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Author Topic: Impossible to make money in pak128  (Read 28505 times)

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Offline railfan727

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Impossible to make money in pak128
« on: November 21, 2010, 11:01:38 PM »
I've got quite a bit of experience playing in pak64, and I recently started dabbling in pak128.

Unfortunately, I seem to be completely unable to turn a profit.  I'm trying to start out with a simple rail line from a coal mine to a power plant to get an income stream going, and my income from that is not sufficient to pay my operating expenses... my company is losing money.

Two observations: the production rate of the coal mine is MUCH too low (192 units per month, compared with roughly 2,000 for the same type of industry in pak64), and the freight rates are MUCH too low as well.

Offline Combuijs

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 11:33:44 AM »
Which leads of course to the conclusion that you should not start with connecting a coal mine to a power station.

Offline Milko

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 01:51:12 PM »

Offline Zeno

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2010, 05:43:43 PM »
Starting with road vehicles is usually a good idea. If wanna use trains, try using cheap ones until you get some cash, they're slow but will do the job. Use quick vehicles only for goods with a very high speed bonus (such as passengers or meat), those are the only which will payback the difference. For coal, oil and other raw goods, don't care at all about speed, just go cheap.

Btw, you are right in most what you say. Prices and industry production are much lower than in Pak64, and difficulty is a bit higher. But like it :)

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010, 09:40:29 PM »
If trains won't make money in the beginning, how will the same trains make money later in the game?

If each route is unprofitable, how is it possible for the company to be profitable as a whole?  And why would you ever want to use profit from routes that are profitable to subsidize unprofitable ones?  It seems to me that if something is going to perenially lose money, you're better off never building it at all.

Is the code for pak128 available anywhere to be able to go in and raise prices and industrial production?

Offline Zeno

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010, 10:07:11 PM »
The game economics are planned to fit chronological games ("obey era" flag on). If you play chronologic games, you'll notice you get better vehicles with different costs while the game time advances. If you play free games (obey era = false) then choose cheap (low power) trains. They will give you profit (low, but profit). I'd start with trucks anyway.

I agree with you that maintenance ratios are quite high, but you can modify that looking for the "maintenance_building" parameter either in simuconfig.tab or invoking dialog 27 (manually through menuconf.tab).

Additionally, you can use the public service player and the map editing tools to modify your industry production. I'm afraid the pak sources aren't available yet.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2010, 10:08:40 PM »
So does industrial production gradually increase with time then?

Offline Zeno

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 10:18:11 PM »
So does industrial production gradually increase with time then?
No. New vehicles appear by chronologic order. Production is constant.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2010, 01:08:38 AM »
for pak128, it's better to start off with trucks.

start off small and use as much of the available roads.
small production only requires small capacity, so trains are not usually needed until the factory produces over 1000 units per month. Even if the production is 1000 per month, usually only one train is needed.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 01:13:47 AM by AEO »

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2010, 01:10:11 AM »
If industrial production never increases with time, when would you ever need to use trains?  It seems that the production levels are quite manageable using trucks alone.

Offline sdog

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2010, 03:28:21 AM »
the fixed costs for the infrastructure you need for each line decreases the more lines you have. so at first only trucks are profitable as they need no large investment in the infrastructure. but if you have 3/4 of the infrastructure already for a different line, using a train is more profitable.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 10:51:24 AM »
By "line", do you mean the lines of service in the Line Management area?  Or do you mean a fixed piece of railroad track physically placed on the map?

It seems to be working, slowly but surely... I am hauling oil from an oilfield to a refinery, then gasoline to a gas station using semis... I have a total operating profit of roughly $1,800.00 so far, and about $192,000 left in the bank.  There is a second gas station on the map, with a contract to this same refinery.  But it's located quite a bit farther away from the refinery than the first one.  Would it make sense to go ahead and start shipping gas to it as well?

Offline VS

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2010, 12:35:59 PM »
It isn't the most profitable option, but it is perfectly possible to make some money on coal brought to power plant.

Stations cost a lot, so minimize the amount of station tiles. If you can, use only one platform for unloading freight at a given factory. So in your case, you'll have only 1 platform at the power plant. Trains will wait for each other but that might not be significant. If there are more trains serving one line, don't build more than one platform for loading either. Instead, put that station on a loop so that trains waiting for loading will queue on tracks in front of the platform. For freight transport, track is significantly cheaper than station and stopped trains don't cost anything anyway.

