Hidden Wonders


Zoo Tycoon on Wine


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Zoo Tycoon is a zoo simulation game released in 2001. It was one of my family’s favorite games, we played it all the time when I was growing up. However, it’s an old game produced by Microsoft, so I had a bit of trouble getting it working properly under Linux. I was eventually able to get it working quite nicely.

This guide assumes that you have the necessary files to follow these instructions. If you don’t have them, search around and you can probably find them, online somewhere.

  1. Mount the CDs[#]

mkdir cd1 cd2
# Mount the main game iso
sudo mount ZOO_TYCN.iso cd1/ -o loop
# Mount the expansion packs iso
sudo mount MARINA.iso cd2/ -o loop
  1. Setup wine[#]

Setup wine by following steps 1 & 4-7 of this guide.

  1. Run the installers through wine[#]

wine cd1/SETUP.exe
wine cd2/SETUP.exe

As you click through the installers, each time you press a button to continue should make a weird giraffe or dolphin noise. This should tell you whether or not your sound is working properly.

Proceed through the installers, selecting the ‘Full Install’ option. Once you’re done installing, just press the ‘X’ on the install window, as we’re not ready to launch the game just yet.

zoo tycoon installation

The 300MB install size difference would have been very meaningful on PCs from the 90s. My family played this on an XP system with a 30GB harddrive, so it was no big deal for us even 20 years ago.

  1. Unmount the isos[#]

sudo umount cd1 cd2
  1. Edit zoo.ini[#]

We want to edit the zoo.ini file to make the game more playable on modern systems.

# Your install path may vary
vim ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Zoo Tycoon/zoo.ini

Change the following options from the default, adding them under the proper section if they do not already exist:

; under [user]
; adjust resolution values as desired,
; may have to play with the values a bit to avoid a crash

; under [ui]

; set these options to skip the tutorial
; under [ui]

; (under [scenario])

; If you want, add this section & key/value pair to increase max guests from 1000 to 2000
  1. Replace zoo.exe with a cracked version[#]

By default, Zoo Tycoon will not work unless the CD is present (or in our case, if the iso is mounted). To get around this behavior, we can grab a cracked zoo.exe and replace our default one (I leave obtaining the cracked .exe as an exercise to the reader). This should let us launch the game without an iso.

unzip Zoo-Tycoon-Complete-Collection_NoCD_Win_EN.zip
# Save the old exe just in case
cp ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Zoo Tycoon/zoo.exe ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Zoo Tycoon/zoo-needs-iso.exe
# Copy in our cracked exe
cp zoo.exe ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Zoo Tycoon/zoo.exe 

There’s also a version 177 patch to install, but I was unfortunately unable to get it to install. I don’t think we had it back in 2001, so I’m sure I’ll be fine without it now.

  1. Build your Zoo![#]

The game should be good to go, either launch zoo.exe from commandline or launch using the system shortcut that was likely created. Build your zoo!

my zoo!

I usually just play with max money to build a big zoo on extra-large map. We're already making a profit though!

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