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Offline Fabio

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Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« on: November 09, 2012, 05:42:22 PM »
These features have been discussed extensively in the past, but I can't find where.

I want to quote this interesting contribution:

One thing I wanted to say and forgot about Railroad Tycoon.  It bothers me having a train that is loaded only one way.  Maybe it is because for the better part of my life some of my family and many of their friends were truckers.  Their one big complaint was not diesel prices or being away from home, sleep deprivation, etc., it was having to dead head home for the weekend!  That was by far their biggest expense on a weekly basis.  I can only think trains would be similar.  Railroad Tycoon (only the original) had switching stations that allowed you to change cars, add cars, remove cars,  wait forloads, etc.  You could create some really complex operations.  It is unrealistic to think every little factory would have a switching station with an unlimited number and variety of cars though so some compromise would be needed there.  Perhaps only switching stations in the larger cities.  This should allow for only short dead head trips and actually even an added element - moving empty cars from one location to another.

Being unrealistic is not the number one reason I dislike having trains, trucks, boats being loaded only one way.  It is simply not interesting having a train
pick up coal at a mine and delivering it to a power plant.  There has to be some complexity to a route to make it interesting.



If we find older threads, we can merge them with this one.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 06:59:01 PM »
This from Kieron in another thread:

Quote
The lack of management required with waggons is also one of the aspects I dislike about Railroad Tycoon. I can understand the reasoning behind this simplified gameplay - with there being more to do in the wider economy in RRT having to design detailed track layouts and manage waggons could overload the player. However I prefer the aspects Simutrans focuses on.

No doubt many more people than Kieron do not like this because it inevitably produces situations so complex that at times you want to just throw your hands up and quit.  For that reason if this is implemented it certainly needs to be an option with the default off.  Here is the thing.  Difficulty and complexity is what IMHO, keeps a game alive.  At one time Civilization was the top selling game.  At the time, devs said they could make it much more complex with trade, etc., but that it would overwhelm many players.  So what happened?  They kept it simple and eventually people got bored and looked for other games.  A very similar thing happened with Everquest.  The original game was hideously difficult.  People would wait at the entrance to Sebilis for hours just to get a "camp."  I have done so myself.  Then EQ2 was released.  Corpse retrieval was removed, everything was made easier and the game faded into obscurity.

I don't believe people lose interest in games because of difficulty.  They lose interest when the get bored.  And again IMHO, a game is like most things in life.  It either evolves or it dies.

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 07:47:59 PM »
Is it really realistic for anything but passenger, mail and box/container cars to run loaded both ways? In any case, the same cars must go both way, unlike in the Railroad Tycoons I've played.

While it would satisfy the suppressed model railroad builder in me to have locomotives take turns at different consists (or whatever the right English word is) and to have the actual cars switched between trains at freight hubs rather than having the goods reloaded, such things would not work in Simutrans today. It would require freight hubs of several hundred tiles in size, and more than ten such in a map, each many hundreds, even thousands, tiles apart. Such big maps won't work. This is the hypothetical, supercomputer powered Simutrans 3000.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 08:16:46 PM »
you would also need a way to run trains both ways on a shunting line without it jamming.

Offline greenling

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 08:36:57 PM »
Those idea it Super.
I Like it.
I live on a Railwayroute there drives trains The parts and connect.
Than must i not call train in a depot to exchange wagons.
Edit That idea it s for Simutrans exp also useful.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 09:58:04 PM »
if anyone has ever played train simulator 2012... some of those rail yards are not possible under simutrans.

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2012, 10:08:02 PM »
Is it really realistic for anything but passenger, mail and box/container cars to run loaded both ways? In any case, the same cars must go both way, unlike in the Railroad Tycoons I've played.

Ters is right. The cars have to return somehow to be loaded again. And if they are used for special cargo - wood, steel, cement, milk, then they have to return empty. Only passenger, mail, piece and maybe bulk goods have a chance to run loaded in both directions. And IMHO real cargo trains return empty even for bulk goods. Think of a big coal trains for power plants.

When I played Railroad Tycoon, I wondered, how the cars magically disappear when unloaded, and different new cars appear for return. I think Simutrans and OpenTTD does it the right way.

Offline VS

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 11:10:20 PM »
Reading the last few posts, I think an observation could be made: If the law of mass preservation holds true in the game, it is easiest to have no switching.

One could imagine that cars return empty in different trains, but where its the advantage of that? Price? And you must return as many cars as are coming. Perhaps moving 20 empty cars at half the speed of loaded 10 cars is more economical, taking advantage of some non-linearity. But then you have imbalance in engine counts! :D Assuming you could instruct two trains to merge with only one engine running at 50% speed, it would work out, but this is sooo convoluted... Balancing such a thing would be a hell, both for authors and players.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2012, 11:22:29 PM »
It's not unusual seeing empty wagons being moved around to their next pickup destination.

I think the biggest hurdle would be making such a system user friendly. You really must have a good understanding of how freight rail yards operate to use this system. Seeing as setting up a rail is a bit complicated already, I think it wouldn't help the learning curve either.


but if someone were to code it... I do have some ideas on how it can be done.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2012, 11:30:58 PM »
There could be easier scenarios and simpler implementations of switching.
Think of this case:
A--B--C
where A and B are suppliers and X is the consumer of both.
You could start the line at A with engine + 5 cars. At B the train couples with another 5 cars and goes to unload at C, then back to B where it uncouples 5 cars and finally back to A.
This layout would give savings compared to a 10 cars train all along and would also cost less and clutter less the lines list than 2 distinct AC and BC lines of 5 cats each.

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2012, 11:37:38 PM »
Nice example Fabio. I'd like to have such situation possible. Now I usually do it so that there are two trains: A-B (5 cars) and B-C (10 cars), and cargo is transferred at station B. But the drawback is I have to buy two engines and 5 extra cars, and one more platform. And running with full length train which is not fully loaded generates a financial loss.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 11:45:01 PM »
Additionally, I hate to have too many lines (or any scheduleless train).
Adding/removing cars could also be used to have RoRo ferries and train shuttles (they could pick up the transported trucks hiding them), or helper engines for mountainous or unelectrified sections.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2012, 12:11:09 AM »
Some of the thoughts here seem to be way over thinking what needs to be done.  In my games now when I'm into micro management, I have switching stations.  I use the depot.  When a train unloads, I have it go to the depot.  When I get the message that the train has entered the depot, I change the consist (yes Ters, that's the right word) to whatever I want it to pick up next, change the route to one I've previously set up, click start and the train is off again.  Rinse, repeat.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2012, 12:28:39 AM »
My Gosh! Do you REALLY do that? You have a boatload of patience... I could endure it not even once!
I totally abhor micromanagement, I'm rather the build & forget guy.

