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Author Topic: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?  (Read 8399 times)

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Offline Severous

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Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« on: July 19, 2009, 07:41:52 AM »
I have always thought station capacity has been unrealistically implemented.  Today having tried pak.German I see what I think it should be in all paks.

In Pak64 and Pak128 the station capacity is not specific to cargo type.  For instance: You can add a mail box and it will allow not just mail but also more freight or passengers to be waiting.  Add a passenger platform to a freight station and you increase the freight storage capacity.  The following two screen shots are from Pak64 and Pak128. Both show more freight being stored than should be possible.

Pak64.
 

Pak128


But in Pak.German the type of storage is important and realistic.  This is how it should be in all paks? What do you think?

Pak.German

Offline Frank

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2009, 08:45:12 AM »
set

seperate_halt_capacities = 1

in your [userdir]/simutrans/simuconf.tab

Offline Severous

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2009, 09:12:15 AM »
Thank you Frank for the answer.  I saw you was online and have seen you in the German section.  So hoped you would comment...and you did.

Hmm.  Again I'm reminded this is a game for developers..not humble users/game players like me.

I take the game in its basic form..as made available for download.  I'm not going to touch code and files.  Having seen many screenshots I suspect the majority of players are missing out on this undocumented functionality.

So PAK64 and Pak128 are made available and intended to be played without separate halt capabilities?..and pak.German is meant to be played with separate halts. 

I'm going to be playing pak.German for a while now :)

In pak.German the pricing structure of rail buildings means freight receiving stations will be made up of passenger platforms with a freight building (strange description..but it works as coal shed). This is a reverse from pak128 where its most efficient to make stations up of freight platforms.


Offline Michael 'Cruzer'

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2009, 09:17:50 AM »
I take the game in its basic form..as made available for download.  I'm not going to touch code and files.  Having seen many screenshots I suspect the majority of players are missing out on this undocumented functionality.

This is, because this texts aren't ranslated yet.
There aren't so much people who want to the pakGerman to English, so there are many untranslated texts.

Quote
I'm going to be playing pak.German for a while now :)
Have some fun! ;)

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2009, 01:02:34 PM »
Hmm.  Again I'm reminded this is a game for developers..not humble users/game players like me.

This is one issue that I have been concerned to try to fix as far as possible in the development of Simutrans-Experimental. The work is some way from being completed, but improved help texts, clearer translations (at least, in English) and a more intuitive economy are amongst the things that I have been working on. In due course, I hope to have an automated installer for all platforms.

You write that, with this issue, "again" you are reminded that the game is not friendly for ordinary end users; what are the other issues that you think make it  like that?

Offline Severous

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2009, 03:28:26 PM »
Hi Jamespetts.

Ive half been watching the experimental posts and hope you achieve a Great user experience. The various loop holes closed and improved realism should make a good foundation for a great version of Simutrans.  Who knows might it become the next version after V102?

I fear this might be seen as a rant..and certainly takes us away from the thread purpose..  My feeling of development oriented game/forum comes from various observations. None significant in their own but together makes it feel like this is a game in constant development and not in constant play.

- The majority of posts are development related.  Few seem to play the game. Wish developers would show they also played..and shared with us how they made use of the advanced (and often undocumented) features in the game.

- Ask a gameplay question and within a few posts its turned into a development discussion. I suppose after 10 years of playing this type of game without support I'm used to something different on forums. I guess its me, used to just gamers responding and together us making the best we can out of what we have been given.

Developer digs at picky users or users not knowing what they want?.
- 'No user no bugs'
- 'Read my mind button'

-Statues and monuments to developers.

- Many pak sets, many vehicles. Everyone it seems makes vehicles or discusses making them. Who plays with them all?  I'm not knocking having 12 different lorries for piece goods..but Id rather have just 4 with more options over routing orders.

- Users cant make scenarios.  Chris Sawyers Locomotion from 4 years ago empowered users to map edit, place industry, choose the vehicles available, victory conditions.  Here we have good transport solutions but no context to place them into.  If I want a huge mining industry to service....nope. A cattle ranching USA..nope.  I want Germany..I can get a map..but can I place major cities and historically accurate industry?..nope. Can I even download one that someone has made..nope (spent an hour or so looking). A bit hit and miss what comes up once the new map button is pressed.

And the thing that started this thread off.  How pak.German has got something important to game play right.  Station capacity correctly based on mail, passenger, freight infrastructure.  Has no one noticed this before? Simutrans strives for realism yet the default config for pak64/pak128 station capacity is so arcade like.  Wonder how many other differences there are. Left hand drive/right hand drive, auto saves, probably I need to learn how to read and correct the config thingy file.

