Author Topic: Simutrans on Steam  (Read 17112 times)

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Offline HaydenRead

Simutrans on Steam
« on: December 08, 2015, 11:14:03 PM »
NOW PUBLISHED ON GREENLIGHT

Hi all, there was some discussion in this topic http://forum.simutrans.com/index.php?topic=10440.0 around Simutrans on Steam.

I was considering going through the process of trying to get SimuTrans onto Steam, and was wanting to see what the communities opinion on this was.

Looking at the release history of Simutrans it seems to be updated around about yearly, so I would have no problems with keeping the Steam version up to date (Looking at Sourceforge I see 1 - 2 new versions per year.)

Initially I would be looking simply at getting the game onto Steam, then as time permits, working on integrating any desirable Steam features (such as Achievements, Server location options, etc) into the build (if agreed upon by the current dev team). I feel that by putting the game on Steam it will get in front of a larger audience.

The intention would be to make the game Free on steam, but with donation options, as has been done by ShareX http://store.steampowered.com/app/400040. These donations would then be passed on to the donations PayPal account that is already listed on the SimuTrans site.

I already have a Greenlight subscription, so there would be no additional cost to me to do this, other than the time it takes, which I am willing to commit to.

Overview of Concerns Raised so far
  • Which should be the default Pak used with Steam - No Decision Reached
  • Changing Pak folder names to be more 'user friendly' for Steam Audiences would break online game compatibility - Keep Existing Pack folder names - could some form of 'Friendly name' file be incorporated into the Steam version
  • Should there be any charges, and if so how should the money be managed
    The license does not allow for money to be charged for the game, but money can be charged for services and support - No Decision Reached on how to handle any funds
  • What happens if the maintainer is unable to continue maintating - Grant Multiple Users access to Maintain the package on Steam
  • Issues with new players flooding forums - Increase documentation (create Manual), possibly create separate support forum for Steam?
  • License Compatibility - The License is compatible with distributing the game on Steam, and there are compatible options available for integrating Steamworks into the game
  • Other issues???
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 06:41:54 PM by HaydenRead »

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2015, 02:51:27 AM »
This really has to be done in a group by the Simutrans administration. It could end up causing a lot of problems if there is a failure to update regularly for some reason and they cannot update it. Additionally relying on a "middle man" for donations is kind of risky as there would be nothing to stop them from taking an "administration fee" on all donations which may not be wholly transparent.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2015, 06:28:13 AM »
You raise some good points, especially in regards to "middle man administration fee", especially as Steam also take their cut from all sales, so possibly a better option would be to have a link to the donation page from the games page.

In regards to 'failure to update', if I do package Simutrans for steam, I have no problem with granting a small number (1-5) Simutrans admins access to update the application, although as noted I am willing to commit the time required to do the Steam updates myself, but I understand that if something happened to me they would want to be able to continue updating the package.

The other solution to the "middle man administration fee"would be to also grant the Simutrans admins access to the financial reports, so that there is transparency and they are able to see that no skimming of the funds is taking place.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2015, 11:51:03 AM »
This is a very interesting idea, and would certainly open up Simutrans to a whole new audience. I know that it was discussed a while back and the conclusion reached that Steam was not really suitable for a project such as this, but things may have moved on now. The logistical concerns raised are understandable, but can possibly be overcome. It would certainly benefit the Simutrans community greatly to have a fresh influx of new players, not least because a small but non-trivial fraction of players eventually become developers.
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Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2015, 04:34:06 PM »
I'm a bit worried how the community would respond to any significant influx of players and developers.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 05:53:27 PM »
If we were to walk down that path..... I'd suggest the creation of a new forum to be linked from Steam - the Simutrans Steam Forum or something... just so the older playerbase doesn't get overwhelmed. Also because the culture shift would ruin this forum.

There's a lot to be said for getting Simutrans on Steam. I would certainly be willing to volunteer time for community policing and customer service. But I'd be worried about tech support and related issues. We're all volunteer now. Would being on Steam change that?

Maybe a fork of the codebase and community would be a good thing. Anything desired for the master branch of Simutrans might could be ported back.... maybe it could be done without splitting the community too badly.

I know we had some worries about Experimental - and people do sometimes think of it as a "beta" rather than a fork..... but I think for the most part that's settled out alright. I'm not sure Steam is something we want.... but maybe it'd work. I dunno.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2015, 07:12:24 PM »
A forked community would find support even more lacking, and find their way here anyway. And as for the code, very little has ever been backported from the forks that I have noticed, be it the Japanese patches or Experimental. The latter has even diverged to the point that it's difficult porting from Standard to Experimental judging from some comments I've seen. I'm not sure what the the best realistic option is.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2015, 08:05:47 PM »
There's a lot to be said for getting Simutrans on Steam. I would certainly be willing to volunteer time for community policing and customer service. But I'd be worried about tech support and related issues. We're all volunteer now. Would being on Steam change that?
I imagine with it being a Free game that support expectations would not be high.

Maybe a fork of the codebase and community would be a good thing. Anything desired for the master branch of Simutrans might could be ported back.... maybe it could be done without splitting the community too badly.

I know we had some worries about Experimental - and people do sometimes think of it as a "beta" rather than a fork..... but I think for the most part that's settled out alright. I'm not sure Steam is something we want.... but maybe it'd work. I dunno.
Not sure if a fork of the codebase would be a good idea, as mentioned by Ters, back porting seems to be patchy at best. I am pretty sure that the game can go on Steam without any changes to the code, however there are some Steam features that could be added to the code if it was decided that they would be beneficial, and my thoughts in that regard would be to use #ifdef blocks to add any Steam features, so it can be compiled with or without Steam support, or code it in such a way that it will just ignore Steam code if not using Steam. Either that or a set of patch files that get applied to the base code before compiling for Steam.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2015, 09:26:26 PM »
I imagine with it being a Free game that support expectations would not be high.
We have almost no up to date documentation as it is, so expectations don't need to be high to not be met. And just because Simutrans is free doesn't stop people from filling up the extensions request board, without checking if it has been requested or denied before. How much they expect someone to just fix it is hard to tell from plain text.

Not sure if a fork of the codebase would be a good idea, as mentioned by Ters, back porting seems to be patchy at best. I am pretty sure that the game can go on Steam without any changes to the code, however there are some Steam features that could be added to the code if it was decided that they would be beneficial, and my thoughts in that regard would be to use #ifdef blocks to add any Steam features, so it can be compiled with or without Steam support, or code it in such a way that it will just ignore Steam code if not using Steam. Either that or a set of patch files that get applied to the base code before compiling for Steam.
Well, it was Isaac that brought up forking. What I think can lead to that is Simutrans not liking the feature patches that start coming from the expanded community, or being too slow to accept them. This is regardless of whether those patches are Steam related or not. That's more or less why we have Experimental. Someone wanted features the others did not want. A relatively recent rewrite of the GUI was aborted to due to a mix of disagreements and misunderstandings.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 10:06:29 PM »
I think there was once some issues with the Artistic License and Steam. Or more precisely, a closer intergration with the Steamworks API is not compatible with the GPL. Not sure about the Artistic License though.

Steam may have the big advantage of solving the SDL installation issue on mac OS, as well as the eternal 32 bit/64 bit Linux issue. That comes with a price. There are so many pak sets: Which should go with it to not overwhelm a casual user? (My impression is that any pak which forbids bridge/tunnel for single height steps will frustate a novice.)

As I do not have steam, I am not sure the pak downloader that comes with Simutrans at least on windows is compatible with a steam distribution? Has Simutrans to be downloaded every time when you start it on steam? In that case some of the larger paks are out too ...

I the steam can be esily integrated in the distribution script, then I see no reason why this should not be an "official" support. More fans could mean also more developer, artists etc. For a quicky is SImutrans too slow paced anyway, thus I am not so afraid of an evil forum takeover.

Offline Ves

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2015, 10:53:19 PM »
My experience with steam is that for a good experience, the game must work as a whole out of the box with no problems, issues, missing help files etc. many players are lazy players and you also want to make a first good impression.

Afaik, steam always downloads the game when "bought".
I think there are some tools to select different parts wanted, so called DLC (downloadable content), which is optionally for the player.

Some of the best benefits with steam, next to new players, are the multiplayer possibilities which I think works really great with steam.

As to new players flushing the forum: the better help files in game, the less help requests from new members.
Also, isn't it possible to have a new forum, eg steam.simutrans.forum, with some folders, and then the main simutrans.forum (this forum) but with the steam folders kind of integrated?

