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Offline Matthew

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Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« on: July 28, 2020, 01:46:06 AM »
Several people have announced in the last week that they are leaving the Bridgewater-Brunel server. People leaving multi-player Sim-Ex games is normal and the game has mechanisms in place to handle it.

This thread is a place to ponder why people are leaving. It's not written in the expectation of any instant changes (please don't read it as a bug report!).

It is also not intended as criticism of anybody. As far as I have seen, everyone is playing by the (written and unwritten) rules.

The game provides data that can be used to assess the significance of these departures. I think convoys/company would be the best measure, but I couldn't find that statistic in the GUI. So here are in-game assets per company:


I have categorized us as Leavers or Remainers:  ;)



Units transported also gives us an idea of companies' relative importance:



And again a binary comparison:



If half to two-thirds of the market is leaving, then perhaps it is worth pondering why.

The players have mentioned different reasons for leaving: their PC cannot keep up with the server speed, lack of (real life) time to manage a big network, unable to keep up with the competition, and the abuse of markers. I do not think that these are all symptoms of the same disease.

If there is a common theme, it is perhaps that it's better for player longevity if running a smaller company is still fun. Smaller companies require less (real life) time to manage. If all the companies are smaller, then it would be easier to keep up with the server. Less cut-throat competition would mean less pressure to abuse markers. However, that assessment might be biased by the facts that I am running a small company and only have access to limited hardware. Perhaps I also have a more co-operative playstyle. Maybe other players think of Sim-Ex as more like a battle royale? :o  If so, then crushing the competition by any means is the aim of the game. Or maybe they have a perfectionist's urge to make sure every town gets a decent transport service.

I speculate that small companies might become even less enjoyable if all of the departing companies were taken over by a single player. This is not something that can be purely measured by graphs though: there is no magic number that indicates market dominance and current competition law usually holds that dominance is permissible provided that it is not abused. This is echoed in the Bridgewater-Brunel rules, which state that "legitimate commercial competition between companies is permitted." The guidance adds that "players are not entitled to monopolies on the Bridgewater-Brunel server." James may correct me, but I guess that he was thinking of territorial monopolies ("you can't build in my town") when he wrote this. But it could mischievously be read as permitting the Board of Trade to take measures to restrict market power if it wished to.

If I remember correctly (though Google search failed to confirm it), James said recently that the design philosophy of Simutrans-Extended is not to impose restrictions which did not exist in real life. And at first glance that might appear to rule out any restrictions on take-overs, since real life British transport companies have often taken each other over. Moreover, competition authorities of the kind we have today did not emerge in the UK until the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission was established in 1948. However, I think this would be a misunderstanding of 19th century theory and practice. Turnpikes, canals, and railways all required Parliamentary powers for the compulsory purchase of land (and until 1844 every company was created by an individual Act of Parliament). Takeovers and mergers therefore required a 'private act': a special law that only applies to one company. The main purpose of these private acts was to make sure that people were paid fairly for their land. But they also allowed Parliament to decide which takeovers and mergers to permit. All the railway companies spent very large amounts of money supporting their own private acts and opposing their competitors' acts. Generally speaking, big companies were allowed to take over small companies, but big companies were not allowed to merge or to take over other big companies.

This piece of transport history is also relevant to the issue of markers. These are often used in Bridgewater-Brunel to claim land well before building on it. Players also sometimes build railway tracks a decade or more before running services on them, in order to claim strategic routes. This is permitted under Bridgewater-Brunel rules, but it would not have been permitted in early 19th century Britain. Private acts usually included clauses requiring the railway (turnpike/canal) company to complete construction and/or begin service by a particular date. If they failed to do this, they lost the powers in the private act and they were sometimes prohibited from paying dividends as well. In practice, Parliament was usually willing to pass another private act to change the date if the company had a reasonable ground for delay - if the company paid even more money. I don't think there's any simple or easy way of replicating this exact restriction in Bridgewater-Brunel, but it does suggest that restricting the abuse of markers would not be contrary to the spirit of Simutrans-Extended.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 02:06:17 AM »
Hey man, your stats are wrong. Since I am able to play on after some changes, I'm not a leaver ;)

About signs, I guess the main issue here is the need to kill huges amounts of people when building tracks in the town later on.
In the real-world housings would either be empty anyways or the inhabitants would move to another place.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 02:48:34 AM by Freahk »

Offline freddyhayward

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 02:14:02 AM »
I am yet to fully read the post. Yet I notice yet another 52-48 split!

