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Pak64.UK Development Thread and Diary

Started by KneeOn, March 09, 2020, 02:16:59 PM

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Change of idea, signal 2 looked the best as signals irl are never to be bigger than OHLE catenary (unless the signal is on a gantry)


I've drawn them in the first style, the trade off between realism and game play makes it awkward. I agree, the smaller signals do match real life a lot more.

I'm currently setting up my new laptop and getting all my various files consolidated across the old laptop and the new one. Hopefully I'm working from home over the weekend so I can finish off any graphics outstanding.

If testing shows that it does look really silly with the first style, i'll try that one.

If I get time I might just do both and let users pick which one they want but we start to complicate things when that sort of choice gets offered.

EDIT: A compromise might be to have LED signalling - this is in use and fast becoming the standard during major upgrades. It has the added bonus of fitting the scale better. I like the nostalgic feel of colour lights though, I'm not sure.


The signals are painted, icons and cursors will need updating. I have managed to get them in to pak ngb, and in to exp-64 however neither of these fully load in the latest nightly. This means for testing I will need to start actually making a pak-set with associated dat files etc.

I have no idea how to do this so any release of simutrans-extended feature dependant things will be delayed.

I also want to re-paint the signals slightly. There was some weird overlapping going on - probably because they're drawn on the left by default so don't clip properly. I'll have to amend all graphics - this is just copy and pasting in to a template so shouldn't be too much effort but it all adds up when tackling something new.

I'll continue painting non-extended reliant buildings etc because once the pakset is done they'll work across both.

If anyone has any tips on doing this part i'd be very grateful!

I have a habit of posting, then going back to trying and fixing my problems and managing to fix them!

I now have a test-bed for all extended features. I've loaded in the stations, signals, buildings and Carls non-modular railway tracks and will load in my own City buildings and other bits shortly. There is work to do with the signals but this is a big step towards a release. I will compare menus with other extended paksets and see what features need adjusting for my menu (which is currently the most recent pak64 menu).


A smaller but none the less promising update is that track circuit block signals of 2, 3 and 4 aspects with choose and call on (permissive working) are now finished. The choose and 'normal' signals are tested and can be seen here alongside the first depot which is currently just a testing depot and not yet configured for any specific traction type.

Trains can leave the station and enter the junction up until where the signal protecting the junction has reserved. This means starter signals will be needed and I might combine these 'starter signals' with end-of-choose signals for a total station signal solution. One way signals including in these starter signals as an option might also make sense to ensure down line trains don't hold up line trains in station should the user require.

Let me know what you think!


Brilliant stuff there mate. However just as a bit of a knowledge booster, all station platform choosing signals are always 2 aspect - caution (yellow) and danger (red).


I'll add a 2-aspect caution/danger signal in that case (and in hindsight I should have recalled that the buffer lights are ALWAYS danger signals which was a silly slip of the mind) however not all station choose signals go on terminating station approaches and there would be some instances where a 3 or 4 aspect signal would be required such as through stations.

Haywards Heath station on the Brighton Main Line has choose signals (which are better described as signals with a directional indicator in reality) to go from the 2 track section at Haywards Heath Tunnel in to the station on the up line.

You can be routed straight ahead in which case for Gatwick Express services not stopping at HHE would display a clear (green) with no diverting indication or you can be routed in platform 1 (I think it's 1, if not 4). This would display an indication and a caution unless the route is set all the way through the station such as for engineering trains or if there is a disruption on the main route (as it would be described in Simutrans). There are other situations where 3/4 aspect signals with a clear aspect is required such as junctions with further signals between the junction and the station.

Station signals absolutely need to be included - both starter signals and terminating platform choose indications (as you mentioned) and i'll work on adding those for 0.1.

Thinking about how best to accurately reflect a starter signal graphically in the tight confines of 2 light pixels across is a challenge. Having an CD/RA indicator below the signal would look like permissive working and therefore confusing potentially. I also need to add end-of-choose and one-way variations to these signals to help the player understand which signal is where and for an engaging graphic representation of each signal.