Offline sdog

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2012, 12:30:49 AM »
@ӔO  fabio's suggestion wouldn't need to actually simulate the shunting process, but the effect.
e.g. an entity where consists A and B drives into and consist X and Y leave where all parts of X, x_i ∈ A ∪ B were in either A or B.

this could be extended to a yard storing vehicles, which would be something like a scriptable depot.


There are nice examples where railroad tycoon like behaviour was used in real life. Barges transporting goods downstream often were scrapped and the timber sold instead of pulling them up-river. Typically the higher one gets on a stream the cheaper lumber and workforce is too.


My Gosh! Do you REALLY do that? You have a boatload of patience... I could endure it not even once!
I totally abhor micromanagement, I'm rather the build & forget guy.

Still it was you who suggested shunting ... :-)

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2012, 12:48:43 AM »
@sdog, ah gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

I'll try and draw up my idea for such a thing, but basically it involves numbered 'units' of train wagons that locomotives can pickup and drop off.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2012, 12:54:14 AM »
Still it was you who suggested shunting ... :-)

Indeed I suggested it, but as a scripting or whatever so that once I got it right I can trust it's working for years.
I can spend quite some time building a line and adjusting it, but then I want it to work without me needing to take care of it every moment...

Just imagine: I usually freeplay, hence when I need to update a vehicle, I prefer to withdraw it (or even sell it on the place) and buy immediately a new one rather than waiting for it to reach the depot and so on...

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2012, 01:04:38 AM »
Yes Fabio, I really do that occasionally.  The thing is I hardly ever apply the same method to every situation.  If a situation develops that is interesting to micro manage then I'll do it.

Offline greenling

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2012, 06:29:23 AM »
I have view a video there the Lokomtion change for Electric on diesel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJgoDfTHW9w
Edit: I Have those simutrans spezial exe that can.
Only i must me Remember how i those Simutrans Spezial exe have be park.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 07:15:08 AM by greenling »

Offline sdog

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2012, 07:31:51 AM »
the music at 0:40 ... sounds like Kanno ... good memories ...

thanks for the video greenling.

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2012, 08:17:06 AM »
The Japanese must either wield some secret magic, or the video is faked. There are several things in that video that's not in any Simutrans I've seen here in the Western World.

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2012, 08:33:41 AM »
There is an experimental Japanese version of simutrans (different from the one on this forum). I don't keep up to date with the features so maybe it is real?


Offline Sarlock

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2012, 09:18:20 AM »
IMHO shunting, etc, wouldn't add much to the game... a bit of realism perhaps, the economic advantage would be potentially offset by slightly higher operating costs since in the end most paksets want a fairly standard level of return for a well run operation.

A lot of freight lines have to return empty cars to their origin, basically anything specialized (chemicals, grain, coal/minerals, oil/fuel, etc).  Being able to run both ways fully loaded is a rare event, even being half full on the return trip is a nice bonus usually.  Most areas that produce raw materials do not consume much on the flip side... trains generally run one way loaded and empty back.  Container cars are really the only possibility for freight that can run both ways semi-loaded.  But even then these cars are generally half full on part of the journey as there is always a mismatch between industrial goods consumption and production for any given delivery area.  And these types of cars are generally delivered to intermodal yards not end consumers.

The same occurs in long haul trucking, as Roads alluded to.  It's a real blessing to get return freight on a long haul journey... you're usually making at least part of the journey back empty.


Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2012, 10:46:03 AM »
Sarlock, what you are saying is true if you think about freight only in terms of one destination and return.  For switching stations or trucking for that matter to work and be worthwhile and interesting, you have to think in terms of multiple destinations.  Instead of having say, five short routes, you have one long route and along that route you have other trains that intersect (for lack of a better word) which pick up part of the goods and carry them to different destinations, etc., etc.

A well thought out and designed system could easily replace 50 short routes with 7 to 10 long ones.  And I can tell you, the reward for developing such a system is enormous to see it in action.  Because you actually created something rather than just clicking on A to B and hitting start.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2012, 10:51:34 AM »
A well thought out and designed system could easily replace 50 short routes with 7 to 10 long ones.  And I can tell you, the reward for developing such a system is enormous to see it in action.  Because you actually created something rather than just clicking on A to B and hitting start.

This is something I completely agree with and I want to underline. :thumbsup:

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2012, 11:36:41 AM »
Instead of having say, five short routes, you have one long route and along that route you have other trains that intersect (for lack of a better word) which pick up part of the goods and carry them to different destinations, etc., etc.

They've mostly stopped doing that over here, apparently because it's too costly. Almost everything that isn't intermodal is point-to-point. I know that at least one lumber train picks up more wagons along the way (but only at a single place, doubling it's length and with a change of locomotive). And a car importer probably shunts car wagons comming across the border into different trains for distribution to the major cities.

Offline wlindley us

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2012, 02:59:31 PM »
Drive across Interstate 10 the nearly 4,000 km from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida, and you will see on the parallel Union Pacific Railroad, about half the trains are "General Merchandise" freight trains.  These trains are often a mile long, and composed of every type of railcar imaginable -- intermodal container, tank containers, piggyback trailer-on-flatcar, covered hoppers full of grain or dog-food, open hoppers with coal or sand, gondolas with scrap, flatcars with bulldozers, boxcars with almost anything, and more.  Each of those trains represents hundreds of hours of switching (shunting) and the trains are often broken apart in sections, and new sections added along the way.  It is a process similar to how your blood flows from the heart through the arteries and splits into millions of capillaries, then reassembles back into veins back to the heart... a journey of infinite mixing and complexity ... if we could simulate even a bit of this, it would be quite fun.

Offline prissi

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2012, 03:42:59 PM »
That train get less shunted can be also seen that there were thoughts about EMU/DMU for freights, liek the japane JRF200 or the german Cargotrain (which are in pak64 and pak64.japan) But both were not too sucessful. One of the reason was low motor power for the german, and the fact that there were so many left over slow and powerful engines from german reunification and smaller lines going out of buisness.

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2012, 04:37:42 PM »
Though I wrote that trains a mostly point-to-point today here, and perhaps in Western Europe in general, that is something that has changed over time, and Simutrans spans both time and space. Still, I strongly suspect that it would require a massive redesign of Simutrans' vehicle handling and routing to get this working properly. That the Japanese can change the locomotive might not be of too much help. I know that they used to do that on border crossings between Norway and Sweden before, and they might still do that down on the continent, especially where the electrification is different. In that way, it could have been fun for multiplayer games, especially if zones of operation was implemented. A player 1 could hire another player (player 2) to pull player 1's consist through player 2's zone using player 2's locomotive. Otherwise, it would just be eye candy that complicates the game both on the inside and outside.

Offline Markohs

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2012, 05:37:04 PM »
Passenger trains were often composed in Spain.

There was a train I took from Barcelona here to Andalusia, you had to be extra careful to pick the seat you paid for in your bill, because when it reached Alcazar de San Juan, near andalusia, it began splitting in branches, the electric head was replaced by diesel ones and the waggons into different convios, one going direction to Jaen/Granada/Malaga and the other headed to south-west, Seville and Cadiz, more or less, I can't recall the details. On the other direction, convois were merged incrementally and it all ran together to Barcelona. That was sometimes a problem because if one branch was late, the whole train had to wait for the missing part. But it used to work quite smooth.