Offline freddyhayward

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 02:43:32 AM »
I feel I should speak up as the owner of Far East Railways. I run a large company, that I intend to expand further, because I enjoy building and managing large railway networks. I have a lot of time, and cannot think of a better way to spend it.

Markers already require the purchase of the land below them - perhaps land is too cheap. I know that large companies such as the ones operated by Huitsi, Freahk and myself have bought or built mothballed railways on large tracts of land within or on the edge of towns. The goal is not to obstruct other players - although that can be a side-effect - but to prevent the towns from building in those areas.  Once towns expand, they can create buildings that require demolition, buildings that cannot be demolished at all, and roads that can be costly and time-consuming to demolish. Expansion also causes the price of land to increase from 187¢ to 750¢.

I don't think any of the large companies at the moment are engaging in monopolistic behavior - though if we are, please point it out!

I also think that the players on the server have shown a good capacity to manage and resolve conflicts. Two examples:
* A few years before you joined, there was an argument between Freahk and VOLVO, because (and, I don't know who started it) they were increasingly running duplicative routes and placing reservations in each others' "territory". As far as I know, they were able to resolve the conflict, withdrew most of the duplicative routes, and removed most of the reservations.
* I also had a small (and friendly, I think) argument with Freahk because I wanted to be the sole operator of a small line that he had built and we were sharing, as it connected to my main line. I wanted my services to be separated from his to prevent cascading delays. I recognised that I did not have a right to this and offered to give something in return, and Freahk suggested that I build a comparable railway elsewhere that he would become the operator of. This arrangement was a success!

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 05:48:26 AM »
I left because it was impossible to even get started. A few people literally built up everything leaving no room for new or small companies to expand. Their growth was also illogical given that no single person has enough time to maintain such a large area late game and if they do not leave before then I would not be surprised to see horse coaches still in use well past 2000.

I usually play this sort of thing 15-60 minutes a day. But it was pointless trying given that there was nothing to build due to some people who must be playing 4-8 hours a day building up most of the map.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2020, 10:16:25 PM »
Thank you all for your input: this is most useful.

First of all, the issue as to computers being able to keep up is a very different issue to all of the other gameplay related issues here. Can I check whether anyone is still having this problem after disabling water animation? If anyone is having this problem, I can reduce server frames per second from 30 to 15.

This will make the game less smooth, but this will be better than a large delay between attempting to take action and anything happening in the game. I had hoped to be able to avoid lower framerates by greatly increasing the server_frames_per_step value, but if this has not been effective, I will have to lower the framerate. My computer was able to keep up last time that I logged in, but I have a fast computer.

I am glad that Freahk is able to continue playing.

As to the economic issues: because I have limited time to manage the game, I cannot realistically set up the structure of the game so as to require frequent discretionary intervention of the Board of Trade. Any restrictions on what players can do, or any limitations on those restrictions, save for things that are extremely infrequent (once every 50 game years at the absolute most - and that is, total number cumulative of interventions once every 50 game years, not once every 50 years per category, and even then, only things that will never be urgent), must be part of the actual code of the game, not enforced by human intervention.

As to markers, I have seen these used, but it is not clear what problems that they are causing to other players, if any. Can anyone expand on this? Building a marker is intended to count as buying the land on which it is built. As already noted, one has to pay the cost of the underlying land when placing a marker. Land may well be too cheap - I do intend to have a proper economic model for land value implemented when I implement the city growth system, but this will be a significant piece of work and will have to be done after the very, very, very large amount of work, for which it is difficult even to find sufficient clear time to start, relating to convoy maintenance, recombination, etc.. In reality, it should be uneconomic to buy large tracts of land and then leave them unproductive, but note that a planned feature will allow players to buy land, put city buildings on it and rent those buildings, whose income will depend on how desirable that that part of the city is, which will in turn (largely) depend on the local transport quality.

