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## Maximum bridge depth below water

Started by jamespetts, January 09, 2012, 08:51:48 PM

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#### jamespetts

I notice from this recent commit that an interesting and useful appearing alteration has been made to allow elevated ways to be built over shallow water. Looking at the code, it appears to be very easy in principle to determine which bits of water are shallow or not (and, indeed, with some small extension to the code, to give different degrees of shallowness or depth).

As a logical extension to this feature, might it be desirable to allow bridges to be able to specify, not only the maximum total pillar height, but also the maximum pillar depth below water? Simply defining a maximum depth below water parameter would suffice (pillarless bridges have no maximum depth, of course, but would have a short maximum length; whereas bridges with pillars would have an unlimited length but a limited depth), although further refinement could conceivably be added by some mechanism to check whether it is necessary to put a pillar in the water or not, but I expect that that would be relatively complicated.

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#### prissi

The pillarless depth would obey the same depth parameter, just like maximum hieght.

#### jamespetts

What do you mean by the "pillarless depth" here? I am not sure that I follow, I'm afraid.

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#### prissi

Max height and so on are enforced for any bridge.

#### jamespetts

Yes, indeed. I know that. But that does not differentiate between depth below water or not: it is a very different thing to build tall pillars on land than it is to build pillars deep underwater.

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#### isidoro

Although I don't know if what you propose has a correspondence with reality, from the game experience it may be a good idea.

I'll explain:  I used to like to play maps with a lot of water (seas).  At the end of the game, with a lot of money, it wasn't very expensive and could easily build bridges across the Mediterranean Sea, from Greece or Italy to Spain to run some trains.  It didn't look good and made ships nearly useless.

#### jamespetts

Quote from: isidoro on January 09, 2012, 11:46:17 PM
Although I don't know if what you propose has a correspondence with reality, from the game experience it may be a good idea.

I'll explain:  I used to like to play maps with a lot of water (seas).  At the end of the game, with a lot of money, it wasn't very expensive and could easily build bridges across the Mediterranean Sea, from Greece or Italy to Spain to run some trains.  It didn't look good and made ships nearly useless.

Indeed - this is one of the chief objects, for it is one thing to build a bridge over a deep gorge, but quite another to build it over an ocean.

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#### prissi

But a deep gorge in simutrans is not deeper than a deep ocean (max depth = 4). In that case rather length restriction are needed. And with too much money, one always can raise islands ...

#### jamespetts

Quote from: prissi on January 10, 2012, 10:00:09 AM
But a deep gorge in simutrans is not deeper than a deep ocean (max depth = 4). In that case rather length restriction are needed. And with too much money, one always can raise islands ...

A deep gorge may not be deeper than an ocean, but it is not filled with water, which is a rather crucial difference from a civil engineering perspective. As to the point about islands: there is much to be said, in fact, for making it impossible to raise/lower land that is more than one tile below the sea level, or at least making it brain-bendingly expensive, as I have never heard of people making artificial islands in the deep sea to support bridges.

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#### missingpiece

Quote from: jamespetts on January 10, 2012, 10:41:15 AMor at least making it brain-bendingly expensive, as I have never heard of people making artificial islands in the deep sea to support bridges.
I did. And I feel ashamed.  I wish the game had stopped me.

One thing about brain-bendingly expensive actions, though : would the game please alert me before proceding !

#### prissi

Artificial islands deep in the sea are not so uncommon. Actually most large suspension bridges have them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge

Tsing Ma Bridge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsing_Ma_Bridge

Real large artificial island of the large belt bridge
http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Karte_Storeb%C3%A6lt-Br%C3%BCcke.png&filetimestamp=20080225161956

Seto-Bridge (covered by ugly concrete blocks)

2. Pylon of Naruto bridge
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Cnaruto_Bridge

Akashi-Kaiky-bridge (round concrete structure)
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashi-Kaiky%C5%8D-Br%C3%BCcke

Yokohama-Bay-Bridge runs nearly entirely from artifical islands in tokyo bay
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:MtFujiFromTokyoBay.JPG

#### Spike

IMO this is a sort of realism/detailism that only adds difficulty to the game an no real gameplay value. But that is my very personal opinion.

