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Author Topic: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.  (Read 4489 times)

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Offline DrSuperGood

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Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« on: July 02, 2014, 11:31:20 PM »
As you know ships are a very important part of the experimental server game. Players like myself literally are using thousands of them to keep industries supplied and the game economy going. So when a new steam ship labelled "(hull)" ("Clyde Cargo Ship (Hull)" I think was full name) came into production my eyes light up and I immediately thought "how many will I need?". Then I looked at them in the depot and see they cost a bit more per month to run than sailing ships, no problem as they are Ship Canal/Medium River which I need to use a lot of and they are faster than anything large sailing ship in that role at the moment (the speed would offset the cost).

However I decided not to use them due to one pretty big problem, so big it breaks them completely and renders them utterly useless. They have no hulls so cannot transport anything ever. This means they are basically an engine that cannot pull anything as there is nothing to pull. I thought maybe I was looking in the wrong section or they were not showing due to some other bug but they are literally missing with no mention of cargo holds for them in any section. Either they have no cargo holds (why are they even available in this case?) or the cargo holds are introduced in the future after the ship (can only be an error, makes no sense to introduce something critical at a different time).

This was not the only pakset error I have observed so far, for this reason here is a list.

1. The Narrow Canal steam tug boat ("Steam narrowboat tug (steam)") has nothing available to pull so is also completely useless. I think it is not correctly linking with barges of the appropriate way type restrictions type as I would imagine it should use the ones available (pulled by horses).
2. The passenger ratted food and packed goods coaches have no dedicated opening/closing break vans. You need to use the passenger ones which are not particularly wanted for the use case of such a convoy. The huge loading time mismatch makes mixing food/goods with passengers not very desirable and for dedicated express food trains you would need to waste platform space/weight for passenger or mail break vans. I would recommend a copy and paste job of the passenger/mail break vans and giving them both food and packed goods versions. This affects all "passenger rated" freight wagons as far as I am aware.
3. The ship "Clyde cargo ship (hull)" lacks hulls at the time of introduction. You have stated this is a introduction error in game chat however it is not true that they are available at the time you posted (they still are not while I am writing this message).
4. With dedicated passenger and mail coaches such as pulled by steam engines there is inconsistent break van behaviour between mail break vans and passenger break vans. Passenger break vans have both opening and closing types where an opening allows any number of bridging coaches while a closing ends a chain of bridging coaches (you need another opening break van afterwards). This is not the case with mail break vans where you can mix them in the middle of a coach chain and they will not interrupt it (you can continue with more chaining coaches straight afterwards).
5. There are major speed inconsistencies with the "Four wheel three compartment brake carriage" 1870 series of coaches. Some run at 130 km/h while others at 145 km/h. Since the break vans are limited to 130 km/h (expect mail) this means that they are actually slower than the previous generation of carriages.

1 is pretty major and is only not a problem due to how little narrowboat canal ways are used. 2 I might not understand the use case for, maybe mixing passengers and freight is a good idea and I just do not know it. 3 is quite irritating and until you mentioned it was an intro date error I feared it was the same kind of problem as 1. 4 seems like an error of sorts, maybe I just misunderstand how trains are meant to be assembled and this is intended behaviour. 5 Seems like a stat error as it would make much more sense if they all were 145 km/h (10 km/h faster than the last generation of coaches).

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 10:03:20 AM »
Thank you very much for your reports: these are helpful.

1. This is a bug in the pakset, which I have now fixed in the version on Github. This fix will be available in the next pakset release.

2. This is largely historically accurate, at least for the era in which players are playing now: passenger rated goods trains were braked with passenger brake vans until the early 20th century, at least on the LNWR (which, being the largest of all pre-grouping railways, would probably have been typical of practice generally): see here. There is probably a case for producing the type of brake van pictured in that article at some point and making it a little cheaper than the other passenger rated brake vans, but this would not be a high priority as it would not add much functionality. Even if we did have goods only brake vans, there would still be a need for a brake van at the end of the train (all goods trains had to have guards until the late 1960s or possibly even early 1970s, and needed a dedicated van for them to occupy at the end of the train), so the platform/siding space would still be taken with an extra vehicle.

3. This is again a bug, which I think I had already partly fixed in the Github version, but the dates were still misaligned: in any event, this, too, will be fixed in the next pakset release.