Overall theres great stuff here in Simutrans. I'm going to be playing months more now Ive found pak.German. Long as it doesnt spawn 6million industires in one go...if it does I will do my nut.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2009, 04:27:47 PM »
Severous,

interesting analysis - thank you :-) A number of the things that you mention are forum related, which, obviously, I can't resolve with Simutrans-Experimental. The forum-related issues are perhaps a result more of a sort of positive feedback effect: the more development discussions that there are, the more people who want to have development discussions will post, and the less that people who don't want to have development discussions will post, which will further increase the proportion of development discussions. Having a lively development community, however, is a very good thing, since it ensures continual development, which means that the game keeps getting better. Perhaps some thought ought be given to a subforum dedicated to gameplay issues? Certainly, when I have a good preliminary version of Pak128.Britain-Experimental released, I am hoping to start some gameplay discussions about the gameplay issues/strategies particular to Simutrans-Experimental.

A number of the issues arise out of the economics of developing open-source software. Unlike commercial software, things will only be developed if people feel like programming them, which means that programming resources are necessarily limited. Things such as a user-interface for scenario creation, for example, are very resource-intensive and, although desirable in themselves, may not be as desirable as other things on which an equal amount of developer time could be spent (such as network multiplayer mode). A similar point arises with the simuconf.tab settings, although I understand that there has been some discussion about getting a GUI for them. However, the idea of the simuconf.tab settings is that they are set by pakset authors (as with Pak.German), so getting an integrated version of Simutrans with a pakset should, if the pakset is well designed, provide good and well-balanced options. (Incidentally, the simuconf.tab file that comes with Simutrans-Experimental and Pak128.Britain-Experimental (when it will be released) has seperate_halt_capacities=1 set).

Thank you again for your insight - do let me know if you come up with any other things that could be improved (preferably things that do not require a large amount of work, as resources for the development of Simutrans-Experimental are limited) for non-developer end-users.

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2009, 04:50:13 PM »
I just want to say that I agree with much of what Severous is saying, I think that Simutrans needs to focus more on gameplay and getting a comunity with gamers. As I read many of the extensions request I don't see many sugestions that will make gamplay better.

If we have ambitions to get more people to play simutrans, then I think that there is a need for changing the focus for the development. More paks, venichels and a more realistic city growth wont attract more players. I would really love to have a discussion about Simutrans and how to make the gaming experience better. For me an easier installation (several friends I've showed the game to have complained about this), a better financial system (atm going into red have no consequenses, I want some way of taking up loans with interest) and better information, reports and statistics are three core elements which could make gameplay easier.

I also think that the saying "less is more" also is correct for simutrans... But I think I said enough for now!

Back to the topic, I agree that the different goods types sepperated could be more realistic. A passenger and a bag of mail are stored in different ways...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2009, 05:09:14 PM »
Leifinge,

thank you for the very interesting feedback. Apart from the issue of consequences of going into the red (which is addressed in Simutrans-Experimental already), and installation (which I already plan to address when Simutrans-Expeimental has undergone more thorough testing with a fully compatible pakset), where in particular do you think that the gameplay is lacking?

In particular, you mention reports, stastics, etc. - what sort of additional statistics do you think would be worthwhile, and how do you think that they would best be presented?

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2009, 06:15:23 PM »
In particular, you mention reports, stastics, etc. - what sort of additional statistics do you think would be worthwhile, and how do you think that they would best be presented?

There is acutally a lot of things that I would love to see when it comes to statistics:
- First of all I want a possibility to export it!!!!! (to Stories and Challenges)
- I want some kind of annual report and a ballance sheet (If you've played Railroad Tycoon (the original) you know what I mean.
-- Annual Report, with income divided, city growing the most, best line, etc.
-- Balance sheet, dividing up your networth.
-  Number of lines, venicheles, etc.
- Income and transported divided by type of goods
- And more... :)

Offline prissi

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2009, 06:40:33 PM »
Simutrans is playable out of the box. When you want to change something you can often change it by editing a single character in a text file. No other game do not have such a flexibility. Just most paksets decide to hide the complex features as most player have actually problems with them in my experience. In that way the additional complexity of SimutransExperimental make it even more difficult to start.

OpenTTD has gone the other way, more than 6 pages of settings which most a crytical to say the least. Installation not possible without copyright breaking or a forum search. An addon system that requires nearly assembler programming skills and five pages of documentation to make a single vehicle. Nevertheless the OpenTTD system does not offer a good challenge and no long term motivation. Also OpenTTD cannot be used for first time users without a manual. I was at least not able to start a train, while simutrans has a start button ...

