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Offline fbfree

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Boats balancing
« on: October 24, 2011, 01:41:34 AM »
At James' behest, (and also now that I know the revenues work out reasonably), I have a set of costs, running costs, and speedbonuses that should roughly balance for boats in pak-brit-exp.

Shipbuilding costs are approximately 3500/ton for a wooden hull, 10000/ton for an iron hull, and 3500/ton for a steam engine.  These are costs in the dat files, and are divided by 400 to obtain dollar costs in the game.

Running costs are approximately $1/km/ 20 dry tons (empty), with fudging to increase cost for faster ships and sail ships, and reduce it slightly for larger ships.  The clipper is the only ship to have running costs somewhat higher than this, given the intensity of labour required to historically operate these vessels.

While I don't have the historical numbers with me at the moment, the above costs compare well with historical shipbuilding costs and the cost of 1 ton of coal/km/20 ton displacement (fully loaded) plus a small crew.

To balance the revenue side, I've used a speedbonus setting of water=1750,8,1825,10,1830,15,1835,17,1840,20,1933,30,2025,30
This sets the speed bonus for water travel equal to that for land travel before 1835, then keeps it close to the speed of ships for the rest of the game.  I've tested this from 1840 to 1860 so far, and it produces approximately a 100% to 150% margin on a fully loaded passenger ship in 1840, that slowly declines through the 19th century.  The margin is higher on cargo ships.  It takes 1-2 years of running at high capacity to regain capital costs.

My goal for balancing boats is to make them a capital intensive, high margin, high loaded capacity, and low revenue per passenger.

Attached are the .dat files with this balancing arrangement.

Offline wlindley us

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2011, 02:49:07 AM »
Playing in 1836, this feels just about right.  The Norfolk Wherry and Humber Keel are about as profitable as before but with much higher running costs.  The Blackwall Frigate formerly made far too much money when just carrying passengers and mail; now they still make decent profits with no goods but they no longer feel like "cheating."  All round, good.

I am curious how the barges will compare.

Offline sdog

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2011, 03:07:45 AM »
i'm makeing the pak right now with your values, want to give it a try.


i think you perhaps went a bit too far with making the boats more profitable.
I'm testing with a company with 5 boats (iron paddle steamers) on two lines that provide mostly full boats both ways. Before the company was barely profitable. Each boat was running at a profit, but the capital requirement was so high that i could buy only 5 to 10 years a new boat. Margin used to be 11% to 17%. With the same boats and your parameters i run at 60% margin. Since boats are dirt cheap i could have expanded rapidly. Buying 5 to 10 new boats a year. (this also means return of investment is at max 1 year for those boats at full utilization)


savegame
(due to the lower value of the boats, the company is bankrupt from the start. don't worry it will soon be active again.

played with simutrans experimental from latest github 10.x (savegame runs with latest release 10.2 and pak 8.1)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 04:30:39 AM by sdog »

Offline fbfree

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2011, 05:24:46 AM »
sdog,

I didn't notice the newer boat running costs in 0.8.2, and I haven't compared my balancing effort to the new costs for boats.  I've only compared to the very broken way boats were in 0.8 and pak-brit standard.

Looking at the current .dat file, I don't think that the $65,000 + change capital cost of an iron-hulled paddle-steamer in 0.8.2 is reasonable, given its low capacity.  If we compare this capital cost to that of a train engine, a $30,000 train in 1850 can carry around 400 passengers + 120 bags of mail at an average of 60km/h or better, and bring in a significant profit.  This train has 1/2 the cost and 18 times the capacity (6 times the passengers at 3 times the speed) of the iron-hulled steamer.  Because a boat doesn't pay way maintenance costs (at least not on natural waterways), it should have a higher capital cost for a similar capacity, but a factor of up to 3 should be sufficient.  I suspect the reason why the iron-hulled paddle steamer was given such enormous capital and running costs in 0.8.2 is because it has to balance an excessively high revenue from going at nearly double the speedbonus.  That's why I've moved the speed bonuses up to reduce revenue.

