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Railroad Tycoon 4?

Discussion in 'Other Sid Meier Games' started by Optimizer, Feb 12, 2009.

?

What kind of Railroad sequel would you like to play?

  1. Railroad Tycoon 4, with railroad cars flowing across a realistic map from supplier to demander

    89 vote(s)
    73.0%
  2. Railroads! 2 - a model railroad landscape where the player makes all the deliveries

    22 vote(s)
    18.0%
  3. Something inspired by Railroad Pioneer, with fog of war and explorers

    6 vote(s)
    4.9%
  4. Another kind of focus

    4 vote(s)
    3.3%
  5. Nothing, I am happy with the existing games

    1 vote(s)
    0.8%
  1. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

    Joined:
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    So far, no sequel to the Railroad Tycoon series has been announced. But we can always hope for more.

    Railroad Tycoon 1, 2 and 3 are among my favorite games.

    RT3 is close to perfect, and still keeps up with contemporary games. Sadly, there is not much action in the gaming community. I have only played the Railroads demo, and it was a bit of a disappointment. The economic model is a step backwards, and the scenery is far from realistic.

    The Railroad Pioneer demo is also innovative, as the player needed to explore the map in real-time strategy. However, it is a micro-management disaster.

    I would prefer RT4 before Railroads 2. Here are some wishes:

    • An engine shop interface, where the player can customize your own locomotives, by combining power plants, wheel arrangements, tenders, aerodynamic casings and of course paintjobs.
    • The build mode should be a free planning mode, until the player presses the "confirm" button.
    • Bring back robberies! (In RT3 you can use events to destroy trains in certain areas, but this seems lame.)
    • Scenarios for large military operations, which last around a year, and military progress depends on performance (like the Soviet scenario in RT2, but deeper)
    • Each station outside a named city should get a unique name from a list. Realistic, since completely new settlements grew up around stations in unsettled land.
    • A refined version of the RT3 economic model:
      • Industries should be more difficult to run with a profit. Textile mills should be dependent on a large workforce. Aluminum mills should be dependent on cheap electricity. (In RT3, one can often make much more profit from industries than from trains, just by placing an industry right by a raw material source. Some scenarios can even be beaten without running a single train - just make a fortune on industries, and build the required rail lines before deadline.)
      • Goods should not necessarily be transformed at a 1-to-1 ratio. (In steelmaking, it is closer to 3-to-1, and in brewing, it is closer to 1-to-4.) This will make industrial placement even more critical; a brewery by a bunch of grain farms far out in the countryside should not be profitable.
      • Mines should produce enough cargo to fill trains, and motivate the player to build a station at the spot. (In RT3, stations outside cities are rarely useful, since a single mine or farm cannot fill a train.)
      • Secondary demands; for instance, breweries could consume some aluminum, if there is enough grain.
      • Properties of goods and buildings should be open for modding.
      • Station size should not affect range; all kind of cargo without demand nearby should flow to the nearest station. However, station size should limit cargo capacity. (In RT3, you always build large stations even in small villages, to capture a maximum of cargo and passengers.)

    What would you like to see in a Railroad sequel?
     
  2. Unmasked

    Unmasked Chieftain

    Joined:
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    I would like RT4 to be a game where I act as the CEO of my railroad company. I shouldn't be bogged down in mundane things such as manually upgrading track or routing cargo (but I could if I really wanted though).

    Do you recall the game Rails Across America? In that game a lot of the micromanagement is taken care of. It is very easy to see which tracks need upgrading, due to excessive or limited traffic, for example, and relatively quick and easy to address it. It is missing the graphical interface as well as a lot of the playability, such as industry, however. I also like the fact that it takes time to lay tracks and build bridges and tunnels as well as the personal rivalries among the AI.

    I think a game made from the best elements of RAA and RTs 1-3 could be the best of them all.
     
