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Planet Coaster Throughput Geekery

Matt N

Strata Poster
Hi guys. Sorry if this seems like a slightly strange thread, but I’ve been having a little play around with Planet Coaster recently, and I’ve tried to work out realistic theoretical throughputs for some of the rides I’ve built in the game. I know it seems like a bizarre and overly complicated thing to do, so sorry about that, but I’m becoming increasingly fascinated by the science of ride throughputs, and I like to think of my parks as if they were real.

I want to ensure that the rides I’m building are high capacity, and able to churn through the queues at an adequate pace, because I don’t want people’s days at my parks ruined by queueing for rides for too long.

Also, as JR from Blackpool Pleasure Beach once said; “queues don’t make money”. While guests are stuck in a ride queue, they could be spending at a park food outlet, gift shop, or some other place where money is exchanged.

So as an example, I decided to do some throughput testing a while back on the coasters in my recently finished Worlds of Globala park. I pasted a copy of each ride individually into a clean map, with no theming, so FPS didn’t have an impact, and I let guests onto them to ensure that I would be testing in real world conditions. I also set the station entry & exit speeds to more realistic speeds for the rides’ respective ride types, as these are often extremely fast in PlanCo. I’d be intrigued to know how accurate you think my workings are, and whether you think these rides would be capable of attaining this throughput in real life.

In terms of a formula for theoretical throughput, the rough formula I came up with is:
  • Average dispatch time = (Ride duration + Load/unload time (Time parked in station))/Number of trains or cars running
  • Number of trains per hour = 3600/Average dispatch time
  • Theoretical throughput = Number of trains per hour x Riders per train
I went with this method because in the time it takes one particular train to navigate the full circuit, unload, load & dispatch again, one can probably assume that all of the ride’s other available units have cycled. So for instance, if a coaster had 3 trains, had a ride duration of 2 minutes and a load/unload time of 1 minute, then you can assume that all 3 trains have cycled during the 3 total minutes that have elapsed, therefore meaning that the ride dispatches a train roughly every minute on average, or gets 60 trains through per hour.

So without further ado, let me get onto my findings for each of Globala’s rollercoasters:
Black Mamba (Intamin LSM Launch Coaster in Morocco)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 4
  • Riders per train: 20
  • Findings: Ride duration was approximately 2 minutes 12 seconds (I should note that I made an adjustment after filming that POV in order to make the bit after the second launch function as a separate block section to the bit between the first & second launches, thus increasing the throughput), and using Taron at Phantasialand’s calculated 51 second theoretical park time with 16 rider trains as an example, the load/unload time should be around 63.75 seconds with a 20 rider train. As such, the theoretical throughput stands at approximately 1,470 riders per hour.
  • How did real world dispatch timing compare?: Real world timing within PlanCo using my Dispatch Timer made it seem a very pessimistic estimate, with this method making the throughput around 1,800pph, however as you probably know, the guests are somewhat more… enthusiastic to hop on board the ride in PlanCo than they are in real life, and the restraints also shut automatically, making the PlanCo park time under 30 seconds (I think it was around 27 seconds?).

