Please let me know about all traps, problems and things that are hard to understand. Once I know about problems, I can try to find better solutions. I know Simutrans too well to notice such problems which new people have, I haven gotten blind for the problems. So help is much appreciated
Good point, I have the same problem with OpenTTD
I guess I should just log stuff I run into here then
(It turned out to be a quite detailed explanation, taking longer to write down than to play. I just dumped everything I could think of, hopefully it is of use.)
For the sake of the experiment, you may want to limit explaining how to play the game (don't feed the animal
) I don't mind playing guinea pig here.
Note that I am not completely new, I have played it a few times many years ago. I don't remember any details though.
Yesterday I briefly tried a first game (or rather, a first line).
- I started by trying to find a tutorial, and ended up at the simutrans.com wiki, which has loads of languages, including English. Pretty much the first 'real' page failed, as "rail tools" was an empty page, pointing to "rail tools".
- I also tried the German version, which has a lot more text and images, but my German is not good enough to comfortably read pages and pages of text.
So much for the wiki thus
The game itself has your introduction and other text. I read a bit, but it is too much reference for me ("with the x-tool you can change x"). If I only knew what the entire collection X was, and how tool x1 relates to tool x2, $\forall x_1, x_2 \in X$
The tooltips were pretty useful, as they gave me information what a button does at the toolbar (confirming my expectations by looking at the icon, and/or giving additional information).
I decided to connect two industries. The default magnifying/examine tool is quite helpful here, I can just click and I get a description. I didn't always get the one I wanted ("this tile contains a tree") when I click just next to the power plant. A forest makes it very difficult to see what you are doing and/or see the terrain.
I first tried using the map. I don't see the advantage of the default map setup, where my viewport is rotated at the map, and the scaling is very nice. You may want to try making the window never bigger than the map, as it looks weird having a map in the top-left corner, and lots of black nothing in the lower right corner.
It seems useful when you have some lines going, but I failed finding industries on it. Perhaps I should have zoomed further than 2:1, or they are hidden in some dark colour (my monitor has very little contrast, and low brightness setting).
Going by the map, a powerplant was easily discovered and its window listed coal mines. It took me a long time to figure out where the mine was relative to the power plant (you can click at the arrow, open the window of the mine, and click at one of the listed power plants (but which one, there are coordinates listed, but the powerplant window does not have coordinates). That means you can jump back and forth, but in which direction to lay the tracks?). After increasing the scale of the map, I could see them both.
Trying to make a station lead to a "No suitable ground" error, which made no sense to me. Clicking anywhere gave me the same error! After random experimenting, I discovered I should first lay tracks, and then build the station on top of them. It would have been useful if the error message would have said "missing tracks", or the more verbose "cannot build a station without tracks" or so.
Making a connection, and building stations and a depot was pretty easy, and the bridge also posed no problem (due to playing to much OpenTTD probably
). There was a small surprise in laying tracks, where it refused to go behind the building in a straight line. After experimenting I found there was a hill going down there. Did I mention forest makes things hard to see?
I like the zooming of the map though, very useful. Rotation would be useful too (but have not found it yet, perhaps just like OpenTTD it does not exist).
Making a train go was also not that hard, as I knew simutrans uses lines and schedules at its core. I got through by educated guesses and trying, and ignoring pretty much everything in the window. (It looks like a complicated window, which is no doubt fine if you know what things mean, but eg the colour bars below the engines are beyond me at this time. I assumed "green == good"
Finding coal cars was a bit tricky, clicking the "cars" tab did not give me coal cars, I had to change a "filter" thingie to "coal" before they appeared.
My display was too cluttered, so I closed a few windows. The "x" seemed safe enough to use (and it worked
). The other buttonss seemed just weird (no idea from the icon what they do), and they had no hover tooltip. Not wanting to destroy the game at this time, I did not dare using the buttons at this point (this morning I discovered that one of them opens the help text for that window, I shall try that the next time ;D ).
Loading the coal worked all by itself (yay), and moving to the powerplant station too. Unloading however failed. I had 4 cars of coal, and my stattion was long enough for the entire train, but for some reason it decided to stop 1 tile early (perhaps because the station sign was located there??), the last car was not inside the station and did not get unloaded
After the first unload, I considered it time for a second train (too much OpenTTD obviously
). The 2nd train got out of the depot, and into the coal mine station (the first train was busy delivering its second load of coal), then both trains stopped. To be honest I was already surprised that it got out of the depot.
Apparently, it needed tracks to pass each other, so I made some extra tracks in the middle. That was not sufficient, so I added a few signals too. Both trains decided to use the same track of the double tracks part, so they got stuck again
I could not find a way to force a train to move or turn around or so, and I edited the tracks and the signals to fix the problem, figuring out how signal direction worked in the process.
In an attempt fo fix the unload problem, I removed the station tile with the name on it (and the last one), and then build it again the other way around, so the tile with the name was at the end of the platform. That seemed to work (coal got fully unloaded, and no messages about missing stations), but the coal disappeared (with the first unload, the power plant window had a coal counter that decremented, after changing the station tile, it stayed 0).
At this time, I decided it was time to go to bed, and I ended the game.
In all, it was a nice first experiment. The manual was not too useful, as it was either non-existent, or went straight down into all the details. Also, I failed to find the 'help' button in the window, apparently (A "?" icon would be useful perhaps?).
I got trains driving around, except that convoys and lines and schedules have no meaning to me yet. I love the zooming and the detailed graphics of the buildings and the trees (and trains? I don't remember).
The non-curved tracks seemed a bit out of place, the moving tracks at a junction were a nice touch, although a bit confusing the first time I noticed it ("Where is the other track?").