RollerCoaster Tycoon via Wine in Ubuntu 11.04

RollerCoaster Tycoon (hereafter RCT) remains the best themepark sim ever made in my humble opinion. Maybe RCT2 is even better but it’s more of an improvement of RCT1 and not a new concept. I had lots of fun playing RCT in the past and it’s one of those games you can replay every now and then that continue to kick ass 12 years after being released. Unfortunately it was designed to run on Windows95/98 posing some trouble for recent versions of Windows. Also running it on Linux poses some trouble obviously. However with the version of Wine that is in the current (Natty) repositories and a working patch the coasters roll in Ubuntu too!

First I’ll present an overview of my current Ubuntu setup to get things straight:

  • Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)
  • Unity Desktop
  • Linux kernel: 2.6.38-11-generic-pae
  • Wine version: 1.3.15 (Wine beta from the repositories)

The RCT version I have is a CD from Atari released in 2004 (The game was first released in 1999).

To make RCT work on Ubuntu this is what you need:

Here are the steps you should follow.

  1. Insert the disc and browse to it.
  2. Right click on Setup.exe “Open with Wine Windows Program Loader”
  3. Install the game like you would on Windows. Install Level set to Full and Language to “English (British)” The language is important as it has to match that of the patch!
  4. Now you should be able to run RCT. However we are not there yet. The game starts but you can’t play any scenarios. That sucks so we apply the patch.
  5. The patch is in a .exe file called RCT-UK.exe. This appears to be an archive with two files: PATCHIT.EXE and UPDATE.DAT. What I did was extract these files into the root folder of RCT (on my system that is ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Hasbro Interactive/RollerCoaster Tycoon). There I executed PATCHIT.EXE (again by right clicking and select open with Wine). A dialogue box appeared with the message that it was patched successfully.
  6. Start RCT again, this time you should be able to play scenarios, save them and load them. Have fun!

Now the game might appear choppy ans sluggish. This happened to me and it felt like a real show-stopper as it was barely playable this way. Luckily the solution was quite easy. Start the Wine Configuration and under the graphics tab check “Virtual Desktop”. I have given it a resolution of 800×600. Now start RCT again. Still slow? Probably. What you have to do in the game is go to Options and then set the display mode to for example 800×600 FULLSCREEN. That fixed it for me. Now it’s only fullscreen within the Wine Virtual Desktop but runs at a fine speed. Happy Coastering!

Forest Frontiers

Bonustip: Save your game on regular intervals, say every 10 minutes or something if you are that disciplined. Yesterday I encountered a nasty “access violation” crash just after finishing a quite cool coaster… all the hard work for nothing. Outside that it runs fine and I’ve finished the first two parks.

p.s.1 To clarify the “~” I used in a path: This is a shorthand for /home/yourusername.

p.s.2 In case the patch (RCT-UK.exe) cannot be found at the given location please let me know.


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