Moderator: OpenTTD Developers
The original idea was started 3 years ago here, but a lot of things have changed, especially features in OTTD. After much experience playing the game, and beginning a little .grf coding, i'm now confident in the plan as presented. Many coders and artists have had their own ideas about their own futuristic OTTD version, and some have gotten pretty deep into developing them. I've seen what causes good ideas to fall by the wayside, and surprisingly enough, it's usually not lack of feasibility; but rather, both lack of support and destructive naysaying, as opposed to constructive criticism. Yes, there are some impervious barriers to what can be altered, like the map layout, sprite structure, and variable maximum values, but given some constructive feedback and a little brainstorming, a lot of features now exist in OTTD that were once decried as being too difficult to implement.
With massive interest in this mod, i expect a lot of forum members to put in a little time and “2 cents” into making it a reality. This is good, because one member cannot hope to accomplish something this big by himself. (For example, SAC has been working on INFRA by herself and it's already taken over a year!) I thought about keeping this a closed project, but i would rather open this up to the “general public,” as it were, and wade through the negativity that this big idea is bound to attract from some folks, in order to get to those few who have the talent or know-how and can-do attitude to bring this project to fruition.
This idea in raw form will start out as simply a new .grf, executable by the latest nightly. After a playable version is ready (i'm expecting this to take at least 12 months unless EVERYONE who can jumps in), it will be released for alpha testing, to find bugs and gameplay problems. During this time, for about 6 months, hardcode alterations will be tried and tested by programmers. Those patches that work when most of the alpha problems have been fixed will be incorporated into a beta version, which will actually be a branch of the latest OTTD nightly at that time. I'm sure some of our implemented ideas will be transferred to regular OTTD.
The nice thing about a brand new version of an old game is the freedom to try new ideas for the code, for gameplay, and even for the way the objects in the game appear. No more limitations based on keeping the gameplay as expected, or keeping the data structure the same for the sake of backward compatibility, as long as a standard is kept. If you think you can make a beneficial change, start from the latest nightly, develop your program or grf change and when you get it working, present it to us (heavily commented) if you'd like it to be included in this mod. No promises are made, except that we'll consider anything helpful.
Many of you have already developed patches and are waiting for inclusion into the OTTD trunk. You are welcome to submit them here if you think it would definitely help this mod play better! (Keep in mind you may need to rework the GUI or text so they'll fit right in to the futuristic theme of this mod.)
Otherwise if you just want to contribute artwork or help in the NFO coding, or play a part in the administration of this mod, make yourself known in this thread or by PM to me.
Anticipated Assistance for OTTD+500
Soft-coders for various aspects of the new mod will be needed, as well as contributing artists. The following is a list of the volunteers needed for the upcoming tasks.
Project Director (that'll be me I guess): Oversees the project development, determining if contributions are staying true to the original vision for the mod. Works closely with the Moderator and the development team to move the project smoothly to final release.
Project Moderator: Maintains and monitors archives of contributions by all members and donors of the project, and acts as internet site moderator for OTTD+500. Designates tasks to volunteers based on work availability and contributor's talents. Also serves as liaison between contentious parties that donate to the project, enforcing the rules of the forum, and reminding guests and members alike of the vision and goals of the project. Will also need to provide current builds after important changes.
Industries Coder: Primary developer of the coding for the Industries, including the structures they use and the cargoes for the mod. Also serves as executor of industry suggestions and contributions, implementing new ideas permitted by the Director and incorporating third party artwork and code into the .grfs.
Industries Artists: Contributors of graphics that involve the cargoes, the industries, loading/unloading animations, etc.
Vehicles Coders: Up to 6 developers of the soft-coding of the vehicles, one per vehicle type. Each vehicles dev oversees the coding for the vehicle sprites, working closely with artists of both vehicles and industries, and the Director in vetting contributions.
Vehicles Artists: Contributors of graphics of any of the vehicles, not only those for the player's use, but also those that are used in animations.
Structures Coder: Primary developer of the coding for the infrastructure in the mod, which may include some cargo handling, in which case work is done in conjunction with the Industries programmer to implement town-based industries (such as passengers). Also serves as executor of industry suggestions and contributions, implementing new ideas permitted by the Director and incorporating third party artwork and code into the .grfs.
Structures Artists: Contributors of graphics of the infrastructure, from town buildings to transitways to stations.
Landscape Artists: Contributors of the terrain graphics and animations. The Director shall serve as the arbitrator of the graphics for the terrain.
GUI Artists: Contributors of graphics that involve the user interface's design and style, which will be altered for OTTD+500 to offer a more futuristic “space” or mechanized mood.
Primary Programmer: Hardcoder who can develop changes to OTTD that serve the stated goals as described in the next post.
Economic Programmer: Hardcoder who can attempt to develop changes to OTTD that use a different economic model than the distance-based calculations in regular OTTD. This part of the project is directed primarily by the Project Director, but may include input from any members or guests.
The only “jobs” that MUST be filled for this project to proceed are the first two. Without a moderator to handle those responsibilities, this will in essence be a basement hobby. I will be attempting a lot of the NFO coding, but i won't start with anything serious until i've heard from anyone who wishes to contribute artwork or coding; that way i'll know what will be left to code.
The last two vacancies need not be filled, but the project will fall short of its desired objectives. If no one else fills the other vacancies, i will be soft-coding by myself, and the project may not see the light of day for at least 2 years...
But forward we march! Here are the specs for the project (go to next post)....
A modified gameplay for open Transport Tycoon Deluxe,
500 years after the original.
OTTD+500 takes place in the far future in the year 2451, when planets and satellites are being colonized by corporate entities for the purpose of mining the natural resources and making a profit. Many of the modes of transport are universal and are hardly changed by time: by road, by rail, by sea, or in the air. The means of these, however, have evolved, as has their vehicles. The location of business has changed and the cargoes are mostly different, but the role of the OTTD+500 player is the same: set up transportation for cargo and people (and semi-people) to try to make as much money as possible.
In order to appreciate this mod, the user should imagine a realistic future, based especially on how technology has evolved thus far. Planetary colonization will occur, but Earth will always be our only home (our bodies were designed only for this planet). This means we cannot venture outside of the airtight confines of our space colony. At the time this storyline takes place, instant "terraforming" of other planets is not possible, nor is computer self-awareness, nor the instant creation or movement of mass, nor nonterrestrial life. But new types of space propulsion and energy will be developed, as will the rampant use of automatons to do work that is unsafe for humans. As various degrees of free enterprise will dominate human civilization but resources become finite on Earth, governments will allow private corporations to explore the solar system for resources, enabling these corporations to become self-governing on the land they have claimed.
These corporate entities with outposts on planetoids will find the biggest hurdle to making money is sustaining the colony, as bringing a mass of resources from Earth will be far too expensive to be feasible. So each colony must provide for itself all the basic needs for the civilian-worker. The colony is both his home and his job. The first priority is food and water, and second is shelter from the harshness of space. Robots help to relieve him of some of the work of producing resources, but even they must be maintained and constantly refurbished.
In OTTD+500, your corporation has set up a colony on one of the Gas Giants' satellites and entrusted you with 1 million in cash credits to set up transportation between the colony and the industries in the claim. As subcontractors find other mines or build factories, this offers an even greater chance to turn a profit. Ultimately the Corporation wants to set up a Starport that will allow freightships to transport goods from the colony to the orbiting transfer station. But due to costs and technology this won't be possible for at least 90 years. Until then you must make as much money as you can, and after the Starport is set up, other colonies can sprout up on the claim.
This mod will be its own branch of open-source Transport Tycoon Deluxe, and will not be part of regular OTTD, like one of the “climates”. The priorities will be slightly different than regular OTTD, in that the player is not only in charge of Transportation networks, but also manages how these networks affect colony growth and corporate profits. He is an executive, for sure, but he is still “middle management.” He is subject to decisions made above him on the corporate level (such as Vehicle availability), and must deal with constraints of the economic model.
OTTD+500 in gameplay
The first noticeable difference is the different terrain, one of dark slate gray land and magenta lakes, with patches of ice or rock (instead of trees and rough ground). It seems foreboding, but on the flip side, the player can clearly see where everything is on his claim of the planet. There's less contrast since there's less light (but still enough to see what the structures are), and the only bright spots on the land are artificial structures of the colony and the outlying plants.