In relation to company size, the intention is for players to be able to run companies large or small as they please. Players are perfectly free to run the same company between them (i.e. have two or three people co-operating to run a single company: this is perfectly feasible in the game so long as the players trust each other not to lock each other out, etc., as this cannot be policed). For those wanting to run smaller companies, are there no slots at all left, even for a local stagecoach concern, some connexions from farms to markets, a local ferry, some competing mail routes or similar? Much transport was local in the 1830s, and there is nothing wrong with players deciding to set up as a decidedly local concern. Have people tried to do this and not succeeded? If so, I should be very interested to know what is in the way of that success.

One thing is that it was possible to expand very quickly at the outset of the game. This was partly because the rate of passenger transport was too high, a problem since fixed. However, I suspect that the capital cost is also far too low, and we also do not have any sort of interest that players have to pay on their capital, and there is no inflation, meaning that it is too easy to expand quickly. This I hope to address with full economic balancing, but that requires the very large suite of vehicle maintenance features which, as noted above, it is difficult even to get started with so large a task it is and so many large and complex enabling works must be done first, each of which is liable to be interrupted by any important bug report.

The ultimate aim of Simutrans-Extended in its online mode is the ability to play in the way that Dr. Supergood envisages, a few minutes or hours a day. Hopefully, better economic balance will allow this to occur more readily. Also note that emerging technologies will allow new companies to enter and create new market niches - we are now in the age of the steam train, so local rail concerns should be able to do interesting business, and likewise local horse 'bus concerns should be able to ferry the new rail passengers arriving at terminals in larger towns to where inside those towns they need to go, providing ample new opportunities for smaller concerns to engage in local transportation.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 11:34:09 PM »
(James posted while I was drafting this, so I will need time to digest his points)

Hey man, your stats are wrong. Since I am able to play on after some changes, I'm not a leaver ;)

That's good news! Even from a selfish point of view, the longer you're able to use the UI, the longer I can.

Do you have any more tips to share? I know about water animation, zooming in, avoiding the network map, and resynching periodically. Anything else?

Also, you said that you are playing on your laptop but would like to stream from there to your PC. I said earlier that I couldn't make this work on Linux due to mouse latency, but, thinking further, I was trying to stream from a VPS in Germany to the UK, but you're just trying to stream across a room, so latency might not be such a big problem for you. So please don't let my experience stop you trying out NoMachine or its rivals.

I feel I should speak up as the owner of Far East Railways. I run a large company, that I intend to expand further, because I enjoy building and managing large railway networks. I have a lot of time, and cannot think of a better way to spend it.

It's good that the game is working well for you  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: and your point is valuable. I also enjoy building and managing large networks, and I do so in single-player. But is that is the only viable playstyle on a multi-player server? What might (tongue-in-cheek) be called the 'battle royale model'. Or is Bridgewater-Brunel is intended to be a place where multiple playstyles can flourish? I obviously have a selfish interest in this question, but I also enjoy discussing the economics of Simutrans and I intend to carry on doing that too!  :D

Quote
I don't think any of the large companies at the moment are engaging in monopolistic behavior - though if we are, please point it out!

<snip>

I also think that the players on the server have shown a good capacity to manage and resolve conflicts. Two examples:
* A few years before you joined, there was an argument between Freahk and VOLVO, because (and, I don't know who started it) they were increasingly running duplicative routes and placing reservations in each others' "territory". As far as I know, they were able to resolve the conflict, withdrew most of the duplicative routes, and removed most of the reservations.
* I also had a small (and friendly, I think) argument with Freahk because I wanted to be the sole operator of a small line that he had built and we were sharing, as it connected to my main line. I wanted my services to be separated from his to prevent cascading delays. I recognised that I did not have a right to this and offered to give something in return, and Freahk suggested that I build a comparable railway elsewhere that he would become the operator of. This arrangement was a success!

