Author Topic: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable  (Read 13405 times)

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Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2013, 07:23:47 PM »
Ahh, storage buildings. I had forgotten about that. Currently, for rail the country station and the two types of goods warehouse take mail and something else: mail and passengers in the first instance and mail and freight in the second. For road, the 'bus shelter with the post box is combined, as is the staging post and the staging inn. The passenger docks all seem to be combined, although there are also mail specific buildings.

I think that this might be less of a problem than first appears, actually. In Experimental, we can separate the capacity and cost of a building from its "level", so we can have high capacity mail buildings for a lower cost. The combined buildings we can calibrate for the cost of passengers or freight, as the case may be, on the basis that these are primarily passenger buildings with a little bit of mail capacity on the side as a secondary function. Because there will be a great difference in the amount of mail that players transport on different parts of the network owing to the network effect, there will be call for both low and high capacity mail storage at stations/stops/harbours, etc. Wherever a stop is part of a trunk mail route, a specialist post office can be built; otherwise, a much lower capacity combined passenger/mail stop will suffice for these low volumes.

Edit: According to this source, the aircraft for the first air mail service carried 35 bags of mail each, which would equate to 350 or 1,750 bundles of mail at 50 and 10 letters respectively.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 07:37:57 PM by jamespetts »
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Offline ӔO

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2013, 07:36:58 PM »
yes, most of the combined stops are fine. I think it's only the station extensions which may need a several hundred to several thousand in capacity.
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Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2013, 07:39:43 PM »
That's fine - they can be adjusted accordingly if we replace "bags" with "bundles" of mail. I think that the 50 letter 1kg bundle is probably the only way to go, as the numbers per vehicle get rather silly at any other number, and throw the combined stops further out of alignment. This is on top of the issue with the weight.
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Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2013, 09:20:16 PM »
I have just implemented the basic version of these changes on my Github branch for Pak128.Britain-Ex, and also my 112.x-private-car-merge branch on Github for the code: there is now a 1:200 mail:passenger generation ratio, and each packet of mail is now a "bundle" weighing 1kg rather than a bag. I have multiplied capacities for mail carrying vehicles by 10 (except for aircraft, where I have used instead the tonnages provided by Guiseppe, multiplied by 1,000), and multiplied the capacity of mail only station extension buildings and stops by 10. The "loading bay with post box" I have changed to simply "post box" and removed its freight capacity, increasing its mail capacity by a factor of 10. It might be helpful at some point to change the graphic for the 'bus stop with post box to depict it with a much smaller type of post box than the that used for the post box on its own. I also wonder whether it would be worthwhile to remove from the post box graphic the white bay markers that are currently present, or whether this would make the location of the post box too unclear to players (I am minded to remove them at present, as they do not look realistic).

Because these combined changes will greatly reduce the frequency with which it is necessary to transport mail, I have also changed the system for discarding/refunding such that only passengers will be discarded/refunded if the total waiting time at any one station exceeds thrice the passengers' anticipated total journey time: mail and goods will now wait until the base maximum waiting time has been exceeded, to allow for a much lower frequency service for mail and goods, as is realistic.

Future changes to consider include changing mail volumes over time (to reflect things such as the introduction of the penny post and the invention and widespread adoption of e-mail) and a more dynamic relationship between mail and its generating buildings to go along with the proposed changes to passenger generation and urban development.

Any thoughts on these initial changes would be most welcome, however.
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Offline sdog

Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2013, 10:20:32 PM »
A red post box, in a mostly brown and grey english city? ;-) I don't think those street markings are necessary.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2013, 11:05:34 PM »
Hmm - what if it is behind a tall building? We cannot rotate in multi-player mode, although one might (albeit with no fewer than three mouse clicks) hide buildings.
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Offline sdog

Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2013, 11:44:08 PM »
post boxes are on both sides of the street. If neither can be seen, the label on the road is mostly not seen either. It most likely is more visible than early bus stop signs.

There's also the stop label over it. In case it is connected to other stops, it is not terribly important to know where exactly it is located. Any tile of that stop would do.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2013, 11:51:39 PM »
Yes, you are right, I think - and the staging post does not have bays. Deleting...
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Offline ӔO

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2013, 02:49:31 AM »
If you have difficulty seeing objects behind buildings, then you can hide buildings with " and show station coverage with v.
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Offline Spenk009

Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2015, 02:16:17 PM »
This post is in the same vein as the topic and not enough content to warrant a new thread (Even if in 11.35, 0.9.1). Correct me where I'm wrong or am missing information for the discussion.

To summarize the changes decided and implemented here; 50 letters = 1 bundle & 10 bundles = 1 bag. Everything in-game was multiplied by the factor of 10, the weight per bundle reduced to 1kg and the rate of mail generation adjusted.