TransportGigant did lack mountains and a UI which is unusable without a manual, apart from being not available any more.

Locomontion has inherited many of the shortcomings of TTD without the gentle corrections by TTD-Patch/OpenTTD and is nearly unplayable for any serious motivating gaming. (Micromanagement, lack of destinations, too fast pace of time ... )

A good game design must find a balance between simplicity and motivation, management and automatisation, considerations that are put into simutrans and most likely not noted by the vast majority (which is a good sign). Simutrans is probably very short on the graphics side, although this improves still with the many new pak-sets. However, every pak-set not just has different graphics but allows you a different game. Just like levels in other computer games. Also SimutransExperimental might be considered as another "Level" in that chain.

Other than that, have a look at the OpenTTD forums. Ther are even a larger number of people in "development". Also Simutrans has also a large community into gaming and graphics, which is different from development. Moreover if there are little help request, meaning that most people aparently have little trouble, compared to the number of downloads.

Moreover, as simutrans is part of debian/ubuntu and user of such systems automatically get a working installation. For windows there is simutrans complete. That Mac support is not working is very easy to understand: None of the developers have a Mac, and there is no native graphics driver but only SDL.

Offline gerw

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2009, 07:02:44 PM »
There is acutally a lot of things that I would love to see when it comes to statistics:
- First of all I want a possibility to export it!!!!! (to Stories and Challenges)
Be patient, I've heard your cries :)

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2009, 07:28:37 PM »
Be patient, I've heard your cries :)
:D

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2009, 07:43:13 PM »
Some screenshots from Railroad Tycoon shows some of my wishes:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/sid-meiers-railroad-tycoon/screenshots/gameShotId,35153/
http://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/sid-meiers-railroad-tycoon/screenshots/gameShotId,35154/

I also wish that you had to take up loans, not just geting them automaticly ;)

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2009, 07:48:36 PM »
Leifinge,

one must be careful to distinguish between (1) things that make Simutrans lacking in user-friendliness in general; and (2) additional features that, whilst they do not detract from user-friendliness per se, you consider desirable in themselves. Severous's point is that the game, as currently presented, is not as inviting/friendly to would-be players with limited techincal ability/interest. Whilst general extension requests are always welcome in the appropriate section, not every absent feature is relevant to the point that Severous was making, and it is important to distinguish the two.

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2009, 07:53:37 PM »
My point with all my sugestion is that all of them would make the game more user friendly, **** this is extensions that are either making the game more logical (most tycoon games etc. you have to take up a loan if your cash get into negative) or userfriendly (better statistics would for many players make the game more fun, and easier to dig into).

Another idea aswell could be a simutransopedia (like you find in civilization) with more information about different topics.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2009, 10:05:51 PM »
A wiki is probably a more efficient way of presenting documentation: most people now have constant internet access, and it is easier to maintain than an in-game system (although the in-game help files are still required).

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2009, 10:09:29 PM »
I disagree, its allways easier to find ingame help, than on a wiki... The wiki is better for longer articles, but an ingame "pedia" is to prefer for shorter, basic topics....

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2009, 10:45:31 PM »
Don't we already have that with the in-game help system, though?

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2009, 07:14:24 AM »
Not really, a "pedia" could gather the information at one place, and not only on each window

Offline Spike

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2009, 11:58:47 AM »
Ive half been watching the experimental posts and hope you achieve a Great user experience. The various loop holes closed and improved realism should make a good foundation for a great version of Simutrans.  Who knows might it become the next version after V102?

I think this is unlikely. I'd like to keep Simutrans Experimental and Simutrans Standard separate branches. If you want to play Simutrans Experimental, then that is fine, that what it's there for. But it's not mean to be a replacement or successor of Simutrans Standard, it's meant to offer a variant with a different playing experience.

Offline NiWe

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2009, 12:19:27 PM »
When you want to change something you can often change it by editing a single character in a text file. No other game do not have such a flexibility.

Yes, and that is actually why I agree with Severous about the developer's slant. It is technically possible to change a *lot*. But how many players do know a) that there exist a setting which deals with the concern they have, b) where to change this setting (that is, in which file) c) which options there are (which "single character" should there be instead of what's there at the moment) d) exactly which consequences this or that change will have?
At least I am not skilled enough in programming/computers in general/simutrans development to understand the configuration files right out of the box - sometimes I find info on the forum on how to do what I want, sometimes I have to "shake up" people by asking, asking asking.
And no, I do not read the source code. Because I do not *understand* source code. Because my first attempt to learn how to program seriously is less than a week old (I don't count my very limited experience of QBASIC as of 15 years ago). At some point I will - probably - be able to study the code and figure out on my own how to modify the configuration files to improve my playing experience. But I'm impatient, I wanna play now!