The game starts with only one town, the outpost colony from which operations are carried out. At the beginning of the game, there are only a few, maybe a dozen, structures, usually spherical or domed in shape, that serve as the housing and working facilities of the colonists. The colonists may be engineers, assemblers, or service or other types of specialists, but they number less than one thousand total. There are only a few metallic roads in the colony as they are only needed by robots and automated services.
In the outlying areas are the mines, plants, and warehouses that were built by the corporation that will at some point need to be serviced by transportation. The mines produce the raw materials that factories and plants will process, and they in turn will create goods and products that other industries can use, or the corporation can sell off-planet. Most of the mines are small, while most of the factories are huge. There are also specialized industrial buildings that store material for processing.
The vehicles are mostly quite different than in standard OTTD as one would expect. Transporting on a satellite with a thin atmosphere and a fraction of Earth's gravity means that some technologies are unnecessary and others are optimal. Many vehicles make use of magnetic tracks, grounded rails, anti-gravity engines, or old-fashioned nautical navigation. There are actual much fewer vehicles in this mod than in the standard game, because they can be refitted for many types of cargo. There is also the ability to upgrade vehicles (at a cost proportional to available technology), meaning you don't have to continually buy new vehicles to replace old ones. And since the vehicles have much longer usage times due to self-reparation and construction technology, the days of searching long lists of vehicles are gone. The corporation will do the guesswork for you, providing less than a few of each vehicle based on the most up-to-date technology.
Summary of the most apparent features
· Dim landscape
· No trees (patches of methane ice instead)
· Translucent purple seas and rivers
· Domed, spherical or geodesic buildings lit from inside
· "Tubed" roads
· Animated industrial structures and stations
· "Town-spawning" which permits colonies to sprout around industrial areas (pending HC changes)
· Land Map edges
OTTD+500 Hardcode plans
Many of the new sprites can of course be soft-coded in the .grf format, but other important changes will need some hardcode alterations. This will take some time, and will probably not be present in the alpha versions of the mod. Visit this thread (coming soon) for details on the changes to the code we anticipate.
Magnatraks: A future method of fixed transportation in which roads made of metal plates use magnetic polarity to move driverless vehicles down the path (called a trak). The vehicles (called trakcars) are basically square buckets that go at one speed (rather slow), but can load all cargoes, mostly because they are refittable. More advanced trakcars have higher cargoes, articulated cars, and lower prices, increasing their efficiency later in the game, especially for short trips. [These vehicles replace road vehicles (RVs) but number far fewer in sprite count.] Magnatraks resemble enclosed conveyor belts in design, in that they run only in perpendicularity along clear arched corridors, and all curves and intersections are transfer points between paths. Stations are enclosed domes of a unique design made with company colors, that unload the cargo underground.
Monorails: Railed transportation will evolve into single rail, high-speed train in which cars are refittable and the engines use a variety of energy sources. Monorail trains come in a wide variety of speeds, power, and capacities (all based on current technology) [as they replace regular trains from TTD]. They are sleek and fast, gripping the rail upon which they are fed electrical power. The rail they travel upon is chrome and often sparking with electricity, while the stations are enclosed in transparent material and of basic design.
Vactubes: Using the simple technology of vacuum tubes with high-power decompression, huge railcar-sized canisters (commonly called pills) are thrust at high speed thru one-piece tubetracks, transporting everything except liquids and people. While the pills are cheap and fast (altho they load/unload slowly), ranging in a variety of sizes based on available technology, the tubes they travel in suffer from two disadvantages: they are VERY expensive, and cannot be intersected by anything. [The pills are basically single-engine, unarticulated trains that have cargo capacity.] Vactube stations require only one tile, and are shot into and out of an underground bay beneath the station.
Levitation: Hovercraft make use of new anti-gravity technology that allows them to glide over planet surfaces, both solid and liquid. However, the gravimagnetic turbines underneath the vehicle are highly unstable when too far away from atomic solids, meaning the vehicle cannot “fly” in the traditional sense. They are able to transport over invisible paths that are created in computer programs, so their paths cost nothing to assemble (the paths can be seen when transparency is switched). Hovercraft cannot be articulated, but they can travel by land and sea (although their paths cannot cross bridges, use tunnels, or intersect other path types at odd angles), and are designed in only a few different speeds, sizes, and lading times, altho the hovercraft are the most expensive of the non-aerial vehicles. Hovercraft stations are enclosed multi-tile warehouses that contain a transfer point called a docking bay. [The hovercraft are essentially fast boats using locks, canals, and aqueducts whose paths on land do not have graphics, except for a “negative” which shows up when transparency is switched on. Their invisible waterways behave as any other path - bound by the same restrictions and concerns. This also allows for these craft to move over liquid expanses and onto land but only with the same restrictions as those inherent in bridges and canals. Stations are covered canal tiles that use the canal placement feature and create a docking airlock between the “canal lake” and the shipping dock.]
Shipping: Transportation over alien seas is done by huge barges made of specialized steel. Like earth ships, they are slow but can load large amounts of freight over seas. Docks are parallel to the shore (rather than projecting out from the shore) and only one barge can load at a time at a dock [requires HC changes]. There are no aqueducts and canals for barges. [The fact that hovercraft and barges are both marine-based, but barges cannot use the lock or aqueduct replacements intended only for hoverers, means that if a way cannot be found to restrict barges from using locks and aqueducts, barge shipping will need to be scrapped in favor of hovercraft.]
Atmospheric Transport: Jet-propulsion spacecraft called freightships are used as an alternative to barges and trains for transporting extremely large loads over long distances. They appear very late in the game and are VERY expensive to buy and to operate, and their freightports are also huge and expensive, but can make up for their cost very quickly if an industry has a high output. Freightships load/unload quickly but move over land very slowly. Their take-offs are like helicopters rather than airplanes. Freightships can use either Landing Pads or their larger counterpart, Starports.
Vehicle Analysis Chart
With the ability to refit vehicles, there are actually far fewer vehicles of every type, but each have their own limitations and features. Only the monorail train is the most “normal” of the vehicles, these are present in the regular OTTD game. Trakcars are similar to trams, except every type can only go one speed — slow. Vactubes are lightning-fast, but they can't be articulated and their tubes can not be intersected. Hovercraft are like trains, except they use invisible tracks. The shipping barges are large and slow, but can carry anything except people. And finally, the freightships are like the space shuttles of the future, but land like helicopters and are much bigger visually, since they can carry huge amounts.
Bold indicates the biggest advantages, italics indicates the biggest disadvantages.
There are all new cargoes in OTTD+500 that make use of OTTD's ECS capabilities and are inspired heavily by the ECS Vectors from George. Care has been taken that there is just the right number of cargoes for enjoyable gameplay, as too many can overwhelm a new player, and too few can bore the OTTD veteran. Plus there is an intricate interdependency between many of the industries, with some cargoes required to produce and others that aid in production. (To distinguish between raw materials and processed cargoes, “materiel” will denote raw materials, the necessary components of manufacturing, and “goods” will mean produced items -- tangible or not -- that are the end product of production. As normal, any structure that produces materiel is technically a “mine” and any structure that produces goods is a “factory.”)
There was a conscientious effort on my part to minimize the number of "fundamental" cargoes, those commodities needed to ensure simple survivability for humans in space, such as food, textiles, and medicines. Instead i chose futuristic commodities that were created from unusual sources. This would give the mod its own distinct style, and hopefully make it more interesting. The following is the preliminary list of cargoes for the alpha version of OTTD+500.
Oxygen: Oxygen is much more abundant on this satellite than others, but is still all locked away in air and soil molecules. It is needed to smelt iron into its metals, as well as for human and animal survival.
Methane: Methane is needed to produce carbon dioxide (for agricultural processing), fuel, and water. It is abundant in the outer solar system but is usually cheap to mine, process, and transport. But is as universal in space colonization as water is on Earth, and many industries need this resource.
Iron: This mined material is needed to make Metal Alloys, PlasmaSteel, and Magnetures. The mines are completely automated, the work directed remotely from the colony, and the ore is processed at the mine.
