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Offline Roboron

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Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« on: October 13, 2020, 06:51:08 PM »

New Steam Library Banner, courtesy of danivenk (Simutrans Discord User)

Hello, Simutrans Community! You may already know that Simutrans Steam version is on-par with the 122 stable release since the very same day it was released. Now that I have solved the most critical problem, it's time  to look at the status of Simutrans on Steam, and to make plans for the future. I have a lot of ideas to improve Simutrans on the Steam platform, and I want to be transparent about it, discuss changes with the community, and gather feedback from you.

This will be a pretty big thread, so I am making a index right there. If you are not interested in discussing changes, go to the last point to see some interesting statistics I'm going to make public about the game.
____________________________________________________

1. The comeback reception
2. The Mac version
3. The Steam Preloader
4. The Steam Launch Options
5. The Steam Paksets
6. The Steam Store Page
7. Improving Standard defaults
8. Bringing non-Standard Simutrans to Steam
9. Steam Statistics
10. Summary of suggested changes

____________________________________________________
1 - The comeback reception

Banner for the 122 announcement

When I took care of Steam, last update was made on 03-01-2019, nearly two years ago (120.4). And it didn't get much reception back then (200 views, only 7 clicks on the announcement, and a modest amount of 24 likes). So... I wasn't expecting much from this new version. But things are going great: Like, very great. We are getting some really nice exposure there. Adding numbers from both 121 and 122 announcement we have around 20.000 views and around 2000 clicks on the announcement, with 75 likes per announcement and many comments (although half of them are complaining/bug reports - more on that follows next -, but the other half are welcoming the new version). We have new exposure records everywhere, even if we combine previous Steam announcements together. That puts the reception level as high or more than on the international the forums.

--You can skip this if you are not interested in deployment stuff--

While I did a job job on increasing interaction, I didn't do well enough deploying the game. On the 121 release I first shipped a broken Windows version, because missing .dlls for the preloader (SDL2). Reason is that the .dll were previously (wrongly) distributed with the game, instead of the preloader, and in an effort to reduce innecessary .dll, I deleted those and cause the problem for Simutrans players that do not have SDL2 installed (that's why I didnt notice in my previous test).
On the 122 release, I **** up the Linux version, because I set rpath wrongly to RUNPATH instead of RPATH when building Simutrans (I thought i had everything configured, but no). Again, only players with non-system libraries already installed would notice. Maybe I can investigate if I can instead set LD_LIBRARY_PATH from the Steam launch, to avoid having to recompile Simutrans.

Anyway, I've learned a lot from this. Months ago I didn't have the slightest idea about how to deploy (statically linked) applications on any platform, and I've invested a lot of time compiling Simutrans and learning from the process, so I expect to do a better job in the future :-) Of course, there's still the problem of the Mac version...
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2 - The Mac version
Numbers show, that even with the Mac version currently broken, players are still trying to play. Number of Mac players are only slighty under the number of Linux players (which can actually play). We can say, that the Mac problem is currently a high priority problem, at least regarding the Steam version (we are getting some negative reviews because of this). Unfortunately, I don't own a Mac nor I have the knowledge to fix the Mac version. If someone wants to help Mac players, I have moved all the Mac bug reports to the Bug/Crashes Steam subforum https://steamcommunity.com/app/434520/discussions/search/?q=Mac&gidforum=357288572135186516&include_deleted=1

On top of the Mac usual problems, Steam informed me that Apple now request all applications to be "reviewed" by Apple itself, and I currently don't know how to do that process (and I really would want to focus on other priorities). Oh, and one more thing: the Simutrans preloader doesn't have support for Mac! Steam funcionalities on Mac are non-existent! Let's talk more about this and why we can't currently ship a Mac preloader.
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3 - The Steam preloader

The preloader as it currently is.

As I already said to prissi on a previous post, the Steam preloader is a museum piece. Source code has been lost, and I can't make modifications to it. We can only admire it, and respect that legacy of the past. Or we can get rid of it.

Currently, the Steam preloader works as intended (except localization, at least for me the preloader doesn't load es-ES language files), so it's not a priority high on the list. But it's a matter of time, that we have to act to do something about it. The problem with the preloader is that:
A) It contains all the code related to Steam. So now it's the only way to get Steam funcionalities working AND since it can't be modified, we can't add new funcionalities (Achievements?).
B) It adds yet one more step for launching the game (like if we don't have enough with current steps...). Let's take a look at what benefits brings the preloader:

1. Fullscreen -> Very useful, but you can do that already from your system (at least on linux), from the simuconf.tab (not very user friendly tho), and it could be better implemented as an in-game option.
2. Sound & Music -> Not necessary. Both can be muted from inside the game.
3. Sandbox Mode -> Probably the only thing that justifies the existence of the preloader as a start menu right now.
4. Debug -> Not really valuable for Steam players.

