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Author Topic: Underground mode for way-objects  (Read 11802 times)

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Offline Václav

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Underground mode for way-objects
« on: April 25, 2015, 10:19:47 AM »
Some time ago, underground mode for ways were added - so, why don't add this also for way objects (mostly signals and electrifications)?

I think that at least for cases of electrification (even if there would be problem with graphics, because overhead electrifications would look the same) and signals it would be taken in consideration.

And of course, tile of tunnel entrance could be accepted as underground in these two cases, because some electrifications do not look splendid, if they appear through matter of tunnel entrance.


Of course, this is only small game beautification, but why to don't do that?

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2015, 12:04:03 PM »
I don't recall any underground mode for ways. You can build tunnels, but tunnels are tunnels, although they use the graphics of the slowest faster way of its type (which I think did change at some point). So I don't really follow what you mean.

Offline Václav

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 06:36:11 PM »
... tunnels allow to set track that will be used. I don't know how often is it used - but it is used in that way that one another track is prepared - but it does not get menu icon and so it does not appear in game menu.

So, why don't to allow to set this option also for way-objects. At least for signals it could be relatively easy.

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 07:02:28 PM »
This is not really then that the ways that have an underground mode, but that tunnels "steal" the graphics of the regular ways. Signals are not really part of the tunnel, they are just built on a tile containing a matching way.

Signals already change appearance based on presence of electrification, so it's not really much of a change to have them adapt to other things. I think it would be possible to do the same with electrification.

Personally, I'm not much of a fan of the fact that signals change based on electrification, especially as it's used to separate old and new style signals, which doesn't really depend on electrification. I think that such a strict rule might fit tunnels just as bad. In a plain tunnel, signals would likely look different, wall-mounted perhaps, but in a larger open space like an underground station signals would have a different style, perhaps more normal looking. Maybe having the player choose the style of signals themselves would be better. (Does the game even support that? I don't remember seing it in any screenshots.) The drawback is, as usual, more complexity for a new player. Signals could possibly, in addition, be coded to only work in tunnels.

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 06:34:30 AM »
Hi, AFAIK there is a dat option allow_underground for signals and stations. There are some underground signals in pak128.britain-experimental, but the feature is in standard as well. Just not used by pak artists. Maybe it could be extended to electrification, but someone would have to paint it.

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2015, 03:03:53 PM »
I can only find allow_underground for stations (well, buildings in general), not for signs/signals or way objects (like electrification).

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 05:43:51 PM »
Ah. Then the underground-only signals are possible only in experimental.

Offline Leartin at

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 01:40:20 PM »
I think at least for signs, having an "underground style" similar to the way they change appearence with electrification makes the most sense, simply because that is how simutrans works with signals right now. However, I agree with Ters that a player should be able to change the style manually - so why not just add a shift-click or strg-click functionality which, similar to the way a signal changes directions each click, cycles through all available styles. Those could even be more then the four you got with electrification, underground, both or nothing.

Currently, there are paksets with multiple signals which function the same, just for appearences. Those who like to play for graphics would like more, those who play functional would like less. This would please both, since there could be only one menu-entry per signal function, but there can be many different graphics which don't disturb anyone. While this would be an additional thing to learn, I don't think it makes the game any harder, since you never need to do it.


For electrifications I'd probably prefer them to work like underground stations, so they only appear in the menu and can only be buildt in underground mode, while normal electrification disappears.

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 04:31:22 PM »
so why not just add a shift-click or strg-click functionality which, similar to the way a signal changes directions each click, cycles through all available styles.

That's even more hidden functionality on a signal tool that is already difficult enough (people have difficulty understanding how to make signals face just one way or the other). I'd prefer individual icons, so that you can go straight for the signal you want. Cycling tens, or even hundreds, of signals by clicking on them will be hard even for non-newbies. This shouldn't need any changes in the code at all to work human only games, unless there is something I've overlooked. AI will need some way of knowing which to build.

Offline Leartin at

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 05:22:07 PM »
That's even more hidden functionality on a signal tool that is already difficult enough (people have difficulty understanding how to make signals face just one way or the other). I'd prefer individual icons, so that you can go straight for the signal you want. Cycling tens, or even hundreds, of signals by clicking on them will be hard even for non-newbies. This shouldn't need any changes in the code at all to work human only games, unless there is something I've overlooked. AI will need some way of knowing which to build.

