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Offline Yan

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MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« on: August 15, 2012, 10:26:36 AM »
Hello :) ,

I am passionate about urban transport networks, and I have long been looking for a game that could both provide me the opportunity to build different transportation networks and manage their operations. The recent emergence of Cities In Motion  had been led me to expect a degree of realism, but I perceived that the player is locked in predefined scenarios, and transportation systems that we can create
are focused on downtown, with no way to create commuter trains, let allow building high-speed trains covering long distances.

It’s Why  SimuTrans, which is  a free game in constantly changing, seduced me.
And more  specifically features of Simutrans Experimental I discovered in this forum, that strongly interested me, and I would like to have further informations on them:

I-ECONOMIE/FINANCE

1) Regarding the calculation of income in urban networks, in Simutrans Standard, does ticket prices  were fixed by unit? If yes, in Simutrans Experimental, can we have the ability to define specific subscriptions for some travelers, such as pensioners or students?
Can we define some prices with distance zones  according to the distances covered by bus / tram / metro and commuter trains?

2) Being Frenchspeaker, I did not understand the notion that the total income was calculated on each segment of a line ... Is it not rather a partial income we get? Why
overcrowded stations cause loss of money?

3) Since the speed of véhiculs in Simutrans Experimental influences  more than in Simutrans-Standard incomes, some transport systems do not they might be privileged over others, like the subway from the bus example ?
How in this case to maintain the balance of traffic between different networks?

4) If I understand the explanations of the presentation of the game, in Simutrans-Standard, player  could borrow from the bank without limit, while in Simutrans Experimental, it will be a limit beyond which no loan will be possible?
Bankruptcy is still possible and in this case even more irreversible than in Simutrans-Standard?

I stop here for today. Thank you in advance for your kind answers! ...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 10:36:22 PM »
Hello! Thank you for your interest in Simutrans-Experimental - I certainly intend for it to provide as realistic simulation of urban transport as my ability to modify the Simutrans-Standard code (which already has many features conducive to such an aim) will allow.

To answer your questions:

(1) We don't simulate ticketing in any detail in Simutrans. It is an issue that I have considered, and my view at present is that that is probably for the best in terms of the balance between playability and detail: it would probably be too fiddly/awkward for players to have to delve into setting ticketing systems/prices for individual 'bus routes when they have a huge transport network to manage. The revenues are based largely on distance multiplied by amount/number carried multiplied by the basic rate for that type of cargo (or passengers/mail), and modified by a few additional factors, including the speed bonus (faster transport gives higher fares, and this effect is more marked for longer journeys), the comfort levels (more comfortable trips for passengers generate higher revenue, which effect is also more pronounced for longer journeys) and catering (additional revenue can be generated from having on-board catering, which, once again, is greater for greater distances). The next version of Experimental will have a further refinement which gives different rates for different stages of the journey: e.g., 2.00c/km for the first 100km and 1.50c/km thereafter.

(2) In Experimental, the total revenue from a trip is calculated at the end of each specific part of the journey. For example, a 'bus travelling between A and F calls at B, C, D, and E. The player will receive all the revenue for the passengers who get on at A and get off at E when the passengers get off at E. In Standard, players will get a bit of the revenue when the 'bus arrives at B, a bit more when it arrives at C, a bit more when it arrives at D, and finally the rest of it when it arrives at E. We can't do that in Experimental, since the rate of payment depends on the length of the journey. This does not affect multi-mode journeys. Suppose a person catches a 'bus from A to E and then a train from E to X - the player will be paid for the 'bus journey when the 'bus gets to E, and then for the train journey when the train gets to X.

As to overcrowded stations losing money - this can happen because of a special overcrowding penalty affecting the final fare, and it can also happen because, if passengers or goods get to an intermediate station and it is overcrowded because the supply of transport to that stop is less than the demand for it, they might have to wait so long to be able to board a service that they give up waiting and go home (by taxi), and, in the world of Simutrans-Experimental, they are then entitled to a refund of the full cost of the journey that they have made on the transport network so far.