So, I ask myself if the Sandbox Mode is enough justification to maintain a launcher... But since we can't simply get rid of it without losing Steam funcionalities, we have two options:
1. Rewrite it from scratch when time comes, ideally with more useful options than before to justify their existence.
2. Add Steam related code to Simutrans (probably forking the sourcecode), and remove the preloader.

I prefer option 2, but I opened this thread to gather feedback, so it's your time to comment. And now that we are talking about what happens when launching the game...
____________________________________________________
4 - The Steam Launch Options

Steam Launch Options

Here we have, yet another startup step. I want to get rid of this screen, and I will explain why no one of this options makes sense to me (except, only a little, Steam Workshop Uploader).

1. Launch Simutrans (this should be the only default).
2. Launch as server -> Users can already load a savegame as a server from inside the game. Also, Steam DOES allow for command-line parameters to be specified at launch, and experienced users (like those who wants to set up a server) should be aware of that.
3. Safe Mode -> The only reason to select this option is to start Simutrans without the preloader, and thus, without Steam funcionality. If you want to play Simutrans without Steam funcionality... you cand do so with the non-Steam version. This option doesn't make sense to me, from a Steam player perspective.
4. Steam Workshop Uploader -> Now this is the interesting part. I have never seen a game implementing the "Workshop uploader" (currently named as SDK) as a launch option. This is not bad at all, but this usually comes shipped as a separate "Tool" or just implemented inside the game (I don't like this approach for Simutrans) - so I would prefer to ship the Workshop Uploader utility separately from the game. And maybe rename it to Simutrans SDK, just for consistency. I have yet to see how to do this.

One important thing is that the Workshop Uploader is currently Windows-only. This a big problem, like the preloader, because source code is also not available, so we lack support for Linux & Mac. But it also means that I can get rid of those innecesary launch options on Linux, and so I did. Preloader is now what you get when you click Play. But let's talk about more interesting topics now.
____________________________________________________
5 - The Steam Paksets

Description says: "A range of miscellaneous Paksets.". Can you guess what it contains?

Decisions were made in the past, to bundle some paksets together in the same DLC. I don't agree with those decisions, and I think paksets developers also disagree. This is confusing for new players, is extra work for me when updating paksets, and, in the end, paksets don't get treated like they deserve. If no one is against it, I'll de-bundle the paksets and make a DLC for every pakset, as it should be.

Now let's take a broad look at the Simutrans paksets, and their status, on Steam:

* pak32.comic - Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
* pak48.excentrique - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
* pak64 - Available standalone https://store.steampowered.com/app/434520/Simutrans/
* pak64.classic - Not available
* pak64.contrast - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
* pak64.german - Not available
* pak64.ho-scale - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
* pak64.japan - Bundled in "Japan based Packsets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435960/Simutrans__Japan_based_Packsets/
* pak64.nippon - Bundled in "Japan based Packsets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435960/Simutrans__Japan_based_Packsets/
* pak64.scifi - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
* pak96.comic - Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
* pak96.HD -  Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
* pak128 - Default pakset
* pak128.britain - Available standalone https://store.steampowered.com/app/434631/Simutrans__Pak128Britain/?snr=1_5_9__405
* pak128.cs - Not available
* pak128.german - Available standalone
* pak128.japan - Bundled in "Japan based Packsets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435960/Simutrans__Japan_based_Packsets/
* pak192.comic - Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/

Curiously, there was a store page for Pak64.HO-Scale, but it is not published. Everything is here, but instead, Pak64.HO-Scale is bundled  in "Miscellaneous paksets".

To sum up, we have three paksets not available yet, and only three paksets unbundled. Previously to being maintainer I didn't even know pak64.scifi was being bundled with "Miscellaneous paksets", since it is also available on the Worskhop. This is a mess I need to solve, and also bring unavailable paksets to Steam. But doing a store page for every pakset is a lot of work, so I have had an idea...
____________________________________________________
6 - The Steam Store Page

Previous Library Header. You can see the new one at the top of this post

While the Steam Store page for the main game is good enough, it can be improved, specially with screenshots. Screenshots are a bit dated, there's only a few of them, and can be a bit overwhelming for new players (too many info displayed on the screen). Screenshots are also showing only the default pakset, when I think they should show a range of diverse paksets, so the player inmediatly knows that Simutrans have different graphics sets available.

A good way to improve the page would be also to translate it to other languages - specially german and japanese since they are the main players (see statistics). If someone want to help with translation of the pages, please contact me.