Nickel: This metal is plentiful in the solar system, and becomes one of the most widely used metals besides iron. Usually leached from magma, there are also quarries that mine the ore, and then process it for use in nonterrestrial structures. But Nickel is especially important for magnetures and metal alloys.
Magma: Future industrial technology will use magma to directly draw out resources in their purest pressurized state, manipulating the molecular structure of the molten material before it cools to achieve better quality. Magma wells are large and unstable and require robots to run the well, and bulky vehicles to transport the magma to processing plants. Magma is needed to make PlasmaSteel and Polyplastics, but can be used by factories to produce Nickel and Iron.
Robots: The transportation of robots increases the output of all industries, as these are the workhorses of the industrial colony. They are not required, however, and replace Mail in the regular game, originating at various buildings in the colony.
Colonists: There are few humans in the new planetary colony compared to earth cities, but they do need to get around to their various posts in the colony, including a few of the outlying industries that need humans to oversee ouput. They replace Passengers in the regular game, but are generated at far fewer rates. Some industries require them, while others request them for better service. Colonists also like to be transported between the various structures within the colony itself.
Garbage: A new industry, basic and universal to all structures, is the generation and disposal of waste. Every structure generates it, but only one can dispose of it or generate Restoratives (a fancy word for Recycled Material) for use in other industries. Transporting Garbage however does not pay well, but not transporting prevents the colony from expanding.
Water: In outer space the relative scarcity of H2O makes it a valuable commodity, and it is reserved for use only by humans and their animals. One method of creating it is by burning Methane with Oxygen.
Restoratives: Recycling is important in the future, and if there's money to be made in processed trash, someone will find its treasure. In this mod, recycled waste is called Restoratives, and is only a helpful industry; that is, no other industry REQUIRES it, but it can boost production, specifically at certain colony structures and factories that produce Polyplastics, Metal Alloys, and Power.
Polyplastics: Future metal-based plastics (polymetallic thermoplastics, or simply polyplastics) will be able to be made directly from the minerals within molten lava, but the best are only to be produced in low-gravity environments. Several different types according to their characteristics and use will become prevalent in human society, rivaling in quality and price to natural resources. Demand is kept high because of the startup expense of producing these materials, and they are not only more degradable than plastics of the 20th and 21st centuries, they are easily recyclable. Production of Polyplastics requires only Magma, but production is boosted by Restoratives, Robots, and Colonists.
Metal Alloy: On Earth, the primary general-purpose metals are aluminum, steel, and tin. In outer space, many of the local minerals must be used for developing alloys for construction, machines, and devices. All of the alloys on this satellite are smelted in one place and can be made from Iron, Nickel, and Magma. Production also requires Robots, and is boosted by Restoratives.
PlasmaSteel: In 2224, steel is developed in such a way that large expanses actually gain plasticity, so that the larger the sheet of steel, the stronger it becomes. This new type of metal, called PlasmaSteel, is perfect for use as the hulls of space vessels, and is in high demand by the space transport industries. Production requires Iron, Methane, and Oxygen.
Aqueflux: In 2109, a type of plastic based on silicon and high-pressure minerals mined from Earth's moon is invented which has very special characteristics. With small alterations in its manufacture, it can be made to be fluid, viscous, gelatinous, semi-hard and flexible, or hard and unbreakable, but translucent in any state. The developer markets the material under the brand name of Aqueflux, which becomes a common household word. The invention puts fiber optics and glass companies out of business, as it is used as portals in space vehicles, circuits in cyberports (future computers), artificial tissues, and lenses in visual devices, and by the end of the 22nd century, it has nearly universal application in all human activity. It requires Methane and Polyplastics for manufacture, but production is increased by Restoratives.
Cyberports: After the invention of Aqueflux, a new type of data transfer called Lightbit is invented, where the wavelengths of electromagnetic pulses are used instead of electric on-off pulses that the old electronic chip-based computers used. This makes computers, then called Micros, at least 16 times faster on the basic models and can be made much smaller, and the term “computer” falls out of fashion as it comes to mean the old way of data transfer. Eventually hardware is developed that can read and later activate bio-electric pulses, making them able to plug in to humans (with a little elective surgery). The company calls them cyberports, and become the next generation of Micro use, in the same way the Internet expanded the use of computers in the 20th century. Similarly, cyberports arre universally utilized and are standard to human activity. Producing cyberports requires Aqueflux, Metal Alloy, and Robots.
Power: Power is the electricity that all structures and robots need to function. In order to produce it on this satellite, the Power Plant needs Methane, Nickel, and Magma. The incineration of garbage can also increase production. Power can fetch a price for all that is produced, if a M/W Dish is built adjoining a Starport.
Magnetures: Magnetures is the collective name for the metals and Polyplastics that can hold a magnetic charge. They are mainly used in vehicle motors and the tracks they use, as well as battery components for machines and fuel stabilizers for space transporters.
Many of the buildings in the colony can be supplied like industries, but they do not require these supplies. Setting up stations near these buildings will create a supply point for materiel and goods that you otherwise may not be able to profit from. These are the supply buildings you'll find in the colony.
Biosphere: By far the most imposing structure except the starport, this multi-level greenhouse is specially designed to capture as much of the dim sunshine as possible and absorbing anything good from the toxic soil underneath, all for the purpose of creating a constant food supply for the humans that live and work on this claim. If you can supply it with water, there is a continuous profit to be made here. The downside: water or not, it is the single biggest creator of waste in the colony (composting can't recycle everything!).
Recreation Mall: Another large structure (this one is octagonal) that provides a fun atmosphere for the colonists to unwind and forget their harsh existence. The structure can make use of Water and Oxygen for human consumption, and Cyberports for the enormous game room. It produces a moderate amount of garbage.
Market: The colonists do business with each other and visiting merchants at the market, setting up shop to sell anything they've bought. They trade both monetarily and with services. Due to company policy, individuals cannot sell any raw material except Water and Oxygen. Besides Water and Oxygen, this structure can be supplied with Cyberports and Aqueflux. However, it also is a big producer of Garbage.
Employment Center: This building provides jobs for unskilled workers in the local neighborhood by incorporating office space with assembly lines. Here robots and cyberports are built or refurbished, goods are packaged or marketed, and simple devices are fashioned for everyday use. This building can accept Aqueflux, Robots, Cyberports, Metal Alloy, Magnetures, and Polyplastics, but is also another big supplier of Garbage.
Construction Center: Here the colony relies on the designs and the labor of the construction workforce, which include both humans and robots. This building is the most temporary of the structures, switching to neighborhoods that need the most construction based on growth. They produce little waste, but can be supplied with Robots, Metal Alloy, Aqueflux, and PlasmaSteel.
Other Important Buildings
Liquids Tower: Towers need to be built which hold not only water but also liquid methane, industrial cleansers, and other miscellaneous fluids that find use thoughout the colony. Mass storage is the most efficient and safest way to keep these liquids away from vital spaces within the colony, creating no garbage in the process.
Apartment Domes: These flat round structures come in many colors and sizes and provide the main housing for the colonists. Small apartment buildings occupy one tile but are often multilevel “bubble houses”, while the large dorm apartments are single 2x2 domes of similar architecture.
Corridors: The corridor buildings (which are not the same as roads) simply allow for passage between structures within the colony. They provide no population, robots, or garbage, but can provide some interesting architecture to the colony layout.
This outline provides an index of OTTD+500 links as well as a progress chart for the mod. (Emended later.)
- 1. Design
- A. Vehicles
- a. Road
- a. Mines
- a. Raw resources
b. Processed Resources
c. End Resources
- a. Terrain
- a. Application
- a. Road
- A. Graphics
- a. Solo
- a. Solo
- A. Graphics
- a. Solo
- a. Solo
- A. Graphics
- a. Solo
- a. Solo
- A. Graphics
- a. Solo
- a. Solo
- A. Vehicles
See here for the general storyline. It's worth considering that i intentionally remained vague about the actual place where gameplay will take place, mainly to prevent overcritiquing of the author's choice of setup (“well, Planet Such-and-such doesn't have liquid methane!” and the like). I have also decided to disregard the name of the corporation that has granted management authority to the player, as it is unimportant and lends again to unnecessary criticism. All we need to know is generally how we got here to this point in OTTD's time.
