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Author Topic: Transport network performance monitor  (Read 3073 times)

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Offline Markohs

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Transport network performance monitor
« on: December 07, 2011, 03:14:58 PM »
I'd like to suggest one change that I might even contribute myself when I got some spare time.

 The idea is Simutrans monitoring of the company transit lines and locate problems like struck lines, lines with too much convoys, intermediate stations overcrowding, non-profitable lines... And suggest changes to the user, even offering itself to automatically solve the problem in some cirunstances like adding one vehicle to the line, upgrading them or splitting a long rail line in two.

 With just one click, giving a approximate price.

 I know it's complex to implement, but what do you guys think, do you like it?

 It whould improve usability a lot, I think. It whould be like a solution solver wizard.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 03:26:40 PM »
For usability, it would be nice, although as hard, a tool to manage lines.
This wizard should do as follows:
- Arrange the order of stops in a line schedule in the most efficient way, according to patterns like circular line or linear one (stopping at the same station in both directions)
- Choose the appropriate platform in multiplatform stations according to the direction, replacing the platform in the schedule

Offline prissi

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2011, 10:01:14 PM »
You can play as an AI. It will all do that. This gives also clearly an idea what is possible. Everything beyond this is read my mind, which is impossible.

Offline Markohs

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2011, 11:27:13 PM »
mmm... yea, it's simmilar to an IA player, but instead of playing itself, it whould pop-up you some notifications when he sees some obvious problems or chances of new business, like adding vehicles to a line, getting new ones to get the speed bonus or reducing the number of convois/moving them to another line. You as a player can choose to accept thesuggestion or ignore it, it whould reduce all the micro-management we do in our lines as a players, so we could focus on another things and be more productive.

EDIT: right now the game notifies us of 2 problems:

- Stuck vehicles
- Overcrowded stations (this is so common that I guess all players do as I do, ignore it)

 There are problems we can have as a player that whould be nice to be notified of:

- Lines with super-high maintenance costs and low or negative operation cost (this is hard to track since infrastructure maintenance costs and line profit are tracked completely separeted, and even more given infrastructures can be shared by multiple lines or even unused by any of our vehicles).
- Negative financial margins that will take us to bankrupcy in 1-2 years.
- Massively overcrowded stations that have a tendency to get even more overcrowded in the next years (if a overcrowded station has a tendency to lower waiting passengers should not be considered as a problem)

 I'm just posting some examples. I think this completely OPTIONAL assistant whould increase the playability of this game and attract even more new players, and make it more fun for those of us that play it right now.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 11:37:38 PM by Markohs »

Offline falconne

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 02:50:19 AM »
I have a similar long term goal in mind, for pretty much the same issues and other common warnings you tend to manually look for periodically. I don't find the "Problems" message list adequate, I think it needs to be more of a live dashboard. I was thinking an "Advisors" dialog like SimCity had, with advisors for different categories, which makes it more user friendly than an inbox.


You can then also have an "Expansion" advisor that helps new players figure out profitable routes to set up, what type of transport to use and capacity... this can basically become a "Tutorial" advisor. It wouldn't be great advice coming from the AI, but it would at least help some new players learn the game without going bankrupt. This would need some improvement of the AI first.

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 09:11:51 AM »
you might want to look at:

https://github.com/Dwachs/simutrans/tree/master

This is an AI fork, its basically the old goods-transporting AI enhanced.

Its 'features':
-- can build mixed land / water to connect all kinds of factories (not only oil rigs)
-- has a pretty good vehicle selection
-- does micro management of lines: buys more convoys, sells stucked trucks, upgrades to newer / bigger convoys
-- better removal of broken lines

Especially the micro-management part can be used as an advisor: the player can pay the advisor to micro-manage certain lines.

Offline falconne

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 09:28:52 AM »
Sounds pretty good, I'll take a look at that. The current goods AI doesn't handle pak128 very well, possibly as it was tuned for pak64 costs? How come that work hasn't been merged in to trunk?

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 11:13:32 AM »
How come that work hasn't been merged in to trunk?
I do not know tbh. I myself did not consider it ready. There is no train support, no checks whether an industry chain can be completed, etc. There is the tendency to make epic traffic jams... if such a situation is encountered the AI should ideally switch to train networks.

I would be glad if you (or anybody else) wants to work on this AI too. I updated it to trunk.

Offline prissi

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2011, 11:01:56 PM »
It could be easily added as another AI, next to goods AI and passenger AI. I have also the fragments of an AI to figure out most profitable industries first. But clearly more AIs are easily possible in the game. Even an "AdvisorAI"

Offline rsdworker

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 11:49:42 PM »
It could be easily added as another AI, next to goods AI and passenger AI. I have also the fragments of an AI to figure out most profitable industries first. But clearly more AIs are easily possible in the game. Even an "AdvisorAI"
sounds good Also AI could offer services eg player pays one line or two then AI can manage the lines

Offline merry

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2011, 02:48:17 PM »
Hi guys,

these are most interesting - and potentially useful - ideas.

Over some years, i've noted that as a network grows, it can be very difficult to manage. In particualr, the smaller components - e.g. local busses, etc - can become overwhelming and distract form the big picture.

I had thought that it would be good to be able to "hire" a 'local manager' for, say, a city bus and/or local rail network, and give the "manager" a set of operational criteria and limits of authority (ie notes of when to ask me something). This would allow one to focus on the big picture networks, new opportunities, etc.
Of course, it should also be possible to engage "consultants" to recommend how to improve your operation. I'd suggest that we should have to pay for all this help from revenues...the cost should relate to the benefit they can bring.
This would be one way to introduce these 'AI' assistant elements into the game without distorting the gameplay too much. It might make the game of Simutrans a whole lot more playable at the larger end of the scale!

Just my 2p-worth.
Merry

Offline Fabio

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 03:25:34 PM »
An AI could be given the status of "contractor". E.g. you could hire a passenger bus AI to feed your (much more interesting to play) intercity railways. These contractors could buy and sell vehicles, but not build new infrastructure. They could share a part of the revenues their vehicles generate.

Offline Markohs

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 05:30:12 PM »
All good ideas imo, even through I'd personally focus on a IA just analyzing your stats, and suggesting you changes he whould do just with one click if you accept(with your money). But having IA's doing things in background as a sub-company just giving you some data when you want as fabio suggests it's a nice idea too. :)

Offline sdog

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2011, 08:04:34 PM »
A simple solution for part of the problem might be a 'symbiotic' passenger ai, as an individual player (what we have now)
If a city has an accesible (public?) pax station and the city is large enough, it would set up a local transport network there. The ai would not have to make any strategic choices and profit from the network effect.

Offline prissi

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2011, 08:34:45 PM »
Building a local bus AI is actually relatively easy, if one does not mind sometimes strange routes. Such a company would be very easy. After the first passenger connection if its company reaches a new city, such an AI will built a local bus service connecting it. Nearly all of the required routines are already there for this.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Transport network performance monitor
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2011, 01:46:13 AM »
Huh. Maybe there could be an option to say "AI, take care of everything in this specific city" - that would allow players to focus on connecting cities together while letting intra-city stuff be handled by an AI.