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Offline Pestr

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The first impression is deceptive
« on: August 03, 2014, 06:41:47 AM »
Talked to a few people in the real world on the topic of transport games, such as openTTD, Simutrans, CiM2 etc. It seems that people have formed the wrong idea about Simutrans. They download the game, open standard pak64, see not a very good small graphics, do not try to understand the mechanics of the game and close it. After that, they are left with the impression that the game is of poor quality. But these people play openTTD and other transport games.

I do not know what can be done to improve the first impression of the game.

Offline Pestr

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2014, 07:12:07 AM »
Sorry, please move this topic to Simutrans Gaming Discussion

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2014, 07:57:01 AM »
I can't say that pak64 compares negatively to Transport Tycoon, except for a few locomotives that have alignment glitches. But perhaps the differing sizes of locomotives can be a bit disturbing. If I remember correctly, Transport Tycoon has uniform vehicle sizes.

If people do not try to understand the mechanics, then the only thing that can be done is to change Simutrans into being Transport Tycoon, but then what's the point of having Simutrans? If the try, but can't figure it out, that would be something different.

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2014, 11:34:12 AM »
Sorry, please move this topic to Simutrans Gaming Discussion
Done.

Offline Junna

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2014, 06:06:07 PM »
I can't say that pak64 compares negatively to Transport Tycoon, except for a few locomotives that have alignment glitches. But perhaps the differing sizes of locomotives can be a bit disturbing. If I remember correctly, Transport Tycoon has uniform vehicle sizes.

That varies on the grf. The vanilla game is a lot worse than pak64 in many regards... Nevertheless, pak64 is not the best looking of the paks, it's stylistic representation is rather messy due to its long history and changes in direction, and I can see why it could put some people off. The first thing I played was pak128, and when I did play 64 for the first time, it was rather uncomfortable (and I originally came to Simutrans from OpenTTD). Pak64 is also very difficult and balanced to be very costly and marginal, which probably helps intimidate some people (those running costs!)

Offline dom700

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2014, 06:27:23 PM »
Actually, when I tried OTTD, I downloaded it, started it, saw that I would have to put the pieces of track together by myself, closed it and uninstalled it.

Cannot say the first impression of simutrans is bad...

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2014, 08:56:47 PM »
pak64 is not the best looking of the paks, it's stylistic representation is rather messy due to its long history and changes in direction

I really agree with the inconsistent style of the vehicles, even some bridges, and to a lesser degree some buildings. But I like the general look of the scenery. Whenever I look at a pak128 screenshot, I always wonder why the player has wasted so much space.

Pak64 is also very difficult and balanced to be very costly and marginal, which probably helps intimidate some people (those running costs!)

If one starts before 1950, I don't find pak64 difficult at all. In my opinion, once you get a few towns connected, the economy becomes all too easy. But it was the same with Transport Tycoon, so I guess all games have such a tipping point.

Offline gauthier

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2014, 09:09:10 AM »
This has already been told many times ... A tutorial savegame sould improve the first impression :D

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2014, 11:09:20 AM »
This has already been told many times ... A tutorial savegame sould improve the first impression :D

The problem is that one needs many, one for each pak set, or at least the 5+ major ones.

Offline gauthier

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2014, 03:06:14 PM »
Each pak team can make at least an example savegame for its pak. I learnt how to play Simutrans this way, without that, I would have uninstalled the game very quickly.

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2014, 04:08:08 PM »
I just looked a bit in the manual, but that was outdated back then. What was it possible to learn from just a save game? I can imagine one can see what is possible, but not how to achive it beyond typical signalling patterns.

Offline gauthier

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2014, 07:53:06 PM »
Well that was back with version 84 ... the game was far more simple obviously. An example savegame with some texts here and there could be useful.

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 08:50:33 AM »
That would be very helpful if designing working track layouts is the problem. How to assemble trains and schedule them properly is however just as challenging, or so I think.

Offline gauthier

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2014, 09:25:12 AM »
The only thing which is really hard to find out with assembling trains is that they start from a depot. Then, after having cliked on a depot, the player has everything he needs in front of him, he just has to play around with the tools available in the depot, they are not so difficult to understand. Anyway you are right, a savegame alone is not enough.