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2015, 11:00:23 PM »
Too much feedback is never a problem. Especially since we have practically no feedback at the moment. For example, I only found out about an error in one of my JIT2 patches when a developer went out his way to fix it himself and committed a change to fix it.

Obviously a lot of the feedback will be nonsense or impossible. Not everyone will be able to be satisfied. However inside the walls of text one can identify underlying issues from time to time.

My only concern is from a developer point of view. Steam support would be a separate layer. How can new features be tested by developers when most people are playing it through steam? You end up in the same state we are at the moment, few developers making changes that no one plays for a year only to find out there were mistakes or faults in those changes when someone finally uses them. A lot more rapid development cycle would be needed, which would tax people more than currently.

On a positive side it might attract more interest. Some people might come up with new and highly polished paksets. Some people might go out their way to help add new features they need for their pakset which could be incorporated. Over all development speed could increase because there is more drive behind development (no longer a game played by a few, but more than a few).

How Simutrans on steam would work? Simutrans + pak64 comes standard. It will work out of the box. Free DLC would be available for other mainline maintained paksets like pak128, pak128.britain etc which replaces the current way they are acquired. All of which would need to be updated regularly, and the updates would then be automatic as part of steam.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2015, 12:06:50 AM »
My experience with steam is that for a good experience, the game must work as a whole out of the box with no problems, issues, missing help files etc. many players are lazy players and you also want to make a first good impression.
I do think that creating an up to date manual may be required before the game goes on Steam... (however the Greenlight process can be started while the Manual is worked on).

I think there was once some issues with the Artistic License and Steam. Or more precisely, a closer intergration with the Steamworks API is not compatible with the GPL. Not sure about the Artistic License though.
I have checked through both the GPL and Artistic licence, and neither present problems with putting the game on Steam, although the Steamworks API is another matter. Under GPL, the Steamworks API can be used so long as it can be easily removed without cripling the game (i.e. it is not an integral part). For the Artistic License I am still trying to determine if there are any issues with integrating Steamworks.

Steam may have the big advantage of solving the SDL installation issue on mac OS, as well as the eternal 32 bit/64 bit Linux issue. That comes with a price. There are so many pak sets: Which should go with it to not overwhelm a casual user? (My impression is that any pak which forbids bridge/tunnel for single height steps will frustate a novice.)
I would presume that the default Pak would be used and the others would be available as DLC or through the Steam Workshop if that will work for the game. As far as Mac installation goes, someone with a Mac would need to provide the Mac package for Steam (as packaging for Mac requires using tools that only work on a Mac, to capture file execute/run permissions etc). I would have no problems doing the packaging for Linux and Windows.

Also in regards to the Pak's, I think giving more descriptive names when released on Steam will make it easier on Steam users (i.e. if the 'Pak' one is renamed Default (or something similar) for the Steam Release, so when it displays the list of Available Pak's users have more of an idea of what they are looking at.)

Afaik, steam always downloads the game when "bought".
Steam downloads the game when the user clicks install, and keeps the game on the computer until / unless the user tells Steam to remove the files. When a new version comes out, it then patches the files using a diff method, unless the user has opted not to have automatic updates.

As far as the 'requirements' for listing the game on Greenlight (the first step to getting it on Steam), the only requirements are 4 pictures of the game, and a Game Play Video hosted on Youtube (preferably without Adverts enabled, otherwise the ad's will come through to Steam, which is not a good look when trying to get a game through Greenlight).



Mention of the Simutrans Experimental got me thinking:
Steam allows users to opt into various 'beta branches' of the application.

If Simutrans is put on Steam, would it be desirable to add the Simutrans Experimental fork in as a branch on Steam?
Or would it make more sense to focus only on the core Simutrans build?

Also, would it make sense to add in a 'dev brach' based on the nightly builds, but not necessarily updated nightly (if it could be integrated into the nightly build process, then that would be fine, but otherwise, do a weekly or monthly update of the dev branch depending on how much work is involved).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2015, 10:40:13 AM by Isaac.Eiland-Hall »

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2015, 01:06:10 AM »
I am not sure that Experimental is polished enough yet for a wider audience, but I hope that there will come a time when this situation changes.
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Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2015, 06:00:23 AM »
Steam allows users to opt into various 'beta branches' of the application.
If Simutrans is put on Steam, would it be desirable to add the Simutrans Experimental fork in as a branch on Steam?

Experimental is not a beta. It's more equal to something in between an expansion pack and a sequel. Using a beta branch would just cause more misunderstandings. Experimental is not for testing out new things, but for doing different things.

I would presume that the default Pak would be used
There is no default pak set. Even if you consider what used to be in the game before the concept of pak sets was introduced, there are at least two pak sets descended from that. The most original of them isn't very popular, and I'm not sure the other one is the most popular either.

Also, isn't it possible to have a new forum, eg steam.simutrans.forum, with some folders, and then the main simutrans.forum (this forum) but with the steam folders kind of integrated?
I don't quite understand which forum should contain the other from that sentence. Having the Steam forum contain everything plus a little more would be the best, I think. However, I suspect Steam related questions would creep into the other boards as well, just as Experimental questions do now.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2015, 08:48:43 AM »
There is no default pak set. Even if you consider what used to be in the game before the concept of pak sets was introduced, there are at least two pak sets descended from that. The most original of them isn't very popular, and I'm not sure the other one is the most popular either.
I figured Pak64 was the default pak set, due to this text on the help page...
Pak64 as the main and a base set for Simutrans, developed along with Simutrans executable.
Pak64 always contains the most recent features and was the first to be developed. Currently Simutrans is being available in ready-to-play version with this pakset.

If there is any agreement over the most popular Pak, then that could be packaged as the Default with a Steam package instead.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2015, 10:51:20 AM »
I don't think there is any agreement as to the most popular pak. Pak64 and Pak128 are probably the most widely distributed, but especially these days, who knows which paks players are using? I don't remember if there was a survey that asked that or not; maybe time to run one. But the players that are here on the forum might well show a different distribution than players who don't frequent the forum.

I guess we have a game somewhat like Battle for Wesnoth - a dated-looking engine with gameplay deeper than it looks at first appearance. Only a smaller community than that game, meaning even fewer people making things who come and go with time.

Money is one of those big problems, too: Let's say we get it on Steam. Where does any incoming money go? For a while, I accepted (and was extremely grateful for) donations to help cover the cost of the server, as I was having financial difficulties. I didn't like that - so many people have put in so much effort, and I think I was probably the recipient of some donations that - even though it was said what they were for - still probably thought they were donating to the game itself somehow, not merely the server.

So, if someone must write a manual, do they get paid? And if so, not the developers? How is the money distributed? So far, with the exception above, we've not had to worry about money. And so everyone volunteers equally, i.e. as much effort as they wish. If money comes into it: Will Hajo be paid? There's a hornet's nest I don't think anyone wants to open.

I'm completely torn by the idea of Steam, to be frank. Some of the benefits might well be nice: attracting more support for the project; being able to direct some monetary rewards to developers and contributors who have worked long years. But there are many potential pitfalls: license, influx of a lot of people who don't have time to assimilate to the generally polite community we have here, writing of a manual, who does customer/tech support…

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2015, 10:57:18 AM »
Donations could perhaps be used to pay for some official servers for online games, perhaps?

Ters is right about Experimental not being a beta, incidentally.
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Offline Ves

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2015, 02:27:00 PM »

I don't quite understand which forum should contain the other from that sentence. Having the Steam forum contain everything plus a little more would be the best, I think. However, I suspect Steam related questions would creep into the other boards as well, just as Experimental questions do now.
Www.forum.simutrans.steam.com -> a couple of folders visible, eg support.

Www.forum.simutrans.com -> full fledged forum (this forum) with the additional folders from the "steam forum" shared with this forum.

A quicky steam user would only use the steam forum, more engaged people would find (via links) the big forum.

Offline An_dz

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2015, 03:39:48 PM »
I don't think there is any agreement as to the most popular pak. Pak64 and Pak128 are probably the most widely distributed, but especially these days, who knows which paks players are using?
We can always check the downloads from our SourceForge:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simutrans/files/?source=navbar

And pak64 is the winner.

So, if someone must write a manual, do they get paid? And if so, not the developers? How is the money distributed?
We get donations and pay a third party company to write us a manual. ;D ;D Hahahaha

But there are many potential pitfalls: (...) influx of a lot of people who don't have time to assimilate to the generally polite community we have here (...)
That's my biggest concern, Da ppl ho spk lkie dis!!!1!!1!

