Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

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Asperamanca
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Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Asperamanca »

First I have to say I have tremendous fun with this game. Well done and thank you all!

I am playing sub-tropic, and it seems the fastest regular train in that world has a feeble 160 kph. I remember the hassle of converting my whole railway network to newer infrastructure from past games. It is not something I particularly look forward to.

It seems a little ridiculous to me, knowing that (technically) there's no reason rails shouldn't support speeds of up to 300 kph.
Any way around it? Is there a way to (at least) enable the faster electric trains from the temperate climate? Are there faster trainset available that I could activate in a running game?

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Alberth »

Hello, and welcome
Asperamanca wrote:It seems a little ridiculous to me, knowing that (technically) there's no reason rails shouldn't support speeds of up to 300 kph.
Any way around it? Is there a way to (at least) enable the faster electric trains from the temperate climate? Are there faster trainset available that I could activate in a running game?
What do you mean "technically there's no reason rails shouldn't support speeds of up to 300 kph" ?
You are looking at a collection pixels, not real tracks. Pixels don't have a maximum speed, they will be fine even if you run trains with twice the speed of light on them. The only reason for any such limit is purely for game play.

With the default vehicles, different climates pose different challenges. That often includes trains that are (or are not) available in some climate. If you could get all the same trains in all climates, there is no reason to have other climates at all.


I am not sure why lack of fast trains is a problem. You can just add more trains to increase capacity of the connection. Once the line is filled with trains, you'll have a continuous flow of cargo or passengers/mail, just like you have on shorter lines with fewer faster trains. Wouldn't that work for you?
Alternatively, you acknowledge the message that the game is sending you, you should not build long tracks. Instead, hop from place to place, from city to city, build lots of small connections all linked together. You can use feeders for moving cargo and passengers between trains. Alternatively, you can enable cargo-dist, which automatically assigns destinations to all goods and passengers within the network. Note however, cargo-dist can cause major may-hem if you don't design your transport network carefully.


As for your questions, in a running game, you're stuck with the stuff you selected at the start of the game. You cannot change the world after start. For new games, you may want to look into the zillion of NewGRF extensions that exist to change pretty much anything, including available trains.
See https://wiki.openttd.org/NewGRF to understand what they are and how to use them.
See https://wiki.openttd.org/NewGRF_List for an overview of the more commonly used NewGRFs.
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Toffo »

Apologies about the multiquotes, it seemed the best way to respond clearly to these couple of posts.
Asperamanca wrote:It seems a little ridiculous to me, knowing that (technically) there's no reason rails shouldn't support speeds of up to 300 kph.
Alberth wrote:What do you mean "technically there's no reason rails shouldn't support speeds of up to 300 kph" ?
You are looking at a collection pixels, not real tracks. Pixels don't have a maximum speed, they will be fine even if you run trains with twice the speed of light on them. The only reason for any such limit is purely for game play.
I think Asperamanca means that if vehicles in one climate support one top speed, why do vehicles in all climates not support a similar top speed? I'm thinking yours was a rhetorical question because your answer is spot on - it's a gameplay choice. You can never please everyone when setting gameplay limits. The beauty of being a dev is that you have the final say in where those limits are set! :D PS. Asperamanca, calling someone else's (and moreover, a volunteer's) decision ridiculous doesn't often go down well!

Alberth wrote:With the default vehicles, different climates pose different challenges. That often includes trains that are (or are not) available in some climate. If you could get all the same trains in all climates, there is no reason to have other climates at all.
Different climates have different graphics. For me that is enough of a reason to have different climates but for you it may not be. There's also different default industries, different train models (regardless of top speed), the challenges of having desert/grassland and the added requirements of food and water to towns in the desert... There's plenty of reasons to have different climates regardless of what trains are available in each climate.
Alberth wrote:I am not sure why lack of fast trains is a problem. You can just add more trains to increase capacity of the connection. Once the line is filled with trains, you'll have a continuous flow of cargo or passengers/mail, just like you have on shorter lines with fewer faster trains. Wouldn't that work for you?
That is one way of playing the game, but it might not be the way that Asperamanca would like to play it.
Alberth wrote:Alternatively, you acknowledge the message that the game is sending you, you should not build long tracks. Instead, hop from place to place, from city to city, build lots of small connections all linked together. You can use feeders for moving cargo and passengers between trains.
Again, another valid gameplay suggestion that the OP may or may not wish to adopt.
Asperamanca wrote:Any way around it? Is there a way to (at least) enable the faster electric trains from the temperate climate? Are there faster trainset available that I could activate in a running game?
Alberth wrote:As for your questions, in a running game, you're stuck with the stuff you selected at the start of the game. You cannot change the world after start. For new games, you may want to look into the zillion of NewGRF extensions that exist to change pretty much anything, including available trains.
See https://wiki.openttd.org/NewGRF to understand what they are and how to use them.
See https://wiki.openttd.org/NewGRF_List for an overview of the more commonly used NewGRFs.
Alberth has posted some great NewGRF resources there.

