In case anyone's thinking of running some multiplayer games in the coming weeks and wants some more advanced economy metrics, I recently started writing a set of patches to add a prometheus /metrics endpoint to the OpenTTD server to use with a grafana dashboard:
https://github.com/grand-central-garbage/openttd-prometheus (warning: grim c++ code)
In a similar vein, I played a factorio game with https://github.com/afex/graftorio - It was useful, but also un-useful as I ended up spending more time making pretty graphs than they could possibly have saved me in noticing resource bottlenecks.
Argh. Just what I don't need. _More_ things to make me want to play Factorio. The factory must grow....
I think it's more interesting on an openttd server, because you're competing against other players, so the graphs inform you about their actions and how well you're keeping up with their economy.
AFAIK many OpenTTD online games are cooperative with many players building a very complex transport networks, usually with some objective. Like all with steam locomotives, bus network with transshipping, etc.
Could that be classed as cheating or is this info already in the game?
Note: Not passing judgement if it is, just curious.
It's added as part of the dedicated server, and available for all players on the server. This kind of data is also available in game, but not as detailed.
I wanted to be productive this weekend. Shit
I think you have won TTD :)
hold on. you need to feed these metrics into a slack bot that tells you how much you suck in order to win
Your also need slash commands that deploy trains
wait. now feed that to a neural network. that way you can win without any effort.
That sounds pretty fun. I suggest you add some screenshots of what a dashboard might look like. (If I missed them, I'm sorry for the noise)
Grafana is a general-purpose realtime stats dashboard and you construct your graphs with it yourself—so for the examples you mostly can just see Grafana's site or search for images.
OpenTTD economy is not advanced enough to warrant such metrics :p
And while it had been done before for citybuilder, hardcore players that can really appreciate it are no longer playing the game :( http://dpointer.org/data/ttd/stats30/
What are those hardcore players playing now instead then?
No idea rly. I know that some played starcraft before openttd xD And now most seem to be too busy with real life...
Factorio or Satisfactory possibly?
This is fantastic. Now I need this for Rimworld...
IMHO the annoying thing with (Open)TTD is the economics model.
In the beginning it can be a bit though, but once you get over the initial hump you're more or less swimming in money for the rest of the game.
Secondly, it's annoying how small trains become uncompetitive later on in the game. Yes, you'll have much smaller number of these megaroutes bringing in the megabucks, but you have plenty of formerly cash flow positive routes that simply can no longer cover their running costs. Yeah, maybe that mirrors reality with rail transit, but dammit, I want to play with trains not run trucks and buses.
A long time ago, I found a trick/bug/cheat in the original transport tycoon deluxe: When a new opponent appears, buy a 75% majority share. Assume their identity as a majority shareholder, loan the maximum you can and buy anything you want, e.g. a ton of ships. Then sell the shares. The game calculates the value of the shares on the opponents assets but forgets to substract the loan.
Net result is your shares went up enormously so you made a huge profit, the opponent can't do anything except go broke as it has no more cash and spends a ton on the upkeep of the ships. And you have a lot of ships drifting around aimlessly providing some nice background views.
As a kid I loved this evil plan, but assumed it would never fly in the real corporate world. Now I'm not so sure anymore.
There was another bug in the original Transport Tycoon (not Deluxe) that gave an even easier way to make massive amounts of money. If you built a tunnel through the whole continent the price integer rolled over and instead of paying a ton of money for the you actually received billions of dollars.
Oh yeah, the game was amazing in what it did with limited resources, but once you started pushing it, plenty of interesting bugs surfaced.
Another fun one was trains drive 1 pixel of the rails before turning around. So if an opponent has a huge profit making railway station, you place one rail of your own at the end and stop a train just before it turns around. Next time his trains come around, he crashes into yours and boom goes the money maker.
And then there was the fact that a train cant collide with itself. If it is long enough you can push it through itself at a crossing.
There were others, but that's all I remember.
I remember that I like bully the AI when is slowly building a railway or road. I think that I like to do, was putting a depot with a cheap train and a railway crossing his road. So I stop the train on the road and it become blocked. or make the train to collide the bus/truck...
What I used to do with the AI is when it starts running a bus route you can lead the buses into your own road, then cut it off. Then the buses will just drive around in a circle forever, constantly breaking down because they never get to the depot.
