Shianra

Information, tools, and thoughts on tabletop games, video games, and their worlds

OpenTTD

OpenTTD

Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe (OpenTTD) is an open source fan-made game engine recreation that duplicates most of Transport Tycoon Deluxe’s features but also has many additions. As requested, it is the fan-made OpenTTD that I will be talking about today and, if you find it interesting, you can pick up a copy from the official website . Let’s start off with a list of main single-player game-play features that make OpenTTD the awesome game that it is.

OpenTTD Features

  • The ability to build on slopes and coasts, and the addition of longer and higher bridges with several new designs, plus fully flexible tracks/roads under bridges, makes cross-continental travel much easier.
  • The ability to clone vehicles means that we don’t have to create orders for individual vehicles every time we get a new one, thus preventing our hairs from going grey earlier than we’d like!
  • The auto-replace and auto-update vehicle features allow us to set conditions for replacing and updating vehicles so, if we have a huge number of them, we aren’t pulling our hair out by the 30th one.
  • New path-finding algorithms make vehicles go where we want them to! As long as we have proper control measures in place, anyway.
  • Advanced/conditional orders, as well as share and copy orders mean that we have more control over what our vehicles do.
  • Pre-signals, semaphores, and path based signalling, like the above two features, help control what our vehicles get up to which is great for efficiency. Don’t worry, I’ll get to explaining these soon!
  • Mammoth and multi-headed trains, and different configurable models for acceleration of vehicles give us more options and can potentially increase our efficiency if used correctly.
  • Larger, non-uniform stations and the ability to join them together means that we can start small and expand later when we have the necessary funds.
Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe

OpenTTD’s Predecessors

Transport Tycoon (TT)

Transport Tycoon cover art

Let us begin with a little history, starting with Transport Tycoon (TT) – a video game developed by Scottish games designer and programmer Chris Sawyer and published by MicroProse in 1994. It is a business simulation game, presented in an isometric view in 2D with graphics by Simon Foster.

Our job as the player is to take control of a transport company and compete against rival companies to make as much profit as possible by transporting passengers and various goods by road, rail, sea, and air. We can achieve these goals by constructing transport routes consisting of stations placed near industries or towns, and in the case of trains or road vehicles, near physical routes. One of these transport routes can utilise several different forms of transport, for example, truck → ship → train. Meanwhile, over the course of a game, cities will develop and expand according to various economic factors, and new industries or other resource sites may appear. On the other hand, some natural resources may eventually become exhausted, and industries without adequate transport services may shut down due to their resources going nowhere (they can’t operate as a business if that business does not function, can they?). Also, new models of vehicles are introduced as the years go by and eventually come to replace older models, however, at introduction such a new model will likely have improved characteristics such as speed and power, but may suffer from reliability issues.

Transport Tycoon
Transport Tycoon

Transport Tycoon Deluxe (TTD)

Transport Tycoon Deluxe cover art

Moving along, Transport Tycoon Deluxe (TTD) is an expanded and improved version of the original game, produced shortly afterwards in 1995. The primary difference between the games is how signals operate. This is an extremely important change. The original Transport Tycoon allows only bi-directional signals which allow trains to pass in either direction, whilst the deluxe version introduces uni-directional signals that only allow a train to pass in a single direction. It might not seem like much, but this one small addition really changes game-play from the previous game. See, because the old bi-directional signals allow a train to travel in both directions, it means that it is possible for two trains to try to travel in opposing directions towards each other on the same track. This doesn’t result in crashes on a properly signalled route, but it requires either the building of extra cross-over tracks to allow the trains to pass each other, or the extremely inefficient and cost ineffective solution of building many tracks in parallel.

Now, because the new uni-directional signals allow one-way tracks to be built, much more efficient routes are possible and trains may be prevented from trying to travel the “wrong way” down a track. By incorporating both uni-directional and bi-directional signals, we are able to build effective switching yards, junctions, and other useful designs, which we will get to in detail later. It also makes it possible to build continental-length rail-road systems by incorporating one-way rails in both directions and the ability to merge other rails with the main one. This is a useful strategy for creating a successful company because the further the distance travelled by the goods being transported, the more that is usually paid upon delivery.

Although the signals are probably the most significant changer, there are others worth noting. The game period lasts from 1950 to 2050, for starters. Tropical, Arctic, and toy-town environments are added which have their own different industries and challenges. For example, towns in the Sub-Arctic environment cannot grow without regular deliveries of food, and those in the tropical environment also require access to fresh water.

However, due to trademark issues with using names of real vehicles in the original Transport Tycoon, the default names are replaced with fictional ones in Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Vehicles and stations can still be renamed however one desires, which can be useful for identifying individual services in a network, and towns have also become re-nameable.

Transport Tycoon Deluxe
Transport Tycoon Deluxe