New player tweaks?

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kamnet
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New player tweaks?

Post by kamnet »

I want to write a guide to help new players. What is your favorite tweaks to make to the base game (no patch packs, no newgrfs) that you think a new player should change in order to have a great experience?
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by Tony Pixel »

For the very start of the game, I would recommend to go to the settings menu, enable whole list and, for not coming there every time, enlarge bridge/tunnel lengths, station size, disable vehicle breakdowns as they're useless imo. Also by the wish of player he can enlarge starting loan and enable town founding. I hope that my advice will be helpful :D
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by 2TallTyler »

We discussed this a couple months ago on GitHub: https://github.com/OpenTTD/OpenTTD/discussions/8393

Ultimately, we changed the defaults of six settings, for the 1.11 release:
  • Savegame date format (ISO)
  • Group expenses in company finance window (on)
  • Inflation (off)
  • Quick creation of vehicle orders (on)
  • New orders are non-stop by default (on)
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by Simons Mith »

Build while paused is one I'd recommend. Lets you stop and think and look at what needs doing without having to rush stuff through amidst a moving network.

Not too large a map is another; I like 4kx4k with high terrain variety because it maximises the chances I'll have somewhere interesting to build.
For a new player I think I'd recommend 512x512 or 1kx1k map size

Avoid rough terrain; smooth is good, but very smooth is a bit bland.

Maybe recommend one or two standard train lengths? 3 and 6 tiles, perhaps, or 4 and 8, or just 4. Tweak things like signal spacing, bridge and tunnel length, and station spread to something compatible, if necessary. I think the defaults should be okay though.

Freight multiplier x2? Not very noticeable at that level, but primes the player to be aware of this setting for future games.

Turn on autorenew
Turn on warnings for unprofitable vehicles

Turn visible catchment areas on. Use realistic catchment areas?

Adjust slope tolerance a bit. Not sure what to though.
Use realistic acceleration

Default to path signals.

Reduced or no breakdowns. Infrastructure maintenance, on but low.
No disasters, no recessions, no 90 degree turns - (90 degree turns are a bad habit to get into!)

(I'd say no breakdowns at all, except that they are part of the game. If everything else is super-easy, you want something to stir things up a bit, even for a new player. So I'd recommend turning on /one/ bad thing out of the available possibilities just to add some flavour. Don't mind which - even inflation would be acceptable, if it was low.)

Make towns tolerant
Use a slower town growth setting

Avoid high and very low industry settings

Airport expiry off - although with only one airport type affected anyway it's hardly worth worrying about.


On the whole the default settings are fine, but I think it would be helpful to identify the settings that most affect gameplay, even if they're not altered.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by Eddi »

i think this is completely missing the point.

a "new player guide" should focus on using the default features, not how to "tweak" the game. the settings window itself is pretty daring, especially if you're not yet familiar with the game. for a "new player guide" i would maybe even completely ignore it.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by jfs »

Eddi wrote: 14 Mar 2021 01:45 i think this is completely missing the point.

a "new player guide" should focus on using the default features, not how to "tweak" the game. the settings window itself is pretty daring, especially if you're not yet familiar with the game. for a "new player guide" i would maybe even completely ignore it.
Agree here. A guide for new players should focus on teaching the core game mechanics, how to do well and how to operate the main tools given.
If you bog the reader down with a bunch of things to modify at the start, you're going to lose readers.
If there are settings you think default to something bad for new players, make an argument to have the default changed in the base game so new players wouldn't need to change them.

You can begin suggesting settings to change after teaching how to play the base game. Then the reader has a basis to understand what the purpose of the settings are and why you might (or might not) want to change them.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by Simons Mith »

I mildly disagree. The game's default settings should be chosen for the typical player, and on the whole they are. That's because sensible defaults should cater for the majority use case, and a novice player is only a novice for their first few games, so they're not the majority case.

Consequently, if you're writing custom material specifically to cater for a novice player, you might have reason to adjust some of those settings. But, yes, sparingly.