  3. Darkwish

    Darkwish Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
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    Holy Cow! I just pulled out my RT3 today to reinstall in my home PC... just had a hankerin' fer makin' some rails. Thought I'd look for mods or updates, and lo and behold, guided right back to my beloved CivFanatics Forum!

    I was terribly disappointed with Sid's Railroads!, mostly at the lack of scope and size. I really like owning a railroad company as well. Rt3 did SO many things right; I wish they'd come out with a more complex, but similar, RT4. *sigh*

    In the meanwhile, I'd never heard of Railroad Pioneer. I think I'll have to give that some perusing. I like the fog-of-war/exploration concept, although I think I'd only like to see that for a potential scenario/game type, not the entire game mechanic. Still, new IS interesting. Guess I'll just have to keep checking in here, just to see what's new, and all.
    So Long, Pardner!
     
  4. King of Town

    King of Town Adventuring

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    Wilamette Valley
    It seems like most franchises are going towards dumbed down versions of games instead of complex. I would agree with you though.
     
  5. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    Messages:
    692
    A good game is simple to begin but difficult to master. Since I have only played the demo version of Railroads!, I am not sure about its difficulty.

    RT3 is simple in the beginning. Don't care about industries or cargo types, just build a rail line between two cities and run trains. Success requires deeper understanding of the economic model, though.

    I don't believe that RT4 could be further simplified. However, more options for advanced players could be added, without ruining the game for beginners.
     
  6. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

    Joined:
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    I just played the demo, and agree with you at most points.

    Automation of train management is fine. however, RAA goes to far when it comes to track laying, as the player can only decide to build track from one settlement to another, without choosing the path.

    The "influence" part, where the player collect "cards" to beat an opponent, is somewhat corny.
     
  7. Unmasked

    Unmasked Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
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    True the influence part is a bit corny, but it tries to model a serious reality that is completely ignored in every other game. Publishers, bankers, union officials, politicians, etc. should have a major impact on your railroad operations so influence of those entities should have an impact as well. A better way of gaining influence would be better, but essentially it comes from paying "graft" and the more graft, the more influence, in general.

    Regarding track laying, there are 3 different settings in terms of the cost of construction vs the speed of the raidroad. If you are building in flat ground in the midwest it really makes no difference. But in mountainous regions, for example, one extreme has tunnels, bridges, etc. which takes a long time and costs a lot of money while the other extreme is far cheaper but your trains take much longer. You also have the option of paying your train crews overtime rates to get them to build the route faster.

    These are some of the major decisions you as the CEO of the railroad would make but I'm sure more input could help.
     
  8. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

    Joined:
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    Indeed, railroad development is affected by political factors.

    But the circumstances have differed a lot between different countries and ages. Political terms for railroads have differed a lot between the United States, the German confederation (as in the RT2&RT3 scenarios), the German empire, Nazi Germany, czarist Russia, the Soviet Union, African colonies and so on. I do not believe that a single gameplay model can represent all these political systems properly.

    RT3 represents this with events and special conditions, to some extent. This might be the best way to do it.

    One example: I am working with a scenario for northern Scandinavia during the late 19th century. Some peculiarities:

    At this time, Sweden and Norway were in a union, where Norway was essentially a vassal state, and tried to break away - while Sweden tried to preserve the union, and managed to do so until 1905. The player, the Swedish State Railways, must deliver enough cargo to Norway to prevent war.

    The Swedish government wanted railroads built as far away from the coast as possible, though most Swedish towns are coastal. They believed that steamships would be sufficient for transportation along the coast, they wanted to protect rail from enemy (supposedly Russian) attacks, they wanted to encourage settlement of the inland, and Swedish rivers are broader at the coast.

    Steam engines are difficult to operate during the Scandinavian winter. Sweden and Norway had almost no coal or oil (before the North Sea oil was found in the 1960s), but plenty of hydroelectricity. (Sweden also has some uranium). This, together with the steep grades in Norway, made Sweden and Norway very early to electrify - most rail lines were electric at the outbreak of World War 2.

