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Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Running and monthly cost horses.
« on: November 09, 2017, 06:31:11 PM »
Together with James, I've made some experimental changes to the running and monthly costs of the horses, along with the post boy and man on bicycle. The running costs have been reduced, but the monthly costs has been increased. Now testing is needed to see how this works out in play. Any takers?

Offline HarrierST

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2017, 12:57:33 AM »
In my current game just started recently, after a long absence - I am in 1753. So I will update and see how things change. Apart from a few area's, I am losing money on most passenger services.  Running costs being 50% to 100% higher than revenue.

I am still experimenting on how to play the game. So a lot of those loss's are down to me.

I have not yet started a mail service.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 12:51:11 AM by HarrierST »

Offline Jando

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2017, 08:53:45 AM »
I have a little freight network in 1750, about 70 horse-drawn carts. Can test the new cost structure. Just downloading the pakset required?

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2017, 05:07:25 PM »
My first test results indicate I've probably set the monthly costs too high to make carts profitable. Any thoughts on this?

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2017, 05:27:47 PM »
One thing that might be useful to add here: in reality, the cost of transport by horse and cart (or packhorse) was considerably higher than it was for transport by steam train or later forms of transport (e.g. lorry with an internal combustion engine) precisely because the cost of operating horses relative to the amount that they could pull/carry was inherently high. Early 'bus transport when the 'buses were pulled by horses was generally reserved for the middle classes on account of the price. It was only the advent of trams, allowing horses to pull more passengers along low friction steel rails, that opened horse powered transport to a wider range of people.

For passengers, this can be simulated in the game with the forthcoming passenger and mail classes feature: this will allow players to set higher prices for horse drawn passenger transport (indeed, this will be the default) at the expense of not permitting less wealthy passengers to travel.

For goods, this solution will not assist. However, there is an inflation feature planned that would allow the relative prices of different things, including fares, to be adjusted over time. It might well be that fares for goods need to be set to a higher level in the days of horse transport, although canals allowed a great deal more to be pulled than roads, so care will have to be taken not to make canals excessively profitable.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 06:41:35 AM »
True. And the pre-rail period is different in many respects. People were prepared to pay high prices for slow travel (if they could afford it) for the simple reason that there was no alternative. I appreciate the effort, but as long as it isn't there, my quick and dirty efforts should make things playable.

Now it's not very bad. With 5 Irish Horse (pair) drawn carts on public service toll roads (plus one boat making a slight profit), I lose about 175 per year, a loss that can be sustained for a century if need be. And I fully expect when there's a bit more traffic that barges can be used to prop the income. But it would be more fun in extreme games (having just a few carts to start with) to have this combination profitable.

What do you think? I think about 66% of the current monthly costs would do the trick.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 09:38:16 AM »
It seems to be worth a try, although it may need to be reconsidered when the classes feature is introduced.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 12:49:48 PM »
I'll give it a shot then. After all, this is only a workaround until the balancing project you mentioned.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 07:09:20 PM »
Splendid, thank you. I am currently away from home and not able to integrate this now, but I will put this in when I have a chance.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2017, 11:09:48 PM »
I am afraid that I am having trouble downloading that file. Can you try uploading it elsewhere?

Edit: The download now seems to have worked, and I have incorporated the changes. Thank you for your work on this.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 12:11:37 AM by jamespetts »

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2017, 08:14:35 PM »
That's not right, today's download still shows the old monthly costs. You're sure you've got the file marked 20171112?

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2017, 10:07:33 PM »
Yes, I have that file - Github shows a commit of this file on the master branch, and the Bridgewater-Brunel server confirms that the pakset was recompiled in the early hours of this morning as usual. Can you check that you have downloaded the correct version?

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2017, 08:36:17 PM »
I've downloaded the entire set from http://bridgewater-brunel.me.uk/downloads/nightly/packages/Simutrans-Extended-Complete.zip just an hour ago. In the previous version it had the prices of that round of testing, but not this time. I've downloaded the PakSet only from http://bridgewater-brunel.me.uk/downloads/nightly/pakset/pak128.britain-ex-nightly.tar.gz and overwrote all the files, same story.

I'm taking a break from Simutrans Extended for a while.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2017, 09:54:10 PM »
Can I clarify - does the current version have the fixed costs that you specified for the last round of testing, or has it somehow reverted to what it was before any of your changes?

