Brief background for this post: pak128 Britian. 1st locomotive appears 1855. First industry appears 1870. 1855-1869 are the passenger train ONLY years for this pak. This is my interest in the game. Only passenger trains to worry about. Great introduction to the game for a beginner (or so I thought).
It is impossible to turn a profit for this game during those years, regardless of how long a line I create, how many cities I connect, or how well I connect those cities. MODding is the only way to get those years to work for a profit. I'm not a MOD guy, and I shouldn't have to MOD a game to get it to work properly, that's the dev's responsibility. This game should work properly for the passenger train only years (1855-1869) and it doesn't. Because it is impossible to turn a profit during the passenger train only years (1855-1869), it needs a little help from the dev's in order for the game to succeed. Here are my extension ideas to help make it all happen:
Travel agencies - a building designed to increase local and regional train travel. From a travel agency, a player can purchase advertisement for their network. Advertisement can be for the city the travel agency is in, it can be used to advertise any city along the network the city and travel agency are connected to, and of course, it can be used to advertise a tourist attraction you happen to be connected to. Advertising increases ridership to the target city or attraction in the ad campaign. Passengers pay extra when purchasing tickets through a travel agency (10%? 20%?). Passenger spawn rate could be slightly increased for Travel Agencies. You can also create different levels of travel agencies that help increase the passenger spawn rate with every successive Travel Agency level [level 1 = 20 extra passengers, level 2= 40 extra passengers, etc.]. Extra passengers, extra cash. Increases the chance of playing in the black instead of the red during the impossible 1855-1869 years.
Guided Tours - This idea is better suited to the bus years, but can still be applied to the passenger train years as well. Through the Travel Agency, offer guided tours to all the city hotspots, including ones you aren't connected to [extra money, but not as much as tourist attractions you're actually connected to). This would require a special Guided Tour Bus (or horse-drawn vehicle), and of course, passengers pay extra to ride.
Farmers Market, Business Districts, Shopping Malls - The game places heavy emphasis on tourist attractions for passenger train ridership, and no emphasis on passengers seeking a purely commercial train experience. The most important aspect of train ridership during the pre-industrial age and beyond was commercial in nature. People wanted to go to places like London, New York, and Paris TO SHOP, and now they could. They also wanted to ride the train to COMMUTE BACK AND FORTH FROM WORK IN THE CITY. There are work commuters in the game, but they appear in the industrial age (1870-) and they only want to go to industrial destinations. Workers and shoppers in the city have to walk, I guess. Farmers Market, Business Districts & Shopping Malls are aimed at the passenger seeking a purely commercial train experience. They operate on the same principals of tourist attractions. People going to and from Business Districts & Shopping Malls spawn work commuters just like coal factories and refineries. Something like this is desperately needed for the passenger train only years, and the new buildings would help relieve the redundancy of multiple City Gates, Russian Orthodox Churches & Old School buildings that saturate the game map. Variety is good. [IMO - every major city [10K+ pop] on the game map should start with one or more of the aforementioned building suggestions].
Dining Car - Am I playing too early in the game, or does something like this exist in the later years? Extra cash, absent in the impossible-to-turn-a-profit passenger train only years 1855-1869.
Sleeping Car - See comment above ^
The stand alone, passenger train only years (1855-1869) of Simutrans pak128 Britain is one of the best ways to introduce a beginner to this game, and it is absolutely the worst timeframe of Simutrans to play. These years need some serious help in order for a player to succeed financially, and these are my suggestions to help improve the game so that it's less impossible to fail at.
Please fix the game [without me having to MOD] so it's less impossible to succeed, or don't offer a game start option before 1870. Otherwise, you risk losing a potential player base, especially beginners.
In brief, this game is produced by volunteers. It is not sold.
While everyone puts in effort to make it as workable and hopefully as good as possible, there is always a shortage of time and volunteers willing to put in long hours of hard work for things such a balancing of costs and such.
We are an open source game. If you do not like something, feel free to fix anything you don't like yourself.
You will find us a friendly community, but it is not appreciated when demands are made. Clearly, no one who has had these issues has had the time to try to fix them.
You will have a much better experience here if you ask questions and find out why things are the way they are. Making demands will not end well.
If you do not like the economy, but wish to play in a time period, then you might consider changing how you play. For example, I always play with "freeplay" so I don't have to worry about finances. Instead, for me, my goal in playing is to try and carry all the passengers and goods that exist for the networks I create. This can be quite a challenge as the numbers explode.
If you find pleasure in something like that, or just not worrying about finances and treating that era like a virtual train set, then that might also resolve the issue for you.
If you are concerned about the economy, then I suggest changing the game settings to provide an income boost or playing a different pakset or time.
Nobody will change the start dates to cut off ones that YOU do not find acceptable. That's not how this works. At all.
Also, this is not an extension request so I am moving this topic.
I should note that Pak128.Britain for the standard version of Simutrans is not balanced. You might want to try Simutrans-Extended, which does have more features than Simutrans-Standard.
The balancing is really not responsibility of developers, but pakset creators. Because costs, vehicles, start dates, etc... are defined by the pakset, not the game.
You would need to ask pak128.Britain creators, but since they are no longer active, yes you need to "MOD" pak128.Britain yourself to balance it (and if you do, please share your modifications to help other players!).