Hah, I did that the whole time to block roads. I did it in multiplayer games too, to be a dick to my friends :) Fun times!
> Oh yeah, the game was amazing in what it did with limited resources, but once you started pushing it, plenty of interesting bugs surfaced.
Haven't you just described any large application?
In my experience, large applications are amazing in what they fail to accomplish with nearly unlimited resources, and most of their bugs are boring ;-)
It's of a very different nature, but that reminds me of another "off by one" fencepost error exploit I encountered in the wild of The Sims Online.
In this earlier post I described making a maze solving bot to quickly and automatically generate millions of Simoleons, and an ad-hoc solution to the delivery problem:
And the other problem was that TSO just wasn't designed to make it easy to transfer large amounts of Simoleons from player to player.
You couldn't just "wire" somebody an arbitrary amount of cash via in-game email -- you had to show up on their lot and meet them at a specific real time, and suspiciously hand it over to them $1000 at a time.
There was another better way to transfer cash more efficiently than handing it over grand by grand, and that was with tip jars: You could fill a tip jar with $5000 using the pie menu with a couple of mouse clicks, and then the user could empty it the same way.
So when I had to deliver our first million Simoleons, I came up with a system where I'd go to the lot of the customer and meet them, then ask them to line up a bunch of tip jars in a row. I would then use bot macros to fill each tip jar one by one with $5000, while the customer would quickly empty them as I filled them up, and then we'd go back to the beginning of the row and start all over again, until we'd transferred the entire million Simoleons, in only 200 $5000 hand=>jar=>hand transactions instead of 1000 $1000 hand=>hand transactions.
One time when we were making a big delivery of cash, running the gauntlet of tip jars in our customer's living room (which I admit looked pretty fishy), and their housemate came home, saw what was happening, and wisely sussed up the situation that there was some kind of deal going down, that she wanted in on.
So she put her own tip jar down at the end of her housemate's row of tip jars, and I blithely deposited $5000 into her tip jar several times, which she immediately snapped up.
When I realized what happened, instead of contracting The Sims Mafia  to do a hit on her, I congratulated her for her loose morals and ingenuity. It was such a great hack, and I totally fell for it, and had more Simoleons than I knew what to do with anyway. It's all about good customer service!
It was a fun experiment, but other bots and offshore farmers were starting to work the system too, and customer service and delivery problems made it not worth continuing.
Schneier on Security: Virtual Mafia in Online Worlds
Randy Farmer and Bryce Glass: Building Web Reputation Systems: The Dollhouse Mafia, or "Don't Display Negative Karma"
Indeed, I had friends who used it (I never did), from what I recall (this was over 20 years ago), the tunnel could not be removed and in some cases would get in the way of some construction later.
oh yes. from dirt poor to having billions of dollars. just like the American economy :|
Had to check I didn't post this in my sleep.
From memory you didn't even need to force them to borrow money, they always did. As soon as they launched with the $200,000 value buy 75%. They would within minutes borrow a million and then you sell your shares turning $175,000 into $750,000.
The buying ships etc was definitely evil :)
I always would buy up 75% of their stock. Never thought to take it as far as you did, though—I just cashed in on the inevitable rise in value over time (unless they built an impossible or unprofitable route to start, in which case I quickly cut my [relatively small] losses and sold).
Thats called Private Equity.
Yeah. This sounds like modern day economics.
I agree that this makes the moving-cargo game a lot less fun.
I therefore take a different approach to the game to find fun. I use the 2cc trainset, turn on car speed limits, turn on Cargo Distribution, spread out the map so it's a little less dense than normal, find a nice town-growth script that I can tune such that towns only grow when you move lots of passengers and mail — then I focus on passengers and mail only, and try to connect everyone into one unified network.
It thus becomes a network-capacity management game rather than an economics game. You need metros and suburban rail to collect people to your high-capacity mainline rail corridors and long-distance high-speed routes.
Thanks for mentioning Cargo Distribution. I always imagined and longed for a world in which something like this existed in this game, and now I get to find out it always did.
A link for the curious: https://wiki.openttd.org/Passenger_and_cargo_distribution
In short, enabling this feature allows the game to specify a specific destination for each piece of cargo. It then does a little bit of management for you in routing the cargo through whatever network you build, but it's up to you to make an efficient network with good routes that causes the cargo to flow properly.
