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A Playthrough of the NYC Scenario

Started by A.Badger, January 20, 2024, 09:13:40 PM

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A.Badger

QuoteImages are larger than displayed here.  Open any of them in their own window and zoom in if you wish to see details.


Achievement Get!

After two years of on again, off again playing, I've just completed the NYC Scenario from pak128!  While I was playing this scenario, I was unable to find anyone else who had posted information about their experiences with finishing the scenario so I was left wondering whether I was going about things the right way or if the scenario was even possible in the current version of simutrans.  This post will contain a variety of screenshots and commentary from me about how I designed my network, things I wish I had done differently, and all the information that I wish I had been able to search for to aid in my game.

QuoteA couple notes:
  • There's a lot of content to post so I'll be breaking up my story into several posts on this thread. I'll try for one post a week even if I post something short because I didn't have a lot of time that week.
  • There's a lot of content for the early stages of my playthrough as I introduce concepts and strategies I used for the first time.  As my retelling of how I played the scenario progresses, I will summarize a little more and things should go quicker.

# Ancient History

Around 2017 I took a "brief" hiatus from playing simutrans-extended to try out the NYC Scenario in standard. My first try was filled with things that didn't work.  For instance:

  • My feeder lines in Manhattan had too little throughput.  This was because I had made out-and-back, single track underground tram lines to move passengers from their initial spawn locations to high speed train lines that took them out of the city.  That meant I could only run a single tram on each line, making it impossible for the feeder lines to scale.
  • Lack of capacity on suspension railways.  In the highest traffic areas, I needed to have multiple monorail cars serving the stations but my initial layout only had a single station.  Expanding those would be highly inefficient if I added a second station building onto the existing track. My monorails were struggling to get up to fullspeed between stations as it was, so shoving additional station buildings in would further curtail that.
  • I had built a major North-South passenger rail line along the East River.  Even with high speed trains running practically back to back, there were simply too many passengers for this to carry them all.
  • I hadn't anticipated city growth.  By the time I was nearing complete passenger coverage on every major city, houses were starting to spring up outside of the coverage area of the oldest lines.  This meant I would have to expand lines and put in more stations on lines which already suffered from a lack of capacity.

Those problems caused me to stop playing for a while and then other life events kept me occupied for a few years.  Two years ago I decided to resume playing but found that my old save files were missing.  One part of me took that hard but another part of me felt that greenfield development might be more fun than having to rip up the existing lines to fix their flaws....

QuoteNote: Although what follows is presented in chronological order, it is entirely written after finishing the scenario.  As such, screenshots will be used to illustrate the points being made but will reflect the final state of the map, not the state of the map at the time.  Also, I may not be entirely accurate about specifics like which vehicles I used at what time, decisions I made that I had to redo, and so forth.

# Background on the NYC Scenario

For those who don't know, the NYC Scenario ships as a standard part of pak128.  Start simutrans with that pakset, go to Load Scenario, and then select new_york as the scenario to start.

You start the NYC Scenario in 1957 with 2 million dollars and a mandate to build a passenger network that spans the entire New York City metropolitan area.  In order to win the scenario, you need to provide service to four of the seven airports on the map, have built a transportation headquarters on Governors Island (to the south of Manhattan), and serve 95% of the travellers in Midtown for one year.  The scenario will prevent you from building new bridges and tunnels over the Hudson River.  Although cities will grow, spawning new houses and new attractions, no new factories will be created during the game play.

QuoteUnresolved Question: Can you serve any four airports to satisfy the scenario goals or do you have to serve La Guardia, JFK, Newark, and Non-US?  Linden and Teterboro are so small that you probably don't need to use them but, they have some utility for moving PAX from the New York side of the Hudson to the New Jersey side.  The Non-US airport, on the other hand, is just there as a place for planes to land with a few PAX destined only for the attractions around the airport itself.


Complete map of NYC and surrounding areas (Open image in new window to see details).


Isometric view of the map which lets us see it at slightly larger scale (Only the Non-US Airport is entirely off the edge of this map.  It resides on a little island in the chopped off SouthEast corner)

Midtown, which is the subset of the vast urban sprawl on the island of Manhattan that you need to almost fully serve to win the scenario, is an area at the southern end of Central Park. It spans the whole width of the island and includes several blocks on either side of the Park, encompasses the large cluster of skyscrapers south of the Park, and then ends when it runs into Greenwich to the South.

# Initial steps on a new map - Smelly, smelly bulk goods.

From my previous attempt, I knew that trying to move passengers right off the bat wouldn't make a lot of money.  Downtown, at the Southern tip of Manhattan, has a sizable population but it's not enough to bring in the dough.  So, like most games of simutrans standard, I started by transporting cargo.  Specifically, hauling waste by barge.  In the real world, there's an unpleasant stereotype about garbage scows plying the waters of the East River. My playthrough definitely mirrors that stereotype.


It's a dirty job but someone's gotta haul it.

