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I love to play Roller Coaster Tycoon. However, one thing about the game has puzzled me. When you finish building your roller coaster and click 'test', the game comes up with various ratings for Excitement, Intensity, and Nausea, each ranging from Low to Ultra-Extreme. How does the game come up with, and what factors go into, these ratings?

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Brings back good memories of just ending the track with a booster and a ramp, over a lake. Surprisingly many visitors were unperturbed by the grisly murder of their fellows. –  Matthew Read Apr 26 '11 at 21:22
    
my god this game takes me back. the very first of my "Tycoon" games started with RCT (although 3 spoiled it a bit) –  tombull89 Apr 26 '11 at 22:22
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3 Answers

I never experimented enough to come up with anything approximating an exact formula, but this was the impression I got:

  1. Excitement is determined by the variation in the track. A simple circle will get you a low score, whereas a track with twists, drops, and loops will get you a high score.
  2. Intensity is determined by the speed / force (see Raven's comment). If you start out high with a drop and add boosters, etc., you'll get a higher score here.
  3. Nausea is similar to Excitement, I think it has to do with a large amount of variation in a short space. A booster right before a series of tight turns will probably get you a higher Nausea score, and spacing it out lower. If the total variation is the same for both versions, I would expect the Excitement score to be the same.
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Not just the speed, but the g's as well. A banked curve means a less intense ride than a straight curve (assuming otherwise equal speed). –  Raven Dreamer Apr 26 '11 at 21:28
    
Thanks, I've reference that in the answer now. –  Matthew Read Apr 26 '11 at 21:32
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iirc adding scenery or other rides next to the track also improved excitement, although it could take a little while for the figures to update. The only way I ever broke 10 excitement on a coaster was by interlocking two loops. –  REDace0 Apr 26 '11 at 23:00
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My impression is that excitement is the only one you want to get as high as possible. The higher the intensity, the more people who'll say it looks too intense. And the higher the nausea, the more people will barf all over your lovely paths. –  Kyralessa Mar 1 '12 at 0:10
    
Also, nausea is primarily a matter of lateral (side-to-side) G's. If you make a lot of sharp left or right turns at high speeds, you'll significantly increase the nausea score. To avoid this, be sure to slow down (e.g. by going up a slope) and/or bank before going into turns. –  Kyralessa Jul 18 '13 at 19:24
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Excitement goes up for a while with intensity, but then goes down again. A ride that intersects itself has more excitement. A ride that comes within sight of a path gains excitement, and also draws more visitors, who see it and then decide to come and ride it.

I've used extra scenery to reach the excitement goals in some scenarios, such as putting flowers and shrubs next to and around as many track segments as possible. Scenery near the entrance is especially valuable. You can also built a pre-built ride on flat ground, remove a few flat sections of track, pull the land up, and then rebuild the flat segments for a nice boost to both excitement and intensity.

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In addition to Matthew's answer*, the nausea rating increases if you have much turns in the same direction. Most of the time it's easier to construct a coaster with mostly left or right turns. Try to develop coasters with an equal amount of left and right turns should lower nausea rating significantly.

It also depends on the coasters, they seem to get a starter value or a fixed multiplier.

*Could not add a comment so i posted as an answer.

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