I also wanted to add that there is a way to add NewGRFs to running games, unless that feature has been removed. I have written a post about it here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=73071#p1150298. People don't like to discuss it because it can break your save game and leads to bug reports that are caused by lack of player understanding of game internals. It leads to more work for the devs and believe me, they do more than enough amazing work as it is! Please read my linked post in full and remember, you do this at your own risk!

The devs have created a beautiful thing here in OpenTTD; that thing being freedom. You can really play the game the way you want to play it. You get to make that choice. Build long tracks. Build short tracks. Build fast trains. Build slow trains. Build no trains! This is a deep game that can be enjoyed in a lot of ways and hopefully expanding your options with NewGRFs will help you play the game the way you want to play it.

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by kamnet »

I also wanted to add that there is a way to add NewGRFs to running games, unless that feature has been removed. I have written a post about it here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=73071#p1150298. People don't like to discuss it because it can break your save game and leads to bug reports that are caused by lack of player understanding of game internals. It leads to more work for the devs and believe me, they do more than enough amazing work as it is! Please read my linked post in full and remember, you do this at your own risk!
Which is probably more than enough reason to stop promoting it.

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Alberth »

In the default set, everything will stay as it is forever, for one simple reason: Backwards compatibility.

Any change there will break all existing savegames with the default set.

I also wanted to add that there is a way to add NewGRFs to running games, unless that feature has been removed.
Originally, the feature was freely available to all. It threw (and still throws) a red warning window "look out, things will break! Do not report this!". That proved to be not working. People changed things, and still reported it to us. Nothing we could do with it but say "you didn't read the error window".

New users were heavily confused. They used the feature a few times, and nothing got apparently broken, so they assumed the red window didn't mean anything. Then they made one wrong judgment with the feature and BAM, broken game, usually after a few months playing. That's very bad, you played for months, but the game broke. You want to finish the game, but you're told you cannot, because you used a seemingly safe feature months ago.

The problem here is that the feature often works, but not always. People have a hard time that "it works most times" does also mean "sometimes you get very much screwed". This is the same as ignoring the fact that traffic can kill you, but you go out on the street every day anyway. If the risks seem low enough, people simply assume it's safe, and nothing will ever happen.

The red window with a large message explaining it can and does go wrong at time (much like your warning at the post) simply does not work. The message is not understood, and ignored. By extension, this also means that your warning in the post is also not working, unlike what you may think.

A simple hard limit with no way around it is much easier to accept. It gives a small but easy to explain limit. More importantly, it also gives a safe play ground. If the game fails, it's a bug that can be fixed, rather than "You messed up, can't help you".


So what to do with the feature. We basically wanted to drop the feature entirely. Bad new player experience is very much wrong.

The only reason that stopped us from doing that were the scenario developers and the NewGRF developers. People making new scenarios and new NewGRFs.
If we dropped the feature entirely, making new scenarios and new NewGRFs would become a nightmare, and those developers would become very sad, and perhaps even stopped making new scenarios and NewGRFs. (Which I can fully understand.)

Therefore, we decided the feature should not be used, except when you have a very good reason, and show to understand the consequences fully. We left the feature in, but have hidden it somewhat. Users that make scenarios and NewGRFs can still use the feature, and everybody is (mostly) happy.

You pay a small price in not having the most flexibility, yet you gain in giving a safe and reliable play ground. The alternative, being flexible right to the edge, but break at unexpected moments without warning in a very non-pleasant way is considered less good here.

The OP here is not a scenario developer, not a NewGRF developer, and does not know the consequences of using the feature. As such, the OP should not even know about the feature, until he/she is considering to make a scenario or a NewGRFs.




With you actively advertising the feature to people that have no need for it, more and more inexperienced players will know about it. They will use it, find themselves in trouble like before (remember, we have already proof that warning messages are not working, or we would never have reduced access to the feature!!), and they will come again to us. We still cannot do anything for them, and they will again have a bad player experience.

Your advertising isn't really helping, you're pushing people back to the "we have maximum freedom" of the time of free access of the feature, but you are not solving the "the game will at some point in your future break badly at a very bad moment" problem for them.
So while the OP may be happy he/she can hack the game and make a change, at the same moment, you setup a extremely bad player experience for him/her that you cannot recover from, at some time point in the future.


