Industries of the Caribbean

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2TallTyler
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Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

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Industries of the Caribbean is an experimental industry/economy mod which aims to radically rethink the OpenTTD economy by breaking common design patterns and reclaiming “useless” features to add interesting gameplay.

To briefly summarize:
  • Sub-tropical climate, inspired by the economy of Cuba
  • Only exported cargos earn money. You have to pay for imported cargos.
  • Industries need workers
  • Ships are no longer useless
  • It's now possible (and relatively easy) to mismanage your company into bankruptcy, even in the late game :shock:
Read the rather lengthy gameplay guide and my design notes on GitHub.

The industry set is currently in beta and available on BaNaNaS. It currently uses placeholder sprites and I probably screwed up a variety of balancing issues despite my spreadsheets and hours upon hours of testing. My aim in opening it for testing is for others to help identify these shortcomings, so I can correct them and create new sprites in time for a 1.0 release by the end of 2021. Send me your feedback! :)

You will also need the latest version of Improved Town Layouts, also available on BaNaNaS.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by odisseus »

The cargo payment rates seem to be broken. A single bus that carries workers across 30 tiles somehow earns hundreds of millions per trip.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by McZapkie »

odisseus wrote: 13 Jul 2021 02:16 The cargo payment rates seem to be broken. A single bus that carries workers across 30 tiles somehow earns hundreds of millions per trip.
I suspect money laundering here, like this infamous Escobar's taxi ;)
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

odisseus wrote: 13 Jul 2021 02:16 The cargo payment rates seem to be broken. A single bus that carries workers across 30 tiles somehow earns hundreds of millions per trip.
San Juan Transport, Mar 11th, 1953.png
Inflation doesn't seem to like negative cargo payment rates. I'll open an issue on GitHub. In the meantime, I've added a fatal error to 0.1.1 which disables the grf with a warning if inflation is enabled.

Thanks for the report. :)
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

I've released 0.1.2, which tightens up import/export production rates for several cargos (Food, Imported Oil, Fertilizer, and Machinery) to require exporting more upstream cargos like Tourists and Coffee.

Assuming a station rating of 70%, you should have 125% to 150% of the cargo required for maximum production, allowing for some inefficiencies in distribution while still providing challenging and engaging gameplay.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by MagicBuzz »

Hello 2TallTyler,

I'm trying this GRF and it looks like promising.

I have too small suggestions, that could be added as parameters.

First one is about secondary industries. You say in the documentation no secondary industry is generated, and at the begining it's good. But after a while, what about generating some secondary industries? In my opinion it's better to generate rather than fund : with funding, the player can decide how many and where will be the industries. I don't like it. I prefer challenge of an industry that is far from the other, of in a hilly country rather than creating big industrial zones around cities by example. Generation could depend of some goals and restrictions such as population limit for owner city, distance from city, altitude, percentage of previous cargo transportation (by example first secondary industries spawn when 50% of world coffee is transported).

Second one, still about industries. Using a time-lapse as restriction for industries. By exemple, some industries should not appear before a certain fixed date (or after an count or years since the begining of the game). By this way, player should not be anoyed by many industries (nickel, sugarcane, etc.) he can't desserve, and they should spawn only after some time. Same for industries funding.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

Thanks for the suggestions.

I have intentionally avoiding industries spawning during gameplay (except for hotels, which I am not entirely satisfied with) for the simple reason that my industries don't close. This means that I can't allow the game to manage the number of industries, and would need to write, test, and balance my own code to do this. One of my design goals was to allow light-traffic branch lines and/or truck routes, and having static industries (in number, location, and production level) helps make this possible.

Secondary industries are funded by the player because I want the player to make the placement decision based on other transport routes and the availability of a worker population nearby. One of my upcoming changes (once NML is updated to fix a unit conversion issue) is to make cargo payments independent on distance transported: just the quantity and value of the particular cargo. So it would behoove the player to transport things the shortest distance to make the maximum profit — the opposite of the current profit calculation. All this jives with my design goal to simulate a state-run economy, not just a transport company.