Waste can be picked up at Ellis and Liberty Islands off the Southern tip of Downtown and carried north to Waste Incinerators near the Northern end of the East River.  Then, on your way back down the East River, you can pick up waste from two garbage dumps that live along the shores.  This waste can be brought to the St George Waste Incinerator just to the south of the two islands you started at. This means you can carry waste in both directions which makes this a nicely profitable route. Additionally, all the stops on the route border the water so it is easy to place a few docks, buy a ton of barges, and let them start earning a profit without an infrastructure investment. Finally, the two garbage dumps on Ellis and Liberty Island produce about twice as much waste as the ones along the East River.  This is a minus in that you won't be coming home with a full load of cargo, but it does make scheduling easier: you can wait for 100% load at Ellis or Liberty secure in the knowledge that if you can keep up with what they produce, you won't develop an excess at the garbage dumps located along your return journey.


Stops on the East River Garbage Route.  The stops furthest North and furthest South are Waste Incinerators.  The other four are Garbage Dumps.

Although you don't have to build a lot of roads or rails to get this up and running, you do have to invest a ton of money into ships.  In 1960, you have two ships capable of hauling bulk goods (which is the category that waste occupies).  One of them is the MHz C11C Bulk Barge which costs $21k to buy and $5.73 per km to operate with a 165 unit capacity.  The other ship is the MHz R2A Push-Tug combined with the MHz P11C Bulk Boat (hint: the Bulk Boat goes in front of the Push-Tug).  This ship costs $11k to buy and $3.16/km for the same 165 unit capacity.  When transporting most bulk goods, the Push-Tug can make up to 11¢ per unit-km while the Bulk Barge maxes out at 9.5¢.  Since we'll be coming back empty sometimes, the actual difference is closer to 10.4¢ vs 8.3¢.  This makes the Push-Tug the obviously better ship for hauling Bulk goods around. Even when larger, newer ships become available, none of them will compete with the earnings per unit transported of the Push-Tug:

=============================== ========== ======= =========== ========== ========== ==========
 Name                            Capacity   Speed   100% full   75% full   50% full   25% full
=============================== ========== ======= =========== ========== ========== ==========
 MHz C11C Bulk Barge                  165      25    0.09527     0.0837     0.06055   -0.00891
 MV Fedra                             900      29    0.09528     0.0837     0.06056   -0.00889
 Owari Maru                          1800      28    0.09528     0.0837     0.06056   -0.00889
 Mhz R2a Push-Tug - Bulk Barge        165      28    0.11085     0.10446    0.0917     0.05339
=============================== ========== ======= =========== ========== ========== ==========

QuoteThe above table comes from a Python script I wrote to help me estimate the relative earnings per unit-km.  If you'd like to try it out, you need to get the script and a data file the script uses.  Read the comments at the top of the script to understand how you may need to modify the data file for the game that you are currently playing. In particular, most cargo types receive a speed bonus based on the maximum speed of the vehicle they are using compared to the average speed of all vehicles available at that time.  So any given vehicle will likely become less profitable as new, faster vehicles become available. (If anyone knows how I could extract the data file information directly from pak128, let me know and we can try to enhance the script.)

When I could see that this line was profitable, I found a second set of Bulk factories that could be visited in a circuit: Fertilizer from the chicken farm at College Point could be taken out to the East River and then down to the Shopping Center in D.Brooklyn.  Along the way, if the ship wasn't full of fertilizer, it could pick up more at the Chicken Farm near Hunter's Point.  On the way back, Waste could be picked up from the Garbage Dump outside the United Nations, across from Hunter's Point.  This set of factories leaves more distance where the barges have to travel empty between dropoff and pickup, but it is still profitable.


Stops on College Pt to D.Brooklyn bulk route.

The Garbage Dump next to the United Nations didn't have a piece of unoccupied, sloped shore to place a dock.  This was the first bit of terraforming I had to do on the map, plopping down an appropriate sloped shore to place a dock whose coverage area would reach the Garbage Dump. The two chicken farms on this route were both one tile too far away from the shore for the coverage area of the dock to reach them.  I solved this by putting down an additional station building on the shore, touching the dock.  I chose to use one of the bulk buildings from the Special Construction Tools but any station tile would do.  I purposefully did not use a station tile that would allow passengers or mail, though.  If a station is filled to capacity, factories cannot deposit more cargo into them and additional passengers and mail won't be generated for them.  Since I was going to need to transport almost all the passengers that could go to Midtown to win the scenarion, I decided that all of my freight stations would be separate from my passenger stations.


# Next time: My first passengers!

prissi

Thank you, I always found these things fascinating. Because a developer I rarely actually play Simutrans anymore.

Yona-TYT

This must be the most beautiful scenario that exists for simutrans, hopefully one day we will see more like this.

A.Badger

Quote from: prissi on January 21, 2024, 12:45:34 AMThank you, I always found these things fascinating. Because a developer I rarely actually play Simutrans anymore.
Thanks prissi!  It's too bad you don't get to play as much these days.  No matter how many other transport games I actually spend money on, Simutrans is the one I inevitably go back to.  It's really wonderful.