Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 21 May 2019 05:30

Hi all,

After a lot of NewGRF development stuff lately I decided to sit down and actually play a real game for once! Admittedly, it started off as an experiment of sorts to find out how AIs reacted to Wasteland, but eventually I really got into the game and it was a lot of fun :) I'm still playing it, actually.

Anyway, I kept a bunch of notes about how AIs were performing and obviously writing down all the things I need to add and fix to improve Wasteland itself (other than the crappy placeholder graphics I think the gameplay itself was working quite well, certainly it adds a nice challenge!). I've collected these thoughts and observations into the post below and figured I would leave it here for reference and for others to compare if they want. Skip to the end for my final thoughts :)

==============
Settings Used
==============


Wasteland 0.5.0 beta (same as 0.4 but with some new graphics added)
ISR 1.0.2
ABRS 0.5.0 beta
Wasteland Town Names

GS: Think globally, act locally

All NewGRFs and AIs use default settings (AIs listed are newest versions available on Bananas)
1024x1024 temperate map
Alpinist with medium rivers
2077 start, 14 AIs
No breakdowns

Please note this was not meant as a "fair" AI test by any means. My real goal was to let as many AIs as possible go crazy building on the map to see which (if any) worked well in Wasteland and if they could get anywhere with building some towns. I regularly restarted and shuffled AIs around when they stopped performing well until only the productive ones remained active. That being said, all of the AIs I tried had several attempts to do something. Note that different AI settings may give vastly different results than what I describe below, and some of these notes are just my opinion.

===========================================
My observations after 60 years of AIs only:
===========================================


Terron AI does nothing
PaxLink bankrupts (probably because pax transport isn't viable, at least not early)
Clueless Plus does nothing
CivilAI does very little, only building some road pieces but no vehicles

ChooChoo crashes immediately on game start
OtviAI crashes immediately on game start (both need the mail cargo to be present, apparently)

AIAI struggles early but becomes competitive later on by (ab)using station spread
AdmiralAI does ok, but sometimes goes bankrupt maybe because of being too conservative

NoCAB and SimpleAI dominated the map. Several instances of each were running and most were highly successful, or at least fared much better than most other AIs.

SynTrans just never got going, it started to build a few things but then locked up in 2082 and never did anything again; I eventually reloaded it in 2127 with the same results.

RoadRunner barely does anything. There were two instances running, both managed to build a road route but then apparently failed to build any vehicles despite having money (one of them did manage to build 7 vehicles but that was it). Restarting them later had no effect.

Convoy is apparently very confused by Wasteland. It builds several networks by placing bus stops in towns, but then it builds water tankers with no orders(!?). Needless to say it doesn't last long...

NiceCAB (one of the originals from 2077) suddenly parked all of its vehicles starting around 2124 and just sat there doing nothing while slowly losing money on running costs. It had plenty of money and was one of the top companies at the time. Perhaps something to do with vehicles getting old? I noticed all of the NoCABs had some trouble with old vehicles not being replaced and would eventually start losing money.

=============================

Many AIs try to do pax service between towns using large aircraft and intercontinental airports. Some even use aircraft for cargoes like gravel or irradiated food, usually at huge losses.

Water is once again the most profitable cargo for all companies. Trains prove to be more profitable overall, but RVs are still more popular with AIs. Ironically though, the RV-specific AIs seem to struggle the most.

To my surprise, by the early 2120's two towns had been nearly completely converted to shack housing through a combination of air, ship, and road vehicle service from several AIs. Of course this is pure luck as the AIs clearly can't understand the way Wasteland works with regards to town growth. But it's interesting nonetheless, I guess even AIs can get lucky sometimes :)

Also surprising was that by the 2130's a combination of AI's had also managed to get a Food Lab to start producing Clean Food at a regular rate. None of them ever transported the food to a town, but it's a good sign that AI's might be able to grow towns beyond shacks given enough time.
Unnamed, Aug 29th, 2135.png
AI coopetition at its finest; making clean food for the wasteland, growing towns, and making a healthy profit in the process. This is ultimately where I started my company as well.
(730.06 KiB) Not downloaded yet
=====================
And then I arrived...
=====================


In 2138, after 61 years of letting the AIs run free, I got bored and decided to jump in to see if I could carve out my own little transport company in the spiderweb of AI networks. By this point 2 cities had been converted to shack buildings and it just so happened that one of them also had a Food Lab nearby which the AIs had managed to begin producing Clean Food.

I decided to start there and make my primary goal to focus on growing towns near these AI-supplied Food Labs, relying on them to supply the raw materials while I focused only on the end journey. As it turns out the AIs are actually pretty good at setting up these supply networks and within 20 years there were half a dozen more Food Labs for me to work with.