 I think they don't use to do this in Spain any longer for passenger trains.

EDIT: Info about this train (now replaced by other services, coudn't find nothing in english)

http://www.ferropedia.es/wiki/Arco_Garc%C3%ADa_Lorca
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 05:50:13 PM by Markohs »

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2012, 05:45:02 PM »

Quote
It is a process similar to how your blood flows from the heart through the arteries and splits into millions of capillaries, then reassembles back into veins back to the heart... a journey of infinite mixing and complexity ... if we could simulate even a bit of this, it would be quite fun.

Yes, Wlindley, that is exactly what I'm talking about.  What would make this even more awesome is that in Simutrans you can already interface with trucks and boats for pick ups and drop offs.


This is undoubtedly vastly over simplifying but as far as what needs to be done, all you really need to do is record the keystrokes in a depot, give it a name and then add it to your route.

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2012, 05:54:52 PM »
This is undoubtedly vastly over simplifying but as far as what needs to be done, all you really need to do is record the keystrokes in a depot, give it a name and then add it to your route.

Having this happen in depots would ruin the fun in it for me. I want to see it. The trains would also need some synchronizing mechanism. That is perhaps the biggest hurdle when it comes to more complex train behaviour: the lack of a fixed predictable schedule.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2012, 06:06:56 PM »
But as there is already wait for load option, there could "easily" be a wait for cars to be added one.
This would require additional platforms or platform-like shunting yards, but then trains could wait indefinitely.
I believe there is a fair point in between overly complex realism and the lack of this feature at all.
Some basic shunting (and roll-on-roll-off ferrying) should IMHO be simulated in a transport simulator, we need to cherrypick which aspects could be actually implementable.

Offline prissi

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2012, 06:45:09 PM »
The system with mixed long distance trains can be done. Just instead of shunting, to load unlaod a way stations in between. By the way, those long distance trains most go indeed long distance. Michigan/Detroit (or whatever industrial areas are still left) to west coasts. In between are way too little destination to require lot of shunting.

By the way, the transib railway does shunting with passenger trains. Every 500 km or so another 3-10 car were added or removed from trains, including mail cars (our had between 1 and 4 on different legs of the journey).

Offline Fabio

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2012, 07:54:50 PM »
Obviously there's plenty of workarounds.
IMHO the problem is that presently freight ops require too many different lines for my taste. A more flexible system could allow less and more sophisticated lines.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2012, 10:35:44 PM »
@Ters:


Quote
Having this happen in depots would ruin the fun in it for me. I want to see it. The trains would also need some synchronizing mechanism. That is perhaps the biggest hurdle when it comes to more complex train behaviour: the lack of a fixed predictable schedule.


Although I did imply that is what could be done, I did not mean that depots should take on the job of switching.  My thinking was simply that all the functionality for switching cars (wagons) and/or engines is there and they can be stored there.  Not only that but the routes are there as well.  Not being familiar with the code, it still seems reasonable that much of that code could simply be copied to a new entity with a new graphic and called a switch yard.

Offline isidoro

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2012, 11:03:05 PM »
On the contrary, I think that this is a nice opportunity to give another function to depots.  Whenever you want to change the consist in you route, you click on a depot.  The change will happen there and only if there are cars of that type in the depot.  Otherwise, the train will wait.

That would allow easy merging and it is naturally realistic since cars are not created from nothing.

It is also (nearly) compatible with present behavior.  And optional.


Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2012, 11:08:36 PM »
I just fear that it won't be as flexible if you have a fixed recording of which wagon should go where. If we imagine a train goes from A to B, where it splits into a train to C and a train to D. Some times, there might be no cargo from A to C, other times no cargo from A to D, other times something in between. In real life, this is no problem (apart from economy). It is also no problem with the current way such has to be done in Simutrans (the A-B will run continuously, while B-C and B-D will only run when full.) But if the number of wagons for C and D is fixed already in the A-B leg, because of the recorded splitting, it becomes unrealistically difficult to ensure fully loaded trains.

Or am I misunderstanding again?

Offline sdog

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2012, 11:20:18 PM »
Perhaps some bus system would be more appropriate for Wlindley's example.

New structure shunting yard, built like a station. Trains leave at fixed scheduled intervals on a route.

Railway vehicles arrrive with other trains and are removed from their consist and added to the waiting bus-consist.

At the scheduled time the bus-consist leaves, it will call at new shunting-yards, when doing so normal route-finding decides if a railway vehicle is to leave the consist.


This would require to have another level in the hierarchy, between cargo and consist.
A line would have convoys attached; Convoys have groups of vehicles attachached; groups of vehicles have a capacity and cargo.

This possibly allows also to use containers in the game. (which would be much more imortant for a good freight simulation than the shunting)

It does not work for train ferries, or piggy back, or diesel pulling electric engine, as my suggestion doesn't allow engines in the groups of vehicles.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2012, 01:52:41 AM »
Regardless of whether you expand the functionality of the depot or create a separate switch yard, the player would have to buy the cars.  If the switch yard were separate, the player would have to buy cars at the depot and move those to the switch yard to build up his inventory of various type cars - no more unlimited supply of magically appearing cars.  This would be an expense just like laying track, etc.

I had assumed that only engines were programmed to stop at various locations, the cars simply followed wherever the engine went.  I really can see no reason for tracking where the cars go, simply read what is on the consist at a destination.

When I do this manually in a game, I just click the cars off the train in the depot and click on the ones I need which I have previously bought.  Then I change the route of the train.  If however you implement switching, instead of changing the route you just add another stop, which is the switch yard and there you tell the train what its new consist is going to be provided you have the necessary cars available. From then on, the train stops at the switch yard, switches cars and continues on its way.

Offline rsdworker

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2012, 02:00:15 AM »
well splitting and joining - could be good idea even i been on alot of trains in UK - most them can spilt or join like one seen on video

Passgeners can have loco change example - my route has no power between cities - even i went on Dual mode train in demark which changes from electric to diesel

in UK we have some passengers train loco changes - the Sleeper trains commonly change locos when they enter or exit from non powered lines but mostly they stay on electric mode

so my suggestion is have speical button - SPLIT here or Join here and tell which car want split up - click on Car eg Loco and add separate order

example: Route UK to Germany using two locos

1: player adds train in depot and sets the route with Split or join points and places locos in yards and gives order - eg wait for train to arrive at station - giving train name or number

2: player adds Loco orders when split - example go to depot and wait for other train to enter

3: player starts train - the train shunts in london station with shunter and shunter detaches and returns to shunter yard for new train
the train has front loco for all way to halfway (east france)

4: once train arrives at halfway - the Loco detachs and changes with new loco

5: once train arrives at end point - with Loco at end so shunter brings new loco to rear and detach front loco

for non Loco trains - they can attach or detach from other unit but can't attach to different type eg A stock can't couple to S stock unless has loco or barrier wagon in middle to tow different type of train





Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2012, 02:19:27 AM »
Here is my idea, by the way.
Each freight wagon "unit" or convoy has the usual schedule to go from A to B. Except if they don't have their own power unit, they will be carried around with locomotives that have zones. If they have their own power they retain their normal simutrans behaviour.


