Author Topic: Balance: progress and intentions  (Read 927 times)

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Offline jamespetts

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Balance: progress and intentions
« on: July 07, 2017, 10:12:00 PM »
I thought that it might help players to know what parts of Simutrans-Extended with Pak128.Britain-Ex are currently balanced and what are not. This should help players to identify what balance related issues encountered while playing the game can be reported as bugs and what balance related issues need to await further planned progress.

Vehicle physics - mostly balanced

The work on balancing physics is largely complete. There are a number of vehicles for which it is hard to find data (such as the tractive efforts for railway multiple units or road vehicles), but the vehicles where it is hard to find data have figures inferred from other vehicles.

Way physics - mostly balanced

The physics of ways (axle load limit, wear tolerance, maximum speed, etc.) are largely balanced, errors and omissions notwithstanding.

Industry production and consumption- mostly balanced

The production and consumption rates of industry have been calibrated to realistic levels and should be more or less correct. However, there may be errors due to the lack of extensive play testing.

Vehicle capacities and comfort levels -largely balanced

These are, errors and omissions aside, generally complete and accurate. However, these are in the process of being re-calibrated for the passenger and mail classes feature discussed here. This involves separating capacities and comfort levels for different classes and in many cases adding further vehicles for different classes (e.g. high density versions of aircraft or first class railway carriages).

Passenger demand/generation -largely balanced

The overall level of passenger demand and generation should be more or less balanced to realistic levels, as should passenger journey time tolerances and ranges and the number of possible alternative destinations.

However, the difference in passenger demand/production between individual buildings is not balanced yet, with buildings mostly using default numbers which are sometimes not realistic (e.g., a cathedral demanding hundreds of times more passengers in any given period than a market). Balancing this will involve adding data to the individual buildings.

Passenger/mail/goods revenue -partly balanced

The base figures for the revenues for passengers/mail/goods are all calibrated against one another at historically accurate levels, and the sometimes complex relationship between price and distance is calibrated at least fairly accurately.

However, for passengers and mail, the lack of different classes and the current speed and comfort bonus system makes this calibration of the basic figures less relevant than it ought to be. Work is currently in progress to add passenger and mail classes and to remove the speed and comfort bonuses to provide more accurate revenue for passengers, mail and goods. Further, the lack of any inflation feature (which is planned but not yet implemented) makes this less balanced in practice than it ought to be.

Town growth -partly balanced

The overall level of town growth is approximately balanced to something near historically accurate levels.

However, the relative growth of different kinds of buildings and the shape of town growth is not currently balanced. Balancing these things fully will need to wait for a major new feature, being localised town growth, where growth of towns is based, not on how well that the transport serves the whole town, but on how good that the local transport is on a tile by tile basis, allowing towns to grow in realistic patterns as transport develops.

Costs and prices - not balanced

The figures for the costs of various items are currently not balanced. The figures in-game are largely guesses and are not well calibrated against one another.

It is planned to calibrate costs and prices using real world data so far as possible, but additional features (mostly, those discussed here, plus an inflation feature) are necessary before this can be achieved.

Starting capital -not balanced

The amount of player starting capital is currently not balanced, being based on figures from a Standard pakset. Once the revenue and cost balancing is largely complete, starting capital can be roughly balanced with existing features (which allows starting capital to vary year by year), but better balance of this will be achieved when features simulating the cost of capital (i.e. requiring the player to borrow money at the start of the game and then pay a realistic rate of interest on that borrowed money) are implemented.
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Offline AP

Re: Balance: progress and intentions
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 06:19:53 PM »
Based on the above; how far away are we from having something which is playable in an online scenario?  I know your server at present is mainly set up for testing and optimising, rather than collaborative gameplay.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Balance: progress and intentions
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 11:44:16 PM »
This really depends on what is to count as "playable" for these purposes. The game is in many ways playable now, but in a limited way as it lacks economic balance. Some people still find it enjoyable to play in that state all the same.

It is exceptionally difficult to predict with any accuracy how long that it will take to achieve an initial rough balance. That is because there are a very large number of things that are unknown (such as how much free time that I will have, how many bugs that there will be and how long that each will take) that will have a very large effect on how long that the balancing project will take. If you are keen for balancing to be done sooner, there are lots of things that you could do to help, from coding to production of pakset objects and even just helping with the balancing of existing pakset objects (especially buildings).

However, it might well not be necessary to have even the initial rough balance before it is worthwhile starting a fresh game on the server. The lack of balance is mostly in the player's favour, so people can start successful transport companies that actually do things and interact with the world as things currently stand. Would you find it worthwhile to have an online game with the game at this stage?

What I might well do is finish the passenger and mail classes feature (which is at quite an advanced stage), and then start up a new testing online game to see how this all works in practice. Would this interest you? I do not think that many people have been interested in connecting to the existing game on the server for testing so far and might be more engaged by actually playing a game, even though the balancing is unfinished.
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Offline AP

Re: Balance: progress and intentions
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 06:47:31 AM »
Quote
What I might well do is finish the passenger and mail classes feature (which is at quite an advanced stage), and then start up a new testing online game to see how this all works in practice. Would this interest you? I do not think that many people have been interested in connecting to the existing game on the server for testing so far and might be more engaged by actually playing a game, even though the balancing is unfinished.

That sounds sensible.  I worry that the game is losing players,  for the lack of anything to play...

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Balance: progress and intentions
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 08:11:00 PM »
That sounds sensible.  I worry that the game is losing players,  for the lack of anything to play...

The reason that I am prioritising balancing is that, without balance, there really is only half a game in any event.
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Offline Dutchman on Rails

Re: Balance: progress and intentions
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 08:42:55 PM »
I would like to propose a few quick wins that I hope do not strike people as too idiosyncratic. These are based on experiences in the 1750s-1840s.

- Make similar horses/humans similar price. For example, the Livestock drover costs just 0.01/km and none per month (a tremendous money spinner), but the post boy costs 0.15/0.18. Likewise, a humble pony costs 0.10/0.18, but a boat horse costs a mere 0.07/0.00. To have a cheap post boy could make inner-city post delivery a worthwhile proposition.

- Lower the costs of early locomotives somewhat. Even into the 1840's, trains can't compete with the horse drawn boats except perhaps for the ultra-ultra high volumes of transport.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Balance: progress and intentions
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 09:00:20 PM »
If you would like to modify the .dat files yourself, I should be happy to integrate them.
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