In summary, your suggestions are possible but would require substantial changes and testing and don't really fit my design goals. But the code is GPL3-licensed, so anyone can feel free to fork and make their own changes! It's actually quite a simple codebase — less than 2,600 lines of code at this moment.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by nihues »

I'm having a great time playing and testing.

But still using CargoDist it still behave problematic (but better than other industries with pax/worker concept) for a easy managment of workers.

Funding my first secondary industry endup getting really low workers (80/month) and a surplus of sugarcane, but production is fluctuacting ~30-60/month only, all worker lines are connected, cities, towns, primary and secondary industries.

So, could be possible to add another cargo like a "secondaryworkers" the same way as workers, but just to secondary industries?

That way I could let cargodist handle all the destinations, separating primary and secondary workers, at least without micromanaging and using manual transfers.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

Sorry, I missed your message. I would set CargoDist to Manual for Workers, as it has no concept of demand and simply distributes cargo randomly across the network. Adding additional worker types would not solve this, just complicate networks even more.

Thanks for testing on the Discord JGRPP server, I've released 0.1.3, which fixes secondary industries so that they don't close if not supplied with cargo. That was an unintended behavior.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by Jimbow »

I think your take on an industry set is very good, and much different from the others!

In my test game I have connected to most industries, but now I'm kind of stuck. The to industries left are oil and nickel, but this seems impossible. To produce domestic oil I need pipes, and to get pipes I need to produce cobalt. However, to produce cobalt I need to produce fuel..

Maybe I have missed something, or one of the descriptions is wrong?
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

There are two ways to get fuel. You’ll need to start with imported oil, which you get from exporting sugar.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by LaChupacabra »

Hey Tyler
I recently played with your Caribbean industry and I have to say that... it's really interesting :) ...and tedious. :D
Overall, I've always liked the "buissnes tycoon" style concept. I didn't play much, but I did notice a few shortcomings. I also have some little ideas. Maybe you will like something. :)

1. Everything is interconnected, so if you want to develop one farm, you have to take care of everything. For some it will be an advantage, but for me it is a disadvantage - I like freedom, and here it is missing. Industry requires the construction of connections according to a specific pattern. For example, to develop the cigar industry, you need to develop the metallurgical industry first, and then the refining industry, because nickel mines require fuel... Also workers are needed everywhere. This is cool, but the problem is that if someone only cares about one industry, they have to develop almost the entire map.

2. Import / Export. The concept of the exchange is original, but in my opinion this is where the biggest problem is. Honestly, I would prefer a concept closer to FIRS ports, which always offer something, and if you provide something, the number of goods offered will also increase. I think it would also be nice if these points had a varied offer and needs so that the quantity and type of goods were random. Another problem is that if the enterprise produces more than 3 items, they will not be displayed in the list of enterprises.

3. Distance should not affect the price you pay for the goods. I don't understand why I have to pay more for goods brought from a longer distance, since I pay for transport (sometimes very expensive). In the case of employees it has some justification, but I also think that these costs should have some limit (distance) so that on large, sparsely populated maps these employees are not too expensive. In the case of export, since you bear the costs of transport, it is logical that the further you carry something, the higher payment you will expect, so here the effect is ok.

4. All cigars for the Bahamas? I don't know if you like this solution, but the limited acceptance of goods could be something interesting. I have already written about this in the case of ITL stores. It is an alternative for the cargodist, but the player decides here and can send goods wherever he wants, but not necessarily as much as he wants - each point could have some limit of the number of goods could accept.

5. Interial market. If you were to put in place acceptance limits for goods at export points, you could also add stores that would accept these goods for interial market, which of course would be much smaller, but sometimes, with high ship prices, would be good to start your business at all.