Convoys with locomotives, or locomotives only, can have a "continuous zone" they can be designated with. In this case, it is a small shunting locomotive.


The shunting locomotive can designated pickup and drop off yards.
In this case, the only thing this shunting locomotive does is pickup full units from 3 factories and drop off in the yellow yard.


Once the factory yards are empty, the shunting locomotive will pickup any other empty units, serving the same line, in the yellow yard and drop them off at the factories


The same zone designation should give the same results for a mainline locomotive. The mainline locomotive should have a minimum and maximum length allowed for the convoy at its designated yards. In this case, it's a maximum of 10 wagons total, although for simutrans it should be in tiles. Units are automatically assembled once the locomotive is ready.


The mainline locomotive dropping off the units at its destination.


Units automatically disassembled and delivered to various factories by shunting locomotive.
Mainline locomotive picks up empty units to be brought back to the initial factories.



---
edit:

There also could be a 'holding area' for the locomotives if they are not doing anything. They should only head off to their yard or station if there's something to pickup, otherwise I think they can occupy any empty space at a yard or station. The only caveat to not having a holding area is what to do if an idle locomotive is blocking another train trying to enter the yard.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 09:54:32 AM by ӔO »

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2012, 03:00:19 AM »
AEO, it seems like you have put a huge amount of thought and work into this but I just don't get the reason why wagons should have routes or tracked in any way.  To me only engines should have routes, wagons simply follow wherever the engine takes them.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2012, 03:11:37 AM »
well splitting and joining - could be good idea even i been on alot of trains in UK - most them can spilt or join like one seen on video

so my suggestion is have speical button - SPLIT here or Join here and tell which car want split up - click on Car eg Loco and add separate order

I think this is the caveat with my idea. For passenger multiple unit trains, such a function would be necessary, since all convoys have their own power.  Something like a 'Y' line or short turn combined with long distance line seems simple, but multiple joining and splitting between various multiple units can become quite tedious if the other line cannot be specifically defined.

AEO, it seems like you have put a huge amount of thought and work into this but I just don't get the reason why wagons should have routes or tracked in any way.  To me only engines should have routes, wagons simply follow wherever the engine takes them.

Ah, that's because I'm used to the north american system. Quite a lot of factories have their own drop off and pickup yard that a shunter will move around. I think this method would also help simplify the complexity of freight schedules themselves. It's currently impossible to have a single locomotive serve two or more branch lines, so this would allow that to happen.

Also to retain old behaviour, which might be desirable for block trains

Offline greenling

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2012, 08:11:20 AM »
Aeo
that what you here present have was until 1986 in germany by longdistanstrain in use.
Here is my idea, by the way.
Each freight wagon "unit" or convoy has the usual schedule to go from A to B. Except if they don't have their own power unit, they will be carried around with locomotives that have zones. If they have their own power they retain their normal simutrans behaviour.


Convoys with locomotives, or locomotives only, can have a "continuous zone" they can be designated with. In this case, it is a small shunting locomotive.


The shunting locomotive can designated pickup and drop off yards.
In this case, the only thing this shunting locomotive does is pickup full units from 3 factories and drop off in the yellow yard.


Once the factory yards are empty, the shunting locomotive will pickup any other empty units, serving the same line, in the yellow yard and drop them off at the factories


The same zone designation should give the same results for a mainline locomotive. The mainline locomotive should have a minimum and maximum length allowed for the convoy at its designated yards. In this case, it's a maximum of 10 wagons total, although for simutrans it should be in tiles. Units are automatically assembled once the locomotive is ready.


The mainline locomotive dropping off the units at its destination.


Units automatically disassembled and delivered to various factories by shunting locomotive.
Mainline locomotive picks up empty units to be brought back to the initial factories.


Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2012, 08:40:41 AM »
AEO, it seems like you have put a huge amount of thought and work into this but I just don't get the reason why wagons should have routes or tracked in any way.  To me only engines should have routes, wagons simply follow wherever the engine takes them.

I think a wagon needs to know where it's going. How else is the game supposed to know which wagon should be dropped off / sent where on the empty return journey? Isn't that also how it works in real life?

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2012, 09:02:39 AM »
Guys, guys, guys!  ???


I realized after I previously replied to AEO's post that we are talking about entirely different concepts here.  It looks like more than two and I'm going to attempt to break them down:


1.  Giving the player an automated way to change the consist.  This does not include displaying the process or building any kind of infrastructure for switching.  The reason you don't have to track the wagons is that the computer does not have to know where they are going or what they are carrying until it is delivered.  Unless my guessing is way off, this is exactly how it works now.  When I create a new route and add cars to it, say to pick up coal and then send it to a cattle ranch, I don't get an error saying I have the wrong cars in my consist.  The train simply does not pick up anything.  This IMO as it should be.


Ters, how the wagons know where to be dropped off is what you set in the consist at any particular stop.  At the depot now, the wagons know where they are going because it is part of the route, it is exactly the same idea.


2.  If I understand AEO, his idea is to make the actual switching process part of the game.  I haven't given this much thought but at first blush I don't care much for the idea.  To me, once the process is understood it would simply be another task to do requiring very little, if any thought, much like laying track.  AEO has already had the fun figuring out how to do it.


3.  This idea of splitting and joining passenger cars is not the same as simply changing the consist, it is a new idea as such would require much more in the way of programming.  I'm simply bowing out of that discussion as I'm not really into carrying passengers anyway.


 

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2012, 09:34:54 AM »
@roads Yes, there are indeed different ways of doing this, depending on what is desired. :)

Right now, I'm having a slightly difficult time trying to wrap my head around how #1 works.
I'm guessing you mean the game only 'knows' where the goods want to go and if there is a route that carries those goods, then that's what the game does. Yes, I do believe that's how the game currently works.

My idea is basically that, except instead of the goods being transferred at railyards, those goods are packaged into containers and delivered directly to the receiver. It's just that there needs to be a few locomotives to complete the route, instead of all of them being fully powered convoys with their own wagons.


I just don't quite understand how one can automatically change consists -I guess like RT3 behaviour?- without having a bunch of empty wagons piling up or being magically transported back to their origin.

my idea should take care of empty and full wagons piling up, to an extent, because it's still up to the player to manage their system so that it's not overcrowded or undersized. This is where it is handy to retain the classical ST behaviour with block trains, so that players have a choice.


