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Author Topic: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes  (Read 3675 times)

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otus

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First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« on: March 10, 2011, 01:55:31 PM »
I have played around with Simutrans since version 60 or something, but I've always had some trouble playing a longer game because of various imbalances and annoyances. That is, until I tried Simutrans Experimental with pak128.Britain Experimental. Seems like the experimental branch fixes almost all of the stuff that has bugged me previously.

I wanted to play a shortish game, so I started quite late, in 1960. The first trouble appeared seven years later: after August 1967 I didn't have any trams. The Blackpool Progress Twin retired then, and the next tram, Blackpool Jubilee, appeared only in April 1979! Did I miss something here? ???

I had some similar trouble with diesel locomotives: there were no diesels available between January 1975 and September 1976.

The following points probably don't have so much to do with the pakset, but I thought I'd mention these in this post as well. The first time I had trouble with weight limits was quite confusing. The message "can't find route" doesn't say anything about the real reason, and it took me a while to figure out that the bus I wanted to use was just too heavy for a particular bridge it had to cross...

Another nag is about how the industries close down. I'm not actually sure if this has more to do with the pak or SE itself? Industries closing down is a good idea in itself. However, I find it a bit unrealistic that an oil refinery, that's constantly supplied with enough oil and has its products shipped away, would just suddenly close down. Surely the first industries to close down should be the unprofitable ones that are not supplied with enough raw materials or don't have enough buyers?

Other than that, I'd like to thank the developers for their valuable work! I've probably never enjoyed Simutrans as much as with Simutrans Experimental and this pakset. :)

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2011, 12:40:05 AM »
Otus,

welcome to the forum, and thank you for your feedback - it is much appreciated. The issues with the absence of various types of vehicles on the timeline is not a simple one, as there were simply no such vehicles produced in the times in question. Because there was a rush to build new diesel locomotives in the 1960s, very few were built in the 1970s and early 1980s, leaving gaps in the timeline. Similarly, Blackpool used its old trams for many years before refurbishing them, and, until the early 1990s, was the only town in the UK to retain trams, so there simply weren't any new trams made in the UK between the dates that you cite. It's not entirely easy to decide whether to leave a gap or to extend the construction lifetime of the older units to compensate.

As to the "can't find route" thing, Bernd Gabriel did once find a way of making that show when the issue was the weight limit, but that seems to have stopped working, and I haven't had the time to look into that issue since - thank you for pointing it out, though.

In respect of the closure of industries, industries are closed to simulate changes in demand for that type of product, or competition from overseas, or the fact that certain types of factory become obsolete and unable to compete with more modern types; that the particular factories are supplied with product and that their output is dutifully taken to consuming industries does not, therefore, mean that they should survive indefinitely in that state. The transportation arrangements to an industry are only a small part of its profitability.

In any event, thank you again for your helpful feedback - it's very useful to know that Experimental is doing what it was intended to do! Do let me have any more thoughts that you have in relation to it or any other related matter.

otus

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2011, 12:08:09 PM »
The issues with the absence of various types of vehicles on the timeline is not a simple one, as there were simply no such vehicles produced in the times in question. Because there was a rush to build new diesel locomotives in the 1960s, very few were built in the 1970s and early 1980s, leaving gaps in the timeline. Similarly, Blackpool used its old trams for many years before refurbishing them, and, until the early 1990s, was the only town in the UK to retain trams, so there simply weren't any new trams made in the UK between the dates that you cite. It's not entirely easy to decide whether to leave a gap or to extend the construction lifetime of the older units to compensate.
I thought something like this already (I'm not very familiar with the UK transport history). Apparently the issue is not a simple one because of historical reasons, but being suddenly unable to build some means of transport is a gameplay flaw as well (and Simutrans is still a game). I'm not sure if extending the construction lifetimes would be too unrealistic - after all, in a market economy someone would probably sell me some trams if I was willing to buy.

In respect of the closure of industries, industries are closed to simulate changes in demand for that type of product, or competition from overseas, or the fact that certain types of factory become obsolete and unable to compete with more modern types; that the particular factories are supplied with product and that their output is dutifully taken to consuming industries does not, therefore, mean that they should survive indefinitely in that state. The transportation arrangements to an industry are only a small part of its profitability.
I guess my point was primarily, that the industries that are not being served by the player's transportation network should have even worse profitability than the ones that are. Anyway, I wrote about this because I made a rather large investment to ship goods to and from this oil refinery, only to see it close down in a few years. Is there any way to tell if the industry is going to stay around for two or ten years (or whatever is the difference between a profitable and non-profitable investment)?

