A few beginner questions

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Batchman
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A few beginner questions

Post by Batchman »

I don't play this game a lot, but I come back to it for a couple of weeks at a time, every year or two, and during this time around, I've come to realize I am far, far worse at this game than I thought.

Sometimes I'll start playing a game, and every city I move into experiences explosive growth, and I have tons of money.

Then the next time I play, I'll be bankrupt in a year and a half. And it will be while trying to play MORE efficiently, using what I'd learned the day before. Obviously I failed.

So here's what I almost always play ... the first England scenario (easiest/earliest level) because there is room to work, but often times I'll see explosive growth in my cities.

I frequently start by building two or three trains, usually one from the Dover chemical plant to the London factory, perhaps one from the Cambridge farm to the London/Brighton (I think that's the city) beer factory, or perhaps from Dover Chemical to the Brighton factory. The problem is, even these short train lines and trains cost a lot of money. And at least on the chemical trains, don't seem to make a lot of profit.

So the last game I tried (couple of hours ago, convinced me I needed to learn a few things) I didn't bother with any trains at all, just started working on trams. Built my first tram line running through 2/3 of London and over to and through Oxford, and started four trams running on it. Built my second line from Brighton through a small portion of London, and over into Chelmsford. Since this route was a bit longer, I put six trams on it. I put my third line from Chelmsford over to Norwich, and ran two trams on it, and was about out of money (the starting $5k loan, and an additional $5k). Often I see explosive growth with trams, but saw none this time around. Unfortunately, tram revenue was low and slow, and the interest payments on the loan were more than the trams were bringing in, so within another 9 months I was bankrupt.

I don't know where I got the idea, but I certainly had the idea that routes between cities were a good thing, which is why I kind of concentrate on routes connecting at least two cities. But maybe I'm wrong about that. Any thoughts?

Sometimes in a city that I'm convinced is going to quickly grow into a metropolis, I'll space my tram stops every 3 tiles or perhaps every four tiles, and it often works pretty well for me, but stops cost money and could affect how fast the trams make it around and back to their starting points. What do others think about stop spacing?

Two days ago I used a train running coal from Sheffield to the power plant at Norwich. I set up two tracks and two trains with 8 cars each. Started the second train at Sheffield right as the first train was dropping off at Norwich, to have them at opposite ends, but somehow within like 2 months, they were right behind each other, and one would get a full load and the other would be almost empty, and the mine never really started producing enough coal to supply these two trains ... but I can remember games where I had 8 tracks running out of two stations at Sheffield (running to 3 power plants and one steel plant) and always having extra coal sitting at the station beyond what all 8 trains could haul. What gives?

So people have indicated it is better to NOT make steel, but just send ONE of the two ingredients to the steel mill because producing steel will make the town angry? Can someone explain this to me?

Best cargos and worst cargos for trains to carry? Maybe I should concentrate on carrying coal for my first train, and add more train routes only once enough money is coming in? Chemicals certainly DON'T seem to be one of the more profitable routes.

For both trains and trams, longer routes better? Shorter routes better? Or it depends?

Oh, and another thing, routing? I have built trams that could go different places, because of tracks that split, and tell it exactly which stops to take in which order, but half the time they ignore it, turn the wrong way, and end up in completely the wrong areas. This leads me to try and build with no places where the track splits, but that limits some routes I'd otherwise like to do. Anyone know why this is happening? I'm wondering if it has to do with stops that have more than one 'location?' (Like on two or three corners of the intersection.)

I think that's enough for now to try and learn a few things, and consider how I can go so right one day, and so wrong the next. Any help is appreciated.
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Zakos
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Re: A few beginner questions

Post by Zakos »

One of the biggest tips I can give you (and that I didn't figure out for myself until I checked the AI's trains) is that you can force a train to wait for a full load of any non-passenger cargo.
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Batchman
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Re: A few beginner questions

Post by Batchman »

Actually, I just let them go as soon as they come, hoping they will more quickly help to build up the station. Though I have no proof that is any quicker than waiting for a full load. Wonder if I should test that, sometime?

I'm slightly proud of myself. After reading that it was possible, and pulling up the manual to study HOW to do it, yesterday I taught myself to use the signals and a double track to run three or four trains on two tracks. Only works well on longer runs, though, and most of my routes in England are too short to make use of it. (or space is too limited to do multiple tracks.)