Thoughts on mail in general:
  • There is no 110mph mail brake coach for the Mk1. There are coaches, but no brake. Suggestion here is to increase the max. speed to 110mph (177km/h), since no trains until that speed becomes relevant.
  • According to the Royal Mail, over 98% of households in the UK are within half a mile of a postbox. What about a separate mail coverage of 6 tiles (750m) or 7 tiles (875m)? As to the coverage of passenger stops, how likely is it for a passenger to walk to a stop if it takes them 15min (20min if diagonal, both at 7 tiles) or more? Also, could a reduction in pax/mail coverage improve game performance and eliminate the need to create separate halt coverages?
  • Similar to airports requiring a tower, a post stop could require a post office for bundles to be loaded or unloaded. The thought behind this is, that more post boxes are placed in general, allowing for cheaper coverage, but creating a network becomes expensive as more post offices are required for distribution. If the airport code can be adapted through a combination of avoid_overcrowding and has_no_control_tower, we could find an easily balanced update and realistic improvement.
  • High maintenance costs of postboxes is what makes road mail networks tricky or unprofitable. I believe the cost is unwarranted as they require neither regular cleaning (of the tile/area rather than bus stops), nor do they receive as much maintenance and nor do they require employing people to operate them. Post offices are different, with utilities used, employees paid and and and...

I essentially suggest reducing station coverage, introducing a flag as to whether mail can route via a stop and adjusting the maintenance costs of buildings. Thoughts on this?

Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2015, 11:14:57 AM »
1. The Mk. I carriages were limited to 100mph. Actually, they were originally limited to 90mph until the bogies were upgraded, although I leave that out as it would overcomplicate things somewhat. It is the Mk. II carriages that were capable of 110mph (and, of the things that could haul them, only the class 87 could achieve that speed before the 1980s, although the game also has a diesel locomotive, based on a never produced prototype, that can also travel at 110mph). No Mk. II mail carriages were ever produced (nor, indeed, any mail carriages after the Mk. Is, aside from a special multiple unit train). In reality, there were no 110mph mail trains: mail just did not need to go that fast.

2. Coverage is not the only incentive to have more frequent stops. The time taken walking to the stop, in the case of passengers or, in the case of mail, walking to the postbox carrying one's letters, is computed as part of the journey time. The nearer the stop/postbox to the origin building, the lower the journey time. Passengers may not travel at all if the journey time is too long: this does not affect mail, but a rival company's mailbox at closer quarters will be able to take your company's traffic, as the shortest total journey time is what the mail will use to decide which route to take, including from which postbox to start. This is a far better and more realistic mechanism than having a small coverage radius (in reality, people used to walk miles when there was no alternative), although if you prefer a smaller coverage radius, you are free to change it in simuconf.tab.

3. The idea of requiring mail to be sorted before it is delivered has occurred to me, although this would be complex to implement and will have to wait for the far future when a very long list of higher priority features has been implemented (unless somebody is willing and able to code it sooner).

4. The costs generally are not balanced yet: balancing anomalies should be corrected when the balancing exercise is undertaken, but this will require major feature changes (very slowly in progress) to be done first so that the balancing process can produce a workable balance and is not trying to hit a moving target.
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Offline wlindley

Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2015, 01:54:45 PM »
Could #3 be implemented by adding an internal flag, set in besch/reader/building_reader.cc, which would not require .dat file changes?

The flag would be set when reading a building where enables_post = 1, enables_pax = 0, enables_ware = 0,  and type=extension.
This situation arises only for post offices.  When the map reader builds stations, in the same part that finds stations with control_towers, set a has_post_office flag for that station.

The game engine then would handle mail between two stops if and only if at least one had the has_post_office flag set. Any mail generated from one non-post office stop (call it "A") to another ("B") would be routed through a station with a post office (the station status dialog at A would read "bundles of mail to B via C").

Thus you could carry mail from a postbox to a stop with a post office; between any two post offices; and from a post office equipped stop to any other stop.  Bundles of mail carried on a single route within a city would have to travel to the city's post office and back again. This is how mail has always been handled, unless anyone can find citation for postmen who would cancel stamps and deliver mail to a later house on their own route, without taking the letter to the post office first!

Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2015, 02:05:35 PM »
The only way of implementing proper mail sorting is to separate mail into two types: sorted and unsorted, and to require sorting to occur at sorting offices or on special vehicles (travelling post offices). This would require substantial changes to the code. What is not needed is a sorting office at every origin or destination on any given route: more usually, the sorting office is between origin and destination, not at one or the other.
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Offline Spenk009

Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #48 on: March 11, 2015, 12:44:39 PM »
Well that's a shame. I thought I had a geniunely easy solution there, with wlindley's suggestion towards only allowing routing via an enabled stop. About the carriage, will the speed limit be reduced or it be allowed to connect to other 110mph carriages?

Offline jamespetts

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Re: [0.8.4] Mail is extremely profitable
« Reply #49 on: March 11, 2015, 01:01:53 PM »
Mk. I carriages could in real life and can in the game couple to Mk. II and Mk. IIIa carriages: in this instance, in Simutrans as in reality, the top speed of the whole convoy is reduced to 100mph.
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