Simutrans player here - OpenTTD is so hard to get into

OpenTTD is a fully open-sourced reimplementation of TTD, written in C++, boasting improved gameplay and many new features.

Moderator: OpenTTD Developers

Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: 13 Nov 2019 11:26

Simutrans player here - OpenTTD is so hard to get into

Post by Brytenwalda »

I’ve played Simutrans for years, only playing Extended recently as it offers a much more realistic gameplay, as well as realistic signals and scenery that changes as the time progresses. I’ve been trying to get into OpenTTD for a while now, to try something different, but it seems really hard - not only are the GUI and graphics confusing, the scale is so off (25,000 people require VASTLY more elaborate stations and connections than in real life), cities are usually just a few buildings, and whenever I’m trying to play in the 19th century, I’m getting a lot of 20th century buildings in the way. Mods are really confusing for a newcomer like me.

Is it possible to create a game (using mods, tilesets etc.) that’s at least roughly similar in realism to Simutrans (a more realistic number of buildings and people, cargo weight, destinations etc.). I really like some of OTTD’s features, especially breakdowns and the need to replace your vehicles and I’m eager to try something new, but on top of everything being hard to understand and place, the lack of realism and historical accuracy are extremely off-putting.

Are there any complete conversions, similar to Simutrans paksets? As in, if I’m choosing to play as Russia, for example, I’ll get Russian buildings, cargo, and vehicles and can start from the earliest point available in the pakset - like 1880, from which the world would progress and new buildings and vehicles would gradually become available.

EDIT: also, does OTTD support early signaling like one train staff, people with flags working on time interval method, drive by sight etc? If yes, does it transition smoothly from these to newer methods like blocks and cab signalling?

User avatar
Posts: 1227
Joined: 08 Jan 2003 23:09
Location: Denmark

Re: Simutrans player here - OpenTTD is so hard to get into

Post by jfs »

Funny, TTD players attempting to pick up Simutrans have exactly mirrored experiences, everything is different and hard to pick up :)

Many of the questions you have seem to be exactly places where Simutrans is intentionally doing things differently. Historically, Simutrans was made as a response to the limitations of TTD and TTDPatch (not OpenTTD which only came later) to do exactly many of these things. Meanwhile, OpenTTD has as a goal to remain true to the original TTD at least at the core.
At the core, TTD is not a realistic or accurate simulation of anything.

Some specific points:

Town sizes: Not possible to mod in a sensible way, the town growth algorithm and rate in OTTD is tuned for the building sizes and density from the original game and can't be changed in a good way. It is possible to make a NewGRF with lower population houses, but it's not possible (or at least not easy) to make towns grow fast and wide, before they start growing upwards.

Passenger numbers: The recently released 1.10-beta1 has an optional town cargo generation mode setting that makes large towns/buildings generate much less pax and mail. This will at least change the dynamic.

Cargo weight: There is a setting that makes "freight" cargos (i.e. not passengers, mail) heavier, so vehicles require more powerful engines to haul it at speed.

World setting: Select appropriate NewGRF packs that change the available vehicles and town buildings. There are not many NewGRF industry sets that change the industries to match any particular geographic regions, but you can try FIRS to at least get cargo types focused on specific themes.

Signalling: No there are only "magic" block signals and path signals, and the choice between semaphore and colour light signals is purely cosmetic. There is no support for early/simple train protection like token blocks or signals requiring specific infrastructure nearby for mechanical/visual control, nor "postmodern" train protection like CBTC moving blocks without trackside signals.

User avatar
Posts: 5199
Joined: 31 Mar 2007 14:23
Location: Lost in Music

Re: Simutrans player here - OpenTTD is so hard to get into

Post by andythenorth »

TL:DR realism is not an official goal for OpenTTD :)

To answer specific questions:

* there are no comprehensive paksets. There is no equivalent of that approach in OpenTTD. For better or for worse, there's a wide range of mods doing different things, which may or may not work together :) It can be confusing, but we are where we are.

* unless you use newgrf houses, the default towns are oriented to a 1950 start, as original TTD was. This not only means there's a lack of older houses, but town growth is actually broken before about 1930 and town populations will frequently reduce as the town 'grows'.

Is there any reason not to stick with Simutrans?

User avatar
Posts: 7249
Joined: 28 Sep 2009 17:15
Location: Eastern KY

Re: Simutrans player here - OpenTTD is so hard to get into

Post by kamnet »

My advice is a new OpenTTD player is this. Focus on learning the basics of the core game. Do not worry about any mods until you do. That includes learning the GUI and understanding the goals of the original TTD and it's various quirks. Once you get a handle on that, understanding the game's limits and quirks will be easier, and adding mods will then become more enjoyable.

To answer a few more specific questions:
1. There are Russian-inspired mods for trains, road vehicles, airplanes and landscape. There are some for buildings but they were not coded properly and AFAIK don't work today and nobody's working on them. Nobody is working on a Russian economy/industry set. You can visit for more information including a forums section, but the community has not been very active for several years and is mostly idle.

2. In addition to FIRS, you might want to look at ECS Vectors for another economy/industry set.

User avatar
Posts: 1541
Joined: 12 Jul 2011 12:09
Location: St Ives, Cambs, UK

Re: Simutrans player here - OpenTTD is so hard to get into

Post by FLHerne »

Brytenwalda wrote:
13 Nov 2019 11:36
25,000 people require VASTLY more elaborate stations and connections than in real life.
That should be improved in 1.10; from the changelog:

Code: Select all

- Feature: Experimental method of town cargo generation that scales linearly with population (#6965)
Currently the passenger generation is quadratic, so large cities [and 25,000 is certainly large in OTTD] have disproportionately large transport requirements.

I suggest you try the NewGRF "Town and Industry - UK Houses Early Mod"; it's designed to manage town growth in a reasonable way, and the style/scale of the buildings looks much better than the default ones.
Temporary Permanent signature filling text. Content coming soon delayed indefinitely! Oh, and I have had a screenshot thread.
Linux user (XMonad DWM/KDE, Arch), IRC obsessive and rail enthusiast. No longer building robots; now I ring church bells.
Author of an incredibly boring stickied post about NewGRFs.

Post Reply

Return to “General OpenTTD”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests