Zoo Tycoon 2 (Sybex Official Strategies and Secrets Series)

Zoo Tycoon 2 (Sybex Official Strategies and Secrets Series)

by Michael Rymaszewski



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780782143577
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/08/2004
Pages: 213
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 8.92(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Michael Rymaszewksi has written over a dozen strategy guides, including official guides for Zoo Tycoon, Rise of Nations, and Microsoft Combat Flight Simulators 2 and 3.

Read an Excerpt

Zoo Tycoon 2

By Michael Rymaszewski

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7821-4357-1

Chapter One

Becoming a Big Name

In Zoo Tycoon 2, fame is big. It's not only a measure of your zoo's success-it actually defines your zoo's success. After all, zoo fame is what lets you adopt increasingly exotic animals, the very animals you need to achieve even bigger fame for your zoo. It goes like this: you focus on making your first animals as happy as possible. Then you focus on making your first zoo guests as happy as possible. This will bring an increase in fame, resulting in new animals for adoption. You adopt these, and focus on making them as happy as possible.

A zoo's increase in fame brings other benefits, ranging from practical (you can charge guests more if you feel so inclined) to aesthetic (the entrance to your zoo gets a makeover-see Figure 1.1).

Acquiring adoption rights to new animal species is a big part of the game. Therefore, note that you can gain access to a new species by turning down one of the species currently on offer. To turn down a species, select it and click the button directly under the animal sex buttons on the animal-adoption panel. The rejected species disappears from the panel, and is replaced by a ghost image of the species that will be offered in its place once the progress bar below the ghost image is full. After you've succeeded in making an animal species breed in your zoo, make sure you switch that animal for a new species on the animal-adoption panel! See Chapter 5 for more details on obtaining adoption rights to new species.

Becoming really famous isn't simple-it requires you to excel in many different areas all at once. You'll have to pretty much equal the immortal Elvis to gain five-star fame. Here are the components of fame as listed in the game manual, and descriptions of what they mean in gameplay terms:

* Diversity of species. To reach maximum fame, your zoo must contain at least 25 of the 30 animal species in the game, and all these animals have to be deliriously happy. It's easier to hit maximum fame if you have more than 25 animal species represented in your zoo; having all 30 species is best. They don't have to be delirious with happiness then-very, very happy is good enough.

* Releasing animals into the wild. You must breed animals in your zoo before you can release them into the wild in numbers significant enough to max out this contribution to zoo fame. To make animals breed, you have to make them happy. Yes, happiness strikes again.

* Completing scenario goals and challenges. Animal happiness often plays an important role in completing scenario goals and challenges. How are you going to take that photo of an animal baby with its mother? Only if the animals in your zoo are comfortable enough to multiply. This category is inactive when playing a game in Freeform mode.

* Awards. If the animals in your zoo aren't happy, the only award you can count on is the 100th Guest Attendance ribbon-provided you set zoo admission to Free. This category is inactive when playing a Campaign scenario.

* Guest happiness. Your guests won't be happy if the animals aren't happy. In order to reach maximum guest happiness, you must also strive to meet your guests' personal needs-including catering to individual food and animal-viewing preferences if possible.

As you can see, there is only one road that leads to success in Zoo Tycoon 2: the joyful road of happiness for everyone. Chapters 3 and 4 contain plenty of info on how to make zoo guests and animals happy (you'll also find some extra happiness tips in Chapters 2 and 5).

Why Happiness Means Money

The insidious effect of happiness in Zoo Tycoon 2 extends even to the unemotional realm of finance. That's right; in ZT2, happiness makes you money, just like that. Guest donations constitute the vast majority of your zoo's income, and guests donate money when the animals they are viewing are happy. When the guests are very happy themselves, they donate even more money-many guests will run to the nearest ATM to get some if they feel the money they have isn't enough.

Chapter 3 explains in detail what makes people happy, but the following is a brief summary of what puts the smileys over the guests' heads, and money in your donation boxes:

* Happy animals. If you watch the zoo guests, you'll see a sea of smileys followed by small stampedes toward the donations boxes when your animals demonstrate playful, happy behavior in exhibits that re-create their native habitats faithfully.
* Need satisfaction. Your guests have needs-boy, do they have needs. Let it be said that one of the most important zoo buildings is the luxury lavatory, or family restroom. The zoo concessions-big moneymakers in the original game-serve mainly to keep guests happy. Profits from concessions, although not insignificant, will never amount to more than a small fraction of your zoo's income. Zoo Tycoon veterans should also note that in ZT2, guest amusement is a distinct need.
* New knowledge. The zoo guests in Zoo Tycoon 2 are a knowledge-hungry lot. The importance of this noble guest need is underscored by the special smiley that appears whenever a zoo guest feels educated. Zoo guests gain new knowledge not in your zoo's restaurants and hamburger joints, but exclusively through watching zoo animals perform certain actions and by listening to educators. Watch the donation boxes get busy following certain behaviors!
* Zoo beauty. We all love beauty, and dislike ugliness. Zoo guests are much happier in a beautiful zoo (good exhibit design is particularly important!). ZT2 offers you the option of walking down the paths of your own zoo and seeing first-hand what things look like. Certain Campaign scenarios and $5,000 Challenge games will force you to roll up your sleeves and deal with beauty's number-one enemy: trash. Zoo guests are deeply distressed by trash, and the smart tycoon will vigilantly monitor trash can and recycling bin capacity, hiring enough maintenance workers to keep the zoo spotless.

