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Coasters are a type of ride available in all of the RCT editions. They are known as roller coasters in all of the editions except RollerCoaster Tycoon World, although both terms can be used interchangeably.


In RollerCoaster Tycoon World, there are four categories of roller coasters: steel, wooden, inverted, and launch-track. These categories have 10 coaster types each. In RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, coasters are divided into steel, wooden, inverted, and water categories. Coasters that are similar to the launch-track ones in RCTW are just included with the steel in RCT3. RollerCoaster Tycoon World is the only game where all of the coaster categories have 10 types. In all other editions, each category may contain significantly more or less coasters than another category.


After choosing a coaster the build, the player can either build that coaster from scratch using the coaster builder, or place a pre-built design. All coasters have at least 1 pre-built design, and many will have a lot more.


If the player chooses to build their coaster from scratch, it will open the coaster builder. This contains a wide variety of types of tracks to place, including stations, picture areas, and in some coasters, launch tracks. Each of these types of tracks has a certain property. There are also tools to allow the track to curve, bank, and slope. In RCTW, the player can curve, bank, and slope the track at any precise angle. In other editions, the player must select these from a small selection. For example, there may be a certain coaster where the player can make the track have a gentle, steep, or vertical slope, make it bank slightly or completely sideways, and turn a sharp turn or a gradual turn. In addition to the basic coaster-building tools, there are also special track elements. These can include corkscrews, loops, zero G rolls, S bends, and more.