Helicopter uses

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L. Spooner Inc
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Helicopter uses

Post by L. Spooner Inc »

In the base game, I have yet to find a way to turn a profit with helicopters. You can't increase the distance you transport stuff because they're short range, they carry very little, and they're expensive to operate. Sometimes I can break even transporting valuables between two large cities at the maximum distance apart, but other than that I can't find any function for them which isn't more profitable to use another vehicle. Even servicing oil rigs is better done with a hovercraft. Any time I've tried using them, my end-of-year report is just a listing of every chopper and how much money they've lost. Can anyone explain what function helicopters are supposed to serve?

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andythenorth
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by andythenorth »

As far as I can tell, the purpose of helicopters in base game is:

1. service oil rigs (passengers)
2. provide a distraction / learning exercise, where the player has try to figure out how to make money with helicopters, then accept it's not possible

I've made a lot of games.

Sometimes things are designed (and tested) as core gameplay.
Sometimes things are mistakes.
Sometimes things are put in because the author wants to include a specific feature, even though the gameplay does not work with it.

Helicopters are one or more of those eh? :)

Original TTD has endured the test of time as a compelling game.

But some of the original base gameplay mechanics continue to bamboozle players on a regular basis. :)

This is why we have OpenTTD and many individual attempts to 'fix' the original gameplay in newgrf and GS.

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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by Eddi »

In software engineering, we distinguish "functional" and "nonfunctional" goals.

if you apply those to an ingame vehicle, you might have functional goals:
  • travels from A to B
  • turns a profit
and nonfunctional goals might include
  • looks pretty
  • is red with some white stripes
  • fills some niche use that can't properly be quantified
  • has a basis in "realism"
different vehicles might put different weights on each of those.
You might not exactly be interested in Ferion, but if you are, have fun :)

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L. Spooner Inc
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by L. Spooner Inc »

In the real world, helicopters serve a niche function in highly built-up cities as commute transportation into city centres since they can put helipads on top of buildings, and land costs are so expensive people are forced to live hours away by car. Maybe they can be made to serve a purpose by allowing helipads to be placed in cities by just replacing a building without angering the local authorities? That would at least give them a function.

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2TallTyler
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by 2TallTyler »

L. Spooner Inc wrote:
12 Jul 2020 16:17
Maybe they can be made to serve a purpose by allowing helipads to be placed in cities by just replacing a building without angering the local authorities?
Demolishing a single building doesn't anger the local authorities that much. With default houses, even demolishing a skyscraper in an untouched town only dropped my local authority rating to Good.

In any case, real helicopter airlines have the same problems. :)

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L. Spooner Inc
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by L. Spooner Inc »

2TallTyler wrote:
12 Jul 2020 16:39
L. Spooner Inc wrote:
12 Jul 2020 16:17
Maybe they can be made to serve a purpose by allowing helipads to be placed in cities by just replacing a building without angering the local authorities?
Demolishing a single building doesn't anger the local authorities that much. With default houses, even demolishing a skyscraper in an untouched town only dropped my local authority rating to Good.

In any case, real helicopter airlines have the same problems. :)
Just needs the right niche. Here in Canada, helicopter airlines have been a thing since the 70s. We have enormous amounts of rugged, snowy, sparsely-populated terrain in between a relatively small number of built-up urban centres. The US/Canada border is mostly along the 49th parallel, but to give you an idea of how much of the population clusters right against that border, the US at one time demanded all the territory south of 54'40". (When we refused their demand, Madison invaded -- and not only got their asses kicked, we marched down and burned the White House to teach them some manners.) But if Canada had agreed, the largest urban centre in Canada today would be Moosejaw.

Given those conditions, helicopter airlines serves a niche purpose for short-haul flights over inhospitable terrain. You just need to find some way to translate that into the mechanics of TTD. The main problem, I think, is that "terraforming" is way, way too cheap. Running a highway across swamp, tundra, and mountain shouldn't be an easy and cheap endeavour.

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2TallTyler
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by 2TallTyler »

Do those helicopter airlines make a profit off their ticket revenue alone, or are they supported by government subsidies as essential transportation services?

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odisseus
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by odisseus »

Helicopter airlines thrive only where other modes of transport cannot be used. For example, they may carry workers to oil rigs or rescue teams in mountainous regions. They might carry ordinary passengers only when the passenger is very rich or the trip is subsidized.

None of these situations can be modelled in OpenTTD, where passengers are fungible. A passenger that goes to an oil rig pays just as much as a passenger that goes to the next town, no matter the terrain and mode of transport. Helicopters are going to be equally profitable, or, more likely, unprofitable, in both situations.

I wonder if helicopters can be used to transport tourists from the ECS industry set.

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L. Spooner Inc
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Re: Helicopter uses

Post by L. Spooner Inc »

2TallTyler wrote:
14 Jul 2020 13:44
Do those helicopter airlines make a profit off their ticket revenue alone, or are they supported by government subsidies as essential transportation services?
The biggest one is HeliJet, which was founded in the mid-80s, and it mostly does trips between Vancouver and Victoria. Victoria is on an island so your choice is a very slow ferry service starting and ending with a drive from the edge of town, or very fast downtown-to-downtown heliport landings. The second-largest is probably Cougar Helicopters, which flies passengers exclusively to oil rigs in Newfoundland, and it was founded in the early 80s. Neither gets subsidies from the government. Most of the others are in the far north, where there aren't even roads. Ship access, if it's possible at all, ices over in the winter.

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