Project: Economy and Balancing

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Celestar
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Project: Economy and Balancing

Post by Celestar »

Hi people,

I'm about to start a rather large project: Rewriting the economy and rebalancing the game from scratch. While this will not be horribly much to code, lots and lots and lots of testing and trying will be needed.

In order to see where I'm heading, here's a first draft of what I'm planning:

http://www.fvfischer.de/ottd/the-future.pdf

This link we be updated at least daily until the concept is more or less fixed.

I really depend on feedback on this, so go ahead.

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Post by richk67 »

As long as your new formulae sort out the production nonsense, I will be happy. Personal gripes are:

1) Transporting too good a percentage causes production to fall. 100% is actually dangerous to the survival of the industry!

2) Production should increase more often at industries in response to a good service. (In one recent game, I transported 3 coal mines at 80% for 80 years... and they all went to 1/4 of the starting production!)

3) Passengers should not flock in their thousands to a poorly serviced bus stop, but prefer rail and airports.

4) Helicopter passengers are a premium service, and should pay a premium rate.

5) Aircraft should either cost many many times more initially, and keep the same revenue, or keep their current cost, but earn considerably less. IRL airlines pay millions per aircraft, and have margins in the 10s-100s of dollars per passenger per flight. ie. a flight may make £10,000 profit, but the aircraft has cost £50mill. In OTTD, it costs £150,000, and makes that per flight.

Great to see that this is being looked at.
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Post by Celestar »

1) Yes
2) Yes
3) Yes (depends on rating on the stations of course)
4) Not yet, but later (different passenger service levels are not yet part)
5) Yes

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Post by brupje »

one for now :P

either trains should cost much more, or road verhicles should be able to transport more/better. This isn't clearly in the pdf you made. Road verhicles are easily obsoleted by trains now.
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Post by Celestar »

Then you better read the pdf again :) because it will take place

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Re: Project: Economy and Balancing

Post by Aracirion »

Cool that this is finally being done!

5) the difficulty of planes could be raised (apart from cost)
a) by them being bigger (so that airport building is harder); but that seems unlikely to be implemented according to Darkvater
b) passenger destinations, including random fluctuations in passengers for a certain destination (so that you wont be able to fill the really big planes most of the time)

If passenger destinations is not to be implemented yet, I would propose to make station rating for passenger/mail dependent on how many other cities are served from that station.
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Post by Earl Sven »

Overall I think the changes suggested are great, however I fear that some of the penalties suggested about railways aren't going to work. As you say, IRL frieght trains are slower, and as such hop in and around passenger services. In OTTD it isn't currently possible to do this, as there is no fixed timetable. Running freight trains at a more realistic speed would be good imo but they would just get in the way of passenger services running on the same track.

This isn't really related to the actual economic model but I feel that until the following changes can be made the economic revisions/slow frieght/fast passenger services will be difficult. The obvious technical solution is twin tracks, may mainlines work with two up two down, but until PBS is effectively introduced overtaking/multiple speeds on these lines is a bit difficult. IIRC there was once talk of a patch with speedsignals, but I don't know what happened to it either, and in any case the best solution would be to implement switchover points every so often with PBS (as yet not possible). Until then, running realistic speed frieght/passenger services is a bit impractical without more or less having two networks.

Finally, just another thought. Is there a way that a player could be penalised for having a station at every industry. IRL this does NOT happen, obviously there are processing industries, sawmills, refineries etc that are next to stations and so this should be allowed, but not every coal mine has its own platform! Maybe players should be encouraged to have a regional collection centre, and coal etc begin its journey by truck to the railroad. This may suggest that grouping of similar industries within a region would be helpful, as obviously if its 60 tiles between coal mines, the intial road trip would be painfully slow!

I like the economic revision idea and it is necessary, however I feel that some more technical revisions may be needed in conjunction. It would be a great shame if having the best game economic model ever created were ruined by the technical limitations of the actual game mechanics!

Just my 2pence but I still think this is a great project!
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Post by Aracirion »

Earl Sven wrote:Maybe players should be encouraged to have a regional collection centre, and coal etc begin its journey by truck to the railroad.
Maybe this could be done by simply lowering the output of any single industry? This might be a reasonable change now that maps are so much bigger.
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Post by richk67 »

Earl Sven wrote:The obvious technical solution is twin tracks, may mainlines work with two up two down, but until PBS is effectively introduced overtaking/multiple speeds on these lines is a bit difficult. IIRC there was once talk of a patch with speedsignals, but I don't know what happened to it either, and in any case the best solution would be to implement switchover points every so often with PBS (as yet not possible). Until then, running realistic speed frieght/passenger services is a bit impractical without more or less having two networks.
Now I am free of MiniIN (albatross around neck), I am taking another look at my routeplanning patch (ex-SpeedSigns).

