Sign in to follow this  
Acharis

Railroad subsystem

Recommended Posts

The game is not a railroad simulator, it is about something else. [b]Railroads is just a subsystem[/b], an addition, the game can work perfectly without it. I want it just because it will fit into the game, but it can't "take over" and be too demanding/complex.

The game's basic mechanic is: you get acres of land (via exploration or conquest), then you construct buildings on the land (each acre allows 1 building), then you get X turns per minute/day and when a turn is processed (triggered by player) buildings produce things. There is no map or anything like that, purely text based game with a bit of static images at most and display of variables.
Early prototype: [url="http://worldoflords.com/misc/games/industrialrevolution.php?m=i"]http://worldoflords....olution.php?m=i[/url]

Now, I want to add some sort of railroads. How to approach it?


[u]An example solution: [/u]

There could be transport needs (number of goods produced per turn + population = transport needs). If you don't have any railroad it is assumed to be transported by "individual NPC contractors", like by horses, and you have to pay money. But you can construct railroad and cut down the costs (railroad require coal which is cheaper than the NPCs transport cost).
You would be constructing wagons (each wagon can carry 10 cargo) and locomotives (there are 5 locomotive types, depending on technology level, each allows to tow 5-10 wagons). So, wagons are like one time investment while locomotives are to be replaced later.

But how to take into account rails here? In the prototype you just build "miles of rails", each acre of land require one mile of rails then it is assumed to be connected (the cargo volume is not taken into account there). I'm not sure if it works so great...

Another thing, I would like to include roads too. Like first you make roads later you invest in railroads. Possibly rivers transport and canals could be used too.


The lack of any map and the land being just one number makes this issue a bit tricky...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What if you kept it simple and replaced the term rail roads with trade routes. To gain access to new trade centres and towns you need to build a trade route. So at the beginning you can only access the market in the local town. If you want to be able to access the market in a nearby city you need to build a trade route which might cost 200 gold. If you wanted to access a market in the far east you need to build another trade route for that which might require several previous trade routes to be built.

You could also have the ability to upgrade trade routes which decreases the travel time, decreases the buy prices, and increase the sell price.

So a level 1 trade to city might have the following stats:
Travel time: 3 turns.
Buy prices: 125%
Sell prices: 75%

and If you upgrade it to level 3:

Travel time: 1 turns.
Buy prices: 110%
Sell prices: 90%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are no towns nor cities. You just have 100 units of land. 50 is allocated as farms, 20 for housing, 10 for mines and 20 for factories. There is no map nor distances between buildings, just numbers.

The games screen looks like that:

You have 100 acres of land (100 occupied by buildings)
Farms: 50 (+2 wheat per farm each turn)
Houses: 20 (each house allows 10 population)
Mines: 10 (+5 ore per mine each turn)
Factories: 20 (each factory process 2 ore into 1 weapon each turn)

Now I want to add railroad to that model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't understand why would you need rails in the first place? Unless we are talking speed of constructing buildings increase, you can go perfectly without them, or have an upgrade "Railroads" or something that tells the player that his land is capable of transporting stuff faster, increasing effeciency of building.

If this is not an important feature, don't dwell on it too much. As said in another post, make sure the player isn't swamped with micro-managment, especially if the turns will be awarded on a fast basis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I don't need railroads at all. No game mechanic need it. But this is for a steampunk game. Railroads are simply highly in the mood of the game... It would fell weird to have none for this game.

Similarly, I would want telegraph lines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A text based game doesn't need ambience. If you think that railroads would be a nice addition to the aesthetic, then include them in descriptions of areas or something like that. Have them in the background of some of the static pictures you mentioned. But don't include them as a feature that is irrelevant.

What I would do would be something like making distance from a production site affect some metric (price of goods, demand, regional specialization, population capacity), and then investing in locomotives can reduce the costs of improving those metrics with an upfront cost and a smaller regular maintenance cost. That sounds a lot like what you've already got, so it's just a matter of choosing sensible metrics to affect.

For the rails, I would have a flat cost for rails per acre (side note, a mile of rails for one acre sounds like way too much), and then the cost is based on where you want to make lines. That way the player won't get a benefit from spamming rail lines, but will have to weigh the benefit of any given line. Another side note I'll make is that if you want your standard unit of measure to be acres, rail lines won't make a lot of sense until players get quite large, which may or may not be what you want.

I wouldn't be concerned about the lack of a map, which you seem to be a bit focused on. Graphics would just slap a picture on simulation that your game will do on the back end anyways, so the considerations, mechanics, and application will be the same anyhow. The player can just connect two buildings with a rail line, chosen from a menu.