4. This is intentional: the passenger brake vans are brake ended (meaning that they have a brake compartment at one end, and passenger compartments (or, in later carriages, possibly a passenger saloon) at the other. The brake end needs to face the end of the train, not the middle, hence the need for front and rear passenger brake vans. The mail brake vans (which is how all passenger rated brake vans with no passenger accommodation are represented in Pak128.Britain, although in reality some may only have carried luggage; but carrying mail together with passengers on longer distance trains was generally common) would generally have been symmetrical and thus had no need to be rotated in a particular way.

5. The ones limited to 130km/h are the suburban carriages: the long distance carriages are the ones permitted to travel at 145km/h. The only difference between these carriages in reality, apart from the density of their passenger accommodation, would have been the length of their buffers: the suburban carriages would be close coupled with short buffers and the long distance carriages with long buffers. However, I notice that I have not (and probably within the constraints of Simutrans cannot) simulate the difference in buffer length. In the circumstances, and given that this is evidently causing confusion, I have modified all of the 1870s suburban carriages to have the same speed limit as the long distance carriages, 145km/h.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 03:21:54 PM »
Ok so with 2 you just must use passenger break vans for high speed packed goods and food transport. I always look for more efficiency ways to do something, I guess they may not be historically accurate.

4. I think you misunderstood the issue. I understand why break vans are at either side of the passenger coaches, but the problem is mail break vans do not have this restriction and can be mixed in at will anywhere.
This is a standard passenger train coach layout.
opening break van (passenger) -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> closing break van (passenger)
However below is also completely valid with the current mechanics.
mail break van -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> mail break van -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> mail break van
Is it really intentional that you can mix mail break vans haphazardly anywhere in a convoy? Surely they should still be at the ends of a segment of coaches?

5. The main problem was that there were no 145 km/h rated passenger break vans meaning you were either forced to use mail break vans on either side of passenger coaches or you were restricted to only 130km/h. Sure shipping mail long distances with passengers is nice, but must people really be forced to do it? The change to standardized 145 km/h resolves this which is great.

Offline Junna

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 06:26:26 PM »
Ok so with 2 you just must use passenger break vans for high speed packed goods and food transport. I always look for more efficiency ways to do something, I guess they may not be historically accurate.

4. I think you misunderstood the issue. I understand why break vans are at either side of the passenger coaches, but the problem is mail break vans do not have this restriction and can be mixed in at will anywhere.
This is a standard passenger train coach layout.
opening break van (passenger) -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> closing break van (passenger)
However below is also completely valid with the current mechanics.
mail break van -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> mail break van -> 5 compartment passenger coach -> mail break van
Is it really intentional that you can mix mail break vans haphazardly anywhere in a convoy? Surely they should still be at the ends of a segment of coaches?

The opening braked wagons are really for convenience to decrease the clutter in the purchase menu, as I understand it. These are not like goods brake vans - they are wagons with a brake (hand and eventually connected) compartment, and they could be combined with several in a train to increase the brake force if needed.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 07:25:11 PM »
As to no. 4, this is still as intended: although it is tidier if mail brake vans are at the front or rear of a train, there is no reason in principle why they cannot be in the centre.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2014, 12:37:19 PM »
Mostly related, I was looking forward through the years to plan out my freight networks for future convoy choices and the windjammer will be a decent upgrade in 1880.  Looking at it, however, it says that the loading time for it and its cargo holds is "1:49" (less than 2 minutes) which I found surprising.  I imagine that this was intended to be 1-2 hours like the other holds of earlier ships.  Looking at the pakset coding in the .DAT file I see that it doesn't have a loading time set for itself or its cargo holds, which explains it.

The other thing I note about this ship is that with its 900 piece goods base storage plus a maximum of 7x350=3450 storage capacity, it is a nice upgrade from the now obsolete blackwall frigate in 1880.  This will nicely help keep pace with the heavy growth in freight demand during this era.  This ship goes obsolete in Sep 1939, which then pushes us to the next upgrade, which is... a ship with 800 cargo capacity and no additional holds (!).  In 1958 we can upgrade again to a ship that goes 40km/h and has 925 cargo capacity.  This is our final available upgrade.