Thank you for your really positive attitude, especially since I'm a newcomer to B-B. In my short experience, I have seen you and all the other players playing within the written, and unwritten, rules and with goodwill. But it's very common that systems can have unintended effects even when all the participants are trying to the right thing.

That is why I have raised the issue of land banking (companies buying land and not using it). The British journalist Robert Peston once described Tesco's use of this strategy as "anti-competitive behaviour on a magnificent scale." So it's good you've explained more about and why this has become common on the server.

Your first example is very illuminating. It's classic anti-competitive behaviour and would now be illegal for private businesses in the West. Even in 19th century England, it was unlawful at common law (though this did not really matter to transport companies because of their private acts). And I suspect point 5 of the B-B guidance was written to discourage territorial agreements. But it's completely within the rules and you're absolutely right to say that it's a good example of B-B players working together with goodwill for a mutually agreeable outcome. But I wonder whether the unintended (and inevitable??) consequence on a limited map is that after a while the whole map has been allocated and there is nowhere for new players to go. We have at least one potential player (Dr SuperGood) who has been excluded by this and I found it very off-putting.

On the server chat there was a suggestion that existing players should be able to maintain secondary companies that new players could take over. It's great that people are suggesting solutions with goodwill and I think it's worth considering. In economic terms, it keeps the existing cartel but permits new entrants. The downside is that, at least in my eyes, it's a lot less fun to take over someone else's company than to make your own (and I turned down two companies for this reason). I only took over the Insular Navigation Company because of its large bank balance, which is of course a highly questionable strategy!  :-[

Quote from: freddy hayward
Markers already require the purchase of the land below them - perhaps land is too cheap. I know that large companies such as the ones operated by Huitsi, Freahk and myself have bought or built mothballed railways on large tracts of land within or on the edge of towns. The goal is not to obstruct other players - although that can be a side-effect - but to prevent the towns from building in those areas.  Once towns expand, they can create buildings that require demolition, buildings that cannot be demolished at all, and roads that can be costly and time-consuming to demolish. Expansion also causes the price of land to increase from 187¢ to 750¢.

Quote from: Freahk
About signs, I guess the main issue here is the need to kill huges amounts of people when building tracks in the town later on.

Thank you both for explaining why you use markers and how they are a rational response to in-game incentives. Implicit in your points is that this behaviour actually benefits all players (because more citybuildings means more passengers).

I agree that it's frustrating when it becomes necessary to destroy a town to serve it. But personally I enjoy the challenge of finding creative engineering solutions to those obstacles, though obviously it isn't your cup of tea. This is certainly something to consider seriously, bearing in mind Vladki's very helpful summary of the Sim-Ex design philosphy: "If we need to enforce some behavior to match real life, then it means that the simulation is lacking some aspect that in real life lead to that behavior."

However, it seems that there are also unintended consequences. I for one perceived the mothballed railways as a sign to stay away from those towns and Ranran found the misuse of markers frustrating. I imagine that you'd both be happy to spend a few hundred Simucents more per tile in order to increase the number of people enjoying Sim-Ex, but of course you shouldn't need to make that choice.

Quote
In the real-world housings would either be empty anyways or the inhabitants would move to another place.

Unfortunately 19th century railway companies were a major cause of homelessness because this did not happen  ::'( , but that's getting off-topic.

I am yet to fully read the post. Yet I notice yet another 52-48 split!

I changed the labels to Remain/Leave when I noticed that....  ;D

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2020, 11:41:20 PM »
Incidentally, logging on, I notice that there is still ample opportunity for new railway building in the West - may I ask those players who believe that it is difficult to start a new company whether this opportunity has been considered and, if so, why it was rejected? This will help me to understand the economic balance.

Offline freddyhayward

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2020, 12:25:42 AM »
This will make the game less smooth, but this will be better than a large delay between attempting to take action and anything happening in the game. I had hoped to be able to avoid lower framerates by greatly increasing the server_frames_per_step value, but if this has not been effective, I will have to lower the framerate. My computer was able to keep up last time that I logged in, but I have a fast computer.
This is a good idea - the server seems to be progressing through the ages quite quickly, and it will be easier for time-constrained players to keep up with developments that way. And of course, it benefits hardware-constrained players.

