Scottish game designer Chris Sawyer hated rollercoasters before he began work on RollerCoaster Tycoon. He originally wanted to create a sequel to his highly successful Transport Tycoon. However, he later instead decided to make RollerCoaster Tycoon as an excuse to ride on, or “research”, rollercoasters, which he enjoyed doing and became obsessed with. The game was to be called White Knuckle for the majority of the game’s development. However, to follow the tradition of the Tycoon titles, the game was renamed accordingly.
The game was developed in a small village near Dunblane over the course of two years. Sawyer wrote 99% of the code for RollerCoaster Tycoon in x86 assembly language, with one percent of the functions written in C for interaction with the Windows operating system and DirectX.