and we can’t wait to see what you create!
Our next blog will be about the schedule and the launch date. See you soon!
Discussion of this blog post can be found here.