At global level, eventually, there is only one possible outcome. We're back at square one. The big difference this time will be that "reduce access to the feature" will be considered not working either. That means there is one option left, kill the feature entirely. I will feel extremely sorry for all the users that make new extensions for the game that we all enjoy, but I see no other option. It will be a very sad day.

So please understand you're playing with highly dangerous explosives here. When it goes off, it will hit the entire community, not just you.
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Asperamanca »

First of all, apologies for the tone. In some way, TTD gives me such an impression of realistic behavior (compared to many other games) that I forgot it is not a train simulation.

My main reason to use sub-tropic is graphics and town growth requiring delivery of specific resources for many towns. Maybe I should have spent more time "planning" my game, but I didn't and now I'm stuck with a big existing network after maybe 30 hours of building.

The map is rather small, and using FIRS, I only have one or two of each industry. That poses an interesting challenge, because it sometimes forces me to transport goods all across the map, sometimes resources from one end to the other, intermediate products all the way back and finished products someplace else entirely. My network is completely interconnected, and a nightmare to upgrade.

Increasing capacity by adding trains works only until the network is saturated. Then you can add extra lanes - if you have the room. Playing on a small map makes this a real challenge.

Another thing: If I remember correctly, vehicles start to drop in reliability if the model becomes really, really old. Having the last train appear in the 1970s, I even don't want to think about the reliability of my trains around 2040 (even with autorenew).

The option to add a newgrf to an existing savegame is an option I might want to try. I am a software developer. I know things can break, and you won't realize it until much later. But given that I consider to abandon my 30+ hour game rather than upgrade to monorail (which I just don't like), it's good to see there is another option. If something breaks, I can go back to my last "clean" savegame, or drop the game then.

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Pyoro »

"Security through obscurity" seems like a stupid thing to rely on, especially since we're on the Internet. It virtually takes 5 seconds to use a search engine and type in something like "change newgrf for OpenTTD savegame" (or whatever) and you'll find the feature.

I'm not saying we need a huge, flashing forums banner that advertises the possibility, but making a huge drama production out of some pseudo-secrecy won't do much good either. ^^

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by kamnet »

Asperamanca wrote:The map is rather small, and using FIRS, I only have one or two of each industry.
If you're using FIRS, then you definitely want to be using a NewGRF train set anyhow. So, so that respect, there shouldn't be any reason why you can't find a set that meets your need for speed. :)

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Alberth »

Pyoro wrote:"Security through obscurity" seems like a stupid thing to rely on, especially since we're on the Internet. It virtually takes 5 seconds to use a search engine and type in something like "change newgrf for OpenTTD savegame" (or whatever) and you'll find the feature.

I'm not saying we need a huge, flashing forums banner that advertises the possibility, but making a huge drama production out of some pseudo-secrecy won't do much good either. ^^
Give me a better option, and we'll take it.

EDIT: Yep I know this is public Internet. I am not aiming to keep it a secret. However, there is a difference between not keeping it a secret, and actively pointing new players to it.

Every now and then, I consider it useful to explain the history to make people understand what they are doing.
Last edited by Alberth on 05 Aug 2016 16:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Alberth »

Asperamanca wrote:First of all, apologies for the tone. In some way, TTD gives me such an impression of realistic behavior (compared to many other games) that I forgot it is not a train simulation.
You're not alone :)
Asperamanca wrote:My main reason to use sub-tropic is graphics and town growth requiring delivery of specific resources for many towns. Maybe I should have spent more time "planning" my game, but I didn't and now I'm stuck with a big existing network after maybe 30 hours of building.
Yeah, the game does throw sneaky surprises when you haven't played it often, which is good for keeping you on your toes :)
Asperamanca wrote:The map is rather small, and using FIRS, I only have one or two of each industry. That poses an interesting challenge, because it sometimes forces me to transport goods all across the map, sometimes resources from one end to the other, intermediate products all the way back and finished products someplace else entirely. My network is completely interconnected, and a nightmare to upgrade.
Sounds like the typical train network :)