One important aspect of this mod will be one of science fiction, or maybe i should say, science possibility. Regular TTD is based on the same formula: possibility grounded in reality, except that the regular game we play now uses current entities and known outcomes. This mod uses possible entities that might exist after events have unfolded over 500 years. I am an avid follower of science futurism, which is neither fiction nor philosophy, but simply a guessing game based on technological progression from the past. In science fiction, the future is written in a way an author wishes it to happen, where as science futurism sees a future that is likely to happen, no matter what we think of it. In the same way that everyday technology would have been considered magic in centuries past, future tech will make current tech look primitive.
In this vein, i've created a singular storyline, where through technological events, certain materials have been created that have supertechnological qualities, and whose names originate from the same source as today: corporate marketing (like bandaid, kleenex, xerox, etc.). The unusual names of new materials were intended to make the play experience unique, with the secondary consequence of the veteran OTTD player now operating from the same experience level as the rookie; everything is new and one must learn the industries and how their cargoes interconnect.
Furthermore, for you science buffs out there, don't worry yourself about HOW they are able create such fictional products (like metal that is stronger the larger its surface area, or computers that read lightwaves rather than binary pulses); this is the science fiction aspect of the mod. (Plus if i knew these things i'm sure i'd be RICH by now! ) The object here is to create interesting gameplay.
Also keep in mind the alpha version (and probably the beta version) WILL NOT BE MULTIPLAYER. While multiplayer (MP) testing can occur during single-player (SP) development, and MP play can be considered when brainstorming solutions for SP play, the primary focus will be to just get the mod working in SP mode, so that even if we are never able to transfer to MP, at least we'll have a playable version, even if it's without AI players.
This post will also hold information on downloadable .grfs designed for OTTD+500, that contain sprites for Trakcars, Stations, and their Depots. Check here to get the latest release of these particular .grfs.
Magnatraks (traks for short) are the future name of roads plated with metal whose magnetic polarity is switched electrically. When vehicles with metal plates rest on the road, the magnetic shift moves it across to the next plate. This means the vehicles are driverless (controlled by remote computer), require no engine parts, and can save resources. The disadvantage is that entire road segments must have these polarity shifts synced to control these unmanned vehicles, meaning all vehicles are moved at a single speed (slow) and require special loading and unloading maneuvres.
This path replaces the regular non-diagonal roads in regular OTTD. Traks outside of the town are bare and have only a caution strip (diagonal black and yellow) along the outsides of the path. Inside the colony, however, the roads are covered by airlocked transparent tubes, with domed turning pods at each curve or intersection. There are no one-way paths in this mod, because passing is not necessary (all trakcars go at one speed). The shoulders are also thin because there are no sidewalks to account for; hopefully this allows for wider vehicles using a tile's path.
[Zephyris has wondered how the "tubed road" concept could be implemented with the current road sprites. My suggestion was to replace the streetlights with the necessary graphics but he says that the streetlight graphics are not orientation-specific. So he suggested that we use newGrf roads, add catenary to normal roads, and use the desired airlock tube graphics instead of catenary.]
Using magnetic plates that make up the roads (called traks by the corporation that markets them), square-bucketed trams called trakcars move at one speed along the transportation paths between stations. They are square to use as much space in the lane as possible; they are slow to allow for many different types of cargo, including people; they go at one speed because the speed is dictated by the magnetic polarity in the road itself (the vehicle is driverless). At stations and depots, the electricity is stopped at an airlocked or enclosed station and a robotic arm pulls the vehicle off the path for loading or unloading. Until station paths can accommodate this visual, this RV station will simply be enclosed, hiding the lading process. The object is not only to have its own unique station, but also to keep the path clear for bypassing vehicles.
The trakcars do not break down, so the penalty for using aging vehicles is an increase in operating costs.
Graphically there are load level windows for all cars to determine how much of the vehicle is filled, in 3 stages (plus the open cars will show different levels of cargo). All have blinking lights when in motion. There are 3 sizes, taller with each size, with the tallest cars being covered. Except for the load level windows, the lights, and the plates underneath, every car uses dual company colors in various designs based on model.
The following is the preliminary list of available trakcars, sorted by number of cars and introduction date. NOTE: Relative costs do not account for inflation.
In low-gravity environments, engineers found that trains whose vehicles grip a single thick electric-fed rail are more efficient and enable more control than dual or ungripped tracks. Thus monorails are used throughout the solar system for transporting a lot of cargo cheaply and quickly. These trains are usually driverless but a conductor often stays aboard to over see the lading process and safety checks. On-board robots do the manual labor for loading and unloading, while computers keep track of delivery data based on their work. Almost all cargo (excepting magma and people) is transported by steel containers, either crates or tanks. Raw materials are transported unpacked but sealed in closed cars to reduce spillage from the high speeds of the trains. Containers of processed goods are strapped down.
Since the trains are powered by the electrical current fed by the single rail, the train's engines are merely power transmissions that translate the electricity to axle movement. But they also hold low-power jets in case electricity is cut or there is a problem with the transmission; these are the bulges on the sides of the engines. The cars are relatively small to allow for the most customization of cargo transport as possible, and the alpha version of monorail cars will be of one capacity and will not be speed-limited, but are refittable to any cargo (with different designs for each). The entire train is lit by blinking lights and has a sleek aerodynamic design.
The graphic display of mono trains will hopefully include a light beam from the engine's headlight and electric sparks where the trains grab the rail.
There are 4 classes of trains based on their design advantages, and 7 generations of these classes based on technological level and introduction date. Here is a brief summary of each class.
N-Class: The N-class (think N for Novice or New) trains are the least expensive of the other class trains to buy. But they are also the slowest. Everything else about them is average technologically. Due to their easy speeds they tend to wear down the slowest and thus have the longest times of usage. The advances in velocity are steady but slow over the seven generations, but by the last generation, they're only half as fast as the fastest train, altho because of their durability, these engines have the latest introduction dates. By the 5th generation production of these trains is as efficient as it can be made, costing only 50% more than their original models before inflation.
L-Class: These light trains have the least transmission power, but also have the cheapest operation costs. While they are faster than N-class trains, their improvements in speed is slow for the first few generations. However, this helps to keep costs down with each new generation of this class while their durability steadily improves as well.
Q-Class: The Q-class engines are the most “nimble” of the trains, with a fast rail speed and quick lading times. Their weakness is their power, having the least transmission power of all the classes. They are somewhat expensive to purchase and operate, but still an efficient engine by the seventh generation.
H-Class: H-class trains are designed for the heaviest loads, but not surprisingly these are also the most expensive to buy and run, and they have the shortest lifespans and the longest lading times. But they stay at the top of the mountain as far as reachable speeds and power all the way to the last generation, where they have the highest numbers by far. However, their technology for this advantage never allows them to load faster than 6 days (untilt the sixth generation) or have an engine that can last more than 50 years. By the time the seventh generation H trains are introduced (by 2618, the earliest last-generation engine), the engines cost more than 14 times the cheapest N-class engine to buy and 6½ times the cheapest train to operate (inflation jacks up the price even more).
The following is the list of available train engines in the alpha version, sorted by generation and class.
Vacuum Tube Transport
Perhaps the oddest of the transportation methods, vacuum-tube technology offers one great advantage: extremely fast deliveries. This is offset by some notable disadvantages: namely, no humans or liquids can be transported, the tubes are VERY expensive, and the tubes can't cross other paths (like maglev tracks can't cross normal rail in regular TTD). [Zephyris believes that this tube-crossing restriction is hard-coded and not controlled by the sprite NFO, so this feature may have to wait for the beta version of the mod.]
The vactube canisters (called pills) are basically train engines that cannot be articulated, cylindrical in shape like giant tin cans (later pills have rounded ends), and move as fast the gamecode will allow and all at one speed. They have no acceleration time, but some slowdown based on cargo weight. Graphically they are mostly company-colored, with windows that show load amount. They have no lights or other markings.
The vactube stations will also be unusual. The pills will enter into a station (which needs to be only one tile in length) and disappears underground after entering the station and shooting downward in its tube. The visual of this is not seen, as the station is covered. Ideally more than one pill can enter in one station to be unloaded, but since only one train can occupy a station lane at once, this may require VERY special hardcoded changes.
