Discussion Thread #3 - What do you wish you'd known before starting your first zoo?

That the terrainpaints are different from biome to biome! I wanted to make a botanical garden in the middle of the desert but the grass paints were too dull for it to really work.
Someone once made a really awesome looking Giraffe Enclosure in a Desert. Moss was used to make it look really nice and alive. Maybe this could be a fitting Solution in Case you want to revive the Project

The second thing is, the x button exists.
You might be laughing now, but for the first 5 hours of this game, aka my first real session i didnt knew how to rotate stuff. I knew it was possible, but i didnt find any option in the settings with the key bindings.
In the end i watched a building tutorial the next day and that was it, but especally for casual players i think the x button should be part of the first tutorial. Just something like "Oh no! Somebody played a prank and turned this sign around! Pls click on it and use the x button to turn it back around" would have been great and very helpful. After all not everybody would have the patience to find out how it works/even know that there is an option, and thats quite the shame honestly.
It's a absolute Shame they still didn't include a official Building Tutorial in the Game. I really hope they will do it someday

Finally, the knowledge that the peafowl really did not need to be in all my zoos, sure they seemed nice at first but I'm still weeding them out. They did teach me about dirty habitats though.
There's nothing wrong about Peafowl nostalgically thinking back to the Kingdom of the Peacocks in my Beta Zoo😂🦚

Wish there was different designs/styles tho. Changing colour is not enough
Often when I come up with a unique Donation Box Design, I need to completely change it because of that rotating Part. At least a Version without that Part would be nice. Maybe also a smaller one that should have the Option to adjust its Height

Having a really large entrance area. The widest path is barely enough for all the people coming in.
If the People would at least move more like Zoo Guests instead of those stupid People that started to clog every Path in Shops for Hours since 2020 😑
The List of Animals that People want to see would probably already be a big Help if Frontier would change it so that the Guests will visit those Animals first
 
Hayo Zookeepers,

We’re back again for another discussion topic! Last month was a lot of fun, and we’re excited to keep this going here on the forums.

Before we get started, as always, remember that this is a place for us to all enjoy chatting as a community. Please do keep in mind that these threads have set topics and refrain from discussions outside of that or they will be removed by the moderators – but don’t fret! We’ll still be keeping an eye on the rest of the forums for your feedback, suggestions, creations, and more!

So, without further ado:

What do you wish you’d known before starting your first zoo?
I wish I knew not to download everything from steam. Lol. After 1000 hours I had to rename and code all steam items.

What do I mean be code...

5a. Street lamps
7b. Walls
7a. Walls with entrances
3a. Habitats.
3x. Perfect habitats
 
When I started my first Franchise Zoo I had already played the beta and planet coaster and had made a lot of plans on paper about my new zoo. My parents had just spend their vacation in Costa Rica and had sent me pictures of all the colorful houses and wooden suspension bridges through the jungle...
So I built a huge bridge from the entrance to the middle of the zoo where i made a plaza with animals, shops and toilets and when i ran out of the starter money, i opened the zoo for guests...
Appearently my guests were too lazy to walk over the bridge until they reached something they could spend money on... but returned just halfway, saying there was nothing to see. I had to take a huge credit to save the zoo. Yeah, I managed to save it from bankruptcy, the zoo is still alive and still one of my favorite to return to.
 
Well as I started I really love the career mode, So I learned some good things but they dont always give an answer when you are stuck. For instance I got a lazy worker and I really (at that time) had no idea what to do on that. So the interactive part is great but when you got stuck it should give some hints... I think its a great game I really love the animals, what an excellent work! As a newbee its further quite hard to begin..where should you begin? So an interactive learning mode that helps you build a zoo would be great. Planet zoo has so many functions that you at some times get lost and I think that many people who start with Planet zoo would enjoy it.

So next to all the modes there should be a mode: start making your own zoo (interactive) and when the first zoo is finished with help you can go building on your own with franchise mode, or sandbox or else. When youre new on the game you dont know at that point what all the modes mean anyway...
 
