Previews

Eyes on the Summer Update – Planet Coaster E3 update

There’s little doubt that Planet Coaster is one of my favorite games, having consumed a great deal of my time in Alpha, Beta, and release. At E3 I got to sit down with Sam Denney, Lead Artist for Frontier Games (aka Spoiler Sam if you watch the livestreams) to see what’s coming in the upcoming Summer Update for my favorite coaster obsession.

The first and most obvious thing in this update is a perfectly-timed celebration of Americana — a Stars and Stripes scenery pack. Sam showed me a whole host of new goodies awaiting us in the free summer update — and let me assure you, they are significant.

End the nights with a bang.

Starting with the coasters, the team is adding five brand new rollers in this update. The boomerang from the last update will get the community-requested upgrades, giving us two new launched shuttle varieties. These new boomerang coasters will be called Viper One and Power Up and can be paired up with dual-direction launch stations. Additionally, an induction coaster inspired by Wicked Twister at Cedar Point, as well as a modern equivalent of the Great Coaster international wooden coaster called the Gnarler. De-Gen (a 21st century train coaster on a looping track), and Power Up (a compact coaster) round out the full complement. Sam used tools to showcase the incredible detail that goes into each, giving us a view of every nut, bolt, and seam in each coaster car — something most people will never see, but Frontier is a company that even polishes the little things.

In addition to new coasters, three new scenarios will ship with the summer update, complete with all manner of new props and window dressings. There will be a 50’s-themed area called Miss Elly’s Diner, as well as a sci-fi hanger of sorts cleverly called Starship Hangar, but what I got to see was the Wild West gold mine set called Goldmine Tower. Built around a massive castle in the middle of a lake, this community-collaborated creation features huge balloons of eagles and Uncle Sam, stars and stripes bunting, American flags on poles as well as hangable ones, and multi-piece balloon entrances. Flanking these are even big confetti cannons to help celebrate Independence Day appropriately. Equally as detailed as the coasters, these balloons, large or small, look like the latex and Mylar real world counterparts, blowing around in the breeze.

Real Talk – the Viper looks terrifying!

This update is filled with other fan request fulfillment, including being able to paint your support structures (You could make a giant pink woodie if you were so inclined), as well as three more heavily-requested rides. The Iron Claw (which reminds me very much of the new Catwoman ride in Six Flags over Texas) is a 32-person ride where the passengers face towards the center, spinning and swinging back and forth. The Blackout is a swinging ship type, but on an inverted loop. Sam also showed me some of the incredible detail in their new ride called the Sky Watcher — a seated observation platform with a rotating cabin. Inside the Sky Watcher are hinges and pistons that actuate the door, and at the bottom the small glass door retracts to allow riders to board, all inspired by the real world British Airways i360 observation deck in Brighton, London. Once again, Frontier’s obsession towards detail is on display.

Behold the Iron Claw

There are a number of life improvements baked into the upgrade, but the largest of which has to be the Display Sequencer. This one device allows you to place and trigger ten (or more?) sequences and control the timing of each one down to a 10th of a second! Fire, lights, prop movement, and more are now easier than ever. To demonstrate just one possible use (and a very large improvement), Sam launched a cool promo video of the new fireworks system. Check it out:

Not just a visual element, the fireworks launch over the lake and castle drawing oohs and aaahs from the crowd, raising happiness for a short time. There are 30 types of fireworks currently in the game, and more being added over the next few months.

Oooooh….aaaahhhh

I’m a bit of a pleasure delayer, but I did save the best thing for last. A great many creators have built amazing things one polygon at a time to make all sorts of copyright-grey-area goodies like a Simpsons world, Hogwarts, Jurassic Park, and even Middle-earth’s Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings. All of these things are amazing, but outside of the reach of most people. Indeed, most people just want to be able to put a picture of something into their park to texture a wall or add a custom logo to advertise their favorite food vendor. Now you can do exactly that. There are now full wall-sized set pieces and panels where you can place your own video and imagery. Want to paste your face all over the walls of your park? Do it. Would you like to create a bubbling swamp to go under the surface of your water to give it more life? Find the right animation and sink it into the water. It’s hard to even begin to quantify what a game changer this one addition will be, but there is no doubt that it’ll be used in ways that neither Frontier or I could ever begin to imagine.

Boom – the much-requested video panels.

In my review I said that the game had unlimited potential. Now, with friendlier tools, more options for customizing your parks your way, and these free updates as a taste of things to come, that statement is more true now than it ever was.

Now if I can only get my hands on the Sansei Roller Coaster Manufacturer-inspired version of a 4D freespin rollercoaster to help build out my shabby Six Flags over Texas homage, that’d be epic!

The Summer Update is a free update for Planet Coaster, arriving globally on June 27th, 2017.

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