6. Domestic production of machines and other goods. Especially in the case of machines, this is something that could be complicated and here such a slight complexity in obtaining the necessary goods would not be bad. The Caribbean doesn't have its own developed industry, but why not give it a chance to develop? :)

7. One employee for one cigar? I think the demand for employees is too high, although it depends on the conditions of the game. I was playing on the map with a small number of cities and ITL, which additionally limits the number of employees and this was a problem, especially since cities required internal transport to be built larger buildings. I think a setting that changes the proportions of workers required could be very useful. Perhaps: the number of workers needed to produce 100 units of goods? It could also be something like low / medium / high if the requirements of different enterprises were different.

8. Problem with developing cities with ITL. As I wrote, in order for larger buildings to be built, employees need to be transported to these buildings. This, in turn, reduces the number of available workers for the industry. Perhaps the mail would become employees or passengers?

9. Hunger in Cuba? I don't know, but I've never heard of hunger in the Caribbean. Not too many people live there, and I think these islands are self-sufficient. It is strange then that food has to be imported. Maybe better goods?
Last edited by LaChupacabra on 16 Aug 2021 20:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by sevenfm »

Do you recommend any GS for this industry set? Like, for town growth control.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'll respond to your individual ideas, but one theme to keep in mind is that I am designing for challenging and engaging gameplay, not a sandbox building game. If you haven't read it already, I wrote some design notes (which I plan to expand upon eventually).
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 1. Everything is interconnected, so if you want to develop one farm, you have to take care of everything.
This is one of my design goals: intentionally getting away from the isolated approach of vanilla or most NewGRF industries. This creates a challenge which you've discovered, where you need to produce certain cargos in order to "unlock" future cargos, and increase production in several areas to feed other industries. Again, I'm going for a challenge and not a free sandbox builder.

That said, Cigars are a Tier 1 industry which can be produced with Workers alone.
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 2. Import / Export.
Your main complaint is another intentional and integral design choice. :) The trade deals here are key to the interconnectedness of the industry set. I hadn't considered how it would appear in the industry directory though; I'll have to look into that.
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 3. Distance should not affect the price you pay for the goods.
I totally agree. My next big change is to eliminate the distance calculation in all cargos (including the net-zero cargos like Workers as well as exports to encourage players to locate factories efficiently). I just need to figure out some technical hurdles, since negative numbers are currently broken. :wink:
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 4. All cigars for the Bahamas?
...
5. Interial market
These are intriguing ideas I hadn't considered. I'll have to do some thinking and maybe playtesting of these to see how it affects my intended gameplay.
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 6. Domestic production of machines and other goods
I think K.I.S.S. applies here: Keep It Simple, Silly. :) One of my inspirations for this industry set is the YETI industry NewGRF, which values simplicity. I haven't quite succeeded in making my set as simple as YETI, but I think adding another industry chain to produce machinery would be too much.
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 7. One employee for one cigar?
This is an area I've play-tested quite a bit for balance. Workers are supposed to be a bottleneck in production, forcing the player to scour the map and connect small towns until they can grow large cities which can handle high-density commuter lines to factories.
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 8. Problem with developing cities with ITL.
ITL houses don't accept Workers, so I'm not sure what you mean here. Mail is intended to drive city growth, as it's reasonably profitable and has no other use. I'm hoping to make it the only cargo which affects town growth, as OpenTTD seems to consider workers transported for town growth no matter what I do.
LaChupacabra wrote: 15 Aug 2021 22:50 9. Hunger in Cuba?
The cargos in this set are based on real-world trade data. Cuba really does import a lot of food staples.
The top imports of Cuba are Poultry Meat ($286M), Wheat ($181M), Soybean Meal ($167M), Corn ($146M), and Concentrated Milk ($136M)
---
sevenfm wrote: 16 Aug 2021 10:02 Do you recommend any GS for this industry set? Like, for town growth control.
I haven't played it with any GS, but would be interested in any recommendations. At some point I'll do some testing to see what, if anything, I like in combination with IOTC.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by LaChupacabra »

