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Your strategy - pak128 and pak128 Britain

Started by Antonin, May 13, 2022, 08:18:05 PM

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Antonin

Because this is the part of the forum for discussing game strategy, I am curious to hear the strategies other players use. Especially for pak128 and pak128 Britain.

I have played Simutrans for a long time, but I have never been very successful at running a transport company. I play using the beginner's setting. I always begin in the 1950s, because I was born in the 1950s. If I have a large city I begin with a bus line connecting points within that city. Then I create a bus line from that city to a nearby small town. Then I create a bus line that connects the first small town to another small town. Etc etc.

If I don't have a large city I create a chain of bus lines connecting small towns. I buy small buses with a low maintenance cost.

But after a few game months my bus stops are very crowded. I add buses to handle the extra passengers. Soon, I am losing a lot of money. Eventually I add truck lines to move products around, but not long after that I am losing so much money it's useless to continue, so I just start a new game.

I have a lot of fun playing Simutrans, but I'm not very good at it and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Maybe expanding too fast? I don't know. I watch YouTube videos where players have large, beautiful transport networks, but I wonder how they do it.

I downloaded Simutrans-Extended recently, but I read that it has a "steep learning curve," so maybe it is not a good idea to even try to play it.

So I am interested to hear the formula for success that other players follow.

Spenk009

It's difficult to pick out where you're going wrong without seeing a savegame or some screenshots. Unlike many other games in the genre, Simutrans simulates a passenger's entire journey over the entire map with transfers. This means that you'll be best off trying to build an interconnected network of services, as this increases where passengers (and goods) can go. Maybe try separating short local services within a city from cross-country. Set up a stop with more than one platform connected to each other and connect lines there.

I would suggest you stay on Standard for now, get used to the user interface and how the mechanics work.

makie


Antonin

Thank you for the replies. What strategies do you use? 

Matthew

Quote from: Antonin on May 13, 2022, 08:18:05 PMBecause this is the part of the forum for discussing game strategy, I am curious to hear the strategies other players use. Especially for pak128 and pak128 Britain.

I don't play those paksets, but I have some suggestions.

QuoteI have played Simutrans for a long time, but I have never been very successful at running a transport company. I play using the beginner's setting. I always begin in the 1950s, because I was born in the 1950s. If I have a large city I begin with a bus line connecting points within that city. Then I create a bus line from that city to a nearby small town. Then I create a bus line that connects the first small town to another small town. Etc etc.

If I don't have a large city I create a chain of bus lines connecting small towns. I buy small buses with a low maintenance cost.

This sounds like you are doing all the right things at the start.

QuoteBut after a few game months my bus stops are very crowded. I add buses to handle the extra passengers. Soon, I am losing a lot of money. Eventually I add truck lines to move products around, but not long after that I am losing so much money it's useless to continue, so I just start a new game.

Based on this thread, it seems that Standard pak128.Britain is poor balanced or not balanced at all in places, so it may not be your fault at all. If you want to help rebalance the pakset, you can join Prissi's effort in that thread.

QuoteI have a lot of fun playing Simutrans, but I'm not very good at it and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Maybe expanding too fast? I don't know. I watch YouTube videos where players have large, beautiful transport networks, but I wonder how they do it.

With respect to YouTubers, it's worth bearing in mind that people play Simutrans for different reasons. Some people are 'detailers': they want to make beautiful scenes for screenshots and streaming. They are not that interested in making a profit. They use Simutrans as the digital equivalent of a model railway. Are you watching videos made by detailers? That might explain why their experience is much more positive than yours. They just have different goals.

Other people are min-maxers. They view Simutrans primarily as a game: they want to maximize their profits within the rules (or exploit loopholes within the roles!). If that is you, you might want to switch to a better-balanced pakset. I wouldn't exactly say that...

Quote from: makie on May 15, 2022, 03:29:56 PMpak128.german is easier.

...but it is much better balanced in my experience. I suspect pak128.japan and pak192.comic might also be better balanced as they are played more actively.

A third type of player are 'role-players'. We want to try to simulate historical networks, including the economic aspects. This is where Extended excels. The development of pak128.Britain has been stalled for many years because the creators were largely role-players and moved over to pak128.Britain-Ex.

QuoteI downloaded Simutrans-Extended recently, but I read that it has a "steep learning curve," so maybe it is not a good idea to even try to play it.

I agree that it has a steep learning curve. But if you like pak128.Britain, it might be what you're looking for. So I would concur that:

Quote from: Spenk009 on May 15, 2022, 02:08:46 PMI would suggest you stay on Standard for now, get used to the user interface and how the mechanics work.

Having come to that conclusion, at the weekend I tried to think about how to make that path easier. I have put up some suggested goals for players using Standard en route to Extended. It sounds like you are nearing the end of that journey, so when you are ready, do give Extended a try! There is plenty of help available here and on the Discord server since the Extended community is active in both places.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

Matthew

Quote from: Antonin on May 16, 2022, 10:40:19 AMThank you for the replies. What strategies do you use?