This contrasts with the vanilla game, where passengers are just a kind of cargo with no specific destination, as is everything else, and you are allowed to just send them anywhere that accepts passengers and get money for it.
You don't even need any mods for that really. Sure after a while it spices things up, but that's basically how I played that game ever since. Build the most awesome network ever and optimize it more and more.
Sure it would be a lot easier to distribute your ore to different steel mills, but it's much more fun to optimize the crap out of that one huge station at a single mill. Same for factories. And the slowly connect every town in the game to the same network until complete chaos ensues.
Wow, are these scripts available anywhere?
The regular in-app content management service has plenty of city growth scripts. It's just a matter of finding one with reasonable rules and tweaking the parameters to be fun for you.
Make a video on this. It sounds awesome.
I struggle with both Civilization and Transport Tycoon in this way: the initial stages are so much more engaging than the management phase that comes afterwards. At least in Civilization I usually end up going to war with someone.
(but to be clear, Transport Tycoon/OpenTTD is an awesome, addictive game all the same)
Stellaris (a space grand strategy game) has "fallen empires" which are powerful civilizations that you should absolutely not challenge early and "crisis" which are galaxy-wide threats that happen late-game to maintain engagement as you progress (it does have a ton of micro-management though).
It mirrors real life, if you believe Piketty. The more money you have, the higher RoR you get on average.
First, RoR doesn't have anything to do with engagement or even difficulty of the game. Second, Picketty's argument is not even close to "RoR increases with money", it's that return on capital outpaces economic growth, that's it.
If that were to be manifested in a game, there would be no "management phase" at all. You would just buy stocks and collect returns from them faster than other players could get money from actual business ventures.
Maybe I meant ROI. He analyzed the average returns people get on their capital by how much capital they have.
I don't know the exact numbers, but I believe it was something like:
Normal people: 4.5%
Wealthy people: 7.5%
High net-worth individuals: 9%
Yes, iirc, towards the end of Capital in the 21th century, he takes universities investment funds as an example (as they can quite large and data is public). And there is a strong correlation between the size of the fund and it's return.
Consensus economics would have you believe that, unlike in any video game, businesses experience diminishing marginal returns on investment.
...A fact which has only tenuous relevance to a small part of Piketty's argument.
There are critiques of the work that make some reasonable points, but this is not how they start.
This is a reasonable forum in which to discuss how well video games' economics align with the real world.
I regret that it is a poor forum to discuss pop economics with a political agenda. If you would like resources which discuss and critique the various flaws of Piketty's work, I can refer you to the scholarly publications and the conferences associated with the American Economic Association, the Economic History Association, the Economic History Society, the Cliometrics Society, and like academic organizations, as starting points.
In the meantime, I will continue to use this forum to discuss the realism of video games.
While I appreciate your enthusiasm to share your worldview, not to mention the unintentionally hilarious attempt at throwing shade, I'll continue to enjoy my own conversations with whomever I please, and would encourage you to take part in whatever might make you happy.
Dude, you’re in here throwing out Piketty to begin with while confusing basic concepts; I don’t think you’re the one who really gets to chide about funny attempts to inflict worldviews on people :P
civ 5 can be different with the right settings: when I played on deity, half of the time it has been a struggle until a few rounds before victory (conquest).
It's actually incredibly easy to print money early on. Take a loan, build 2 airports reasonable far away from each other in the larger initial cities. setup 2-3 planes between them. Wait 15 minutes -> money printer.
Money earned is based on distance and speed. Planes are incredibly lucrative in the early game.
There's a bit of a gamble that your planes will crash though.
Planes crash from time to time but they bring back their costs in 5-6 flights, so your money making printer is only limited by the number of available passengers, not by plane reliability.
yeah no. trains. lots of trains. past a certain point, only trains.
There are some good economic mods like FIRS3. Really adds challenge to the economic model.
Try the hard server. Games end in 10 years on average. You end bu getting 50M, which makes it a lot of fun to play. To play competitively, you have to manage your economy the first 5 years really tight.