Literally everything. I'm not a franchise player I love playing sandbox and I never played planet coaster just zoo tycoon games so this was very much a new thing to me when I first got it on release in 2019. I played the beta though so I knew how to do some basic stuff, but the real thing I wish I knew when I first started my zoo was literally everything. It's almost like I learn how to do new things everytime I build something. Also learning realism as I progress. I had so many things built in my early days that I've gone over and torn them down completely and rebuilt. I have almost spent more time redoing things in my zoo than building new things because the more I look back on my early work the more beginner and outdated it looks compared to things I'm building now. Also DLC packs. I've seen people mention it but I've edited so many Habitats with new foliage as it comes out. Also I've completely destroyed Habitats to build new ones for different animals that came out in dlc and then moved animals around. It's quite the process lol
 
When I first started I only played Franchise. I had a tendency to want to build to quickly, hence I got into money trouble. Then I figured out that in the beginning you just build one single habitat (for me usually one of the two tortoises as they are easy to keep) and research it completely (or when already researched, wait until they have babies), then build the next habitat. Don't decorate anything yet! Just wait until you are profitable and have enough animal enclosures (with babies!) to keep things going. Now you can slow down aging so you don't have to worry about them dying quite so much and start making things look pretty.

Now I almost exclusively play sandbox. There I tend to come up with a theme for a zoo and create an animal list. Then I start building from the entrance onward with this theme firmly in mind. Seeing my entrance completely and beautifully themed out helps me with designing the habitats actually.

My current project, for example, is an animal sanctuary located in the Africa savannah. So most animals are from that general area, though I also have a section which I called 'Discarded Pets'. So in my head, these animals used to belong to the rich, until they figured out that wild animals don't make good pets. They dumped the animals at the sanctuary. Technically they are already full with local wildlife that needs rescuing, but they can't let these animals just starve to death so they've created a section of the zoo where these unwanted pets live.

One final tip: if you are planning on going big, think of transportation early. Better to have an unused (or unfinished) transport ride set up then to find out halfway through your build nobody is coming to certain areas of your zoo and you don't have any space to put in the transportation. Less important now with the multiple entrances, but still something to think about.
 
A question that came to me at the beginning: How much space does the second, third ...etc. animal need in the enclosure? How much space do young animals need?

In the beginning I often built the enclosures too small.
 
It has been quite awhile since I first played Planet Zoo. Like others, PC was not a precursor for me, owned but didn't play since I got too confused.

I play mainly Franchise with the occasional dip into Career, so money is quite often an issue. One tip I found that does help is to start an exhibit or two early on with breeding pairs. It does give an easier way of making money semi-quickly without too much upkeep. There is no habitat to design and decorate.

I still have issues with habitat size. I often create too big an enclosure. When I try to keep it small, I go too small. So I do, often, toss one of the animals in when I think I get the size where I want it, then fudge with shifting fences as needed. I will admit that I am not a very experienced "zoo manager", but I have seen some information that I may find helpful. Although, I think it might help to specify, for some of these hints, if they usually do franchise, challenge, or sandbox modes.
 
It's a definite plus to have had Planet Coaster before playing PZ. I can imagine how overwhelming it was.
I only played a little of Planet Coaster when it first came out, definitely had a hard time with PZ when I started. Almost didn't want to play it after the beta lmao. Glad I pulled through, watching YouTube videos of others really helped me understand what is possible with the game
 
Paths and habitat sizes.

Definitely didn't make my early paths wide enough, then I built habitats on both sides and it got very congested. Now I always use the widest paths throughout the zoo and only use narrower ones for specific viewing locations. Also, perhaps another failure of forward planning on my part, I don't make habitats big enough, or with enough room to expand, because they're all penned in by paths! I tend to make them big enough for the first animals I put in, not planning for offspring!

Wish I could say I'd learned from my mistakes, but I still build things too close together and run out of space for expansion, even after hundreds of hours!
 
I wish I knew about the Steam Workshop and how to use it earlier, because I'm very bad at building things but I can find so many amazing constructions there that buy me a lot of time and help me to make my zoos much better ! You can even download maps or entire zoos ! The Community workshop was a game changer to me.
 

HeatherG

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