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Zoo Tycoon Analysis

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					 Design
Analysis
 Kristen Gardner
     CSE 197
  12 April 2007
                    Why did I choose Zoo Tycoon?

• My first game:
  DinoPark Tycoon
  – Came out in 1993
    (Same year as
    Jurassic Park)
  – Ran on DOS and
    Windows 3.1
  – Great game
     • But really not meant for
       8 year olds…
              Zoo Tycoon Complete Collection

• Released 2001
  – Expansion packs Dino Digs and Marine Mania
    released in 2002
• Single player game
• ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
• Platforms
  – Windows, Nintendo DS, and Macintosh
• 2-D graphics
                              Game Play

• Tycoon games are economic simulations

• Build a successful zoo
  – Choose animals and buildings
  – Modify exhibits to make them suitable to the animal
  – Change the price of tickets, food, and merchandise

• Keep your animals and guests happy, while still
  making a profit
  – Not everyone plays that way -
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=afnPWS6ugY4
                          Is it a game?

• Our definition: A system in which players
  engage in an artificial conflict defined by rules
  that results in a quantifiable outcome

• Zoo Tycoons has two different modes
  – Scenario game
  – Free-form game

• Therefore, the question has two different
  answers
                                          Scenario Game
• Overview:
   – Player is given a task, starting setup, and frequently a time limit
• Is it a game?
   – System
       • Multiple different parts (animals, guests, environment, etc) closely interacting
       • Player actions affects the balance of these different parts
   – Players
       • Single player game, but computer simulation creates the opponent
   – Conflict
       • Player tries to make money
       • Natural tendency of the system is to lose money
   – Rules
       • Computer constrains what the user can do
   – Outcome
       • Player wins if he or she completes the tasks
       • Player loses if zoo becomes bankrupt or the player is out of time
• Yes, the scenario version of Zoo Tycoon is a game
                                         Free-form Game
• Overview:
   – Player begins with nothing but land and money, and can choose to
     create the zoo anyway he or she wishes
• Is it a game?
   – System
       • Multiple different parts (animals, guests, environment, etc) closely interacting
       • Player actions affects the balance of these different parts
   – Players
       • Single player game, but computer simulation creates the opponent
   – Conflict
       • Player tries to make money
       • Natural tendency of the system is to lose money
   – Rules
       • Computer constrains what the user can do
   – Outcome
       • Player loses if zoo becomes bankrupt
       • If the zoo is successful, the player can continue playing indefinitely
• No, the free-form version of Zoo Tycoon is not a game
                    Artificial Intelligence Perspective
• Deterministic
   – Player chooses exactly where everything goes

• Imperfect information
   – Player does not necessarily know what the outcome of a choice
     will be

• Example: increase the price of food
   – Deterministic because the player chooses exactly how much
     money food should cost
   – Imperfect information because the player does not know how
     guests will react
      • Might still buy food – higher profits
      • Might think food is too expensive – lower profits, angry guests
                        Zoo Tycoon on the Internet

• For a single player game,
  there is lots of player
  interaction on the web
   – Trade challenges, tips,
     Easter eggs, and cheats
      • Name a guest “Bill Gates”
        and he will donate money
      • Name guests after
        Reservoir Dogs characters
        and all the other guests’
        shirts will change color
      • Name an exhibit Xanadu,
        and you can buy unicorns
                       Zoo Tycoon on the Internet
• Players pose challenges
  and submit zoos for
  judging

• Players offer starter zoos
  or already successful
  zoos

• Players create new
  content
   – New animals
      • Werewolves
      • Weasels
   – New scenery
                                                          FSM for Tiger
Start
           Becomes    Swim          Find Water
           cool
                          Become Hot                            Can’t Find
                                                    Wants to
                                                     Swim       Water
               Wander            Becomes bored
                                            Wants to
                                                                       Angry
                            Entertained      Play       Can’t Find
        Full                                            Toy

                          Play         Find Toy                        Attack
        Eat
                     Become                                                  Fence breaks

        Find
                     hungry            Can’t Find                     Escape
        Food   Wants to                Food
                 Eat
                                                                                  See person
                                                                      Wander                   Chase
                           Fence repaired                                                               Catch
                                                                                  Don’t see
                                                                                  person                person
                                                                        Eat                    Attack
                         Is it educational software?

• Not originally marketed as such

• However, featured on several educational software sites
  for kids
   – www.softwareforkids.com calls it “Edu-Tainment”

• Educational features
   – Learn about animals
      • Habitat and diet needs
   – Learn about business and economics
      • Supply and demand
      • Fixed versus variable cost
      • Managing scarce resources
                                     Meaningful Play
• The good
   – Placement of foliage and scenery actually matters
       • Trees next to fences will allow animals to escape
       • Must arrange objects to give animals privacy, but still allow guests
         to see them

• The bad
   – Sometimes told you need an item that is unavailable, with no hint
     as to how to get the item
       • Breakdown in the anatomy of choice – how to make a choice

• The indifferent
   – Player can change the colors of buildings
       • Result is not integrated – no affect on happiness, profits or any
         other scoring feature
Scenario Game Information
Choose Animals
Learn about Animals
What does the animal need?
Watch your animals interact
An example of bad accounting…
                              Conclusion

• A great game

• Despite being 6 years old and 2D graphics Zoo
  Tycoon still has a relatively large fan base
  – Players still actively creating and exchanging new
    features on the web


• Considered to have better game-play than other
  similar games, such as Zoo Tycoon 2 and Zoo
  Empire (which have better graphics)

				
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posted:8/19/2011
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