This is an extension to the SpeedSignals idea, where you assign a colour to a train, and then place a coloured marker on the rail line you want it to follow. This way, you can have a passenger train (eg. blue) take the blue signed route, and the freight (eg. red) take the red signed route.

This would let you sort mainlines by whatever type you want - eg. you could colour a particular type of engine to go a certain route. Far more flexible, and I dont think it will be too hard to do. I just need to find more time...
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Post by White Rabbit »

How would you implement these changes for newGRFs?
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Post by SirkoZ »

richk67 wrote:As long as your new formulae sort out the production nonsense, I will be happy. Personal gripes are:

1) Transporting too good a percentage causes production to fall. 100% is actually dangerous to the survival of the industry!

2) Production should increase more often at industries in response to a good service. (In one recent game, I transported 3 coal mines at 80% for 80 years... and they all went to 1/4 of the starting production!)

......
To chime in - my patch, that has been included in the Integrated_nightly_builds for ages now - achieves just that in very few lines of code.

Such are all of my patches - maximum function, minimum code. ;)
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Post by Bot_40 »

The first draft looks great. Has most of the things I think are most important for realistic rebalancing (MUCH higher maintenance costs for property, in particular, train tracks and airports). More realistic model for industries supply + demand etc.

One thing I would like to see is some sort of global rating system, sort of like how the general population of the world perceives your company. At the moment, you can level land and demolish the landscape as much as you like, but as long as you aren't planning to build a station near the town you pissed off, there's no negative side effects whatsoever. I think demolishing the environment should have a global impact on your companies ratings, as well as a more severe local effect.
This should impact passenger ratings mostly, but also ratings for industries too (in the real world, businesses don't generally like to be associated with other bad companies for the sake of their public image)


The current company rating is also obviously absolutely ridiculous, for example, getting 100 points for building 80 1x1 stations in the middle of nowhere.
Instead of looking at static min/max values to get a rating, we should be looking at the global efficiency of your company. So for example
- average cargo ratings at stations
- average profit per unit of cargo delivered normalised against that of the best competitor
- environmental awareness, so are you using efficient maglev trains or smoke billowing steam trains. Did you just flatten half the map and destroy every bit of wildlife in existance
- efficiency of transport network by monitoring when vehicles are moving and check what their average speed compared to a proportion of their max speed. This would highlight trains and road vehicles getting jammed up, aircraft queuing to land/take off and therefore generally how many delays there would be in your service.

I'm sure I think of more things later :)
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Post by SirkoZ »

Bot_40 wrote:...
- environmental awareness, so are you using efficient maglev trains or smoke billowing steam trains. Did you just flatten half the map and destroy every bit of wildlife in existance...
Wildelife a? :)

I the later years of the game the steam trains could easily have been re-equipped to use some efficient process to get energy for travelling - the smoke puffs are only for legacy sake (they look nice).
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Post by Psistorm »

Ive read the pdf just now, and the suggestions are very great indeed. Im looking forward to have this kind of economy introduced into the game, it makes much more sense imo :D

a few questions, though:
- in the second post, there was the suggestion to have high transport rates lower the industry production - what would be the explanation for this behaviour? in my view it would be a punishment for the player setting up a good transport service, and not quite real either, in my eyes: which coal mine would have to close down because all the coal they produce was transported instantly? o_O (except of course the coal ressources being used up) - or which factory would have to lower production because they didnt have to stockpile since all goods were immediately transported away?
an explanation on that suggestion would be quite appreciated :)

- this is a little OT here, but... are there plans to integrate a daylength-factor into these calculations? right now daylength does work well for industries imo, but towns grow wayyyy too quickly (I usually have 30k towns no ten years into the game.. - which shrink to 20-25k when statues and fountains are built, but other topic, lol). so.. it would be a great thing indeed if it was possible to add these factors into the formulas, albeit I admit it may take more balancing effort. just a suggestion, thus