There is also a restriction in OTTD that can cause a “divide-by-zero” error if delivery time is “too fast”, which usually arises when the speed of a vehicle is too high. This will need to be addressed before implementation.
The canisters that travel by decompression tubes all have the same speed (very fast), and the operation costs never rise (except by inflation). They are also limited in that they cannot carry liquids (magma and water) nor humans. The pills are durable and as technology increases, their capacities and lading times improve. There are basically two types of pills – standard cargo and heavy freight. While the heavy pills can carry nearly twice as much as the standard, their load/unload times are nearly 3 times longer and their purchase price more than twice as expensive.
The following list are the available vehicles, but certain data are the same for all (speed = 320 mph, relative operating cost is always the same, and the pills cannot carry liquids and colonists).
In the storyline of OTTD+500, in 2195, the equation for the Grand Unified Theory is finally found. All of the known forces of the universe are understood as a single equation, and harnessing the power of one force means you could manipulate the field of another force. It takes nearly a hundred years, but scientists are able to use this knowledge to create anti-gravity engines that rely on using magnetic blades of a particular element rotating at a very precise speed over miniature particle accelerators. These blades spin like helicopter rudders inside wide flat drums, perpendicular to the gravity source, and control the vehicle by the syncronization of the blades with atoms of a single element (usually helium), called the “force field element”, which are pefectly aligned around the outside of the spinning blades in a tubular ring of “magnetic vacuum”. This drum lies flat and the carriage of the vehicle is placed on top of it (occasionally for tighter control two drums are used, one in the fore and one in the aft.) As long as the magnetic blades spin over large expanses of matter like solid ground or a liquid sea, they will lift the vehicle up to its “nucleic limit” (the height of the field that the engine operates within, depending on the force field element).
Hovercraft transporters are able to go over both land and sea, anywhere there are no trees or structures. They can travel over other paths, but cannot use tunnels. In gameplay this makes for an exciting new transportation type and challenge. Actually no new type of transport is needed – leviant vehicles are simply boats that make use of buoys, locks, canals, and aqueducts, all of which are invisible in normal transparency (these "virtual" paths can be seen when transparency is turned on). Wherever these paths can be built, the hoverers can go. In gameplay, these paths cost very little (the expense is in the purchase and operation of the vehicles).
This of course means that these marine features are not available for barges (except the buoys perhaps). If there is no easy way to restrict barges from using these now-invisible locks, canals, and aqueducts, we may have to scrap the use of barges.
Graphically hovercraft all have one thing in common: they must use anti-gravity (AG) turbines, which are each about half a tile in diameter and placed like a horizontal disk beneath the vehicle. Also, hoverers will show “field warp” distortion underneath the vehicles, so an illusion of this will need to be created. Either animated sprites (for each tick the hovercraft moves) will need to be drawn, or a single sprite (for each direction) can use cycled colors to give the appearance of particle distortion, the same way perhaps as heat distorts the view of a road on a summer day.
The path of the hovercraft is never visible, until transparency for them is turned on. However, i don't believe there is currently a transparency mode for paths (altho there are for bridges and stations). This may need a HC change if the transparencies cannot be made visible in NFO. If they are in fact HC'd, we'll use tiny lights to indicate a hovercraft path until a change is made to turn off certain paths, but this is definitely a second-rate workaround.
The stations of hovercraft must be built like a “lake canal” using the same sprites as you would for regular OTTD ships, except the stations are enclosed warehouses, perhaps transparent. There must be a slope on one side of the station to set up an airlock transfer (a dock in OTTD requires a slope next to water), at least until a HC change later will change this requirement.
The levitating vehicles are the most exciting vehicles in OTTD+500 and can be a real help in transporting goods over land AND sea. They start later in the game, can be pathed to travel over terrain and other roads and rail (subject to the same restrictions as bridges and boats). On sea they use buoys to navigate, then can be pathed to travel over land in virtual pathways, as long as the land is cleared. They appear to fly over other pathways and other vehicles, and even have their own unique loading stations. They are very expensive vehicles, however, and have some cargo limitations.
The following is the list of the original vehicles in OTTD+500. Note that there are two different types of hoverers – passenger and cargo. The cargo hovercraft cannot carry liquids until the technology appears after 2500, and the passenger hoverers branch into faster and slower versions in 2526.
All ships are barges that move over the liquid methane that is splattered over the satellite in lakes and seas, driven by robots due to the toxic environment, slow in movement but heavy in their capacity.
It has been suggested that this may be an extemporaneous mode of transport that we should consider omitting from OTTD+500. This thread will also serve as the discussion forum for ironing out this issue.
Assuming barges are a part of the release version, these replace ships in regular OTTD. Barges are large vessels made of a special version of Plasmasteel that can withstand the corrosive mature of seas of liquid methane. However, travel by barge is the most dangerous mode of transport for humans so these robotically navigated ships cannot carry colonists. Disasters at sea are almost a 100% loss for both ship and cargo. Note that there is no access to locks, canals, or aqueducts for barges, and they must share station graphics with hovercraft.
There are basically two types of barges the corporation can supply, the large but slow barges that always carry as much as possible for the model (450 units), and the quick but light-load barge. Both types decrease in relative operating expense with each new model, but the light barge also decrease in relative purchase price, with all rates subject to inflation.
The following is the preliminary list of barges that will appear in the first release of the mod.
Freightships are mammoth vehicles that move like helicopters and can carry enormous amounts of cargo, but are expensive and appear only late in the game. The landing docks are simply glorified heli-stations, industrial in appearance (lots of rusty metal and sear marks), and should allow for only one freightship at a time.
Graphically freightships will have thrusters firing underneath the ship during all movement. The fire-cycle colors can be used for early ships, then the water-cycle colors can be used for higher technologies. These thruster exhaust animations will be larger and much more noticeable than the field warp distortions under the hovercraft.
Zephyris believes that normal airports (which will be replaced by landing docks) cannot be disabled by grf or grf omission, and that heliport tile size may also be hardcoded. This thread also discusses the problems and possible solutions to these and other problems with Landing Docks.
The most glorious and anticipated vehicles of the mod just might be the freightships. They are mammoth flying ships (starting at twice as large the airplane and helicopter sprites they replace) that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the company that makes them. They are expensive to purchase and operate, but they carry huge loads and travel quickly between points. Keep in mind that they are of no use with only one freightport, which are also very expensive to build, nor are they of any value if you don't have enormous amounts of cargo being generated.
There are basically 4 types of freightships: Passenger ships, Solid Freight ships, Liquid Freight ships, and multipurpose freightships. Passenger ships, unlike cargo ships, do not look like industrial behemoths, but more human-friendly in the same passenger planes are spiffed up for people to enjoy the ride. This makes them less expensive to purchase but more expensive to operate than freight ships. These are the quickest to load and unload and generally last the longest, but stay behind on the capacity table.
Freightships that carry solid cargo start out twice as much to buy, take a LONG time to load and unload, but cost much less relatively to operate. Liquid cargo freightships have a much larger stabilization issue, so corporate policy restricts the speeds these vessels can go. Altho they generally take less time at stations, they're slightly more expensive to purchase. Multipurpose freightships are the highest technology in cargo transportation, as these solve the stability problems with liquid cargo (but they don't figure it out until 2590!).
The following is the table of preliminary freightships, as always subject to testing.
Oxygen is needed for the survival of humans and livestock, but it only comes from two main sources — the Biosphere, a colony structure where agriculture for the colony is implemented, and the Oxygen Distillery, which mines both the soil and the air, drawing the compounds from its environment in order to separate out the oxygen molecules and store them in liquid form.
Oxygen as a cargo looks like large chrome horizontal tanks, similar to natural gas tanks stored at industrial facilities and residences.
Methane is the “water” of the outer planets. It is omnipresent and plays a large part in the climatological and chemical machines that are inherent in these planets and many of their satellites. But using methane as a universal product has only been technolgically feasible since about 2400.
Methane is drawn from all natural sources, the ground, the air, and seas or rivers. It has become a cheap commodity, but is still inherently dangerous to human contact. The cargo should look like white 10-gallon oil drums, perhaps with CC.
