Theme Hospital - Playing Guide submitted by jeansy STARTING OFF The first thing you should think about when you enter a new level is planning. If you don't plan the design of your hospital well enough, you'll soon run out of space and your patients will be wandering all over the place. When you start a level, in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen you'll see the Build Timer. This gives you about two to three months of free time to plan and begin to build your hospital without the worry of patients. Use the time wisely as you won't get a second chance. Think of designing your hospital as a production line. What are patients going to use first and what are they likely to need in the future? What rooms will they use last and will it matter if it takes quite a long time to reach them? Think about dividing your hospital up into diagnosis and cure sections as these two areas of your hospital will be completely separate. Once a patient has been diagnosed and sent to be cured, he will rarely return. Corridors for your patients to walk through are also important. Design your hospital so that all your rooms have easy access, and leave plenty of space to put benches outside rooms - patients hate standing up, so you'll need about three per room. When you've completed the basic structure of your hospital, you'll need a receptionist to welcome patients when they arrive. Always place her at the entrance so that she can see the new patients straight away. Remember to leave some space for a few benches and another reception desk or two. You won't need a huge reception area, however, as your aim should be to get your patients seen by a GP as soon as possible. Also, after a year or so you may find your single receptionist is having trouble coping with all the patients entering your hospital, so it may be necessary to provide her with some extra help. Next, you should have a GP's office. This is the most important room in your hospital because it's where your patients are told what diseases they're suffering from. All the other diagnosis rooms do is increase the Diagnosis Percentage for the various ailments. As your GP's office is going to be visited first, always build it near the reception area, as this cuts down the distance the patients have to walk. It's a good idea to leave space for a few more GP's offices for when you expand. Building them in one place may seen messy, but it allows you to quickly look at each of them without having to hunt around the whole hospital. The queues for GP's offices can grow quite quickly so keep a constant watch. WHAT'S UP DOC? Your diagnosis rooms are the main machinery of your hospital. They will be constantly welcoming patients and adding to their Diagnosis Percentages. It's a good idea to keep these rooms close to the GP's offices so that, again, the patients don't have to walk too far. Leave space for more diagnosis rooms as they'll fill up quickly. Not all the diseases will use every diagnosis room, so it's no good just building a general diagnosis room and a psychiatric room. You'll soon get lots of patients with incomplete diagnoses and when you start sending them all to be cured you'll have loads of deaths on your hands. The only way to get more diagnosis rooms is to research. You should build a research room as soon as possible and get your doctors studying. Put a few researchers in the research room and adjust the percentages on the Research Screen otherwise nothing will be done. It may be expensive to do early, but you'll reap the rewards later. The research room can be built anywhere in your hospital as patients will rarely go there. The last section of your hospital is your cures section. The first cure room you should build is a pharmacy as this is the one used most. Later in the level you may need more than one, especially for emergencies, so again keep some space free. The cure rooms are only going to be visited once, so they can be on the outer reaches of your hospital. These cure rooms may be expensive, but as soon as a few patients get cured in them, your reputation will grow and even more patients will arrive. Then the money will start rolling in. Operating theatres and psychiatry rooms are different to other cure rooms. Only think about building these once you have the staff to use them (two surgeons or psychiatrists) otherwise you'll have massive queues of patients outside the rooms and no way of curing them. As psychiatry rooms both diagnose and cure patients, you should put them somewhere between the diagnosis and cure sections to keep the patients flowing smoothly. THOSE LITTLE EXTRAS The final rooms you'll need to place are the staff room and the toilets. Staff rooms can be out of the way of the hustle and bustle of your hospital, but toilets will need to be where patients can get to them easily. Although you'll need only one staff room at the start, as your hospital expands it'll soon become overcrowded and congested. The further a member of staff has to walk, the longer it will take them to get back, and this can create massive queues. You'll therefore need to build more staff rooms in other areas of the hospital, so that all hospital staff, no matter where they work in the hospital, have easy access to refreshments. You can get away without having any toilets in your hospital, but patients will quickly get angry and urinate on the floor. Left unchecked, you could be facing a vomit wave, epidemics and failure. Build a toilet in each new plot and close to cure rooms, especially the operating theatre. Patients will only be wanting the toilet after spending a few months in your hospital, by which time they will be waiting for their cures. MOVING ON UP Getting your hospital up and running is one thing - keeping it maintained is quite another. You need to know your Win Criteria for that level. Look at the Status Screen and keep a close eye on the Win Criteria bars. If you put your mouse pointer over the bars, Tool Tips will appear telling you how much you have and how much you need to get 100% in that criteria. Hospital Value is all of your material wealth and can only be boosted by buying new objects. If you just need Hospital Value to win, then buy some more rooms, the more expensive the better. You can then do the reverse if you need money but have plenty of Hospital Value. Selling some rooms could help you finish a level sooner. Some levels will not require you to gain lots of cures or money so take advantage of this. Buying good staff is very important because, as the level progresses, the staff available for hire will become worse and worse. Don't be afraid to buy lots of staff early, especially surgeons, even if you haven't got an operating theatre. These doctors can still work in normal diagnosis rooms and they will take another worry off your mind. If you still don't have enough doctors of a certain type, which may happen a lot on later levels, train them up and teach other doctors the skills in the training room. Only consultant doctors can teach, but it doesn't matter if none of your consultants have the right skill. Just train up a doctor with that skill to consultant level and then set him teaching instead. Try to teach him multiple skills while you're doing this. This will then give your staff more than one possible