Try to find a good balance between length of train, strength of engine and number of trains on each line. If you make your trains shorter, they will need shorter stations - but engine is the most costly component so use only as good as you need.

Lots of factors to consider... it's a challenge! :)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 12:40:14 PM by VS »

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 08:57:43 PM »
So how would I set the loop up where trains could queue for loading without blocking the mainline all up?  Perhaps a diagram might be helpful...

Offline VS

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2010, 10:03:31 PM »
Is this what you want?

You'll need as many waiting "slots" as there are trains to ensure that the track up to depot is always free.


Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 11:12:47 PM »
What are the cost advantages of doing it that way as opposed to just putting in a series of platforms side by side with a choose-platform signal, as I do in pak64?  Looks like the multiple platforms would save a ton of space...

Also, what industry chains are best to start off with in order to recoup your initial investments quickly?

Offline ӔO

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2010, 01:45:26 AM »
advantages of a single platform with a queue loop is a lower maintenance cost from not having the extra platforms and capacity.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2010, 01:49:13 AM »
Wow... that's a big difference from the way I always play in pak64.  Sometimes I set up 20 or 30 platforms in a station (in a double row, with the ladder track down the middle and the platforms off to each side of that, if space dictates), and never even notice any impact on my costs.  I do this if I have a dock with several different types of freight passing through it, or an industry such as a steel mill which supplies several different consumers around the map... with 4 or 5 trains dedicated to each of the consumers.

So I take it that, once I start using trains, I won't need so many trains per factory in pak128 as I do in 64?

And, would it save on maintenance costs to use the public service player to build the infrastructure itself, and only build and operate the actual vehicles under your company?

merged
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 08:49:00 AM by VS »

Offline sdog

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2010, 02:15:54 AM »
certainly, leting public player pay saves a lot. but it defeats the purpose quite a bit, you could as well just switch to beginner mode.


ps: some of the mods will perhaps remind you to use the modify button to avoid double posting ;-)

Offline VS

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2010, 11:09:01 AM »
Let's do the math! If you use the simple platform, it has level 2. Maintenance is 20.00 credits/tile/month/level, so that would be 40.00 cr/mo/tile. Low quality track, sufficient for early freight, has a maintenance of 0.80 cr/tile/month.

The depot and double track are the same, the only part that varies with station layout is all that other stuff. So, it seems the loop design has 18 tiles of track and 3 tiles of station. 18*0.6+3*40=130.8 cr/mo. I can have 4 trains waiting there, so let's say a full 4-track station is the alternative. 4*3*40=480 cr/mo, not counting the track because I feel generous :) Well. That is more. Actually a lot more, 3.66 times as much to be precise, or 349.2 credits which could be used elsewhere. But is that a lot or not?

To put this into proportions: the specific convoy I'd use there (multiple times), JNR SL C11 and 8 wagons costs 1.53+8*0.12=2.49 cr/tile, so I can have a free ride for 349.2/2.49=140 tiles each month. Now that is quite a lot.

As a side note... signals seemingly have no maintenance!?!

edit: this is assuming bits_per_month at default, whichever it is. Actual numbers might be all multiplied by a constant depending on that.



It might be interesting to see similar calculation for pak64, so that we know what impact does this have.



Oh, and sdog is right about double posting... please try to remember that :)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 11:18:00 AM by VS »

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2010, 11:16:19 AM »
But then what about the extra length of track that your trains have to travel around the loop track before they get to the station?  Doesn't that increase their operating cost per trip, and reduce their profitability?

And what if you have several industries close together and don't have room on the map to build a separate loop track and station for each one?  And, your junction with the main line... how do you keep that from getting backed up?  Do you have to build flyovers for each direction of travel?

Offline sdog

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2010, 01:42:18 PM »
First set those 18 tiles into relation to the total track, which will most likely be more than factor ten longer.

Secondly assume runing costs between 5 and 10 cr/km. In pak 128 tilesize is one km, so they cost 90 cr to 180 cr more per round. You can calculate how many convoys you have to send/receive from this station every month to make a multiple platform economical. But at such a throughput you might want to have a roll-on roll-off station anyway.