But the worst of all are pakset pages. They lack a proper description (What is this pakset? What does include the DLC? Who are the creators?), and usually only show screenshots of on of the paksets if they come bundled. The Miscellaneous Paksets Store Page is specially bad. Like, the worst you can get presenting a game...

What's the plan? If we split the bundles, we will have yet more pages to fill with screenshots. So, this a situation that makes a good excuse to celebrate a new Screenshot Showcase. Winners of the Screenshot Showcase would be displayed in Steam Store Pages. What do you think abuout it?
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7 - Improving Standard defaults

A troll review

Users on Steam are constantly complaining about Simutrans (note: we still have 3x more positive reviews than negative reviews). They mainly complain about:

1. Simutrans being difficult. This is one of the most recurrent complains. Players find too difficult to play the game, or find a lack of resources where they can learn how to play the game. Shipping a tutorial with the game is a high priority right now.
2. UI being ugly / not adapted to current display standards. Some of those problems have been already addressed by the Simutrans team recently (font, theme size, etc...), but there's still some complains about the UI. Today a user complained about the new modern theme, and I expect more complains about the UI in the future. Those little details are what make the difference for a lot of players.

Quote
While I like the new look, light colored lines in charts are hard to see. Perhaps returning the background color of those charts t grey might help

3. Graphics being dated. We can't do much there. We could ship a better-looking pakset with Simutrans by default to give a better first-impression, like pak128.german or pak192.comic (Ideally we would have a much modern pakset like pak256, but we don't). But that would deteriorate problem #1... Maybe pak192.comic developers or others would like to provide a dumbed-down version of their pakset?
____________________________________________________
8 - Bringing non-Standard Simutrans to Steam

The "beta branches" funcionality of Steam we could use to ship non-Standard Simutrans versions

A thing I really would like to do is to provide Simutrans versions that are not the Standard ones, to make them more accesible for players. For example, one of the downsides of Simutrans Extended, is that you need to update it everyday. This could be easily achieved deploying Simutrans Extended in a beta branch, so Steam will take care of the update for you, and you could also play your already available paksets of Simutrans on Steam with it.

However, including Extended into Steam also adds more complexity for players. Extended needs its own set of paksets to make use of extended funcionality. A way to simplify then would be to replace the pak128.britan with pak128.britan-ex when you are in the Extended beta branch. This is very easy to do. But, what happens with other paksets not available on Steam now? pak256 would need its own store page - or be packaged within Extended, but I don't like this approach because switching beta branches would bring hundreds of MB to download for the user. For the first option, adding a DLC that Standard players can't play does not seem like a good idea, it can lead to confusion.

Another way to bring Simutrans Extended to Steam would be to ship it alongside Standard, then using Steam Launch options to select between Standard or Extended when you click play. This has the advantage of eliminating the need for beta branches and switching between them, but it also means we can't get rid of the Steam Launch options (although this time it would have a much better justification to exist). It would also expose more the non-Standard version of Simutrans to new players, so it can be a good option to consider.

Other versions of Simutrans should be easier to deploy (OTRP and Nightly, which Misha has already requested). In the end I want you to help me decide how to do it: beta branches, or steam launch options?
____________________________________________________
9 - Steam Statistics

An "inexplicable" amount of downloads of the game were made on May 22 2020

The section you were waiting for. Steam provides a lot of data of Simutrans & Simutrans players. You may find useful this information, or maybe you are just curious. Here we go!

Current players by region


Simutrans players coount (a new record was made with the comeback!)


Activation of the game (clicking the "Buy" button) VS actual downloads


Form now on, only result from players that replied to the Steam Hardware Survey are displayed, so statistics could be a little biased.

Users by OS (only top 10)


Users by selected language


Users by CPU speed


Users by System RAM


Users by resolution


Users by graphic card


____________________________________________________
10 - Summary of proposed changes

2. Fix Mac version (easier said than done, I know).
3. Get rid of the preloader (eventually) and implement steam funcionality into Simutrans itself - or rewrite the preloader (duplicate options, support for Mac is lacking).
4. Get rid of Steam Launch Options (depending on #8) and ship the Wokshop Uploader as a separate, installable tool.
5. Reorganize Steam Paksets: A Store Page for every pakset, and bring unavailable paksets to Steam.
6. Improve store pages with descriptions, translations, and new screenshots (for what a Screenshot Showcase may be useful)
7. Ship Simutrans with a tutorial. Maybe reconsider default pakset.
8. Deciding between shipping non-Standard version alongside the game or as a beta branch.
9. I'm those two arch linux users playing Simutrans. I feel alone. :-(

Offline TurfIt

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2020, 07:17:59 PM »
First, thanks for taking on maintaining the Steam release.


