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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!
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Patch News
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, replacing ver.

Apparently it fixes the "hunger/happiness" bug and improves staff performance.

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.

[Boo!] Known Bugs

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

Hunger Bug

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, right?

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.

Work Arounds
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.

Moonwalking Bug

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 you use.

It essentially ruins the game if the staff can't do their jobs!

Work Arounds
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" option.

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 STUPID 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!

Work Arounds
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!
[Moo!] do the zoo! [OooOooOoo!]