The forced upgrade is generally considered to be a bad idea, but it's what the original game did, so we're stuck with it. Fortunately there are enough NewGRFs that provide better alternatives. (You'll want different NewGRFs, depending on what style of game play you have. Drop into the #openttd channel if you have questions, lots of people there know the answer.)
Asperamanca wrote:Increasing capacity by adding trains works only until the network is saturated. Then you can add extra lanes - if you have the room. Playing on a small map makes this a real challenge.
Yep, that's the fun. Try to do the seemingly impossible, and usually it turns out it is actually possible after a lot of failed attempts first :) .
Asperamanca wrote:Another thing: If I remember correctly, vehicles start to drop in reliability if the model becomes really, really old. Having the last train appear in the 1970s, I even don't want to think about the reliability of my trains around 2040 (even with autorenew).
They do, unless you disabled breakdowns. If you want to play that way, you'll want to disable vehicle expiration that avoids vehicles getting removed from the game after the model expires. That flags also affects final breakdown ratio. It drops to some reasonable value, instead of 0.
Asperamanca wrote:The option to add a newgrf to an existing savegame is an option I might want to try. I am a software developer. I know things can break, and you won't realize it until much later. But given that I consider to abandon my 30+ hour game rather than upgrade to monorail (which I just don't like), it's good to see there is another option. If something breaks, I can go back to my last "clean" savegame, or drop the game then.
The trouble is that "something breaks" may become apparent only after several decades game time. If it just cleanly crashed right after changing, everything would be fine. Unfortunately, some data gets corrupted, and while playing you copy the bad data to everywhere, until it becomes visible, and then it's too late to do anything.
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by andythenorth »

Pyoro wrote:"Security through obscurity" seems like a stupid thing to rely on, especially since we're on the Internet.
You can also google this pretty easily :D

Code: Select all

sudo rm -rf /*


Line has to be drawn somewhere. If I have to compile my own patched OpenTTD to be allowed to reload newgrfs...yeah no. :twisted:

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Asperamanca »

Happily building on with 2cc. So far, so good. Much higher running costs mean I need to improve profits. New challenge, but one I like.

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Alberth »

Nice :)

I am more a casual "make industrial cargo network" player, I don't want to bother about costs. If you want to further improve costs, add a basecost mod, which can tune many of the costs for doing something.

Making terraforming terribly expensive to avoid you from modifying terrain is an interesting one :)
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Pyoro »

Alberth wrote:Give me a better option, and we'll take it.

EDIT: Yep I know this is public Internet. I am not aiming to keep it a secret. However, there is a difference between not keeping it a secret, and actively pointing new players to it.

Every now and then, I consider it useful to explain the history to make people understand what they are doing.
I get that, I just felt that the dramatization of the situation wasn't helping anything ;)

Don't really have a suggestion for the problem either. I mean, obviously the warning can be made more annoying (like popping up every 5 minutes and not going away for 30 seconds), but I suspect that there'd be "some" outrage at that sort of thing.
... maybe a "GRF changed" overlay in the bottom of the screen?
thereisactuallyabuginthatscreenshot.png
thereisactuallyabuginthatscreenshot.png (155.79 KiB) Viewed 908 times
At least it'd be obvious for screenshots ...

Ultimately tough I don't think there's much of a solution unless you change human nature.

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Eddi »

Pyoro wrote:... maybe a "GRF changed" overlay in the bottom of the screen?
sure... if you want this forum to get swamped in "how can i disable this annoying message?" posts...
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Alberth »

Your message is techie-oriented. The public of the message has no idea what "GRF" is, or what "GRF changed" means.
They just want to play with mods.

Also, we already established that messages don't work. They become the "You are about to delete file foo.bar. If you remove the file, it cannot be recovered. Are you sure you want to delete file foo.bar?" window messages that nobody ever reads.

Your message becomes standard game window decoration with an annoying colour.
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Pyoro »

Eddi wrote:sure... if you want this forum to get swamped in "how can i disable this annoying message?" posts...
Do you think? I mean, sure, I picked a rather obnoxious warning-red and pulled the bar over the entire date/everything; it also could be smaller just in the corner or a different color or something. I'm no interface designer ;)
Alberth wrote:Your message is techie-oriented. The public of the message has no idea what "GRF" is, or what "GRF changed" means.
They just want to play with mods.

Also, we already established that messages don't work. They become the "You are about to delete file foo.bar. If you remove the file, it cannot be recovered. Are you sure you want to delete file foo.bar?" window messages that nobody ever reads. (...)
Does that matter? The "don't report bugs" thing should be clear. That's the goal, right? And I'm not saying that anything else about the feature should be changed; it'd still be "hidden", so people at least need to have some vague idea of what they're doing.