Let's take a look at what benefits brings the preloader:

1. Fullscreen -> Very useful, but you can do that already from your system (at least on linux), from the simuconf.tab (not very user friendly tho), and it could be better implemented as an in-game option.
2. Sound & Music -> Not necessary. Both can be muted from inside the game.
3. Sandbox Mode -> Probably the only thing that justifies the existence of the preloader as a start menu right now.
4. Debug -> Not really valuable for Steam players.
5. Steamcloud savegames.
^^ that's really the main purpose IMHO.


2. Add Steam related code to Simutrans (probably forking the sourcecode), and remove the preloader.

I prefer option 2, but I opened this thread to gather feedback, so it's your time to comment. And now that we are talking about what happens when launching the game...
Previous discussion on this topic were of insurmountable licensing conflict between Simutrans and Steam...

Offline danivenk

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2020, 09:02:52 PM »
I'm a user here too btw Roboron  ;)

Offline Roboron

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2020, 09:17:04 PM »
Previous discussion on this topic were of insurmountable licensing conflict between Simutrans and Steam...

It's difficult for me to find some ancient discussions (specially if the term to search is Steam, which brings a lot of results not related to the Steam platform). But I've find this (brief, and not very aclaratory) discussion in the original proposal thread.

I think there was once some issues with the Artistic License and Steam. Or more precisely, a closer intergration with the Steamworks API is not compatible with the GPL. Not sure about the Artistic License though.

I have checked through both the GPL and Artistic licence, and neither present problems with putting the game on Steam, although the Steamworks API is another matter. Under GPL, the Steamworks API can be used so long as it can be easily removed without cripling the game (i.e. it is not an integral part). For the Artistic License I am still trying to determine if there are any issues with integrating Steamworks.

Prissi is right with Steamworks being incompatible with GPL (and HaydenRead is wrong - not at all, but wrong). You can't include libraries which you can't relicense as GPL on a GPL project, because the resulting code would not be GPL code. Steam also explicitly states that you can't do that (with cuestionable exceptions) https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/sdk/uploading/distributing_opensource

But Simutrans is not GPL licensed, which plays in our favour this time, it is under the Artistic License:

Quote
6. The scripts and library files supplied as input to or produced as output from the programs of this Package do not automatically fall under the copyright of this Package, but belong to whomever generated them, and may be sold commercially, and may be aggregated with this Package.

I don't see a licensing problem here, we don't need to relicense the Steamworks API which is the problem of the GPL. But you can prove me wrong, of course.


Offline Flemmbrav

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2020, 09:57:59 PM »
First, thanks a lot for your investment!
While I personally do not like how Steam works, it is the standard marketplace for games nowadays.
If we want Simutrans to grow, we need to take that into concern.
And that implies adjusting the game a bit to be more steam compatible.

Mind that the attention span on a new game drasticly decreased with the insane amount of games on a market.
If a game does not work well for someone in the initial 20 minutes, why bother trying to figure if, if you could just go next?


To me that means two things:

We need a proper tutorial with first steps and all that.
Something that takes a newbee by their hands and guides them through the game.
Something that brings quick results.

And we need to ship it with a pakset that is decently looking as well as providing only a few different kinds of goods/industry/vehicles/ways.
Maybe even add a GUI theme.
But the days of new players being attracted by the likes of pak64 are over.
For beginner level games, I'm sure that 99% of the Steam community would prefer a steamlined (pun intended) pak128, pak256 or pak192.
That should not be one of these three, as all of them offer a lot of confusing stuff.
Imagine a pakset with two industry chains with like 5 industries in total, 2 types of goods, pax and maybe post.
5 locos, a couple of cars each good, a few trucks, a ferry, a plane and a handful of ways.

Add a proper translation (not that much of work with only a few objects) and tutorial and you have a nice base.
The addons loaded into the game could then complement or replace the basic pakset.
You might even make things that generous that you could easily load saves of the basic pakset with almost every other pakset available.


Talking about paksets: Do you think the average user understands that pak32.comic is not pak96.comic compatible?
It might be worth it to rethink how we call our paksets.
Names like the two above kind of imply that they are similiar. Just that you can't even load saves from one to the other. Nor can you do network games together.


A different thing i was thinking about is to make some gamesaves public.
Would be nice to have a map that looks like the UK in there. Not just the landscape, but some train lines too. Or Just a weird island. Just something so you can see how different / experienced people play the game. Maybe bundle that with a pakset too?


Taking a look at the CPU-speeds also makes me wonder if we really can't have multi-threated network game queries. IIRC we do not have that in standard right now because it might not work on older devices.
If there really will be a fork for Steam, it might be worth to open up to more modern system features as well.

Offline prissi

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2020, 02:06:43 AM »
First also thank you for your efforts. They are highly appreciated.