#### greenling

prissi
the photos from the bridge be great.
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#### jamespetts

Prissi,

those bridge photographs are very interesting! However, all of those bridges with their supports in the sea are built over relatively shallow water (in Simutrans, -1 or -2 tiles from sea level). Furthermore, building those pillars in the sea would cost orders of magnitude more than building equivalent supports on land. There is also a difference between, on the one hand, putting pillars into the sea, and, on the other, putting entire artificial islands in the sea: what we can currently do in Simutrans is equivalent to creating one of the large islands that we can see in the middle of this picture, not simply sinking a pillar into the ocean.

The problem is, if it is too easy to build bridges over the sea, the usefulness of boats and aircraft are undermined, unbalancing the game. If the feature is considered by some to be excessive, it can be easily made optional in simuconf.tab.

This seems to me to be a (set of) feature(s) that is/are fairly easy to implement and can readily be controlled in simuconf.tab and by pakset authors. I shall probably put it in Experimental if the decision is taken not to put it into Standard, but it would seem to me a feature that would be suitable for Standard.

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#### prissi

And the island of the great belt bride is really in the middle of the baltic sea (which is, I admit, a rather shall ocean).

But a tile has a length of 50m (see the lane marking). A bridge spanning 2 km would just span about 40 tiles in simutrans. Even an ocean in simutrans has the dimensions of a small sound.

I think if requested add in in experimental. It should be very easy to do.

When you can raise islands from the sea level, you do not need to care about profitability. At that point any discussion about game balance is not meaningful any more and would just annoy players. I have seen games where people used this and still created very nice traffic systems. But in general most people do not try this even.

#### sdog

while i wouldn't have cared about this in the past, it has become a bit more of an issue with multiplayer games. there often are players who build those extremely long bridges. Also, wouldn't the 1km tile size rather apply for the bridges, not the scale of the painted road?

"In that case [spanning wide deep water] rather length restriction are needed."
Length restrictions can't be reasonably applied to bridges with regular pillars, similar to elevated ways, as they could be built at any length. Since those are also cheaper to build and maintain, there would be no reason to have bridges with a large span (eg suspension bridges) in pak sets. (except for eyecandy)

#### jamespetts

Sdog makes valid points. Further, it is possible (and, I think, desirable) to prevent players from raising islands from sea level at all.

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#### Fabio

Generally, I would limit raising/lowering the terrain for public service only.
Normal players should only be able to use slope tools (with which it's much harder to try massive terraforming).
If this were desirable, it could be accomplished with no code change: move terrain raising/lowering tools to Map Editor Bar and disable 'u' and 'd' shortcuts.

#### jamespetts

Quote from: fabio on January 11, 2012, 11:42:08 AM
Generally, I would limit raising/lowering the terrain for public service only.
Normal players should only be able to use slope tools (with which it's much harder to try massive terraforming).
If this were desirable, it could be accomplished with no code change: move terrain raising/lowering tools to Map Editor Bar and disable 'u' and 'd' shortcuts.

Hmm - are the normal terraforming tools not intended to replicate what transport companies can actually do by way of earthworks? This is an interesting idea that probably needs consideration in a thread of its own.

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#### missingpiece

Disabling is, in general, a rather strict way of dealing with this issue. Also, by today, I guess no-one would suggest there are limits to what engineers do with earth; it is merely a matter of price. Hence, I shall prefer the financial route : use the cost of terraforming as a "natural" limiter to what players do. Can terraforming get a different price tag determined by whether you raise/lower terrain above water or below water ? As I wrote before, though, I would like to see execessive costs alerted before they are incurred.

And I like James' suggestion with the extra parameter in simuconf.tab .

#### ojii

What about non-linear costs for bridges (and a little off topic, but also tunnels)?

A bridge costs more the longer it gets (1 tile = 1000c, 2 tiles=2500c or something like that). Also, the bridge should cost more the higher above the ground it is. So a bridge that is 1 tile above ground (or ocean floor) would cost significantly less than one that is 2 tiles above the ground. I think this would add both realism and make ridiculously long bridges less popular, since they only get built if there's a real economical advantage. Maintenance costs should also scale with height/length

#### merry

Quotejamespetts:

...it is possible (and, I think, desirable) to prevent players from raising islands from sea level at all.
Umm, I think not. As mentioned by Prissi, islands from relatively shallow water are more common now - e.g. the newer HongKong airport is on an entirely artificial island, and oterhs are listed in the thread.