And I know that this won't entirely solve the problem; as I said, that's not going to happen as long as people are people. But right now there's (as far as I'm aware) no way to tell whether a savegame has been modified or not. Even if I'm aware of the bug-problem, if I play multiple saves over months or something, wouldn't it be nice if I had some way to remind me? Maybe I changed some random NewObject GRF right at the beginning of the game; it's so unlikely that'll do anything bad I doubt I'd remember it ...
And even if I ignore the message, because it's always there, as soon as I post it somewhere (maybe with a screenshot or a savegame) it's very quickly identifiable, so at least there's less time wasted on it. ^^


Basically, the goal was to make it less likely to have false bug reports. Right now, that's done through a) hidden feature and b) click-away pop-up. I'm suggesting there could also be c) watermark of some kind. Since I don't know how big the problem actually is I'm not the best judge whether it's necessary, but you sounded like it's definitely there with the "we might need to remove it altogether" doom-prediction ;)

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Eddi »

so what if you're a scenario developer, and you change the GRFs in a scenario, should every user of that scenario get this warning?
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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Pyoro »

Sounds logical to me. I mean, sure, whatever "flag" this sets for savegames could perhaps be ignored for the scenario feature, but isn't the "potential corruption" problem exactly the same for modified scenarios? Probably a good idea to warn users that problems with the scenario might be due to changed GRFs.

(and it's not like I'm not aware that this will probably then be displayed for most scenarios. With the way that currently works it's just about impossible to finish one before new GRFs are out, so unless you want to start over all the time ... ^^)

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Re: Faster regular trains for sub-tropic?

Post by Toffo »

kamnet wrote:
Asperamanca wrote:The map is rather small, and using FIRS, I only have one or two of each industry.
If you're using FIRS, then you definitely want to be using a NewGRF train set anyhow. So, so that respect, there shouldn't be any reason why you can't find a set that meets your need for speed. :)
This is exactly the point. He "definitely wants to be" using a NewGRF trainset but he is told it is impossible to add one to a running game and hence his only option is to start a new game. I merely gave him another option with a strong warning attached.
kamnet wrote:
Toffo wrote:People don't like to discuss it because it can break your save game and leads to bug reports that are caused by lack of player understanding of game internals.
Which is probably more than enough reason to stop promoting it.
Again, I respectfully disagree. The OP has stated he is a software developer and he understands and is willing to accept the risks involved in changing NewGRFs in a running game. Obviously no one knew that about the OP until he announced it but it just shows the danger of painting all users with the same brush and making assumptions regarding their level of technical competency. We only came to find out about the OP's background because I took the time to explain the issue to him. I understand it's unfeasible to do this for every user collectively or individually. We've tried and it hasn't worked.

<Side note>
You just don't know the impact of your posts - the fact I took the time to explain the issue might encourage Asperamanca to say, "hey, this is a friendly community, people welcome me and treat me with respect, this is a project I can see myself contributing to" and voila, we have a new dev 2 years down the road. Or maybe not. Just think of how much worse off we would be if we had not supported our greatest contributors and users when they were new to the forums.
</Side note>


What is a good reason to stop promoting it is respect towards the devs. I do tech support for a living and I know all about users ignoring warnings and then getting burnt due to their own actions. As a result I can imagine the devs' time being sucked up by all these NewGRF bug reports and I'm sure that has improved since hiding the feature. I don't agree with the crux of Alberth's reasoning, which to me can be summarised in this quote:
Alberth wrote:The OP here is not a scenario developer, not a NewGRF developer, and does not know the consequences of using the feature. As such, the OP should not even know about the feature, until he/she is considering to make a scenario or a NewGRFs.
To me it is just another case of painting all users with the same brush, which I understand is sometimes necessary to make a big project like this work.

Despite not agreeing with the fundamental reasoning, out of respect for the devs and their work, for Alberth personally and the way he has handled this discussion, and the fact they are the ones dealing with the tech support and I'm not, I'm happy to stop advertising the feature. Of course I wouldn't want to contribute to this feature being removed permanently because it spoils it for everyone.


There's no easy solution to this problem, as the productive discussion above proves, but I suppose I'd place myself in Pyoro's school of thought. Instead of saying, "we can't fix this", he comes up with ideas which are either fruitfully discussed or unfortunately dismissed out of hand/shot down. Alberth talks about bad game experience with save games breaking, but I feel like it's a bad game experience not being able to add NewGRFs to a running game. It's replacing one bad experience with another. Kamnet, a very experienced and knowledgeable player, speaks here about "spending 4 hours setting up NewGRFs for new game, testing for conflicts, glitches, and arrangement in menus." I am willing to risk my game to avoid spending 4 hours curating a configuration I am then locked into, but the default dev consensus is not to easily allow that, which is fine.

Anyway, appreciate the chance to talk it out and appreciate that while others may not agree with my views on this my posts on how to modify NewGRFs in a running game remain uncensored :)

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