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Some balancing comments on pak64

Started by neroden, October 18, 2009, 08:35:15 PM

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This is all with 102, I haven't seen if there's been rebalancing in the nightlies!

(1) Many of the trains are useless, because a couple of them are far better than the competition.

Playing with the timeline, the Adler is impossible to make a profit with, period.  The Hunslet and H-Trans are both useful when they are the only trains available.

But when the BR39 shows up it is completely dominant over almost everything else, since it has a very low $/kw ratio and it has a top speed of 110 km/h.  Of the other steam trains, the 221A is occasionally useful when you need something slightly faster, and the BR01 when you need something even faster.  The Ed 2x2 is useful for small, slow bulk trains.  The other steam trains are never useful once the BR39 shows up.  Of the electric trains, the BB1280 is useful to replace the Ed2x2.  The BLS Be 5/7, BB200, and E44 are worthless.  The NS1000 replaces the BR01 in the "fast" category.  Of the early diesels, the BRV36 is worthless and the F7A/F7B is useful only in very specialized circumstances (when it requires less track construction than running two BR39s).

I've made it to 1952.

(2) The costs per unit of some of the waggons are messed up.  Paper cannot be profitably transported by train ever; similarly powder/pellets.  Bulk goods waggons get more expensive per unit -- and speed is of little value for bulk goods -- rendering the "Hochbordwagen" and "Kohlewagen" of little utility  and giant trains of "old_open_car"s are by far the most profitable way to transport coal, sand, and stone, even in 1952.  (Iron is needed in such high volumes that it is sometimes worth using the higher-capacity waggons for iron.)

Regarding paper, I wish it were possible to transport it by *some* means other than truck, even if the profits were very very low.  Once you hit high volumes, you want to use something else, but you can't.  The railcars carry less volume than a truck, making them utterly pointless.  The ships are so unprofitable that you can't even make up for it with the books and wood profits.  So 100 lorries it is.

(3) The entire AAC chain is basically worthless, and I rarely bother to supply it.

First of all, transporting AAC is unprofitable, always, by any means of transport.  Now look at its inputs:
- stone is a low-profit bulk good
- sand is a low-profit bulk good
- cement is needed in low volumes and is extremely cheap, so very little profit
- Inputs to cement are stone (low-profit bulk good)
- and coal (which can usually be taken elsewhere, and not much is needed because so little cement is used).

Finally, the MaterialsWholesale is happy to receive its other two goods and forget about AAC....

While it's reasonable to have some unprofitable parts of a chain, the combination of stuff makes the chain far worse than any other chain available in the game, including the highly profitable power plant chains, so unless the AAC is the only chain in the game and is needed in order to induce population growth, there's little point supplying it.  When the AI supplies it, it loses money very fast.

(4) Freight ships aren't profitable enough relative to other modes of transport.
For oil tankers, it's more profitable to ship oil by train, which is just not right.  It's often worth building giant bridges to do so, even.
A number of the other goods ships are simply never profitable.

(5) Many of the buses are, again, worthless.  The Buessig is great, but the more expensive buses simply give less profit than trams or trains, period.  *Much* less.  The only advantage of the more expensive buses is their volume and speed.  As of 1952, the trams carry much higher volumes -- and can run at lower speeds and get the same revenue.  If you've got too much volume for Buessigs, you can afford the tram track and the larger buses become pointless.  I'm OK with this because I love trams, but it seems silly to have useless buses in the game.

(6) The consistent way to make a huge profit is to run long coal trains with the BR39 and old_open_car to power stations.  This makes an enormous amount of money every time.  If you get oil power stations, you can do the same thing with the BR39 and OldOil, also extremely profitable.  This means that the early game never really has much challenge in profit-making, assuming you beat the AI to the good route.  (For me the challenge is supplying the needs of the passengers, not making money.  :-) )


Apart from that, I've been having a lot of fun with pak64.  The limited selection of useful vehicles is actually plenty to make for a fun game -- I don't really need a huge selection of locomotives or buses, so I'm pretty much happy with the one or two "dominant" ones.    And the industry chains apart from the AAC are all fun to work with (despite the annoyances of paper).


I am a pak64 fanatic as well and spent a lot of time playing it lately. I'm used to start my games in 1980 with the timeline switched on as well.

Without being precise in what exactly needs improvement/balancing I agree that there are items / configurations in the pak64 set that are not working and need re-balancing.
For example in 1980 - 2000 busses are disappearing and not getting any new types. Various small and efficient models are missing and there is too little choice.
I know there is a lot of material available that need some balancing but can fit well into the current pak64 set.  

I don't know why that isn't happening (resources, licences, ?), it would make pak64 even more attractive. Perhaps we (users) should make more of detailed comments like the one above so developpers could know what other users think about their beautiful pak64 set.

I was thinking on posting a detailled report myself like neroden did for some weeks now. It will take some time to observe things a little bit better and take notes but if that will lead us to a more complete and more fun pak64 it is worth the trouble I guess :)  . I played pak german as well and that is more complete and balanced than pak64 but I don't know how that is working out with the improved development speed of the main project.

A long time pak64 fan.  

