Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by Yexo » 14 Nov 2012 18:40

Hyronymus wrote:Yexo, not all fun game features necessarily have to deal with core game features. That doesn't come as a surprise though, right?
That doesn't come as a surprise at all. In fact it was exactly what I was getting at: where is the fun in adding electricity?
michael blunck wrote:OK, maybe we should really link it with the availability of electric traction.
That's one option, although I would dislike this a lot.
but it could be a nice addition for certain large industries.
Another option. In this case it would function more like a new required cargo.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by michael blunck » 14 Nov 2012 19:49

Yexo wrote:
mb wrote: OK, maybe we should really link it with the availability of electric traction.
That's one option, although I would dislike this a lot.
Yexo wrote:
mb wrote: but it could be a nice addition for certain large industries.
Another option. In this case it would function more like a new required cargo.
Yeah, in fact these are two very different aspects: - in one respect, "electricity" would act like a means of transportation (like only a certain rail type would allow usage of certain rail vehicles), - and in the other aspect it´d act like a cargo, e.g. like "water" in sub-tropical.

Although, TTD being justfiably named a "transportation game", introduction of "electricity" wouldn´t be too alien in these contexts.

And w/r to the first option, I´m sure that it could be designed in a way to avoid unpleasant micro-management and unnecessary stress for the player.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by Yexo » 14 Nov 2012 19:54

If a good solution can be found I'm all for it, don't get me wrong. I just wanted to make people here aware that solving the technical problem (How best to add power lines) is not really useful until a clear goal has been set on how electricity should work.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by Coxx » 14 Nov 2012 21:34

Yexo wrote:...where is the fun in adding electricity?
Electricity could be seen as a kind of supply necessary to enable or stimulate growth and to maintain high production (or to do something similar to towns).
Such supplies come in many different flavours in this game (i.e. water/food for towngrowth in tropic, arctic climate, various supplies in ECS or FIRS or in scripts) - the task is to maintain a steady chain of supplies in order to grow and keep production on a high level. Many players use these features and consider this fun to play.

Then the big question is what would be the niché for electricity to provide a new and interesting element in the game?

It could be tought of to work directly (as a cargo that is been produced and distributed) or indirectly (powerplant have to be regularily feed with fuel to provide energy for customers within a certain area)? The later would have the advantage that no new cargo is needed and you save the all the infrastructure, distribution, cargo acceptance slots etc. and still have a desired effect.
Regarding the effect: stimulating industry production is problematic since a number of primary industries could happily do without electricity (farm/forrest/fishing ground) while the production of secondary industries depends on delivery of raw materials. So what effect should electricity have here?
A possible solution would be to have it the other way around: not having electricity available would slow down (or even stop) industry production or limit it to a certain level (or do something similar to towns). That way the game would get a little more like Sim City. But it could also be seen as you simply have to provide more infrastructure to support your transport buisiness (just like depots for servicing and this might even include electric traction) and having something like a "global" kind of supply effect. Power production could also be fixed (hydroelectric) or variable (powerplant - depending on fuel delivered) which would make it easier to provide a steady supply.
All this would be well within the logic of a transportation game.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by wallyweb » 15 Nov 2012 00:15

Yexo wrote:If a good solution can be found I'm all for it, don't get me wrong. I just wanted to make people here aware that solving the technical problem (How best to add power lines) is not really useful until a clear goal has been set on how electricity should work.
When I play TTD/TTDP/OTTD I am in the transportation business. My company gets paid to move cargoes from one location to another. That could be by rail, road, sea or air. In order to be profitable I have to move my clients' cargoes in the most efficient means available. I have to build out the most efficient network possible. If I move product efficiently I make money. If I make money I may become a tycoon. If I become a tycoon I win. In this context, electricity/power is just another cargo that requires my transportation services and if I am able to do it efficiently then my chances of becoming a tycoon are augmented. Give me some sources that have electricity in need of transportation and give me some clients in need of electricity and I'll take care of the rest.

Electricity should be like any other cargo in the game.
If a source is not serviced satisfactorily it begins to fail and may close.
If a consumer is not supplied satisfactorily it begins to fail and may close.
If sources and consumers are satisfied then your company is profitable and you may even become a tycoon.
It should not be reserved for an AI alone. If that were the case, then why not do that for all cargoes?
For the moment this can be accomplished with a hackish solution.
Ideally power transmission lines should be an added form of transportation. (This should apply to pipelines too.)

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by planetmaker » 15 Nov 2012 00:43

wallyweb wrote: Electricity should be like any other cargo in the game.
(...)
Ideally power transmission lines should be an added form of transportation. (This should apply to pipelines too.)
Doesn't quite add up, does it?

Also, is your ISP also a "transport company" as it transports the electrons (or photons) of this web page to your home?

