Super Nerd Complains About Balancing Poorly-Received 15 Year-Old Game

The "spiritual sequel" to Transport Tycoon Deluxe: Chris Sawyer's Locomotion is the latest game from him - general discussion about it here please!

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DribbleweedDynasty
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Super Nerd Complains About Balancing Poorly-Received 15 Year-Old Game

Post by DribbleweedDynasty » 04 Jul 2019 20:55

I'm a casual Locomotion player. While I have tried out realistic rail networks and the copious amounts of mods which render this post completely moot, most of my experience with Locomotion comes from playing randomized scenarios with every vehicle available. Because of this, I've been able to juxtapose every vehicle in the game and compare how each region develops. Throughout all of this, I've noticed that while its fleet of vehicles is very solid, there are many missing or unbalanced vehicles I feel should've been in the game for a more well-rounded experience. This post contains every gripe I have with Locomotion's default vehicles. Since this post is going to be a massive wall of text, I've bolded the vehicles and changes to make it easier to read. Take this post as nothing more than thinking out loud.


TRAINS

This one's gonna be a doozy. Trains make up the majority of Locomotion, and every region has different locomotives and cars. As such, I'll be splitting this one up into each of the three regions.

GREAT BRITAIN

Unsurprisingly, the United Kingdom is by far the best represented region in terms of trains. The massive selection of both locomotives and multiple units allow for tons of opportunities to experiment with motive power. However, you wouldn't exactly believe this before 1920. The UK is the only region to not introduce any new motive power during the 1910's, meaning there's a 20 year gap between the Stirling and the Fowler 4F and electric multiple unit. For a region so rich in motive power, I feel something could have been done to fill this gap. A 4300 Class 2-6-0 would be a perfect locomotive to introduce during the 1910's, as many of them were produced and they were ubiquitous on the Great Western. While not as vital for balancing, a steam railmotor and a City Class would also make nice additions in the mid-1900s, albeit the latter might be a bit broken for its time period.

Even past the 20's, the UK still has a glaring issue. Among the UK rolling stock is a stumpy goods van capable of 50 miles per hour. While it works earlier on, it's the way to haul goods and food by rail even when other faster freight cars come out. The later the year, the more insufferable this car becomes. Considering the UK has some of the fastest available locomotives, not being able to transport the second highest paying commodity in the game at speed takes away from the progression of the game. It really says something when trucks can transport goods much faster than trains can after 1976. I understand that the UK held on to short goods wagons for a long time, but something like a slightly longer goods wagon in the 40's or 50's capable of 60 mph followed by a container flatcar in the 80's which can go 75 mph would literally deliver the goods.

SWISS ALPS

While the Swiss Alps is my favorite region to play, it also suffers from the goods car conundrum found in the UK. While it's less of an issue as the Swiss goods van can carry more and go slightly faster, we should also take into account the Alps-exclusive vineyards. Grapes bring in huge profits only rivaled by passengers and food, but only if they're transported very quickly as they spoil just as fast. With this in mind, it's unfortunate that they can only be shipped by rail at 55 mph. Again, I feel like the UK goods car upgrade should apply here, with a faster wagon followed by a container flatcar.

The other gap in Swiss rolling stock is a self-propelled railcar after 1960. The RBe 2/4 is a welcome addition to the Alpine fleet, but it only lasts until 1960 and nothing is offered in its place. I've done a little research on a possible successor, and the RBe 4/4 fits the bill perfectly. It was first introduced in 1960, a perfect time to replace the RBe 2/4. Stats-wise, it would essentially be a Re 4/4 with a capacity of 64 passengers. Its horsepower can allow it to pull full length passenger trains with ease, although it can also be run on its own. While the cheap and powerful electric locomotives are welcome, a few diesels would have rounded out the fleet perfectly.