All I had to do was fight through the tough competition for Water and Clean Food and the towns were mostly mine (with the occasional AI trying in futility to build an airport for pax service :P). Occasionally an AI would try to be smart and start supplying Building Materials to a city after I grew them to shacks (usually with a train line). Sometimes this resulted in them very quickly and humorously regretting their investment when the town outgrew the need and stopped accepting supplies.

In one case they royally screwed me over when an AI sneakily started delivering Building Materials to a town I was keeping as a source for Wastelanders to boost production to a nearby set of mines. I had focused my attention elsewhere building new networks when suddenly I started noticing my profits dropping sharply; turned out they had grown the town to the point where my stations no longer supplied Wastelanders, causing my whole network to fall apart. Agggh!
Broken Skull Transport Inc., Feb 19th, 2171.png
The (future) Broken Skull Metro area was my first target for rebuilding, seen here after many years of careful growth and planning
(984.6 KiB) Not downloaded yet
===============
My conclusions:
===============


- The right AIs can add a fun challenge to Wasteland. SimpleAI and NoCAB are the obvious winners to me due to being the most successful while some others can also do okay. Whether trying to compete with them directly or simply feed off their by-products to try building towns, it adds some fun volatility to the mix :twisted:

- Some AIs fail miserably or are otherwise terrible to play against. Many of the AIs I tested simply failed to do anything or didn't do much. Also AIAI was a very frustrating opponent, building absolutely ridiculous stations spread across multiple cities by spamming road stops everywhere. They eventually pissed me off by spamming truck stops all over a town I was trying to grow and ruined it. I'm currently running a violent attack campaign against AIAI to try and run it out of business and restore my sanity.

- Although I never saw an AI successfully grow a town from beginning to end, they did manage to individually complete all the steps at one point or another, leading me to believe that given enough time it might be possible through sheer dumb luck. I might try this experiment again using only the AIs I know are good, without stepping in this time, but depends how bored I get!

- The addition of the Think Globally, Act Locally GameScript in this game was somewhat of an accident, but it did provide an interesting new challenge to growing towns. Just before the point where towns make the automatic transition from renewed houses to self-sustained, the GS forced an additional requirement of transporting PAX or Mail (wastelanders) in order to keep growing. In effect, this forced me to build a bus network in each town before it would make the transition to being self-sustained. At first I found it kind of annoying, until I realized it actually kind of makes sense to provide a source of public transportation as a requirement for reaching the last stage of town growth, and it sets you up with a bus network for when the passengers start rolling in. I think this GS will find its way into any future Wasteland games I play as well, at least until I get around to making an actual dedicated GS for Wasteland itself (yeah right :P)

- In the last two years of gameplay I finally, for the first time ever, saw the game start to occasionally lag severely. Perhaps not surprisingly, according to the framerate window it was RVs which were the cause. I noticed the lag always happened right around the time when I was destroying AIAIs vehicles...coincedence?? :wink:
Broken Skull Transport Inc., Apr 9th, 2170.png
This pic shows the horrible performance I was getting during vehicle sabotaging....but it was so worth the revenge to AIAI
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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Brumi » 21 May 2019 07:44

Thanks a lot, this was an interesting read :)

I actually haven't had the courage to run AIs on Wasteland yet, but I'm glad you did! And I'm happy for SimpleAI actually managing to run a profitable company :)

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 27 May 2019 11:23

Brumi wrote:Thanks a lot, this was an interesting read :)

I actually haven't had the courage to run AIs on Wasteland yet, but I'm glad you did! And I'm happy for SimpleAI actually managing to run a profitable company :)
Well I'm glad you enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun watching the AIs work. :)

I've actually been running a second game on a 512x512 map this time and I've found that NoCAB is constantly bankrupting, leaving SimpleAI as the sole powerful AI on the map, with each instance doing significantly better than all other AIs. So well done on your part :)

=================

Now, with all the playing I've been doing lately I've been noting all the fun little things I want to add into Wasteland, and I just couldn't resist the urge to go ahead and do some of them so I could see them in action in my games :)

A few improvements to the landscape, including a new crater, a big crack, and some new "trees" (along with some more not shown):
landscape.png
landscape.png (102.1 KiB) Viewed 1954 times
Building some new company statues (do they look familiar?):
statues.png
statues.png (139.49 KiB) Viewed 1954 times
And now growing your company HQ to level 5 comes with a new special perk; your own personal Vertibird (just don't abuse it too much, please ;)):
hq.png
hq.png (36.92 KiB) Viewed 1954 times

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by trainman1432 » 28 May 2019 13:08

Out of curiosity, could you rank what cargoes are the most valuable and which ones are the least?
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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 28 May 2019 21:01

trainman1432 wrote: Out of curiosity, could you rank what cargoes are the most valuable and which ones are the least?
In general cargoes like water and food will be most profitable early, with passengers taking over later; meanwhile "bulk" cargoes like gravel and iron ore are the least profitable.

