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Author Topic: Canal/river navigation  (Read 3465 times)

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Offline jamespetts gb

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Canal/river navigation
« on: January 05, 2012, 07:18:37 PM »
Would it be terribly difficult, I wonder, to make canal and river navigation (and therefore the capacities of canals and rivers) rather more realistic by preventing stacking/passing of boats? Canals and rivers should really be treated like roads, with vehicles able to go in one direction or another, and pass vehicles going in the opposite direction, but not able to pass each other in the same direction (it would be unnecessary to replicate the overtaking function on roads, as overtaking was not generally permitted on canals). How easy would it be, I wonder, to replicate the function of roads for rivers and canals?

One thing that I do notice that is perhaps more of a bug than anything is that boats navigate on the right of rivers and canals even when "drive_left=1" is set in simuconf.tab.

Offline VS

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 08:17:30 PM »
As to your side question, driving on left, how would that work if there are small ships that can be flipped, and large ones that are centered? I'd say this won't work without explicit indication...

edit: I like the main change, too.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 08:41:28 PM by VS »

Offline The Hood

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 08:24:55 PM »
Regarding driving sides, this isn't so important I don't think.  I recommend keeping the current method, i.e. centring vehicles by default and using graphical work arounds where desired.  I would agree with the idea of having boats act more like roads though on canals.

Offline wlindley us

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 08:55:50 PM »
It was my understanding that the laws of navigation in rivers and canals is that ships and boats (and airplanes) always travel "on the left side" such that their green (starboard, right-hand) lights face each other? 

Offline The Hood

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 09:07:41 PM »
Certainly river traffic in the UK is mostly travel on the left with a few exeptions though, e.g. part of the river Cam at Ditton, just outside cambridge where the lanes swap over for ~500 yards due to narrow rivers and visibility on corners. 

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 09:41:07 PM »
As to your side question, driving on left, how would that work if there are small ships that can be flipped, and large ones that are centered? I'd say this won't work without explicit indication...

Hmm - surely it's no harder to do it on the left than the right? Or do you mean that the left/right thing is set in the pakset (in which case, the issue lies with Pak128.Britain)?

Offline VS

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 09:49:56 PM »
You might be right - thinking about this a bit more, I'll take back that objection. I just realized that flipping all vehicle images horizontally and then swapping them between directions (as in, left-up image is set to flipped right-up etc.) would be universal, regardless of alignment.

Offline prissi

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 09:54:53 PM »
Boat on channels very often overtake other boats. The problem is only that the scales of simutrans does not refer this very well. (A river is tiles 1km wide: SPace for lots of ships ... )

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 09:59:26 PM »
Boat on channels very often overtake other boats. The problem is only that the scales of simutrans does not refer this very well. (A river is tiles 1km wide: SPace for lots of ships ... )

The same logic would apply equally to roads, but those are treated as I suggest for canals/rivers. If overtaking is common on channels, however, there is no reason that that cannot also be implemented on rivers (overtaking was not generally permitted on British canals, however).

Offline prissi

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2012, 09:26:36 AM »
If ship behave like truck, where is the incentive to build channels? Those are way more expensive than roads, and also cost a lot of maintenance and are much slower. In the end running 3 truck each 40t would beat the small vessel with 400t and 1/4th of the speed. Boats blocking themselves in channels/rivers would not be offer a different transport option gamewise; even more if small boats are forbidden to run into the ocean.

About the scales: If I would apply the same scale to rivers like to roads, then a river boat must be at least three tiles long (75m) and a huge ocean going vessel a whooping 16 tiles ... Thus rivers are visually as wide as small ships long, i.e. 75 to 100m. But again, simutrans cannot get scales matching without using much larger maps.

Blocking ships would also mean huge habours at rivers are needed, while the normal river habour usually consists only of a stretch on concrete at the side with a crane. I have one just feeding our power station next to my home.
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/display/168725
http://maps.google.de/maps/place?q=kraftwerk+moabit&hl=de&cid=410179168541629260

Of course we have also large river habours in Berlin:
http://www.punkt3.de/index.php?go=lesen&read=1124
But those are way to large to built them in SImutrans, they would require 10x10 tiles about.


Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2012, 11:38:11 AM »
The answer to the question in your first sentence is that an enormous network of canals was built in the 18th and early 19th century long before motorised road transport was ever dreamt of, when canals could carry vastly more than roads. These early canals were narrow and did not permit anything more than one (narrow) boat in each direction. The "golden age" of canals, from the late 18th century until the dawn of the railway age, was based on canals of just this type.