I think adding steam either as OS or backend would be the way for the makefile and to integrate Steam into Simutrans. I do not think the license is a problem. Also cloud saveed savegames woudl contribute a lot.

The MAC OS version of standard is built by github and seems to works, as far as I heard. Thus, maybe one can use this to built a steam version as well? (Or one forks SImutrans on github just to built the MAC OS version with steam there.)

However, license is a problem for some paks, like pak64.German. Also, I think I would reduce Simutrans on steam to actually maintained paks, i.e. which got an update within the last 2 years. Remove useless paks or make a museum pak page.

There are tutorials for pak64 and pak128. (I forgot to ship them, I will add them tonight to pak64). But pak128 is a mess, lacking any consitentcy. Yes and pak64 is too small by now ...

So pak192 is best looking, also an innovative GUI. Only, I think the industry chains are too complex for beginners (and often intentionally strange) and pricing is weird to me. So I would think a dumbed down pak192.comic with easy but somehow understandable pricing and a tutorial as a way to hook you up to Simutrans. "pak192.starter"I would like to help to organise and test this and add the tutorial support to it.

(Offtopic: Multithreaded network queries are not easy within Simutrans due to the way the GUI code works and how Windows handles network timeouts. Steam would not change anything of this.)

Finally, Simutrans extended has incompatible savegames, paks (tab files etc.) and a different gameplay. I do not think it is clever to offer both from the same page. It will utterly confuse poeple (and most beginner will click on "extended", since people always think the more the better), only to have incompatible savegames etc. I think the propoer way would be another steam page for Simutrans extended. Also extended lacks tutorial support, since scripting is broken there.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2020, 02:25:12 PM »
pak192.comic for president!  ;D

It shouldn't be too difficult to compose a reduced set. Pak192.comic is already using some kind of build targets, though that system is about to change.
At this exact moment, we discuss how to progress in this matter.

I think the proper way would be another steam page for Simutrans extended.
I do totally agree.
Incompatible savegames are not such a big deal, as these are stored in a different directory than standard saves, but that doesn't change a lot.
Any simutrans-extended release should either come with a release system, which is a lot of maintainance work, or should explicitly warn that it is rather a nightly release than anything stable.

Offline Andarix

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 07:43:30 AM »
Multiple versions of a set at the same time are rather confusing. Pak96.comic had tried that before. That was not very successful.

survey paksets
survey player

These 2 surveys can serve as a guide for the selection of sets, but they are not very representative. Don't know if Steam allowed polls.

....
Now let's take a broad look at the Simutrans paksets, and their status, on Steam:

* pak32.comic - Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak48.excentrique - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak64 - Available standalone https://store.steampowered.com/app/434520/Simutrans/
...
Further development rather unlikely.
Quote
...
* pak64.classic - Not available
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak64.contrast - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak64.german - Not available
...
Will not be further developed. Unofficial pak64.german available. However, large expansions are not expected.
Quote
...
* pak64.ho-scale - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak64.japan - Bundled in "Japan based Packsets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435960/Simutrans__Japan_based_Packsets/
...
Further development rather unlikely.
Quote
...
* pak64.nippon - Bundled in "Japan based Packsets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435960/Simutrans__Japan_based_Packsets/
...
Relatively new set that is being developed in Japan. Less known internationally.
Quote
...
* pak64.scifi - Bundled in "Miscellaneous paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435963/Simutrans__Miscellaneous_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak96.comic - Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak96.HD -  Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
...
Will not be further developed.
Quote
...
* pak128 - Default pakset
...
For my taste, pak128 is completely overloaded with the tools. Freight traffic also seems to be somewhat unfavorably balanced. The vehicles are just too many, I think. Mass confuses more than it helps.
Quote
...
* pak128.britain - Available standalone https://store.steampowered.com/app/434631/Simutrans__Pak128Britain/?snr=1_5_9__405
...
Further development rather unlikely.
Quote
...
* pak128.cs - Not available
...
Relatively new set.
Quote
...
* pak128.german - Available standalone
...
activ
Quote
...
* pak128.japan - Bundled in "Japan based Packsets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/435960/Simutrans__Japan_based_Packsets/
...
Further development rather unlikely. Development also only planned for Japan.
Quote
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* pak192.comic - Bundled in "Comic Paksets" https://store.steampowered.com/app/434632/Comic_Paksets/
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The decisive point for the distribution should not be the set itself, but the available languages. So the translations of the program, in-game help and objects in the set.

Simutrans offers 35 languages. But fully translated is hardly a combination of program and set. This confusion of names is likely to put off players more than anything else.
The topicality is also not given in many areas with the help.

