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Offline jamespetts gb

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Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« on: December 19, 2010, 05:10:41 PM »
Mod note: Topic split from this thread.

I have been looking at your 148.sve (link above) with some interest; I'm particularly intrigued to see developments compared to earlier versions. Might I ask - why are there fragments of unused track West of Manchester?

I'm also interested in the reasoning behind your choice of vehicles, for balancing purposes. I notice that your replaced all the Castle class locomotives with A3 class locomotives; you found that the extra speed/power was worth the capital cost of replacing them all? Likewise with the "Star" class being replaced by the "Schools" class. On some routes, you seem to have mixed the LMS 3p with the LMS black 5, which is a much more powerful locomotive; was there any particular reason for combining the two on the same route?

Finally, there are a number of locomotives that you do not use (such as the GWR Hall, GWR 1400 class, the LNER V2 and the LMS 7p) - is there a particular reason that you avoided them?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 11:14:21 PM by jamespetts »

Offline sdog

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Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2010, 09:40:11 PM »
The track north of manchester is only work in progress, i started to lay it and considered i have to use a different approach.

I needed a locomotive that could pull more on the express route, to have longer trains (7 instead of 5 tiles). The stations reached their maximum capacity. Since the number of passengers is higher in each train, i don't know if the speed or comfort had a large impact on profit. I used the Schools class for the stopping route, as it is the most powerful fast locomotive i could run on the sidelines, with their reduced weight.

Black 5 and Hall are both universal locomotives, that have been used for freight and pax. I would used some 3p before black 5 was introduced, for the fast local lines. I used the black 5 instead of GWR Hall as i liked the black :-).

I don't use the LNER V2 as the LNER teak cars take too long to load (>7000), the A3 are good enough still. (Correction i just saw V2 also has not enough power for the express line, and for the side lines it is too heavy)
I think i had some 1400 instead of Panier tanks on a line? Main reason is, Pannier Tank was introduced on month earlier, by the time the GWR 1400 showed up, i replaced my whole auto train fleet with the panniers, regardless of the higher cost. The auto trains had quite enough revenues anyway, so they are still dirt cheap with the PT, even if the 1400 practically runs for free. LMS 7P provides roughly the same as the A3.

Perhaps more interesting is the way i select trains. First thing to look at is the weight limit of the track, then the required length that determines the power. Than i look for some degree of consistency of the railroad companies. This doesn't completely work as in different times different sets cover the requirements better. (e.g. in 1900 there's no way around GWR, LMS compartment carriage is a must on commuter lines, Metropolitan bogies are quite important intra-city etc). I'm also completely lost with the constant mergers of companies: Where is LMS now, what engines should i use for my left over compartment cars? Not being a british railway enthusiast makes this difficult, but also bearable, as i don't really care i just tried to be slightly consistent as i wanted to make it downloadable.

A secondary aim i have is to make different lines with different attributes on the same track quite distinguishable. This means for example i wouldn't like to have the same train sets on the two lines between Shropshire and Sheffield. On the fast commuter lines west of Shrewsbury however, i have the same sets, the point where the lines diverge is distinctive enough to keep the convoys apart.

There are some other things i want to point you too. Did you notice that i upgraded some of the wooden sleeper track (13c/km, 145 km/h, 65t) to improved wooden sleeper track (18 c/km, 175 km/h, 88 t) for slow local trains near Sheffield and Manchester? I upgraded the electrics there to MS&A stock driving motor/trailer, and didn't realise they had 67 t when overloaded. Since this happens only mid-way at a station, it was the easiest solution to upgrade all the track.

I considered to increase the maximum weight for that track to 67t, but this would also allow LMS 3P on that track, i'm not sure if you want to let such a good engine run on cheap track. The best engine available after 1930 to run on this track is the Pannier Tank. The best engine for local trains is the M7, which is out of production for years already, i still retain it and keep it in depots to duplicate them. (They run on line 176 for example)

BTW, GWR 1300 Great Prairie is practically useless now, since it's to heavy for cheap track and to slow and week for lines worth to build better track, i rather take a Hall. The 1300's advantage is it's low cost and shorter stations.

Btw, i didn't use any Swindon, Gloucester etc diesel as they are underpowered at the moment. (It seems this happened to some vehicles when you introduced overcrowding. Making a 'prohibit overcrowding' button more desirable, as for some buses and trams it doesn't matter, unless there's a climb in their route.)