(3) This is a difficult issue that has been discussed a number of times. The basic issue is that routing is actually a very intensive and difficult thing for the computer to do to the level of precision that it is done in Simutrans-Experimental. The way that it is done now takes into account just one factor: that is speed. If multiple factors were to be taken into account, it would take the computer much more work to do the routing, and make the game too slow to run. However, this does not mean that multiple modes of transport in a city cannot simultaneously be used. 'Buses can offer more direct connexions than underground railways, so might actually be quicker for particular routes despite not being faster. Further, a system that becomes very popular because it is faster will get overcrowded, and passengers will start having to wait before they board the services. Also, the actual loading will take longer. This will mean that the faster services are less quick for passengers, more of whom will use the 'buses until the system reaches an equilibrium.

(4) Bankruptcy is no more irreversible in Experimental than Standard. In a multi-player game, bankruptcy will result in the liquidation of the company, whereas, in a single player game, it has no consequence. The difference between Standard and Experimental is that, in Experimental, when a player runs out of money, he/she can't spend any more, whereas, in Standard, the player can go on spending for ever, but will go bankrupt.

I hope that this was helpful.

Offline Yan

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Re: MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 11:17:58 AM »
Hello,

It's been a hell of a time that I have not had the opportunity to return to the forums Simutrans lack of time, and I do not answer your jamespetts is that now you must excuse me.

I continue my questions on the economic aspect of Simutrans Experimental (my readers will have the kindness to inform me of the latest developments since my first message):

5) Regarding the evolution of the economic sectors of a city:

a) Is the industrial sector  in Simutrans Experimental remains always essential for as in Simutrans Standard, or tertiary (office buildings) can it become dominant?

b) The level of wealth for a type of business (and in consequence the pay for the workers)  can affect change social classes in the cities of Simutrans EXPERIMENTAL? If so, how such types of businesses they appear?

c)Are  Industries and other businesses  works continuously 24h/24 and 7/7, or is there rest time (no work on Saturday and Sunday, for example), and the traffic of urban transports can be influenced in consequence?

d) Is  player can define periods of vacancy for each of its cities, which may affect the number of active employees in each company (40 to 50% less of employees for example)? In cases where these holiday periods exist, then they can encrease the frequentation of areas of shopping and leisure in the cities, causing the densification of trafic of urban transports in these areas?

e) Can we create specialized cities economically, or in one type of industry, or in the tertiary sectors, or even in the tourism and leisure?

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 11:33:02 AM »
To answer your questions in sequence:

(a) the type of city building that appears in a city does not by itself have detailed economic consequences for that city. Because this is primarily a transport simulator rather than a city simulator, the detail of the simulation of cities is much less than, for example, games in the Sim City series. Industry type city buildings are not the same as actual industries, however, which produce and consume goods that players can transport. These are important for city growth, in that industries in a city that consume any product need to be kept supplied with that product (or products) in order to allow the city to grow at the greatest rate;

(b) there are not different wealth levels of buildings simulated in Simutrans - only different densities;

(c) changes in traffic flow depending on the time of year/month/week/day are not simulated in Simutrans (Standard or Experimental), as this would cause a large number of difficulties in implementation and game play that cannot satisfactorily be overcome;

(d) holiday periods are not simulated in Simutrans for the reasons given above; and

(e) the simulation of cities is not sufficiently in depth to allow for specialisation of cities in this way, as Simutrans is primarily a transport simulator.

I hope that this helps!

Offline Yan

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Re: MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 11:53:21 AM »
Dear jamespetts,

I thank you for your informative answers that however  still leave me glimpse for some gaps that I hoped  corrected on Simutrans Experimental, and wich I see that this is not the case, especially for the simulation of urban lifestyles with peak / off-peak hours on weekdays, and changing travel on weekends (Saturday and Sunday)  more for recreational areas and commercial areas than economic areas(industries and offices) in cities :-[ ... It’s in my view afundamental parameter of realism in the simulation of urban transportation  :-[ ... There is really  no way to change Simutrans Experimental in this direction ??? ?! ...

Anyway, I continue my analysis of the brochure about the  Economy and Finance:

6) Regarding maintenance costs of vehicles and their lives, the level of obsolecense it not only depends on the regularity of vehicle maintenance (frequency of visits with their technical costs), use which is in fact (mileage or surcharge for regular buses / trams) and technical progress on each of the new models that reduces the frequency of failures?