Iron Ore production
Iron ore, or ferrite, is produced in much the same way as on Earth but the mining environment is underground and above-ground facilities are airlocked. Iron mines can use Robots to increase output.
Ferrite cargo can be open and loose as in regular OTTD.
Nickel has become important since space mining began in earnest around 2090, and its widespread use as an alternative metal especially in many alloys as well as industrial use makes this a large enough commodity to include in gameplay for OTTD+500. Nickel mines can use Robots to increase output.
Like iron ore, the nickel ore cargo can be gray loose dirt in graphic form.
The core of this satellite contains many types of metals and elements within the magma, and industrial technology can draw the magma from seismic veins within the planetary crust. Specialized robots in a huge plant then process the magma, separating the elements while still in molten form. Scientists discovered that this kind of leaching technique can impart various important qualities on metal (depending on the process used), vaguely akin to medical technology using stem cells for organic manipulation. Metal can, in a particular process, be given plastic capabilities, able to bend without breaking apart or be able to be stretched to microscopic thinness.
Magma as cargo can be open, except when traveling by train, hovercraft, or freightships.
Robots are built by the colonists in the small warehouses within the colony structures. They come in many shapes and sizes, with just as variegated capabilities, similar to the Star Wars droids. Not all structures in the colony produce them, so their production is in many ways dependent on the size of the colony. On paper they require only Restoratives, but there is no direct tie from Restoratives supplied to the colony, and Robot production.
In cargo form, robots look like replicas of R2D2.
Colonists may need transportation between stations within the colony, to certain facilities in the outlying industries, ot other colonies later in the game. Colonists substitute for Passengers in regular OTTD, but they are generated FAR less in percentage. Not all of the structures in the colony generate Colonists, an important facet of gameplay.
Part of the algorithm for generating passengers should include a limit of the maximum number of passengers needing transport at a station in a colony. Perhaps no more than one-fourth of the colony's population can ever be found waiting for transport, divided by the number of stations in town.
Colonists are never in the open air, as the atmosphere is toxic and thin. Therefore they only appear within the confines of airlocked buildings, and always in colored uniforms.
Nearly every structure generates waste, and this must be hauled away when piling up at stations. Letting it lie around inhibits town growth within the colony. Perhaps a link can be tied to Robot production so that the more Robots are produced within the colony the less Garbage is generated or is subtracted (because of town size and the supply of Restoratives, which boost Robot production).
Garbage can be seen graphically as compressed, multi=colored blocks of many types of waste, mostly paper, plastics, and metal.
By the late 23rd century it became obvious to world governments that population was overwhelming both arable land (for food production) and freshwater resources. And even though mining water on the planets that did have it was lucrative, it was not able to keep up with a human population approaching 300 billion, AND the agricultural and animal industries alone. The New United Nations decreed that all water was to be preserved for human consumption and bathing only, including food enterprises. New substances for cleansing agents and commercial use were found while water recycling became a major industry, and water began to trade like gold.
On the satellite where OTTD+500 is set, water is not present. But it can be manufacturing by burning methane with oxygen. As cargo, water is carried in protected and sealed metal barrels. It is never exposed to the atmosphere and in all phases of production is protected from radiation from space.
All recycled Garbage is termed “restorative,” as “recycled” becomes out of fashion with the upper and middle class of industrialized nations, who come to believe the term is bourgeois and proletarian. In 2121, production from Restorative plants outpaces that of all metal smelts combined worldwide, as the industry finds new ways of efficiently collecting waste of all kinds and separating the elements, and creating easy-to-load ingots of metals, plastic, and woodchip products, in the process saving each of those industries from the wrath of global environmentalists and viability.
When produced, Restoratives are wrapped in white cellophane in large blocks and stacked as high as possible for shipment.
With the capability of directly handling magma from the satellite's interior, Polyplastics can be produced. It is a metal-based plastic whose qualities are dependent only on how the magma is processed. When produced, Polyplastics are black and shiny, and stretched into thin sheets which are rolled into giant wheels for transport.
Metal Alloy, PlasmaSteel, and Magnetures production
Metal Alloy is produced in much the same way they are produced today. The smelt needs iron ore, small amounts of nickel, and oxygen for materials and Robots to man the operation.
Magnetures need the same thing as Alloy but require more nickel than iron.
PlasmaSteel has a highly complicated production process and takes up most of the space in the Metals Factory. Magma is used directly so that manipulation of the atomic bonds is efficacious. For Zephyris, the scientist among us, here is a paragraph out of the Wikipedia in the year 2229: “Simply put, when iron and nickel are drawn in a precise amount from a molten state, and impurities are slagged off, the resulting magma is then activated by an intricate magnetonuclear process which turns the molten metal into a superthermal and supertoxic vapor. This is cooled by specific gases at a specific temperature at a specific rate, and undergoing perfectly timed alignment of the neutronic orbits, the vapor settles back into a liquid, then cooled into a metal mass that is forced into a mold, allowing the material to be formed and bonded into a needed shape. This allows the metallic material to have a resiliency only found in hard rubber, but actually GAINING strength when the metal is forced out of shape.” The corporation that invented this Space Age metal dubbed it PlasmaSteel, and its product came to be used primarily for the construction of freightships, orbiting space stations, and large buildings.
Metal Alloy and Magnetures looks like ingots when finished, but metal Alloy is coppery while magnetures are gray. PlasmaSteel however, is formed into oversized decks, as their value is directly related to their size; the fewer welds have to be made on PlasmaSteel, the stronger the product. For this reason PlasmaSteel can only be transported by hovercraft, barge, or freightship (they're too large to fit into tunnels).
Think of Aqueflux as a brand name for highly advanced form of fiber optic material. The factory is not large at all, and it produces what looks like huge rolls of clear white sheets of plastic wrap.
These gadgets are tiny compared to the other commodities, but come in a variety of colors. They ae packeged in small polyplastic boxes for delivery.
Power is the only non-transportable commodity in the original release of OTTD+500, but it can be made to fetch a price if a Microwave Tower is built adjacent to a Starport. Nickel-based batteries and calibrators store and discharge electricity, methane is used as a constant coolant, and the radioactive material is leached from magma (95% of which is discarded).
Ferrite Mine: The mine is more-or-less one large, single-roof industrial warehouse, with conveyor belts. There should also be a wide entrance into the facility for the player's station.
Nickel Mine: Unlike ferrite mines, nickel is mined in open quarries manned by robots and conveyed by belt to enormous holding bins. There are mammoth bucket-shovel crawlers that eat away at the surface of the quarry, dropping their load of nickel ore onto the conveyor belts before digging again.
Oxygen Distillery: The Oxygen Distillery is tall, but is more spread out in an array of horizontal drilling arms, like mechanical ivy sprawled out over many acres, with the distillery as the hub of the operation, There is also a huge parabolic tower that faces into the wind (not up and out like a satellite dish) that draws in the toxic air for distilling the oxygen. There are huge tanks for storing liquid oxygen, and an opening onto the facility's grounds in case the player wants to install a station as close to the main building as possible.
Magma Well: Magma mines are complex and enormous facilities. On one side is the lava pool that stores the magma that has been siphoned to the surface, bubbling and bright orange with black crust around the edges. Various “conveyor tubs” dip into the lava pool and emerge to transport the lava up the bank into the industrial complex. This is actually composed of many buildings and conduits, similar to an oil refinery, spread out over many acres.
Water Combine: This is the most important plant for survival of the colony, as it is needed for almost every facet of life, from organic growth to agricultural development to hygiene. But it is very scarce and is held in reserve for these functions, while other liquids are used for cleaning and industrial cooling. Water Combines must have both Methane and Oxygen to produce water, and when one runs out, production is suspended. Also the Water Combine factory can use Robots to harvest the nearby ice patches [the same way the Vectors Sawmill harvests local trees]. The Water Combine generates water almost like a mill, which in many ways it resembles. Huge tanks hold the liquid methane, while on the other side of the complex tanks with liquid oxygen lie horizontally, buried halfway into the ground for safety. The factory design is simple and itself is not very large.