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2017, 06:37:06 AM »
It's the settings of November 5th. It did not revert. It just didn't pick up the changes of November 12th.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 08:27:58 AM by Dutchman on Rails »

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2017, 01:37:34 PM »
I think that I have fixed this now - there was a problem with the nightly pakset builds which I think that I have rectified. I should be grateful if you could re-test.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2017, 07:21:43 PM »
In the meantime I have downloaded the MakeObj-Extended and compiled it myself. I do have a benchmark with which others can check if it's the prices. The Post Boy should have a monthly cost of 1.24 at default settings.

I also have preliminary test results. With 6 carts running 2 fruit and 4 textiles per month, the trucks still run a loss, but the two boats running wool offset that and turn the yearly balance into a slight profit. Monthly the maintenance costs are still the highest at 4.36 for a pair of Irish Draught horses. Next come the Access charges at an average of about 3 per vehicle per month. Then the running costs, about 2 per vehicle per month. Other methods may net different results though.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2017, 09:14:24 PM »
Interesting - thank you for testing.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2017, 10:59:31 AM »
In other news, connecting 4 towns with a post boy (later increased to 8 towns with two post boys) on hired infrastructure will turn single-digit profits in a year.

Regarding the goods wagons, the way forward to me seems to make the wagon available to the single Irish Draught horse, and to increase the power and tractive effort of all 'goods' horses to that the single ones can pull a wagon and the double ones can pull a stage wagon.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2017, 11:05:25 AM »
The power and tractive effort of horses is based as closely as the data available to me allows on their realistic power and tractive effort, as with all the other vehicles in the pakset. If you have better data to suggest that the power and tractive effort used are not accurate, then I will gladly amend them based on those data, but it is not in keeping with the intention of the pakset to alter the power and tractive effort to non-realistic values to compensate for incorrect economic balance, when the intention is to correct that latter problem with other features that are currently planned.

As to making the wagons available to a single draught horse - are you aware that single horses in fact hauled wagons of this sort? I should be interested to see any research material on that question.

Thank you very much for testing, however.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2017, 01:15:30 PM »
Well, regarding the wagon:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagon#/media/File:Baker%27s-van-r.jpg
http://theminiaturespage.com/picture.mv?pic=news/pics/2014/oct/454568781b.jpg

Regarding the tractive effort, I'd love to see your statistics. Too bad though you feel that way. I did a field test of giving the single Irish Draught 2KN tractive power and the pair 4KN. Game-wise it has some interesting effects other than the economics, as it gives the ponies (carts), single horse (waggon) and pair (stage wagon, though not at full speed) each a distinct purpose.

I did a few quick checks and you'll find this interesting. http://www.wagonteamster.com/html/faqs.html. A fully loaded wagon weighs about 4000 pounds, or 2000kg, but only drafts at 400 pounds or 200kg (a tenth of the weight) for a horse on flat ground. So an Irish draught horse, a powerful breed, should be able to pull a waggon on its own as a realistic result.

This is also interesting.

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/71402/what-is-the-cargo-capacity-of-a-cart-versus-a-wagon.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2017, 01:40:23 PM »
Thank you for that. I will modify the single draught horses to be able to pull the wagons, albeit on the passenger-and-mail-classes branch, as that is near completion and it takes a lot of time to switch branches.

To answer your question, the power and tractive effort data for horses I obtained here. The workings out are explained in the comments in horse-shire.dat:

Code: [Select]
# These values are not fine enough to capture
# the differing power of different horses.
# See http://gluedideas.com/content-collection/Textbook-on-Roads-and-Pavements-1908/Tractive-Power-of-Horses.html
# for information: an average horse will have a tractive effort
# of 80lb/f, or 0.33kN at approx. 5km/h and an average power of 0.45kW. "Gear" works only for power.

Looking up the text, I have been able to find another version of this book on the Internet Archive with the table that is missing from the website linked above. The table is easier to read in the .pdf version, which can be downloaded here. That table suggests that, on the level, a horse can haul between 1,300lb and 10,000lb in weight depending on the surface, but that this falls off rapidly with even slight gradients to between 1,100lb and 4,000lb on a 1/100 gradient and to between 150lb and 400lb on a 15 in 100 gradient. These figures seem significantly higher than those quoted in the website to which you linked, which would suggest a deadweight capacity of only 165-175lbs.