What's the game play advantage of a new "transport" mode (pipes, wires) which requires even less attention after construction than air routes (where with default settings trains crash from time to time at least) compared to a GS - implementation where supplying a power plant is needed to grow your town?.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by wallyweb » 15 Nov 2012 00:58

planetmaker wrote:Doesn't quite add up, does it?
I'm not sure what you mean.
Also, is your ISP also a "transport company" as it transports the electrons (or photons) of this web page to your home?
As a matter of fact they are. They are not paid for producing the content. They are paid to deliver the content.
A note of recent history, a couple of years ago, NB Power, our state owned power utility was divided into two sections ... "production" and "transportation". This was done so that the new "transportation" company could operate at arms length and offer it's services to third party providers who wanted to move their product (electricity) across New Brunswick and into the American market.
What's the game play advantage of a new "transport" mode (pipes, wires) which requires even less attention after construction than air routes (where with default settings trains crash from time to time at least) compared to a GS - implementation where supplying a power plant is needed to grow your town?.
I see "GS" mentioned occasionally but I am not familiar with the expression. What is it an acronym for?

As for the game play advantage ... game play challenge would probably be more appropriate ... You have several suppliers feeding into your network and you have several towns/industries all drawing on that same network. The challenge is to ensure that you have connected sufficient sources to supply all your users and to make sure that there is sufficient power to keep all your users operating efficiently.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by ChillCore » 15 Nov 2012 06:37

wallyweb wrote: I see "GS" mentioned occasionally but I am not familiar with the expression. What is it an acronym for?
GS stands for GameScript. ;)
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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by wallyweb » 15 Nov 2012 07:42

ChillCore wrote:GS stands for GameScript. ;)
Interesting. Thank you. 8)

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by planetmaker » 15 Nov 2012 07:55

wallyweb wrote: Electricity should be like any other cargo in the game.(...)
Ideally power transmission lines should be an added form of transportation. (This should apply to pipelines too.)
planetmaker wrote:Doesn't quite add up, does it?
I'm not sure what you mean.
Frankly, to me the summary of this quoted statement of yours can be re-written as "electricity should be like any other cargo except that it should be treated special in basically every aspect".

If you disagree, "same as other cargos" also means:
a) All cargos can be boxed or bottled or packaged in one way or another, including livestock and passengers where the "box" is the vehicle itself.
b) All cargos only affect directly the "industry" (=industries, houses) which they are delivered to. This is a core concept.
c) The parent object to "industries" are towns and only that can be affected by cargos which set the town effect property.
d) All transport modes are cargo-agnostic. Each cargo can sensibly transported by each transport mode. This is also a core concept, slightly and inconsistently broken by separating truck and bus stations for road vehicles.
e) All transport modes require vehicles which which need buying, tending to and maintaining additionally to the infrastructure
Neither would need changing, if "like any other cargo" holds true.

Also: the available path to implement an effect like electricity is anything but hackish. It's one of the things GS are designed to allow (with respect to influencing towns, thus objects' parents, not other industries).
One can imagine a kind of generalized fields (like the farm fields), attached to power plant industries. That would allow electricity lines a visual appearence, but disallow them any game play effect. Combined with a GS as outlined above you'd have basically all which is being argued for.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by Coxx » 15 Nov 2012 08:05

planetmaker wrote:...
What's the game play advantage of a new "transport" mode (pipes, wires) which requires even less attention after construction than air routes (where with default settings trains crash from time to time at least) compared to a GS - implementation where supplying a power plant is needed to grow your town?.
To me, the interesting thing about the electricity concept is not so much having a new cargo to transport - seeing sparks running along powerlines is probably a bit lame and maps soon get clustered with with bits of infrastructure anyway - but the possible effects on town growth and industry production it may have as a kind of "global" supply and prerequisite for certain levels of size or production. This would also have the welcome side effect off limiting town size and industry production before (1900) or without electicity.

Could GS take in account the amount of power supplied correspond to a demand (size of town, industry in or in the vicinity of the town)?

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by planetmaker » 15 Nov 2012 08:23

Coxx wrote:
planetmaker wrote: Could GS take in account the amount of power supplied correspond to a demand (size of town, industry in or in the vicinity of the town)?
Yes. GS can read the delivered cargos to each industry or town and of course they can know where each industry is located (checkout Silicon Valley and NoCarGoal scripts). They can control town growth and they can try to open new industries depending on whatever they make of the info they gather.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by wallyweb » 15 Nov 2012 09:11