Metals Factory: Enormous smelting plants produce Metal Alloy, PlasmaSteel, and Magnetures. All metals are smelted, alloyed, and formed at this factory. It can handle ferrite (iron ore) and nickel to produce PlasmaSteel (used for the hulls of space vessels and buildings) as well as magma for drawing out the metals directly and producing metal alloy and magnetures (magnetic metal). The Metals Factory is a sprawling plant that can also mine the local soil for metals, always producing a small amount. The facility is a complicated structure of conduits, conveyor belts, holding tanks and basins, and supersized loading docks. The place is run by Robots but supervised by humans for production.
Polyplastics Plant: The Polyplastics factory is not very large but has one or two open soccer-field-sized basins that hold incoming magma and control its temperature.
Optics Lab: The Optics Lab produces Aqueflux, the translucent fibrous metal that is used as universally as glass was before the 22nd century. Because of the universality of its manufacturing, this product fetched the cheapest prices of all goods. Robots provide some benefit to production levels. The Optics Factory that produces it is high-tech, clean, and looks more like an office building than a factory, but the huge tanks that hold the liquid methane give it away.
Assembly Plant: Assembly Plants are not as high-tech as Optics Labs and they are somewhat larger, but they produce these small devices efficiently. This factory builds many different of devices, but mostly cyberports. Cyberports are imperative for survival of the colony and the operation of the industries and their robots, so they always fetch a good price. But the Assembly Plants need on hand all the resources (Metal Alloy, Aqueflux, Robots) needed to manufacture these devices.
Methane Well: Methane Wells are small drilling rigs that locate veins of methane gas or liquid in the satellite's crust and from bodies of liquid methane. Once drilled the wells never run dry, and supply a steady stream of methane. Methane usually fetches a low to medium price, but is needed in most industries on the satellite. When planted near seas or rivers, they output much more than if not. Graphically the Methane Well resembles an oil derrick, with a tall drilling tower made of scaffolding, and a surrounding plant that serves as a chemical processing plant.
Kinetonuclear Plant: The power plant produces electricity, which is conducted underground so there is no need to “transport” the power. (However, orbiting transfer stations will buy power from the colony if there is a microwave-beam dish adjoining a Starport.) The Power Plant is a high-tech version of a nuclear plant but the power is produced not by heating liquids to form steam to drive a hydroelectric turbine, but rather manipulating and collecting streams of electrons within a “magnetonuclear decelerator”. This method is far more efficient than the original method found in the 20th century, and requires far less radioactive material by the time of OTTD+500, using atomic motion as the impetus of electrical movement. The Power Plant's major visual component is the large white sphere in which the decelerator is housed. There are myriads of pipes and conduits which extend from the sphere into buildings that hold the nuclear material and attenuate the electrical flux. Transformer grids are also present in one corner, as good old-fashioned electricity is still the driving force of the many devices and machines of humankind.
Recycling Plant: The Recycling Plant separates the various materials of Garbage, recycling material into Restoratives (various plastics and metals) or incinerating them for disposal (the smoke, however, is mostly recycled to common elements useful elsewhere), and whatever is leftover from that is buried in the adjoining landfill. Robots are constantly required to process the sometimes toxic material. The Recycling Plant is second in size, only slightly smaller than the sprawling Metals Factory. It has many loading docks for each type of Restorative, and also contains small smelts, large-object crushers, separation gins, and for all waste that cannot be re-used, incineration annexes.
Module Factory: Construction of everything from simple appliances to vehicle parts to infrastructure is built at the Module factory. It is a large factory that not only produces many types of products but can transport some of them to where they're needed in the colony. They use Cyberports, Polyplastics, Metal Alloys, and Magnetures, but these only serve to boost production. The Modules Factory must adjoin the colony as this serves as the main workplace for many of the colonists (which is required for any production).
Starport: The Starport is an advanced industry which does not appear until much later in the game (2551). They are very expensive to build, though they produce nothing. The Starport is the connecting terminal between the colony, which it must adjoin, and the orbiting transfer station, out of view of the player. Anything transferred to the Starport pays a much higher price than to the other stations on the satellite, as these materials are put on the open market for other corporations that have built colonies on other planets and satellites. One of the interesting pieces of eye candy is the animation of merchant ships lifting up from the starport and fading out of view up into the sky. The thread for this special station is here.
BiosphereThe Biosphere is a huge geodesic dome that is actually one of the colony structures. Here the colony grows its own livestock, and creates an environment for crops to grow. The building can be transparent to show crops and pens, but it also shows huge ventilation ductwork and several fluid tanks.
The shining jewel of OTTD+500 might arguably be the Starport. This glorified station is an industry that accepts certain cargoes (for transport to the off-game orbiting distribution station) and pays a higher rate for these cargoes. This may seem like a game destabilizer but actually ther are some important caveats to this industry.
1. Only one Starport per colony. Since this is an industry, this is automatic when the “One same industry per town” option is enabled, but would like to see this option taken away, or maybe make some other HC change to keep this limitation for the Starport.
2. The Starport must be connected physically to a colony structure. Probably HC change.
3. The Starport is not available until very late in the game — 90 years after the start in 2451.
4. The Starport is VERY expensive. Only a good player will have enough funds to purchase when it does become available, and when he does it will deplete him of nearly everything he has! AND the freightships are also expensive. So he will in essence have to start over after purchasing one (except now he has a new Starport of course).
5. Since this is an industry and not a station, this has important implications for MP games.
Graphically the Starport is actually several components in one. There is a huge landing pad (perhaps 7 square tiles), where the merchant ships land, helicopter style, in the middle if this dock. These merchant ships, which are nothing more than eye candy, appear and disappear by fading into or out of the screen display as they reach upper heights, landing and launching at a rate that depends on the amount of cargo being brought to the Starport. Outer buildings are the Communications Tower, the Passenger Terminal, the Cargo Holds, and the Repair Bays (depots). Stations can be connected at any point as the perimeter of the Starport has a conveyance corridor running along every side. The whole facility is metallic and industrial, except for the Passenger Terminals, which are a little more eye-appealing. Compared to other structures and surroundings the Starport is flooded with light.
Many of the new sprites can of course be soft-coded in the .grf format, but other important features will need some hardcode alterations. This will take some time, and will probably not be present in the alpha versions of the mod. This thread will be a starting point for discussion of these changes, but if anyone wants to start a discussion on any of these points, create a NEW thread for ONE subject (if one doesn't already exist), then come back here and provide a link for that discussion so that other readers will know where to go. Be sure to prefix your heading with “OTTD+500:” so everyone knows it is about this mod. I will also try to keep up with these links in this first post.
Since here we are beyond .grf coding, changes to the main code will have to be in the form of patches that can be built to the current nightly. In some cases this may mean a REGRESSION from the nightly, and if changes affect the mod negatively, i will address them in another post.
The following is a preliminary list of the most important changes that will need to be addressed, in no particular order, but the necessary ones are underlined.
1. The town Permission restrictions will need to bypassed, or set to none.
(Zephyris and Roujin believe this is an easy fix, but see next paragraph.)
2. The tree growth animations will need to be bypassed, since trees are being replaced by patches of methane ice that frost the land.
(Zephyris has indicated that control over the tree growth routine has long been sought, and maybe a HC change with action 0 could be used to control tree growth. As a temporary fix, PhilSophus has suggested that all the tree sprites can simply show the same graphic as a patch of methane ice. But they should still need to be harvested by one of the industries, the same way trees are harvested by George's Sawmill.
Roujin has also brought up the point that if methane ice replace trees, then players can "plant and destroy" ice patches as they would trees. This of course is not intended, so those functions will need to be disabled for the beta version if not the alpha. The town rating should also be disabled if it adversely or unintentionally affects transportation construction.)
3. Town growth based on transport will need to be reprogrammed so that growth is based on delivery of certain materials to the colony as well as income growth.
(This will be included either as the start of or as part of a new economic model, which will probably not be available until after the beta version.)
To elaborate, the growth of the town will be directly tied to delivery of Water, Oxygen, and Restoratives, but ONLY if Garbage is transported FROM the town (colony). If Garbage backs up inside the colony, growth is inhibited; if it is transported away, normal growth is enabled. Then the delivery of goods that the colonists need to live and to build will increase the town growth (altho rather slowly compared to regular OTTD). This would be the equivalent of transportation of Mail in the regular OTTD game, except that it's required for growth.
