I’ve spent 12 hours building an intersection on an inner city street. There’s not a coaster or ride in sight yet.
I tend not to actually build coasters or put rides into my Planet Coaster theme parks; instead I spend several hours lighting everything I place, and, of course, taking plenty of screenshots along the way. When I saw Planet Coaster’s recent Studios Pack I literally thought, “wow this DLC was made for me”. As a film fan the possibilities of sets I could build, light, and animate in my theme park are endless and exciting. I’m now 12 hours in, and I still haven’t really got to the sets yet.
Studios Pack allows me to essentially create my own Universal Studios, where I can guide my visitors through various sets, props, and scenarios. I struggled on a name at first, but eventually settled on Blue Box Studios — it was the idea of a friend, and one I love.
In the trailer for Studios Pack, Frontier Developments essentially built a city with all manner of action sets going on. I currently have a smaller, more peaceful village almost like the one Sophie comes from in The BFG – odd reference, but it fits. From the screenshots at the bottom of this article you can see what I was going for. It all took me 12 hours to do, and it doesn’t cover much space either – I intend to extend upon and grow this village.
What I most enjoy about Planet Coaster is adding lighting. Almost every blueprint I’ve downloaded from Frontier or the Steam Workshop I completely relight, and the Studios Pack is no exception. I used Frontier’s pre-built terraced houses and relit the porches, and made the lit curtains emit light – something that frustrates me with Planet Coaster are objects that are lit, but don’t emit light around themselves. One of my examples from a previous park below:
Before adding light emissions
At first in the Studios Pack I was going for something a bit ‘Mary Poppins’, but given the new vehicles, lights, and traffic lights in this pack, the village grew more modern. I have only just recently started to add studio sets, starting with a Frontier blueprint. Again, I intend to add more, so at one stage my visitors will be led into a sci-fi area of the park so I can build sci-fi sets, and then onto a western style area of the park.
Those early stages consisted of a lot of problem solving. How can I have customers walk on a path alongside a road which is also a path? Luckily, you can run two paths alongside each other without them merging, but then: how do I let them cross the road without them then becoming free on the road because it’s also a path? Kerbs. The good old kerb dictates visitor movement; visitors will not walk past them, so at the intersection I carefully laid them out as crossings, and then sunk them into the floor. Now my visitors can only cross the road at the intersection.
Frontier Developments keeps adding quality of life changes to Planet Coaster. It continually listens to feedback on what players are finding particularly annoying (even the smallest of details), and things that could easily be negated with a quick fix. Every time I go back to the title there’s been a relatively small fix that saves so much time, perhaps by how much easier it makes placing objects, or working on buildings. To top that, Frontier has also continued to add new features and flesh out old ones, like security and staff management – both of which can be easily toggled if you’re not into either of them.
I will continue to spend countless hours lighting and relighting everything I place in Planet Coaster, and I’ll continue to extend this village, no doubt adding an entire new area for other studio sets in the future. Whether I ever add rides or coasters is another story; most tend to ruin whatever aesthetic I’m going for with my park — mainly because I never design them with rides or coasters in mind, and end up with no space for them. Most of my theme parks become the more conventional definition of a park: nice scenery, and some shops.
Here're a few screens from Blue Box Studios so far. To see the images bigger, click on them. To view them in full 4K resolution, right click and save to your desktop.