The single-minded focus on happiness in ZT2 doesn't mean it's an easy game. This is because any search for happiness is complex by nature, and happiness in-game is subject to many different influences. Your role in the game is to identify those influences and modify them for the better. Examples: Your lion's habitat may need an extra swipe with the grass-and-dirt Savannah biome brush. An extra couple of benches may need to be placed just so. You may need to step into first-person view to help out your zookeepers-even the greatest tycoon will occasionally have to stoop to clean animal poop and pick up trash. This first-person-view, hands-on activity is a necessity in all Challenge games with $5,000 starting money. As they say, it builds character (see Figure 1.2).

The road to happiness in ZT2 starts with careful planning. If you don't design your zoo well, you might run into all sorts of trouble that can render efforts to increase guest happiness null and void. A simple mistake such as placing a restroom in a spot where its entrance makes people line up in other people's way can result in the most horrific traffic jams. The game manual has two pages full of excellent tips on zoo design (if you still haven't read the manual, go do it now). The section below adds some extra pointers, and you'll also find design info in Chapter 2 (zoo layout, building/exhibit placement), Chapter 3 (guest amenity placement), and Chapter 4 (exhibit design).

Building and Running Your Zoo

The building you'll do depends on the kind of game you play. Campaign-scenario games have their own special requirements (Chapter 7 has the details), but there is always one primary consideration when planning your zoo: the size of the map.

You won't have much of a choice when playing a small map; small maps more or less dictate the zoo layout once you've estimated how many exhibits you're going to fit in. However, the plot thickens with medium and large maps, and ZT2 rewards unorthodox solutions in zoo design. Modifying the terrain (creating mountains, valleys, etc.) is absolutely free of charge. This makes inventive solutions to zoo and exhibit design very feasible. You can make your zoo much more attractive to guests plus save some serious cash on fencing by building sunken exhibits, or enclosing exhibits with moats and cliffs. The new interface makes terrain modifications extra-easy, although the tools might take some getting used to; it's best to practice with the game paused or in the Freeform mode, where money and mistakes don't matter.

Zoo Tycoon veterans should note that ZT2 offers new, greater flexibility in terms of effective zoo layout. Chapter 2 offers layout suggestions depending on map size (small, medium, large). New players should pay attention to the manual's zoo-design tips! The grid pattern described there is the safest bet for inexperienced players, and works well on small maps.

Placing Buildings and Creating Exhibits

As in the original Zoo Tycoon, not all buildings and animal exhibits are equal; some have considerably more pull with the public than the others. An exhibit featuring a biome with many species, or a truly rare animal, will always fascinate many guests. The attractiveness of each of the game's animals is discussed in Chapter 5. For now, keep in mind that exhibits with strong pull act as zoo-traffic regulators. Placing a highly attractive exhibit at the end of a zoo path ensures good traffic flow along that path. The same rule applies to guest amenities and amusement structures: some are more attractive than others. You'll find more information on strategic exhibit and zoo-structure placement in Chapters 2 and 3.

The ability to create great exhibits is the mark of a successful tycoon. It isn't such an easy ability to acquire, because you must show plenty of foresight. Your ultimate goal will always be to create a multispecies or at least multianimal exhibit (a pair of adult animals with baby animals). If you cannot afford to build a suitably large exhibit right away, you must allow for its future painless expansion. Guests get big kicks out of seeing flawlessly re-created biomes that display a variety of terrain, rocks, and plant life in addition to animal life.

Pay special attention when building your first few exhibits and using the biome brush to create a suitable habitat for your chosen animal(s). Selecting any biome opens a set of terrain choices, ranging from wooded areas to water (see Figure 1.3). "Painting" the habitat with the default biome brush costs no money; however, if you select one of the options that features plants, rocks, and trees, you will be charged for any such objects placed by the biome brush. It's simplest to paint the entire habitat with the no-cost biome brushes of your choice (dirt, sand, forest floor, etc.) before you switch to a brush that places objects. You'll find detailed advice on exhibit design in Chapters 4 and 5.

Running (Around) Your Zoo

Zoo Tycoon 2 lets you monitor your zoo on several levels. As shown in the manual, you'll access various important screens through buttons on the main game screen.