However, one other factor affects colony growth: the amount of money the Corporation is making (via the player). Remember, the storyline goes that a major venture corporation has claimed the land on this satellite, and they allow the Transport Manager to set up transportation networks to carry materials to make money for the Corporation. As the player makes more money, this is marketed to colonists from other planets and satellites waiting for a place to live and work. This attracts population and growth. An unusual way to develop town growth, admittedly, but this will lend itself to interesting balance challenges.
In some ways town population can be seen as undesirable, because every structure generates Garbage, and growth cannot occur when there is no station with a vehicle that picks up Garbage. And growth inhibition is determined by the amount of Garbage waiting at the station where it collects, ideally.
But if growth is permitted, the colony will expand with certain deliveries, or if the player is making money. As the town grows, more goods are needed to sustain growth, and more Garbage needs to be taken away. Growth is multiplied by a percentage, based on annual income growth of the player. (This algorithm can be worked out and tested in beta, but you get the idea.)
(Another option for helping town growth, as put forth by Roujin, is to allow the player to invest directly with funds in the same way the Fund New Buildings works. Perhaps more options can be made available to the player in the Town Info window.)
The complete idea for town growth can be found here(COMING SOON).
4. The standard Station GUI will need to be altered so that the Cargo graphics are not displayed.
This is more-or-less a bugaboo of mine -- unnecessary graphics. When you open the station window to view the cargoes waiting, too much space IMO is wasted showing all the icons. For the new look I'd like to either reduce the repeated icons to just one of them or turn them off altogether. With the new interface it will then be possible to show more info or provide more detailed actions.
Ideally i'd like to overhaul the entire GUI for the official release. See here(coming soon) for the vision and the discussion.
5. Map edges will be land instead of water.
This is already part of the trunk…
6. The loading algorithm at barge docks will need to be repathed so that ships load parallel to shore, and only one at a time can lade.
(Roujin thinks this will be too difficult to implement, and should be excluded -- IOW, keep the docking procedure the same. PhilSophus would rather we scrap ships, which we may have to do if change #15 cannot be implemented.)
7. Delivery rates will need to be determined by demand and not distance.
This will mean an overhaul of the economic model of OTTD. Prices will need to be determined for each industrial structure that accepts a delivery. This would in fact change the very essence of TTD since much of the balance depends on the current distance-based algorithms. These changes will probably not be in the alpha version and maybe not in the beta version, due to the massive undertaking this may turn out to be. This model though is necessary for the Starport industry to calculate its own price.
(PhilSophus also has an idea that if properly implemented, Starports could be connected via game servers to build something like interplanetary markets, an inspiration admittedly designed for the far future of our mod.)
8. Industries will need to be date-set, so that an industry can not be built until a date has been reached in the game.
This is already implemented in the trunk.
9. Random town spawning will need to be enabled. This will allow colonies to sprout up away from the initila colony, a sign of growth and an opening for more profit-making opportunities.
This was partially developed as new towns that could be funded like industries, but this idea could be further developed to have colonies spawn, either off the main colony or near industries or stations. (Roujin thinks it's doable, but needs brainstorming.)
10. Breakdowns are disabled, but aging vehicles get more expensive in operation costs.
For me breakdowns are realistic but not fun; they are simply annoying in a game. However, vehicles that are not serviced can get more expensive to operate.
11. New paths for RV stations
Unique stations will need to be developed at some point, and i have a feeling that only someone dedicated to this idea can take the time required. Ideally trakcars go into the station, and moved to the side for loading/unloading, clearing the path through the station. This procedure, however, is open for discussion.
12. Increase frequency of rough patches, and use alternate tiles.
Rough patches will be replaced by boulders and rocky areas. Ideally i would like to have the game use more than one tile randomly for rough patches.
13. Town roads are airlocked, with clear arched corridors.
These will be similar to the tubed bridgeheads for the rail bridges.
14. Prohibit one-way roads.
On roads, all vehicles will be one speed (part of the gameplay); however, i was thinking that maybe this could be made optionable in case a future .grf author wants to create new RVs that are more like vehicles we have now rather than the conveyor-belt vehicles envisioned here. Open for debate...
15. Restrict barges from using locks, canals, and aqueducts.
This is absolutely necessary for hovercraft to exist, which take precedence over barges. Since hovercraft are in essence ships (like barges), but they do not share capabilities universally, there's no way for the code to tell them apart (i'm assuming). If a HC change is too difficult to implement, i move that we scrap barges.
16. Docks that do not require sloped land.
Hovercraft, being ships, use marine docks from regular OTTD as stations. Altho we can change the graphics, and we can build these docks in "canal lakes" (whose graphics will also be unique), the dock requires a slope to attach the dock. This restriction should be removed so that all that's necessary is an adjacent land tile.
17. Restrict crossing of Vactubes with all other paths.
Maglev tracks already cannot be built across regular rail, but, if possible, this should be extended to any path type, including itself.
18. Allow multiple trains in Vactube stations (like depots).
Vactubes should disappear within the building for loading and unloading like stations, but allow multiple pills within the station, like depots. This is being considered and brainstormed for another project, so if possible, we could implement this here, but only for Vacuum Tube stations.
19. If airports are HC'd, replace them with pathless landing docks, and alter size if necessary. Perhaps make them grf-able.
We can replace the standard OTTD airport graphic and simply not use airplane-type freightships for those landing and take-off paths. Then our freightships, which use the helicopter-type landings/take-offs, can use the given paths within the unchanged OTTD airports to land these new aircraft. However, this diminishes the vision and the unique look of our mod. Ideally we would like the airport revised so that there is a single launch pad (perhaps with a depot on the side) that takes up about a 5x5-tile area. This will be the main part of the Landing Dock for freightships.
20. Reworking of the economic model, which is based on distance rather than demand.
While the alpha version will be playable with the original model, a new economic model for OTTD+500 will be required eventually, hopefully ready for testing in the beta version. The object of the model is to alter the gameplay and the resulting strategies, based on Demand of goods rather than Distance of transport. This aspect will probably never find its way into the trunk of the regular game (and maybe shouldn't) because it fundamentally changes inherent strategies that have been present from the start. But for this mod, a demand-based economy is in keeping with the storyline and offers an alternative challenge to the distance-based game.
However, payments based on distance are much more static and controlled than those based on Demand, which the player will not so easily be able to control. In industry, demand is actually generated from the top, that is the high-end products require mid-level components, which in turn need certain raw materials for production. The paradox is that mines and factories in this mod will produce goods and materiel irrespective of demand, meaning that supply starts from the bottom.
The start of the general demand chain is basic needs of human colonists, air, food, water, and shelter, and by extension, jobs and waste removal. The colonists can grow their own food, but they need Oxygen and Water supplied to them, as well as removal of Garbage. To be employed they attend to the low-production factories and shops within the colony but they need Restoratives (recycled Garbage) to fulfill these jobs.
A new economic model should be fun but probably oversimplified for gameplay. Realism is the canvas, not the finished painting, when determining how we should construct the economic model.
Beta version Plans for OTTD+500
The alpha version will contain a complete rewrite of OTTD's .grf files, and will be made available for testing. It's anticipated that some programmers will be able to introduce some hard-code changes as well, but most of the heavy internal changes will be addressed in the beta version. Other ideas that are picked up during alpha testing will certainly be considered and, if helpful to the vision of the project, included in the first official release.
The following is the list of changes that will hopefully be added to the beta version:
HC modifications as mentioned in the previous section.
Updated, more realistic graphics and animations.
NFO adjustments to correct gameplay discrepencies and economy balancing.
Multiplayer incorporation, including AI tweaks that use the new economic model.
My patches: Extra large maps (1048576 high, 1048576 wide) (FS#1059), Vehicle + Town + Industry console commands (FS#1060), few minor patches (FS#2820, FS#1521, FS#2837, FS#2843), AI debugging facility
Other: Very large ships NewGRF, Bilbo's multiplayer patch pack v5 (for OpenTTD 0.7.3)
I asked orudge for a separate section, but he wants to check traffic on this idea first...
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests