« Last post by jamespetts on Yesterday at 10:50:37 PM »
Thank you both for your feedback. In relation to the journey time tolerance for goods, this would definitely have to be in addition to, rather than as well as, the maximum distance, or else a cattle farm might connect to a dairy on the other side of the map in 1765 and render both industries useless (and this is likely to happen many times over: recall the prominence of the intercontinental milk trade the last time that we had a game on the Bridgewater-Brunel server). I am somewhat concerned that there will be unconnectable industries even with the distance limit, albeit fewer in number, and I am not yet sure whether a journey time tolerance ought to be introduced here.
In relation to whether only a percentage of travellers would use catering, this would not be too hard to code, and may be sensible; it might be that passengers are more likely to use catering for longer journeys.
I do not fully understand the suggestion of a TPO being relevant only for priority mail - in what way do you imagine it being so relevant? The idea of mail having to go to a post office to be sorted is difficult to implement in a meaningful way: sorting presumably means sorting mail for different places into bags bound for those places; yet, in the case of a TPO, how do we know what mail to load onto it in the first place? There is no use loading mail bound for Exeter on the London to Glasgow mail train. In reality, mail is sorted multiple times, which is why the TPO makes sense, but this is very hard to simulate without a wholly unreasonable degree of complexity.
The original idea for the TPO was to give some use for TPO vehicles that made some sense in the context. The idea was that the player's function was of a rail (etc.) company, not a post office, and so the TPO would make revenue as the Post Office would be charged extra for use to sort the mail on board. It is difficult to calibrate this cost, however, although I am currently reading a book on the history of the Royal Mail that might help in this regard (but it is a very long book, and I am still currently in the 1720s).
As to the path-finding system, I am afraid that I think it extremely unlikely that it will be possible to produce any formula that does not (1) produce more anomalies than it solves; and (2) significantly increase the computational load. Anything that involves using an exact figure for price, as I have written before, will lead to either insuperable problems in which players would get great benefit by slightly lowering prices but are unable to do so or to an intolerable level of micromanagement if players are able to adjust prices finely.
As to specifying the values for catering over time, this is where the proposed system of inflation is necessary. My plan at present is to use the following idea of prices for each level, based on modern day figures, adjusted for inflation in other eras.
Level 1 would be the equivalent of a packet of crisps and a small bottle of mineral water per passenger - say £3.00 charged to the passenger.
Level 2 would be the equivalent of a cold sandwich and a fruit juice per passenger - say £5.00 charged to the passenger.
Level 3 would be the equivalent of a cup of tea or coffee, a toasted sandwich and a cake per passenger - say £10.00 charged to the passenger.
Level 4 would be the equivalent of a basic two course cooked meal per passenger - say £17.50 charged to the passenger.
Level 5 would be the equivalent of a luxury three course cooked meal per passenger - say £45 charged to the passenger.
For the higher levels, a greater margin of profit (I imagine) over the cost of the actual food supplied (not including staff cost, which would be part of the fixed cost of the catering vehicle) would be made than the lower levels, perhaps ranging from 40% to 60%. This would give:
Level 1: 40% of £3.00 would leave a profit of £1.20
Level 2: 45% of £5.00 would leave a profit of £2.35
Level 3: 50% of £10.00 would leave a profit of £5.00
Level 4: 55% of £17.50 would leave a profit of £9.63
Level 5: 60% of £45 would leave a profit of £27.00
Do these figures make any sense? If anyone has any data to allow these to be made more accurate, that would be most helpful.