If by no map you mean that the player's holdings don't have any spacial relevance at all, then it becomes even easier-- a flat railroad investment (as above, high upfront with a lower maintenance cost each turn thereafter) can give a flat bonus to the player's entire economy. More investment = better bonus with higher maintenance costs, and expanding territory without corresponding expansion in railroad investment = decreasing bonus with the same maintenance cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are no distances. You only have a quantity of buildings (one variable per building type). 5 farms, 3 mines, 6 factories. So, buildings are not even stored as separate entities but as groups. With this only some abstract mechanic is possible (like global bonus if good ratio of buildings to rails infrastructure).

Generally, it seems I have 2 options:
1) Make it rails to land ratio bonus
2) Make it locomotives to cargo ratio bonus
Realisticly, it would be desirable to have both included at once, but I'm not sure it is possible to do because land and cargo are completely different metrics (what if you have only rails and no locomotives? How to define "not enough rails"?)

The rails to land ratio is simple and would work but... it's a very dumb mechanic. It is a no brainer "build one rail per land". Locomotives to cargo ratio is more interesting because it changes depending on player's buildings, production volume, total population, etc; plus locomotives use up coal, which make a nice upkeep mechanic.
On the other hand, it's a bit weird to build only locomotives and never lay rails :D And also I could not use telegraph feature (which had to be done as lines to land ratio) since it would be very confusing ("why it works completely different than railroads").

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1320275864' post='4879923']
There are no distances. You only have a quantity of buildings (one variable per building type). 5 farms, 3 mines, 6 factories. So, buildings are not even stored as separate entities but as groups. With this only some abstract mechanic is possible (like global bonus if good ratio of buildings to rails infrastructure).

Generally, it seems I have 2 options:
1) Make it rails to land ratio bonus
2) Make it locomotives to cargo ratio bonus
Realisticly, it would be desirable to have both included at once, but I'm not sure it is possible to do because land and cargo are completely different metrics (what if you have only rails and no locomotives? How to define "not enough rails"?)

The rails to land ratio is simple and would work but... it's a very dumb mechanic. It is a no brainer "build one rail per land". Locomotives to cargo ratio is more interesting because it changes depending on player's buildings, production volume, total population, etc; plus locomotives use up coal, which make a nice upkeep mechanic.
On the other hand, it's a bit weird to build only locomotives and never lay rails :D And also I could not use telegraph feature (which had to be done as lines to land ratio) since it would be very confusing ("why it works completely different than railroads").
[/quote]

Why not roll the cost of laying and maintaining rail into the cost of building and maintaining the locomotives? That way it's still simulated to some extent, but you don't have to deal with laying or allocating rail manually, which your design concept makes awkward anyhow. You could do something similar with the telegraph lines too if you wanted. It's not any weirder to not lay rail explicitly than it is to use trains to move goods in a place where there is no distance and no location, so I wouldn't worry about that. Not to mention that you're using trains to move goods in an area that's about 1/6 of a square mile [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif[/img].

I still like the idea of something that lets the player invest more or less resources into the railroad, which represents its capacity and the cost of running all the different lines. Maybe a slider, or some other proportional representation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Railroads (and canals and even roads) require large expenditures for their scale of infrastructure and are meant to go long distances.

They are a quantum increase in capacity and once running greatly lessen transportation costs (efficiency of scale). But to keep operating their capacity
has to be largely used (or they cant pay for their maintenence/operating costs).


So for your game the railroad is a regional object that connects and adjusts prices on goods in and out and consumption/production levels.

You can now produce more goods than are locally consumed but also have to compete (pricewise) with other producers far away (but can also bring in goods
at a fraction of the transport price of cruded methods).

A whole community usually has to organize to pay for a railroad (or upgrade it) or a very rich landower to bring a connection into his lands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1320278688' post='4879951']
It's not any weirder to not lay rail explicitly than it is to use trains to move goods in a place where there is no distance and no location, so I wouldn't worry about that. Not to mention that you're using trains to move goods in an area that's about 1/6 of a square mile [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif[/img].
[/quote]LOL, true.

[quote]I still like the idea of something that lets the player invest more or less resources into the railroad, which represents its capacity and the cost of running all the different lines. [/quote]Yes... Some strategic choice here would be desired. I could make it a sort of upkeep/growth penalty (after 100 acres of land all transport costs are skyrocketing unless you have a railroad) but a more conscious decision would be nicer... Or at least some option to not build railroad/build it later.

Like: you have "civics" (sorry for the name, played Civilization too much recently :D), you can have 3 different civics,. One civic is "horse transport system" which halves the transport cost for non railroad transported cargo. So, if you build a railroad system you can free that civic slot and use it on something else without going bankrupt.

[quote name='wodinoneeye' timestamp='1320744238' post='4881683']
A whole community usually has to organize to pay for a railroad (or upgrade it) or a very rich landower to bring a connection into his lands.
[/quote]In this game you own and run a whole country, so it does not apply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this