The sizes 64, 128 and 192 should contain 1 or 2 playable sets. If possible, those that are also further developed. Or at least be adapted to current versions.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 08:38:50 AM by Andarix »

Offline HaydenRead

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2020, 06:18:22 PM »
In regards to why packsets were bundled together, when it was first set up, Steam limited the number of DLC's that could be added.

Offline Yona-TYT

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2020, 06:44:59 PM »
Regarding the tutorial I'm not sure if they have been included in pak64 and pak128 respectively.

You can add them as addons on steam if you like.
- pak64: http://www.mediafire.com/file/4xokq32geebitph/tutorial_pak64-v1.4.20.zip/file
- pak128: https://www.mediafire.com/file/1jp0hsj4wm4fauj/tutorial_pak128-test-4.zip/file

Offline Roboron

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 12:01:26 AM »
I'm a user here too btw Roboron  ;)

You barely post, I didn't know!

Mind that the attention span on a new game drasticly decreased with the insane amount of games on a market.
If a game does not work well for someone in the initial 20 minutes, why bother trying to figure if, if you could just go next?

I agree with everything you said. "pak192.starter" would be an interesting way to solve this, and I'm very happy you took the initiative. Sadly, I can't offer much help, I have 0 experience designing paksets. But I will provide some feedback on the other thread you created :-)

Talking about paksets: Do you think the average user understands that pak32.comic is not pak96.comic compatible?
It might be worth it to rethink how we call our paksets.
Names like the two above kind of imply that they are similiar. Just that you can't even load saves from one to the other. Nor can you do network games together.

I've never seen a user thinking pak96 is just pak32 with improved graphics. I have reviewed all the conversations on the Steams forums a no one ever questioned this. I think we can assume that users know[/] that paks with different sizes are not compatible (and it is also easy to check - just try to load a save from another pakset lol).

A different thing i was thinking about is to make some gamesaves public.
Would be nice to have a map that looks like the UK in there. Not just the landscape, but some train lines too. Or Just a weird island. Just something so you can see how different / experienced people play the game. Maybe bundle that with a pakset too?

As long as those savegames are provided with the paksets, that's ok. But if you were proposing to submit saves to the workshop, I think that's a terrible idea, because they are incompatible between paksets, and we would need to create yet another category for every pakset save to avoid users downloading wrong saves.

I think adding steam either as OS or backend would be the way for the makefile and to integrate Steam into Simutrans. I do not think the license is a problem. Also cloud saveed savegames woudl contribute a lot.

As an OS? Not likely, we have to target 3 OS. As a backend, maybe, we only need SDL2. Cloud saves were working already before I took care, preloader does that.

The MAC OS version of standard is built by github and seems to works, as far as I heard. Thus, maybe one can use this to built a steam version as well?

I still have to take a closer look to the MAC version. Maybe the start scripts are outdated, maybe it requires Apple revision.

There are tutorials for pak64 and pak128. (I forgot to ship them, I will add them tonight to pak64).

I will update pak64, thank you.

Finally, Simutrans extended has incompatible savegames, paks (tab files etc.) and a different gameplay. I do not think it is clever to offer both from the same page. It will utterly confuse poeple (and most beginner will click on "extended", since people always think the more the better), only to have incompatible savegames etc. I think the propoer way would be another steam page for Simutrans extended. Also extended lacks tutorial support, since scripting is broken there.

Feedback on this is really appreciated. I think this discards offering an Extended option while opening the game, and that pleases me because I can get rid of Steam Launch Options. For now, I will add Extended as a beta branch, meaning that the user has to opt-in from the betas menu (not really something inexperienced users do - but that's ok, this will be intended for experienced users) and will replace Standard (and pak128.britain with pak128.britain-ex). I don't think Extended is in an appropiate state to be released with its own Store Page. It lacks polish, specially for new users (more than Standard), as you mentioned, and it is updated way too often for a regular game. But still, adding Extended currently as a beta branch can be benefitial for existing Extended players, because it provides a way to keep Extended and its paksets updated.

However, license is a problem for some paks, like pak64.German.

I shall contact Frank before about pak64.german-unofficial, and see if I can arrange something for the Steam release.

Also, I think I would reduce Simutrans on steam to actually maintained paks, i.e. which got an update within the last 2 years. Remove useless paks or make a museum pak page.

Your opinion is very valuable, but I fail to see why we shouldn't ship unmantained paksets as long as they still work. Maybe "hiding" old paksets sounds like a good idea because they don't offer the best of experiences, but exposing those paksets could attract potential contributors to them.

Afaik, we should of course prioritise maintained paksets, and those should be put on top of the DLC list.

The decisive point for the distribution should not be the set itself, but the available languages. So the translations of the program, in-game help and objects in the set.