Theoretically, the same system can be implemented with semi-trucks.

oh, yeah, one thing I forgot to add... There also should be a holding area for locomotives at the yards, but I'm not 100% sure of how it should be implemented.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 09:46:14 AM by ӔO »

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2012, 10:05:25 AM »
I don't quite follow #1 either. Are you suggesting that a locomotive essentially automatically changes between two (or more) different lines by putting both lines together in it's schedule, along with an automated change of wagons? If so, then in my mind, this would require a lot of coding for very little gain (some eye candy and saving the purchase cost of a second locomotive), though the Japanese might have done some of it already. There is also the problem that the two lines/consist runs must be synchronized. By that, I mean that the locomotive must switch between the two consists in a regular pattern. With my lines, such a pattern would need to be irregular.

This would however fit nicely into my idea of a scripted schedule, but then you'd need to have some scripting skills to use it.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2012, 10:12:30 AM »
@AEO

I never played RT3 so not sure what you are talking about there.  My idea is simply to automate that which can be done manually now by sending a train to the depot, removing cars and adding different cars then sending the train on its way.

You are right.  This method would absolutely allow for cars "piling up" at switch yards if the player did not include in his planning of the route how to handle the cars that were dropped off at the switch yard.  This would have to be part of the thinking "how to" when setting up a route.

I need to study what you have done more.  I'm afraid I was too dismissive, having already in my mind what would work.

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2012, 10:35:07 AM »
In RT3 you tell a train to go from A to B with a certain set of cars, from B to C with possibly another set of cars, and so on. Cars magically appear when needed and disappear when not needed. I don't remember how the wait for load worked, though. And that is something that might be a challenge to get right when different cars come and go. It's a problem already today with mixed trains.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2012, 11:32:34 AM »

@Ters


I am going to try to give you an example of what I'm talking about:
Say you have in fairly close proximity a steel mill and a sand plant.  To the east is a cement mixer and a cotton farm, to the far north is a textile mill and somewhere between  is shopping mall.  To the south of the cement mixer and cotton farm is an ore mine which is not a long distance to the south.


Here is what I would do.  Pick up the sand (bulk) and carry it to the cement mixer.  Stop by the depot (switch yard) drop the bulk cars and put on crate cars.  I would pick up the cotton and carry it north to the textile mill, pick up textiles (same consist) and drop them off at the shopping center.  I would then travel to (dead head here) the switch yard where the bulk cars are stored (remember this trip wouldn't be that far away) pick up the bulk cars there and dead head south to the ore mine.  There I would pick up the ore and deliver it to the steel mill which is near the sand plant.


You are making some dead head runs here but not as much as if you created individual routes for these trips.  And to me that's the key - not every trip has to be loaded - you just look to see what is most cost effective for whatever situation you have.


Modify:  No doubt there could be much better examples of the things that can be accomplished because I kinda hurriedly thought this one out.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 11:44:31 AM by Roads »

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2012, 12:39:10 PM »
There are a few problems here, given the way Simutrans works otherwise (unless just in time is off). There might not be textiles waiting at the textile mill when you've dropped off cotton. It is also possible that there are no cotton heading for the textile mill, though there are textiles there to pick up. One might therefore still end up with only half a load on average back and forth. And with more trips mixed in, it just gets worse.

Offline Fifty

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2012, 04:38:37 PM »
I like AEO's idea of having factories fill cars or containers instead of full convoys. (This idea could even lend itself to economic simulation of transloading costs of moving cargo from railcar to truck and the benefits of containers, but let's not get ahead of ourselves). However, it could likely be even simpler if you maintain the current scheduling design instead of zones, and merely change wait for load. Instead of waiting for a convoy to be full, a locomotive (or set of locomotives) would wait until it had a certain tonneage bound for its destinations, or a certain number of tiles, whichever comes first.

For example, one industry that is somewhat difficult to supply as in real life is the construction wholesaler: you need three different trains for three different cargos to deal with differing railcar sizes and factory demands. With this system, you could set up a single locomotive from a central yard, tell it to wait for, say, 400 tons of goods or a 5-tile train, and then it would attach wood, steel, and concrete cars as they are needed and produced and bring them to the wholesaler. The same could work for trains between yards.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2012, 05:28:30 PM »
@Ters
That's why you have the wait ability and also load percentage ability.  If most of the time you are carrying goods when the train is moving, it will be profitable even without a full load.

Problems?  Yes of course.  That's what makes it a game, you simply need options to deal with those problems.

@Fifty
If I understand correctly what you are saying, yes I absolutely would love to see something like number of tiles full or number of cars, etc.  The percentage works fine for a consist of same type cars but does not work for a mixed consist.

I still have not yet thought through AEO's suggestion.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #57 on: November 11, 2012, 06:34:12 PM »
Been thinking about this a lot... here's my thoughts:

First, in Roads' example, you're not saving any time at all.  In the end, all empty containers return to their point of supply and then travel loaded.  The locomotive is doing a lot of flipping of cars but you're not actually saving any transit time than under another scenario.  If you ran your train with a consist of a few of each type of car that you need, balanced for load requirements, you'll achieve the exact same result, same load amounts per locomotive and same amount of dead head trips without all of the switching.

Where switching is commonly used in real life is in industrial areas to gather up materials from various industries and aggregate them for a longer voyage.  I'm not sure how it works in Europe as the travel distances are different, but where goods may travel thousands of miles, this is the method generally used.  Industrial spur lines gather the goods and aggregate them in a switching yard where they are put together in to a longer train for the journey.  At various points along the trip, the cars are removed and delivered to their end users and new cars are placed on to the main train and it carries on its long voyage.

From what I can see, though, we can already mostly simulate that in Simutrans.  Intermodal yards are possible by having trucks pick up goods from train stations... that's easy to do.  Transferring the rest of the material across a long freight line is just as easy by carefully constructing your lines and having your main freight trains have the right balance of train cars to carry all of the freight that goes down this line.  More thoughts later, out of time for now.

Offline Ters

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #58 on: November 11, 2012, 07:01:31 PM »
Where switching is commonly used in real life is in industrial areas to gather up materials from various industries and aggregate them for a longer voyage.  I'm not sure how it works in Europe as the travel distances are different

In Norway, tracks to individual industries are all but gone. The few that are left are, as far as I know with just one exception, served by dedicated trains. I think these trains are usually just 10 to 20 cars long (400 meters is considered a long train in Norway). For lesser quantities, rail has lost to road. The road vehicles might transfer to rail at a terminal, or go all the way even on multi-day trips. But until late in the 20th century, mixed freight trains could be assembled in almost any town. Usually at the single station, as there were and are few dedicated freight stations in Norway.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #59 on: November 11, 2012, 07:25:54 PM »
From what I can see, though, we can already mostly simulate that in Simutrans.  Intermodal yards are possible by having trucks pick up goods from train stations... that's easy to do.  Transferring the rest of the material across a long freight line is just as easy by carefully constructing your lines and having your main freight trains have the right balance of train cars to carry all of the freight that goes down this line.  More thoughts later, out of time for now.

One problem with the current implementation, is that you would need very long yards for very long trains, where as in real life, a long train is broken down at the yard. Hopefully, with what I've suggested, long trains can be assembled and broken down as long as there are enough empty tiles at the yard.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #60 on: November 11, 2012, 07:50:05 PM »
In Norway, tracks to individual industries are all but gone. The few that are left are, as far as I know with just one exception, served by dedicated trains. I think these trains are usually just 10 to 20 cars long (400 meters is considered a long train in Norway). For lesser quantities, rail has lost to road. The road vehicles might transfer to rail at a terminal, or go all the way even on multi-day trips. But until late in the 20th century, mixed freight trains could be assembled in almost any town. Usually at the single station, as there were and are few dedicated freight stations in Norway.

It's similar here, a lot of industrial trunk lines are gone and road freight has replaced that service.  Road is far more versatile/flexible and for short journeys is very competitive on a $/km ratio.  Rail dominates in longer journies and where turnaround time is not a significant factor in cost (since rail transport is slower point to point).  And I bet that a lot of the industries that still have freight delivery by train would probably just be built with truck freight if they were built new today.  Almost all rail freight is point-to-point bulk deliveries (coal, oil/fuel, minerals, etc) or intermodal these days.

As AEO mentions, the limitation of 1 station tile per 2 cars for stations creates very long freight stations (12 tiles long for a full length train) which is a bit of a pain... what might work is the ability to load a freight train with a smaller station at the expense of a longer loading time (24 car train loading at a 6 tile station would take 2x as long to load).  Passengers would still need a proper ratio of stations to cars.

Offline Roads

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #61 on: November 11, 2012, 08:34:12 PM »
@Sarlock,

Time was not a consideration in my scenario.  If time is to be the all important factor in Simutrans, both for passengers and frieght, then of course one way loads are likely the only way to achieve that.  Also if that is the case, I'm done here and off to work on my game.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #62 on: November 11, 2012, 10:36:59 PM »
I was only referencing time with respect to how things are generally done these days from an industrial freight standpoint.  When time is important, freight options lean towards truck... for large bulk items where time isn't important, rail is more likely to be chosen (and if rail is available, of course).

I just ran some freight train scenarios that I had only thought of in my head but hadn't put in to implementation yet (I was planning to do so in my current game, just haven't done it yet).

I ran a trunk link between two urban areas with a 12 tile freight station at each end.  Then I ran spur lines off of the main station to various industries in the area.

Industries A,B,C,D ---> Western Freight Station ==========MAIN TRUNK LINE========== Eastern Freight Station ---> Industries E,F,G,H

Attached to the main stations are small 2-3 tile small stations that serve the spur lines that serve industries in the area.  Small, cheap locomotives are used to pull 3-4 cars to each of these stations and gather up materials and deliver from the main station it serves.  When a single locomotive serves several industries, it can have a mix of cars appropriate for the industries it serves.  These lines were all profitable even when running empty half the time (freight car costs are balanced with this in mind).

Then the main trunk line has a consist of cars that includes every freight type used in industries A-H.  3 locomotives and 21 cars of a mix that I balanced to keep the stations from stockpiling materials.  The main line serves to transfer materials back and forth down the trunk line to feed the spur line industries.  Trains were very profitable doing this run.  Often cars were full both ways with different cargo types that used the same car (ie: iron ore one way, coal the other).  The more industries you can serve with your spur lines, the more full your trains will be going in each direction.  A lot of freight shares the same car types.

Nothing new here, I'm sure many people have been doing this for ages, but I hadn't thought of it from a larger vision like this before... this same philosophy could be employed on a much longer freight main line crossing a country, for instance, stopping at a few key main freight stations along the way.  Everything else would then be served by spur lines and truck freight.  It looks really cool, works, is profitable, and accomplishes the real life simulation quite nicely.  The only thing you don't get is the shunting of actual cars but that's where imagination kicks in :)  I was always much more point-to-point oriented with my freight lines.

One difficulty that I had was when the same car would be required to transport different materials, ie: coal and iron to a steel mill.  I had a bit of trouble ensuring that I'd get the right mix of coal/iron to feed the steel mill.  When the spur line train reached the main station and there was ample coal and iron stockpiled, it would be nice to ensure that I got the right amount of each to fill the cars rather than overload with something that I didn't want.  In pak128 coal/iron requirement for a steel mill is 1:4 coal:iron, but the train would often load up with coal when the steel mill was already loaded with coal and needed iron to produce more steel.  I imagine that once the steel mill completely filled with coal it would then choose iron more often.  On the flip side, my job is to run a transport company, not optimize industrial production, so it's up to the factories to balance themselves, I guess.... but it also does mean that I don't get any steel for the return trip when I deliver coal instead of iron.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 10:49:33 PM by Sarlock »

Offline ӔO

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #63 on: November 12, 2012, 01:28:39 AM »
oh, if anyone wants, here is the sketchup file I've made to illustrate my ideas.

It should make drawing out diagrams easier.

Offline hreintke

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #64 on: November 13, 2012, 08:45:55 AM »
LS,

Like AEO I also am thinking how to use a "container" concept for transporting.

Would it be possible to add a container as a input/output material for factories ?
In that way, if containers are available at a factory and trucks/trains &lines capable of transporting are in reach, the factory can package the goods into containers and transport to destination will happen with the current transport mechnisms is place.

If Steelmills can be configured to create containers, they will go from there spreading across factories filling them.
At the destionation, when emptying a container, the factory either can fill with own output goods or the empty containers can be shipped to factories needing them.

There is also the need to destruct containers after (long) usage (in capyards ?) otherwise there are more and more containers in the game.

The transport vehicles for transporting the containers (truck/train/ship) would be very much "multi-purpose" and hopefully be able to run fully loaded in both ways.

Herman

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #65 on: November 13, 2012, 06:04:21 PM »
Containers are already used by some paks for certain goods. It is up to pakset maintainers to decide how many categories of goods there are - if a pak just had one goods category then different images could be specified for each good type and you'd have behaviour similar to RRT (except that you would always have a fixed number of waggons).

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #66 on: November 13, 2012, 06:51:23 PM »
Everything that is a container product could be coded to goods type "goods"... you could recompile the pakset for just the factories in question and recode the goods types accordingly.  Of course, this doesn't give you a historical reference as container intermodal transport is a more recent development in history.  It also means that you could potentially deliver odd goods to end user factories, like delivering steel to a supermarket...

A question on game mechanics: how does a train (truck, ship, plane) prioritize which cargo it picks up first?  ie: if there is 500 widgets waiting for one factory and 500 widgets for another that can use that line and the train can only hold 500, how does it decide which of those 500 it loads?