With regard to financial balancing you might want to make the best track improved heavy wooden sleepers quite a bit more expensive, also the express trains. I earn so bloody much money on that line. I think you also overdid it a bit when increasing the max travel time. As you can see there are hardly any refunds, in a quite extended network.
The early game is much more relaxed now, i got a profitable network earning nicely between Shrewsbury and Bristol without much thought and no optimization at all. Before local lines had to be perfectly balanced to break even in the beginning.
But i soon earned so bloody well that i wasn't thinking about money at all when building the track to Sheffield (had like 3 Mc). Those mid length lines to Wolverhampton and Taunton earned quite well. Making them a bit less profitable would have been a good idea. (i had M7s as the most cost effective engines there.) Perhaps you can outright increase train running costs, even my intra-city workhorse MR 2441 is very cheap and running at good profits in my ring lines.

My suggestion is increase all by 30% to 50% (easily done by a script), then check for outliers and reduce their price, then give the excellent fast engines another price boost. I don't know however how it looks before 1900 or after 1950.


should those two last posts be split and moved to the pak forum?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010, 10:34:02 PM by vilvoh »

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2010, 11:17:50 PM »
This is very interesting indeed - it strongly suggests that the journey time tolerance is crucial to balancing, which is a very useful discovery. Am I right in thinking that, with the more relaxed tolerances, it plays rather more like Standard than it did before?

I think that it may be too early to make any final conclusions on what should be rebalanced, as more data need to be gathered, but I am getting a good idea of where to start.

One thing that would interest me a great deal if you could test; from the 1950s onwards, the proportion of the population with private cars increases enormously (in line with official statistics for the period). Can you, as the public service player, start connecting all the towns together with good quality roads in that period and see what effect that that has on your network? I've never had the chance to test this with a developed game, and I'd be extremely interested in your findings.

Meanwhile, I am working on producing some trains to fill the gaps that this game has identified in suburban stock, starting with electrics.

Offline sdog

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2010, 11:53:17 PM »
Yes, i'll likely test it from the 50s onward.

The game did only in the aspect that it wasn't economically challenging reflect the playing experience from standard.

The biggest two impacts on a different gameplay are the passenger routing -- the dense network i had is completely impossible with standard, the passengers would just use one single, often absurd, route, overcrowding it while the rest is vacant -- and inkleyad's new map generation. Your network code really only comes to play with inkleyad's addition, as it requires a hierarchy of different lines.

However reducing the time tolerance a bit will require more efficient setups and i think this is important reduce the profit of huge networks quite a bit.

I shall test private car ownership in a while (right now i'm on a holiday in Mass Effect 2 -- my annual mainstream gaming without any regrets).

ps.: that game i posted is my way of sayin thank you for the wonderful simutrans-experimental, by showing you how well everything works and how incredibly good it resembles real passenger networks now. This is quite unlike any transport simulation game so far, it's even beating railroad tycoon.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2010, 12:42:23 AM »
SDog,

I am very glad that you like Simutrans-Experimental so much - I do very much appreciate your saved game! It is extremely interesting to see how your game pans out.

Enjoy your holiday and keep me posted on your game!

Offline ӔO

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2010, 02:11:06 AM »
Here is a megalopolis end game, by using timeline -off.
note: it's a large map and has about 7200 convoys.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17111233/Le%20monde%20gamma.sve

There's so much money generated, that it's entirely possible to make expensive infrastructure that the player won't even use.

Offline sdog

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 11:42:56 PM »
I think it would be a good idea to increase the max weight for wooden sleeper steel rail track from 65t to 67t. This would allow MSJ&A Stock EMU and LMS Class 3P to use it. If building a good track i wouldn't use those low end engines and there is a gap for engines better than pannier tanks for the 65t tracks. I've been running M7s on those routes about 20 years after their obsolescence.

I also suggest to use the Masonary Stone bridge for map generation, replacing those useless wood bridges is a needless chore for players.

Some minor issues:

In 1949 is the fastest express engine the LMS 8P princess at 175 but the fastest LMS carriage can go only 160 km/h. But the fastest SR carriage can go 175 while the fastest SR engines 'West Country' and 'Merchant Navy' have a max speed of 155 km/h.

SR 4-Cor EMU have a dependency problems, nothing can be attached to the first engine. (Perhaps the middle part is from an obsolete EMU?)

City road isn't available anymore, not even for public player. I'd suggest to make a player city road, with increased maintenance, and building cost, but same graphics. Using the concrete road in cities causes an ugly patchy appearance.


Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 12:40:31 AM »
SDog,

thank you very much for the feedback, that is most helpful. As for the weights, I've decided to increase the weight to 69t, which would also allow the Schools and the Saint class to use them.

As to the masonry stone bridge; I don't think that there's any way to specify which bridges are used by the automatic road generator when the map is built. Recently, a new feature was added (to Standard, also present in Experimental 8.0 and up, if I remember correctly) to allow the type of automatically generated road to be customised, but not bridge. You might want to post an extension request on that topic (for Standard), as that seems like a useful idea.

