Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

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Darthrafael
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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Darthrafael »

Timberwolf wrote:
09 Jul 2020 23:49
Pondering allowing them to run a little faster when empty, which is the real-world case for a few types. That also provides some network design challenges. Downside is it's a little less discoverable for players, although it's more of a "why do these trains go faster?" problem than a "why can't I build anything?" problem.
No clue as to whether or not this is possible, but perhaps this could be the benefit of brake vans? That way it could also be a discoverable thing by putting this functionality in the description of the brake vans.

And speaking of descriptions, will locomotives have a small description for their "intended use" much like UKRS2 has?
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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by andythenorth »

My experience of changing ship speeds when empty is that it gets reported as a bug.

Just about any 'clever', BAD, or hidden feature eventually gets reported as a bug :)

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Thanks andythenorth, those sites have been excellent help. I'm already resigned to thousands of screenshots of vehicles in situations where there's a few pixels missing or clipped through something, bug reports of strange speeds will just be icing :). (I probably overstate the long vehicle issues, it's no worse in gameplay than RCT or Locomotion even though the engine was never designed for this)

Goods wagons are starting to take shape, some progress on open wagons:

Image

A few features need implementing and I need to set up a running/purchase costs formula, but it feels like I'm not a million miles away from the wonderful moment where I load up OpenTTD to play a test game rather than trying to crash it.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Acceptable breaks from realism? One problem if you follow a totally realistic British outline is that of livestock transport late game, since cattle transport started declining from the 1940s and disappeared from the mainline in the 1960s. A few sets have tangled with this problem, either letting you build your 1930s-style short wheelbase livestock wagons indefinitely, using milk wagons as a proxy for livestock (although milk traffic also largely disappeared), or introducing new generations of similar-styled wagons with better stats.

My approach is to envisage a little bit of alternative history in which modern Australian-style cattle transports are built to a more British loading gauge:

Image

This solves the problem of 45mph-limited trains on your freight mainline in the early 2000s, or losing valuable route-building time idly pondering exactly how sheep and goats are being packed into a bogie tanker... at the expense of the inevitable band of hardcore hyper-realists who sit there thinking, "it didn't exist, I don't even want to SEE it in my BUILD menu."


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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by WWW »

Post a patreon link already. I love this!

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Some further progress this weekend. Open goods wagons now have load sprites for all of the cargo types I could find in the wiki and FIRS cargo lists. One nice feature of using sprite stacks is I can add dedicated recolours for each cargo with hardly any impact on the file size, so nearly everything is subtly different in some way.

I also fixed a couple of bugs in GoRender, the tool I use to convert voxel objects to sprites. One was a stupid error on my part where I spent ages carefully recovering situations where the raycaster finds a non-surface voxel (I should really use branchless DDA or something smarter, but a basic floating point raycaster is fast and gives good enough results) and then returned before any of that code was hit :roll: , the other was revisiting the maths used to align things properly according to OpenTTD's dimetric projection which has fixed all those cases where the rear of a long vehicle was 1 or 2 pixels offset from where it should be, giving the appearance of a slight unwanted rotation.

The latest, I'm surprised how much better the minor alignment fix makes the Mk4 carriages look:

Image

Next up is to draw and apply all the piece cargo sprites.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Electricfox »

With regards to livestock transportation, couldn't one potential solution be allowing container wagons to transport livestock? Just pretend that the farm slaughtered them before transport and they're going by refrigerated ISO container? Livestock wagons die out around the 1960s, but the first FFA/FGA wagons come in around 1964 so they could take over from there.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

I prefer having dedicated livestock wagons so there's a logical progression of generations in each type and you don't end up completely switching types mid-game. Container flats do come in as an additional type, as do steel wagons, but currently the plan is to keep them for piece and express goods.

Currently making goods on bolsters work. Early results are promising, but I think using the models from Timberwolf's Road Vehicles as-is highlights the scale diferences between rail and road a little too much:

Image

The good news is I think a little scaling and tweaking should do the trick, and as with most things in my workflow once I've got the first cargo right everything else should fall into place without too much effort beyond creating the models.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Blaxlandridge3 »

Never knew TTD could look so good. Keep up the fine work, timberwolf. I may just have to play TTD for this set.
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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

I'm still enjoying the recolour options in sprite stacks. A lot of goods end up being essentially "crates of things" (later "containers of things"), but with recolouring I'm able to give them each a different swatch to give a bit of visual variety. Here's a rather anachronistic scene of some recycling being turned into packaging:

Image

(Maybe the preservation railway has had to turn to other sources of income?)

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Not much exciting to report, I'm slowly working through adding all the different types of cargo needed to cover various industry NewGRFs. FIRS Steeltown is giving my bolster wagons quite the workout, here's a shot from a test game with steel meeting the pipe it's being turned in to:

Image

The list is looking pretty green now. Unless some hidden trove of cargo type labels turns up a ton of new sprites in need of drawing, all I have left for the bolster wagons is:
  • Vehicle Bodies
  • Vehicles
  • Steel Sheet
  • Steel Wire Rod
  • Rebar
I also have a couple of dedicated steel wagons which will get unique "eye to the sky" graphics for sheet metal, but that only needs to be drawn once and I can re-use the recolour palettes from the metal bars.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Vehicles and vehicle bodies are done (some cheeky stealing of objects from Road Vehicles might have taken place). Both are era-dependent, so you'll see the vehicles and bodies-in-white that you carry becoming more modern over the course of a game:

Image

Now just those pesky metals and I can get into all of the gameplay tuning, aligning and general polishing I've been putting off until the alpha is sprite complete...