Its maximum speed is 20km/h instead of 18km/h for the windjammer, which is a slight improvement, but this upgrade will require increasing a fleet size four-fold to compensate.  Further, this ship cannot navigate canals unlike the windjammer which can use the larger canal sizes.  For canals, our new best selection eventually becomes the clyde puffer that can carry 75 cargo at 15km/h.  Contrast this to our current choice, the schooner, which can travel at 18km/h and hold 525 cargo (with 7 holds).

What this highlights is that during the mid 1900's there is a significant decrease in cargo capacity per ship available to the player, which requires a large increase to the number of ships required to service a line.  This drop is even more significant for canal based cargo freight operations, of which there are many hundreds on our server map.

I also note that, during a quick bit of research, that the average capacity for a windjammer was 2000-5000 tonnes cargo while an average handysize ship can carry 30,000-50,000 tonnes.  Having a ship with a 30,000 capacity would be extremely helpful at this stage of the game, to keep up with growing industrial demand and not having to completely flood the map with tens of thousands of ships.  A huge increase to its operational cost will help keep profits in check.

Looking at switching to cargo trains, I see that even in 1903, the next "upgrade" to a bulk goods train car is a 10t 56km/h option.  This will hardly suffice for helping offset the drop in freight shipping capacities.  Another "upgrade" in 1923 gives us a 12t 56km/h bulk wagon.  In 1943 we get one for 16t and still 56km/h.  In 1965 we finally get a bulk hopper that can move at 90km/h and carry 32t.  This makes it unlikely that freight trains will make any significant contribution to cross-map bulk routes in the future. (not to mention that underground freight rail is largely unprofitable, given the huge infrastructure costs-and justifiably so)

I guess we will soon find out if 40,000 ships will crash the map  ;)

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2014, 09:57:12 PM »
The windjammer loading time issue is already fixed in the code for the next version (I have just checked), however, this problem does seem to be present for the Clyde cargo steamers, which I have just fixed. There were also problems with some modern freight ferries, which I have also fixed.

I also seem to remember greatly increasing the cargo capacity of the handysize ships (payload=20000 is shown in the current code on the half-heights branch). However, I had not looked into the correct capacity of some earlier ships, such as the Clyde cargo steamer and the Clan line steamer, which, on checking, seem to be considerably too low, so I have updated them based on information from this website.

As to the trains, I think that the capacities there are more or less accurate, although it might be that some revisions are needed based on additional research in due course.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2014, 10:43:20 PM »
It would be nice if a migration to an updated version of the pak128 Britain could occur as we approach the 1900s. As Sarlock pointed out, if we keep using the current "not fixed" version we will have a lot of difficulties hauling cargo later on in the game. This is still likely a few weeks away at least but still something to consider.

Just a random question. Some train choices are marked as "This is a traveling post office." without explanations as to what it means. Is this purely visual for people who want 100% accurate trains or does this serve some other function? I am asking this since they seem less efficient at hauling post than trucks that are not marked as such.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 10:52:20 PM »
Upgrading the pakset is not straightforward, as the upgrades are all on the half-heights branch, which, as the name implies, contains half heights graphics & c. that are not compatible with the current version of the code.

The TPOs are to mail what catering is to passengers: they increase revenue of the whole convoy for longer distance journeys.

Offline Junna

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 04:04:04 PM »
Looking at switching to cargo trains, I see that even in 1903, the next "upgrade" to a bulk goods train car is a 10t 56km/h option.  This will hardly suffice for helping offset the drop in freight shipping capacities.  Another "upgrade" in 1923 gives us a 12t 56km/h bulk wagon.  In 1943 we get one for 16t and still 56km/h.  In 1965 we finally get a bulk hopper that can move at 90km/h and carry 32t.

12 tonnes x 40 wagons = 480 tonnes
480 tonnes x 60 convoys per month = 31,200 tonnes
The speed is not really a problem apart from when you share the lines with passenger trains (and this will be helped with the minimum speed signs).

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2014, 04:37:27 PM »
Except when you realize that a full functioning freight network needs to move about 500,000 tonnes per month on this map :)

Offline Junna

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Re: Usless cargo ships, missing barges and nonsense coaches.
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2014, 05:26:14 PM »
Except when you realize that a full functioning freight network needs to move about 500,000 tonnes per month on this map :)

You'd be well with more than one line, of course. That's for a theoretical one-way trip capacity on a single track. I'd assume that inter-island shipping would remain dominated by ships, though, which would be reasonable.