In the meantime, I've taken up Simutrans, particularly Simutrans Experimental. For some time, I've been experimenting with the Pak128.Britain PakSet, lowering the production of the various industry chain endpoints to try to create large numbers of fairly small-scale transport. I've also been reporting on this through a thread on the Simutrans Forum.
However, I find that the facilities on this forum are a bit more convenient for my use, so I decided to return and use a screenshot thread here.
This thread picks up on a game that has run since 1832. First of all, let's take a look at the map, on which several places have been numbered (one needs to enlarge the screenshot to see this though). The screenshots are full, unedited screenshots as one of the programmers is following the thread for the programming.
In the last post on the Simutrans Forum, we left off with a hardware store and the associated industries being set up around the largest city, Port Talbot, and nearbyDartford, with the exception of a contract being established with the colliery near Westbury (1).
Starting with the coal service, services were laid in in the Port Talbot/Dartford area (2) in 1833/34.
Following up on this, experimental mail services were set up in the same area (3). All of the cargo stops could also handle mail, so the service only needed to pay for it's own running costs.
As this service turned out to be reasonably profitable, more such services were set up in Westbury (4), Wakefield (5) and Newport (6). The latter two were withdrawn again in 1835 though, as they were making a loss.
In the same year, a small experimental net of passenger services was set up in Port Talbot and to the Steel Mill and Iron Ore Mine. Despite this service, needing to pay for it's stops, making an obvious loss, it was decided to keep it, because of a healthy effect on population growth. Especially Dartford now started to grow considerably. The following screenshot shows the situation around Port Talbot (to the west) and Dartford (just east of the middle) in 1837.
One important freight route remained unserviced. This was the cider service from London (7) to Newport. Experiments turned out that opening up this service would also open up a fruit service from Inverness (8), a service that due to the detour and the slower shipping would be more dangerous than profitable. However, with the following transport potential (all piece goods):
- Textiles from Inverness to Lowestoft via Wakefield.
- Fruit from Inverness to London.
- Cider from London to Newport.
This might make for a good rail connection from London/Wakefield to the northern shores. Of course that won't be cheap, estimates are well over 100000. But with earnings at 13-14000/year, it doesn't appear to be an impossible dream.
In the meantime, mail services would slowly grow until most of the major villages were connected.
However, developments have steered the company in a different direction.
In the meantime, I've also read the threads on realistic stations by IvanFurlanis with great interest. Though Simutrans does not have true diagonal tracks and therefore not everything can be translated 1-on-1, I hope to use some pages from his book throughout this game.
In 1838, the region reaches 14000 inhabitants and a hardware shop opens in Newport(1)*. At this point, company management is a bit overly focused on the rail project, so it takes them a year to realise the potential for immediate expansion this offers. After this, though, work starts quickly on expanding the existing transport links toward the steel mill and hardware factory around Dartford(2). Work on this progressed enough in 1840 to begin transporting hardware.
Two years later, the expansion starts to cause traffic congestion on the road between the steel mill and the hardware factory. Despite knowing that the steel/hardware service on this route can not support a rail line, this is the option chosen to alleviate traffic congestion.
The hardware factory station can not be built on the desired spot immediately, so the station to the southwest is a temporary one. Also, in order to keep losses to a minimum, the locomotive with the lowest running costs is chosen, despite this 'Puffing Billy' being expected to become obsolete in three years.
Just before building the rail link, the region's population reached 15000, and a china shop opened in Dunfermline(3), requesting china from the pottery at Lowestoft(4). The good part about this route is that the textiles service from Lowestoft dock to the clothes shop can take the china to the dock on the way back, and the hardware service ships can pick it up from there on their return journey and drop it off at Richmond dock(5).
So a service is quickly set up, using some of the piece goods carts that became available after the new rail line cut the Dartford-Port Talbot hardware cart service in half.
With this underway, and services gradually being increased on both focal points, a setback happens around Inverness, where one of the services sheep farms(6) closes, and service has to be rerouted to another one at the other side of the river(7).
* The strange combination of using Simutrans Experimental and Pak128.Britain standard has disrupted the system that controls the creation of industry. So this is done (semi-) manually, keeping industry at around 1 chain for every 1000 inhabitants.
First came the introduction of version 8.2, which always takes a bit of time to adjust to.