However this can change depending on the time spent in transit. Looking at the in-game cargo payment rate graph is probably the best way to see this:
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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Diesel Power » 05 Jun 2019 12:19

just had a food lab close when water was being delivered to it. I'll post a save when i get my laptop online

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 07 Jun 2019 04:20

Diesel Power wrote:just had a food lab close when water was being delivered to it. I'll post a save when i get my laptop online
I also noticed this in my AI games. I had a Food Lab shutdown when the AI company supplying seeds went bankrupt, and even though the other cargoes were always delivered, the Food Lab shut down a few years after.

It is pretty frustrating, but I don't know if it's really a problem. I mean, if not enough cargoes are being delivered to an industry in order for it to produce its product, it makes sense that it would close down eventually. I'm open to alternative thoughts on that though :)

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Diesel Power » 07 Jun 2019 08:00

Andrew350 wrote:it makes sense that it would close down eventually.
True. I was stockpiling water there until I could afford to supply the other cargos. It's still very diffucult to make money at the start. I'm not getting any subsidies either, though I think that issue lies elsewhere. I'm using a recent nightly with NRT merged.

I noticed the the line for "scrap metal" on the cargo payment rate graph is grey, the same colour as the background. Therefore, It's invisable!

Also, which GS' work well with Wasteland and it's town growth changes? I tend not to use one as they can get confused.

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 10 Jun 2019 00:36

Diesel Power wrote:I noticed the the line for "scrap metal" on the cargo payment rate graph is grey, the same colour as the background. Therefore, It's invisable!

Also, which GS' work well with Wasteland and it's town growth changes? I tend not to use one as they can get confused.
Hmm, good point on the graph, I'll have to see about fixing that!

I really haven't played with any other GSs than the Think Globally, Act Locally one I used in my AI test games. I found that it added a fun additional challenge to growing towns by forcing you to add passenger services to grow towns to the final stage (which is of course merely coincedence that it works that way, but it's fun nonetheless). I would imagine in later stages of the game it would continue to provide additional challenges as towns grow bigger also (if I understand how that GS works anyway; I haven't got that far yet).

As for other GameScripts, I haven't tried any others yet. I would imagine the cargo goal and 'utility' GSs would work mostly fine. I don't know about the town growth ones though, they might make assumptions about passengers being available which might make town growth unbearably slow or impossible. But I couldn't say for sure since I've never used them, you'd have to experiment :)

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Aboard the Nautilus » 11 Jun 2019 23:19

Diesel Power wrote:
07 Jun 2019 08:00
Andrew350 wrote:it makes sense that it would close down eventually.
True. I was stockpiling water there until I could afford to supply the other cargos. It's still very diffucult to make money at the start. I'm not getting any subsidies either, though I think that issue lies elsewhere. I'm using a recent nightly with NRT merged.

I noticed the the line for "scrap metal" on the cargo payment rate graph is grey, the same colour as the background. Therefore, It's invisable!

Also, which GS' work well with Wasteland and it's town growth changes? I tend not to use one as they can get confused.
Cash Drain is to my understanding pretty good, based on the amount of cargo to give to stations gives you income. though it might be hard in the beginning? :?:

Whilst playing the wasteland version, that of which i enjoy thoroughly, i'd like to voice some opinions and or ideas that just pass my head when playing. Maybe for future updates you could include different catastrophes, like how airplanes explodes because of reliability or a hot air balloon falls, but with a twist i.e "bandits have invaded the town" losing some population or "creatures have taken bus # hostages" other then the alien flying everywhere getting shot down by an unknown air vehicle (probably some secret organization), if there is a wandering ufo perhaps you could make a wandering type of flying creature (Like small bloat flies etc)

When trying the Wasteland Town Name i found them a delight :] , one observation though is that when the town is limit downward as in 9 - 13 town there is some overlap in name generation. three towns for example will have the same variable like:
-Warrior Flats
-Warrior Valley
-Warrior Hideaway

Will all be on the same map, or even in the same vicinity. i found it that i was happy to have unique names like Ouroboros or Navarro, Novac, Temple of the Union etc. So maybe increasing the name amount to 4,000 might solve that so some things dont overlap, that is a sub-priority of course.