/edit typo


Quote from: puntmuts on October 28, 2009, 10:09:40 PM
I don't know why that isn't happening (resources, licences, ?), it would make pak64 even more attractive. Perhaps we (users) should make more of detailed comments like the one above so developpers could know what other users think about there beautiful pak64 set.
Imho the most missing resource is time. The current (and only) maintainer is prissi, who is also the head developer. There is a lot of free stuff on the forum(s) that could be included. Also pak64 is open-source, you can find the svn-repository at sourceforge.

The more detailed the comments and suggestions of users are the more likely is it to get them realized. Ideally, users post patches for the dat-files in the svn-repo.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and maggikraut.


I was planning to create a test game with a lot of cash and settings which make it easy to do some testing with.  I will post detailed findings like neroden did but will look starting the game in year 1980 - ?
To be continued ....


The buses of the late 20th century is something that has bothered me too. They have much poorer acceleration, which makes them unsuited for use in cities, where they have to stop at halts and intersections every other tile. In addition, the BuessingLinie (untranslated name), the last "normal" bus, disappears in 1995. The jointed bus works reasonably well, but it does not feel right to use jointed buses in rural services.


Somehow my long answer seems lost:
THe Br39 is not a very useful: A more detailed argument why can be found here:

Balancing is made for available vehicles, obsolete ones do not count.

The main problem are the lack of suitable graphics, which are matching pak64 style (vilvoh graphics do this not, unfourtunately) and have player colors. Furthermore, pak64 is balanced for game start in 1930, there are indeed small buses lacking for later years (which is why the AI goes bankrupt then). IF you have suitable graphics with matching statistics, please show me. But maybe the Sergj minibus should be put in the game again, although I found this always completely unuseful. But this tells a lot about playing styles.


I have made a worksheet containing a comparison between convoys transporting wood and planks in 1980. It is not a complete integral cost price calculation because there are elements missing. What I did for 1980 was creating  identical routes between two industries and created different convoys to deliver the goods (planks and wood).

It shows what combinations could work and what combinations do not work at all (financially) . This was a days work and I have only sorted out 1980 for two goods (same vehicles) . But maybe it is useful in helping to balance the convoys more (financially).


Indded the costs for wodd were not matching the other goods ones. Should be corrected in SVN now. I also added the Srj-Mini from 1978 on.


I will test and provide more of these worksheets with other goods in the nearby future. Not to make a case but to see/check if everything still works as intended. I started with wood because I suspected that something did change there. I'm still able to make a profit in my games.
Thanks for your very quick response :)


In the svn on sourceforge, there is a file called car.xls in the vehcile folder of pak64. This already calculates the income per metric ton for all goods. This is probably what you are looking for.


Thanks prissi,

A little question about that sheet: there is a field income1 and income2. I assume income1 is with speed bonus and income2 without ?



The incomes are at introduction and expiring time, considering the speed_bonus and the avaerage speed. All balancing need to take this also into account.


What I can see playing the game between 1980 - 2007 is that there are no new busses at all during that period. In 2007 I can choose from 2 buses and 1 post truck.
The speed of train engines does not match the speed of passenger wagons in the depot. The grossraumwagen is able to drive at a speed of 230km/h but the only engine who was able to get close to that (200 km/h) was retired in that period. Little new engines (NS1600 and BR185) are added in 1980-2007 and the speed maximum of engines is 180, so that decreases instead of an expected increase.  

I think pak64 will be more attractive (at least for the time frame mentioned) if those gaps will be filled. I will look for some add ons to fill those gaps in my own games.  


There is a new engine in 2010, which goes 250. And then the panthress and tigress will became available soon. Furthermore you could use the engine driven X2000or the ICD-TD for fast passenger transport.


Quote from: prissi on October 29, 2009, 09:20:00 AMTHe Br39 is not a very useful
Indeed it isn't,I always use the Pr.P8,because its lowest cost steamer and catches very well profits as well as Hunslets...

PS:THIS IS MY :o  :o  :o ...
The Green Mage of Darkness living in the summer hell and in the country where it snows till May with -21 *C  ;D


Quote from: prissi on October 29, 2009, 09:20:00 AM
THe Br39 is not a very useful:
I must disagree. BR39 is very useful before 1935 anywhere you cannot use electric engines like BLS Be 5/7 and BB200.


Quote from: prissi on October 29, 2009, 09:20:00 AM
Balancing is made for available vehicles, obsolete ones do not count.

This is an interesting philosophy.  :-)  Especially since obsolete vehicles are always available. 

The game is kind of in permanent freeplay mode then, for those who know how to make money. Still a lot of fun, of course, since freeplay mode is fun too.

I pity those of you whose operational profit and cash flow aren't at *least* doubling every year, which I can do consistently from 1890 to 1950.  :-)  Around the 1950s the game starts getting really sluggish so I never make it past that -- I'll have to try starting there sometime.  I had around 400,000,000 in cash last game despite building gratuitous, unprofitable high-speed underground tracks and bridges and "redeveloping" cities by leveling half the buildings and realigning the street grid.  Passengers in trams, BR39s when the trams clogged the tracks, and old_open_cars to the coal power plants -- profit!


But not effictive. Sure, you can clogging your network with 45 km/h trains ... but that is not what many people strive for.

And the obsolete buying option will be not available in locked games if switched off before.