This Multiplayer Theme Park Simulator With 500 NPCs is the Latest Jaw-Droppingly Ambitious User-Created Project in VRChat

I keep saying VRChat resembles Second Life in its golden age, because in both cases, amazingly ambitious community-made inventions keep popping up like magic mushrooms when you weren't looking.

Which brings us to this project by VRC creator Myro P:  A theme park builder similar to the classic game Roller Coaster Tycoon, but in full person VR. And not only do you get to create and simulate the rides, it comes with 500 NPC customers with their own AI routines

"Coding the NPCs was probably the trickiest part," Myro allows, "and it's still a work in progress. I programmed an AI for the NPCs; for instance, when they're hungry, they'll order food, and when they're tired, they'll rest on benches until they feel better. I had to implement my own pathfinding algorithm because I couldn't use Unity's built-in system."  

It's also multi-player, thanks to a complex process he explains here.

As with many (most?) other VRChat projects, Myro is making this game free-to-play, something for the community to enjoy.

"When I was in high school, 'Roller Coaster Tycoon' was my favorite game, and I felt like a game similar to 'Roller Coaster Tycoon' would work pretty well in VR," he explains. "I also liked the idea of being a visitor of my own theme park, which is why I added the scaling feature."
Last week I mentioned how Unity's recently announced price increase would be a hard blow to the Metaverse, and projects like this illustrate why:

"Creating games in VRChat is quite similar to developing standalone Unity games, thanks to Udon and UdonSharp, which allow me to use built-in Unity functions." (Those are VRChat's scripting languages.) "UdonSharp closely resembles the standard C# used in Unity. Udon and UdonSharp have limitations, which sometimes require finding workarounds, but in my particular case, I haven't encountered any major issues yet."

In other words, if developers start giving up on Unity, we may start to see less projects like this (at least in the short term).

Follow Myro for project updates on Twitter/X. See also this other rollercoaster sim VRChat project from another dev team, though I believe that one doesn't have NPCs. 

Hat tip: Adeon.

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