I think in this there will be some departure from reality. Having and 'end of choose' signal is its self a departure from relaity because in reality a signal box would control the movements staffed with experts on that line of route rather than a sign letting a driver know they can't choose a platform any more since the driver never does this. It's important to consider this.

I've used a real notice board for that - the 'no [unit type] beyond this point' blue boarder, red cross in white box. I've used a standard 'STOP' board of a red circle on a white boarder for one way. It is a real sign, used across the network. It fits the nature of the game.

I think a 2 px blue band would suffice for end of choose (i.e. the thing which makes this signal specifically a starter signal!), a 2px band on one red, one white pointing AWAY from the signals (i.e. facing the rear) would suffice for one way. Neither of these would be lit.

What then becomes a challenge is getting some sort of starting signal graphically represented.

It may be a CD/RA indicator to the side of the top most light on each aspect which is made up of 2px in the unlit route indication colour, changing to the lit indication colour in any proceed aspect (i.e not danger).

The above isn't exactly accurate but there are some aspects of the game which aren't exactly true to life and require some level of compromise and it would still retain the 'feel' of the other signals, using shared colours and principles such as the white/red rear do not pass boards, a modified CD/RA indicator etc.

Having a CD/RA indicator may not actually be required, since a starting signal would be shown by the blue band (and possibly a rear facing white/red one for one way signals) but I think having something else to show CD/RA/OFF might be good.

All of these are actually very easy additions by modifying the existing aspect signals so I could knock them up over the next 14 days.

I'd be curious for your thoughts on those compromises with starter signals?


A platform starting signal would have the CD and RA indicators on them which are located below the signal


Indeed, however that would look too similar to the permissive working signals were a shunt signal is located below the main signal on this pakset. Each signal should be distinctly different graphically for players to be able to see at a glance which signal is in use.

Strictly speaking having CD/RA or OFF signals aren't needed, but I think some lit up representation would be helpful at night and help further distinguish the signal.

Having made a signal with 2x2 blue and then a 2x2 white board below that to the read it isn't easy to see which is which from afar. I'm thinking a 2x4 white and red board facing the rear for one way signals and some sort of white light somewhere other than below for both one and bi directional signals might look better. Of course station starting signals would have the end-of-choose parameter. They also have the added benefit of removing some track side clutter, especially around busy termini.

I need to check if there is a "exclude from choose" option on extended. I'll need one for standard anyway but that would further assist in pathing trains where some platforms are reserved for specific services.


Quote from: KneeOn on June 22, 2020, 09:34:39 AMI need to check if there is a "exclude from choose" option on extended. I'll need one for standard anyway but that would further assist in pathing trains where some platforms are reserved for specific services.
The end if choose signals in extended are coded in the same way as in standard.  The only difference is that choose signals look for alterntative paths also for trains not stopping in the station.


Quote from: Vladki on June 22, 2020, 10:59:32 AM
The end if choose signals in extended are coded in the same way as in standard.  The only difference is that choose signals look for alterntative paths also for trains not stopping in the station.

That would actually be a good idea as trains that don't stop at a station with multiple passing lines often have to wait behind other trains


Quote from: Vladki on June 22, 2020, 10:59:32 AM
The end if choose signals in extended are coded in the same way as in standard.  The only difference is that choose signals look for alterntative paths also for trains not stopping in the station.

Sorry for the confusion, are end-of-choose signals also exclude from choose?

Pak64 has not got an end-of-choose (i.e. the end point of alternate routing). It only has exclude (i.e. this platform/route is not available for alternate routing).

The end result, you're saying, is the same thing - on a 4 platform station, if there is a choose signal and one end-of-choose between that signal and the start of the platform then trains won't go through?

Signalling was one of the first differences I noticed upon returning to Simutrans and I'm still working bits out, so thank you!


There are no differences between paksets. Only between standard and extended. We are talking about sign with


In extended it works (or should work) as in standard - "exclude platform from choose"  plus as end marker for alternative route search.