2TallTyler wrote: 16 Aug 2021 13:50 ...I am designing for challenging and engaging gameplay, not a sandbox building game. If you haven't read it already, I wrote some design notes (which I plan to expand upon eventually).
I just read and generally agree with your observations and like that assumptions, but there is one thing that biting me. It's a fact that you only foresee one way for the business to grow. It is good to play once or maybe twice and that's it. Repeating the same pattern over and over again will no longer be engaging nor challenging. This limited concept can also be average useful in an online game. I think this approach limits the potential of this set a bit, which is generally very interesting. Therefore, I believe that it would be good if you could anticipate different ways of developing companies, also taking into account the fact that in the online game some goods may be unavailable to the player due to already occupied enterprises. Maybe I will write like this... I like to play on the Map of Poland server. There is a scenario where the entire industry remains the same throughout the game. It is now FIRS 3 Extreme. I have played it about 30 times and despite that I was able to develop the company in a completely different way each time. For me it is addictive that I can enter the server with a completely different concept every time, and if the selected enterprises are already taken, I will always find a different path. Of course, for everyone something else, can be addictive. I'm just writing about how I see it. :)
2TallTyler wrote: 16 Aug 2021 13:50 I think K.I.S.S. applies here: Keep It Simple, Silly. :) One of my inspirations for this industry set is the YETI industry NewGRF, which values simplicity. I haven't quite succeeded in making my set as simple as YETI, but I think adding another industry chain to produce machinery would be too much.
Yes, too much is unhealthy, but I think adding a few extra, not very long chains or links would not be bad at all. :)
2TallTyler wrote: 16 Aug 2021 13:50 ITL houses don't accept Workers, so I'm not sure what you mean here. Mail is intended to drive city growth, as it's reasonably profitable and has no other use. I'm hoping to make it the only cargo which affects town growth, as OpenTTD seems to consider workers transported for town growth no matter what I do.
I tested the set in a temperate climate and ITL houses accepts workers there. There, delivering them is the only way to expand the city upwards. Mail transport has no effect on development beyond the standard city expansion. In tropical climates, everything works as you type.


10. Too many hotels. I think you already noticed that. In the last game, as many as 12 hotels appeared in a city with only 7k inhabitants.
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Maybe naive, maybe not... These points go beyond the problems of the set itself, but I think resolving them would have a very positive impact here and not only here.

11. Private enterprises. Something that would be very useful, especially in such an economic concept, would be the possibility of purchasing exclusive transport of the enterprise production. Something similar to the case of cities, where it should be possible to specify an exclusivity period, up to an indefinite period or simply to the purchase of the enterprise.

12. Improvements for cargodist:
A. Passengers generated with return direction - this would solve the problem of employees returning home (as well as the return of crowds of tourists from small towns). Enterprises themselves would not generate passengers, but only stations would direct them in the direction from which they came.
B. If a enterprise accepts passengers, the enterprise production volume would have an impact on the distribution of passengers. Enterprises could be assigned covert production to attract passengers without even producing anything.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