Currently the best solution is, to my mind, having a short but complete tutorial (written on a web page, or a video ... I would personnaly prefer a written one) along with a prepared savegame that a beginner can download and play with. I tried writing a tutorial on SNFOS site some years ago, but it is more a sort of wiki than a real step by step tutorial, so I didn't finished it.

Offline Leartin at

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 10:39:56 AM »
How about using industry and it's detail window to provide translateable written information? You could have an industry named 'click me, then details' as a starting point, explaining how the tutorial works. And it could connect to other info-industry by providing and demanding the special good 'information'
Since you can play while the details window is open, you can guide the player through a process step by step, even letting him see game reactions. Eg. Sending a new train on a track which is maxed out, causing a small gridlock, and providing the solution for it. It's pretty much the same as a written tutorial, but comes with the savegame, which in turn could come with the pakset.

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 10:56:46 AM »
The only thing which is really hard to find out with assembling trains is that they start from a depot. Then, after having cliked on a depot, the player has everything he needs in front of him, he just has to play around with the tools available in the depot, they are not so difficult to understand. Anyway you are right, a savegame alone is not enough.

Not all people are into playing around with buttons to see what they do. Some want to know what happens before they click on something. Whether such people can enjoy the gameplay of Simutrans at all is another question. And even if each button is understandable, how to combine them in the proper sequence is the real challenge I was writing about. Especially such things as the concept of lines compared to plain schedules.

Currently the best solution is, to my mind, having a short but complete tutorial (written on a web page, or a video ... I would personnaly prefer a written one) along with a prepared savegame that a beginner can download and play with.

I too prefer a written one, and am surprised that videos seems to have taken over tutorial completely. Written tutorial allow me to digest it at my own pace. (And I can listen to music while doing so, or watch sports that don't require attention all the time.) Short videos might be good for showing individual steps, though. If even these videos are silent, it's also much easier to translate them, as the translation doesn't have to match the pace of the original. It doesn't require someone willing and able to record himself either, and that can speak understandably. Bad writing can more easily be polished over time, and different writers isn't as noticable as different narrators, making it easier to redo just parts when gameplay changes.

Offline gauthier

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2014, 11:48:49 AM »
By the way, there's also a tutorial on Simutrans wiki. After having quickly read some pages, I find it has the same problem of my attempt on SNFOS site : it's not step by step, it's more like a complete package of information ... which can be indigestible for beginners (if they even found it ...).

Offline prissi

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2014, 10:16:03 PM »
I think there was a tutorial script (or was it only on the german forum?)

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2014, 08:49:19 AM »
I think there was a tutorial script (or was it only on the german forum?)

I certainly don't remember seeing such a thing, but it might have been on one of the pak boards, since such things will be at least partially tied to the pak set.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2014, 01:07:06 PM »
The biggest problem with pak64 at the moment is the very poor balance. People often open up expecting it to be a game and if you default to presenting them something clearly broken they will obviously get the wrong idea and quit.

