E-Views with Boomer

Within the walls of this virtual library lay all of Boomer's written RCT related articles. A Room with a View features all of Boomers popular E-View series, his previews, reviews, mini-Views and E-Views.

The Sambo construction company built this special place as a tribute to Boomer. In that spirit, creating a place to also archive articles and interviews from other authors to keep the virtual library current and ever-changing, just like the "view".

Enter when you can, enter at your leisure. There's plenty of time and plenty of chairs to browse and read through these fascinating interviews and reviews with RCT legends and celebrities.

E-views with Boomer E-View with Doctor J

When was the last time you knew a Doctor to make a house call? Not only once, but several times I have had the honor of having a doctor in the house. Dr. James Hughes is a name not too well known but Doctor J is a name that is known by almost everyone in the online gaming world of RollerCoaster Tycoon. The good doctor has given many tools and help to this thriving growing game community over the last five years or so and is still at it from time to time. This time he is putting his stethoscope on RCT3.

Many times across the RCT universe the cry has gone out, “we need a doctor, is there a doctor in the house? Many times this busy doctor has come running, sirens blaring, and lights flashing, to the aid of more then one RCT victim. I myself have received first aid from Doctor J, waaay back in the early days of RCT and I might add, there was very little scarring after that RCT surgery.

Doctors have to constantly walk the cutting edge in medicine and keep up with all the developments in their field. Doctor J has done this very same thing now in the RCT world by getting RCT3 and has crossed into this new dimension. Maybe soon he will have a prescription for pain from our RCT3 bug bites, who knows. He and others are getting so close now to developing a way for making custom “stuff” for RCT3 that you can almost smell the antiseptic.

Come on in the “Room” no waiting necessary here, no queue lines here, just come on in and grab a seat and join me now as I talk to Doctor J.

Boomer: Welcome back to the “Room with a View Doctor J, it, as always is a privilege and an honor to have you drop by!
Doctor J: The pleasure is all mine Boomer, thank you for inviting me.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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 the park!
Boomer: 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?
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
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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 effort.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: (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 anymore.
Doctor J: 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 talent.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: Oh yes. I really want to have more leisure time. I expect to be spending more time on RCT3 and perhaps Locomotion as well.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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.
Boomer: 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?
Doctor J: 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 objects.
Boomer: 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.
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.