Offline freddyhayward

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2020, 12:51:28 AM »
Much transport was local in the 1830s, and there is nothing wrong with players deciding to set up as a decidedly local concern. Have people tried to do this and not succeeded? If so, I should be very interested to know what is in the way of that success.
I have found local transport significantly less viable than long-distance transport, except for use as feeder routes. This may require new threads, but i see two contributing factors, firstly distance-based fare structures:
In reality fare structures are very diverse, ranging from purely distanced-based within a given network, to distance-based with added flat fares or caps, to zonal and flat fares. My city in particular has a sort of inverted zonal system - all journeys within the inner zone are charged the maximum fare, while journeys within the outer zone are charged a discounted fare unless they enter the inner zone.
Obviously, it would be a colossal waste of effort to attempt to simulate such structures. Instead, we could simply alter the effective distance charged for using a fractional exponent such as 0.8 or 0.9, resulting in diminishing gains for every extra km traveled. This approach has flaws such as incentivising additional transfers over one-seat journeys, and would require an overall increase to the base fares. It would also require labelling all GUI displays of revenue/profit per km to base revenue/profit per km. But overall, this would be trivial to implement compared to more complex approaches and would make local transport more viable.

Secondly, as discussed elsewhere, the max-in-transit system for goods intentionally or unintentionally causes local transport of goods to be unprofitable, as industries seem to generate large amounts of goods routed through the longest and slowest routes, and virtually nothing for the shortest and fastest routes.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2020, 01:08:31 PM »
Freddy - you may have misunderstood what reducing the framerate entails: this would just make the game less smooth, it would not affect the passage of time. All that would happen is that the display would be updated half as often.

As to the fare structure, fare stages were implemented a number of years ago: have a look at the goods.dat file in Pak128.Britain ex to see the data for this. The differential fares are all based on real life data.

Offline freddyhayward

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2020, 12:50:54 AM »
Freddy - you may have misunderstood what reducing the framerate entails: this would just make the game less smooth, it would not affect the passage of time. All that would happen is that the display would be updated half as often.
I see. Would the main benefit of this for players be reduced CPU usage on rendering? If so, there might also be benefit in slowing down the simulation, if possible.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 10:35:35 AM »
I see. Would the main benefit of this for players be reduced CPU usage on rendering? If so, there might also be benefit in slowing down the simulation, if possible.

The benefit would be that players' computers would be more likely to be able to keep up and not lag so much. I have not done this yet because of a lack of up to date feedback from players about what, if any, lag that they are now getting after disabling water animation.

As to slowing the simulation, this cannot be done retrospectively to an existing game: anything that alters the distance/time calculations has major implications for balance and will interfere with a huge range of values already saved in various states all over the existing game.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2020, 01:17:08 PM »
The only way to adjust the "simulation speed" in multiplayer is bits_per_month, which does not affect perfomance in any way anyways.
A month will simply have more/less ticks, but the calculations per real-world time will remain constant.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 12:09:40 PM »
First of all, the issue as to computers being able to keep up is a very different issue to all of the other gameplay related issues here. Can I check whether anyone is still having this problem after disabling water animation? If anyone is having this problem, I can reduce server frames per second from 30 to 15.

This will make the game less smooth, but this will be better than a large delay between attempting to take action and anything happening in the game. I had hoped to be able to avoid lower framerates by greatly increasing the server_frames_per_step value, but if this has not been effective, I will have to lower the framerate. My computer was able to keep up last time that I logged in, but I have a fast computer.

Disabling water animation did not fix it, but I am still trying other things, such as running with -nomidi and -nosounds. But I still don't understand why the lag varies so much. Yesterday I was getting lag of <= 15 seconds, which was manageable. Today's it's been as much as 4 minutes! I wondered whether it might be correlated with session duration, the path explorer running, or other player activity, but my unscientific observations don't support any of these options. As a workaround I can do quite a lot offline (e.g. use the minimap).

