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Author Topic: Pakset Dilemmas  (Read 4161 times)

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kohota107

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Pakset Dilemmas
« on: July 01, 2011, 07:43:24 PM »
Evening all,

I've been playing simutrans on and off now for about 8 years, and having reinstalled the game after a break of about one and a half, I realised why I have abandoned it so many times in the past.

I have always been loyal to pak128 because I greatly value the high level of graphic detail and believe it adds much to the overall gameplay experiance. I feel that as a traditional player of pak128, it is difficult for me to play pak64 at all, as I'm just not used to the much lower resolution.

However, the reason I have left so many times is the massively flawed economic system that is utilized.

I am a purist. I believe that the idea of a transport tycoon simulator is to become a transport tycoon. Importantly, I believe that the only real way to acheive this gameplay experiance, is by working yourself from the bottom up- creating small profits in the beggining > reinvesting > upgrading infrastructure > improving productive and allocative efficiency > creating massive profits. In my experiance however, it is nigh on impossible to achieve this model using the traditional game mechanics. As a result, players are forced to, IMHO, cheat by playing as public service, or just ignoring financial limitations in order to build large transport networks. I have yet to come across an example where somebody has created an impressive and profit-turning network using an entirely vanilla map.

These are the flaws I have experienced:

  • Infrastructure maintenance costs are vastly overestimated. The only way you can turn any kind of profit in the early years of the game is create public transport road networks (busses) that use exisiting- and therefore free- infrastructure. Even then it is extremely difficult to judge the optimum number of stops, and of which vehicle to use, as most combinations end up making a loss anyway.
  • One of my favourite types of transport is via rail, yet due to the last point, 99% of the time it is uneconomic in the view of the game's economy to create any such network, for goods especially.
  • The speedbonus is utterly confusing and speed penalties (of which I know of NO documentation in-game) unfairly skew the game mechanics. If there is an insistence on including a speed bonus, then at least explain how it works. For brand new players, the limited information in-game lacks clarity. For example, the speedbonus screen from the good screen demonstrates minimum speed requirements for the bonus, but it does NOT explain whether this is a journeywide average minimum, or whether the convoy involved just has to break this limit. After playing for years, I still do not know how this feature work.

I am not a mathmatician, and I do not wish to spend hours pouring over mathematical graphs and grids trying to find the 5% or so off solutions that will create sustainable profits.

As far as I am aware, from the little bit I HAVE played of pak64, I now face a trade-off between the paksets off graphic detail, or economic logic.

This dilemma has even pushed me away from Simutrans to OpenTTD, but I find their economics vastly oversimple. Pak128 should offer a challenge- but not one which requires game-meddling trickery to overcome.

A very disgruntled,
Kohota107

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2011, 08:42:17 PM »
I'm also not really happy about the current balancing in pak128, but balancing is really quite difficult in simutrans - it's nothing you can change completely in short time IMO. Last time I tried to work on it, I felt like I lost my mind and gave up in frustration.

kohota107

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 09:50:45 PM »
I'm also not really happy about the current balancing in pak128, but balancing is really quite difficult in simutrans

Is there no way to just port the existing pak64 data values into pak128? Obviously all the vehicle values would have to be revised, but that shouldn't be too difficult. It would be an opportune time to shake up some of the vehicle values anyway, and make playable the hundreds of neglected models that just aren't efficient to use at all at the moment.

Offline Václav

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2011, 08:36:13 AM »
I must agree.

Currently it seems like if base pak128 is balanced in such way like if is counted with add-ons which strike back to base pak128.

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2011, 09:43:39 AM »
Well, pak128 is supposed to be different from pak64 - not the same with just bigger graphics. And it is also supposed to be more difficult than pak64, IIRC...

Besides, there are so many differences between both paks, that just taking the values from pak64 would be about as much effort as fixing pak128 on its own: a lot.

You can however adjust your own version if it's ruining your fun so much:

You could either play in beginner mode (among other things, all revenues are per default 150% of the normal value - can be set to even more) or you can adjust some maintenance costs... (in pak128/config/simuconf.tab)

Offline Vonjo

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 05:06:28 PM »
Maybe I can help to re-calculate it. I should try. Looking at the depot right now.

kohota107

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 11:05:09 AM »
Quote
Well, pak128 is supposed to be different from pak64 - not the same with just bigger graphics. And it is also supposed to be more difficult than pak64, IIRC...

I am aware of this. However, as I said in my first post, it shouldn't be so so difficult (or impossible in my experience and all the examples I have seen) to create a succesful map without 'cheating' in some way (playing as public service to create infrastructure, for example). IIRC, this is not necessary in Pak64.

Quote
You can however adjust your own version if it's ruining your fun so much:

You could either play in beginner mode (among other things, all revenues are per default 150% of the normal value - can be set to even more)

You clearly didn't understand what I was saying in my first post. Players should be able to create a profit-turning network on a completely VANILLA map.

Quote
or you can adjust some maintenance costs...

An option.

Perhaps the easiest option would be to experiment with the standard revenue values (like in begginer mode) and fine an increased percentage that keeps the game both competative but also playable within a working economic model.

Kohota107

Offline yorkeiser

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 01:33:20 PM »
I sincerely do not completely agree.
Surely, pak128 is more difficult than other paks I tried (britain and 64 above all), but I don't think you have to cheat to achieve a nice company profit. My tactics is to begin with buses and later replace them with trains - when I reach a good profit.
You can find an online server (128.simutrans.entropy.me.uk) based on pak128 with companies that make great annual profits: there couldn't be any cheating because public service is locked.

Offline prissi

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 08:42:45 PM »
Using the coal mine trains gaves a nice profit every time I do pak128. Bus transport also earns more money compared to pak64, especially since there are free roads (or have those been removed?)

Offline sdog

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Re: Pakset Dilemmas
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 09:35:16 PM »
using the network effect helps very much when transporting passengers. connect many townhalls with bus stops and set up simple routes, until you generate enough demand for more sophisticated transports. Very important also connect industries, they have very high local pax demand.

If you do this in two distant regions, each in itself being at break even, with minimal capital investment, then connect both, this connection becomes a real cash cow. With the revenues you can expand the local networks and increase the capacity of the long range route.

Infrastructure cost is a major cost factor in this pak, avoid large stations or stops and low population densities at the beginning.

For industrie games, try to find industry combinations where you can utilize your vehicles in both directions. Eg bringin coal from the north of your map to the south, and waste from the south to the centre.

If you want to exploit the system, use the cheapest ways only with very fast vehicles, speed bonus depends only on the vehicles theoretical top speed, not the actual speed. If you want to be fair, use slow cheap ways with slow vehicles.