    While most Scandinavians of this time were heavy drinkers, the temperance movement was strong, and sometimes violent. Norway enforced prohibition between 1916 and 1927. Sweden only allowed small rations of alcohol - total prohibition was rejected in a referendum, by 51 to 49 percent of the votes.
     
  9. Unmasked

    Unmasked Chieftain

    Joined:
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    That sounds interesting. I haven't played RT3 or RAA in a long time and am now nostalgic for both. :)

    And I just remembered that in RAA, you can use cards (graft) to create an industry in a particular city but you don't control the demand for it. RAA allows 1 destination for each industry, which is a bit simplistic, but in general the goal is to manage the traffic along your rail lines while trying to keep the cargo running over your track instead of your opponents.

    When RAA came out I was hoping there would eventually be a Rails Across Europe or a Rails Across Asia, but unfortunately not.
     
  10. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    I would also like to see tactical missions take place within a strategic scenario.

    RT1 did this with bonus cars.
     
  11. I-imp

    I-imp Warlord

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    They should just scrap Railroads! and redo it. It was too simple to those of us who played RT3. A more complex, RCT4 would work better.
     
  12. Modeltrainman

    Modeltrainman Warlord

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    How about an expansion pack that adds all the mentioned fixes into the current game. Optimizer, I mean Railroads! not RT3.
     
  13. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    If possible, that would be OK with me. The RT3 graphic engine is great.
     
  14. Ozbenno

    Ozbenno Fly Fly Away Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Seeing this thread has made me want to re-install RT3 again. Great game. Sadly, I don't think we'll see a RT4 though.
     
  15. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

    Joined:
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    The game should concentrate more on important real aspects of railroad building.

    * An option to require signal towers for meeting on single tracks, as in RT1. Should work without micro-management.
    * More quality classes of rail. Welded rail, or inclined rail (for high-speed trains)
    * Terminal platforms, allowing faster loading. Only available at the end of the line.
    * Turning a steam locomotive around should take time.

    A major flaw in RT games is the increasing cost of locomotives. The early steam locomotives are nearly gratis, but the 21st century ones cost an arm and a leg. This distorts the proportions between expenses.

    Ways to balance this:
    * Make the cost of locomotives drop over time. A state-of-the-art model should, realistically, cost more than a generic model built on expired patents.
    * Make rail upgrades cost. (See above.)
    * The economic model of RT3 auto-balances prices to some extent.
     
  16. AndrewCree

    AndrewCree Chieftain

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    • Looks good on paper, but it will probably not get used that much. Steam engines - which will make up a large portion of the early game due to the length of time it took for electric/diesel to become available and accepted - are extremely tricky to design. Your "powerplant" (that is, boiler and firebox) are dictated by your wheel arrangement/chassis size. Add in other factors - superheating method, smokebox arrangement - as I said, it would be underutilised and the space better allocated to more existing locomotives.

      Agree.

      Random events in general, with couple of sliders to choose frequency and severity.

      Maybe as a modable feature/expansion pack, a tactical game where you need to run armoured combat trains in hostile terrain.

      I'm guessing this mainly happened in the US. Certainly didn't get this effect in the UK, rather the railways linked towns and villages and people travelled to the location of the industry.



      • That's introducing complexity - more than really necessary. I think Railroads! had the right idea here - industries earn you an additional % of the value of the material you supply (the profit on the sale of the finished/refined material). 15-25% is about right - you can earn back the purchase price fairly easily in most cases but not quickly enough for it to be a game-winner in it's own right.

        Additionally, stopping/reducing the auto-transport of cargos will eliminate part of the problem.

        Maybe so, but IRL trains run with a few dozen wagons, not the 10 or so of RRT/RR!. Abstracting this allows the game to run in a simple manner that can be picked up and understood by anyone.

