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Author Topic: Cost centres  (Read 2575 times)

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Offline jamespetts gb

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Cost centres
« on: February 14, 2009, 11:36:03 AM »
One difficulty when playing Simutrans is that it can often be very difficult to work out whether one entire route is profitable or not. The profitability of a line can be seen easily enough, but that deals only with the running costs and revenues of vehicles, not ways. A particular railway route, for example, might have moderately profitable vehicles, but have that profit more than consumed by the cost of track maintenance for that specific route; if that is so, there is no way for the player to find out without an enormous amount of manual number-crunching.

What might, therefore, be a sensible idea, is to be able to assign (1) lines; and (2) ways, wayobjects and stations to cost centres. Then, one could view a set of statistics somewhere for the overall profit of each cost centre to be able to work out whether any particular route, etc., is profitable overall. The same lines/ways, etc. could be assigned to more than one cost centre if they are used on or for more than one route, and the user could then decide what proportion of that asset's revenue and costs should be assigned to each cost centre (equal to each by default).

This would make it easier for players to work out how profitable that certain parts of their network are, and to diagnose profitability problems when they are not making as much money as they'd hope.

Offline Combuijs

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Re: Cost centres
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 11:48:58 AM »
Interesting idea.

Quote
The same lines/ways, etc. could be assigned to more than one cost centre if they are used on or for more than one route, and the user could then decide what proportion of that asset's revenue and costs should be assigned to each cost centre (equal to each by default).

In this case, aren't you transferring the problem of knowing what is profitable or not to knowing what proportions should be filled in?

This idea has certainly its merits, we now have one big cost centre for the whole network. I don't mind having non-profitable lines as long as they are helping and compensated by other lines. For instance a city bus network might loose me money, but it brings passengers to the central train network which gets massive profits thanks to those bus lines. I think bringing this information into a cost centre is a lot of work, and needs to be done everytime for new lines etc.

I don't know, but I don't think I would use it.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Cost centres
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2009, 11:56:31 AM »
The cost centre would be a diagnostic tool to use to try to find unprofitable or underperforming parts of the network, rather than necessarily something to use constantly. It would be useful as a way of checking that no areas are performing worse than they should do, or are a drain on the company's overall finances. Just as in reality, it would not be as simple as closing anything that is unprofitable in itself, as one must consider the implications for the profitability of other parts of the network, which would be part of the challenge and fun of the gameplay.

At present, anyone wanting to perform profitability diagnostics on the network has an impossibly difficult task. With the tool that I suggest, it would be a great deal easier. It would still be challenging to some extent (knowing what proportions to set, etc.), but that is a minute fraction of the difficulty of attempting to work out profitability of a particular part of the network as things stand now, which would involve manual tile-counting and a calculator.

Offline VS

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Re: Cost centres
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 12:37:32 PM »
Then how about adding a calculator instead? ;D

Some (high) level of automation must be involved, or it is more work than fun. Assigning manually things would range from tedious to annoying, IMHO. The best thing that can be from player's perspective is something that requires nothing and adds something.

How about:
a) find route for vehicle, calculate its effective maintenance - weighing by some extrapolation from #convois in line & their speed / #convois passed on tile (statistics!),
b) calculate effective maintenance for stations like with ways.
That would require no additional input from player.

Maybe you could expand on how is infrastructure taken into account? I feel that I am missing something which you already solved.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Cost centres
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2009, 12:52:19 PM »
VS,

the idea is that, instead of manually counting each track tile and adding all the data to a spreadsheet by hand to try to work out the infrastructure cost of a route, one simply selects in the GUI somewhere, "cost centre 1", selects all the track/road/etc. tiles to add to that cost centre with the mouse (preferably clicking and dragging rather than clicking each one), then adds a few relevant lines to that cost centre, and one has an in-built automatically updating graph of the entire revenue, cost and profit of everything assigned to "cost centre 1". If the GUI was well enough designed, assigning things to a cost centre would be very easy indeed.

The only alternative would be manually to count all the tiles of each type for the whole of that part of the network, check the running cost of each tile type, add all the information to a spreadsheet by hand, get all of the profits of all lines using that infrastructure, add all that to a spreadsheet by hand, and then update the spreadsheet by hand every time that one made any change to the relevant part of the network.

The former is easy enough for people to do quickly without undermining the fun of the game; the latter is not. Incidentally, a system of finding the route for each vehicle would not work as I intended, since some vehicles may use parts of more than one cost centre. Take, for example, a means of checking the profitability of a railway branch line. Suppose that the branch line train starts at station A on the mainline, and travels along the mainline to station B, where it diverges onto the branch line, and calls at stations C, D, E and F. To check the profitability of the branchline, one would add (1) all lines serving the branch line; and (2) all the track and station tiles on the branch line to the branch line's cost centre, but not the part of the main line used by the branch line trains, since that would not be part of the branch line cost (since it would be needed even if the branch line were not there).