Antonin, we have crossposted.... You may have noticed no one is exactly answering your simple question. I should say clearly that this is because none of the people who have posted so far play Standard pak128 or pak128.Britain, so it is very uncertain whether our strategies would work in those paksets. For example, in 1950s pak128.Britain-Ex you can profitably combine inter-city coach routes with bus routes inside cities, but you want to switch those to trains and trams respectively when you can afford it, because all the roads will become horribly congested by private cars in the late 1960s. But that might be terrible advice for your paksets.....
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

PJMack

It has also been a while since I played the non-extended version, but I have some points that should apply to both standard and extended.

One thing to note is that for some paksets, the difficulty may change with the timeline.  In some paksets, the cost of infrastructure construction and maintenance is lower in earlier years, but vehicle speeds and signaling technology is better in the later years. 

Initial map settings may also make things rather easy or difficult, and for some paksets the defaults may not be ideal.  I would recommend looking elsewhere in the forum for the map settings of the servers.

For a map with multiple continents, islands or groups of cities, it may be better to concentrate on building a passenger network completely on one before expanding to another.  A single full sized network would likely have more profit than two half sized networks as the possible passenger source->destination combinations increases exponentially with network size.

Antonin

#7
Thank you very much, everyone, for the replies.

I am still very interested to hear about the strategies of other players, even those who do not play pak128 and pak128 Britain.

For example, when I want to create a new railroad or a road, I switch to the public player and do that, because those things are so expensive. Does anyone else do this?

Do other players start with passengers or with products? Do you start with food products or "hard goods" like coal, iron ore and steel?

I sometimes add industries at certain locations during a game to give myself more profitable routes. Do others do this?

Also, what starting year do most players prefer, and why? I almost always start in the 1950s, because I was born in the 1950s. My father was a bus driver in the couple of years before I was born. I know some people like to start in the earliest possible year, which is 1700-something.

Matthew

#8
Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMThank you very much, everyone, for the replies.

I am still very interested to hear about the strategies of other players, even those who do not play pak128 and pak128 Britain.

For example, when I want to create a new railroad or a road, I switch to the public player and do that, because those things are so expensive. Does anyone else do this?

I might do that for roads in single-player. I would never do that for railways. I would always operate railways as a 'player' company (even if I am role-playing that it is a publicly-owned railway).

QuoteDo other players start with passengers or with products? Do you start with food products or "hard goods" like coal, iron ore and steel?

I would almost always start with passengers. They are the most profitable. Then I move on to bulk goods, what you call "hard goods". In most paksets coal and iron mines have a high output (hundreds or thousands of tons/month), but food products are produced by farms that have a low output (perhaps only 2t/month for vegetable farms). It's usually more profitable to have convoys running full between two points than running half-empty between many small points.

QuoteI sometimes add industries at certain locations during a game to give myself more profitable routes. Do others do this?

In single player, I would sometimes do this, but more for role-playing than profitably. For example, I once had a game where every big city had a separate printworks named after the city's (imaginary) newspaper, each linked to newsagents in and around that city.

QuoteAlso, what starting year do most players prefer, and why? I almost always start in the 1950s, because I was born in the 1950s. My father was a bus driver in the couple of years before I was born. I know some people like to start in the earliest possible year, which is 1700-something.

In single-player, I usually start around 1820 or 1830, at the beginning of the railway era. The Victorian era (1836-1901) is the most interesting era for me, because it was the golden age of British railways.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

Isaac Eiland-Hall

My default play style is to play with -freeplay on, although I generally try to be profitable. I suppose I mostly want to play the game making things look awesome, i.e. a virtual scale railroad (although I tend to concentrate on busses and trucks far more than rail).

I also play on -freeplay because sitting around waiting for more money to build new things is boring to me. I don't mind going negative with the goal of going positive again.

Instead of a financial challenge, I typically tend to try and actually not let any goods or people stack up at stations, which can be very difficult. Profit is secondary to that usually. Although I often try to stay relatively within my means — build a lot, go negative, watch and play but don't spend too much money for a bit until I'm close to positive or so, then build another big project...

So, that said:

Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMwhen I want to create a new railroad or a road, I switch to the public player

With the way I play, I ① do this and ② think it's fair. Not fair to most people, but to me it is. The game generates road connections anyway. I generally build freeways, which are financially dumb in Simutrans mostly, but I find extremely enjoyable. For that matter, I have played far more games than I might otherwise admit where I may have done some transportation, but far more than that I built infrastructure. Taking highways through large cities - elevated roads were so amazing for that. Anyway, I'm way off the topic.

I don't usually build rail public, but I build roads public a lot.

But while we're talking about that sort of thing, I also like to play multiple players - each is their own company focusing on one part of the map, or one mode of transportation. I have one company that provides local service to several cities - a regional "local". Another company or two might provide long distance busses. One might provide transportation to the wood industry, another is gas/oil. Or another does multiple, but it's also regional in coverage.

Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMDo other players start with passengers or with products? Do you start with food products or "hard goods" like coal, iron ore and steel?

