[an error occurred while processing this directive]
|Games||Getting Started||Game Trailers||Game Hardware||Find Games||Buy Games|
Zoo Tycoon, published for the Mac by Aspyr Media allows you to build the zoo of your dreams even if its not quite realistic and turn it into a business that could rival the San Diego Zoo.
Winter Wonderland. Mix and match different environments, from tropical to polar.
Set it Up and Let it Go
When you start Zoo Tycoon, you should complete the tutorials and then either load one of the many scenarios, which range in difficulty, or create a zoo on preset terrain, such as rainforest or desert. You can change the ground in the exhibits when you load a zoo with preset terrain, however, which will allow you to place penguins in a rainforest zoo or monkeys in a desert zoo.
You create an exhibit by walling in an area, placing animals in it, and then figuring out which foliage, shelters, and other necessities they need (green smiley faces above their heads mean that they like what you added while red indicates the opposite). A zookeeper button in each animals information window brings up a list of its needs, and you can also research the information provided about each animal before you adopt it.
After that, you hire zookeepers to feed and care for the animals, maintenance staff to clean up the exhibits, and tour guides to make sure your guests are well-informed. Next youll need food and drink stands as well as such zoo basics as trash cans, benches, statues and other amenities. You can also click on anyone or anything in the game and view its vital stats as your zoo ages; for example, you can see how much a zookeeper earns or what a guest thinks of the exhibits. To fine-tune your zoo, tweak your expenses, eliminate exhibits, sell animals, and fire or hire staff.
Round and Round. Offer a variety of interactive exhibits to your guests, such as this elephant ride.
Mark Krenek, senior software engineer at Westlake Interactive, the company that ported the game to the Mac, says that you can easily switch to another application and keep the simulation and the sound playing in the background, a feature available only in the Mac version. I find this to be extremely useful in a sim like this because you can set your zoo up and then let it run while you do other things, like check email, he says. You only need to check on it every once in a while to make sure things havent run amuck.
Then again, you may want things to run amuck eventually. Howie notes: One thing we found was that players, especially kids, like to build their zoo and then let the lions loose. Bedlam reigns, complete with screaming guests.
But save the game first, he advises.
True to their nature, the lions and other predators will kill animals that are their natural prey in the wild (complete with a cartoon-style dust cloud that signifies the attack), but theyll just pick up guests with their mouths and fling them around. This occurs whether the animals get loose or you place natural adversaries in the same exhibit to see what happens. You can also pick up guests and place them anywhere you want, but they wont be too happy if they find themselves standing next to a Bengal tiger, and their fear will affect the other guests.
While some may prefer to see the attractions eat the guests, Howie and Levesque note that the teams desire for realism had certain limits. Their biggest concern was making sure players build exhibits based on real parameters.
We probably have a bigger zoological library than most libraries, says Howie.
Listen For Distant Thunder
The same concerns about realism also played into the development of Marine Mania and Dino Digs, although the team decided this time to let guests get eaten by some animals.
The guests can outrun most of the dinosaurs, but if a T. Rex grabs one, says Shawn Stone, one of the expansion pack designers, that guest will be dinner.
Dig Those Dinos. Build your own Jurassic Park.
Some dinosaur experts now believe that T. Rex was actually a slow-moving scavenger, not the aggressive predator portrayed in such movies as Jurassic Park, which Stone says presented a dilemma among design team members who were concerned about realism.
Dino Digs represented an interesting challenge with regard to the truth versus cool dichotomy, he recalls. Do you portray the velociraptor and T. Rex as they are popularly imagined, or create a more realistic representation? We opted for the common expectation, as this is entertainment.
The team also debated what would happen if you remove the tank walls in parks built with Marine Mania. You can drop a guest into a tank containing a great white shark or other sea predator and watch the carnage ensue, but obviously it cant move when out of water.
Discover Your Inner Architect. Choose from buildings in a variety of styles.
We wondered if the aquatic animals should flop around if you destroy a tank wall, he says, but that seemed a bit cruel, so the animals just get put into delivery crates.
Some may take the design team to task because no aquarium has ever successfully kept a great white shark in captivity, but Stone notes: You have to remember that the world within Zoo Tycoon isnt the real world. Its an idealized world in which you build the best zoo or aquatic park ever and exhibit all the coolest animals ever, including dinosaurs.
If you liked this game, check out:
Black & White
Black & White: Creature Isle
The Sims: Unleashed
Do you have comments for this game article? Send us a note.