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Author Topic: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?  (Read 632 times)

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Offline miro

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Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« on: December 25, 2020, 05:16:49 PM »
Matter: it is possible to raise/lower the terrain to any extent. But the huge quantity of matter cannot just appear/disappear. How about reducing it to the possibility of moving the matter around? So if I want to lower the terrain somewhere, I have to raise the terrain somewhere else. The closer to the original place, the cheaper.

Energy: The vehicles need energy to move. It may come from a coal mine (coal), oil refinery (petrol), or a power plant (electrical power by wire). All powered tracks (train/tram/trolleybus) should be connected to some power plant (by power lines or by the track itself). I have no clear idea how coal and petrol would be distributed to the other vehicles, but maybe someone has some thoughts on this?

Other than that, Simutrans is my favourite game. I played Transport Tycoon in the 90s but did not like the “get the passengers out of this station” concept, which is well developed in Simutrans. Keep up the great work!

Offline Václav

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2020, 07:30:49 PM »
Energy: The vehicles need energy to move. It may come from a coal mine (coal), oil refinery (petrol), or a power plant (electrical power by wire). All powered tracks (train/tram/trolleybus) should be connected to some power plant (by power lines or by the track itself). I have no clear idea how coal and petrol would be distributed to the other vehicles, but maybe someone has some thoughts on this?
As long as I play these games, no one of them allows to feed train catenaries from powerplants - (Open)TTD, Transport Giant, Simutrans, Industry Giant (but this game is about simulation of a industry chains - from mine to shops, and money are earnt by selling of final products).

This feature has following important weaknesses:
- (electric) trains must have set consumption
- you need sufficient amount of powerplants for continuous supplies of electricity to train catenaries
- you need continuous supplies of coal/uranium/oil/gas or so to supplied powerplants (like nuclear powerplanrt, coal powerplant and so on)
- you need (if possible) backup power - mostly from stable powerplants like wind, solar or so

and also few secondary
- at least in the beginning you need steam and/or diesel locomotives to pull trains with coal or so
- electric trains may be stuck/stopped in never-ending deadlock if energy supply would be suspended - for previous suspending of resource supply

Offline Leartin

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2020, 08:22:34 PM »
About matter:
Most often, I'd use terrain alteration to straighten an edge such that a sloped way, tunnel portal or bridge start is allowed. In reality, such operations would often be planned in such a way that removel and addition of material balances each other. The grid doesn't allow for that strategy in Simutrans, even so it makes more sense to assume it was taken into account and most terrain alterations still work that way, even if the grid-based representation doesn't show it.
It also wouldn't make much sense if terraforming operations would cause leftover material/need material, but tunnels would not.

Large terraforming projects, like removing a mountain, could be considered differently. But to do so, one would need to be able to differentiate - since any large terraforming project is nothing but a chain of tiny operations, that could be really hard.


About Energy:
As Václav said, there is deadlock potential even if you make sure there always is enough electricity on the map. Electric Energy is the one asked for most often, but if you go further and even require fuel and coal, you might end up with a map where no vehicle can move anymore due to some earlier accident that left all vehicles out of fuel or stuck between vehicles out of fuel. It could be fun to repair such a messy map by starting out with a horse drawn carriage, but it's much more likely a player would be frustrated and either load an earlier save or play a different game.

There is another aspect as well - if you need to use fuels/electricity from factories on the map, what do you build infrastructure with? Wouldn't you need a gravel mine before you can even build a gravel road? A brick factory for your first station building? How does the locomotive producer get all the materials they need to produce locomotives for you to buy and use? There is a clear separation - the player can get anything for money, no matter whether the thing can be produced on the map. Perhaps imported from some other, unseen area - who knows?
It's not impossible to think up a game where this wasn't the case, a transport-focused version of build-up strategy games like Anno, where you can't place factories and rather, factories spawn as they will and you need to transport stuff from one factory to the next not just to make money, but also to get required materials. Could be a fun game. Isn't Simutrans though.

There is a fuel idea decoupled from factory output. You'd have to build fueling stations for your vehicles to keep going, but they wouldn't actually need to be restocked with goods.  --> https://forum.simutrans.com/index.php/topic,18122

Offline wlindley

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2020, 09:04:13 PM »
The deadlock problem would be realistically solved if:
  • electricity from a connected power plant cost less
  • coal from a connected mine would cost less to run your coal-fired power plant
  • having connected gravel quarry would lower the price to build your ways
and generally make it a monetary decision. 

Truly Simutrans is a transport simulation game but being able to buy/sell and run mines, farms, and industries for profit has always seemed like a missing part of the game, along with having the public player assess taxes instead of perpetually having absurd negative balances.  Likewise a more realistic way of selling corporate stocks and bonds to fund transport infrastructure. We aren't redoing SimCity but the gameplay could use these balances.

Offline isidoro

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2020, 11:48:03 PM »
Not mentioned here is Workers and Resources:Soviet Republic.  In that game, conservation of matter isn't taken into account, but conservation of energy is an option.   When activated, you have to fill you vehicles with fuel or provide electricity for them to work.  It's quite a solid simulation and the Soviet Republic theme isn't the main feature of the game.
Even in the case that you play with energy simulation, the game allows:
  • To import products (including electricity and fuel) at the borders.
  • Gas stations can optionally be made to have a certain amount of fuel always.
  • Vehicles can drive a distance even if they have no fuel.
I think all that is related to alleviating the deadlock problem you mentioned above.
If you'd like to give it a chance, note that train signals are the basic block type.  Overall, it's a very nice game.  Simutrans is better because passengers have destinations.  In WR, passengers don't have them.  Goods neither have them, but it doesn't matter, since the player is the one that really decides the destinations and moves the goods.


Offline Václav

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2020, 08:19:38 PM »
Not mentioned here is Workers and Resources:Soviet Republic.  In that game, conservation of matter isn't taken into account, but conservation of energy is an option.   When activated, you have to fill you vehicles with fuel or provide electricity for them to work.
I don't know that game - but in higher difficulty levels in Transport Giant, each vehicle can go only within range. Of course, steam and diesel vehicles have mostly very limited range between start and end station, meanwhile electric ones (only locomotives) have almost unlimited (but generally, range is increasing with new vehicles). So, in higher difficulty levels special warehouses can be built. However, only feeding of factories is paid - it means that vehicles feeding those warehouses don't earn money. In that way, all connections have to be planned very well.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2020, 03:53:46 PM »
along with having the public player assess taxes instead of perpetually having absurd negative balances. 

In Extended, this has deliberately been left as a relatively single project for a new coder to undertake. I think that's a really good way to encourage new contributors.

Offline Roboron

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Re: Conservation of matter and energy in Simutrans?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2020, 11:47:01 AM »
I like the idea of vehicles being slower when they are out o fuel. It doesn't totally lockdown the player when he fails, but it also encourages managing the supply chain while not being overly penalizing.