planetmaker wrote:the available path to implement an effect like electricity is anything but hackish.
My use of the word hackish refers to the concept development phase. I was clear about this. There is no doubt that any implementation that is finalized would be not at all hackish.
"electricity should be like any other cargo except that it should be treated special in basically every aspect".
Not at all ... As with any other cargo it is produced by an industry and as with any other cargo it is delivered to an industry (and perhaps a town).
a) All cargos can be boxed or bottled or packaged in one way or another, including livestock and passengers where the "box" is the vehicle itself.
The assumption in the original proposal is that there would indeed be a vehicle. Think about that "invisible" engine that someone did a while ago.
b) All cargos only affect directly the "industry" (=industries, houses) which they are delivered to. This is a core concept.
c) The parent object to "industries" are towns and only that can be affected by cargos which set the town effect property.
e) All transport modes require vehicles which which need buying, tending to and maintaining additionally to the infrastructure
And how would this be different for electricity?
d) All transport modes are cargo-agnostic. Each cargo can sensibly transported by each transport mode. This is also a core concept, slightly and inconsistently broken by separating truck and bus stations for road vehicles.
Airplanes can carry grain? Agreed they can be programmed to allow grain, but they aren't. This concept also applies to several other cargoes. Obviously "electricity/power" would have its own vehicle as described above. In the game it's just a matter of code and graphics.
Combined with a GS as outlined above you'd have basically all which is being argued for.
Nobody has argued against this. If GS works for this proposal then that may indeed be the way to go.

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by kamnet » 15 Nov 2012 09:26

michael blunck wrote:OK, maybe we should really link it with the availability of electric traction. Would this be influencial enough on gameplay, would it effect the status of a player´s company?
If you used electricity in this manner, wouldn't it also make sense to use water, coal and wood in this manner as well? And then, later on, petrol/fuel oil?

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by michael blunck » 15 Nov 2012 11:34

kamnet wrote:
mb wrote: OK, maybe we should really link it with the availability of electric traction. Would this be influencial enough on gameplay, would it effect the status of a player´s company?
If you used electricity in this manner, wouldn't it also make sense to use water, coal and wood in this manner as well? And then, later on, petrol/fuel oil?
For real rivet counting this may well be so. But from a more general approach (s.a.) we could assume a de-facto standard for the early years (no electricity available; but water and coal/wood is implicitly delivered to depots, included in "maintenance costs"), and only in later years, after introducing "electricity", electric traction may be usable.

IMO, this makes sense in different ways:

- early game stages are simplified to get a smooth start (with steam locomotives),
- introduction of electric traction has been an important turning-point in railway history, and thus should get special attention in the game as well, not only by higher costs for locomotives and the need to upgrade existing railway tracks,
- electricity supply would be of a global quality: it would be sufficient to supply some (nearby? connected??) power plants to allow electric traction, but supply with coal/wood/water would have to be carried out on a local base (to each of the depots?), which would definitely fall in the micro-management category.

I´m really getting to like this electricity/electrification idea ...

E.g., one could envisage an advanced setting: "electric trains need power supply: yes/no". In case of "yes", one could even make the power supply depend on the number of electric engines ready for use. Even the existing catenary would get a justification. :cool:

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by wallyweb » 15 Nov 2012 13:43

andythenorth wrote:I think the game would benefit from more tesla coils ...
Only if you volunteer to stand in the box. :lol:
Actually Nicholas Tesla was a proponent of free energy and as the Ferengi said:
Grand Nagus wrote:Where's the profit?

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by Quast65 » 15 Nov 2012 14:35

Maybe a silly idea, but I'm just brainstorming a bit because I also like this idea.

- The electricity can be transported via a railtype looking like electricity lines.

- To solve the problem with how/when all your railtracks can be electrified:
Hook up your HQ to a powergrid, this will then enable all your tracks to be electrified. (but I'm not sure if a station can be HQ aware)

- Hooking up a town or city or industry (via stations looking like transformerboxes) will then boost the growth/production (just like delivering goods will boost towngrowth or delivering raw materials will boost certain industries)
However it might be a good idea that only industries that use a lot of electricity in real life will get that boost (heavy industries like oil refineries, metal foundries and big goods or food producing factories)

- Signals looking like pylons will then solve the problem of how signals will look and how you can have multiple electricity carrying vehicles on one line.
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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by DanMacK » 15 Nov 2012 17:30

One reason that electricity would be handy is it would give power plants a reason for being as opposed to just being massive coal dumps.

Looking over this the way I see it, a. GS could handle it but that eliminates some of the challenge.

I think the way I would implement it is with 2 industries and a new railtype.

Power plants accept raw materials and produce power.
Substations are located in towns similar to water towers and need to be supplied with electricity.
This would stimulate town growth. As mentioned, large industries could also get a production boost.

An AI could be used for this if players don't want to deal with it.

The availability of electric traction dependent on electricity is a good idea. Not sure if it can coincide with availability of the first power pland or maybe the proximity of at least one station to a power plant or substation...

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Re: Electricity, Power Lines, and Industries

Post by Transportman » 15 Nov 2012 17:58

DanMacK wrote:The availability of electric traction dependent on electricity is a good idea. Not sure if it can coincide with availability of the first power pland or maybe the proximity of at least one station to a power plant or substation...
A downside is the first vehicle, how does that get its power? Should that be a steam/diesel train or other vehicle delivering coal to the power plant? Then where does that vehicle gets its coal/diesel/other from? And what if company A and B have tracks near a power plant, but only A delivers coal to the power plant, should B then also get power and at what price? And how much power if the power consumption is going to depend on the number of trains?
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