Quote
As to the economic issues: because I have limited time to manage the game, I cannot realistically set up the structure of the game so as to require frequent discretionary intervention of the Board of Trade. Any restrictions on what players can do, or any limitations on those restrictions, save for things that are extremely infrequent (once every 50 game years at the absolute most - and that is, total number cumulative of interventions once every 50 game years, not once every 50 years per category, and even then, only things that will never be urgent), must be part of the actual code of the game, not enforced by human intervention.

Thank you for being so clear about your commitment. You already donate a huge amount of time to bugfixing and development, and probably even more to invisible things like maintaining the Bridgewater-Brunel VPS. I was thinking more of a different option: altering the server rules in the expectation that enforcement action will be rarely, if ever, required.

Quote
As to markers, I have seen these used, but it is not clear what problems that they are causing to other players, if any. Can anyone expand on this?

As I understand it there are two problems. Firstly, if you have used dozens of markers to buy land, it makes it difficult to use them for locating things in the Markers List. Secondly, they give new players the impression that certain areas are off-limits. That may not be the intention, but it is the effect.

Quote
In relation to company size, the intention is for players to be able to run companies large or small as they please. <snip> For those wanting to run smaller companies, are there no slots at all left, even for a local stagecoach concern, some connexions from farms to markets, a local ferry, some competing mail routes or similar? Much transport was local in the 1830s, and there is nothing wrong with players deciding to set up as a decidedly local concern. Have people tried to do this and not succeeded? If so, I should be very interested to know what is in the way of that success.

Thank you for explaining some of the reasons why existing players have been able to gain such strong positions.

Regarding local transport, I think Freddy is right when he says that local transport isn't viable at the moment in cities of B-B size. IIRC, this has consistently been the case in Sim-Ex (at least up to the mid-20th century) for many real-life years. You can't turn a profit just running a local bus company. The only reliably profitable passenger services are those between cities and between major railway termini. When interest was paid on bank accounts you could use that offset the poor return since buses required so little capital, but even that is no longer possible.

The fact that we now have automatic roads to rural industries, which is brilliant, does make local freight more viable but there doesn't seem to be much left. Many of the remaining industries are in chains that end with consumers demanding =<5 units a month. So the whole chain is only viable as part of a much bigger route.

Quote from: jamespetts
Incidentally, logging on, I notice that there is still ample opportunity for new railway building in the West - may I ask those players who believe that it is difficult to start a new company whether this opportunity has been considered and, if so, why it was rejected? This will help me to understand the economic balance.

I mainly ended up in the East because of the contingent fact that there was a company already there with a large bank balance, but no manager.

But I've had a look at the West and I'm not sure it's possible to start a viable railway company there. To test this hypothesis, in 1836 I started an offline company between Duringham (the largest city in the West) and Bryton Wallop (the nearest place not already claimed by an existing player) with a mail & passenger railway and feeder bus routes. But extensive civil engineering works were required due to the hilly terrain, the player roads, and the limited capabilities of 1830s engines and signalling, so this used up the entire starting capital. As the furthest twig at the end of the network, without any through passengers, it did not generate anywhere near enough business and therefore revenue to cover the infrastructure costs, never mind repay the capital. And the prospects for expansion were limited by even worse terrain outside the Duringham urban cluster, existing player railways dating back to as far as 1800, and the awkward alignments required for the original railway to stay within budget.

I can't emphasize enough that this is no 'fault' of the existing players, who've kept to the rules. To a certain extent it's just realism. How much profit should a railway serving only a town of 60,000 and a nearby village of 6,000 be expected to make? But I couldn't see any easier options in the West.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 05:20:21 PM »
Thank you for your thoughts on this. We should really move discussion of the performance to the thread specific to performance; would you mind posting your results in that thread so that I can gauge better whether to reduce the framerate and also get feedback on this from other players?



As to the game balance issues, the issues with industry being unprofitable in a number of cases is known and will be looked into when I get sufficient clear time to allow me to make significant progress in one sitting, but this may take a considerable amount of work, both in design and implementation, to resolve.