So you are afraid players would have trouble to find a hidden function they don't even need to enjoy the game, especially if they are new to it, and would rather throw a hundred icons at them, which all do functionally the same? Thats - sorry to say so - stupid.
In p192c, we did not use electrification to seperate between signals. However, having two signals which do the same at the same time is a no-go, so at a certain point in time you are just forced to switch. That's terrible, but still better than cluttering the menu. Citarofahrer made even more signals, which were not put in the pakset to avoid too many icons.
Think that through, if we give players mechanical and electrical signals, both overground and underground, for all 6 available rail signals, you get 24 icons. That's enough to fill a menu of it's own, not something you put in the track menu. In case of p192c, you'd get it twice since we have narrowgauge too. And that's without any "special" signal designs like Citarofahrers swiss ones. That's not reasonable. It practically means there can only be one set of signals at once.
And that's exactly what you get when you never find out about the "hidden" function. So really, what would you miss?

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 05:40:24 PM »
So you are afraid players would have trouble to find a hidden function they don't even need to enjoy the game, especially if they are new to it, and would rather throw a hundred icons at them, which all do functionally the same? Thats - sorry to say so - stupid.

I know they have trouble. They've been here asking. And if your pak set has 30 signals now, you're already in trouble. But I strongly believe that having three times as many signal icons is better than having to cycle through both direction and style for every one of the thousands of signals I have to place. (The drag tool only helps for long stretches without bends or junctions, but such stretches don't need many signals either. So at least half of my signals are place individually.)

There is also the fact that almost nobody seems to be programming Simutrans anymore. The other solution is already implemented, or likely closer to completion.

And there is a desire to get rid of modifier keys, because there is no shift or ctrl on pads and phones (undocked).

Offline Leartin at

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 05:48:28 PM »
No, it does not have 30 signals, because we were not willing to add so many icons in the menu.
We would be, if we could use the signals we have now as "basics" which are in the track menu, and all others in a track-signal sub-menu, but that's not an option the way the menu works right now.
I'm sure there is a better solution than using modifier keys, but just adding more icons is certainly not one of them, and most others I could think of just don't fit the style of Simutrans.

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 06:03:41 PM »
I can see that pak192 has some extra challenges, if the icons scale as well. But if pak128 thinks it worth it to have somthing like five different asphalt roads, plus a few lesser qualities, as well as a good selection of bridges and elevated ways, there are certainly different opinions on how negative more icons are.

Offline gauthier

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2015, 12:42:46 AM »
About newbies having to find "secret" functions, as I said in the other thread, Simutrans just need built-in tutorials in each pakset. There's no easy solution, Simutrans is a complex game and it should stay like that, if we want newbies to understand everything in the first hour of playing we might end up with a facebook-like time-wasting moron game. So "secret" functions are not that bad, especially if they are not essential in the game.

The current GUI of Simutrans is not perfect, especially menus with so much icons. I remember when I first played Simutrans, even pak128 had very few icons in its menus. Back then the GUI was okay. But now menus have too much icons, even experienced players sometimes strugle through menus to find what they want. Until someone comes up with a more efficient GUI (it's not that I don't have ideas about this, but I still have to dive in the code :p ), we should avoid adding too much icons. Cycling through  more than three signal positions would be a hasle too, and even more annoying one than adding icons to toolbars.

Then, if you really want to have the choice of which type of signal you want, the best solution for now is still adding icons.

Anyway, in case someone wants to code, here is a simple idea. When we want to build station extensions that have multiple orientations, we ctrl+click the icon to choose. Why not doing the same with signals ? Let's have one icon for all types of signals, which would change automatically according to the place they are built in. Then, if you want to choose what graphics you want, ctrl+click the icon.

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2015, 05:03:25 AM »
Newbies shouldn't know everything in one hour. The problem is that one can hardly understand enough to get a vehicle from A to B in one hour.

Anyway, in case someone wants to code, here is a simple idea. When we want to build station extensions that have multiple orientations, we ctrl+click the icon to choose. Why not doing the same with signals ? Let's have one icon for all types of signals, which would change automatically according to the place they are built in. Then, if you want to choose what graphics you want, ctrl+click the icon.

If you can find anyone willing to program all that, I can't veto it, but it's not something I am motivated to code.

Offline gauthier

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2015, 09:53:09 AM »
Well at least my idea avoid both toolbar overloading and cycling overloading, and is nearly as efficient to play with as your idea with toolbar overloading. What is the problem with this ?

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2015, 04:30:09 PM »
When we want to build station extensions that have multiple orientations, we ctrl+click the icon to choose.

We do? I don't know of such a feature.

However, unlike the bridge, not being able to get the signal one wants is not a game stopper.

Offline gauthier

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2015, 09:15:36 AM »
Yes, we do (only if we want to manually choose the direction of course). See attached picture.

Quote
However, unlike the bridge, not being able to get the signal one wants is not a game stopper.
Indeed, one more reason not to add icons or cycling options.

Offline Yona-TYT ve

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2015, 10:27:18 PM »

Yes, we do (only if we want to manually choose the direction of course). See attached picture.
Indeed, one more reason not to add icons or cycling options.



