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Author Topic: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?  (Read 1470 times)

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Offline Antonin

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Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« on: July 27, 2018, 10:43:02 PM »
I will admit it. I am the worst Simutrans player ever. I have been playing the game for years and I *love* it, but my companies are almost never profitable no matter what I do. I mostly play pak 128.


Lately I have been using the beginner settings. I feel a little guilty doing it, but maybe I will be able to play a game for a longer period of time without going bankrupt.


When I was a child it was popular for boys to have a "train set." You would set up tracks and little towns in your basement or a spare room and run your electric trains. Well, my family did not have very much money and certainly no room for a train set. I'm 61 years old now, and Simutrans is like the train set I never had as a boy.


I really love this game!

Offline Frank

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 11:01:53 PM »
I think you should try pak64.german or pak128.german.

You can also play without bankrupt. The option is in the player list (k key) at the bottom.

Offline Ters

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2018, 08:23:16 AM »
I also find pak64 difficult to fail with, in so far as I have never managed it (though never tried to). Start out in the early 20th century, spend a decade or so of patient building, and by the second decade, your company will be so full of money that you'll never have to think of it again. There are a few goods that hardly make a profit in pak64, and lines often have to be very straight to make a profit, so avoid those goods and non-straight lines until the second decade.

On the other hand, if you want to use Simutrans as a model railroad substitute, freeplay is probably the thing to use. Then you can just forget about the money. It is a checkbox in the players dialog accessible from the main menu only after a game is started, unlike beginner mode, which is set before you start. With timeline off as well, one can just go wild.

I guess I also use Simutrans, and Transport Tycoon before it, as some sort of model railroad substitute. I did have, and still have, a model railroad set, but I quickly figured that what I wanted would have consumed too much money, too much time, and most importantly, too much space, so virtual alternatives was the way to go. Unlike several others here who also use Simutrans as a model railroad substitute, I don't care as much for the landscape and the look of the vehicles, though. I just like seeing trains run.

Offline Antonin

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2018, 06:52:52 PM »
I forgot to mention that I live in the US.  I don't know if boys in other countries had model railroads, but I remember a friend of mine had a big one in a spare room at his house. He and his father used to play together--but I think the father spent more time with it than he did, haha.

@ Ters -  I sometimes play with pak 64, but the graphics in pak 128 are so much better for my old eyes.

@ Frank -  I have started a game in pak 128 German. It's beautiful!  I assume that everyone who plays it changes the names of all the cities at the beginning. I am using the beginner settings. I like to at least pretend that I am running a company that needs to make money. I also like the timeline. It's fun to see new vehicles show up as the years go by!

How difficult is it to add new industries to a pak? Can you take industries and industry buildings from one pak and copy them to another? I was playing around with pak Japan, and it only has a few industries. I did not see any stores for rice and other food products.

Offline Ters

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 10:08:02 PM »
How difficult is it to add new industries to a pak? Can you take industries and industry buildings from one pak and copy them to another?

There are two parts involved. One is the graphics itself. Naturally, the graphics must be of right size, so one can not just put a pak64 building into pak128. The other way around is easier, as scaling down graphics is easier than scaling it up, and pak64 and pak128 do share a few building designs. Aesthetics is also an issue. Different pak sets have different styles, some drastically so. Graphics from a different style might stick out like a sore thumb.

The other part is the data that goes into the simulation. Obviously, putting an industry that produces or consumes something and putting it into a pak set where nothing consumer or produces such a thing, and where no vehicles can transport it, makes little sense. However, one must also consider the economic aspect in order to keep the game balanced. Although this is perhaps more an issue with vehicles and goods, the factory's production rate should preferably match the others.

These two things are originally represented by a PNG image, correctly arranged into tiles, and a specially structured text file known as a dat file describing the simulation data and how the visuals are arranged. A command line program called makeobj turns these into pak files, which is read by the game. If the pak file doesn't fit in with the others, the game typically crashes. While the pak file is technically modifiable, as is every computer file, it isn't readable by normal human beings. So in practice, you need the PNG and dat-files to do modifications, and then generate a new pak file using makeobj. How to create/edit images and dat-file, and get and run makeobj, are covered somewhere on some Simutrans sites, including various posts on this forum.

Offline Antonin

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2018, 05:39:25 PM »
That sounds very complicated!  I wanted to add stores and more food products to pak Japan, and also rename the cities to play it in a Filipino setting.  Oh well.

Maybe pak 128 Japan comes with stores and more industries?  I downloaded it, but pak 128 Japan is a "cab" file, and I don't know how to extract it.

Offline Ters

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 06:56:01 PM »
Cab? Odd choice of format. Windows should be able to open them. It is the archive format used by Microsoft themselves after all. Linux should also have cabextract available, although I doubt any distro comes with it out of the box. I don't know about other platforms.

The Japanese Simutrans community appears to stick to themselves, so there might not be much help to get regarding their stuff here.

As for city names, look up the file called readme_citylist.txt in the text directory.

Offline Antonin

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 08:19:57 PM »
Thanks!

I forgot that I have a program called 7-Zip on my computer. It extracted the files, and pak 128 Japan works fine!

There is a file called citylist_en in the text folder with a list of city names. I think all I need to do is just replace the Japanese city names with Filipino city names...or city names of any Asian country.

Now if only I can get the sound to work...the sound button in options doesn't do anything.