To raise a few...
Why is it physically impossible to make money with highspeed passenger trains? Even fully loaded at maximum speed bonus they are earning less money per KM than it costs to move them.
Why is it physically impossible for monorail engines to obtain their maximum speed? The final engines physically lack enough power (or gear) to obtain maximum speed and the longer the train the slower it goes despite each coach being self-powered.
Why are monorails themselves impossible to make profit end game? They have absolutely crazily high infrastructure costs yet by the end game not a single convoy can make profit on them.
Why is it impossible to ship cars and waste by train late game? Cars speed bonus means they end up not even covering the coach cost let alone the required engine power. Waste earns so little that it struggles to cover the required engine power, and certainly makes nowhere near the road/boat shipment profit.
Why does a cargo plane cost a fraction of a passenger jet per km? Why are there no end-game cargo planes for food (addon) and valuable goods like printer ink.
Why does the high-speed rail tunnel not even support the same max speed as the high-speed rail and bridges? The high-speed engines cannot even make profit as is, let alone if they are forced to go slower through tunnels.
Why does the 120 km/h tunnel obsolete and not get replaced? It is not like people can ship freight at high speeds and already freight struggles due to diminishing speed bonus.
Why is it cheaper to run a tram track through a road tunnel than build a dedicated rail tunnel? For considerably more upkeep and the loss of a road you get 30 km/h more speed (which few freight can even use as it is not worth the power cost), before the 120 km/h obsolete and you get the totally unviable high-speed tunnels as your only tunnel choice.
Why are some coaches from the early 1900s not obsoleted in the 2000s? There is absolutely no use case for them as there are coaches available that are superior in every way.
Why does a car transporter from the 1960s make more profit than a truck from the 2000s? The truck based option in 2000 barely breaks even while the 1960 transporter makes tons of profit. I am pretty sure that a modern truck is not only more fuel economical, but faster.
Why does the paper mill violate the laws of physics? It takes 1,870kg of wood and turns it into 2,500kg of paper (an increase of mass by over 30%).
Why is the printing works so wasteful? It takes 2,750kg of paper, adds 20kg of ink to produce only 250kg of books. With them throwing away 10/11th of the input paper it is no surprise that anyone one aware of the environment uninstalls the game after seeing that.
Why do you earn less to ship processed wood in the form of planks than to ship unprocessed wood in the form of logs despite planks being heavier due to higher packing density? Those furniture factory and construction wholesaler must really be giving you a horrible deal.
Why does a coal mine consume several hundred kilowatts just to increase production by 10%? I would prefer it if the coal mine used the power to mine more coal instead of generating coal from carbon dioxide. A coal power station cannot even supply the mine needed to power it with the amount produced in bonus being less than the amount used to run the power station.
Why does a timber plantation consume several hundred kilowatts despite gaining no benefit from it at all? I have absolutely no idea what they are meant to be doing with all that power. It cannot even be artificial lighting and heating for the trees as that would at least produce some more timber.
Why is it more profitable to use trams instead of trains in the 2000s? People happily pay tons of money to go on a 90 km/h tram ride across a huge map yet barely pay you anything for your >200 km/h high speed trains which cost a lot more per km to run.

As you can see... Not very good first impressions...

Offline Ters

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2014, 03:31:58 PM »
Why is it physically impossible to make money with highspeed passenger trains? Even fully loaded at maximum speed bonus they are earning less money per KM than it costs to move them.
In my experience, this only happens after 2000, when the speed bonus climbs sharply. This might be because of the fictional futuristic trains, but they don't work, so it's just a pain in the ****. Even then, it is possible to make money with at least the X2.

Why is it impossible to ship cars and waste by train late game? Cars speed bonus means they end up not even covering the coach cost let alone the required engine power.
pak64 deliberately leaves some links in a chain unprofitable. But the entire chain should always be profitable. The odd thing with cars, is that only transport by trains is unprofitable and offers no other advantage that I can see. Waste is not part of the official pak64, and I have never been able to even get the add-on working.

Why does a cargo plane cost a fraction of a passenger jet per km? Why are there no end-game cargo planes for food (addon) and valuable goods like printer ink.
The Guppy expires in 1998. That pretty much is end-game, and nobody ever bother to fill in the few remaining years. One can still continue to use the aircraft one has. Until recently, it was also possible to buy obsolete vehicles by default. The artists still around are probably more drawn towards other pak sizes or pak styles, and more towards trains and trucks than airplanes and ships.

Why does the high-speed rail tunnel not even support the same max speed as the high-speed rail and bridges? The high-speed engines cannot even make profit as is, let alone if they are forced to go slower through tunnels.
This is realistic. A train entering a tunnel at full speed would simply hit a wall. In fact, the speed limit of the fast rail tunnel i pak64 might be a bit too high to be realistic, at least for long tunnels.

Why does the 120 km/h tunnel obsolete and not get replaced? It is not like people can ship freight at high speeds and already freight struggles due to diminishing speed bonus.
It does get replaced by the tunnel mentioned above. But I agree that it isn't always right to always go faster and bigger, which is always a trend in pak64.

