We’ve loved theme park sims for over two decades now, so when Pixelsplit announced Indoorlands we were curious to see what it would bring to the table. Time for a look behind the scenes through a chat with Leon Jeutter, Community Manager at Pixelsplit.
What makes an amusement park such a good candidate for a video game adaptation?
In principle, amusement parks are something like video games themselves. People visit parks to immerse themselves in another world and get rid of their everyday worries. A visit to an amusement park is something special and has a certain magic. Many professions related to amusement parks are very unknown: Who designs and builds the roller coasters, who thinks up the themed worlds, how does a park work in the first place.
We find this multifaceted variety very interesting. it’s not just about running a park profitably, but also giving the players creative freedom to design their park the way they want it. The indoor theme is still very much untouched. There are various indoor theme parks around the world, but they have not yet been the focus of park-building games. They have their raison d’être, because there are many parts of the world where an indoor theme park is necessary because of the vegetation or the climate.
With games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Planet Coaster and the upcoming Park Beyond, it’s a crowded genre. What does Indoorlands do differently?
We have played Planet Coaster and the prior Rollercoaster Tycoon games a lot ourselves… especially with the newer titles, you have to spend a lot of time decorating so that a roller coaster or a ride is beautifully staged. The transitions from one themed world to the next also require a lot of time to achieve a smooth transition. Indoorlands has separated halls, so you can concentrate solely on the decoration of one location at a time. If you don’t want to do that, you can skip decorating altogether and use one of the countless blueprints. Furthermore, we put a lot of focus on variety in the park. We have different visitor types with increasingly complex needs. These are unlocked gradually in the game. You have to be attentive to adapt the park to these new needs again and again, and there is certainly more to tell on this front. For example, there’s our ride editor, that allows the player to construct rides from scratch. The indoor environment editor as well as the ride creator are both optional: We don’t want to force our players to dig into those features, but to give them the tools to be creative, if they want to. But you’re also free to just lean back and manage your park with pre-built halls and rides or use user generated content from the workshop.
Indoorlands spent about a year in Early Access. What were some of the biggest takeaways from that period?
We have put a lot of effort into publishing an ambitious yet realistic roadmap at the beginning of Early Access. In the end, we managed to fulfill all points of this roadmap. It was important for us to be transparent at all times. Our community appreciated that and used our bug report and feedback button extensively. In the meantime, we have completely reworked the GUI and implemented many things that were criticized, especially with regard to details such as the physics of rides. A good decision was to implement the ride editor relatively early and thus give the players the opportunity to express themselves creatively and exchange ideas.
What are some of the most interesting user-created rides you’ve seen thus far?
We are impressed with what people have created even in early access with only a few parts. We now have over 60 elements that users can use to build custom rides. There are engines, seats, hydraulic elements, platforms, and so on. Of course, many players try to recreate their favorite rides from funfairs or amusement parks in Indoorlands. But there are also many custom creations of rides that people would like to experience in real life, but aren’t available on the market. It is amazing that although we allow everything, and the players can actually build any crazy ride, whether realistic or not, that the users primarily try to construct their rides so that they could theoretically be built in real life. Regarding your question, which are the most interesting rides, it’s maybe best if you take a look at the workshop yourself. We are totally fascinated by the immense variety. There are hundreds of custom rides now and most of them are really creative or impressive. Check them out in our STEAM workshop here.
What are your post-launch plans for the game?
We have a lot of ideas, the community has even more. Concrete and specific plans? We don’t want to reveal too much, because we follow the principle of not promising anything we can’t deliver. What will certainly be added are more coaster types, new halls and stability improvements.