First, let me thank you for creating this script. As a solo player without AIs, this is what I've been looking for.
I was playing with the Renewed City Growth script with the FIRS Extreme economy, and liked the goal (if you will) of having to deliver particular cargoes to drive city growth. Still, there were no objective goals, just the overall goal of growing cities.
Some caveats... I haven't finished a game yet, but started several. I get caught up in restarting from day 1 and trying different networks. As a result, I haven't failed any minor goals yet, because I haven't gotten that far. A new generation of map has far-flung dependent industries, but so far I have not let a minor goal expire.
My first game gave me a small town of 500 to grow, but it was in the corner of the map with only one industry (two if you count the coal mine) and one neighbor. Needless to say, the town started shrinking once I started passenger service. I tried different strategies, and finally settled on tolerating the shrinkage for awhile while I set up a food chain. Once I delivered food (not required to a < 500 town), the town did start growing again. So, food... important!
My current game has a better cluster of related industries, so it's more interesting to build and play. I'm also learning to eat the loss on rail if it enables the greater value chain of finished goods. I think...
All that said, onto my point...
One thing I look for in games is the distinction between "gamey" player inducements versus in-game character inducements. In other words, the thematic behavior. Although I haven't failed a minor goal yet, I'd like to ruminate on the 1% per month penalty on failing minor goals.
To separate the player (me) from the character (the Company boss), how is the 1% per month penalty thematic? I understand the motivation of me (the player) to not have a 1% per month penalty on the company for the rest of the game, but is there a "real world" counterpart to that penalty that the in-game Company would experience, or is it a player penalty only? Should the Company be free to ignore a minor goal if it is too costly (or not a priority for the Company's funds) for my company to implement?
I'm struggling to come up with a thematic explanation for the 1% monthly drain on my bank account. It's not a loss of market share (or a loss of growth), because that would reduce new annual income but not banked income. It's not a payment from a lawsuit, because I can't imagine being sued for not doing something the company is not obligated to do -- unless the minor goal represents some development contract with a town that the company reneged on. However, that might be a one-time penalty, but not a persistent one for the remainder of the game.
Maybe a better penalty is to assess the 1% on the annual income instead of the company balance. This is a smaller number and could reflect an opportunity loss, but it still feels "gamey" in that it takes away actual gains instead of reducing gain potential.
Which leads me to my idea...
Instead of assessing the percentage penalty, what if you made the goal-town's relationship to the Company "atrocious" instead? The town holds a grudge for being passed over by the Company, and they will block future growth in the town limits for stations near their industries, effectively cutting off parts of the map for development. If future minor goals are similarly expired, more towns will become atrocious to the Company. If the town controls a needed industry in the product chain, the player will have to look elsewhere or fund the industry to start up somewhere else. Then, the Company will have to consider bribing town officials (the monetary penalty), or maybe time will heal wounds?
Anyway, just some player thoughts to consider. Do you think that converting towns to "atrocious" would have a similar player motivation to complete minor goals?