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2015, 05:02:23 PM »
Www.forum.simutrans.steam.com -> a couple of folders visible, eg support.

Www.forum.simutrans.com -> full fledged forum (this forum) with the additional folders from the "steam forum" shared with this forum.

A quicky steam user would only use the steam forum, more engaged people would find (via links) the big forum.
Seems backwards to me. Basically, everything that applies to non-Steam would apply to Steam, but Steam specific things do not apply to us old-fashioned Simutrans players. Although to what extent the Experimental, various pak and the modding board applies to Steam is not yet clear to me. Maybe neither is the superset of the other.

If also find the big forum quite big already. The recent posts list is often 95% stuff I don't care about.

I figured Pak64 was the default pak set, due to this text on the help page...

If there is any agreement over the most popular Pak, then that could be packaged as the Default with a Steam package instead.
Well, pak64 is descended from the original game contents, and is maintained by one of our most senior developers. It is perhaps the pak set used for testing new functionality, but I do not think it is the most actively maintained pak set. And it certainly has some flaws. Sometimes, I even feel that I'm the only one using it (I know that at least DrSuperGood has used it, as must its maintainer to some degree), although it might be more popular among the non-vocal majority.

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2015, 07:12:46 PM »
Quote
There is no default pak set. Even if you consider what used to be in the game before the concept of pak sets was introduced, there are at least two pak sets descended from that. The most original of them isn't very popular, and I'm not sure the other one is the most popular either.
Pak64 is the default. When you install Simutrans on Windows it always forces you to install pak64 (you cannot toggle it).

That said, pak64 gets very little love for being the default pakset. Its factories have not even been assigned power values and there are a lot of vehicles missing or which require to obsolete.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2015, 07:33:11 PM »
I don't think there is any agreement as to the most popular pak. Pak64 and Pak128 are probably the most widely distributed, but especially these days, who knows which paks players are using? I don't remember if there was a survey that asked that or not; maybe time to run one. But the players that are here on the forum might well show a different distribution than players who don't frequent the forum.
We can always check the downloads from our SourceForge:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simutrans/files/?source=navbar

And pak64 is the winner.
I agree that Pak64 is most widely distributed, but which Pak is most played is another matter (users may start with 1 Pak, and move to another). I guess when it comes to Steam, some form of determination would need to be made as to which Pak should be default.

Money is one of those big problems, too: Let's say we get it on Steam. Where does any incoming money go? For a while, I accepted (and was extremely grateful for) donations to help cover the cost of the server, as I was having financial difficulties. I didn't like that - so many people have put in so much effort, and I think I was probably the recipient of some donations that - even though it was said what they were for - still probably thought they were donating to the game itself somehow, not merely the server.
Donations could perhaps be used to pay for some official servers for online games, perhaps?
The licence of the game does not allow for charging for the game itself, but there is nothing that prevents donations, or charging for a service, such as hosting game servers. So if donations are required, i.e. for the maintenance of the Simutrans servers, the 'donations' DLC could be enabled, and if it is not required, the DLC could be disabled. Likewise, it may be possible to charge for 'Game Server' hosting as is already done...

So, if someone must write a manual, do they get paid? And if so, not the developers? How is the money distributed? So far, with the exception above, we've not had to worry about money. And so everyone volunteers equally, i.e. as much effort as they wish. If money comes into it: Will Hajo be paid? There's a hornet's nest I don't think anyone wants to open.
A manual is not 'required' but would definately be beneficial (as users would go there first for information). Having taken a look at a few of the manuals that have been produced previously, I would have no problem working on an up to date english manual, using whatever Pak was decided as default for the manual, in regards to other languages, we could either ask others to work on manuals for other languages independantly, or ask them to translate the manual after it is finished, or only supply the manual in a single language.

But there are many potential pitfalls: license, influx of a lot of people who don't have time to assimilate to the generally polite community we have here
There is nothing in the licence that prevents the game being on Steam (section 4a of the license allows distribution so long as there is a link back to Simutrans).
In regards to Steamworks, there seem to be two possible options.
1) Any code changes are submitted back to Simutrans (as detailed in section 3a of the license)
2) Both the standard game, and a Steam enhanced version are packaged together. (as detailed in section 3c & 4c of the license)

In regards to assimilating people into the community, I do think that it would be wise to have some form of separate, or partially separate Steam support forum.
Another option as stated in section 5 of the license... 'You may charge any fee you choose for support of this Package.' Possibly we could direct users from Steam who do want 'advanced' levels of support to a paid portal for support, and any funds generated could be paid out to those who choose to do support.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2015, 08:51:27 PM »
Pak64 is the default. When you install Simutrans on Windows it always forces you to install pak64 (you cannot toggle it).
Having never used the installer (only downloaded it to see what Windows Defender said about it), this was unknown to me, and this fact is certainly not reflected in the screen shots I see on this forum. Is it bundled in the installer, or does it download separately. If the latter, the download stats on SourceForge will be skewed.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2015, 10:24:12 PM »
The installer just want to install a pak set, it does not have to be pak64. You can uncheck it, as long as you install another.

pak64 has the advantage of being small, while some stuff (like pak192.comic) is some 100 MB and thus excludes people on less able connections. Or no pak and the downloader will pop up upon start, so the user sees that there is a choice.

I would not change the pak folder names, as this would make online games incompatible.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2015, 11:34:32 PM »
I guess the question is, would a larger default graphics set result in more users (as the game looks better by default), or would a smaller graphics set, with the option to download a larger graphics set be better?

Looking at the Steam user Statistics
With the 6mb graphics set, it would take 25 minutes to download the graphics set for the slowest 2.79% of users
With the 100mb graphics set, it would take over an hour to download the graphics set for approximately the slowest 15% of users.

If the pak64 graphics set is used as the default, would it be marketed on steam primarily with that pak (with reference too, and screenshots of other available paks).

With the monitoring steam provides, if it is found that most users use a different Pak, would there likely be a backlash if the default was changed later (leaving the option to download the previous default).

I do think that deciding a primary/default Pak for inclusion by default is an important step before marekting it on Steam Greenlight.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2015, 06:50:12 AM »
I do think that deciding a primary/default Pak for inclusion by default is an important step before marekting it on Steam Greenlight.

I suspect that this is a decision the community will not or can not make. Simutrans has very much a what-you-want attitude. As long as you make it happen yourself, that is.

Most of the active participants on this forum probably don't even run a standard pak set, but have done modifications to it by editing simuconf.tab and/or installing add-ons paks.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2015, 09:09:44 AM »
Ok, how do people feel about this idea:
  • I place Simutrans on Steam Greenlight, to get the ball rolling towards getting the application on Steam, with a focus on Pak128 which will be packaged with the Steam version, but also referencing the other Pak's that will be made available as DLC on Steam.
  • While it is in the process of getting through Greenlight, I work on a manual based on Pak128, to go with the game on Steam
  • No fees, charges, donations, etc get placed on anything on Steam initially, until it has been further discussed and decided upon.
  • Even after the game has made it through the Greenlight process, it is not published on Steam, until the manual is complete, and decisions are made around Support Forums, and any other issues that arise prior to Greenlight completing.

I figured going with Pak128, as several polls have placed it as the most popular, and Sourceforge shows it is the most downloaded after Pak64.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2015, 09:45:11 PM »
pak128 is currently unplayable for most novices, as building railway bridges and tunnel will fail on most occasions. Maybe we should get a pak128, that also allows single height bridges, even if it looks ugly.

Or maybe diistribute both pak128 and pak64, so 90% of all network games are covered.

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2015, 01:30:44 AM »
pak128 is currently unplayable for most novices, as building railway bridges and tunnel will fail on most occasions. Maybe we should get a pak128, that also allows single height bridges, even if it looks ugly.

Or maybe diistribute both pak128 and pak64, so 90% of all network games are covered.



It sounds like one of those problems without short-term solution (who knows), but I think it is best to create a version without slopes of medium height, at least until it is solved (maybe someday).






@HaydenRead
By the way, I really like the idea of to wear Simutrans to new horizons, and making life easier for new players with Steam.  :thumbsup:

« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 01:46:24 AM by Yona-TYT »

Offline HarrierST

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2015, 03:46:49 AM »
We can always check the downloads from our SourceForge:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simutrans/files/?source=navbar

And pak64 is the winner.