Next, a small intermezzo came. A person names deMangler asked for help on getting started with the experimental version (see http://forum.simutrans.com/index.php?topic=5423.0). I agreed to play one of his maps, and post the results here, telling in relatively high detail what I do and why. Though later posts and a blog of his shows he's nicely on the way now, I still intend to play his map for some 10 game years. Maybe it helps other new players to Simutrans Experimental.
It took me some time to get the right pace in my game. It starts in the 1930's, which for me is 180 years after my usual starting point. So the dynamics turned out to be quite different and challenging. But I'll stop digressing and start putting out chapters.
First, for orientation, the maps:
I hope you will enjoy this replay.
Looking at the industries, it's clearly visible that the coal mine has a production of 280 tons a month, but the power station can only handle 109 tons. For this small quantity, I decided that using 5 coal trucks will do nicely for transporting the coal.
Also, it was noted that especially the coal mine has a high passenger (57) and mail (19) level. This should allow for a small passengers service with buses and mail trucks from Oxford.
It quickly turned out that the mail and passengers capacity could support more vehicles. This also allowed for splitting into more lines, to get a more direct service. All of the lines run direct to the coal mine, so that passengers don't have to change (experiments with that showed a drop in numbers, though this has not been fully investigated).
So, we have a foothold and by October, the Oxford services are making a reasonable amount of money.
I got distracted by some other games, but I have two more chapters.
After the situation at Oxford was up and running, the company started looking for other places to find profit. Near Aberdeen, a fishmonger was found.
Looking around at the map, it was found there were two fishing grounds and three fishing ports. Unfortunately, the one closest to Aberdeen was found to be in a small lake separate from the sea. The solution was found in digging a rather expensive sea-level canal to this port. Also, in addition to the two fishing boats, a further ship would be used to transport the fish from the furthest port to the closer one, from where the combined loads would be transported by truck.
So, after several months of running, the result is a nicely profitable service.
<orudge> make love to me while I surf, dear lobster
The last set in this small series:
Following the fish service, the company's eye turned toward Wells, where a clothes shop and a textile mill existed.
Apart from the large volume of wool needed, the low cargo price for wool doesn't allow transport by road very well. So this time the option is to transport by train.
Finally, a small closing note. The route this company took next was to start passengers and mail services in Exeter. This caused a luxury problem. With a coverage of 3, the town could only be covered by 37 (!) stops, which caused quite some organizational overhead.
1) A new game with a hybrid and modified Pak128.Britain(Ex). The goal is to have many industry chains, but relatively low productivity of the shops and farms (most of the time variating from a few dozen to about 60.
2) As that game goes painstakingly slow at first, a Pak.German Exp. game simply to have some fun in between.
I will post screenshots on both games, so things may be a bit confusing. I'll try to keep it as clear as possible.
First, the Pak128.Britain game. This one started in 1750 in a region I named Carlisleshire after the 'town' closest to the center of the map.
The company started with whatever freight lines were possible, to get a solid (if not large) income base. In succession, the lines built were:
1. A milk service from Wells Cattle Farm to Wells Diary, opened January 1750 (milk has one of the highest cargo prices).
2. A milk service from Southampton Cattle Farm to Southampton Diary, opened May 1750, using up the remaining starting money.
3. A stone service from Lancaster Quarry to Lancaster Builders' Yard, opened February 1758.
4. A grain service from one of the farms near St. Albans to the Brewery, and a corresponding Beer service from there to St. Albans Pub, opened July 1765.
5. A cider service from the norhternmost Orchard near St. Albans to St. Albans Pub, opened December 1766.
Worchester Pub is too far away from the brewery to connect (with the low volumes of transport it will cost too much to build a transport route fast enough to be profitable), so it was left alone for now.
All of the routes employ a small number of carts to transport the goods.
Needless to say, with such small capacities and carts, little profit is made. In the late 1760's and early 1770's, profit hovers somewhere between 700 and 825.
Edit: Replaced the screenshots with smaller ones to allow view without download.
Due to the much higher productivity of industry, the scenario was created with much less of it, only a single gasthaus in Königswinter with a klosterbrauerei, a barley farm and a hop yard in nearby Stockstadt. The first transport routes are pretty straightforward.
In addition, the industries, with the exception of the Barley farm, are connected with Stockstadt and Königswinter for servicing passengers and mail to encourage town growth.
By 1835, just before the arrival of the railways, it looks as follows.
Edit: Replaced screenshots with smaller versions to allow viewing without downloading.
In 1846, a power station opened with two coal mines and a lumber yard. Needless to say, Chieminger Kreisbahn jumped at the opportunity to deliver more transport.
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