Game Manual

In FreeRCT, you are the manager of a pleasure park. You build everything that your guests need to be happy: most importantly, rollercoasters and other rides, but also food stalls, footpaths, flowerbeds, and everything else that will make your guests love your park and spend lots of money there.

Additionally, you oversee the park's administration: Set the entrance fees on rides, hire and fire staff, take and repay loans, and even design your very own rollercoasters!

A wise manager will lead their park to fame and fortune; those less fortunate will go under amid dirty paths, vandalising guests, and crashing coasters. Which one will be your fate?

Downloading and Installing

See the download page for information on where to get and how to install FreeRCT.

The FreeRCT Main menu.

Main Menu

After starting FreeRCT, you should see a splash screen with the FreeRCT logo which fades slowly into the main menu. You can click to skip the splash screen.

The main menu has four buttons: To start a new game, to load a previously saved game, to open the options menu, and to quit the game.

New Game

When you click the New Game button, you are immediately presented with a brand-new empty park and ready to start playing.

Load

When you click the Load button, a window with a list of all saved games appears. Select a game and press Load to load it, or press Cancel to abort.

Settings

When you click the Settings button, the Settings window opens. This window allows you to change the language of FreeRCT and the window resolution. The window resolution can also be changed by manually resizing the game window.

Quit

When you click the Quit button, FreeRCT closes immediately.

The main game view.

The Game Window

The game window is divided into three areas. In the center of the window is the main view, which displays your park. At the top of the window is the toolbar, which contains all the buttons and controls to manage both the park and FreeRCT. At the bottom of the window is the info panel, which shows information about your park.

The Main View

The main view displays the game world. You can navigate around by right-click-and-dragging. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to rotate the view in 90 steps. You can click on things (rides, guests, …) to open windows which display more information about the item as well as management options.

The Toolbar

The toolbar buttons, from left to right, mean:

  • The Menu dropdown contains options to save the game, enable editor mode, open the Settings window, return to the main menu, and quit FreeRCT.
  • The Game Speed dropdown allows you to change the speed of the running game as well as to pause and unpause it.
  • The View dropdown contains settings and windows regarding the view on the map.
  • The Terraform button opens a window which allows you to modify the landscape in the park.
  • The Paths button opens a window which allows you to build and remove paths and queue paths in your park.
  • The Fences button opens a window which allows you to build and remove fences in your park.
  • The Scenery button opens a window which allows you to build and remove scenery items such as trees and fountains in your park.
  • The Path Objects button opens a window which allows you to build and remove benches, lamps, and litter bins in your park.
  • The Build Ride button opens a window which allows you to select a ride type to build in your park.
  • The Staff button opens a window which allows you to hire and dismiss park staff.
  • The Inbox button opens a window which allows you to view all messages you received.
  • The Finances button opens a window which provides an overview over your park's finances.

The Info Panel

In the upper left corner of the info panel you can see the amount of cash your park currently has. Below it is the number of guests in the park. To the right of these figures is an indicator of the current weather in the park, ranging from sunny to thunderstorm, with the temperature next to it. At the right edge of the info panel is the current in-game date. The compass to its left indicates the current rotation of your main view (the red arrow points north). The large empty space in the middle of the info panel is where any messages you receive are previewed.

How to build footpaths.

Directional path building mode.

How to build path objects: Benches, bins, and lamps.

How to build scenery items such as flowerbeds and fountains.

How to terraform the landscape.

How to create hills and valleys quickly.

How to build fences.

Building Basic Park Infrastructure

Footpaths

Your guests will move only on footpaths. To build footpaths, click on the Paths button in the top toolbar and select a normal path type. Now click anywhere in your park and a footpath will appear. Right-click on an existing footpath to remove it. Building paths costs money and may only be performed if you still have enough cash. Deleting paths returns cash, but less than it cost to build the path.