Hi, how are you.


I would rotate objects using the mouse wheel, would be very useful to construoir pending. ;)

Offline gauthier

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2015, 12:07:03 AM »
I guess that could help some players too. In some games there's also a hotkey to press while building tool is selected, so it rotates the buildings (something like R or Ctrl).

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2015, 05:12:01 AM »
In some games there's also a hotkey to press while building tool is selected, so it rotates the buildings (something like R or Ctrl).

Tropico 4 has that, and for some reason, the thing I want seems to always be as far into the rotation as possible. I think the rotation is also just one way, so if you overshoot the target, you have to take one more round. And it doesn't help that it reports all keys according to the US English keyboard layout, so I get to guess which key that corresponds to on my keyboard. Although it causes some other issues, Simutrans binds to symbols, not keys, so when it does inform you what to press, that's exactly what you need to type. (I think the bindings vary between pak sets though, so googling what to press might be misleading, because the answer is for a different pak set.)

Offline gauthier

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2015, 11:22:08 AM »
Indeed, for instance hotkeys to change level in sliced view mode are different between some paksets.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2015, 08:32:32 PM »
On tutorials, would Youtube videos perhaps be more accessible and economical than something coded into the game? They could also help to promote Simutrans, too.

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2015, 05:01:52 AM »
On tutorials, would Youtube videos perhaps be more accessible and economical than something coded into the game? They could also help to promote Simutrans, too.

Perhaps more economical, but I have doubts as to how accesible video tutorials are. They can not be watched offline (for Youtube and most other such sites at least), and might cause difficulties for those that still are stuck with low-speed Internet connections. Unless subtitled, they also exclude those with hearing disabilities. (I wonder if Simutrans is among the majority or minorty as a game that works just as well without hearing anything. Especially if we rule out trivial games like Solitaire.) Beyond that, if I must seek out tutorials, I have a preference for text tutorials that I can read at my own pace.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2015, 09:40:20 AM »
Hmm - perhaps a combination of HTML and video, in that case?

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2015, 09:53:33 AM »
I think multiple options are fine - as long as there's some sort of written documentation (i.e. text+pics), also having videos is good. Some prefer one; some the other.

After all this time, because of the way I play, I'm probably not a good candidate for making tutorials of any kind. Because I don't know how to :play: Simutrans. I just use it as a sandbox (my goals are usually to try and transport all the industry and/or passengers - and play using freeplay... whatever amuses me, basically)

OTOH, if there's room for that sort of thing, maybe I should work on some stuff. I don't think anything I produce would be primary or truly canonical, though. hehe

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2015, 10:06:43 AM »
Also, how good/up to date is the in-game help these days? That is a good mechanism for reference material, if not tutorials. Perhaps tutorials could be stickied threads in the "Help centre" subforum?

Offline Ters

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2015, 03:50:42 PM »
Part of the problem with Simutrans is that many things are very pak set specific. Although many underlying concepts are the same no matter what, they are found behind different icons, and perhaps on different tool bars. This will throw at least some part of the human population off. So I think any tutorials needs a front page where the user can easily recognize his own pak set, and then navigate to tutorials for that pak set. This is more important for tutorials like "setting up your first line", because the industry chain chosen might be totally unsuited, or non-existing, in the pak set the player is using. Simple tutorials, like what the different signal types do, might get away with multiple illustrations, if mostly text based.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2015, 04:03:15 PM »
Maybe I can help get the ball rolling. If I can do some things that people can build from, or correct me on and I can update, or people go "WTF is this [expletive]?" and do better..... :)

My show opens this weekend, so it may be a few days.

I'll start something for each pak - because you're right, the differences are great.

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2015, 04:43:04 PM »
I have a plan to do a tutorial as scenario. Would that be useful?

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2015, 04:29:29 AM »
I'd say at a minimum it couldn't hurt.

There are cases where too much documentation might scare people away - but we have very very little right now. So I don't think we're in danger of that yet. ;-)

Offline Yona-TYT ve

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2015, 08:32:32 AM »

I have a plan to do a tutorial as scenario. Would that be useful?
This is an excellent idea, I wonder why he never came to terms with this ¿?
 ???

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2015, 03:44:20 PM »
Uhm maybe that when i find time for simutrans, I end up playing...

Offline gauthier

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2015, 09:13:31 AM »
I'm in favor of scenario tutorials in each pakset. However I don't know exactly what can be done in a scenario, I never used them :/

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Re: Underground mode for way-objects
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2015, 02:56:31 PM »
I don't know how scenarios work but I think a template that can be tweaked for each pakset is better than totally different tutorial scenarios. We should also standardise the keyboard shortcuts.