The View Quick Stats button is the one you'll use most to monitor your zoo. The tabs on the Quick Stats screen let you switch between lists of zoo animals, guests, and employees at a single click; bad news is highlighted in red. Clicking on an animal, guest, or employee icon locks the overhead camera view onto your selection.

The View Finances button is likely to get a workout in the opening stages of a game. As time goes on and money comes gushing in an ever-increasing stream, you'll be less concerned about money and more concerned about what to spend it on. You'll be checking the Zoo Fame and Scenario Goals/Challenges screens regularly throughout the game, but the experienced tycoon will eventually be able to foretell a fame increase simply by monitoring the Quick Stats screen and ongoing zoo action in the overhead view. Note that you always get a message when your zoo's fame increases, but you don't get a message when it decreases.

Chapter 2 details all the organizational challenges you'll face in your rise to glory. But in addition to being well-organized, the smart tycoon is always in the right place at the right time. He moves around the map efficiently, and manipulates zoom levels and views to best effect. Scrolling in the overhead view can be a slow process, so use the Overview Map to quickly jump between hotspots.

The first-person view is used for both work and pleasure. It allows you to stroll around the zoo as a carefree guest, and lets you perform the duties of a zookeeper and maintenance worker. At certain points in a game, performing these duties may be a necessity. A $5,000 Challenge game will make you count pennies and save on staff salaries for the first couple of months; a tight Campaign scenario may force you to move faster than any of your employees; a very big zoo can often have more emergencies than zoo staff can handle at a given time. To perform the duties of a zoo employee efficiently, don't switch to first-person view until you've located the problem. A big multispecies biome can have you running yourself ragged in search of the elusive poop. It's much more effective to scan the exhibit by staying in the overhead view and zooming in fairly close, then scrolling around. This lets you parachute into first-person view in exactly in the right spot, too.

You'll find more in-depth advice on playing as the zookeeper and maintenance worker in Chapter 2. Now let's take a look at one of the most charming features of the game: the camera view.

The Photo Safari, or Camera View in Close-Up

Like the first-person view, the camera view in the game is meant to be used for both pleasure and purpose. You may collect a photo album full of funny shots-or you can take on the game's photo challenges. You'll encounter photo challenges when playing in the Challenge mode or in some of the game's Campaign scenarios.

Challenges, ways of completing them swiftly, and the resulting rewards are discussed in Chapter 6 and Appendix C. Here, let's look at some mechanics of taking pictures.

The camera view does not let you pass through gates (front zoo gates included) or open exhibit gates. Moving around your zoo in camera view is a lot of fun; but, as in real life, you won't find a lot of good pictures to take that way. When you're hunting for a specific photograph-be it part of a challenge or for fun-it's best to move around in the overhead view with a medium-close zoom. This view lets you quickly identify fleeting opportunities (for example, "Aha! That zebra looks like it's going to, er, use an enrichment object.") Once you notice an opportunity to take a fun or challenge-scoring photograph, quickly zoom in on the spot where you intend to stand, switch to camera view, and hit the space bar to take the picture (see Figure 1.4).

Remember to empty your camera (it's best to have at least five out of the 10 available shots left at all times) and reorganize your photo album periodically-its contents carry over from game to game, and may cause confusion if you're switching between saved games.

Sharing Your Pictures

Zoo Tycoon 2 lets you export the pictures you've taken into HTML format and share them with other ZT2 players over the Internet. Here's what to do:

1. Open the photo album while in the game.

2. Click the Export Photo Album to HTML button.

3. Name your album file and save it to your hard drive-you might want to create a special folder.

4. Send the folder with the album to your friends. (Compress it first with WinZip or another utility for safer and quicker transfer.)

If you're clever and know HTML well, you can also post the photo album as a Web page. Of course, being clever and knowing HTML well means you don't need any advice.

Getting Ready to Play

The first step to enjoying Zoo Tycoon 2 is making sure it runs well on your system. Although you can certainly play ZT2 on a minimum-specs system, you should know that it is a demanding game: It's best if you treat the system recommended in the game specs as the minimum system for playing ZT2. This is for two reasons. The first is that although ZT2 can be played at a resolution as low as 800 x 600, it is truly beautiful at the higher resolutions (available through the Game Options panel). The higher the resolution, the more beauty you'll see; treat 1024 x 768 with medium detail as the minimum for getting a respectable amount of eye candy. If you find performance suffering, select the Low Video Details setting on the Game Options menu and lower the resolution.


Excerpted from Zoo Tycoon 2 by Michael Rymaszewski Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Getting to Know the New Tycoon.

Chapter 2 How to become rich and famous.

Chapter 3 Making people happy.

Chapter 4 caring for animals.

Chapter 5 The animals within.

Chapter 6 Freeform and challenge games.

Chapter 7 Campaign games.

Appendix A Animal, Biome Object, and Biome Compatibility Data.

Appendix B Buildings, Structures, and Objects by Fame.

Appendix C Challenges.

Appendix D: Developer Tips.

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