Only because that is suggested in the old threads, that have not been
updated.


We get donations and pay a third party company to write us a manual.

No way. You still have to do all the hard work to provide them with all the info text and screenshots etc.

They just make it look pretty and charge you a fortune for that.


Well, pak64 - but I do not think it is the most actively maintained pak set. And it certainly has some flaws. Sometimes, I even feel that I'm the only one using it (I know that at least DrSuperGood has used it, as must its maintainer to some degree), although it might be more popular among the non-vocal majority.

The problem is, the help forum screens, for newcomers says this is always  the most up to date version. Then pak128 will be updated and after that any other paks (i.e  pak128 Britain) in that order.

Which is why I started playing pak64 - as it is supposed to be the most developed set.



Sorry for the double post - I got  confused  and could not merge them properly.  :-[


Having never used the installer (only downloaded it to see what Windows Defender said about it), this was unknown to me, and this fact is certainly not reflected in the screen shots I see on this forum. Is it bundled in the installer, or does it download separately. If the latter, the download stats on SourceForge will be skewed.

I did not uncheck anything.  You get :

Pak  (64)
Pak128
Pak128.Britain
Pak48.Excentrique
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 08:09:47 AM by Isaac.Eiland-Hall »

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2015, 06:24:04 AM »
Quote
pak128 is currently unplayable for most novices, as building railway bridges and tunnel will fail on most occasions. Maybe we should get a pak128, that also allows single height bridges, even if it looks ugly.
A little bit of in game help can solve that.

The main problem with pak128 is that its balance is quite iffy. For example you could install a coal line and barely make profit, but installing an oil or milk run will give you pots of money. If pak128 is used it would need a lot of work and polish. Localizations also need work, and simutranslator does not seem to be working.

There are also a number of engine fixes that could be done as they confuse users. Eg powerlines that can be built over ways but not over stops yet stops can be produced under power lines. Elevated ways that can exist over tall buildings yet not be built on them. Bridges always being able to be built over all buildings. Etc.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2015, 08:19:26 AM »
I think including multiple paks would be a very good step - since that's a basic part of how Simutrans works.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2015, 08:30:42 AM »
The main problem with pak128 is that its balance is quite iffy. For example you could install a coal line and barely make profit, but installing an oil or milk run will give you pots of money. If pak128 is used it would need a lot of work and polish. Localizations also need work, and simutranslator does not seem to be working.

Sounds a lot like the problems with pak64, although I don't know how the various translations are.

Offline Vladki

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2015, 10:03:16 AM »
To the half/double height problem. Partial solution is in pak128.britain, where track is allowed also on steep slopes, so bridges can be built without problems.

I dont know if any pak128.* is using double height the same way as pak64.

I think pak64 is good for beginners. The fact that there is not so much choices (vehicles, road/rail types), one level clearance for bridges and tunnels and complete feature set is imho good for beginners. And more important than overall look. Balancing the game is also important and pak64 is quite ok.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 10:34:07 AM by Vladki »

Offline sdog

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2015, 03:58:23 PM »
It is interesting to see that this time there is no opposition on fundamental grounds, but very real practical concerns.

As it is now, I can hardly see that the active community has enough time or commitment to deal with the many tasks.

In its present form simutrans has too many rough edges that would cause much h grief to both steam players and simutrans devotees. I think with a converted effort those could be dealt with, however, not effortlessly. This would also require to review some things that are in place for s long time. The development cycle, pak maintenance, equal treatment of paks, the documentation wiki, the translation site, devotee activity.

On the tech side, will the dev team be able to keep versions for all three oses current and working? Can it be asked of then to spend their volunteered time to do those boring tasks?

Is there a courses of action that doesn't plunge one into the water, but allows to prepare for this. I know that the greenlight process does that in part. But it also starts the clock.

Is simutrans even the right choice for steam, do players who install free games want quick fun or are they willing to learn a game? If there were a significant number of the latter, the gain for simutrans could be quite large.



Balancing the large paksets pak64 and pak128 is now extremely difficult. The way to go would be a reductionist pak based in either. Reducing the track and vehicle options, different good types, extra player buildings, vehicle categories. (eg Trolley bus, mono rail, tram, maglev) for easy maintenance and an easy start. Also fewer traffic signs and signals. Otherwise help files are nearly impossible to maintain.

Then define that as the default pak.

Other paks can be loaded through DLC or steam works. They are a secondary concern.

tl;dr Give players a pak to start that works, is maintainable, and reduces clutter and unneeded complexity.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 03:47:16 PM by Isaac.Eiland-Hall »

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2015, 06:10:34 PM »
I think including multiple paks would be a very good step - since that's a basic part of how Simutrans works.
The idea is to include multiple/all paks as free DLC, however on Steam, a Pak would need to be included by default, as users expect to be able to play the game without installing any additional DLC.

Is there a courses of action that doesn't plunge one into the water, but allows to prepare for this. I know that the greenlight process does that in part. But it also starts the clock.

Is simutrans even the right choice for steam, do players who install free games want quick fun or are they willing to learn a game? If there were a significant number of the latter, the gain for simutrans could be quite large.
Yes Greenlight does seem to start the clock, however there is no time requirement between being approved on Greenlight and actual publishing on Steam.
In regards to players who install free games, some do just want quick fun, others are willing to learn a game, but with it being a free game, those that just want quick fun would just remove it if it does not provide what they want.

Balancing the large paksets pak64 and pak128 is now extremely difficult. The way to go would be a reductionist pak based in either. Reducing the track and vehicle options, different good types, extra player buildings, vehicle categories. (eg Trolley bus, mono rail, tram, maglev) for easy maintenance and an easy start. Also fewer traffic signs and signals. Otherwise help files are nearly impossible to maintain.
I think that for Greenlight I will make the video highlight the existence of multiple Pak's, and create a manual based off either Pak64 or Pak128, or both, or based on a Reduced Pak... It may be good to create a manual focusing on 2 Pak sets to highlight that there are differences between both Graphics & Gameplay with different Pak sets.

Looking over previous comments, adding Pak 64 or a derivative as the default may be best, as it is a small initial size, and users that want other versions can download the additional DLC's.

Offline An_dz

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2015, 08:22:31 PM »
Only because that is suggested in the old threads, that have not been updated.
It's one demographic, not the only one to be looked at.

We get donations and pay a third party company to write us a manual. ;D ;D Hahahaha
No way. You still have to do all the hard work to provide them with all the info text and screenshots etc.

They just make it look pretty and charge you a fortune for that.
It was a joke.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2015, 08:36:47 PM »
Well there are some costs on hosting, as pointed out. The domains are about 15 GBP/year, the list server is 12 EUR/year, the german forum is 8 EUR/month (maybe that is too expensive compared to the rest ... ), and of course there is Issacs server.

About the installer:
I did not uncheck anything.  You get :
Pak  (64)
Pak128
Pak128.Britain
Pak48.Excentrique
Those pak sets which are installed and have a revision number in the copyright line are automatically selected and checked for an update.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #39 on: December 13, 2015, 08:58:09 PM »
All ready to go... Do I hit publish (to Greenlight)?

The video has now been moved to its own thread

Once published it will be available for users to vote on, then when it gets enough votes, the option to Publish on Steam will become available.

As previously discussed, it would not be published on Steam (only on Greenlight), until the following issues are resolved:
  • Decision over default Pak set to include - Currently seems to be fluctuating between Pak64, Pak128, and a simplified version of one of these Paks
  • Up to date Manual written - Based off the included Pak Set (see above)
  • Decision over what Forum (if any) to direct users to
Decisions that can be made after it is published to Steam:
  • Offering of a Donation DLC, the funds from which would go to Simutrans related Servers & Services
  • Offering of a Subscription DLC for hosting of a Simutrans Server - Similar to what is offered in this forum topic.
  • Any other options involving any charges
Also, need to know who else would be interested in being marked as a 'Contributor' on Steam (has the ability to update various details, see stats relating to Greenlight, and once published, will have access to update the packages, view Financial details (if any), and access other data around the submission). Possibly the best way to do that may be to PM your Steam Account Name to be added as a Contributor.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 10:47:20 PM by HaydenRead »

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2015, 09:03:00 PM »
Out of interest, what screen recording software did you use to make that video?
Download Simutrans-Extended.

Want to help with development? See here for things to do for coding, and here for information on how to make graphics/objects.

Follow Simutrans-Extended on Facebook.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2015, 09:07:44 PM »
Out of interest, what screen recording software did you use to make that video?
Open Broadcaster Software for the Screen Capture.
Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum (Steam Edition) for editing the Video.