UNITED STATES

I saved the worst for last. A little birdie told me the US region was put in last minute, and it shows. There are only seven locomotives available in the US. To put it in perspective, the UK has that many locomotives available to purchase by 1933! I've come up with a way to diversify the selection of US rail vehicles and get it to the level of the other two regions. Foam warning!
  • The Special 2-4-2 and Baldwin 2-8-0 stay the same. I like how the Baldwin 2-8-0 is just a bit slower than the 2-4-2. It makes the former optimized for heavy freight trains and the latter for light, high-priority trains over long routes. The Pacific is introduced somewhere around 1920 and is less powerful than it is in-game, about 1100 hp instead of 1650.
  • During the 20's, three new locomotives also come out; a Doodlebug, a self-propelled railcar ideal for light passenger services on a tight budget; a Boxcab, a slow but powerful and cost-effective electric locomotive; and a Mikado, a newer steam locomotive slightly slower but more powerful than the Pacific.
  • 1930 introduces a new mail and passenger car, somewhere between the old coaches available from 1900 and the fancy steel coaches available from 1960. They carry 40 bags of mail and 55 passengers respectively and can reach a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour. Come 1938, their potential is reached with the introduction of the Northern, a massive steam locomotive boasting 1700 hp and a 65 mph top speed.
  • The 40's mark a change in locomotive development. Aside a bigger electric locomotive like a GG-1 or a Little Joe, we get our first diesel. This could vary, but let's go with the NW2 for now. The NW2 isn't very fast or powerful, but it's much cheaper to run than the aging Baldwin 2-8-0. The coaches from 1900 are retired in 1940 along with the Special 2-4-2.
  • 1950 is when the Class E8 makes its debut , alongside the streamlined passenger and mail car. Note that they are shifted six years back. The same year, we also get an upgrade to the Doodlebug in the form of the RDC. We also get a faster, more powerful freight diesel like a GP7.
  • From there, we get an assortment of freight diesels, as well as F40 in the 70's and the Genesis in the 90's for passenger trains. The final diesel locomotive introduced is the Dash-9, boasting 4400 hp and a maximum speed of 75 mph. Note the relatively low maximum speed; not only is it the maximum speed the freight cars can handle, but it leaves the passenger locomotives best suited to their respective trains.
  • Two more electric locomotives round out the fleet, introduced in 1980 and 2000; the AEM-7, which can reach a top speed of 100 mph, and the Acela, a high speed passenger train capable of 160 mph. A new passenger car based on the Amfleet is introduced in 1975, matching the maximum speed of the AEM-7. The Acela is the last rail vehicle introduced in the US.

BUSES

This is probably my biggest gripe about the balancing in Locomotion. It's clear that buses and trams have their advantages and disadvantages, making each one more suitable for a specific purpose. Trams are cheaper, more powerful, and carry more passengers, but they're slower than buses. This makes them better suited for short intercity services. Buses are faster than trams, making them more profitable on longer routes. This is true for every tram and bus from 1900 all the way to the 80's.

Except the Vulcan VSD Bus.

The only difference between the WMC bus and the VSD is an extra ton and the ability to seat two more passengers. Same speed, same horsepower. This is after waiting 21 years after the introduction of the WMC in 1900, and it's not until 1936 when a significantly upgraded bus is introduced. This is even worse in the UK, as the Model 36R isn't available. The next bus is introduced in 1955, in which trams have completely eclipsed buses by then. Something like increasing the speed to 35 mph (between the WMC and the Model 36R), the horsepower to 50-60 hp, and the capacity to 16-18 passengers (as to not completely outdo the Ce 2/2 tram) would make the VSD stand out, although this would probably mean swapping out the bus for a different model entirely. I imagine there was a bus introduced in the 20's with those statistics.


AIRCRAFT

While there aren't many glaring issues with Locomotion's aircraft selection in my opinion, the opportunity to move cargo by air is completely squandered. The C-130 Hercules is the one aircraft that can carry anything other than passengers, mail, goods, food, or grapes. Said aircraft can only carry 20 tons maximum; in other words, about as much as an old freight car or a modern truck. I pressed one into service to take steel to a factory, which is the most profitable cargo it can carry. Over a route of 258 blocks, it only made as much as a tram servicing two stops in a town with a population of 864. Considering the massive expenditure required for both the airports and the C-130, that's honestly pitiful. Even if over a long, treacherous route, trucks or trains would be better in almost every way.

If only there were some sort of upgrade for the C-130 introduced later on. Maybe some time like the 80's, where trains and trucks become fast and efficient enough to completely outdo the Hercules. Something with the speed of a jet and the ability to carry 150 tons of cargo. A dedicated cargo aircraft in use all over Europe and seen in flight all over the world. I feel the Antonov An-124 would have made the perfect addition to the Locomotion air fleet, and it could have made air cargo transport very much worth it.


With all those out of the way, I honestly have no complaints with the selection of trucks, boats, and trams. It might have been neat to have even bigger trucks than the ones introduced in the 70's with independent cabins and articulated trailers, but that's nothing against what Locomotion already offers. The one tweak I can think of for ships is increasing the diesel ferry's speed a tad bit, but that's a tiny remark which doesn't deserve its own section.

Again, this post is more of a thought dump anything. I understand there's a whole world of Locomotion mods out there which fill in the gaps I've bemoaned. Feel free to leave any questions or comments.

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Chrill
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Re: Super Nerd Complains About Balancing Poorly-Received 15 Year-Old Game

Post by Chrill » 05 Jul 2019 10:31

It's lucky we have so many mods available for this 15 year old poorly received and poorly balanced game. :wink:
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maquinista
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Re: Super Nerd Complains About Balancing Poorly-Received 15 Year-Old Game

Post by maquinista » 05 Jul 2019 18:04

The main problem of locomotion is the 220 vehicle limit. :cry:
Sorry if my english is too poor, I want learn it, but it isn't too easy.[/list][/size]

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