Sorry that you've had problems with the 4-CORs. As it happens, I've already fixed that (fixes on Github), so it should be fixed for the next release. Thank you for spotting it, though! As you'll see from this thread, the next release will also have lots more choice of EMUs ;-)

As to the city road not being available, I had deliberately taken it out as it is not generally available for private players to build, but there is no differentiation in the code between ordinary players and the public player. On reflection, it does make sense that all players are able to build all types of road, so I'll put it back.

As to the maximum speeds of steam locomotives, this is a tricky one. Steam locomotives did not generally run in service faster than about 80-90mph, even hauling the crack expresses. The world record of 126mph was rather an exception: a very fast locomotive with a lightly loaded train going down a gentle gradient, running at speeds that caused the locomotive to have a serious failure a short time afterwards.

It is difficult to find accurate data about the maximum service speeds of steam trains, as speedometers were not routinely fitted until nearly the end of steam in the UK. Unlike diesel and electric locomotives and units, steam locomotives did not have an official speed limit (other than the speed limit of the track on which they were running). In the last few years of steam operation, express steam trains on the Southern region of British Railways were recorded as reaching about 100mph (using rebuilt Merchant Navy class locomotives), which was considered somewhat of an exception (partly because, it is supposed, drivers, knowing that the locomotives' days were numbered, were less concerned about keeping them in good working order). There was a time when Simutrans-Experimental had a slightly modified physics engine from Standard in which steam locomotives would lose power as they approached their maximum speed. The speed limits for steam locomotives were set during this period to be slightly higher than their expected operating speed for this reason.

Since the new physics model, introduced by Bernd Gabriel, has been introduced, there is no longer a need to do this, and it might be wise to revise some of the maximum speeds for steam locomotives to reflect the fact that this is no longer an issue. My preliminary view is that no steam locomotive should have a maximum speed of more than 100mph (160km/h) and that all but the very elite passenger express locomotives should have a speed limit of 90mph (145km/h) or less.

Carriage speed limits are another complexity. Before British Railways days, passenger carriages did not have an official speed limit. The BR Mark I stock of 1951 onwards had (or, at least, later acquired) a speed limit of 90mph in its original state and 100mph with modified bogies. The trouble here is that I rather suspect that more stringent safety standards were applied as time went on; certainly, the original bogies of the Mk I stock were no worse than those of the very best passenger stock of the 1930s which would have been allowed to go at 100mph had the locomotives been fast enough and track conditions good enough; certainly, the 100mph or so runs in the latter days of steam on British Railways would have been undertaken with coaching stock with bogies no better than those of the original Mk I design, likewise the world record run itself.

Indeed, in the game, the Mk Is have a progression: the earliest type, with the original B1 bogies, are restricted to 90mph; the intermediate type, with the Commonwealth bogies, are permitted to go 100mph but are 1t heavier (the Commonwealth bogies were very heavy), and the final type with the B4 bogies are also permitted to go 100mph and are the same weight as the original carriages. So, to have pre-Mk I carriages permitted to go at faster than 90mph would create a perverse incentive not to upgrade coaching stock to carriages that were undoubtedly better than all that went before them.

Therein lies the dilemma: should steam locomotive maximum speeds be their maximum theoretical speed or maximum likely service speed? And, in each case, how to work out what that number is in any event in the absence of official records? It is not an easy task, as one might imagine! Any suggestions on how to deal with this issue would be most welcome.

Edit: One very interesting thing that I've noticed about your game is that you've closed the branch line to Salford and replaced it with a trolleybus route. May I ask what was the reasoning behind this? It's very interesting to see the sort of thing that happens in real life pan out in a Simutrans-Experimental game like this!

Edit2: As to the traffic issue (discussed in the other thread), I'm noticing in the town statistics a fairly explosive growth in traffic already - and this is 1948! It doesn't seem to be affecting passenger numbers yet, but just wait and see where you are in 10-15 years' time ;-)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 12:54:13 AM by jamespetts »

Offline sdog

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 02:31:10 AM »
Quote
As to the city road not being available, I had deliberately taken it out as it is not generally available for private players to build, but there is no differentiation in the code between ordinary players and the public player. On reflection, it does make sense that all players are able to build all types of road, so I'll put it back.

The city road was quite a bit too cheap to build and maintain, since the speed is quite acceptable it gives road transport quite an edge. When you take it in again, could you also increase it's costs?


Regarding the speed i only wanted to point out that SR has carriages with a max speed much higher than their fastest engine and LMS carriages are much slower. Using them with the expensive 8P would slow it down. The maximum speed that can actually be reached by the trains is taken care of by Bernd Gabriels physics engine already. Just look at the speeds of the A3 engines on my express line. The hardly ever reach their maximum. At 130 km/h their average speed is rather high however.