Which one I pick tends to depend on my mood. Sometimes I start with industry - with one single connection of the base part of a chain. Typically in that scenario, I will work on providing transportation to all the links of one chain that end up at one end consumer, then branch out to the other parts of the chain that end up at another end consumer, if that makes sense.

Sometimes I go with passengers. Typically this is a single company game, and I will start with the largest cities and set up an intra-city network. Not worried about profit, that's like a city bus. I do that down to cities that need like maybe 5+ stops. Anything below that I don't set up until I start making regional lines and often hub-and-spoke connections, so my intercity busses usually go from one medium/large city through smaller cities to get to another medium/large city. In smaller cities, I'll set up a single vehicle line to collect and distribute passengers, usually with a single small bus, but I definitely think about that as a local municipal setup in that city, even if I'm playing the whole map as one company.

Although more than most of those, I switch to public player and start making freeways connecting everything before I spend a single cent of the first company's money.

Or I'll start a line or few, build freeways, then go back to the company do more (let it become profitable), build more freeways, then go back to the company.

I will also often set up "construction" zones and leave them. Especially when I replace the game's generated roads - a bridge I don't like, I make alternate paths near the road - a dirt/gravel/slow road detour - so any convois are able to continue running while I do my construction. One-way signs helped that when they were released as I could place them to force vehicles to recalc and take my detour road; then once all vehicles were outside the construction zone, disconnect the tiles at each end and remove the one-way signs so I could do construction as convois travelled around...

Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMI sometimes add industries at certain locations during a game to give myself more profitable routes. Do others do this?

I rarely do this, usually if I feel there's a gap in the chain, but sometimes I will - while working on freeways - if it's a map where I might also be creating new cities or stuff like that, I'll cluster industries together, like wood/forests in areas of generated trees. I like to try and place industries in "logical" places. But it's a pain to connect them, so I usually don't take the time. :)

Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMAlso, what starting year do most players prefer, and why?

I have different and distinct moods, and it often relates to what a specific pack has on offer.

When pak128 introduced a bunch of busses around the 30s-40s, I would start to take advantage of those, because I liked those busses a lot.

I've tended to start sometimes around 2000 as when I started playing, that was "now" basically. lol. 2022 felt like sci-fi future.

I also sometimes like to go back to when there's just horses and the earliest trucks - I haven't played when 1700s was possible, really - the last time I played that early I think I started in the late 1800s. So I like to do that sometimes, always with the goal of shaping the map into modern times, but I always lose track and patience and start a new game....... lol

There are times in some paks that I find a little annoying - not liking the vehicles of a certain era, so I'd avoid those. But beyond the more common above, I've started in the 70s because it felt "just before today's modern" if that makes sense, maybe like how someone who's 20 now might start in the 90s - "slightly before my time" sort of thing.

I hope that all wasn't too boring!

Octavius

Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMFor example, when I want to create a new railroad or a road, I switch to the public player and do that, because those things are so expensive. Does anyone else do this?
Sometimes, when I think the automatically created roads do something crazy. Then I use the public player to fix this. At other times, I use my normal player. Although I know that in real life, on the European continent at least, the far majority of the road, canal and rail infrastructure was actually built with public money.
Quote from: Antonin on May 20, 2022, 08:51:36 PMDo other players start with passengers or with products? Do you start with food products or "hard goods" like coal, iron ore and steel?
Moving coal to a power station can be a good way to start, as it usually gives a steady profit. Iron and steel doesn't work very well, because you need some demand for steel as well, so you have to set up more connections before it all works. Food products tend to have low too low production rates to make it really interesting. Passengers and mail can work nicely, but you have to setup connections over a large part of the map before there is enough demand to make a profit.

I always play extended.

Antonin

So many interesting comments! Thank you, everyone. It's great to see the ways other Simutrans players enjoy the game.

Here in the US, when I was growing up in the 1960s, one of the things fathers and sons did together was build and operate model railroad networks. I had a friend who had a huge train network in his basement. We used to watch the trains go round and round, past the washing machine, behind the furnace, etc. They made a nice train sound and little puffs of smoke.

I never got a chance to enjoy something like that with my father because he died when I was very young. So, playing Simutrans is like a return to being young for me. Now that I am retired I look forward to spending more time with the game. 

But I might stick to standard Simutrans. I have read some of the articles on Extended, but I still don't understand how passenger transport works. I have industries that say "staffing shortage" even though they are connected to a bus line, etc.

KneeOn

I have had this sort of discussion while talking about extended features - if YOU want to build using the public player then do! 

My own play style is similar to Issac's. 

I use modified pak.64 with Carl Bakers British Rail trains (although I'm still working on my own pakset with these trains).

I too do freeplay, with a view to be profitable. I give a much higher starting cash (in the millions) to try to pretend I remain solvent.

I then simulate Britain without being on a British map; a large capital with multiple termini. But I then also simulate if Britain were mainland Europe and have huge maps with multiple capitals. I see where the map and the town's take me.