7) Is the Personnel costs are taken into account in Simutrans Experimental: driver wages, ticket controllers, maintenance technicians ...? If yes, career promotions are they possible or strikes  can they occur in case of dissatisfaction staff?

8) I've seen that so many cars could be tough severe competition for urban transport: the choice of a city for the use of his car it may be due to the poor quality of urban transport services?! ! ... what other factors can cause the drop in attendance this network?

Thank you and see you soon

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 03:16:57 PM »
The most significant reason that it is not practical to simulate varying demand patterns is because the routing of passengers and goods is an extremely computationally intensive process, especially on larger maps. In order to get adequate performance, a single route to and from every possible destination and origin is calculated (and periodically recalculated) and stored. The system for doing this was written some time ago by a particularly talented programmer (Knightly) who sadly no longer works on Simutrans. If passenger demand varied, then there would also have to be a varying timetable to keep up with demand: but that would mean that there could not be a single stored route from each origin and destination, as the routes would change dynamically throughout the day. That would vastly increase the computational load. I cannot think of any means of satisfactorily accounting for this variation within a system that calculates routes based on journey time, stores them, and refreshes them periodically.

It is conceivable, I suppose, that somebody with the skill of Knightly could come along and produce an efficient system that works with varying demand and a set timetable. I have no idea whether this is possible: certainly, nobody is volunteering to do this at present, and I do not have the ability to do that. However, even if this was done, it would need people to create full timetables for their services. Creating a timetable for any non-trivial network (with properly timed connexions, and designed so as to optimise way and vehicle usage) is a very significant task: so significant, in fact, that doing it for real life transport companies is a serious and very lengthy job. This level of micromanagement in a game such as Simutrans would make playing it more like hard work and less like fun, and would take away the basic joy of playing a game such as this. Again, it is conceivable that some extremely talented programmer might invent some automation mechanism for timetables that makes them as easy to implement as the current system, but that would mean that Simutrans would be working on the same level as professional transport timetabling software that is sold to real transport companies for many thousands of pounds, so it seems to me highly unlikely that (1) anybody would in fact devote that level of time and skill to creating something so vastly complicated for Simutrans; and (2) that something that complicated could be made to work at satisfactory speed on present day computers.

To answer your further questions:

(6) at present, the level of obsolescence varies only with time. There are plans (see here for more information) to increase the sophistication of this model such that maintenance costs of vehicles increases with the number of kilometres travelled and is reduced by periodic overhauls (which would be automatic and largely transparent, to avoid the need for tedious micromanagement); and

(7) the cost of all the various things necessary to run and maintain vehicles, ways, etc., is abstracted by the maintenance costs. One of my long list of coding projects is to allow these costs to vary over time to simulate, e.g., the increase in labour costs over time: see here. As to strikes and career promotions, it is not practical to simulate that sort of detail in a game of this sort.

As to private cars, the main factor in determining whether passengers use a private car or public transport is how congested that their origin and destination cities are, although the relative speed of the two journeys, as well as how overcrowded that the origin stations are are also factors, as is the length of the journey: for very long journeys, passengers start to prefer public transport. Congestion in each city can be observed on the city graphs window.

Offline el_slapper

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Re: MORE INFORMATIONS ABOUT BASICS
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 01:55:45 PM »
I thank you for your informative answers that however  still leave me glimpse for some gaps that I hoped  corrected on Simutrans Experimental, and wich I see that this is not the case, especially for the simulation of urban lifestyles with peak / off-peak hours on weekdays, and changing travel on weekends (Saturday and Sunday)  more for recreational areas and commercial areas than economic areas(industries and offices) in cities :-[ ... It’s in my view afundamental parameter of realism in the simulation of urban transportation  :-[ ... There is really  no way to change Simutrans Experimental in this direction ??? ?! ...(.../...)

Well, added to James Petts excellent answer, I'd like to say this kind of things is definitively dependant on the scale of the game. I remember playing A6 on my PS1, with schedules & seasonal variations, and it was cool. At the same time, I could never have built the kind of huge networks I make on Simutrans.