Offline Sarlock

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2015, 09:10:34 PM »
I wonder if it's worthwhile including both pak64 and pak128.  The size of the download isn't that big of a deal compared to the size of many game downloads on Steam.  This allows the new players exposure to the concept of multiple paksets and the differences between the two... it also allows a performance choice if pak64 runs smoother for them on an older system.

Great video.  I would love to see some close-up shots of trains zooming along at some point in it and an underground slice view of a subway.
Current projects: Pak128 Trees, blender graphics

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2015, 09:56:57 PM »
it also allows a performance choice if pak64 runs smoother for them on an older system.

Actually, pak128 may be the fastest, due to there being fewer, but larger, images on screen at any given time. The key is the amount of RAM, since pak128 appears to need 20 times more memory. Pak128 probably needs 1 GB RAM, or it will have to swap to disk a lot. Most people probably use Steam for games requiring more RAM than that.

Offline isidoro

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #44 on: December 14, 2015, 12:10:17 AM »
I've been followed the discussion so far but I don't have a clear opinion about what's best: publish or not.

My main concerns are:
  • Money...  that can lead to problems
  • Support: who will do the work?
  • Commitment: HaydenRead is a new member, unknown to us.  He can be very keen on all the business now, but will he be in two months' time?
  • Rollback: and if all this doesn't work in the future, is there a way back?  Can you happily and easily "unsubscribe" the game from Steam?
Nonetheless, I think that the video can be improved very much.  The fonts are poor, the zoom doesn't get the best of the game and is very static.  Some stills could be used (for instance from the Monthly Contest).  Some options like slice views, tunnels, time periods, all means of transportation aren't shown.

Competitive features that make ST better than other similar games aren't mentioned either: really big maps, realistic maps, simulation depth (industry contracts), etc.

I like the game very much, but watching the video I don't find it appealing.  I guess that a potential new player won't find it either.  If this and other aspects aren't polished, I wouldn't really call for a poll in Greenlight.

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #45 on: December 14, 2015, 12:47:15 AM »
I agree with Isidoro, the video does not get the best of simutrans.
There is much to polish in that regard.  :police:

And this is where the community comes in, to help improve details. ;)

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #46 on: December 14, 2015, 01:16:06 AM »
I've been followed the discussion so far but I don't have a clear opinion about what's best: publish or not.

My main concerns are:
  • Money...  that can lead to problems
  • Support: who will do the work?
  • Commitment: HaydenRead is a new member, unknown to us.  He can be very keen on all the business now, but will he be in two months' time?
  • Rollback: and if all this doesn't work in the future, is there a way back?  Can you happily and easily "unsubscribe" the game from Steam?
  • This is the reason that I stated that there would be no charges (initially at least until / unless there was strong support from the community
  • As noted, it is hoped that an up to date manual will reduce support issues, and it still needs to be decided if there should be separate forums for the Steam version (which would need to be decided before it was published on Steam).
  • I understand concerns about commitment, and if it would make everyone feel better / safer, I don't mind putting the idea of having Simutrans on Steam on hold, and re-addressing latter when I have more of a history on the forums.
  • Rollback - during the Greenlight process it is very easy to remove the game, and remains easy to do up until it is published for download on Steam. Once it is published for download on Steam, it can be unpublished (which means new people cannot download it), but people who have already installed the game will still be able to install whatever the last version uploaded was.
Nonetheless, I think that the video can be improved very much.  The fonts are poor, the zoom doesn't get the best of the game and is very static.  Some stills could be used (for instance from the Monthly Contest).  Some options like slice views, tunnels, time periods, all means of transportation aren't shown.

Competitive features that make ST better than other similar games aren't mentioned either: really big maps, realistic maps, simulation depth (industry contracts), etc.

I like the game very much, but watching the video I don't find it appealing.  I guess that a potential new player won't find it either.  If this and other aspects aren't polished, I wouldn't really call for a poll in Greenlight.
And this is where the community comes in, to help improve details. ;)
Great video.  I would love to see some close-up shots of trains zooming along at some point in it and an underground slice view of a subway.
I agree that the video needs to be altered, and additional information and features added, which was one of the reasons I posted it here first, so I could get suggestions for improving the video.
I do agree that adding some stills, varying zoom levels, slice views, and additional modes of transportation would improve the video, along with a highlight of the other features you have mentioned, and I will work on updating the video over the following week.

Also for comment... The Below is the proposed description on Steam
Simutrans is an open-source transportation simulation game available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Your goal is to establish a successful transport company and build the necessary infrastructure to transport passengers, mail and goods between cities, factories and touristic attractions by land, air and water.

  • Establish a successful transport company
  • Transport passengers, mail and goods by land, air and water
  • Interconnect cities, districts, public buildings, industries and tourist attractions
  • Control and watch your finances and the traffic of your vehicles and goods
  • Lots of graphics packages to choose from
  • Play with people from anywhere in the world in online games
Multiple Choices
  • Graphics Packages (Paksets)
    In Simutrans you have multiple choices from the start to the end. Even before starting the game you have lots of graphics packages to choose from, every pakset giving you a different experience and style of play.
  • Vehicles and Cargo
    The success of your company will depend on good planning, and we give you the tools for it. Simutrans can have buses, trucks, trains, trams, ships, aireplanes, monorails, maglevs and any other vehicle that goes through air, land or water. Choose them wisely and transport the immense variety of cargo each pakset has to offer, from passengers and mail to raw materials and consumer products.
Dynamic and Intelligent
  • Cargo has Destinations
    Simutrans citizens and products don't simply jump in your vehicles and go to wherever you send them. They actually have individual destinations: people want to check out attractions, go shopping, or visit friends. Products too have their destinations - factories have contracts with each other and they won't sell or buy from anyone else. If you don't give them the possibility to go where they want, they simply don't use your transport company.
  • Complete the Chain
    Transporting products not only gives you money, but makes the economy roll. As you transport products between factories, they start producing and selling. Every factory receiving the materials it needs starts producing new goods letting you connect more and more factories across the region.
  • Influencing Cities
    Your transportation affects city growth. Every unit of anything you transport will affect the nearby cities making them grow and prosper. Sometimes cities will create new attractions and places of interest, which attract a lot more passengers. Or maybe your service may attract new industries, that give you even more opportunities. But not everything you do leads to good things - as cities grow more cars are on the roads, and you will end up trying to deal with the traffic. What you do shapes the future.
Control and Customize
  • Confiure All or Nothing
    Simutrans has a lot of configurations that you can customize. If you're not a customization freak, don't worry, generally with a few options Simutrans will fit your play style. But if you are, you'll enjoy all the options and ways to change the game.
  • Build Your World
    When you create a new game, don't expect it to be a fixed world. You can shape the world to suit your needs, add new roads, factories, houses, and buildings, raise and lower the terrain, create rivers, lakes, and seas, or beautify the world by planting trees.
How You Play
  • Multiplayer
    Tired of playing alone? Simutrans lets you play multiplayer. You can join a public server and compete and collaborate with people around the world, or you can create a private server and play with your friends or even play through a LAN network.
  • Hardcore or Casual?
    You can challenge yourself in a normal game, trying to make your company successful and rich. Or you can just relax and have some fun playing with no hurry or money, just for your enjoyment and the satisfaction of transporting everything.
Cost
This game will be Free on Steam.

History of Simutrans
Simutrans is an Open Source game devloped under the Artistic License.
This game was originally devloped by Hj. Malthaner from 1997 till 2004, before being handed over the 'The Simutrans Team' in 2005. Since that time it has continued to be upgraded and updated.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 01:39:18 AM by HaydenRead »

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #47 on: December 14, 2015, 01:34:28 AM »
It would be nice to create a separate topic to discuss the video.

Offline An_dz

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #48 on: December 14, 2015, 03:46:05 AM »
It would be nice to create a separate topic to discuss the video.
I agree, I can think of some ideas to make the video more 'commercial'.

About the description text I see you got some text from the website, but they are not that good, they were created by many non-native English speakers. I created and changed some of them too. Since my English is better now, here are some suggestions for making the description better. I highlighted the changes.

  • Graphics Packages (Paksets)
    In Simutrans you have multiple choices from the beginning to the end. Even before starting the game you have lots of graphics packages to choose from, every pakset giving you a different experience and play style.
  • Vehicles and Cargo
    The success of your company will depend on good planning, and we give you the tools for it. Simutrans can have buses, trucks, trains, trams, ships, airplanes, monorails, maglevs and any other vehicle that goes through air, land or water. Choose them wisely and transport the immense variety of cargo each pakset has to offer, from passengers and mail to raw materials and consumer products.

  • Cargo has Destinations
    Simutrans citizens and products don't simply jump in your vehicles and go to wherever you send them. They actually have individual destinations: people want to check out attractions, go shopping, or visit friends. Products also have their destinations - factories have contracts with each other and they won't sell or buy from anyone else. If you don't give them the possibility to go where they want, they simply won't use your transport company.

  • Configure All or Nothing
    Simutrans has a lot of configurations that you can customize. If you're not a customization freak, don't worry, generally with a few options Simutrans will fit your play style. But if you are, you'll enjoy all the options and ways to change the game.
  • Build Your World
    When you create a new game, don't expect it to be a fixed world. You can shape the world to suit your needs, build[/b] new roads, factories, houses, and buildings, raise and lower the terrain, create rivers, lakes, and seas, or beautify the world by planting trees.

  • Multiplayer
    Tired of playing alone? Simutrans lets you play multiplayer. You can join a public server and compete and collaborate with people all around the world. You can also play with your friends creating a private online or LAN server.

  • History of Simutrans
    Simutrans is an Open Source game developed under the Artistic License.
    This game was originally developed by Hansjörg Malthaner from 1997 till 2004, before being handed over to the 'The Simutrans Team' in 2005. Since the beginning it has been upgraded and updated.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #49 on: December 14, 2015, 07:24:36 PM »
It would be nice to create a separate topic to discuss the video.
I agree, I can think of some ideas to make the video more 'commercial'.
I have created a new version of the video, incorporating the feedback already received, and have posted it to a new thread

About the description text I see you got some text from the website, but they are not that good, they were created by many non-native English speakers. I created and changed some of them too. Since my English is better now, here are some suggestions for making the description better. I highlighted the changes.
Thanks for the suggestions, I forgot to proofread it before posting, and as you noted a lot of it was copied and pasted from other locations on the site.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 10:48:28 PM by HaydenRead »

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2015, 03:43:33 AM »
I think we should seriously consider creating a Scenario Tutorial.

I speak of a Scenario that explains step by step using the basic tools of building area and how to create a basic network of transport.

This is very important because many players do not even like to read the manuals and simplemete are thrown directly to the game.

I think if we are going to bring our Simutrans to Steam, we will need a good tutorial.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2015, 08:50:12 PM »
There is a (partly working) scenario tutorial: http://www.simutrans-forum.de/forum/index.php?page=Attachment&attachmentID=21028 Please test and extend!

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2015, 10:59:54 PM »
I think we should seriously consider creating a Scenario Tutorial.

I speak of a Scenario that explains step by step using the basic tools of building area and how to create a basic network of transport.

This is very important because many players do not even like to read the manuals and simplemete are thrown directly to the game.

I think if we are going to bring our Simutrans to Steam, we will need a good tutorial.
There is a (partly working) scenario tutorial: http://www.simutrans-forum.de/forum/index.php?page=Attachment&attachmentID=21028 Please test and extend!
Thanks for the link, I have taken a quick look at it (after running the files through Google Translator to get it to english).
I do think a Tutorial Scenario is a really good idea, and am looking at developing one based on Pak128 (as opposed to the linked one based on Pak64). The reason for this, is to include the issues around 'half height' building of Tunnels, Bridges, etc into the tutorial.

Was thinking of allowing users to jump to various 'sections' with sections detailed as below
  • Road - As it seems easiest and there is normally roading already built on the map at the beginning of a game.
  • Rail / Trams / light rail / Monorail - Build upon some of the issues covered under roading.
  • Shipping - Details of the various water related tools and options
  • Airports - Details of building runways, taxi ways, and related infrastructure
Items to cover would include:
  • The depot, and various stop types. (All modes of transportation)
  • The various signs & signals. (land and air - I don't think Shipping has any Signs/Signals)
  • The concept of half-height and double height slopes, elevations, bridges, and tunnels. (land based transport only)

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2015, 11:52:16 PM »

There is a (partly working) scenario tutorial: http://www.simutrans-forum.de/forum/index.php?page=Attachment&attachmentID=21028 Please test and extend!

A very Important point in Simutrans is the large number of tools, a novice player will feel a little lost When choosing any.
 It would be nice to have idicadores to help them move Through the different menus and tools.

It would be very useful to have something like this in the tutorial. ;)

Offline sdog

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #54 on: December 17, 2015, 03:10:18 AM »
A very Important point in Simutrans is the large number of tools, a novice player will feel a little lost When choosing any.
 It would be nice to have idicadores to help them move Through the different menus and tools.

It would be very useful to have something like this in the tutorial. ;)

This is a very good point. In particular for pak128, which has an incredibly large number of rail and road types for different speed, and associated bridges and elevated ways. (This was one of the main reasons I suggested a minimalist pak-set.)

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #55 on: December 17, 2015, 03:33:25 AM »

Another interesting idea would show as we go along in the tutorial, some examples of how to use the tools of construction. This can be done with a popup window that displays moving images.


I hope not to make life difficult for Prissi with this. :o




Edit
Quote
Issues with new players flooding forums - Increase documentation (create Manual), possibly create separate support forum for Steam?

Moreover, these ideas contribute in good shape to reduce these basic questions in the forum.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 04:00:22 AM by Yona-TYT »

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2015, 05:46:14 AM »
The problem is pak128 has a large number of ways which are not really useful. The early (1940) fast ones are intended for user made fast convoys which are not part of the pakset. As such you have ways with a speed limit which nothing can use for 10+ game years. The very definition of UI clutter.

Pak64 suffers a similar issue with a lack of retirement for some convoys. For example you are shown 3 waste convoys for use on road ways at the end but only the most recent one is useful since it is statistically better than the other two in every way that matters. A similar case applies to the goods wagons where some early ones still exist at the end of the timeline despite the special packaged goods transporter being faster, cheaper and self powering.

Generally if something is on the UI, it should have a purpose. Giving the player 3 choices, of which 2 are fake due to being useless is not good design.

One way to declutter the UI would be to redesign how stop extensions work. Currently all variants are shown next to each other. A well designed pakset could have 12+ variants, each appropriate for different kinds of freight. They could also be scattered all over the place such as some station buildings in the rail section, some airport buildings in the airport section and some miscellaneous ones in the others section. These could all be moved to a special "stop extension" menu.

Also some form of intelligent construction tools for stops would be useful. Although placement is still manual, the selection of what type of stop or stop extension to use is automatic. For example you could select the desired size of stop or stop extension and it could automatically find you the closest one to what you want, and even match up with the sorts of cargo running through the station (eg choosing oil tanks over warehouses if a lot of oil runs through the stop). Such tools could be available for the different cargo types, such as passengers, mail, both, or goods. It also opens up the potential for people to customize the size and cost of their stop extensions, so that they could have extra capacity if they need so without having to build so spread out.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2015, 05:57:41 AM »
Pak64 suffers a similar issue with a lack of retirement for some convoys. For example you are shown 3 waste convoys for use on road ways at the end but only the most recent one is useful since it is statistically better than the other two in every way that matters.

I find it strange that waste is part of pak64, while food is an add-on. On the other hand, I have yet to see waste chains develop in a game at all, so I just have the vehicles, all of which are useless.

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2015, 01:58:45 PM »
Quote
I find it strange that waste is part of pak64, while food is an add-on. On the other hand, I have yet to see waste chains develop in a game at all, so I just have the vehicles, all of which are useless.
I often develop waste just to spam the roads full of convoys. Since it does not have speed bonus there is no penalty from driving through cities and the convoys always make a profit, even if very little. That said waste should probably be balanced a bit to earn more money. It should be the easiest freight to transport but least profitable however it should still make some profit worth mentioning.

Food is probably still an addon as it is lacking a lot of vehicles. Specifically vehicles for transporting frozen goods.

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2015, 05:31:45 PM »
Food is probably still an addon as it is lacking a lot of vehicles. Specifically vehicles for transporting frozen goods.

Frozen goods and milk is the only one that can lack vehicles, as the rest use standard vehicles shared with the rest of pak64. And frozen goods and milk is not much worse than paper or cars in the full pak set.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2015, 08:31:48 PM »
Another interesting idea would show as we go along in the tutorial, some examples of how to use the tools of construction. This can be done with a popup window that displays moving images.


