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Can the mail-boot length be set at 0?

Started by Matthew, August 21, 2021, 09:41:13 PM

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Matthew

At the moment, mail coaches are made up of the coach itself and a mail-boot (stored in boats/holds/mail-boot.dat because it uses 32x32 graphics like boat holds). The mail-boot has a length of 1. This is unfortunate. A stagecoach plus 3 pairs of horses (necessary for the highest speeds) is exactly one platform tile; the extra 1 length of the mail-boot means that mail coaches should take up two platform tiles.

This is particularly inconvenient because it very often causes stagecoach (bus) stations to jam. If you build a 2-tile road 'platform', then the Choose Sign sends single-tile stagecoaches and omnibuses to occupy the tile nearest the access road ­— marked Inner Tile in this screenshot:



However, the Road Choose Sign will happily send both 1-tile stagecoaches and 2-tile mail coaches to the Outer Tile, even though it is blocked by the convoy in the Inner Tile (it doesn't really seem to have a concept of a platform in the way that the Railway and Narrowgauge Choose Signs do). As a result, those coaches will queue in the access road, unable to deliver their customers and often blocking other platforms too. As a result, coach stations must be much bigger than would otherwise be necessary.

To add to the confusion, however, the mail coaches are not consistently counted as 2 platforms long. See this example:

The LGCC Mail Coach on the right is two tiles long. But even though it should be occupying both the 'inner' and 'outer' tiles of this 'platform, the LGCC Superior Stage Coach is able to occupy the 'inner' tile at the same time.

It is not clear to me why the mail coaches are 1 length longer than the stage coaches. A note in the mail-boot.dat file says "This is necessary to allow mail coaches to carry passengers, as they did in reality." That may well be so, but couldn't this still be accomplished if the mail-boot's length was set at 0? I noticed that there are ship holds and Narrowgauge vehicles with a length of 0, so apparently it is possible. And Vladki proposed mail vehicles with length=0 in 2017, so he thought it was possible then.

A pull request to make this tiny change (a single bit?!) is here. It has not been tested as I can't presently get makeobj to work on my setup.
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jamespetts

Thank you for that - I have now dealt with this. This required reducing the length of the mailcoach itself as well as the boot, but I have now done this and it allows the mailcoach to take but a single tile.

I should be grateful if you could confirm that this works with to-morrow's nightly build.
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prissi

There is a misconception. The loading depends on the length of the PREVIOUS vehicle, i.e. the starting tile. Hence the length of the vehicle in question does not matter, as it will reside on a tile outside the station. Vehicles will load, if their starting position is on a station tile. Hence the length of the stage coach is the important factor. Only if you put the mail in front of the stage coach, length 0 makes a difference.

Matthew

Quote from: jamespetts on August 22, 2021, 12:30:31 AM
Thank you for that - I have now dealt with this. This required reducing the length of the mailcoach itself as well as the boot, but I have now done this and it allows the mailcoach to take but a single tile.

I should be grateful if you could confirm that this works with to-morrow's nightly build.

This all seems to be working correctly and avoids the problems that I mentioned in my earlier post. Thank you for fixing this, James!
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。