At the bottom of the window, you can switch between single and directional path building mode. In single mode, a click corresponds to placing one tile of path. You can place paths only on flat terrain and suitably formed slopes. In directional mode, you can also build elevated paths. Click on the map to position the path building cursor there. Now use the four yellow arrow buttons in the path building window to choose a direction, and the three slope buttons to choose the angle. Finally, click the Buy button to build a path in the location indicated by the cursor. The cursor automatically advances one step forward so you can build a longer path quickly. Using the Remove button removes the last path segment and moves the cursor one step backwards. You can also move the cursor by clicking on the map or using the Back and Forward buttons.

Queues for rides can be built in the same manner as normal paths. Just select a queue path type instead of a normal path. You will learn more about queues in the Rides section below.

Path Objects

Those paths are a bit bare, aren't they? Let's add some path objects. To do so, click the Path Objects button in the top toolbar.

There are three types of path objects available:

  • Benches allow guests to sit down and rest. This makes the guests happy and serves to reduce nausea and tiredness. Two guests can sit on each bench. Benches can only be built on flat paths.
  • Litterbins are used by guests to throw away wrappers from food they bought. If a guest can't find a litterbin to dispose of his litter, he will simply throw it down, so make sure there are enough bins around! When a lot of litter has been thrown in a bin, the bin needs to be emptied by a handyman before guests can dispose of more litter there.
  • Lamps look nice. They don't have a function beyond decorating your park.

Like almost everything in this game, path objects cost money to build. To build a path object, select it in the Path Objects window and click on an existing footpath. All edges of this footpath are immediately furnished with the selected object. Any other path object previously present will be replaced.

Scenery

Most of your park is just a featureless green plain. How about adding some trees, flowers, and other scenery? To do so, click the Scenery button in the top toolbar.

The Scenery window looks and behaves much like the Path Objects window. However, there are more items available for purchase, so they're grouped into categories. Use the tab buttons at the top of the window to switch between the categories. Click on an item to select it, then click on the map to buy it. Scenery items can not be built on slopes. Some items occupy just one field, but some occupy several. For items that are not symmetrical, the two Rotate buttons in the top-right corner of the Scenery window allow you to choose the orientation of the item you're about to buy.

Right-click on an existing scenery item to remove it. Some items (e.g. fountains) will return cash on removal, while others (such as trees) actually cost more money to get rid of.

Terraforming

The landscape is still looking a tad boring. Some hills or cliffs would be nice. To add some, click the Landscaping button in the top toolbar.

The Landscaping window has two important settings. On the right are two buttons to increase and decrease the size of the area you will terraform. Below is the option whether to level the area or move it as a whole.

Modifying the landscape is as easy as moving the mouse over the park so the cursor indicates the area you want to edit and then using the mouse wheel to move the area up or down.

If the size of the terraforming cursor is just a single tile, you can also point at the corner of a tile to modify just a quarter tile.

If the size of the terraforming cursor is just a single dot, it behaves like the single tile cursor with one exception: In this mode, surrounding tiles will be dragged along with the tile or corner you're editing, allowing you to create large hills or valleys without cliffs quickly.

If you hold down the Shift key while terraforming, no changes will be applied and you will instead receive an estimate of the cost required to actually apply the changes. This works for several other types of modifications as well.

Fences

If you played around with the various tools, your park should have a pretty nice landscape by now. For the finishing touch, click the Fences button in the top toolbar.

Building fences is as easy as it can get: Select one of the three fence types, then click on the map to build a fence segment. Right-clicking on an existing fence will remove it.

The first step is to select the ride you want to build.

To build a fixed ride, all you need to do is select a nice location.

Building a tracked ride requires more planning from you…

…since you need to spell out the entire path.

Now let's build some entrances and exits for our rides.

Don't forget to connect the entrances and exits to the path network.

Your coaster should be tested before you open it to the public.

Rides

Rides are the most important aspect of your park. So let's see how to build and manage them.

Rides Selection

To build a new ride, click the Rides button in the top toolbar. The Rides Selection window displays a list of all rides you can buy, sorted into several categories.

