A craftsman is only as good as his tools. The programs you'll need for this project are:
- A 3D Modeling Program
- A Bitmap Editing Program
- A Ride Editor Program
- A few other downloadable sundry items
Let's discuss particulars --
3D MODELING PROGRAM - This could be any 3D modeler. Personally, I use Amorphium 3.0. from Electric Image. There are many others on the market and ANY of them will work (or should).
It IS possible to create a ride with a simple Paint program, but you're in for a LOT of pixel-pushing. If you're serious about making rides, get a 3D program.
You can find links to suitable (mostly FREE) programs HERE in the RCT Space Network Forums. Do NOT ask for my opinion about the ease of use or suitability of any particular program you may find there. I've ONLY used Amorphium.
One thing to look for that will make life MUCH easier is to be certain your 3D program can output your project as an ANIMATED .GIF MOVIE. Trust me...it's essential. I wouldn't do a ride without it.
BITMAP EDITING PROGRAM - I use Corel PhotoPAINT for my projects, but it's just a personal preference. Any PhotoShop-type art program will do the job. The more advanced, the better. Filters, masks and the ability to batch-edit images using scripts will definitely come in handy. MS Paint WILL NOT cut it.
Make sure that your Bitmap Editor is capable of extracting/applying a CUSTOM 256-color palette...a certain set of colors used in an image. RCT2 uses an extremely specific set of colors. If your images are not converted to THAT palette, you're in for heartache down the road.
RIDE EDITING PROGRAM for RCT2 - There are two options available...and both FREE:
Doctor J's version of the Editor is very graphically oriented, enabling you to see what the final project will look like.
His is also very easy to use. However, it IS a bit limited in it's capabilities. It will only allow you to work with one type of animated ride; the Twist/Snow Cups. (They're the same ride programming...just different artwork.)
The other version was created by Buggy of Interactivites, Inc. His is NOT user-friendly...almost user-HOSTILE...and not graphically oriented at all. That means that you won't see a THING until you finally build the ride and open it in a test scenario in the game.
However, Buggy's version is more flexible, allowing you to create rides based on any ride in RCT2 with very few exceptions.
Basically, the two are like Windows and DOS (remember DOS?); one is easier to use, but the other is more functional...IF you know how to use it. I suggest that you download BOTH...which will help you understand things later.
EXTRA HANDY TOOLS - The other program I recommend is the IrfanView Image Viewer. I use Version 3.95, but newer versions will likely work just as well. It can be downloaded from http://www.irfanview.com. You may need to register, but the download is free.
Support them if you can -- it's great stuff. We'll discuss what it's used for in Chapter 7.
Well, now that we've gotten our tools out, the next thing is to select a project...