I expect that for each vehicle, capital and operating costs will be nudged up a bit from my values to bring the game into balance.  A capital cost of up to $5000 for the iron-hulled steamer may be appropriate and in line with other costs in the game.


wlindley,

Let me know how the profitability of the Blackwall Frigate goes as you approach 1840.  I hope to tune it to have it become somewhat of a money loser as steam power becomes more popular.  Given the low speedbonus settings in place in before and around 1825, this ship should be balanced for that period.

Offline sdog

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2011, 04:41:35 PM »
I don't think the 8.2 balancing is resonable either. It is almos impossible to run a profit. It's perhaps closer than your values though. The balance should be somewhere in-between.

Perhaps the running costs of the boats and revenue are quite ok, but the capital cost is way too high.

It depends quite a bit on two things: Does James want boats as a little addition for railway lines, to connect the odd island or bridge some bay, or does he want shipping only companies to be profitable on their own? Prices in 8.2 are fine for the former.

speedboni are quite an issue though.

Offline fbfree

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2011, 05:44:34 PM »
I'd definitely like to see boats be profitable on their own, and the prefered method of transport for long-distance low capacity routes.  Upgrade to a rail line would be justified in order to increase profitability at larger capacities (say at a turning point of 500 passengers/month), or in a multiplayer game to steal customers from a competitor.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 09:02:23 PM »
Thank you very much for your work on this important topic - it is much appreciated. One thing to bear in mind, however, in balancing is that I plan to add features to Experimental which alter the way in which balancing will work (namely vehicles' running costs increasing over their lifetime, and recurring (no more than several times during a vehicle's projected lifetime) overhaul costs). This, together with the fixed monthly cost already implemented in the code but not used in the pakset, will substantially alter the balance of the game, and may well require vehicles to be rebalanced substantially (not least to add the monthly cost).

Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to have an interim balance such that the game is playable in the meantime - that is what I was trying to achieve with the increased running costs in 0.8.2, and am disappointed that I increased the costs too much (for reference, I was trying to scale the costs to match the costs of a train with equivalent capacity - not just a railway locomotive, as stated above, but an entire train, complete with carriages/wagons).

As to the purpose of boats - I'd very much like to see boats being profitable on their own - at least, in circumstances analogous to those in which, in reality, boats are profitable on their own. In the pre-railway era, transport by boat was the predominant form, and, from the 18th century onwards, canals were added to rivers and the sea as conduits of that transport; canal companies became enormously profitable and were highly important for the economy. I should very much like to see a full development of canal transport in Pak128.Britain, as well as other forms of shipping, all with historically accurate balance.

Any work done towards achieving that goal is most welcome. Sdog - do you care to suggest a means of arriving at the happy medium to which you refer above?

Offline sdog

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Re: Boats balancing
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 09:21:16 PM »
The boats can operate at a profit at current values. It is a rather narrow margin, and it requires a good network backing it. In other words difficult. The real problem is the capital cost, playing 20 years with full boats to get to 5 boats is too slow. My suggestion is to reduce the costs of boats, perhaps to somewhere between 1/3 to 2/3 of the current value. Overall i would however stay closer to James' values than fbfree.

The wooden paddle steamer needs also lower running costs, i couldn't get it profitable at all, being full of pax both ways. With full mail it was runing without a loss, but no significant gain.

Building shipping companies is also very easy, this gives players quite an edge in multiplayer games. It is desirable to slow down their growth. Making them economically more difficult might be a fair trade-off.

The most profitable train in the mid 19th century Jenny lind +3 tiles of carriages costs in the 20k range. It has higher pax capacity and very importantly is much faster. The investment for the rail infrastructure is also not very high. Early rails are cheap. (There's btw quite a jump in cost from the wrought iron rails for 60km/h and light trains to the next better allowing 110 km/h. The former might be a bit too cheap.)

It might be a good idea to have a look in fbfree's approach to the speedboni. I forgot if the maximum travel time is related to the speed bonus though.

I would also like to add a warning about the savegame. With the latest 10.x from git, the boating company runs at a loss due to problems with passengers refusing to walk to a station in walking distance, to reach the larger train network. I'll provide some details on this in a different thread later today on another day.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 04:59:18 AM by sdog »