||Welcome back to the “Room with a View Doctor J, it,
as always is a privilege and an honor to have you drop by!
||The pleasure is all mine Boomer, thank you for inviting me.
||Since this isn’t a waiting “Room” we might
as well just put on the gloves and get right to it. Have you bought
and played RCT3-D yet?
||Yes, I bought the game shortly after it was released. Unfortunately,
I had very little chance to play it until just recently. Now I've played
a couple of scenarios and built a couple of simple coasters.
||Even the simple stuff like simple coasters and rides can be
tough at first until you get the time to figure the game controls out
completely, but from what little time you had at first for it what do
you think of it so far from what you have played?
||The basic game is very similar to the previous versions with
most of the same underlying data structures. The 3D aspect of the game
is quite a difference, of course. The diversity and activities of individual
peeps in the game is quite entertaining. The fully 3D nature of the
game brings some good and bad points. Among the bad points are that
it is more difficult to move around and build things. The quality of
any given frame will be much lower than one made of images which are
all edited at the pixel level to near perfection. The curved tracks
are painfully obvious straight segments spliced together, for example.
But that’s a necessary compromise in order for the game to work
at all. The "career" scheme allows multiple members of a household
to keep their own progress separate from each other. That was sorely
missing from earlier versions of RCT. (I had made a program to implement
such a feature for RCT1 but it was never finished.) The inclusion of
a "sandbox" mode is utter bliss! Some more bad points: the
peeps still walk by a restroom while complaining that they need a restroom;
peeps cannot find their way out of a ride exit even though it is just
a few tiles (with one-way signs to tell their thick heads which way
to go!); the ride friction/physics were modified from the earlier versions
of RCT. But honestly, the biggest problem I have with RCT3 is that I
keep spending most of my time riding the rides rather than building
||You and me both! Ride the rides, has been one of the coolest
features in RCT3 that they have made yet, at least I think so. Riding
RCT 3-D rides is the next best thing to being there. Weren't you working
on a RCT 3-D project at one time Doctor J?
||Back when there were only vague rumors about a sequel, and
pretty reliable rumors that Chris Sawyer would not be working on sequel,
I wanted to start working on an isometric/3D game in the same general
layout as RCT. I had some ideas about the 3D aspect of the game, but
I planned to start with an isometric game first. Alas, reality raised
its ugly head and I ended up working very hard for all of 2004. I never
got to do more than start on a description of isometric tiling at the
web site. This is still currently available at www.jjhdnd.com
||Man, to me Chris Sawyer was the genius behind RCT. He gave
birth to that RCT baby and I wish he was still nursing it. Besides the
project at your RCT3D site have you been working on any other computer
gaming projects or does your practice keep you away from the RCT computer
stuff these days?
||I've cut out some of my workload - so I can sleep on occasion
and even start to have a life again. I did buy Sawyer's Locomotion when
it came out. I played it a little and started to look at the dat files
(which are similar to RCT2's). Josef Drexler was already doing a lot
of work on that. However, I quickly became overwhelmed with work again
and have not touched that game for several months.
||Sleep? When did you start enjoying that luxury? (laughing)
And living life again too? My you are moving up in this world doctor.
Good for you! Speaking of moving up, RCT 3 takes us to a whole other
dimension than the previous RCT games did, do you think there may be
a way for the RCT community to create user made fixes, trainers and
utilities for RCT3 like in RCT 1 and 2 or does the 3-D engine and format
make it too difficult to work with?
||The fully 3-D game will be harder to work with, but not excessively
so. The more important point is that Atari is not as antagonistic against
the fan community as the former publishers were.
||Yes that is true! And it seems to be getting better and better
all the time. At least they are taking us serious now and trying to
put out what we want. You have been a HUGE help to this community in
the past, your utilities and help in RCT1 & 2 were extremely helpful
for players across the community. Your other site the Tech. info depot
found at http://www.strategyplanet.com/rctuk/tid/ is still up and helping
all the new players coming into the RCT world. That being said, will
you be able to find the time to tear apart and examine RCT3 and continue
to provide advice and input into making this game even better as you
did in the past or should we just be grateful for what we have from
you and go with that?
||Well, we live in a world of "what have you done for me
lately?" so I don't expect any tributes based on past efforts.
I hope to be able to work on the new files and perhaps create some utilities
for the game to enhance the playing experience. But I also hasten to
point out that others have made (and will make) important contributions
to the public knowledge base which will be essential to any utility
creation. Henry, Josef, Jonathon and others were part of the collective
||What a selfless effort that was too! I interviewed Josef a
long time ago when he first came out with a much needed patch for the
original RCT.. Josef Drexler made a patch for RCT 1 that was used by
everybody and still is to this day by those who still play it. This
was made by a private user, outside the corporate realms of big game
developers. Can you see any possibility of that happening in RCT3 where
bug patches are desperately needed or do the dynamics of the programming
and game make that un-feasible by private users?
||To clarify, Drexler's patch did not contain any bug fixes.