And especially if future game dogma is going to be to set the default settings to novice-settings (a bad idea IMO) I wouldn't be surprised if kamnet's exercise identifies further config settings that ought to be tweaked.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by Pyoro »

A player that is willing to read a tutorial will also want to know a few words about reasonable setting decisions. Don't treat people like idiots just because they are new; they might have played thousands of games before and are just new to OTTD.

And some stuff the player should know - for example, if you plan to play endlessly, turn on Vehicles Never Expire. Just in case.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by LaChupacabra »

I agree with Eddi and jfs. Maybe just to add that if you write in the direction of "what to do to make it fun", it should first of all be noted that expectations for the game can be very different. Some will expect the best simulation, others will look for challenges and competition, others simply nice views. I believe that one should take this into account and only then - if at all - indicate what can be done to make the game meet the player's expectations.

When it comes to universal, good settings, these should be the default settings, and in this direction, a very nice initiative was taken by 2TallTyler. Thanks. I believe that very good decisions have been made. In my opinion, however, not everything has been discussed and possibly improved.

What can still be changed in the default settings:
  • Interface
    • Show tooltpis: Hover for ~1s instead 0,25s - in my opinion the hints are shown too quickly, which looks a bit like a fly flying over the cursor.
    • Duration of error message: ~20s instead 5s - such messages shouldn't disappear too quickly, if the player knows what's going on anyway he will close the window faster, if he doesn't understand (some messages may not have been translated) he may need more than 5 seconds.
    • Close window on right-click: On instead Off - absolutely one of the best changes since the invention of the wheel, making the game much easier.
    • Use loading indicators: All companies instead Only own - view what other players do allows you to learn from someone's example.
    • Use groups in vehicle list: All companies instead Only own - why can't the player see how others do it? The same argument as above.
    • Link landscape toolbar to rail / road ... toolbars: On instead Off - it's like Flip & Flap, Tom & Jerry - when building a road or track, you almost always have to level something, separating these elements only makes construction difficult.
  • Vehicles / Routing
    • Forbid trains from making 90° turns: On instead Off - this is a bit of a preference matter, but since most servers have this option turned on, it's better to have it turned on by default. It also seems to me that when the player gets to know the game a bit, he will want to turn it on himself. When I got to know the game, I was irritated by such sharp turns - they seemed unnatural and caused more problems than good. Btw. turning on the off is pointless.
troublesome 90° turns.PNG
troublesome 90° turns.PNG (46.1 KiB) Viewed 931 times
Maybe something else could be improved, but in general I think that the rest of the settings is just a matter of taste and different expectations.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by Eddi »

LaChupacabra wrote: 14 Mar 2021 12:36Forbid trains from making 90° turns: On instead Off
i tend to agree with that. it should be a setting for legacy savegames, buried deep in the advanced settings.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by kamnet »

Eddi wrote: 14 Mar 2021 01:45 i think this is completely missing the point.

a "new player guide" should focus on using the default features, not how to "tweak" the game. the settings window itself is pretty daring, especially if you're not yet familiar with the game. for a "new player guide" i would maybe even completely ignore it.
jfs wrote: 14 Mar 2021 10:56 Agree here. A guide for new players should focus on teaching the core game mechanics, how to do well and how to operate the main tools given.
If you bog the reader down with a bunch of things to modify at the start, you're going to lose readers.
If there are settings you think default to something bad for new players, make an argument to have the default changed in the base game so new players wouldn't need to change them.