This shows also very clearly with electric engines, i've replaced some 'black fives' with electrics recently, and got quite an increase in average speed on a local line. (Shrewsbury - Bristol)


I've closed the branch line to Salford, as the better line goes down south-west towards Livingston, with a stop in Salford. I re-routed one branch line to Middlesborough and canceled the Middlesborough - Salford line. With the new station it was not convenient to keep the short branch into the centre of Salford. Back when i built this branch, buses were rather lacklustre and i would have needed either a nearby depot or build some bridges to get the buses there. The rail was already there.


EDIT:
i've seen you've done quite a lot of work on EMUs. However since i'm runing it in 9.0 instead of a devel version i'll stay at pak version 7.1 for a while, so others can try the savegame.


EDIT:
some minor things: LMS 8P Tender becomes unavailable/obsolete long before the engine.
Typo in "BR Sandard Class 5MT"
SR Bulleid/Raworth cc has a pantograph but requires third rail.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2010, 08:55:04 AM by sdog »

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2010, 11:09:09 AM »
SDog,

ahh, thank you for pointing out the price issue! I have altered that for the next version: now, they are slightly more expensive than tarmac roads. As to the other small issues: thank you for pointing out the issue with the 8p tender - I have now fixed that ready for the next version; likewise with "Standard 5MT".

The Bulleid/Raworth CC, however, is correct: the pantograph was used in yards where very low-speed, inexpensive overhead lines were used instead of third rail for safety reasons. Obviously, that aspect of things is not simulated by Simutrans, but the graphics reflect reality.

As to the speeds, this remains a tricky issue for the reasons described above about the speed limit of the BR Mk Is. How do you suggest that this best be dealt with without causing perverse incentives?

Thank you again for all  your testing and feedback - it is much appreciated!

Offline sdog

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2010, 05:44:54 PM »
As soon as the BR Mk 1 carriages get introduced it is not an issue anymore. But before, the best, and most prestigious locomotives don't have a high end carriage set of the same company, the ones they have would slow down the trains. I didn't care much for it my self before, i just used some LNER or SR stock. I just wanted to mention it for completness. (i suppose the LMS couldn't just borrow some SR carriages?)

Btw, 8P (both LMS and BR) look beautifully with the BR Mk I carriages!

Offline neroden

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2011, 10:23:33 PM »
"
I don't use the LNER V2 as the LNER teak cars take too long to load (>7000), the A3 are good enough still.

Side issue here, we really need a solid rebalancing on loading times.  They're all rather... rough estimates.  Apparently loading time is generally proportional to the number of doors (!), but there seems to be some other stuff going on -- deliberately longer loading times for "longer distance" carriages to represent the choice to provide greater luxury, shorter loading times for electrics (perhaps to simulate the shorter turnaround time, even though the passenger loading time is the same) -- I'm not sure how to get all of that right.

Offline sdog

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2011, 10:58:14 PM »
Quote
perhaps to simulate the shorter turnaround time, even though the passenger loading time is the same

There's already some code implemented for trains that can't run bidirectional to have longer turn-around times.

ps.: WB! Brilliant, you're back on the forum again!

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Re: Observations on a well-developed game (0.7)
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 01:01:09 AM »
Side issue here, we really need a solid rebalancing on loading times.  They're all rather... rough estimates.  Apparently loading time is generally proportional to the number of doors (!), but there seems to be some other stuff going on -- deliberately longer loading times for "longer distance" carriages to represent the choice to provide greater luxury, shorter loading times for electrics (perhaps to simulate the shorter turnaround time, even though the passenger loading time is the same) -- I'm not sure how to get all of that right.

I have tried to balance loading times quite accurately. Loading times do indeed vary largely depending on the number of doors (nothing loads faster than a compartment carriage with a door to each compartment), but also with things such as the size of the doors, the size of the areas around the doors (if there is not enough space, people will hover near the doors and block people getting on and off), the size of the doors (notice the particularly long loading time for the class 158 with its small doors) and whether passengers have to go and retrieve luggage from the luggage compartment (or bicycles from the bicycle rack on modern trains), the latter of which is a reason to have longer-distance carriages have higher loading times even with an equivalent number of doors, although notice that there was a great change in railway carriages in the 1930s: previously, side-corridor trains had had compartments each with their own outside door; the railways then introduced for their longer distance trains carriages with no door to the individual compartment, but access instead by one vestibule at each end of the carriage. This made things much more comfortable for passengers (eliminating noise and drafts when in motion, and the inconvenience of people stepping over one when at a station), but slowed loading considerably. It is possible that I have not quite calibrated the figures exactly, but I'd imagine that only small adjustments rather than major re-calibration would be required.