However, as noted in the comments, the actual tractive force of a horse is < 1kN, which is why they all have a 1kN tractive force in the game - that is the lowest value that they can be given. (Strictly, two horses should also be 1kN, as, each horse actually being 0.33kN, the combined total of the two would be 0.66kN, but this would mean that two single horses in game would have double the tractive effort of a pair, which would be silly and would make the pairs of horses useless).

I note that the second link appears to be from a role playing game, and it is not immediately clear the extent to which the in-game statistics are based on reality.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2017, 04:00:44 PM »
Well, you won't have to worry about having two single horses outmatch a double horse in this situation, as the drivers' costs are included in the monthly costs. So two singles cost 5.60/month at current rates, and a pair only 4.36.

But I submit to your wishes. I also have the right price for the traction in front of the waggon from this excercise, if brought down to 2.80, the 6 waggons and 2 post boys give a monthly profit of 5 at transport of 18 and 12 at a transport of 47.

As a player though, I'm a bit sad. Already if will be difficult to find use for the Frisian, Shire and Cleveland Bay pairs (though these might be tweaked with a mixture of purchase and upkeep costs). But from the perspective of this player, this removes both the single Irish Draught and the Stage Waggon clean from my vehicles of choice. Because if I need carts, the ponies are a much cheaper choice to pull, the pair of Irish Draught horses (or cheaper equivalent) will be my traction of choice for the waggon, and the stage waggon will need such a team of horses (3 or 4 to even get moving) that it will simply never be worth the upkeep.

I'll roll back the field test and set the horses' cost for a third round.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2017, 08:31:09 PM »
I do not fully understand the reasoning here - using realistic values should result in vehicles and horses having the same degree of usefulness in the game as they have in real life. If I have got the values for power and/or tractive effort wrong, I should be happy to fix them, but it would be perverse to use values that I know are wrong when the aim is to make the game as realistic as possible within the parameters that are simulated. Indeed, the long-term intention is to calibrate both purchase and upkeep costs of horses based on real data, too.

If, using realistic values, certain horses turn out not to be useful, we need to analyse very carefully why that should be. Usefulness needs to take into account variance in capital cost, range (for coach horses only), frequency of replacement/overhaul (when the feature for simulating this is added), introduction date, maximum speed, power, tractive effort, fixed cost and per kilometre cost.

The Frisian horses, for example, are the only coach horses available in 1750. The Cleveland Bays are introduced in 1785, and are intended to displace the Frisians on coaching duties as they did in real life. The Yorkshire coach horses are introduced only in 1805, and are intended to be considerably more expensive to buy and to keep than Cleveland Bays, but have a slight speed advantage, albeit at the cost of a shorter range (they were a cross between Cleveland Bays and thoroughbred racing horses, so were faster but had less stamina and required more feeding). Thus, the intention is for players to have some incentive to continue to use Cleveland Bays where they want a lower cost or longer range coaching horse even after Yorkshire coach horses are introduced.

The Hackney horses are intended to be cheap, lightweight coaching horses for the eponymous Hackney carriage, and possibly as inexpensive alternatives to the other coaching horses for short stage coaches where low cost is a priority over speed or haulage capacity.

As to the draught horses, the Irish draught horses are the only draught horses available in 1750, although the shire horses are introduced in 1755. Note that, although the headline power figure is the same, the "gear" (power output ratio) is increased, giving the shires effectively more power. Again, the idea is that the shires can pull more weight, but are more expensive. The Clydesdales are introduced only in 1826, and so players before this time will need to use other draught horses. These are intended to be less powerful than the shires but more powerful than the Irish draught horses, and to be more cost effective than the shires on all but the heaviest loads.

The ponies, meanwhile, are intended for situations where cost is the overriding consideration and were weights are low, as with short distance transport by cart.

If there is something about the way that the game works or the pakset is balanced that prevents these horses from having these functions, then the answer is not just to use unrealistic values, but to find the ultimate cause of the problem of realistic values not balancing (whether it be an error in what are intended to be realistic values, another aspect of the game not being balanced, or an important aspect of the economics being not simulated properly or at all) and fix that. If you are interested in assisting with that process, that would be very helpful.

Offline Vladki cz

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2017, 08:36:36 PM »
If I recall correctly, gear was used to adjust power and tractive effort at the same time. When has this been changed?