Quote from: KneeOn on June 22, 2020, 10:23:53 PMThe end result, you're saying, is the same thing - on a 4 platform station, if there is a choose signal and one end-of-choose between that signal and the start of the platform then trains won't go through?
Trains won't use that platform, but will try some other path. It is good to put end-of-choose on the track ahead of station where you want to stop the search. See this scrrenshot:
It may  be not clear at the first sight as the end-of-choose signs look similar to one way signs.


Thanks Vladki, that clears that up nicely. I wasn't aware Standard uses end-of-choose for its exclude from choose parameter and thought they were different!

Happily that means I don't actually need to paint another graphic!

I've noticed when placing a signal on the end of a platform it gets obstructed by the platform on some views but not others so will tweak around the datfile and see if I can set the image to be a front image for a signal and if that helps or if I need to change where the signal sits in the PNG.

I'm now working out what remaining buildings I need to paint for V0.1, and some of these will be released as I go for people to use if they still play Carl's Pak on their own maps - things like parks etc. There is still a fair bit of work ahead but I'm stream lining my working methods and testing stuff.



I am popping this here although it isn't yet strictly speaking extended ready (and there are no up to date extended paksets).

I've drawn a shopping centre! Notionally a 3x2 building with two 1x2 car parks at each end for a 5x2 size.

The download link is here:
This includes trees taken from pak64, available on this forum and at of course.

4 rotations, 2 seasons as per all my work.

Feedback is always appreciated!

A screenshot of the work in game:


I like that a lot! One thing I've been meaning to do is a spectrum of car park tiles from empty to full. That would probably enrich this, too.


Thanks Carl! Funnily enough, apart from a few smaller buildings where car park spaces haven't been much of the overall building, I've deliberately held off car parks.

Firstly, I need to think about city cars in general and then use those models to populate.

Secondly until today I've not been able to get the car park spaces to work for me. As it happens, by stitching together the building then using tile cutter not only is it quicker and easier to make the buildings dat file, it also works wonders for my scale, simply splitting the space across both tiles makes it look better!

This is just one shopping center I plan on doing. It's a touch small, I have plans for up to 6x6 but I'm working up from small to large to see what I actually think is the maximum size I would like.

I will certainly use the car parks and populate them accordingly in the stadium too, which is why I've held off doing the full winter view etc. Know I can make spaces fit that'll hopefully be done in the next fortnight.


I've updated the running log of released work which currently stands at the stations pack and two shopping centres.

I'm doing all the attractions before I move on to the factory chains if you can't tell. This is a big bit of work with quite a lot planned!

Using the modular, shared asset approach means I do already have two more shopping centres from the parts i've created, if not a third by combining parts. I do want one or two more styles and then i'll make some colour variations where appropriate to show an older brown brick style, a more modern red brick style or a flagship grey style.

They're not yet extended compatible so I won't be sharing them here until they are any more.


I've been steadily releasing some WIP paks for players to use in an unbalanced form over the last few weeks. We now have three shopping centres and a police station.

Carl has started painting more British styled buildings for his maps, albeit without them being designed for normal playing usage (rotations and winter views for example). We agreed by using his work, this pakset can have more content once it has been rotated, snowed on and styled to the overall theme and painting styles I'm using.

The key difference which poses a question is scale. I've been using 5px per floor height, while Carl is using between 5.5 and 6.5 per floor.

The question is is 5px a touch short, or is 6/7px per floor more suitable? It won't be a tall order to match a 6/7px scale, just a lot of grunt work. I have to re-export photos and re-pak anyway because of the lost work although I do still have all source files.

Thoughts on scale?


It's been a while - I've been distracted with work, study and playing other games. The project hasn't left my mind for long at any time though and I got the itch to start drawing again.

On the facebook page you can see all the work done so far: but attached are some examples of the work I've done for industry chains!


I have finished 8 industry chain graphics including 3 type of fruit (which are, essentially, one type of industry at this time), vegetables, beer, cider, bread and clothing. This inches the pakset closer to a first release!

I'm going to revisit the train stations before I release anything - they can and will be better. I'm streamlining the number of station buildings, and will consider how else I can bring the options down to better game play and less simple visual differences. Watch this space!