So I've been kind of wavering between building train tracks two spaces up to run them over the tops of the tram networks, or building them on the ground, and running the tram networks over the top of them with bridges. I really don't like having the roads and trams crossing the train tracks, because if I have a heavy tram line, then waiting for a train could cause lots of trams to back up ... theoretically. What have others found to be the best methods of handling things?

I have noticed that the game absolutely sucks at laying out roads ... little twists and turns everywhere for no discernable reason. Day by day I am getting more and more willing to plow through houses and erase the computer's roads (and even move earth to remove random tiny hills that seem opposed to smooth operations) because when I am actively working an area it recovers and expands from the 'harm' quite quickly.

Trams, by themselves, do not seem to grow quickly enough to support and encourage growth, so yesterday I had a lot of success jumping back and forth. I laid a double railroad line and set up the first two trains from the closest coal mine to the Norwich power station, then I built the Norwich/(whatever the other town is, right next to it) tram system (one slightly more complicated line with four trams running on it), then I added trains from the same coal mine (but a different station) to the very nearby steel mill and power station. A single line each, because they were so close, it seemed more trouble than it was worth to run a double line. Then I jumped to doing my London/Oxford tram line. Then from a second coal mine that seemed slightly closer, I first ran a line to the Petersborough steel mill, then the Portsmouth power station, before doing my Brighton/London/Chelmsford tram line.

It seems to work really well alternating between the two. The trains make enough money to support the tram operations, then with a little more time the trams cause the area to explode with growth, and become highly profitable on their own. I still have a huge amount to learn, but I'm having fun with it again.

But one other issue has come up. Are some things just programmed to shut down, whether you do anything to support them or not? I hurried to support one of the steel mills with coal, because I always seemed to get word it was shutting down, somewhere around 1903 or 1904, but even supplying it, it still shut down, which leaves me wondering if I should have bothered at all. Any thoughts?

(Oh, as an aside, I've given up on the Cambridge farm to London because the Cambridge farm is practically erased by explosive growth in Cambridge, London, and Chelmsford. The Petersborough farm has more chance of surviving into the future.)
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luk3Z
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Re: A few beginner questions

Post by luk3Z »

Batchman wrote: 19 Feb 2023 17:43 (...)
(Oh, as an aside, I've given up on the Cambridge farm to London because the Cambridge farm is practically erased by explosive growth in Cambridge, London, and Chelmsford. The Petersborough farm has more chance of surviving into the future.)
You will be able to disable a city expansion in OpenLoco options.
Moreover you will be abe to configure hotkeys.

How to build/sell railtracks more efficiently/faster (go to the Options - Keyboard Shortcuts and bind new keys):
Construction: Build at current position: Enter
Construction: Remove at current position: Backspace
Close Top-most Window: Del (like in OTTD)
Construction: Select position: \
etc.
Find new graphics easier:
GRFCrawler -> http://grfcrawler.tt-forums.net
BaNaNaS -> https://bananas.openttd.org/
32 bit gfx in OTTD (32bpp) -> https://wiki.openttd.org/en/Community/N ... 20graphics
TTDPatch 2.6 -> viewtopic.php?f=19&t=67694
How to subtract tax from income (workaround) -> viewtopic.php?t=89763&start=20
How to ban distance from income -> Simple Cargo Decay Override
Batchman
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Re: A few beginner questions

Post by Batchman »

So I have done a bit of testing, and learned a few things. I built my coal line from the mine over to the Norwich power plant, and put three tracks running to the power plant, and ran four trains for 3 1/2 years, and never got an extra seam of ore, and therefore a boost to mine production.

I ran the two lines, three trains to Norwich, and threw on a third station platform and a fourth train, and ran 3 1/2 years, and no boost.

I added on a third platform, running coal to the Petersborough steel mill, still no boost.

As soon as I added on a platform on a NEW station, but from the same mine, running 1 train from Station B to the Leeds (or around there) power station, and two trains from station A to Norwich, I started trains in February of 2000, and by something like August of 2000, they found a new seam and started boosting production. So if you want more ore or chemicals (and probably oil, but not necessarily grain or cattle (since they depend on amount of land to be farmed, in part)) the secret seems to be having at least two different STATIONS, because even with lots of demand from one station, it doesn't seem to do enough to boost things.
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