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Is it cheating to use airplanes?

Started by passengerpigeon, June 07, 2017, 11:36:33 AM

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Dear all,
I am currently considering adding airplanes to my map to take the strain off of rail routes linking the largest cities. However, from this forum, I have somehow gotten the impression that airplanes in Simutrans are considered "heresy". I know that officially, anything accomplishable with the in-game GUI is not cheating, but I am still wondering whether airplanes are shunned within the Simutrans community in the same way that Toyland is shunned in OpenTTD.
Thank you,


I've never heard that one before. And cheating in Simutrans is hardly heresy either. In fact, Simutrans gives a lot of leeway for people to make up their own rules. And players keep asking for more. I see it as there being as many ways to play Simutrans as there are players.

Airplanes are however disliked for flying too low, which is a technical limitation in the graphics engine.


A large part of the gameplay in Simutrans is to build ways connecting two points on the map, and making sure the vehicles that use it can cope with it, eventually needing to build more ways etc. Airplanes, on the other hand, require an airport, and that's pretty much it. You lose the gameplay/challange of building ways you had with other means of transportation.

Something that was suggested for Simutrans quite often were pipelines, since they would make sense to move large amounts of liquids. And perhaps even conveyer belts for non-liquid goods. This was rejected,because Simutrans is a transportation game, and the point is to have vehicles moving around, not static pipelines you don't interact with. However, while planes do move around, they are technically just as interactive as pipelines, and take out just as much gameplay - in case of pipelines, you would still need the 'way' but no vehicles, in case of planes you need the vehicles, but no way.

Usually, you play games for the fun, not to get to the end screen. Fun usually equals gameplay. So, planes, a feature that takes away gameplay, may be seen as something that takes out the fun. Much like building one station for a whole city takes out the gameplay of inner-city traffic. Many players might choose not to use them, because they have less fun using them. If you use them, and still have fun because there is a lot of other infrastructure you need to care about, then everything is golden. If you use them, and find out that it's just not as fun for you as it was playing with other vehicles, you'll simply not use them anymore.


Ships require even less ways than airplanes, although you can have ships operating on ways (canals and rivers) exclusively, which might not be possible with airplanes.

Simutrans tries to cater to players who like the challenge of building networks and those who like building model worlds. If you are into the economics, it isn't doing very well.


Quote from: Ters on June 08, 2017, 02:27:01 PM
Ships require even less ways than airplanes, although you can have ships operating on ways (canals and rivers) exclusively, which might not be possible with airplanes.

Yes, but ships require water. A body of water big enough to make ships a valid option is (or should be) big enough to discourage bridges. Therefore, ships on natural water and tracks/roads are somewhat mutually exclusive, and this acts as an excuse for them - you can't really replace a track network with a ship network, unless you build canals (so the way-building element stays) or the map has tons of water to begin with (why would you play an archipelago map unless you want to use ships, though?) Planes don't have such restrictions, they can be used on pretty much any map.

In order to compare planes with ships, we would need to have some kind of landscape only planes can cross, and some kind of landscape they can not use.
Extension Request territory here - though it's not that I request it, I just want to show how planes could get a bit more interesting than they are right now. If someone want's to discuss the content, please copy it in a new thread in extension request, since this here is not really the place.

What if Simutrans would generate mountains differently? Rather than having the same amount of noise everywhere on the map, what if there are flatter valleys with less noise and only soft slopes, and higher mountains with more noise and steep slopes? Perhaps even linked to climates (the 'rocky' climate would have more noise and steep slopes while desert would have zero noise, even if the map generator at some point changes to have them not defined by altitude anymore). A normal way through these mountains would be rather impractical, especially with double-height paksets. So while you would perhaps use ways which allow to traverse steep slopes just to get to some industries in the mountains connected, you would probably build your main lines around them, or spend enormous amount of money for landscaping or tunnels. Thus, planes which could cross these mountains without effort would be more valuable in these areas, even if they were too expensive to compete with normal tracks.

The other direction would be introduction of air turbulences and/or prohibited airspace, which would change the always-straight-line idea of planes. While air turbulences could be a natural phenomenon and a scale for planes, such that bigger and better planes could perhaps endure more turbulences than smaller, cheaper planes (akin to some way to differentiate small river/coastal boats and bigger ocean ships). Prohibited airspace, on the other hand, would be artificial and generated by other stuff on the map. For this to work, one would need an "altitude" variable for planes to indicate how high they are. Citys then could have prohibited airspace up to a certain altitude (depending on their size), so only planes that don't reach it need to move around. Planes that could reach it need to check whether it makes sense to circle around to get up there to fly over, or just fly around. Again, choosing planes with higher altitude would mean they can fly over cities, but only if the way is long enough for them to reach that altitude. Additionally, special buildings could create additional no-fly-zones, eg. some very pregnant curiosities (Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal,... the stuff that aliens blow up in all the movies), dangerous industries such as Oil refineries and nuclear power plants, military and governmental buildings. Not that it really matters "why" there is restricted airspace somewhere, but it would certainly be nice to have an explaination - plus, this way the player can manipulate it by placing such buildings with public hand.


It can take hours to lay down a 1 or 2 double track pairs across a large multiplayer map, especially late game where the map is built up. On the other hand constructing 2 fully operational airports takes less than 2 minutes. Unless you highly optimize the tracks to use the most profitable vehicles with practically no back tracking then they will even make less profit than the aircraft in pak sets like pak64 and pak128.

In short, if you allow air in your multiplayer server expect everyone to use it and do not bother with rail outside of goods not supported by air or for small local hops.


On the other hand, a ship line only require three tiles of construction (two docks and a depot), no matter how many ships there are. Airplanes require at least nine tiles, three of which must be built on twice (2×3 runway tiles, 1+2 taxiways, 2×1 stops and 1 depot). And that doesn't work well for a larger amount of aircraft. Designing a efficient airport has some challenges to it. That is not the case for harbors.

What I was writing about here was strictly how much way-building is involved, since way-building was described as a central part of gameplay. I did not go into how useful ships are to solve logistical problems, but as I recently mentioned elsewhere, I hardly use ships after 1900 because they are too slow.

And from my perspective, airplanes are not an easy way to avoid building railways. If I build airports, I have to reconfigure a rail network that has existed for decades, which can be far more work than building them in the first place.


I'm playing only SP, so cheating is not my problem. I do build hubs, and I do link them by planes. All the challenge is to build ground hubs that feed your airport hubs properly. And, if you begin the game ealry enough(1910 in my case, usually), you have plenty of time before the planes are really kickass to join hubs.