- as proposed, make passenger rates dependant on quality of service, to prevent a hardly-serviced passenger station from piling up thousands of passengers. (not saying that passengers should leave the station again after a given amount of time, rather have them not flood a 60% station, but have them pile into an 80% one)

as for town ratings:
negative influences:
- low quality of service and/or long waiting times for goods/passengers
- terraforming/demolishing
- maybe building railroad-tracks
- failed bribery (town authority dementing it all, distancing itself from the player)
- accidents/crashes

positive influences:
- high quality of service, short waiting times for "cargo"
- construction/expansion of stations (after all, you help the town develop like this and improve services)
- road building (why do towns hate you for giving them infrastructure for /free/ ?)
- successful bribery (obviously :))
- funding of buildings/roads
- maybe upgrading of infrastructure? (like replacing a town bridge with a better one? - this should only have a very small effect though, just like road building)
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Post by hertogjan »

brupje wrote:one for now :P

either trains should cost much more, or road verhicles should be able to transport more/better. This isn't clearly in the pdf you made. Road verhicles are easily obsoleted by trains now.
Trains are way too powerful in the game. Both with the train physics of the original game and the physics of realistic acceleration (which I tend to call semirealistic acceleration, because it is not really realistic, but it's not as bad as the original), trains reach their maximum speeds way too quickly. For that reason, I started to write a patch to fix those issues, and it seems to balance the train profits to a more reasonable level (on one particular savegame, enabling the patch with default settings caused a 20%-30% decrease in train income). In order to maintain profitable, more trains would need more than one engine, and engine types should be selected more carefully. This makes a train service a little more expensive.
For road vehicles, one of the problems is that the capacities are too low. In order for road vehicles to become profitable, one should be able to transport more units of cargo in one consist; i.e. we need trailers!
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Post by erdnis »

Another question is what should be the consequences of a bad town rating? I'd say it is a little strange the way it is now, where you can't build a station if you have a bad town rating but you can still build tracks. I'd suggest that if you have a very bad town rating you shouldn't be allowed to build anything at all (tracks, stations, depots,...) and perhaps not be allowed to terraform either. Also, I'd say that the town rating should affect the station rating of your stations; if you have a bad reputation in a town, people probably don't want to use your transport.
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Post by DaleStan »

richk67 wrote:As long as your new formulae sort out the production nonsense, I will be happy. Personal gripes are:
1) Can be fixed in NFO
2) Can be fixed in NFO
5) Can be fixed in NFO

That makes Celestar's job far easier; just do 3 and 4, and leave the rest of the work to us GRF devs.
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Post by Psistorm »

erdnis wrote:Another question is what should be the consequences of a bad town rating? I'd say it is a little strange the way it is now, where you can't build a station if you have a bad town rating but you can still build tracks. I'd suggest that if you have a very bad town rating you shouldn't be allowed to build anything at all (tracks, stations, depots,...) and perhaps not be allowed to terraform either. Also, I'd say that the town rating should affect the station rating of your stations; if you have a bad reputation in a town, people probably don't want to use your transport.
I see a valid point here, but keeping the player from terraforming/track building would be somewhat obstructive to gameplay in some areas (like having to move a 4-lane mainline because a 200 people town is annoyed by the player lowering 5 tiles of land)

I rather propose just lowering the passenger rates and increasing the cost of any actions near the city (like building, terraforming etc) - this simulates both a public and an "authoritan" dislike of the town:
lower passenger rates because your customers dislike the company and higher build costs because the town doesnt like you, thus is more reluctant to sell you land to buy on and charges you more for other actions.
really low/high levels should be harder to reach but maybe more rewarding/punishing. so maybe the best possible town rating alleviates the negative effect of track building (terraforming/demolishing still hurts rating), and the worst rating prevents you from building stations and makes the town create hardly any passengers/mail.

another approach:
add the factor of town size. small towns arent much authority, but the bigger towns are, the more they might interfere with your actions.
i.e. a town below 500 people cant even deny station building, whilst a 10.000+ people town can even forbid terraforming, thus the player has to be more careful with what he does to "his" towns.
still needs to be discussed just how realistic this approach would be, though.
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Post by erdnis »

The town size factor is interesting. In addition, I suggest that the town size affect the area where the town has authority. i.e. a small town can only deny you of building perhaps one tile away from the houses in the town, but a 10000+ town would have the authority over a much larger area.
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Post by Earl Sven »

Another thought... if the entire rating system is going to be revamped and overhauled then a much better way of accessing this information quickly and easily is needed. It would be very helpful to have a station/route UI which could allow you to quickly identify which routes/stations were underperforming, so you could go straight to that route/station and make the necessary changes :)
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