Simutrans offers 35 languages. But fully translated is hardly a combination of program and set. This confusion of names is likely to put off players more than anything else.
The topicality is also not given in many areas with the help

Good point.

The sizes 64, 128 and 192 should contain 1 or 2 playable sets. If possible, those that are also further developed. Or at least be adapted to current versions.

Are you suggesting to ship packages bundled by size instead? And only developed ones? Like:
64 set - pak64, pak64.nippon
128 set - pak128.german, pak128.japan
192 set - pak192.comic

I don't know what to think about this, I really dislike the idea of paksets being bundled together. Maybe others can provide some feedback on this...

I mirrored this post on Steam, and also got some feedback. This is for paksets:

Quote
4. Completely agree here, having each as a seperate DLC allows you to then showcase specific screenshots for each pakset (so user can visually see which they prefer) aswell as allow perhaps a little more info on what makes "that" pakset different to others.

5. Just noted you mentioned all above I have in 4. But yep better screenshots would be nice, I like the changes already made anyway, but perhaps some zoomed in shots of MASSIVE stations, or some of the pretty airports/large terminals you can find via google search etc.

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everything below 128x is outdated (to small to see the differences). all paks should be aviable in at least 192x or 256x with one downscale variant (if someone needs to be nostalgic).

Seem like there's a lot of different opinions about this. Maybe we should do a proper survey to decide how we ship paksets.

In regards to why packsets were bundled together, when it was first set up, Steam limited the number of DLC's that could be added.

The messiah is alive...! Ejem. Do you know why this limitation? Was this a general limitation for all games or for Simutrans in particular? I've not checked if this is still a limitation.

Regarding the tutorial I'm not sure if they have been included in pak64 and pak128 respectively.

You can add them as addons on steam if you like.
- pak64: http://www.mediafire.com/file/4xokq32geebitph/tutorial_pak64-v1.4.20.zip/file
- pak128: https://www.mediafire.com/file/1jp0hsj4wm4fauj/tutorial_pak128-test-4.zip/file

Thank you for your work on this. Are you sure they work fine on the last 122 version? Asking just in case, I don't want to ship a broken tutorial.

Offline Andarix

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 08:45:09 AM »

Offline Roboron

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2020, 01:38:49 AM »
translate scenarios

I'm confused now. What's the difference between this and https://makie.de/translator/ ? lol, I asked this 8 months ago, my brain is starting to fail

That was a good suggestion. Unfortunately, the ES texts were already translated in-game (but not in Simutranslator), I've lost a bit of time here until I noticed...

@Yona-TYT I translated two first chapters of pak128 tutorial, alongside some untranslated text (but not all) your version doesn't have translated. You can review my translation if you want, to see if you can incorporate something (and I do think you need some corrections). Please, next time don't forget to upload your progress to simutranslator!! I've sent you a PM to discuss other translation things.

Offline Yona-TYT

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2020, 03:23:09 AM »
Please, next time don't forget to upload your progress to simutranslator!!
I apologize, I never learned to use simutranslator .  ;D lol

I always use rudimentary methods hahaha.  ;D

Offline Andarix

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2020, 07:00:00 AM »
I'm confused now. What's the difference between this and https://makie.de/translator/ ? lol, I asked this 8 months ago, my brain is starting to fail

That was a good suggestion. Unfortunately, the ES texts were already translated in-game (but not in Simutranslator), I've lost a bit of time here until I noticed...
...

That is exactly the difference. In the scenarios, the translator is completely out of date and not up to date.

On the other site, the scenario texts are almost complete and up-to-date. There is also a de translation there that already contains a lot.



« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 07:17:48 AM by Andarix »

Offline Mishasama

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2020, 11:50:48 AM »
#3
I prefer option 2 too, that should make all versions (SVN, etc.) support the steam functions.

#4
If we do not need the preloader anymore, we should remove this, and move the uploader to the tool.

#5
Unbundle. It's not necessary to bundle them now.
But should write a date on the title to clearly last update date. And sort by update date.

#6
Things look too small now, I prefer to zoom in to a complex station to show the core experience.

#7
Difficult -> Tutorials.
Ugly -> Think about the extended pak256, it looks very nice and modern.
Graphics -> No need to do. Just inform people to check the more beautiful DLCs.

#8
I prefer to separate Standard and Extended.
Because Extended has a nightly version only, it will be very annoying for the new player, no one likes to update the game daily when you still learning how to play. And as you said, the DLC(paksets) shouldn't show with the standard.

But another idea, maybe the Extended can be a DLC, then you can set the paksets as must run with Extended DLC. (Like how the workshop works.)
And when you have Extended DLC, you can choose Standard or Extended to run at the Launch option.