As to the maximum depth issue, there is a valid point: The Florida Keys railway relied on shallow seas to be built at all, it would have been impossible in deep sea. I suggest this depth contraint (and a lot of other nice ideas) might be a extension for Experimental at first.

And while at it, why not take on the pillar spacing/bridge design/non-identical tile issue too, if a way can be found. Then maybe the more esoteric bridge design can be drawn. (OK, this is OT and a wish list item too, but better suggested IMO :-) )

Whilst this is eye candy, it is also about 'correctness' and 'realism' which experimental does so well. And of course the nice thing is that it will not significantly affect game speed - it's a 'landscape draw' activity which at least happens rarely.

As ever, apologies for not contributing more often (nor consistently) - time to do this isn't often available - but rest assured Simutrans is much appreciated by me, especially the lovely refinements in Experimental.

#### sdog

artificial islands are still an extremely expensive thing, quite more than earthworks on land. This is also an issue in the game, often enough one just increases the coastline or builds a causeway to avoid building a bridge.

On the other hand, some earthworks in the ocean are required all of the time to build bridges, we need appropriate slopes afterall. Making it quite a bit more expensive to raise land from sea, and restrict it to shallow water would be a rather reasonable route. Lowering coastlines into the sea doesn't need to be more expensive though, allowing coastlines to be prepared for bridges.

#### prissi

In water with depth=2 it costs about 18 times more to raise land than on even ground. Seems really more expensive already

#### jamespetts

Quote from: prissi on January 11, 2012, 07:55:13 PM
In water with depth=2 it costs about 18 times more to raise land than on even ground. Seems really more expensive already

But it does not, as I understand it, cost any more than to raise land from an equivalent depth of hollow that is not filled with water, which cannot be right (and has the consequence that more land is actually raised).

I do like Missingpiece's idea of using cost as a limiting factor, but some serious consideration would have to be given to the question of what to do about alerting players to the high cost. I also like, in principle, the idea of non-linear costs, although, again, the real issue is whether that can readily be communicated to players without making them read help files or look up documentation on the web. As to height based bridge costs, surely that would only apply to bridges with pillars? Bridges with no pillars will not generally cost more to build over a deep or shallow gorge/cutting.

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#### missingpiece

Quote from: jamespetts on January 11, 2012, 10:32:24 PMthe real issue is whether that can readily be communicated to players
The concept of a bubble help text does not yet exist in the UI framwork used, does it ? I can imagine the hypothetic building cost -- associated with pressing the mouse button at the current position -- being put as a little number figure next to the "up" or "down" arrow of the land builder tool; see my screenshot art as a suggestion.

The caveat would be to trigger the cost calculation (without actually subtracting off the player's account) with every tool reposition event. How big would be the delay ?

#### ӔO

maybe such a function could be called up when ctrl key is used? just like a few other special functions in simutrans.
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#### MagnusA

The expense is already visible, although not not clearly visible in "big letters", when hovering at the menu button.  Don't know about keyboard commands.

When click-and-drag the "estimated construction cost" is also visible at the mouse pointer. Should there be extra large letter in bright colours för the long bridges?

#### missingpiece

Quote from: MagnusA on January 12, 2012, 10:14:09 AMThe expense is already visible, although not not clearly visible in "big letters", when hovering at the menu button.
Maybe that is a misunderstanding. To my experience, the menu icon only displays the per-unit construction cost. The challenge with landfill is that one click issues potentially a lot of "units" being built at the same time. Also and particularly, if as discussed, the cost of landfill above water and under water should be different in future, the menu icon lable will only show an approximate. Click-and-drag cost estimation also does not apply to one-click landfill, I think.

#### Ters

Tooltips are great, but if you accidentally click somewhere, the action will still be performed. I don't remember now whether it was Transport Tycoon or Simcity 2000, or even both, but I remember a game having a higher cost for terrain tools in water. And I remember thinking that I was safe, or using another tool or whatever, but ending up raising land out of the sea and losing a lot of money. If the price for raising land out of water is forbiddingly high, this can be critical.

#### prissi

The problem ist that since it is a recurive algorithm, the actual estimation of costs is neither simple nor fast. Only a very course estimate is possible.

#### sdog

you could start the calculation only after hovering the cursor for a long time on the same spot.