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Author Topic: capital pricing, distance-based demand, rail grades, & over-consuming markets  (Read 1768 times)

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Offline Rebelfish

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Excellent game, but I abandoned playing it because capital costs were so different from reality.  For example, on Pak128, a single box car was ten times the price of a mid-sized bridge, or the cost of dozens of on-land tiles of track.  (It was similar in Pak64 too.)  And signals were the price of 5-10 tiles of track.  These two factors combined made the best solution to simply build a single dedicated line for every factory connection or city connection so as to minimize any idle time in engines and cars.  Sidings for passing were pointless because signals were so expensive and you could just build individual routes for each train anyway.  If there is no consensus on what the capital costs should be, there should at least be an option for users to customize to their preferred values on the public sets.  I still haven’t figured out why “light rail” which is built to support smaller vehicles is much more expensive than traditional rail in the game.


The second issue was to do with demand generation, that all "sim-folks" would pick an arbitrary destination out of all of them anywhere on the map.  This resulted in any sort of local transport being used for the sole purpose of bringing sim-folks to a long distance transfer point since the probability that they'd want a local destination was far outweighed by the total of non-local destinations in all other cities.  I realize that this can be changed a little now by making "commuter" fractions higher so that more people go to the closer-by factories, but it still is odd that an office building or church across the map has an equal chance of being picked as one 3 tiles away.  I can imagine two ways of fixing this.  First, the probability function could be altered to include a distance component that would decrease the chance of picking destinations many tiles away while increasing for those nearby.  Another way would be to pair every random destination that popped into a sim’s head with a random max trip time. The sim would then only make the trip if the estimated travel time was less than their max trip time.  I can see this option requiring too much processor work however. 


I’d love it if the max grade a railroad could go up could be changed to 1:2 or 1:3 to reflect how trucks can climb steeper hills than trains.  This could even be done by requiring special 2-3 square "grade climbing" straight train tiles in order for a train to change elevation.  While I'm talking about elevation, was it ever made possible to change elevation in a tunnel?  That would (a) be useful overall and (b) allow actual under-river tunnels without the weird straight-edged land block work-around, which was merely a cosmetic fix anyway: you still couldn't cross another track at that level.


Finally, the activity of the suppliy chain seems off, especially in pak128.  For example, several fishing banks supply a canning plant while flour and sheep go to several food factories, and all of these are delivered to a single supermarket, which consumes them practically as fast as my trains can delivery.  In real life, it's the reverse -- the entire map would be supplied by 1-2 each of the food making facilities, which would then bring a much smaller quantity of goods to a supermarket it virtually every town.  You don't see trainload after trainload of goods arriving at a Pricechopper or Whole Foods; there's a couple semis that drop off goods from a central distribution point. 


Offline Roads

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Rebel, I think there are at least two ways people view this and other similar games.  The first and by far most common is that it is merely a game and does not need to reflect reality.  No one questions whether the rental prices in Monopoly are realistic.  The thing about Simutrans is at first blush it does indeed remind us of reality.

The second way to view the game and the way I prefer to play it, is to RP (role play) the game.  This does not have to reflect reality either but it does have to come close enough to some workable fantasy that you are not simply "playing a game."

Maybe you can find some niche in your mind where the game will fit.  It certainly has been a lot of fun for me even though there are many things I would change to suit my personality if I could.

Offline prissi

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That you very much for the observation about costs. Since the cost for vehicles is actually of now big concern for going bankrupt (since those live further as assests). Thus making them 10x cheaper will not change the game balance at all (if you feel this is the right amount). Could you elaborate more on this point?

I do not agree on your remarks on signals. They are expensive, but they are so in reality. Furthermore, for ways you have to pay maintenance, but not for signals (at least in pak64). Also the normal signal is 750, while the price for expensive track is 400, only two tiles. (ok for the cheapest it is 35, but then this is very slow track. And for the 120 kmh track it is already 80, this 6 tiles per signal. Not so bad imho.)

The preference of local travel you can easily change yourself. It is also not true that distance does not play a role. That was changed some time ago, and closer destinations are strongly preferred. This is governed mostly by two parameters. Something like
locality_factor[0]=1835,1
locality_factor[1]=2050,1
will almost suppress intercity travel. If you do not like factory workers going too far, set
factory_worker_radius = 25
factory_worker_minimum_towns = 0
factory_worker_maximum_towns = 1
factory_worker_percentage = 16
or so. Finally there are tourist. You can reduce their number by
tourist_percentage = 5

You will get almost local or next town travel only. But then most people rather liked simutrans for the long interconnected networks you must build to satisfy even far going customers.

About steeper grades: Well there are currently efforts under way. But this will affect all pak sets and will take a little while to be stable and bug free. You can test it with a special pak.188.britain.

About the supply chain in pak128: What about those in pak64? Those were deliberately made smaller in total amounts.

Offline Ters

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I guess the price for a signal doesn't just cover the signal, but everything that goes along with it, like cables and sensors.

Offline Rebelfish

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I don't remember the locality factor so I will look into that. 


For costs, for example, consider a fairly substantial 10-tile suspended bridge or tunnel.  This costs $19000-$20000 in pak128.  This is considerably less than almost every locomotive available, as much as only three of the cannonball package cars.  I can make a full train set that will cost as much as three of these bridges or tunnels.  So for many routes, the dominant capital cost is equipment, and that is what should be optimized at all cost, whereas for many rail networks in the real world, there are only limited sidings that trains wait at to pass because building track is so expensive.


I see that now there is a "span too long for bridge" function which I really like as it eliminates the pillar-less bridges of unrealistic lengths. 


Good point with the signals b/c maintenance costs do add up.  Also, I will try the grades in the britain version.  That sounds great. 


For supply chain, 64 does seem better than 128. 


Thanks for the response.


Nathan


Offline prissi

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As mentioned, high prices for rolling stock is of almost no concern, as these count as assests of the company; you can barely going bankrupt from buying cars, it is rather a cosmetical error. Anyhow, what number seemed realistic for you then?