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #67 on: November 13, 2012, 07:12:29 PM »
A question on game mechanics: how does a train (truck, ship, plane) prioritize which cargo it picks up first?  ie: if there is 500 widgets waiting for one factory and 500 widgets for another that can use that line and the train can only hold 500, how does it decide which of those 500 it loads?

Everything for the first station it encounters is loaded, then for the second station etc.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #68 on: November 13, 2012, 07:16:10 PM »
I should have rephrased that: the deliveries go to the same station.  ie: You have iron ore and coal at station A and it gets delivered to station B where the steel mill is.  Station A has lots of iron and coal available: how does the train select what to put in to its cars?

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #69 on: November 13, 2012, 11:24:48 PM »
This is going to sound cynical but from my experience, I can tell you how it priortizes.  It picks up what you need the least.  That is not what happens initially.  The first trips everything goes swimmingly.  Just when you start patting yourself on the back thinking what a great job you've done, then you begin to see things like 20% of what you need, 80% of what you do not need.  I have not let this situation run its course to see what happens when the receiving factory gets too much of one item but I expect the train would just set there until the factory used enough of the raw material in question to unload the train.


Modify:  What I normally do in a situation like this is to build another station with coverage of only the raw material I needed and route my train to there.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 11:55:04 PM by Roads »

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #70 on: November 14, 2012, 05:49:45 AM »
I have not let this situation run its course to see what happens when the receiving factory gets too much of one item but I expect the train would just set there until the factory used enough of the raw material in question to unload the train.

Vehicles can always unload, even if destination factory is full. The factory will just become more overfull. This happens even with dedicated lines, especially long ones.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #71 on: November 14, 2012, 06:34:17 AM »
Well Ters, this is good to know.  So if I have something like "Consumption - stone 473/1963t, 44%" I can simply ignore the "1963t" and I can do this indefinitely and still get paid for each load?  Just curious, what happens to the percentage, does it go 101% to whatever, even to say 1999%?

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #72 on: November 14, 2012, 07:59:45 AM »
Existing trains can unload but the producing factory will no longer be sending out new goods until the consumer factory has space again. Therefore trains will end up queuing at the start station if you have them set to 100% load. If there is a significant quantity of goods already en route it can take some time for everything to get going again.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #73 on: November 14, 2012, 12:25:57 PM »
Excellent!  Thanks Kieron.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #74 on: November 19, 2012, 01:05:28 AM »
This is an interesting discussion. I have entertained fleeting thoughts of implementing some element of convoy modification in Experimental, but consider it a low priority and have not looked into it in detail.

I had thought to implement it in a somewhat generalised manner, which would allow for things like dividing and combining of trains, slip carriages, locomotive changes as well as the pick-up goods sort of operation considered here.

Stations could have a "sidings", "shunting yard", "stabling shed" (etc.) type of extension. This would be indicated by a simple boolean flag in the station extension object and a "shunting=1" or the like indicator in the .dat file.

At any station with the shunting type of extension, orders could be set on a convoy's schedule for the modification of its vehicles. The station would, like a depot, keep track of the vehicles dropped there, and they would be accessible by a display, and later convoys could pick them up. Vehicles could be sent straight from a depot to a station with a shunting facility and left there to join a later convoy. If not enough of the right type of vehicles are present when the convoy comes to the stop, it can either, depending on the setting in the schedule, wait for the correct number indefinitely, wait for a certain period of time and then continue regardless, or continue regardless without waiting.

I suspect that this would take quite a bit of time to write, and would be rather fiddly to operate, however, as players would have to synchronise quite a lot of things to get it to work properly.

One challenge that would have to be resolved is this: how reliably to make a convoy shorter or longer other than in a depot? If one just adds vehicles to a convoy, especially a railway type convoy with block sections, how would it work? What if it is in a platform of restricted length and the new vehicles added make it too long for the platform? What if the new vehicles make it too long for the block section such that it sticks out of the back and occupies two rather than one section? What would happen to any trains in the rear section at the time, or that had reserved the rear section?

The challenges in the foregoing paragraph, incidentally, are also applicable to a much higher priority project on which I am working, to enhance and simplify the vehicle replacer in Experimental such that convoys using it no longer have to go to the depot; if anyone has any good ideas as to how to overcome these issues, I should be very interested to know what they might be.

Similarly, if anybody considers this implementation of adjusting the vehicles in a convoy during its schedule to be worthwhile and a higher priority than my other coding projects, do feel free to write it on a Github branch and I shall certainly give serious consideration to including it.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #75 on: November 19, 2012, 01:12:15 AM »
sounds good idea

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #76 on: November 19, 2012, 03:27:27 AM »
One challenge that would have to be resolved is this: how reliably to make a convoy shorter or longer other than in a depot? If one just adds vehicles to a convoy, especially a railway type convoy with block sections, how would it work? What if it is in a platform of restricted length and the new vehicles added make it too long for the platform? What if the new vehicles make it too long for the block section such that it sticks out of the back and occupies two rather than one section? What would happen to any trains in the rear section at the time, or that had reserved the rear section?

The way I see it, you would first build a line, and designate what types of (railroad) cars it picks up. Then you would choose a "Net flow," telling the line where empty railcars should wait for loading, and where they should go back empty if no load is available immediately  to be loaded. You would set the line's maximum number of tiles (applicable in both directions), and whether it could add helper engines for particularly heavy loads, as well as the "speed or tonnage window" of the line, which would determine how heavily a train could be loaded down (different for each direction).

Under this system, lines would take some time to create, but you would need fewer of them, and afterwards you can purchase railcars and for yards and locomotives for lines, and send them out easily.

Here's a very basic example of how this might work. Say you have a north-south line between two steel mills. In the north, more steel is needed than is produced, and in the south, more ore is needed than is available. You set up a line between the steel mills, and tell it that it can haul steel railcars and bulk railcars. You tell it that the net flow of bulk is south, and the net flow of steel is north, and that it should be loaded to between 90 and 100 km/h when leaving the northern mill. You purchase some cars, steel cars in the southern yard, and some bulk cars in the north, as well as some trains in both yards assigned to the line. This will be the most efficient way of hauling these two commodities, as some unloaded cars can return with the loaded cars to balance the load.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #77 on: November 19, 2012, 06:01:32 AM »
@James
Glad you are thinking about this.  Hope you get some time to work on it eventually.  Looks like Fifty may have at least a partial solution if not complete.  Perhaps you might try, as you've already done, to anticipate problems - unworkable situations.  In this case maybe you could just throw up an error message saying something like "this facility cannot handle your current configuration" or something  suitable - I don't think the error message even has to be specific.

@Fifty
Your example is exactly the situation I often see...