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LaChupacabra wrote: 16 Aug 2021 20:52 It's a fact that you only foresee one way for the business to grow. It is good to play once or maybe twice and that's it. Repeating the same pattern over and over again will no longer be engaging nor challenging.
I've worried about this too, but isn't this the same problem faced by other games with a linear progression system? Minecraft or Factorio, for instance. The early game is generally the same, but you can do different things later in the game — which is true here as well. Coffee is generally going to be the first cargo, but once you have the cash to fund industries, there are multiple paths including Tourists, Sugar, or Cigars. If you change the game settings to allow a larger initial loan, you could start here and skip Coffee until you need Food for Tourists.
LaChupacabra wrote: 16 Aug 2021 20:52 I tested the set in a temperate climate and ITL houses accepts workers there.
This set is designed for the sub-tropical climate, and ITL is built accordingly. Its tropic houses check for IOTC, but I didn't add that behavior to temperate houses because I didn't expect anyone to play a different climate. I've added a non-fatal error message about this to 0.1.4, out now on Bananas.
LaChupacabra wrote: 16 Aug 2021 20:52 In the last game, as many as 12 hotels appeared in a city with only 7k inhabitants.
Ah, you must have "multiple similar industries per town" active. I've added a more robust construction check which now limits hotels to one per town, again in 0.1.4.
LaChupacabra wrote: 16 Aug 2021 20:52 11. Private enterprises.
...
12. Improvements for cargodist:
I think exclusive transport rights for an industry is possible via GameScript, but not in NewGRF. I don't currently have any interest in creating a GS for this.

I strongly recommend playing without CargoDist with this industry set, since it randomly distributes cargo throughout a network without any concept of demand. It certainly does not work for Workers, which are in much higher demand at secondary industries than at primary ones. I've put significant thought into workers returning home and decided against it. Tired Workers would be yet another cargo refit and could simply be dumped into any house, with no gameplay need to transport them home. If the player is going to put forth the effort to play pretend and make return lines, they can run the vehicles empty in the current configuration.
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by pankratz »

I started a game with a friend and we had a wonderful evening in the Caribbean!! :D

In multiplayer-games one should fund one Import/Export-point per player. Otherwise you are stealing the traded goods from the other one, that was a bit weird... ;)
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by mytreds »

This industry pack looks promising. Once I’m done doing a play through with your Improved Town Industries (which is also fantastic so far) I’ll definitely give this a try!
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by mytreds »

Ok here's my 2 cents. I used your recommended settings as well as Village is Villages because I like that script. I used manual cargodist for workers/mail, asymmetrical for cargo:

The Good
  • I love the import/export mechanic. I wish FIRS had this and I really enjoy seeing my ships have more functionality than simply transferring cargo from one dock to another.
  • I'm fine with the cargo chain being fairly linear. I think that this industry set has plenty of replayability despite having to aim for the same basic cargoes every time you start.
  • The cargo chain overall makes sense and it's clear you put the time and effort to make it realistic.
  • I have no problem with the cash mechanics, I like how this isn't easy money industry once the chains have been linked together.
The Bad
  • The worker mechanic needs working on. It doesn't make sense that they disappear or are consumed to make a product. Industries should simply require a threshold of workers being commuted in to start and maintain production.
  • Town growth. Maybe it's Villages is Villages causing this, but my towns grow slow and produce >10 passengers a month. Maybe you should put passengers back in to help stimulate town growth with produces more workers?
  • Related to the above two points, it's frustrating seeing 1k raw goods sit in a plant and workers trickle in to create small cargo amounts that are exported.
Overall I really like this industry NewGrf and I hope you have plans to keep working on it. :bow: Despite my criticisms, I like the uniqueness of it from other industries, as well as its simplicity (i.e. you don't put 30+ industries in to connect).
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Re: Industries of the Caribbean

Post by 2TallTyler »

Thanks for the feedback! It is much appreciated. :)

Workers can’t commute home for several reasons (adds too many cargos, no gameplay incentive to actually take them home versus one dump station, etc) so my reasoning is that they can take the return trip when the vehicle is empty. Or they teleport home.

The reason secondary industries need so many workers is to force the player to build a large collection network including trains and other high-capacity vehicles. It wouldn’t be fun if you could just run a bus route like with primary industries. Major factories should need commuter trains drawing from several towns, since I think that is fun gameplay to facilitate.

I think Villages Is Villages is probably hurting you here. In my test games I wasn’t able to keep up with multiple secondary industries until I had several towns grow to 10-20k population, with buses, trams, and metro lines feeding commuter trains to the factories.
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