Why does the paper mill violate the laws of physics? It takes 1,870kg of wood and turns it into 2,500kg of paper (an increase of mass by over 30%).
I think this might be related to a complaint I had that got fixed in January. Back then a tonne of wood wasn't a tonne of wood. The papermill was probably balanced according to the tonne that was replaced. Not that that was in any way correct, but at least an easy mistake to make. It took me years of playing before I noticed it. There are also other things in paper than just wood, but these are not simulated. I do however expect that some of what wood is made up of is lost during the process, but I don't know how much.

Why does a coal mine consume several hundred kilowatts just to increase production by 10%?
Possibly to minimize the effect of electricity. The game should work fine without it. (In my opinion, distributing electricity shouldn't even be part of the game. So it's a lousy compromise.)

Why is it more profitable to use trams instead of trains in the 2000s? People happily pay tons of money to go on a 90 km/h tram ride across a huge map yet barely pay you anything for your >200 km/h high speed trains which cost a lot more per km to run.
Again, it's the skyrocketing speed bonus base speed for trains after 2000. On the other hand, I do actually pay more per kilometer for a slow tram ride than for a fast train ride. The running costs and maintainance should balance that out for the company, though.

As you can see... Not very good first impressions...
Stange, my first impressions were rather good. What you list here didn't appear to me until many weeks or months later, as most of them only affect the end game, so to speak.

Offline Václav

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2014, 07:12:05 PM »
If I remember correctly, Transport Tycoon has uniform vehicle sizes.
Half of tile, in case of trains (and I think that also in case of cars, but I am not sure). Other types of vehicles have a different size. But most vehicles have one uniform size, per type.

It seems that people have formed the wrong idea about Simutrans. They download the game, open standard pak64, see not a very good small graphics, do not try to understand the mechanics of the game and close it.

After that, they are left with the impression that the game is of poor quality. But these people play openTTD and other transport games.
I played TTD and also TG before Simutrans. I had some problems in the beginning of game (related mostly to different model of passenger and post transportation - and also slightly different rail signals model) - but else I was very well impressed. But may it be that I like games that are not so easy like TTD (TG is a slightly lesser easy than TTD).
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 07:43:11 PM by Václav »

Offline Junna

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2014, 03:28:52 AM »
(TG is a slightly lesser easy than TTD).

That track laying mechanism and how to signal in that game is one ill-thought out and difficult to master thing. Evident from the opening screen views not even the developers could get it right. ;p

Offline Simon Small

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2014, 07:11:08 PM »
I have watched this thread for a bit, and do not want to move it in the wrong direction. I have struggled this summer with a busy real life, and have not had time to follow my curiosity into the new structure for Scenarios. It seems to be quite flexible and I think that Scenarios could be written that focus on a small element of play, designed to 'coach' new players as they play Simutrans. I have tried the few that exist for pak64, and have searched the Forum; there are not many available. Many appear to have been lost

What do people expect of the Scenarios?

Himser

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Re: The first impression is deceptive
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2014, 03:15:10 AM »
Actually, when I tried OTTD, I downloaded it, started it, saw that I would have to put the pieces of track together by myself, closed it and uninstalled it.

Cannot say the first impression of simutrans is bad...

Being new to Simutrans (like 3 days) . I tried both.. and did exactly this. plus their grafics were pretty bad. 

now i did choose the british pak for simutrans from the get go.

basically for a few years i have been looking for a good transportation simulation game. (10 years looking for a decent city building game) Ive tried the Cities in motion, the railroad tycoons and all that and found them extramly limiting in any customization and options. they may be good for a few people.. (and RRtycoon2 was great for years when i was younger)

Mainly what i was looking for was a game that could be used from the 1900s to the future. so i could (in my head and on the computer) create the perfect transportation simulation for my home province. Simutrans is better then all that with Maglev trains, and horse drawn carriages. starting from any time period.

now some things ive noticed over the last few days setting up.   Its taken me a few days... i tried the vanilla versions (never tried 64 but 128 and vanilla) and trying to get actual places to build is tricky (mapsets). I really like the UK map with the British pak i have now.  but eventually i want a Canada map.. a Large Canada map. (give me a few months and ill figure out how to make one maybe. ) many of the issues i was having setting up and learning how to manage are fixed in the experimental version. which helps a lot.

Moneymaking issues aside. ( haven't used it enough to answer that)

overall good first impressions. compared to any other commercial or free game i have tried.