Offline prissi

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2020, 12:07:11 PM »
pak64.nippon is mainly using pak64.graphics, so it is not very Japanese in viewing, while pak64.japan is difficult to be loved although it feature only japanese objects.

For pak64, we have ander active support pka64 (pak64.japan lkess) pak64.german, pak64.nippom

For pak128, we have pak128.germanö pak128.japan (maybe, at least has transparencies) and if there is a volunterr, also pak128.britain can be brought up to shape. pak128 is also not maintained right now.

Most active are pak128.german, pak192.comic, pak64.german, pak128CY, and then the rest.

Offline Roboron

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2020, 12:39:58 AM »
TLDR; Vote on the survey for the paksets at the top, now.

Things look too small now, I prefer to zoom in to a complex station to show the core experience.

I agree, I think this is a good theme for a new Screenshot Contest.

Ugly -> Think about the extended pak256, it looks very nice and modern.

Problem with the extended pak256 is... that it is for extended. We can't provide it by default :-( If pak256 sources were available, I would consider doing a Standard version (but that would take time for sure).

I prefer to separate Standard and Extended.

Unfortunately publishing an Extended version with its own Store Page, DLC paksets, etc... is out of the question. Valve requires a payment now to publish new games on the store, so we will have to work with what we have.

For the moment, I've added Extended as a beta branch, which sounds appropiate for a game that is updated nightly. Downside is that a player can't have both version installed at the same time, but I suspect most Extended players do not play Standard much frequently...

But another idea, maybe the Extended can be a DLC, then you can set the paksets as must run with Extended DLC. (Like how the workshop works.)
And when you have Extended DLC, you can choose Standard or Extended to run at the Launch option.

This is actually a good idea, I will consider it. A fundamental problem, however, is how we manage incompatible paksets. If Extended is a game branch, I can force Steam to only download Extended compatible paksets when you are on the Extended branch, but I can't do the same if Extended is a DLC (all DLC are independent between them). What a mess.

I see a lot of different opinions about how we should ship the paksets. I think there's three main lines of though:

1 - Make a DLC for every pakset.
2 - Make a DLC for every pakset, if it is maintained, and bundle unmaintained paksets toegether as "Archived Paksets".
3 - Make a DLC only for maintained paksets. Forget about old/unmaintained paksets.

Let's consider a pakset maintained if it has been updated in last three years. I have been solving in the recent days the remaining issues preventing me to take action on this. So, let's start a survey with those options! I will create the survey at the post of this very post, please vote soon!

Offline Ranran

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2020, 01:07:40 AM »
IMHO, it's premature to add extended to steam.

I think it is necessary to prepare such as creating a stable branch for release like Standard. And there may be a lack of personnel and effort to devote to it.
And above all, there is a lack of tutorials for beginners.

And the difference between standard and extended must be made clearer. It can be misunderstood that extended is simply upward compatible with "simutrans". In my opinion, the screens are similar, but they are almost different games.

However, I don't think it's a bad thing to attract new players, as Extended can have a different player base than standard.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2020, 03:44:57 PM »
I agree with Ranran.
I do not think extended is ready for steam as long as nobody maintains more-or-less stable releases of extended.

The existence of extended, as an incompatible variant of Simutrans with many advanced features for experienced players, might be mentioned on the steam page, so everyone really interessted in this might try it out.

Offline Mishasama

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2020, 07:32:47 PM »
This is actually a good idea, I will consider it. A fundamental problem, however, is how we manage incompatible paksets. If Extended is a game branch, I can force Steam to only download Extended compatible paksets when you are on the Extended branch, but I can't do the same if Extended is a DLC (all DLC are independent between them). What a mess.
But think about the workshop, you can still download something incompatible pakset and have some error message when trying to load.
It's fine for the Extended players, they could know what is for Standard, and what is for Extended. Because the pakset name will have "EX" to clearly tell people that is for Extended only.
And you can write "for EXTENDED" at the DLC title too, that should make people more clearly what they are doing.

Offline prissi

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Re: Steam Status Update, Plans, & 122 Release
« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 12:07:38 AM »
If steam is meant to bring Simutrans to a wider audience, then I think extended is not suitable with often even major bugs and its eternal nightly status. If tehy even complain so loudly about the very few error in stable standard, and most of them are chased away by the steep learning curve, Steam seems no the way to deliver extended.

Furthermore, a Steam Direct release has a one time cost of $100 per game stie, hence a Simutrans extended site would have a one time cost of $100. https://partner.steamgames.com/steamdirect Compared to what the current server hosting is costing, I am pretty sure that there would be a sponsor somewhere for extened too, if there is a desire to have it on Steam.