SimpleAI can have generated Company names giving it a more unique feel to it :D

Advanced Towns should have some more types of buildings other than the tall ominous technological towers with red or blue, maybe some other distinguished tall buildings (Either 1/4, 2/4, 3/4 the size of the current towers, this only includes towers) whereas some smaller building can have different characteristics.

I like the crater and cracks to the landscape, the crater reminds me of megaton, perhaps in the future you could add radioactive monsters that are encamped in some areas (even put unique features if built near them), Random broken down builds also, traveling people etc (if that's even a possibility)

This Addition deserves its own Cargo Flow chart as well, on par with temperament, desert etc

Maybe someone can make company faces unique to Wasteland (Though it would be funny in normal play of course)

When i get used to the forums i'd like to create some artwork for Wasteland in some way maybe :shock:
what should i use to create artwork for OpenTTD? for Vehicles/Faces/Buildings etc??

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 14 Jun 2019 03:26

Hi, thanks for your comments, I appreciate the feedback :) Let me break it down into chunks:
Aboard the Nautilus wrote:
11 Jun 2019 23:19
Maybe for future updates you could include different catastrophes...
While this is a cool idea, unfortunately there is (currently) no way to alter or add new disasters in the game. It is possible to redraw the existing UFO or helicopter sprites to something else, but that's about it.
Aboard the Nautilus wrote:
11 Jun 2019 23:19
When trying the Wasteland Town Name i found them a delight :] , one observation though is that when the town is limit downward as in 9 - 13 town there is some overlap in name generation...
Hmm, that certainly isn't the most desirable thing, but I'm not sure if there's much I can do about it, other than adding more names like you said. Even that's no guarantee to prevent this though. There may be some more advanced ways of controlling town names to prevent this kind of "lumping" but I'd have to look into it to be sure.
Aboard the Nautilus wrote:
11 Jun 2019 23:19
Advanced Towns should have some more types of buildings...
Yep, all the town buildings included so far are just a few basic placeholders; better sprites are definitely needed, just need to take the time to draw them.
Aboard the Nautilus wrote:
11 Jun 2019 23:19
I like the crater and cracks to the landscape, the crater reminds me of megaton, perhaps in the future you could add radioactive monsters that are encamped in some areas (even put unique features if built near them), Random broken down builds also, traveling people etc (if that's even a possibility)
It is certainly possible to add random objects that spawn around the map on game creation, and it's something I've already been playing around with. I tried to make a vault door object which would spawn randomly 1 or 2 times on a map, and although the code works fine my graphics are terrible, so I don't think that's gonna make it in :P Other things are possible too such as random broken vehicles, buildings, etc, it just takes time to draw them.
Aboard the Nautilus wrote:
11 Jun 2019 23:19
When i get used to the forums i'd like to create some artwork for Wasteland in some way maybe :shock:
what should i use to create artwork for OpenTTD? for Vehicles/Faces/Buildings etc??
You can use any program to draw with really, I use regular old MS Paint for example :P The big thing is you do need a program capable of working with palettes (which are separate files applied to images). I use GIMP for this, although any decent editor should handle it also :)

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Aboard the Nautilus » 16 Jun 2019 23:15

I was going based on these conversations:
viewtopic.php?t=13726

I can draw you multiple things like buildings and vehicles and so on, maybe a custom face if possible, i can use the provided wasteland vehicles for a base to start with and work from there. :mrgreen:

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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Andrew350 » 17 Jun 2019 03:28

Awesome, I can't wait to see what you come up with :)

Also I forgot to mention in my previous post that I do have an improved version of the cargo flow chart ready. It's much better than what is currently on the website/guide, though still nothing fancy. I just put some finishing touches on it tonight, hopefully this one shows things more clearly than before :)
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Re: Wasteland [WIP] - 0.4.0 Released July 8, 2018!

Post by Diesel Power » 26 Jun 2019 08:40

Just some observations and a bug.
Had a shack town with a population of 74, there were 700+ wastelanders waiting at the bus station. Where are they all coming from?! Maybe tone down production a bit?

Weights are shown in "tons" even though I have weights set to metric in settings

When you auto replace a 2 trailer truck, the replacement has only 1 trailer. You have to refit all trucks to 2 trailers manually.

You could add a FIRS style production boost where you deliver X wastelanders a month to double production and XX to triple etc.
Farms could take wastelanders to work the fields.
Oil could be accepted by the chemical plant. You won't need both oil and minerals to produce chemicals though.

I'm only in 2110 at the moment. Will report any more as I find them.

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