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #78 on: November 19, 2012, 05:30:29 PM »
One problem with shunting is the level of micromanagment it would then require to play the game - if the game is rebalanced to take into account the greater utilisation of locomotives then you would need to shunt to make a profit on goods at all.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #79 on: November 19, 2012, 05:42:25 PM »
I still think one of the biggest hurdles with splitting, joining and shunting, is how to handle multiple units without getting overly complicated.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #80 on: November 19, 2012, 06:52:15 PM »
One problem with shunting is the level of micromanagment it would then require to play the game - if the game is rebalanced to take into account the greater utilisation of locomotives then you would need to shunt to make a profit on goods at all.
IMHO paksests should be balanced without taking shunting into consideration; if a player is willing to do shunting operations and reuse engines, he'll get a fat bonus out of it ;)

I still think one of the biggest hurdles with splitting, joining and shunting, is how to handle multiple units without getting overly complicated.
Multiple units shouldn't be allowed to join/split, except for duplex consists:
FCCCCBFCCCCB --> FCCCCB + FCCCCB and the other way around (where F=front, B=back, C=car).

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #81 on: November 19, 2012, 08:31:08 PM »
Multiple units shouldn't be allowed to join/split, except for duplex consists:
FCCCCBFCCCCB --> FCCCCB + FCCCCB and the other way around (where F=front, B=back, C=car).

Yes, but even this can get quite complicated in some cases...
For instance, SR class 3-sub, which can have 2 unpowered cars sandwiched between 2 sets.
301-302-303+T1-T2+301-302-303
Since the Trailer cars cannot be used without two EMU sets sandwiching it, how should this be handled?

or in the case of complex joining and splitting of multiple EMU
This is one of the more complicated examples, but it's been done. http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm17038602
How does each convoy know when to wait, join, split, or which other line it is supposed to join with, without complex instructions?

Y lines are pretty easy, as I see it, since all that is necessary is "split" and "wait, then join with any other line with same stops"

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #82 on: November 19, 2012, 11:39:36 PM »
Yes, but even this can get quite complicated in some cases...
For instance, SR class 3-sub, which can have 2 unpowered cars sandwiched between 2 sets.
301-302-303+T1-T2+301-302-303
Since the Trailer cars cannot be used without two EMU sets sandwiching it, how should this be handled?

Actually, in theory, the trains could run with the trailer cars at the rear, and this occasionally happened; when the trains reached the terminus, the multiple unit would run around the trailer cars as if the multiple unit was a locomotive. Obviously, that would lead to locomotive and carriages like reversing times, and was sub-optimal, but it did occur.

(As an aside, the Southern later worked out that it was much more efficient just to put one extra trailer car in the middle of each of the units, creating a 4-Sub and doing away with all of the nonsense).

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #83 on: November 20, 2012, 06:32:08 PM »
Quote
One challenge that would have to be resolved is this: how reliably to make a convoy shorter or longer other than in a depot?

If cargo would not be lost upon entry of depot, then all shunting could be done inside the depot.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #84 on: November 20, 2012, 08:47:22 PM »
That's not really the place for it in my opinion. And it's invisible, which takes the some (most?) of the fun away.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #85 on: November 20, 2012, 09:54:32 PM »
I don't agree.  A depot is the most sensible place to do it, functionally.

In fact, it would consist in doing automatically what Roads said he did manually...

But this is again a matter of preferences.  People keen on model railways will certainly prefer a more graphical way of doing it, instead of out of the view inside a depot...


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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #86 on: November 20, 2012, 10:08:52 PM »
Depends, for the whole shuffling the depot is perhaps not a bad choice. But for only splitting up a train the way as seen in the simutrans VT video, where a two part train comes and half leaves is much nicer and clearer to the player.

I'm not certain if miss-using a depot is a good idea for implementation. Just look at the side-effects James experienced with his code where stuck vehicles are 'teleported' to the depot.

A specific building to buy vehicles, and a specific building to re-arrange them might be more sensible. The former only accepts empty trains, the other loaded trains. The train yard could take over functionality of the depot, like storing trains etc, and might be a pre-requisite for a depot: a train can only get from the depot to the network through the train yard, and other way round.

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Re: Thoughts on shunting, adding&removing cars, etc...
« Reply #87 on: November 21, 2012, 08:42:50 AM »
I had an idea for a very simple version of this, using convoys Also as far as graphical representation is concerned, this is a game that lets trains magically reverse direction after all. Having locomotives run around cars on a siding is unnecessary. Just make the cars magically appear in the right order. It shouldn't be an issue.

You can already name convoys and store them in depots, including ones that can't drive(i.e. they have no locomotive). What if convoys could be combined with others into what I will call "consists", and then likewise you could split those apart, at stations called "sidings"?

This is not complicated.

Say Convoy A looks like this: AAAA,
Convoy B is BBBB
Convoy C is CCCC(loco).


Combined, you could form a "consist" like AAAABBBBCCCC(loco).

Usually you'd want to make the locos a separate convoy. Because all it does is group convoys without rearranging them. DDDD(loco) would join with EEEE(loco) to form a a train DDDD(loco)EEEE(loco)with a locomotive in the middle. This fixes the problem of fussy DMU/EMU car combos, newbies would just figure out they need to have locoless convoys to avoid deadheading power.

Now obviously to have un-drivable convoys leave the depot, depots must be able to combine or split convoys into driveable consists as part of route building. In a sense that makes depots and the sidings I will discuss later basically the same, only you can't buy or store stock at a siding or make trains stop at a depot, that is...The player might want to deliver the newly purchased rolling stock to a siding using a throwaway route and then let it be rearranged, and just not worry too much about this. Because like a depot, you can drop off a routeless convoy on a siding and it will stay there.

Just like in real life when new stock is "delivered", right?

Also, so while you can't normally mix convoys to form a train like DEDABAC(loco)(loco), you could just make a bunch of 1 car convoys and get away with something like that. See, my idea here is to keep it simple and players will just figure out that they can do certain things to get a result they want.

So how would the player use sidings? They'd be part of routing. In the routing dialog box, siding stops would have a extra button or icon next to them in the list that would be clickable. That would lead to a new window, that would also be accessible by clicking the siding building. At the top, there would be a drop down list with the route in question. If the route stopped at the station, below would be two columns of list boxes with their own drop-down/field. One would be "add convoy" and the other "drop convoy". You'd use the drop-down/field to select a convoy, it would go into the list. Youd add convoy A, then add convoy B, if that's the order you want. The other one would selected convoys onto the siding in the exact same way. Say a route had multiple return trips to that siding, then more GUI objects with "2." above them would appear below. In addition, I suppose there could be a "only proceed when full" type of button, or whatever you guys can think of.

TL;DR, convoy adding or dropping and the order it happens, etc, become part of the programmed route, routeless convoys juggled between consists. Anyways...

Now what would sidings look like? They could just be a building with a GUI window, like the depot. Or they could be like platforms, made of tiles of variable length. The length would determine how many convoys would fit, or more accurately how many total cars would fit. The convoys "dropped" on the siding would be graphically drawn in some basic order they were put there in, maybe following some arbitrary rule like a long siding fills up north-south. Trains forming at sidings would magically appear with the cars and or change direction, no need for complex shunting animation.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 09:11:40 AM by Zaphod »