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

And that's cargo sorted (for now, at least):

Image

Now on to the fun bit, which is putting together all the code to make this a playable set rather than merely a toy I can use to generate screenshots.Running costs and balancing are first on the list - has anyone ever found a particularly good formula for these? My starting point is a similar approach to Road Vehicles with various roots and logarithms of power, capacity, speed and so on... but I also quite like the simplicity of the Iron Horse style speed * power * weight setup, and maybe I'm missing some of the features which are really important for balancing that others have found.

In terms of cost modelling I'm going for the same lines as 2cc train set where locomotives cost a lot to buy but also last a long time. It won't be quite as extreme (no paying £100,000 for a basic tank engine) but startup railway companies will need to be careful about what they deploy and where. The Peckett Saddle Tank may become a hero of the 1900 start.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Well, here's a point I find myself pleasantly surprised to be at: playing a proper test game, 120 years of railway development with FIRS 4 Steeltown providing the industries.

For now, it's 1900 and Nentwood Transport have set up a small passenger line to nearby Grunwood, with Enterprises on hand to provide a local service. (Steam buses mean the train engineers know how to service them)

Nentwood is rather a grand station for a small company:

Image

And Grunwood also appears to have an eye to future expansion with two platforms:

Image

With the bank unwilling to lend more than £100,000 we only have the money for a single Midland 2441 Class tank engine, but it's trundling back and forth earning a small profit that will hopefully pave the way for greater things later in the decade.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Darthrafael »

Been closely watching this, very eager to see it released so I can play around with it! How up-to-date is the vehicle list in the first post? I'm curious to know how many more vehicles you have added since then.
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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by RedCasey »

This looks outstanding. I can't wait to get my hands on this. I will have to start playing Openttd again to give it a spin. :bow:

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Guess I should post some updates from my test game. It's 1941 and Nentwood Transport have expanded a lot - £50,000 tax bills and large dividend payments are not uncommon. (For more information on that, see Villages Is Villages)

The centre of the passenger network has moved to Flinninghall Central, with multiple lines terminating or running through. Steam is a big feature here, but you can also see some of the third rail 4-COR EMUs which run down to Nentwood.

Image

Speaking of Nentwood, it's rather more bustling than it used to be.

Image

That's a mail train just arriving, and one of the things I realised while playtesting is I need parcel versions of most of the early carriage types or playing with Villages Is Villages set to harder settings will be a nightmare.

All of this was paid for by a big gamble in the early 1900s where the fledgling Nentwood Transport decided to risk building a narrow mountain pass to carry quicklime down from Marborough Kilns to the coast. Originally operated rather slowly by tank engines, there were 30 years of service from Robinson 8Ks before a recent upgrade to Stanier 8Fs. With the upgrades to motive power allowing heavier trains, the original single track pass from the turn of the century is still plenty of capacity.

Image

I've been pleasantly surprised to find the set pretty much complete and fun to play with from the start - there are some small tweaks to make like balancing the cost of passenger carriages (currently there's no reason to ever buy a multiple unit, and certainly not two of them coupled together) and making fast, powerful locos a bit less of a running cost bargain but that side is mainly okay. Mostly it's just bugs and increasing the diversity of stats in early loco types.

As regards vehicles, the initial screenshot was something like 120, the roster is now around 200 although a lot of the increase has come from multiple generations of wagons. A few of the additions you can see up-thread, the rest I want to keep as a surprise for people on their first play-through. Currently you'll get new vehicles from 1900 through to 2020, although it's a little sparse post-2010 as I haven't (yet) drawn and coded the various express and bi-mode units from recent years. Long term plan is to extend back to around 1800 (probably with earlier introduction dates for the people who really want to suffer through 100 years of horse drawn wagons) but I have to limit scope somewhere or I'll never get anything out.

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

I spent this morning fixing some of the things I've noticed in the first 45 years of test game.

Firstly there are more mail options, most of the early carriages now have a guard/brake variant which can carry mail. Some Mk1 and Mk2 BG carriages in consist:

Image

Running costs are now a bit more balanced, with more of a difference between tank engines and express locomotives. I also fixed a minor frustration of mine, which was that the streamlined carriages didn't have enough to differentiate them from the regular carriages of the same era. They're now set up so the last carriage of a consist becomes an observation car:

Image

There's also a bit of a gap in new locomotives 1914-1923 (yes, there was kind of a real-world reason for that but I'd like to keep the game throwing new options at players regardless). It's rather noticeable early in the game as you don't have many locomotives available. I've got a list of candidates to bolster that period out a bit and increase the range of options:

* Midland 1528 class
* Midland "Lickey Banker"
* LNWR G2 class
* LNWR 380 class

(My tracking table list also suggests putting in Vincent Raven's LNER A2s in this period, although that feels like a mean trick on any players who buy them in 1922 only to have the GWR Castle Class come along a year later and obliterate it stats-wise.)

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Re: Timberwolf's UK.... trains?

Post by Timberwolf »

Playtesting and development continues, I found one bug in the mid-1970s with the Class 87 not being electric and another with Mk3 carriages not being introduced at the same time as the HST, but nothing too major.

I also filled in another one of the gaps in the early game adding the GWR Star Class. For anyone who wants to spend nearly an hour watching me create sprites while babbling on about voxel art and my lack of train knowledge, I recorded a development video of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO0nCOCDw9g (warning: amateur content)

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