If so low values cannot be entered in dat file, is it possible to scale them properly using gear?




Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2017, 08:51:55 PM »
I cannot remember when exactly this was changed - but it was changed to make sure that using the gear to simulate losses in transmission inefficiencies of diesel and electric engines in road and rail vehicles (allowing the use of the reported figures for the vehicles in question directly without adjustment) did not interfere with tractive effort, which figures are generally reported on the basis of drawbar tractive effort rather than engine torque (for rail vehicles at least; for road vehicles, engine torque is used, but this needs so much interpretation given the use of gears that it is not generally possible to use reported values (except to gauge the ratio between vehicles), and instead deduce the correct figures by testing for which in-game tractive effort figures produce realistic rates of acceleration).

The use of the gear to allow values lower than 1kW is not the intended function of this parameter, but is a useful side effect which can be exploited to give more realistic values for very low powered "vehicles" such as horses.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2017, 09:45:36 AM »
If you are interested in assisting with that process, that would be very helpful.

Sorry James, but you have to count me out on that.

Now don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate all the effort you put into Simutrans Extended. I would call your ideas on realism and on finding the root cause neither "silly" not "perverse". In fact, if the features you already made are any guarantee, I'm sure I'll thoroughly enjoy the end result. But if I see that my quick and dirty workaround on just a few horses already cost some 6-10 hours of tweaking and testing with 3 weeks throughput time, practical results could be many months off and several hundred hours work before there are tangible results. That's not what I'm going to sign up for.

What I'm looking for is workarounds. I want to enjoy the great features that you have created already, and I want to enjoy them now (or at least, very soon). Some problems are downright obstables, if my monthly profit goes down for trying to transport on several modes of transport, that's not very enjoyable. To cope with that, I'm willing to do workarounds in short sprints, an hour a week or so for tweaking, maybe 2 or 3 for playtesting, tangible results in <10 hours and a few weeks time, without compromising your long-term goals (at least not beyond what can be retweaked in just another short sprint).

Now your post #24 is very interesting reading to see your intentions (some of which brings in mind the idea of having a description field in the depots so we can see what the vehicles are good for), but it came after I already backed down on the tractive effort. It's not a big deal for me. The goal of my workaround sprint was first and foremost to bring the situation where players can set up a road network (mail and freight) that could contribute to the monthly profit. While I don't have a situation where I could find use for all the vehicles, I think with my final set the workaround goals have been accomplished as a pair of Irish Horses with a Waggon will be profitable for goods like Textiles and Fruit, and the Post Boy likewise for mail. Good enough to keep enjoying Simutrans Extended for the time being. Time to move on to another showstopper. Perhaps a small coastal ship or ferry. The Brig is a great vessel once you have 50 or so goods to transport, but there's nothing for the odd farm supply to the local market. If anyone could bring up a suggestion plus the pngs, we could work something out. Barring that, my game will eventually reach the point where the early steam engines are too expensive to make for a profitable medium-scale rail line, so that might be the next workaround.

Speaking of the final set, here it is. As usual, only the .dat file and the ods sheet with the calculations.

http://simutrans-germany.com/files/./upload/Horses_Costs_20171119.zip

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2017, 11:27:05 AM »
Thank you for the additional changes to the fixed costs: I have incorporated those (on the passenger-and-mail-classes branch, as that is not far off being ready now).

As to workarounds, I am happy to incorporate workarounds to values that have not yet been balanced, such as prices, but do not want to incorporate workarounds that undo balancing to values, such as physics, that have already been balanced properly. The reason for this is that my effort is concentrated on producing the properly balanced outcome in the long term, and workarounds of the second sort make that much harder because they undo balancing work already done. That is also why I am not spending any of my time attempting to balance the costs yet, as that work can only start once I have added some important balance features. My time is so limited that I cannot afford to spend it doing the same work twice.

That means that price balancing for horses (and other elements of the game) will be some time off, but will, if all goes according to plan, be of a high standard when it is completed.

As to the boats, incidentally, may I ask that you start a new thread in that regard? It is somewhat confusing to be discussing sailing boats in a thread whose title suggests that it is specifically about horses.

Offline Dutchman on Rails

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2017, 02:17:59 PM »
I'll leave those completed values alone then.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Running and monthly cost horses.
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2017, 09:28:51 PM »
Splendid, thank you. Thank you again for your work on this.