It reset some flags which overcame the anti-cheat code which was added
into the game after player utilities were created. All indications are
that Atari will not add such fan-hateful code. In fact, at this point,
Atari is doing a better than average job of addressing bugs and releasing
patches. Unless you take the position that they should have worked on
the bugs before releasing the game.
||(winks) What and miss out on all that free public Beta testing?
Can we expect to see a Doctor J 3-D park somewhere down the line or
does your medical practice take up too much of your time to play RCT
||My park making efforts are usually directed at testing the
mechanics of the game rather than making an aesthetically pleasing park.
I'll leave the job of making nice parks up to the folks with more artistic
||Well I know that doesn’t include me. My talents are
best left to other areas. There is however very much tech. talent around
now days. What would your advice be to these talented number and pixel
cruncher peeps who want to try to develop any bug fixes or trainer utilities
for RCT 3-D?
||Bug fixes are best done by the publisher - but be quick to
point out bugs to them! As for trainers and utilities ... by all means,
go for it! If you can think of a way to make the game more fun for most
(or just some) folks, then it is worth doing.
||Agreed, after all that’s we bought the game for, the
sheer fun of it! After an absence of some time members have noticed
you are starting to make post again in RCT forums, can we expect to
hear more from you in the forums in the future?
||Oh yes. I really want to have more leisure time. I expect
to be spending more time on RCT3 and perhaps Locomotion as well.
||And I would think you deserve more leisure time with the long
hours you have put into your medical practice over the past years.
Doctor J, in your opinion, what was the best way to handle the development
of RCT3-D, in a way like RCT 1 and 2 were developed, with a very small
staff headed by Chris Sawyer himself; or like RCT3 where a very large
staff and firm was used to develop the game with Chris just overseeing
some of the more minor aspects of the game?
||Atari has made a corporate decision to develop only true 3D
games. This is a reasonable decision considering the various markets
they are in. The computer game industry has found that development is
best done in a very structured manner by a sizable team with distinct
talents grouped accordingly. The industry has also found that the top
game creators are best allowed to work with considerable freedom until
they have developed their ideas into a rough form (after which a large
team is assigned to complete the game). Atari followed the most successful
business model for the game's development and ... well ... it was successful.
It’s hard to argue with success.
||Successful in the distribution, that’s for sure, I’m
not so sure, due to the amount of bugs at release, that the timing was
right. Did Atari handle the timing of distribution of RCT3 very well
in your opinion?
||It’s always desirable to release an "anticipated"
game at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It seems that
they rushed the game a bit. Some of the features added with the first
patch really should have been in the game to start with. On the other
hand, Atari stock doubled in value since RCT3 was released so maybe
they did know what they were doing.
||Like you said, you can’t argue with success and its
looking like at this point that the promising looking Expansion pack
called Cape Typhoon... get Soaked, is going to be a success, what do
you think this new expansion should have in it that's missing from RCT3?
||I would like to see it ship with an SDK with complete file
formats, object editor, etc. But I'll settle for more rides and scenery
||Well IF someone over at Atari or Frontier happens to read
this, knowing the good name of Doctor J in the community, perhaps they
will at least grant some of your wishes. I hear your pager going off
and your cell phone ringing and know you are busy and I need to let
you go. So I will, but thank you so much for taking the time to drop
by MY waiting room and getting us all back up to speed on the life and
times of Dr. James Hughes, the famous Doctor J.
||I don’t know about famous, but thank you Boomer for
the kind words and inviting me into your “Room” It truly
does have a nice view.
The Doctor has left the house! Boomer had typed up his E-View, turned off
the computer and with one last look at the view out the window, turned out
the light and shut the door.
About halfway down the hallway he heard strange sounds coming from the locked
up “Room With a View”. Curiously he walked back to the room
wondering what was going on. Sirens were blaring and alternating flashes
of red and blue light could be seen in the crack under the door. “Is
there a doctor in the house?“ said Boomer softly to himself as he
slid the key into the lock and pushed the door open and turned on the light.
Nothing… nothing at all was there! It was just like it always was.
Scratching his head, Boomer once again turned out the light, closed the
door and left. But had he looked closer, had he looked out the window, he
may have seen a strange view indeed. He would have had to look fast though
because it only took a moment for a Doctor, dressed in scrubs to load a
big CD called RCT3 onto a gurney and into a waiting ambulance with RCT Emergency
vehicle painted on it and disappear off down the road in a blaze of lights
sirens and dust. But even if Boomer had seen it he would have shuddered
and walked away… Boomer hated hospitals.