I am sorry if this comes along as whiny, but it is something which somehow has grated on me for a while, since I tried to figure out where the keyboard shortcuts went :P
So, developers, please accept my apologies for this 2-cent-rant, and my congratulations for having made a very very interesting game! And finally kudos for listening to, and responding to, the users!

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2009, 01:27:29 PM »
Not really, a "pedia" could gather the information at one place, and not only on each window

If you press the question mark button at the top right of the menu, you will get a help index.

Offline prissi

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2009, 03:01:35 PM »
(This is more of a general remark.)

If you consider writing a line of text "programming" then I am seriously lost. This is free software, so saying you cannot read code and you do not want to change a line to enable a feature which was intentionly not enabled by the pak-set author but want a user interface for it. Well, pay me, and you get it.

You can have zillions of buttons that move the close box etc. to the right and so on. Just have a look at the simuconf.tab. None of those are usually needed more than once. I would need a dull week to have an UI for them all. User will still give complains, since some of the settings cannot changed during the game (or if enabled will break the game), and want extra documentation since they are not using the ingame help.

Quote
Not really, a "pedia" could gather the information at one place, and not only on each window

Each of the help windows of the ingame help are interlinked. What use is a "pedia" if user do not want to contribute or do not even want to read ingame help? (Just look at the wiki.) Simutrans is a deep game, which provides some challenge but at the same time also requires some time to get used to all deep features.

Open software allows anybody to modify it. If one does not like or want a feature, hire a programmer to change it if one cannot do it yourself. But one must keep in mind that the work people do in the spare time is theirs and need to accept it. Recently the "Free Software" movement seems to have drifted a lot in the "Free Beer" direction, as people grown up with it took contribution for granted.

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2009, 08:31:51 PM »
Prissi, I really understand that I might be frustrating to hear lots of request and wishes from guys like me, who don't have or ever will done any programing. I'm really gratefull for all the hours of programing that you, and others, have put into the game. At the same time I think that it's important that the "gamers" arn't excluded from the discussion on how Simutrans can become an even better game.

In my opinion Simutrans sometimes is not as gamer friendly as it could be, a good example of this was how it took me several forum post before I was able to open pak.Britian (I didn't know how to use commandline to load a pakset). Another is all the changes that you only could do in the textfiles. Its great to have this possibility, but its hard to reach for most players. Simutrans is a deep game, thats true and good, but at the same time I think it's important that it is easy to start playing it as a new player. Else we might lose many possible players (and developers and artists)

When all this is said, I also want to point out that I'm more than willing to contribute. I can't do coding, but I will continue to contribute to the forum espescially to the challenges and the BBBR story. I'm also willing to do work on the helpfiles and the wiki, but I need some directions about what to do.

Offline prissi

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2009, 09:06:36 PM »
There is a pakfile selection dialoge already built in there by the way. However, please consider that your ideas of making the game better are not nessessarily matching my (or any other developers) idea of what is needed next.

People want rotation and whine when it is not always working (as announced even before they got it). The list is endless. In the end, unfourtunately, you have to hear to you and forget about user requests you do not feel worthy. Or coding becomes work and you will quite.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2009, 09:08:08 PM »
As to Pak128.Britain, that is still in development. I am hoping to have a release of a version specially adapted for Simutrans-Experimental at some point bundled with Simutrans-Experimental and an automated install process.

Offline Severous

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2009, 09:13:13 PM »
Hi

This post was started by me and asked if station capacity for mail/passenger/freight should be spearate in all paks:

"This is how it should be in all paks? What do you think?"

Two responses on subject and both positive :)  

However...No hint of either Pak64 or Pak128 being changed or their existing settings defended.  These are two important Paks used by new players.  Also many players have them so a good bet for a future collaborative/competitive event.  Is there no owner for these who can say what the change control process is and if these settings have been considered?

Offline LeifInge

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2009, 09:18:49 PM »
Prissi: I understand that you want to do what interest you the most, hey your doing it at your sparetime! My point wasn't to say that you should do what everyone want you to, but that I think everyone should be allowed to say their opinion :)

Secondly I would love to have a discussion about how to get more people to play simutrans. I'm willing to do my share to contribute if we reach any conclusions.

Offline prissi

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Re: Station Capacity - Has Pak.German got it right?
« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2009, 09:19:39 PM »
Since pak64 has no station with not acceptance at all it should work reasonably with this settings. But consider the begiiner who might be confused by additional complexity. Since pak64 is the standard, it maust go on a thin line between complexity, newby freindly and long term challenge. Consider it ready but do not expect this setting to be default.