I've found that the bugs in this game are minimal on my system (AMD K-7 550
w/ 392 megs RAM running windows 2000). I was plagued by the infamous
"hunger" bug until I found a workaround. So I've posted my findings on bugs
in Zoo Tycoon here. If you have any more ideas on bugs, let me know! I'll
try to reproduce them myself, or research them to be sure they are
bugs and not a matter of gameplay strategy!
November 20, 2001 - the patch has been released. Download through "Check for
Updates" section in game menu. Some issues with not being able to install it
correctly: Unfinished downloads and .exe file conflicts have been reported.
To tell if the patch has installed correctly: the new version should be
10.10.00.0008, replacing ver. 10.10.00.0006.
Apparently it fixes the "hunger/happiness" bug and improves staff
I am not yet brave enough to install it myself, in case it knocks my
delicate bug workaround balance out of whack while also not fixing anything.
Once I'm certain that the patch is compatible with win2k, I will install.
Here's a list of the most infuriating problems with Zoo Tycoon. I have only
experienced the hunger bug, but the others do exists on some systems.
Hunger Bug | Moonwalking Bug
| OS Compatibility
The larger your zoo is, the more people are likely to feel crowded, hungry,
thristy, and tired. It makes sense, right? But it doesn't make sense for
them to skip by all the restaurants and benches that you have lovingly
provided for them. I've tracked these "needs-challenged" guests to see what
can be done to make their stay at my zoo the best possible. I've seen some
of them walk past the restaurant, with no "This restaurant is full" thought,
past a snack machine added just for them, as they walk right by the bench
while complaining about their tired aching feet. What gives? It's a bug,
Maybe. It happens regularly at a certain size of zoo (around
800 for me, around 500 for other systems) and there's never any mention of
this problem in the game, game help, manual, and I assume the official
strategy guide. So it's either a bug or an esoteric game strategy. If you
limit the human population of your zoo to around 300 guests you don't have a
problem. However, I feel that this is an unrealistic number and there
are no direct controls to keep the number of guests manageable. You have to
rely on cheats (see below) and bizarre work-arounds.
What does the hunger bug do? Well, it keeps your guest happiness down
and that means a lower overall zoo rating and makes some scenarios requiring
high guest happiness impossible. If you care about neither of those things,
feel free to let them starve themselves into oblivion. Or just get angry and
leave your zoo.
It's simple: keep the number of guests lower than the level that creates
the mass hunger problem. But how do you know which level? Trial and error
becomes tiresome, so the easiest thing to do is to keep the number
ridiculously low, say 300 or so. You can do this by setting admission
price to $35.
If you need to clear out your zoo immediately you can do the flock of
birds cheat by renaming any guest to Alfred H. However, this
drastically reduces the number of guests (as in all of them) but it does the
trick. Don't combine this with the $35 admission or it will take a long time
to recover income from guests and their hapiness level. It takes around 4-6
months to get back to normal. You can also quickly rename Alfred H to
another name and the panic will be slightly decreased.
Some people have had luck putting a statue (bighorn preferred) to block
the main gate and it keeps the guests in and the prospective guests out.
These tricks makes the game playable again, but they should be unnecessary
in the game. Thinking about the lost profits on admission makes me cringe.
Sometimes staff and guests appear to be walking in place and obviously not
getting their job done. I haven't had this problem, but there has been quite
a number of people reporting that they do. This is probably also due to
the computer resources available, as well as the operating system
It essentially ruins the game if the staff can't do their jobs!
None known at this time, but limiting the zoo size as described in the hunger bug section may help. The official guide says that
you should just buy more RAM! Sort of invalidates the concept of minimal
requirements that are stated on the game box!
Some limited success can be obtained by turning off the "terrain blending"
Operating System Issues
Informally, it seems that windows 2000 and xp run Zoo Tycoon much better
than the non-NT based windows versions: win95, win98, and winme (referred to as
"win9x systems"). Whether this was an intentional "bug" or simply a
mistake from only testing on these platforms is unclear.
It is simply idiotic to have performance issues between operating systems
for a game of this nature which requires no advanced graphics or 3d
anything, the game engine and artificial intelligence does not seem that
complex, etc compared to other games that run just fine on win9x systems.
Especially since the publisher and (presumably) tester made the operating
systems to begin with!
So until the patch comes out, and if it doesn't solve the problems mentioned
above, switching to win2k or xp seems to be the best way to solve the
problems. Luckily, I already was running win2k, which solves an ENORMOUS
amount of yucky microsoft OS bugs by itself! It was about time!