I do not think that the revenue from passenger operations is unbalanced, but capital is an issue; the plan in the long term is to allow players to borrow larger sums of money (and possibly even allow the players some sort of equity financing as distinct from debt financing), so that players can start by borrowing an increased amount of money, but would have to pay interest on this larger amount of money at a higher rate and thus would need to be reasonably sure of being able to build a profitable network and make a good profit within sufficient time to allow for repayment of capital and interest according to the schedule, or, alternatively, borrow a much smaller sum of money, possibly at a lower rate, and create a smaller network that has less initial risk and requires much less initial profit to pay off the interest and capital. Equity financing would, depending on how it works, add further interesting strategic considerations.

As to server rules, may I ask what specific rules that you envisage? To be workable and beneficial, such rules would have to:

(1) not prevent players from doing things that real life transport companies did and that can be done in the game;
(2) be internally consistent and consistent with the immersive theme of the game;
(3) be capable of clear and uncontroversial interpretation (so nothing which turns on whether something is "reasonable", "excessive", etc., but where there can be no real doubt as to whether any given action is in conformity with or breach of the rules); and
(4) have some real advantage to compensate for the restrictions imposed upon players.

In relation to markers, I believe (although I have not checked) that it is possible to filter markers so that one can only see one's own company's markers, which should deal with the issue about making things difficult to find; as to players getting the incorrect impression that certain areas are out of bounds, that might be fixed by explicitly stating that this is not the case in the guidelines. May I ask others whether anyone else has this impression and whether this would be reversed by a statement in the guidelines to this effect?

I notice, incidentally, that a new railway has started in the West recently - have a look at the Great Northern Railway, which, last time that I looked, was making a profit. It has been able to connect two large towns with a small village in between and is making a good profit with passenger transport. If I recall correctly, Duringham is not a good choice of starting locations as it is quite remote (if it is the one that I am thinking of, the largeish town in the interior south-west surrounded by very hilly terrain).

Offline Freahk

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 06:13:22 PM »
In relation to markers, I believe (although I have not checked) that it is possible to filter markers so that one can only see one's own company's markers,
Yep, and you can even sort them by name, so those empty signs are all at the end of the list.

as to players getting the incorrect impression that certain areas are out of bounds, that might be fixed by explicitly stating that this is not the case in the guidelines
Isn't that one of the things point 5. is about?
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Please do not criticise other players for engaging in legitimate commercial competition with your company. Players are not entitled to monopolies on the Bridgewater-Brunel server.

If I recall correctly, Duringham is not a good choice of starting locations as it is quite remote
It's not that isolated.
To the South it's already connected, but to the North, I've managed to setup a profitable route to Lesley in singleplayer, using only the start capital.
The terrain is difficult though.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 07:17:00 PM »
Isn't that one of the things point 5. is about

Interesting, thank you for noting that you understood this point differently to Matthew. It would be useful to have more people's views on this to see whether I need to amend this to deal specifically with land purchasing.

Offline Ranran

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Re: Some thoughts on multiplayer, markets and markers
« Reply #18 on: Yesterday at 11:04:46 PM »
All the money paid to install the markers will be refunded upon removal. You can get the right to occupy the land as a consideration for depositing money on the land for 50 years. Since there is no maintenance fee, you can borrow as much land as you have surplus money, and if you need money, remove the marker and replace it with money. Interest is the right to occupy the land. There is some cost to lay the way and then remove it. The mothballed way can be booked in a relatively similar way, but a slight cost is incurred unlike the marker.
It's your land until you remove it by simply placing the extra coin there. The coin cannot be removed except by you. The land can be booked forever by you, but never the property tax. Is this realistic?

If it's not a starting point, you can lay a way where there are markers from other companies, but I think this is a bug.

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Yep, and you can even sort them by name, so those empty signs are all at the end of the list.
You need to be aware of the fact that you are ruining the reverse sort.
« Last Edit: Today at 01:14:46 AM by Ranran »