You can begin suggesting settings to change after teaching how to play the base game. Then the reader has a basis to understand what the purpose of the settings are and why you might (or might not) want to change them.
There already exists a Beginner Tutorial scenario as well as at least three extensive and quite good YouTube series which teach beginners the core game mechanics, which I frequently refer new players to. I am not looking to replicate what has already been done.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by odisseus »

I think recessions, disasters and breakdowns should be enabled by default. Sure, many players will find these features annoying and will probably disable them at their first opportunity, but still these are important aspects of the game which the player may encounter on a network server. It is important to make the new players aware of these things.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by JGR »

odisseus wrote: 17 Mar 2021 00:31 I think recessions, disasters and breakdowns should be enabled by default. Sure, many players will find these features annoying and will probably disable them at their first opportunity, but still these are important aspects of the game which the player may encounter on a network server. It is important to make the new players aware of these things.
Disasters are not suitable for use on a network server. Players will not encounter these on reasonable servers.
In general just because a feature may be enabled on some network servers, doesn't mean that players have to have been exposed to it beforehand in single player.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by 2TallTyler »

+1 to JGR's comments.

Moreover, I think the goal should be to give new players a good first impression of OpenTTD. Throwing unpopular, frustrating features at them does the opposite.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by odisseus »

JGR wrote: 17 Mar 2021 15:31 Disasters are not suitable for use on a network server. Players will not encounter these on reasonable servers.
Really? The Reddit server #1 has disasters enabled, yet somehow it's by far the most popular public server.
2TallTyler wrote: 17 Mar 2021 17:42 Moreover, I think the goal should be to give new players a good first impression of OpenTTD. Throwing unpopular, frustrating features at them does the opposite.
Speaking of the first impression, a first-time player is much more likely to get frustrated by basic train signalling than by an occasional disaster.
Last edited by odisseus on 17 Mar 2021 21:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by 2TallTyler »

No argument that signaling is confusing. But that's a separate issue entirely.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by madrito »

maybe when random phenomena so popularize the server, it at least a small UFO could be a lightning bolt, and a large UFO called a meteor .
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by odisseus »

The main point against the disasters is not their appearance, but the fact that they can disrupt a network which would otherwise run perfectly fine. If the player doesn't repair the damage, this can eventually lead to bankruptcy. Changing an UFO to a meteor would mean absolutely nothing from this point of view.

The possibility of disaster means that you cannot leave your railway unattended for a long time, and this is the only reason why experienced players are somewhat annoyed by disasters. However, this applies only to players capable of building a network that can function unattended in the first place.

A typical railway built by a beginner has many more issues that require player's attention. To name a few, bad signalling can cause a deadlock, and insufficient servicing may cause industries to close. This means that the beginner cannot leave his company unattended, regardless of the disasters.

My point here is that advanced players are inclined to overestimate the negative impact of disasters, while for a beginner said impact is actually very low. Disasters or no disasters doesn't really change anything for the first-time player, so we might as well take the opportunity and teach him about their existence.
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by LaChupacabra »

odisseus wrote: 18 Mar 2021 17:24 If the player doesn't repair the damage, this can eventually lead to bankruptcy.
It probably doesn't happen. I haven't seen a single case on a Reddit server where a company is threatened with bankruptcy due to a disaster. Typically, companies have accumulated so much wealth that they could do nothing for the next several hundred years. Usually, the disaster doesn't block all trains, and those that are still running generate sufficient income.
odisseus wrote: 18 Mar 2021 17:24 My point here is that advanced players are inclined to overestimate the negative impact of disasters, while for a beginner said impact is actually very low.
If you could learn to build lines with high traffic density, you would understand why advanced players don't like disasters. ;) A moment is enough for everything to stop. Sometimes it takes an hour to get a line running again. Meanwhile, there will be another UFO ... I play Vanilla quite often (when I play), but I never even try to build this way because it doesn't make sense, so don't write that advanced players overestimate the negative impact of this nightmare. ;)

For some new players, disasters will be interesting, for others - as 2TallTyler wrote - they will be frustrating and discouraging to play. I think it's better to leave it off by default. The first steps in this game can be difficult. There is no point in throwing the player any additional obstacles.

In any case, it would be worth mentioning these disasters in the guide. :)
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Re: New player tweaks?

Post by odisseus »

I admit I haven't thought about the train density, but my point still holds. Beginners aren't affected too much by the disasters, and advanced players know how to turn them off.
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