I hope not to make life difficult for Prissi with this. :o
Another option (rather than moving images) would be if the <img src=""> tag could be used to load in images to the description for the scenario's (limited in size (possibly 256x256), and possibly limited in format (PNG possibly)). I have started looking through the code to see if this is something I could create a patch for (so far located where it processes the href attribute and am taking a look to see how it handles it and if inserting images may be possible).

I am beginning to think that I need to focus on one area at a time (currently looking at code, started writing an up to date manual, looking at coding a tutorial, and working on a promo video...). However adding code for images in text areas would help with the tutorial, and referencing between the manual and tutorial would make both stronger, and the first step of getting the game on Steam is a good promotional video...

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #61 on: December 20, 2015, 12:06:21 AM »
This is a small example.  ;)



Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #62 on: December 20, 2015, 10:14:16 PM »
My priority would be a working tutorial; you can leave it to the user, or even check the tool selection and give hints. ("No, further down the tools", "getting closer ...", "Yes, great. Now ...") That is even better than an image, which might change at the next big revision again.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #63 on: December 20, 2015, 11:05:00 PM »
My priority would be a working tutorial; you can leave it to the user, or even check the tool selection and give hints. ("No, further down the tools", "getting closer ...", "Yes, great. Now ...") That is even better than an image, which might change at the next big revision again.
I am starting work on a tutorial now. Placing labels when a user seems to be 'struggling' to find the right place to put things... I will also look at messages around tool selection.

Another issue I was just looking at is Translations.
I was looking at listing languages as:
English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Ukrainian (as those were the options I was given when I first ran the game).
But just took a look at SimuTranslator and realised that alot has not been translated.

If we just go with listing languages with at least:
80% translation of the Base Texts, Help files, and pak128, we get Czech, and English.
70% translation of the Base Texts, Help files, and pak128, we get Czech, English and Spanish.
60% translation of the Base Texts, Help files, and pak128, we get Czech, English, German, and Spanish.

If we just go with Base Texts, and Help files, and ignore any given pak set we get:
90% Czech, English, and German
80% Czech, English, German, and Portuguese
70% Czech, English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish
If we do go with this option, possibly pak64 should be used as it has a high level of translation for these languages, or alter the pak that is included by default, based on language...

I was thinking of placing something like this near the end of the description:
Languages
Simutrans offers a range of languages, translated on a volunteer basis. Languages will be listed on the steam page when they reach at least 80% translation of Base Texts, Help Files, and 70% translation of pak128.

Also, with the video sorted do I publish the game on Greenlight to start the process rolling while working on the Manual & Tutorial?

Edit
Separate Topic now created in Patches forum

In regards to including the '<img src="" />' tag, I have created a patch file that will allow embedding of .bmp files (With no encoding, RLE8, or BITFIELDS encoding, and a range of color formats).
It searches scenario folder first, then pak folder, then application folder for the image requested.

It is definitely a hack at the moment, and I will be working on cleaning it up and commenting the code.
I am also looking at the possibility of loading (as an example) img0.bmp img1.bmp img2.bmp at timed intervals to give an effect similar to Yona-TYT's suggestion.

Issues with it at the moment (apart from lack of comments) include the fact that it reloads the image each time the dialog is closed and reopened, and never frees the image, and I have not yet checked through for other memory leaks.

NOW PUBLISHED ON GREENLIGHT
As previously noted, it will not be Published on Steam until the Tutorial and Manual are complete, and a decision has been made on where to direct users for further information (separate forums, sub forum, or the same forums).
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 08:21:28 PM by HaydenRead »

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #64 on: December 22, 2015, 09:17:55 PM »
The help files are not very correct, as there are several ways to implement the help files; some languages do with less files, and still have an ok coverage. Japanese for instance is almost complete, and most downloads globally come from Japan (30%). I would use base.tab as guidance. Most missing translations in paks are houses, which are not noticable to many players too.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #65 on: December 22, 2015, 09:52:09 PM »
The help files are not very correct, as there are several ways to implement the help files; some languages do with less files, and still have an ok coverage. Japanese for instance is almost complete, and most downloads globally come from Japan (30%). I would use base.tab as guidance. Most missing translations in paks are houses, which are not noticable to many players too.
Thanks for that feedback, I will list languages at 80% Base, and 60% on the pak file, which gives an initial 'language list' of English, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Spanish.

Offline TurfIt

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #66 on: January 07, 2016, 04:00:34 AM »
I see this is now listed on Steam Greenlight for those that missed the announcement above hidden in a post edit...

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #67 on: January 08, 2016, 07:15:01 PM »
Thank you to everyone who voted, the game is now Greenlit and will hopefully be on Steam in the not to distant future.
As previously decided, a manual and tutorial need to be completed first, and a decision still has not been made on wether there should be a separate forum section for Steam.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #68 on: January 08, 2016, 08:32:38 PM »
How splendid! It'd be wonderful to bring the delights of Simutrans to a wider audience.
Download Simutrans-Extended.

Want to help with development? See here for things to do for coding, and here for information on how to make graphics/objects.

Follow Simutrans-Extended on Facebook.

Offline Spacethingy

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #69 on: January 08, 2016, 08:46:24 PM »
You've stated on Steam that you want Workshop integration - does this mean that any .pak that gets developed and uploaded there won't be available to anyone without a Steam account? I rather think that would do fair bit of damage to Simutrans' community, especially if you pile on top of that an actual split into a new forum.
Quote
Also, this will make the process of upgrading and creating more add-ons a little bit simpler.
I'll have to get an account for some software I don't want, in order to get involved with addons? Hmmm... Not my idea of simpler! :D

The comments on the Greenlight page are half hilarious, half depressing...
Quote
well whilst it does seem good, isn't this just like boom beach or another mobile game? even if it's free.So all I'd like to be changed, or improved, would be to make sure there is no cons like buying gems online to make buildings go faster ect. So please make it like you are right now but just with no dimonds or gems or anything

Although more seriously, there are a few comments along the lines of people not getting what Simutrans actually is. And actually, to be fair, taking a quick glance at a simple pak64 screenshot for instance, you can kind of see why someone might guess that the game is something simple/boring/time-wasting. Might be worth trawling through the coments to get some ideas for making your video and promo material a bit more targeted.
Life is like a new Simutrans transformer:

You only get one of them, and you can't have it on a slope.

Offline sdog

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #70 on: January 08, 2016, 09:05:09 PM »
Quote
You've stated on Steam that you want Workshop integration
[...]
I'll have to get an account for some software I don't want, in order to get involved with addons? Hmmm... Not my idea of simpler!

Is Steams workshop mutually exlcusive with other distribution channels? I've happened to encounter a few addons that were only on steam, and one would have to use a steam downloader tool to get those for a standalone game. In those cases this was a result of the modder not wanting to support another channel. I strongly doubt that there are other barriers preventing distribution of the pak-sets (and other content) as we do now and the workshop.

Fixed quote ~An_dz
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 09:41:25 PM by An_dz »

Offline An_dz

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #71 on: January 08, 2016, 09:42:11 PM »
I just want to point the bad logo quality, the cut borders look bad. I can send you an SVG or a good quality PNG/JPG if you want.

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #72 on: January 08, 2016, 10:10:37 PM »
You've stated on Steam that you want Workshop integration - does this mean that any .pak that gets developed and uploaded there won't be available to anyone without a Steam account? I rather think that would do fair bit of damage to Simutrans' community, especially if you pile on top of that an actual split into a new forum. I'll have to get an account for some software I don't want, in order to get involved with addons? Hmmm... Not my idea of simpler! :D
I definately don't want to create a situation where add-ons are available on Steam that are not available through the current channels.

My view on how to prevent this is 1 of 3 options:
  • Create a Workshop uploader that also uploads to another location that non-steam users can access
    Issues with this method are that the file ends up being uploaded twice, and how to handle 'private' or 'friends only' mods which are later changed to public.
  • Periodically take a scrape of Steam Workshop uploads and make them available at another location
    Issues with this method include how often to scrape the addons (daily, weekly, monthly?). In this case only 'public' mod's would be made available
  • Use the non downloading Workshop settings
    (add-ons are uploaded for user voting, but can't be downloaded, then addons are added when decided on by a group (wether this would be the appropriate Pak's governing users, or some other method.

In regards to the idea of separate forums, there was concern that a large number of new Steam users could cause issues with flooding the existing forums. The options seem to be to use the existing forums, and risk issues from a flood of new users, or create new forums, or create a temporary forum that is used until the initial flood (if there is a flood of queries) is over.