For long range delieveries you likely want few long trains anyway, as they are more cost efficient and clog your main lines less up.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2010, 09:19:20 PM »
What type of industry chain is best to start out with, in terms of the amount of investment you have to put in to set it up, versus the income that it generates?

Offline sdog

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2010, 10:16:52 PM »
depends very much on your map. if something has a decent distance, provides enough capacity (eg several producers) and it's perfect if you can transport something (partialy) both ways. eg. raw oil to a refinery and petrol back or coal there and waste back.

just avoid complex industries for the start, like industries requiring steel and plastics. often enough you run out of money before you have a sustainable system with all required sources and sinks served sufficiently.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2010, 03:30:51 AM »
I'm finally starting to make some money!  Slowly but surely...

Offline ӔO

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2010, 04:25:02 AM »
I found furniture chain was profitable with a few trucks
It does take a while before it generates enough money so you can expand, however.

Offline VS

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2010, 08:36:11 AM »
In my (incomplete) experience, material wholesale is a good target: wood->planks and ore+coal->steel, both high volume goods and consumed independently. Concrete is a lot more complicated to even get started. Grain->flour to bakery is also short and pays well for the second leg.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2010, 11:34:54 AM »
Thanks, everyone, for your help!

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2010, 03:06:53 AM »
advantages of a single platform with a queue loop is a lower maintenance cost from not having the extra platforms and capacity.

So what do you do if this station is originating traffic for several different destinations, and the train at the platform is waiting for cargo which isn't currently being produced (due to over-supply at the receiving end) and it's holding up trains behind which are bound for other destinations and are thus unable to be loaded?  Is it best in this case to have a separate loop and platform for each destination?

Offline VS

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2010, 09:11:23 AM »
Yes :) My rule of thumb is - for loading, one platform/waiting area per line; for unloading, as few as possible.

Offline railfan727

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2010, 11:15:58 AM »
And how do you keep the queues from interfering with each other?  Do you just grade-separate them with overpasses if they must cross?

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Offline ӔO

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #32 on: December 01, 2010, 05:01:41 PM »
this works well too.
I copied it from a real rail yard.

Offline Václav

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2011, 04:09:38 PM »
Which leads of course to the conclusion that you should not start with connecting a coal mine to a power station.
... or connect coal mine and power station with cars - roads are cheeper and running cost of cars is lower

-->
And another way how to make money (not only) in pak128 is using add-on objects - mostly vehicles, industry chains and ways.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 04:17:06 PM by VaclavMacurek »

humblegar

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Re: Impossible to make money in pak128
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2011, 09:28:06 AM »
As a newbie with some openttd experience - thank you all for your advice :)

I hope you don't mind me adding my own list of things I had to learn to make profit (pak128 - use timeline - obey era - 1930):

- Do not start a new project before your current one is making a steady profit.
- Do not expand until you have the cash to make it profitable.
- Whenever you do expand: save, pause and review lines/vehicles and monthly profit/expenses until it has stabilized.
- Do not be afraid to sell/destroy to make extra profit, or more importantly to cut losses.
- In the vehicle list: switch from filter enabled/disabled whenever you need. Have a filter for all the "bad" stuff like no income/stuck a.s.o.
- Whenever you fast forward: have lines, vehicles and the finance screen open. Stop when a line goes red, fix it or at least make sure you are not leaking too much money before you shift focus or fast forward again.
- For roads: if you have a direct route passing a slow route use waypoints to make sure the fast route does not have to stop for the slow one, especially if the slow one uses any load percentage.
- For roads: if you are going to use 100% load, build a proper stop and a way in/out. Set a waiting time if you are not going to babysit the bus. If you have several lines consider one stop for each (same station, different tile and roads in/out).
- Adding to your station can increase catchment area and capacity. A 32 passenger capacity bus stop in a city with any size will overflow sooner or later. It took me ages to figure out that it was the station capacity I struggled with, not the transportation.
- Set autosave to "1"/monthly
- With obey era the roads/trucks that will make you a profit early on might struggle with congestion on roads and overflowing terminals. A Coal powerstation with minimal infrastructure for 3-4 coal mines on the other hand...

I hope these make sense and that I did not make too many veterans cry :)