Offline gauthier

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 08:26:45 PM »
Pak128 is difficult to make money with at first, although there is a strategy that always works when you master it.First, and that should be the same in every pakset, don't pay attention to your cash, the two key finance figures to keep positive are wealth and operational profit. There is no problem having negative cash.Second, espcially if you start in 1930 or even before, don't use trains in your first years. Around 1930, the best way to make money is intercity coaches. My strategy when starting a new game is picking up the most populated city of the map, cover it with a bus network, or eventually a tram network if the city is nicely built. Then I start intercity bus lines with surrounding towns, one by one, until a line is saturated with buses. At this point, and only there, I start a train service (or a tram line if the concerned towns are close enough). I never tried starting a game with freight instead of passengers, I doubt it's profitable enough to grow larger. Anyway, doing that way with incremental intercity bus network, always keeping an eye on your wealth, you can grow a company large enough to have dozens of trains within a decade.

Offline Ters

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2018, 06:04:03 AM »
Second, espcially if you start in 1930 or even before, don't use trains in your first years.

That is not advice one wishes to heed if trains are the main purpose for playing Simutrans. Personally, I view road vehicles in Simutrans as a necessary evil. Something I need to use intracity to feed my trains. (And to serve a few minor places "beyond the city limit".)

Furthermore, it sounds like pak128 got it backwards. 1930s is about when buses, and road vehicles in general, became a viable alternative to trains on intercity routes. And with pak64, road vehicles are best avoided until about then. I assume what hampers trains in pak128 is high fixed costs? From this forum, I've gotten the impression that pak64 has high running costs, while pak128 has high fixed costs. (I've never played pak128 myself. pak128 makes the scale issues in Simutrans too apparent, creating an uncanny valley like impression.)

And finally, I play according to the bank balance, because that is what is visible at all times at the bottom of the screen. I can't be bother to check the finance window all the time (and it is huge). It holds me back a lot in the beginning, and might only work due to how pak64 is balanced.

Offline Antonin

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2018, 12:09:49 AM »
Years ago when I first started playing Simutrans I tended to focus on transporting commodities, mostly by truck. I always found it difficult to make a profit with passengers and mail. Even now, I never transport mail.

For the past couple years I have started with passengers. For some reason I learned how to do better, but not for very long. My bus networks between towns do ok for a while, but my bus networks for large cities usually lose money. When I switch to bigger buses, I start losing money quickly.

I never build passenger train networks between big cities. Well, I tried once, but lost so much money the game was soon over.

When I use trains, I almost always use them only to transport things like coal and oil to power plants.

I think part of my problem is that I expand too quickly. It's just so tempting! I want to connect every town on the map.

Getting back to my original question, it looks like I'm the only one who now plays using the beginner settings! 

Offline Ters

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2018, 05:41:29 AM »
Getting back to my original question, it looks like I'm the only one who now plays using the beginner settings! 

I doubt it, but those who do might not frequent this forum very much (they may read, but never post). In fact, judging by the number of downloads, only a tiny fraction of Simutrans players are users of this forum. There are also huge parts that are not comfortable writing English. It is also summer in the northern hemisphere, where most people live whether they play Simutrans or not, so computer related activities might be lower than normal.

However, freeplay may be more popular.

Offline Kernigh

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Re: Does anyone else use the beginner settings?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2018, 03:18:53 AM »
I never tried starting a game with freight instead of passengers, I doubt it's profitable enough to grow larger.

I did the reverse in Pak128. I started with freight, not with passengers, in my only profitable game. My freight lines made profit, but my passenger lines lost money, so I needed my freight lines to pay for my passenger lines.

I have never used the beginner mode. I first tried Simutrans in (real year) 2015, made a new game in Pak128, but my operational profit went negative. I returned to Simutrans in 2017, made more new games in Pak128. One of these, the "Stirling" game, was my first profitable game, and is still the only one. I began Stirling in (game year) 1930 with the freight chain from forest to sawmill to furniture factory to shopping center. I went into debt to complete the chain. I ignored my negative account balance and watched my net wealth in the finances window. I almost went bankrupt in 1931, but I had enough profit to survive.

Pak128 has high running costs and maintenance. The only way to make a profit is to fill each vehicle with enough passengers or freight. This is easier with freight, because my freight trains and freight trucks wait for 100% load. A waiting train or truck has no running cost (because this cost is per km). A train must not be too short, because a short train would run more trips. I use 6-tile freight trains (in my Stirling game), unless the locomotive is too weak to pull 6 tiles. Most of these trains run on the cheap track (60 or 80 km/h). The furniture trains run on faster track because furniture pays for speed.

It is more difficult to fill passenger vehicles. When I begin passenger service, the towns are too small, and my network can't reach most destinations, so there are too few passengers. My passenger vehicles are almost empty and lose money. If the towns grow and I expand my network, I get more passengers, but they crowd some stations, while I have empty vehicles at different stations. Also, passengers pay for speed, but they want more speed in later years, so their payments go down. If I keep my vehicles, the profit will go down from year to year. The only way to stay profitable is to upgrade to newer vehicles with higher speed or lower running cost. In my Stirling game, the passenger service got stuck with many obsolete vehicles. My largest lines fell into negative profit, which became more negative from year to year. I needed the profit from my freight service to pay for upgrades to my passenger service.