Author Topic: Industry balance  (Read 262 times)

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Offline Jando

Industry balance
« on: July 24, 2017, 04:19:05 PM »
Greetings James and others! In another thread (here: James commented on industry balance and said the following:

Industry production and consumption- mostly balanced

The production and consumption rates of industry have been calibrated to realistic levels and should be more or less correct. However, there may be errors due to the lack of extensive play testing.

I'd like to add my comments on industry balance too but thought it would be better to make a separate thread for that than to pollute James' general balance thread with my ramblings. :) And I did some extensive play testing with industries, haha.

First of all, while I tentatively agree with industries being balanced - on a per industry scale - I disagree with industry being balanced on a per map scale. The "tentatively" in this sentence comes because I don't know what the intended balance - on a per industry scale - is: the demand stated in the industries' information window (Example: "Max. 83 units per month) or the amount the industry factually consumes (for this example: around 660 units). Factual demand is roughly 8 times the stated demand. I'm unsure whether that's a bug or intended behaviour, with perhaps just the stated amount not yet reflecting the intended factual amount. Personally I would consider the stated amount to be better balanced and the factual amount to be rather too large. Or perhaps the best balanced amount is somewhere in the middle, like 2-3 times the stated amount.

So far for balance for an individual industry. Now to industry balance when seen across the whole map. On that scale I consider industry very unbalanced. 

First reason - but not the only one - is that a few industry types, namely the chains with large consumers, are so good money-creators that all other industry chains are largely irrelevant. Supplying a single builders' yard easily makes more money than connecting all the pubs, greengrocers, grocers, bakeries, hardware shops, newsagents, etc. on one of my typical maps. These large consumers provide more revenue and profit with far less infrastructure and complexity than all other industry types. I play mostly in the 1800 to 1940 years and here the large consumers are: power stations, coal merchants, gasworks and builders' yards - all other industry chains are optional and not really needed because these other industry chains have no large consumers.

And when there is no large consumer it doesn't really pay to establish a transport network for these industry chains because the throughput of the network will eventually be limited by the amount the consumer at the end of the industry chain demands. Example: It doesn't matter how many car factories requiring a complex transport network I have on my map. When there's only 1 car dealership on the map per car factory the whole factory will never produce more than what the car dealer demands (stated amount: 10 cars per month).

And that brings me to the second reason. When there are no large consumers for an industry chain we would need many small consumers instead. That would be the realistic way and also lead to interesting logistics. An orchard, for example, supplying 4 or 5 pubs in the region. An arable farm supplying 5 or 6 markets or greengrocers, a printworks supplying 10 newsagents. However, maps don't have that amount of small consumers. If I crank up the number of industries on a typical map I get a few more small consumers but also much more colleries, power stations and coal merchants instead. :) Thus to create a better balanced and more realistic freight network the ratio of large to small consumers would have to change. Many more small consumers would be needed. After all a town in the real world has many more bakeries and grocers than power stations, in Simutrans it's the other way round, here a typical town has more power stations than bakeries. :)

And - the third reason - even with more smaller consumers it would need another step to create better balanced industry chains, and that is that esp. the smaller producers (farms, orchards, sheep farms, etc.) would need to be closer to towns than they are now. Building a road out to an orchard for example is in many cases a money-losing project because the smaller producers may supply enough freight for 4 or 5 truckloads per Simutrans-month, but the profit made from transporting that cargo won't pay the building costs for the road in any reasonable time frame. And I suspect few players would consider it a good idea to build infrastructure that will make little than reducing their profit.

For these reasons I consider industry to be very unbalanced on a per map scale, sorry. But please excuse my ramblings here, I don't even know whether it's possible to change these parameters anyway. :)

Offline Vladki

Re: Industry balance
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 06:06:36 PM »
I can't remember exact options, but there should already be some option to tweak the ratio of input/output factories in chain.