In any event, thank you again for your helpful feedback
It's good to see that feedback is appreciated. I hope my experiences and opinions are at least a bit helpful. :)

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2011, 11:17:14 PM »
Otus,

I think that we will have to extend build dates where there are gaps. (Incidentally, most 20th century and later locomotives, etc., can be researched quite easily on Wikipedia as to introduction and retirement dates). It might be worthwhile to have a discussion as to what vehicles need their life to be extended and by how long - do you have any particular suggestions to start off?

As to the industries, simulating the profitability of industries as suggested would add a very large amount of complexity to the system: currently, there is no method for doing this, and industries close down more or less at random (although only when their type is obsolete, and they might upgrade instead of closing).

I should be very interested, incidentally, in seeing your saved game if you can upload it? I find that a very useful means of investigating whether things are working as I had hoped.

otus

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 10:43:16 PM »
It might be worthwhile to have a discussion as to what vehicles need their life to be extended and by how long - do you have any particular suggestions to start off?
I'm afraid I don't really have any valuable input to this as my limited knowledge of transport systems is anyway mostly about those in Finland. ;) All I have to say is that it'd be the best for gameplay to have no gaps. Aside of the gaps with trams and diesel engines I mentioned in my starting post, I don't even know of any other gaps.

As to the industries, simulating the profitability of industries as suggested would add a very large amount of complexity to the system: currently, there is no method for doing this, and industries close down more or less at random (although only when their type is obsolete, and they might upgrade instead of closing).
I didn't really mean to suggest any more detailed simulation of industries. My question was more about the information that is given to the player - is there some way to know in advance when (even approximately) an industry will be under the risk of a closedown?

I should be very interested, incidentally, in seeing your saved game if you can upload it? I find that a very useful means of investigating whether things are working as I had hoped.
Incidentally, my latest savegame constantly crashes on me, so it's probably even more interesting to take a look at. :) The crash seems to happen every time when the month changes. I was just updating the railroad network and trying to connect some new cities, but because of the crash the work is largely unfinished...

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2011, 11:51:33 PM »
Otus,

your saved game file link just gives me a 404, I'm afraid. Can you re-upload it? Edit: Hmm - appears to be working now. Am checking.

As to the industries, there really is no way of telling in advance when they will close down, as it is a random operation. The only thing that might provide an indication is the introduction/retirement dates for industries, as only industries that have passed their retirement date close, and the further past their retirement date that they are, the more likely that they are to close; but there is also a random chance that such industries will be upgraded instead of close.

In relation to the diesel locomotives, I have added an extra locomotive, the class 50, to fill the gap (with an extended build period), which is available in the latest release of Pak128.Britain - do give it a go. The trams I have not done anything with at this juncture, as they are a rather harder problem to solve.

otus

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 12:03:01 AM »
your saved game file link just gives me a 404, I'm afraid. Can you re-upload it?
Ugh, sorry about that. I am just migrating to some new server hardware and updated the DNS too early, so you got directed to the new (and still incomplete) installation. It should work now, though. :)

The only thing that might provide an indication is the introduction/retirement dates for industries, as only industries that have passed their retirement date close, and the further past their retirement date that they are, the more likely that they are to close; but there is also a random chance that such industries will be upgraded instead of close.
Yea, I already thought it works like this - thanks for confirming it. If I recall correctly, I tried to find the retirement date of some industry in the UI, but it's not visible anywhere. Maybe this could be added (after all, retirement dates of vehicles are visible too).

In relation to the diesel locomotives, I have added an extra locomotive, the class 50, to fill the gap (with an extended build period), which is available in the latest release of Pak128.Britain - do give it a go. The trams I have not done anything with at this juncture, as they are a rather harder problem to solve.
Thanks for pointing me to the new version of the pak, I hadn't noticed the release yet. Maybe I'll even start a new game with the new version. :)

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2011, 01:28:16 AM »
Thank you for the crash report; I have now eventually found and fixed the issue, and the fix will be in the next release. I shall seriously consider adding the introduction/retirement dates to the industry GUI, too, if I remember.

otus

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 01:31:25 AM »
I have now eventually found and fixed the issue, and the fix will be in the next release.
That was quite fast ;) Just out of interest: what caused the crash?

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Re: First game with pak128.Britain-Ex: some gameplay notes
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2011, 02:38:46 AM »
An end of the month check incorrectly caused a substation to be deleted, causing an access violation when it was next stepped.