job and then you'll always have skilled staff, like surgeons, at hand. You can also put a skeleton and a bookcase in the training room. These will speed up the training of the doctors. Hire more staff than you need because you may have a sudden rush of patients. Also, staff will need to go to the staff room, so others will have to take over their jobs. Be careful that you don't overdo it, though, as all these staff will cost money. Plants, radiators and fire extinguishers are often difficult to place. You'll need lots of radiators as staff and patients get cold quickly. Put radiators in the most frequently used rooms and in corridors. Corridors and rooms are completely separate when it comes to heating, so a radiator in a corridor will not heat a room. Larger rooms will require more heating, but the radiators don't have to be spread out as they will each heat the whole room. On the other hand, the heat in a corridor will depend on how far away a patient is from the radiator. Place them by seating and room entrances. Think about placing drinks machines close by, because the hotter a patient is the more thirsty they will become. Plants need to be watered, so the more plants you have, the more handymen you will need. Plants make people happy but dead plants have a negative effect, so keep on top of them. A handyman will not water a plant he can't get to, so keep a good eye on them. Fire extinguishers are also important, but have the added bonus of not needing to be watered. They're also useful for preventing machines from exploding, so put them in all rooms which contain expensive equipment. Attracting patients to your hospital is difficult, but a good way to improve your reputation is to drop your prices a bit. This will give you the edge over the computer players you need. Try not to kill patients. This may sound obvious, but it does affect your reputation and you can get large cash bonuses at the end of the year for not killing any patients. THERE ARE COMPLICATIONS, SIR When you have a research room, research the computer or the atom analyser. If you have the money, buy one of each as both accelerate your research. Once you have researched all the rooms, don't stop there. Research all your drugs to 100% otherwise you'll be killing your patients unnecessarily. Improving your machines is also a bonus because a machine with a high strength will require less maintenance and will not be badly damaged by earthquakes. Keep repairing machines, because the more they have been used before being repaired, the more chance there will be that the strength will be reduced by one. Don't let the strength go below about seven as it tends to drop rapidly after this and will then blow up when you're not looking. Replace these machines when you need to. Earthquakes can severely damage your machines, so if you get an earthquake warning, slow the game down by pressing â1' and look at all your machines. Repair those which need it and replace those which are in danger. Don't build a room once you've had the warning, as it will just be pointlessly damaged and a possible waste of money. SIMPLE CURES To help you play the game well, there are a number of shortcuts you should learn. On the Patient Information Panel, you can click on the Spy Windows with the left mouse button to zoom to that patient, and then right-click to cycle through all the other patients in the hospital. You can do the same with each type of staff, and left-clicking on the staff photo will take you to the Staff Screen. If you right-click on either the Emergency Timer or the Epidemic Timer, you will bring up the Information Panel for the first member of that emergency or epidemic. If you keep right-clicking on the timer, you'll cycle through all those patients. This way, you can easily see who has what disease and then you can quickly move them around your hospital. Epidemics can be a pain on busy levels. Make sure that you can handle one before trying to cover it up. If it's a visual disease, then you may not have the cure machines for it. The same may be the case for emergencies. If you have more than six emergencies for only one room, you probably won't be able to cure them all in time, so leave space for extra rooms. It's often a good tactic to just build the room for the emergency and then delete it afterwards. You'll still make a profit if the room is cheap. If you don't take care of your staff very well, they'll start asking for pay rises or bonuses. Letting them rest frequently is one way of preventing this, so lower the Staff Rest bar on the Policy Screen to about 30-50% as staff start to get annoyed when 60% tired. Make sure you have plenty of staff rooms to cope with the increase of resting staff. Plants and fire extinguishers make staff happier as well, and happy staff make better diagnoses and cures. SOME DO'S Do save regularly as many unexpected things can happen. Do use the Autosave function. Do use the training room because trained juniors are cheaper. Do build operating theatres. They may cost a lot but they're the real money winners. Do something about dying patients. Send them for cures if you think you can cure them. If you can't, send them home before they die because death is not something you want in your hospital. Do plan ahead. If you see a good doctor, hire him because you will reap the benefits later. SOME DONT'S Don't build rooms before you have the staff to use them, otherwise you'll have huge queues and no-one to hire. Don't start expanding at the end of the year as you could lose some awards. Don't block off parts of your hospital and entrances with benches or reception desks otherwise your patients will have a long trek to their rooms. Don't use tired doctors for emergencies otherwise they could wander off to the staff room in the middle of the procedure. Don't take out a loan unless you know you can pay it back before the end of the year. SAUSAGE FACTORY One of the most important things to regulate in Theme Hospital are the queues for rooms. You want to process people as quickly as possible because if you let your queues get too long, then you'll start to get people-jams. Then patients will leave, vomit and die. With this in mind, it's a good idea to watch your queues and keep them to a bare minimum. If your queue gets longer than four people, build another room. Rooms that will clog up quickly will be the GP's office and the pharmacy. If you still have problems with the queues, then adjust the Max Queue Sizes on the Queue Panel (to bring this up, click on the room's door). If you have a lot of GP's offices in a row, then careful manipulation of these numbers will even out the queues in the rooms and you'll be able to leave them to run themselves. If you have patients dying or there's an epidemic, then you can move patients to the front of the queue by bringing up the Queue Panel and then dragging the patient on to the door symbol. It's a good idea to watch single rooms, particularly the psychiatric room, when you only have one psychiatrist, because he can sometimes go into a different room if there's no queue. He will then stay in that room and not notice when the psychiatric room has a six-person queue. The best way to combat this is to hire more psychiatrists, so that one can take over once the other has left.