Clicking on a ride in the list displays more information about the ride. Once you have made your choice, click the Select button to start building the ride.

Building Fixed Rides

There are two types of rides: Fixed and tracked rides.

A fixed ride consists of a single building, such as a shop. After you have selected to build a fixed ride, a window with a preview and the placement cost of the ride opens. You can rotate the ride using the yellow arrow buttons in the Ride Build window. Click on the map to build the building at the location of your choice. And that's it, the ride has now been constructed.

Building Tracked Rides

Some rides, such as coasters, require you to build an individual track of your own design. After you have selected to build a tracked ride, a window with a list of all available track pieces opens. A station tile is preselected for you. You must always begin building a tracked ride by placing at least one station segment.

Use the yellow arrow buttons in the Ride Build window to rotate the currently selected tile, then click on the map to place the first station tile.

Now you can append more station tiles by clicking the big Buy Track Piece button in the Ride Build window, or you can change the type of track piece you're placing. The buttons at the top of the Ride build window allow you to switch between straight pieces and tracks with differing curve radii, between flat and sloped sections with varying steepness, between regular and banked curves, between lifthills with and without chain lifts, between regular track and stations, and much more. Note that not every coaster type has every type of track piece available, and not every setting can be combined with every other one. Play around to get a feeling for what's possible and what's not.

The controls at the bottom of the Ride Build window allow you to delete the last track piece and to move the building cursor back and forth. This is useful to correct mistakes in the middle of the track without having to delete unrelated sections.

Your track must always form a closed loop. Once that is achieved, you can close the Ride Build window to complete the construction phase.

Ride Management Window

Click on a ride to open its management window.

Newly built rides are not yet ready to operate. You first need to place an entrance and an exit. The Ride Management Window contains two buttons to do this. Conveniently, you are automatically put in Entrance Placement mode upon opening the Management Window of a ride that lacks an entrance. Building the entrance is as easy as moving the mouse to a free location next to the ride and clicking. You are then put in Exit Placement mode, which works the same way to place a ride exit.

Most rides need exactly one entrance and one exit. Building another one moves the existing one, if any. However, there are two exceptions: Shops do not have entrances or exits; the buttons are not available for them. And tracked rides need exactly one entrance and one exit per station.

The Ride Management Window allows you to change the colouring of your ride via the Recolour buttons. Which parts of the ride can be recoloured and which colours are available depends on the ride type. You can also change the type and colouring of the entrances and exits.

The Shop Management Window shows some statistics about the items that are being sold here. You can not change any additional settings yet.

The Management Window for all rides except shops allows you to define a few more settings: The entrance fee, the minimal and maximal waiting time, and how often to call a mechanic to inspect the ride. Inspecting a ride increases its reliability and reduces the risk of breakdowns.

For fixed rides, you can additionally control the number of cycles the ride performs, if the ride type supports this.

For coasters, you can additionally decide how many trains the coaster has and how many cars each train consists of. Your choices are limited by coaster type-specific restrictions and the amount of space available in the coaster stations.

All rides except shops have Excitement, Intensity, and Nausea ratings. Coasters additionally display graphs about the speed and G forces along the track. All these statistics are measured when the ride is actually working, so the values are not available initially.

Finally, the Ride Management window contains a button to remove the ride and, most important of all, traffic light buttons to open and close the ride. Your ride is closed initally. Click the green light to open it and the red light to close it down. Coasters additionally have a button to edit the track, and a yellow light to test the ride.

Testing Rides

It is strongly recommended to test your coaster before opening it. Testing causes the ride to operate just as if it were open, but no guests will visit yet. This will create the ride statistics, allowing you to see how interesting or boring your track design is, and most importantly you will see whether your coaster actually manages to climb all the hills – or whether it bounces back and perhaps even crashes.

Interaction With Persons

Guests enter rides though entrances. If a ride can not be entered yet, guests will patiently wait in a neat queue until the ride is free. But queues will only form on queue paths – if the entrance is adjoined to a normal path, at most one guest will queue. It is therefore recommended to connect the ride entrance and the regular paths via a queue path several tiles in length.