Start a small railway running a tiny profit, go and have dinner, return to heaps of money to take over the world!
you can tweak the settings to higher maintenance and higher interest rates. but yes, even then, it becomes too easy after a while. would be nice if the settings allowed it to make it even harder (extra high maintenance costs, 6% interest rates, etc)
if you turn on the network maintenence cost in the options it becomes quite a bit more difficult
Oh, no. No. No. I vaguely recall the countless hours I've sunk playing this... Please, don't drag me into this again... Why?!
EDIT: Just to be clear, the game is awesome and the comment is made in jest ;)
If you like this, you'll love Transport Fever 2.
Apologies in advance.
I find OpenTTD just way more complex, especially with mods and patches.
I play TF/TF2 mainly for the look.
Edit: in term of the transport network, not in term of economy.
Are there mods or something similar for OpenTTD that makes passengers to have a specific destination rather than just going (and paying for) wherever the first vehicle takes them?
In TF that makes e.g. two-way feeder lines and lines with multiple stops work reasonably, whereas I seem to remember those didn't quite work in Transport Tycoon. It wouldn't, for example, make sense to have an interim stop at a smaller town between two large ones because all of the passengers now somehow decide the small town is where they were going to, pay only for that, and now you'd only have a handful of passengers from the small town on the entire train.
It's been a long time since I played OpenTTD, though, so things may have changed. I think that alone is a game changer for me in TF.
What I miss most in TF is any kind of competition apart from private vehicles, and having any economic modeling outside of your own operation with fixed prices and basic town growth (which does work reasonably well). In that sense it feels very much like a sandbox built for you to play in rather than a dynamic world.
You might want to enable cargodist: https://wiki.openttd.org/Passenger_and_cargo_distribution
Ok, thanks. I'll try to remember that if I get around to trying OpenTTD again at some point.
For me it's the opposite: anything that's not isometric and looks like rollercoaster tycoon or openttd looks bad/weird
Is that so, I found that RailRoadTycoon games had a more compelling economic model.
That looks nice but I think I prefer the "rigidity" (and nostalgia) of isometric (?) games.
Try Mashinky, then.
I very much enjoy TF2, and the mod community in steam is making it better everyday.
> the comment is made in jest ;)
Yet also horribly true, at least for some of us. This is one of the games that I have to put on the "avoid because pathological One-More-Turn syndrome risk" pile.
Same problem here. But luckily, on Macs it requires macOS 10.12, hence I can't run it anymore with 10.11 :-)
Actually if one downloads the ZIP instead of the DMG file, it seems to start flawlessly on macOS 10.11.
I cheered to soon...
What about Mashinky? Sorry :)
By random chance I installed OpenTTD a few days ago out of quarantine boredom so I am thrilled to see a HN post about it.
I was building up a local rail and road transportation network then on a whim I built a few airports and setup some plane routes between them. The revenue from planes started outpacing my existing ground networks quickly. I then built two large airports on opposite ends of the map and purchased a large jet to fly between them. Before long I had more money than I knew what to do with. A long distance air route between two large cities with a fast, high capacity jet just prints money.
So I'm wondering, how do I get some more challenge out of this game? What are some more fun things I can do? At this point I am making money faster than I can spend it.
I heartily recommend trying out some CityBuilder servers. You claim a small town and provide it different types of cargo as it grows. It really tests your TTD skills, as you need to provide constant streams of cargo every month to keep the town growing.
There are probably several CityBuilder servers, but I mostly played on the BTPro ones. Everyone starts at the same time and the goal is usually timeboxed to 3 hours, after which the server resets with a new map.
I haven't played the game for a few years, but these goal servers kept me hooked for months.
In the advanced settings you can disable plane usage for the bots, and then restrain yourself from using them. This forces you to build an efficient network using trains, trucks and ships. I recommend in general poking through the advanced settings to see what else could increase the difficulty.
Also, early stage I try to optimise for high profits, late stage my mission focuses on the company performance score: there’s a maximum score of 1,000 which is actually quite tricky to achieve. Aligning your goal to get as high as you can faster than the bots is definitely a challenge.
Interesting. Was it like that in original Transport Tycoon? I haven't played much OpenTTD, most of my experience is with TT, and I remember planes being very weak early game. Later on when you get big airports and fast jets they become viable, so do ships, but early game, it's all about coal and iron trains.
This is such an amazing game. I found the original Transport Tycoon when I was 12 years old, and man I was blown away as a kid. I used to spend loads of time on it exploring and growing cities, man I always used to get so attached and involved in it. Never really got into multiplayer or advanced things like mergers/railroad signals and other optimizations.
Fast forward to 2015, I checked out OpenTTD and it was a complete refresh. And with multiplayer, I learned a lot of new things. It's too much fun dealing with optimizations and competing with top players on the many different servers. There will be a lot to learn given how closely it aligns with real life transportation systems.
This is a really complex game, don't let the "old school" graphic fool you!
As far as I can tell, it's still the most complex railroad game out there. You just end up with so many more trains than in any of the others.
To be frank, it is the "old school" graphic that gives it its charm and is the reason why I like it. Same reason for why I like Roller Coaster Tycoon.
This is an excellent game if you're interested in building complex train networks, which isn't so dissimilar to programming FWIW.
That’s what I like about this game too. It quickly turns into a concurrency / lock contention optimization problem if you build a very connected network.
One of the best game soundtracks in the world
Oh yeah, I was phantom-hearing every single note of that jazz in my mind just now while reading these comments.
When I actively played this with a couple friends and colleagues a few years back we eventually wanted a slow version of this, where you could log in to the game a few times a day and build a little or fix problems and then leave it running again. So that it would be less of a real time game and that sessions can last days to weeks, without you risking to go bankrupt because you didn't immediately see that your network deadlocked.
As it is now, the one who spends the most time right after the game starts wins by a huge margin.
Slowing down the tick rate works but looks silly. Making everything cost less and yield less, as well as increasing the ticks per day works until a certain point where things get too cheap for integers, eg buses not making any money any more.
I think a 15x slowdown was feasible, but not yet enough for our taste.
Any people here want to play multiplayer?
Ooof never before have I instantly lost 3 hours from one HN link. Awesome blast from the past!
It's available as a portable app as well: https://portableapps.com/apps/games/openttd_portable
The nostalgia is real.
Here's a link to their OSS GitHub repo for quick reference: https://github.com/OpenTTD/OpenTTD
Now if only there was a decent UI mod of playing on modern 1440+ screens. (Yes, I know there are mods that double the UI size but they make everything super-pixelated)
There are various sprite sets for OpenTTD that provide much higher resolution sprites for everything so that you can zoom further in and everything is still rendered using unscaled sprites. You could probably use one of these on a high DPI screen and use a higher zoom level by default.
I'm talking about the UI, not the sprites. The buttons and fonts are TIIIINY.
Another commenter says that there’s a HiDPI option in the settings now: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22773440
I don't know about UI botton (since I remember all of them it doesn't bother me), but for text you can use TTF/OTF font and scale it however you want, but you need to edit openttd.cfg directly.
Ahh, yeah, that actually helps quite a bit.
Great stuff. OpenTTD has been my go-to time-sink since I was 14-15. Great for lockdown.
I love OpenTDD! The improvements over the original Transport Tycoon's AI is insane.
Has anyone tried the new games in this genre? Any significant improvements?
Mashinky is (way) more casual than OpenTTD but it's a really nice game made by a solo dev.
The vibe is similar though and you can even take a break and ride your trains. I strongly recommend giving it a try.
Transport Fever is great. It is beautiful and has an engaging single player mode. Now there is also Transport Fever 2, but I would start with 1, because it is cheaper and still totally enjoyable.
What would it take to get the executable signed? Windows 10 is giving me hell for trying to run the installer. I reported it as safe, but I guess every release would be subject to the same limitations.
Super off topic, but why does this site look like its from the 90s?
I tried this game before, because I wanted Transport Tycoon, but with smarter train logic, but I found this unplayable. I tried this new version, but the problem persists.
The graphics don’t scale to modern resolutions, and so I literally can not read the screen or see what’s happening. I have to sit six inches away from the screen to read anything. I’ve tried wiki instructions before, but they didn’t work. I ended up having missized windows and text.
Such a shame.
Have you tried Simutrans?
It's a while since I played it, but it's similar to Transport Tycoon and seems to have variants ("paksets") with different levels of graphical detail.
The graphics (GRFs) are configurable! If you're using the original TTD GRFs it will look tiny and pixelated, but you can get large smooth modern-looking graphics too. Search for a "32bpp" GRF set :)
OTTD hat UI scaling and font scaling for HiDPI displays. Just need to enable it in the settings.