To simulate both these sorts of canals and wide coastal rivers in which the number of boats wide is practically unlimited, it might in theory be possible to set a parameter in the .dat file of the waytype to specify whether the channels should behave as they do now, or behave as roads, but am I right in suspecting that to do that would be really rather complicated? A simpler option would be to have a simuconf.tab parameter so that pakset designers at least can choose whether they would prefer greater accuracy for the early types of canals, or the sort of capacity advantage of the later types to which you refer, which option would choose between the current behaviour of canals and the road like behaviour that I suggest.

Offline prissi

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 09:19:19 PM »
Checking for free way for ships liek for roads would require completely different code. Some parts are there for cars, but imho this is nothing I want to do for Simutrans. TRy it for experimental, if you like.

Those narrow channels seem to be a very british phenomen. Most waterways foolowed rivers, at least in the US and central Europe, and were rather wide with one very special narrow places like Locks, Tunnel, Bridges and the like. And thos river barges could also not transport much, 10 t would be a lot already. TRansport of anything decent will be the same pain as for horse carriage only games.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2012, 09:57:08 PM »
Hmm, I think that I might well do it for Experimental at some point, in that case, possibly making it optional, as the narrow canals in which boats could not pass each other were a predominant feature of British transportation for nearly a century. To give an example of the improvement brought about by transportation by canals over horse carriages, Charles Hadfield in "British Canals, an Illustrated History" at p. 18 records that,

"Land carriage, of course, has always existed, but before the days of the road engineers of the late eighteenth century, roads were so bad that waggons were not always able to be used, and much of the carriage was done on the backs of horses and mules. Except for very short distances, however, the cost of land carriage made the movement of goods by its means prohibitively expensive. One horse can draw perhaps two tons on a level road, and from fifty to a hundred tons on a good waterway, according to its size, in each case accompanied by a man and boy. Land transport was therefore limited to short-distance carriage - for instance the carriage of coal for a few miles round the colliery - or to bring goods to or from a river or the seaside".

Turning to the question of coding - is it a relatively straightforward matter of transposing the road related code to waterways, or are there additional complexities that need consideration? I should be most grateful for any pointers in this regard.

Offline The Hood

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2012, 01:43:15 PM »
British canals are quite different to continental ones - earlier and smaller.  Some ("navigations") were essentially upgraded rivers to allow free movement of boats, but most canals were narrow and cross-country in order to connect the different river basins.  The continental canals tend to be much wider and larger.  I think this is why we have a difference of opinion on what should and should not be allowed...

Offline isidoro

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2012, 04:33:29 PM »
Some more info:  the most relevant channel in Spain is the Castilian Channel (Canal de Castilla).  It is 207 km long and was built in the XVIIIth century.  Depending on the part of the channel, it is between 11 to 22 meters wide and between 1.80 and 3 meters deep.

Navigation was only allowed from sunrise to sunset and, at the beginning, a combination of wind and horses was used to move boats along it, but at the end only horses were used.  Now it is mainly a touristic attraction, but also used for taking water for the wheat fields.


Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2012, 12:53:55 AM »
The Hood - that is an interesting observation; I must confess, my knowledge of continental canals is limited. That does suggest that a sensible system is to have an option in simuconf.tab, however, if it is not feasible to have different types of channels have different rules.

Isidoro - that is most interesting indeed. Were boats permitted to overtake each other on this canal?

Offline isidoro

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2012, 04:12:51 AM »
I've got that information from http://www.canaldecastilla.org/
It is only in Spanish, though Google translate can be of some help.  Under the "¿Cómo funcionaba?" section (How it worked?) you can find the more relevant information.

Right next to the channel there is a path where the horses walked and pulled the boats.  Interestingly enough boats drove on the right and with such a system based on horses, I find it difficult to guess how they could overtake, but I don't know.  Maybe something manual?


Offline Combuijs

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2012, 10:50:58 AM »
See http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaagpad in Dutch, but there is an English topic on this subject too.

There is a nice picture which shows you that the pulling was not only done by horses, but by people also, as late as 1931. No mention on overtaking however. I don't think it happened too often, because I guess you would have to stop the slower ship. And it takes a lot of effort to get the ship going. Once it is on the move, the pulling is relatively light.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Canal/river navigation
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2012, 12:31:41 PM »
Yes, there were towpaths (usually just along one side, especially in the early days) on British canals, too, and, yes, we had towing with gangs of men as well as horses, although not as late as the 1930s.

When boats wanted to pass each other going in the opposite direction, some difficulty was entailed, involving manually passing the rope over one of the boats. It would have been insane to try to overtake in such circumstances.