Guests leave rides through the exit. The exit should therefore be directly adjoined to a normal path.

When the ride is broken down or needs to be inspected, a mechanic enters the ride through the ride's exit. For coasters with multiple stations, the mechanic always picks the first station's exit.

Guests base their decision on whether to enter a ride on the ride's Excitement, Intensity, and Nausea ratings. Ratings are measured on a scale from 0 (boring / dull / not nauseating) to 10 (extremely exciting / incredibly intense / extremely nauseating); in rare cases higher ratings are possible. High Excitement ratings and low Nausea ratings are desirable; which Intensity rating is acceptable depends on each guest's individual preference, though very high ratings are tolerated only by very few guests.

When guests become hungry or thirsty, they buy food or drink from shops. Guests will also need to visit a toilet eventually. The information kiosk sells park maps, which aid guests in finding their way around the park, and umbrellas, which guests will be glad of in bad weather.

When guests visit a ride, they become nauseous; the more so the higher the ride's Nausea rating is. Nauseous guests throw up on the footpaths unless they find a First Aid booth or sit on a bench until it subsides.

Managing your staff properly is crucial for the park's welfare.

Messages inform you about important events.

The finances window provides an overview how well your park is doing.

Inspect any person in your park – simply by clicking on them.

Park Administration

Staff

Hiring staff is an important aspect of keeping your park functional. Click the Staff button in the top toolbar to open the staff window.

There are four types of staff for your park:

  • Handymen take care of sweeping dirty paths, emptying full litterbins, watering the flowerbeds, and mowing the lawns.
  • Mechanics repair broken rides, and inspect rides frequently to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns.
  • Security guards prevent nearby guests from demolishing path objects.
  • Entertainers increase the happiness and patience of nearby guests.

Select one of the four tabs in the staff window to see how many of this staff you currently have, what they're doing right now, and how high their monthly salary is. Use the Hire button to hire more staff. You can click on any staff member to open his personal information window. Next to each staff member is a black cross that allows you to dismiss him instantly.

Inbox

FreeRCT occasionally sends you a message to inform you about important events such as availability of new ride types, common complaints, awards won, and more. The newest message is previewed in the bottom toolbar. The Inbox button in the top toolbar opens a list of all messages your park ever received.

Finances

The Finances button in the top toolbar shows you details about your monthly earnings and spendings. You can also take and repay loans here. Other controls such as marketing and research, a history, and further statistics such as park value are not yet implemented.

Personal Information Windows

You can click on any person – guest or staff – in the main view to open a window displaying personal information about them. Staff can also be dismissed via a button in this window.

Keybindings

Many game elements are also (or, in some cases, only) accessible via the keyboard:

Key Action
Left Arrow Key Move the main view left.
Right Arrow Key Move the main view right.
Up Arrow Key Move the main view up.
Down Arrow Key Move the main view down.
Page Up Rotate the main view counter-clockwise.
Page Down Rotate the main view clockwise.
Ctrl+S Save the game.
Ctrl+O Open the options window.
Ctrl+W Return to the main menu.
Ctrl+Q Quit the game.
Alt+0 Set the game speed to Paused.
Alt+1 Set the game speed to 1.
Alt+2 Set the game speed to 2.
Alt+3 Set the game speed to 4.
Alt+4 Set the game speed to 8.
1 Open the terraform window.
2 Open the paths window.
3 Open the fence window.
4 Open the scenery window.
5 Open the path objects window.
6 Open the rides window.
7 Open the staff management window.
8 Open the inbox window.
9 Open the finances window.
M Open the minimap.
U Toggle underground view mode.

In the main menu, the following shortcuts are available:

Key Action
N Start a new game.
L Load a saved game.
O Open the options window.
Q Quit the game.

In all windows, Return selects the default option (if any), and the Escape, Backspace, and Delete keys close the window.