An_dz - In regards to the logo, I am not sure why the clipping / cut borders have occured, it seems to be an issue with the SVG to PNG software I am using (as I tried exporting from the SVG again, and got the same cut borders). If you can provide a 512x512 PNG logo that is good quality, that would be great.

Offline sdog

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #73 on: January 08, 2016, 10:32:40 PM »
a greenlit logo, doesn't scale well however.




Quote
In regards to the idea of separate forums, there was concern that a large number of new Steam users could cause issues with flooding the existing forums. The options seem to be to use the existing forums, and risk issues from a flood of new users, or create new forums, or create a temporary forum that is used until the initial flood (if there is a flood of queries) is over.

It'd be rather surprising if many steam users would come to this place, and register an account, instead of using the communication channels in steam.

Offline IgorEliezer

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #74 on: January 08, 2016, 11:57:01 PM »
It'd be rather surprising if many steam users would come to this place, and register an account, instead of using the communication channels in steam.
Oh, it seems it's time to make the register process tougher! /s

I suppose the public on Steam has a different profile than ours and they would rather be looking for videos and the multiplayer chat (any improvement?) than using the forum or the wiki, which suit better the oldbies, which in turn can use the wiki and the forum to make content that suit better the people from Steam.

Offline Asdfe

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #75 on: January 09, 2016, 12:37:35 AM »
The greenlighting is good, but I think you should add a few screenshots from other paks. There are lots of comments on the art, and pak64 and 128 really aren't the prettiest, even if the pak is good as a default. Add in some 192comic and 128britain screenshots with a note that it is an add-on to the game, to add some variety to the page. :)
How do you know what you would know if only you knew what you don't know now?

Offline sdog

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2016, 01:00:28 AM »
Oh, it seems it's time to make the register process tougher! /s
How much tougher? On registering you or Isaac ring at their door with a Voigt-Kampff machine?

Quote
I suppose the public on Steam has a different profile than ours and they would rather be looking for videos and the multiplayer chat (any improvement?) than using the forum or the wiki, which suit better the oldbies, which in turn can use the wiki and the forum to make content that suit better the people from Steam.
Perhaps, we ought to wait with worrying until we get actually flooded... by invading hordes of steamies who spoil our perpetual tea-party. I venture to postulate that the demographics of steam users who will try Simutrans and stick long enough with it to ask questions will not be so much different than the people who are already here.


The greenlighting is good, but I think you should add a few screenshots from other paks. There are lots of comments on the art, and pak64 and 128 really aren't the prettiest, even if the pak is good as a default. Add in some 192comic and 128britain screenshots with a note that it is an add-on to the game, to add some variety to the page. :)
Why? We're already greenlit. No need to advertise until it is up and running. Then it should advertise exactly the pak it comes with.

Offline An_dz

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #77 on: January 09, 2016, 01:45:40 AM »
If you can provide a 512x512 PNG logo that is good quality, that would be great.
We have a cool square logo: http://i.imgur.com/PXzgSyu.png

Offline sdog

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2016, 02:21:20 AM »
We have a cool square logo: http://i.imgur.com/PXzgSyu.png
This also has the advantage that it doesn't have white background, which has too much contrast in the dark steam client.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #79 on: January 09, 2016, 07:42:43 AM »
Well, I check the forum daily - even if I don't always say much. I get emails for each new registration and I typically click on them to see if they're obvious spammers; so if we get an influx of new accounts, I'll be checking the forum more frequently for new posts. Might even turn back on to get email notification of new topics...

How does moderation over on Steam work? Is it something we can help with, or is it all up to Steam employees? I use Steam a little bit, but not for any online/community stuff.

Offline Yona-TYT

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #80 on: January 10, 2016, 01:56:33 AM »
@HaydenRead.
Regarding the tutorial, we must ensure that the players  find him.

It makes sense to start a window that says, "You want to start with the tutorial? Yes / No", but this does not go with the style of simutrans. Although it may be limited only to the version on Steam I guess. ???

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #81 on: January 10, 2016, 03:44:01 AM »
@HaydenRead.
Regarding the tutorial, we must ensure that the players  find him.

It makes sense to start a window that says, "You want to start with the tutorial? Yes / No", but this does not go with the style of simutrans. Although it may be limited only to the version on Steam I guess. ???
Definitely sounds like an idea worth looking into for Steam.

Also, I have found that I can put the Windows and Linux version of Simutrans on Steam no problem, but it seems a Mac is required to upload the Mac version (and I don't have access to a Mac).
I am also currently testing the automatic uploading of the nightly versions to Steam (in the beta branch) (running 8am UTC time, as from what I can see the builds are created at 7am UTC time - once the script is all ironed out, it may be worth seeing about moving it to the server that generates the nightly builds if possible, so it is updated at the same time).

Was also wondering about getting a couple of 'beta' testers for the Steam version. (I have tested it on my own Windows and Linux machines with Dev rights...) If anyone wants to beta test the Steam version, they could PM me for the beta key - probably limit it to about 5 - 10 testers for the moment.

There are also a variety of images that I need to organize generating for Steam... Game page image, Community page image, 3 different sized 'Marketing' images, and 5+ Screenshots (of size 1920x1080 or larger).

Another issue is if someone can translate the text from the promotional video (on the store page, as opposed to the Greenlight page, separate videos can be uploaded for different languages). If it can be translated, I will upload separate versions, otherwise I will stick with the current English version. Languages that would be good to have if possible are 'English (existing), French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Hungarian, Czech'. (I will post this on the Video thread as well).

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #82 on: January 10, 2016, 06:08:43 AM »
I've sent a PM. Linux on the desktop and Windows on the laptop; Steam on both.

I have installed on my desktop, and posted images of the process here: http://eiland-hall.com/2016/01/10/simutrans-on-steam/

(The link is so I don't spam the thread with images)
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 08:44:02 AM by Isaac.Eiland-Hall »

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #83 on: January 10, 2016, 09:37:17 AM »
I've sent a PM. Linux on the desktop and Windows on the laptop; Steam on both.

I have installed on my desktop, and posted images of the process here: http://eiland-hall.com/2016/01/10/simutrans-on-steam/

(The link is so I don't spam the thread with images)
Thanks for that, I see from the images that there was an issue with the EULA (I hadn't hit publish on it - it just contains the 'Artistic License').

Offline HaydenRead

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #84 on: January 14, 2016, 07:49:46 PM »
Thanks for all the input so far, I am currently looking for a Mac user who could assisting with getting the required files generated for Mac computers for Steam (I can provide the instructions - once the Steam Mac Config file is generated on a Mac, the rest can be done from Linux or Windows PC's).

I have uploaded the Mac version of Simutrans to Steam, but it is not clear if it will work without the Steam Config file (the config file records correct executable permissions etc for the file).

Also, I currently have 1 beta tester for Simutrans on Steam - Thanks Isaac.Eiland-Hall - It would be nice to get a couple more, including a Mac user if at all possible.

Offline meme

Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #85 on: January 14, 2016, 08:41:49 PM »
Thanks for all the input so far, I am currently looking for a Mac user who could assisting with getting the required files generated for Mac computers for Steam (I can provide the instructions - once the Steam Mac Config file is generated on a Mac, the rest can be done from Linux or Windows PC's).

I have uploaded the Mac version of Simutrans to Steam, but it is not clear if it will work without the Steam Config file (the config file records correct executable permissions etc for the file).

Also, I currently have 1 beta tester for Simutrans on Steam - Thanks Isaac.Eiland-Hall - It would be nice to get a couple more, including a Mac user if at all possible.

A Mac user here :)

Offline TheGrowl

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #86 on: May 28, 2016, 07:52:24 PM »
When I saw simutrans on steam, I was genuinely shocked, can't say I'm happy about it, but oh well, it's happened, will experimental be on steam, it would be nice, since I have great difficulty setting it up successfully.
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Offline jamespetts

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Re: Simutrans on Steam
« Reply #87 on: May 28, 2016, 08:05:38 PM »
When I saw simutrans on steam, I was genuinely shocked, can't say I'm happy about it, but oh well, it's happened, will experimental be on steam, it would be nice, since I have great difficulty setting it up successfully.

Simutrans-Experimental may come to Steam at some point, but more development work is needed first.
Download Simutrans-Extended.

Want to help with development? See here for things to do for coding, and here for information on how to make graphics/objects.

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