        It's that long since I played, I can't remember. I seem to remember that I usually would have a few runs assigned to these trains though, to give the materials time to build up between collections.

        Only if there's a significant secondary demand. E.g. steel and coal are obvious due to the requirements of making steel.

        Basic modding rule there :p

        I don't agree with that first part. I would make a few changes though:

        Personally, I'd create the following: Freight Depot - small station, services one or at most two (if they're really close) industries/producers. Max. of 2 rail lines.

        Next up is a Freight Yard. Local industries/producers are assumed to run their own rail links to a rail yard, abstracted as a larger catchment area. Max. of 6 rail lines.

        Marshalling Yard - the Marshalling Yard is an upgrade to a Freight Yard. It is a location where cargos can be left waiting for a train heading in the correct destination to collect them (should help simplify complex or covulated routes). Can support up to 10 lines.

        Passenger Halt/Station/Grand Station - These are increasingly larger types of station for passengers. A Halt can support up to 2 lines, a Station up to 6 and a Grand Station 10. Passenger stations can accept goods/materials, but their storage space is small. Again, bigger stations have larger "catchment areas" - consider this to be an abstraction such elements as light railways/underground metros/buses.

        (Yes, I've renamed the Terminal to Grand Station. A true Terminal comes on the end of a line, not the middle where 3 or 4 routes join up!)

        Truth be told, I think I could have stated 2/4/6, but I'm opting for 2/6/10 in because someone will almost certainly need that many at some point.

        Oh, and the "medium" and "large" facilities are simply placed on the map, and automatically allow trains to manouvre as needed for their route. (Hopefully, will work out more neatly than the RR! solution).




        Gah, probably not finished this now, but I'm getting tired. I've just had to C&P seeing as I got logged out as well :(

        Edit: Stuffed up on my calculations of aluminium for beer. I'll try again later.

        Ok, *think* I've got it this time. A modern UK railway wagon can take approximately 1800 kegs of beer. Wiki says a keg weighs 13.5 kg (and this seems to be a *steel* keg, not aluminium), which means one wagon has 24.3 tons of metal on board. The weight capacity of the same wagon is 63 tons, meaning that 2 wagons of ingots would produce 5 wagons of kegs.

        You want to use aluminum, which is roughly 1/3 the density of steel meaning you will go to a 2:15 ratio. It doesn't stop there though, as we need to factor in that roughly 1/3 of aluminum is recycled for a 1:10 ratio. Finally, kegs last a long time - about the only thing I can't find out, but lets call it 5 years, with an cycle time of 6 months, for a total of 10 cycles. You would then be looking at a 1:100 ratio.

        Is it worth spending time programming and debugging this, given the annoyance it has the potential to cause?
     
  17. hklvette

    hklvette Chieftain

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    I've never played RRT, but in RR! I can't stand the lack of ability to micromanage a train's route down to the tracks it runs on. I have had it happen a couple of times where a train gets "stuck", but the route to its destination (to me at least) is very obvious. It really hurts profitability when you want to run more than one route through a set of switches. I'd love to see that option added, but still have the ability to turn it off so new users can still grapple the game easily.
     
  18. ADHansa

    ADHansa Warlord

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    To me biggest disappointment in RRT3 was the handling of passengers and mails. Connecting the first stations was a challenge, but when you connected more stations passengers and mail skyrocketed and it just became a nobrainer connect the dots game. That has to be handled better. I also hated the best placement of factories was right nextdoor to the goodssupply. It think a better choise had bin if factory economy more favoured a good supply of cheap labour i.e. in areas with much housing relative factories.
    If I am going to enjoy a new RRT it must remain a challenge throughout the game.
    Except from that i loved the game and cant wait for a sequel.
     
  19. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    It happened in Sweden and Russia, too.
     
  20. Optimizer

    Optimizer Sthlm, SWE

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    Most farms and mines in RT3 produce 2 carloads a year.This means one 6-car train every three years - far too little for a single locomotive.
     

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