El Conquistador (Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster in Mexico)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 9
  • Riders per train: 16
  • Findings: Using the ride duration and park time, I was able to calculate the ride’s theoretical throughput to be around 1,049 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made it seem a very optimistic estimate, putting the throughput at around 750pph.
El Torito (junior GCI wooden coaster in Mexico)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 2
  • Riders per train: 16
  • Findings: The ride duration was approximately 1 minute 17 seconds, and using Wodan at Europa Park as a theoretical example (40 second park time with 24 rider trains), the park time should be approximately 26.7 seconds. As such, the theoretical throughput of the ride is approximately 1,108 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing gave broadly similar results.
Expedition Yucatan (motorbike coaster in Mexico)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 2
  • Riders per train: 18
  • Findings: Using the ride duration and the park time of Yukon Quad at Le Pal as an example, I was able to calculate the ride’s theoretical throughput to be 994 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made it seem a slightly pessimistic estimate, putting the throughput at around 1,100pph.
Flight of the Fire Dragon (B&M Family Inverted Coaster in China)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 2
  • Riders per train: 20
  • Findings: Using a ride duration of approximately 1 minute 34 seconds, and, using Nemesis at Alton Towers as an example (47 second park time with 32 rider trains), a park time of 29.375 seconds, the ride’s theoretical throughput would be 1,171 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing wielded broadly similar results.
Inferna (B&M Inverted Coaster in China)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 3
  • Riders per train: 32
  • Findings: Using a ride duration of approximately 2 minutes 29 seconds and a park time of approximately 52 seconds (the theoretical park time of my real-world examples of a 32-seater B&M invert, Nemesis & Montu, were 47 seconds, but 52 was the minimum park time required for the train in front to have cleared the pre-lift & lift hill), the theoretical throughput is approximately 1,719 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made it seem a slightly pessimistic estimate; around 1,750pph was attained.
La Corrida (GCI Wooden Coaster in Spain)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains running: 3
  • Riders per train: 24
  • Findings: With a ride duration of approximately 3 minutes 7 seconds, and, using Wodan at Europa Park as a real-world example, a park time of 40 seconds, the theoretical throughput is 1,142 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made this a pretty pessimistic estimate; nearly 1,300pph was attained using this method.
Oktoberfest: Brewery Bonanza (Mack Spinning Coaster in Germany)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains: 6
  • Riders per train: 16
  • Findings: With a ride duration of approximately 3 minutes 28 seconds, and a park time of approximately 32 seconds, the theoretical throughput would be 1,440 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made this look a slightly optimistic estimate; around 1,350pph was attained using this method.
Sakura Falls (Mack Water Coaster in Japan)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains: 17
  • Riders per train: 8
  • Findings: With the ride duration and park time, the theoretical throughput was 1,360 riders per hour. (This one’s a bit rougher than the others because I couldn’t really get my head around the throughput of water coasters and how they work)
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made this seem like a very optimistic estimate; a throughput of around 1,100pph was recorded using this method.
Skyline Screamer (B&M Hyper Coaster in the USA)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains: 3
  • Riders per train: 36
  • Findings: With a ride duration of approximately 2 minutes 39 seconds, and, using Silver Star at Europa Park as a real world example of a 36 rider B&M hyper, a theoretical park time of approximately 51 seconds, the theoretical throughput is approximately 1,851 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made this look like a pretty pessimistic estimate; real world testing wielded a throughput of around 2,000pph.
Washington’s Dipper (family/junior coaster in the USA)
  • POV:
  • Number of trains: 1
  • Riders per train: 16
  • Findings: With a ride duration of approximately 2 minutes 14 seconds and a theoretical park time of 40 seconds (thanks for providing a sort of baseline, Zamperla!), the theoretical throughput is 331 riders per hour.
  • How did real world testing compare?: Real world testing made this seem a slightly pessimistic estimate, with a value closer to 400pph being attained.
So, I hope you enjoyed my little bit of geekery! I’d be intrigued to know; do you think my calculations would be attainable on these rides if they were real rides? Think of it in a reasonably ideal scenario (baggage has been dealt with prior to riders entering the station, with a locker or baggage hold system being in place, and operations are pretty efficient); do you think these numbers would be attainable in ideal circumstances? And do you think I’ve succeeded in my goal to build high capacity rides?
 

Thecoasterrus

Mega Poster
It's an interesting idea, I try to make my rides as efficient as possible and I would say my coasters have large throughputs, but what I find the most irratating about this game is the way the "Track Rides" are loaded, you can only load one car at a time which is unrealistic and it doesn't even let you build separate stations like you could in RCT, so it takes forever to unload and reload each car, making my duel recreation having one of the longest queues because of it's rubbish operations where as in real life the ride has a huge capacity because of it's moving loading station.
 

Matt N

Strata Poster
It's an interesting idea, I try to make my rides as efficient as possible and I would say my coasters have large throughputs, but what I find the most irratating about this game is the way the "Track Rides" are loaded, you can only load one car at a time which is unrealistic and it doesn't even let you build separate stations like you could in RCT, so it takes forever to unload and reload each car, making my duel recreation having one of the longest queues because of it's rubbish operations where as in real life the ride has a huge capacity because of it's moving loading station.
I do certainly agree with this, I’ll admit! The amount of times I’ve built a track ride and thought “this could really do with a moving load station” or even “this would be a great omnimover” does make me wish that these rides had somewhat higher throughputs. I did also think that a turntable station for the rapids ride would have been good, although the current setup has quite a good throughput, in fairness!

Even in the context of coasters, I’ve love the option for things like separate load & unload stations, dual stations (for flying coasters especially), dual loading (like what Oblivion & Saw have) or an omnimover loading system (like what the Maurer spinners have).

These are very minor niggles, however; I think the game is wonderfully realistic, on the whole!
 
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