A pleasant surprise: Initial impressions

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    I’ve been out of the loop, I didn’t know that Train Fever had been released a few months ago.

    The other day I was reading an article about the Settlers 2, which had be reminiscing of another favourite from that time in Transport Tycoon.

    A quick Google about Transport Tycoon and wow – Train Fever is out. – so I thought I had to try it.
    (It could do with a few more mainstream website reviews as its gone under the radar)

    Transport Tycoon was 20 years ago, and I don’t think anything has ever come close to recapturing the magic, and the addiction of growing your network (Others have tried and were boring/sterile eg CIM), and of having a great big trainset.

    After familiarising myself with Train Fever I was hooked, I started playing the other day at 10am and looked up at the clock and it was 7pm – something I don’t think I’ve done with a game in years. (Its dragged me away from Dragon Age)

    I think the key, and also the greatest weakness, is the lack of help. its a joy to finally figure out how the world works for yourself and try new things
    The interface is pretty logical and gives the simplest options to make complex things.

    I really like

    – The town growth system

    – I love the fact that each traveler is simulated – shows how far we’ve come in 20 years (And it gets it pretty right unlike Simcity)

    – Big long trains 🙂 (Seeing a full length TGV brings a smile)

    – The track laying tool (A few glitches, but the underlying principle is sound) Double tracking is easy, as is upgrdaing an existing line

    – The line direction highlighting (Nice and clear to see which route a line is taking in a passing loop/double track)

    – The economy – Costs of new teach vs old seem pretty well balanced

    Things that could be improved

    – The cargo system is very hit and miss/counterintuitive – adding one carriage to your goods train can have bizarre trickle down effects that  zero the resource production (Similar if the size of a open wagon increases )
    I can make a passenger line profitable with a TGV, but I cant get a reliable Steel freight line going that doesn’t collapse after 20 years.
    Maybe a simple message like “Train X has been loading for 20 minutes and no resources are at station” could alert you that action is required

    – Technology mismatches – eg: A train engine that can do 200kmh 20 years before you get a train carriage that can go 200kmh- so the train can only do 140kmh
    Similarly you might have an engine in mind for a new line, but in the current year your choices are very limited because it is no longer available, and there is not a better replacement

    – It would be nice to be able to build road over track to make a crossing
    Currently you either need to raise land to build a bridge, or bulldoze track and build the road first before putting the track back

    – When you send a vehicle to the depot – it would be nice to easily see which line it was previously assigned to so it can be re-assigned to the right place.
    It can be very easy to forget when you are replacing multiple lines at once.

    – Signalling- Some issues with trains going against the signals in a 2 line track if they find a shortest route instead of the correct route.  A train should never be allowed to go against the flow of the signals

    – Auto Save game pause and late game performance could be improved (I think the original TT has the same problem 🙂 )


    – Add an undo button (Track laying,bulldoze etc)

    – Train blockages – When you have got deadlocked a mess in a station – Maybe you need to have a vehicle recovery option to take the train off the rails, out of the way and back to the depot  for a cost (eg; 1mil)

    – Need signal override button to let train go through signal at danger when you have a lock situation

    – Hold shift when laying track and drag mouse to raise or lower elevation (I think Railroads! had this)

    – Make resources have a minimum production level (eg: 10)
    Zero can kill your freight network for no obvious reason.
    And surely an iron ore mine would not exist if it was 0 production- it exists because there is ore in the ground otherwise it would close

    – Would really love a double ended train depot so you can make it as a parallel siding with 2 connections easily instead of all the extra space needed to make a T connection.


    In general I’m really excited by the possibilities – I look forward to the improvements to Train Fever, and will love to see what might be possible in Train Fever 2


    Interesting the difference another long session makes.

    All this time I’d toggled on the cargo overlay, I never actually saw what it was doing as I was always zoomed out when looking at overlays. (I thought it was only showing the resources, not the route of goods taken)

    I happened to click on it when zoomed in and my freight line made a lot more sense.
    It still took 40 years and hundreds of millions of dollars of losses to get it to work on a profitable scale, but it made more sense what was happening. (Up until that today I was all passenger and my freight lines were abandoned)

    It bugged me that I had to send empty coal/goods trains up and down the line to “race” the the natural flow. (Or try and cripple the road system so the natural flow was slower)
    It meant I could never let a train wait for a full load, or it would be slower than the natural route and cripple the line upstream, making a noose for its own neck. (When a full load should be the most economical way to haul freight)
    Its a cute enough mechanism , but surely bulk freight is about capacity to haul big loads, and not about speed.
    Its not as if everyone in town could turn up to the mine and each take a handful of coal home, you need to haul it in bulk or not at all. (Maybe goods could transport by the truckload, but raw materials need to be in bulk)
    And it means you cant really bother using the slow economical  freight locos, you need the fastest loco to get the freight demand artery pumping.

    I hadn’t before then thought that where my road connection to a freight station joined mattered, but some routes were taking long enough to get to my station (Because it was on the other site), that they were doomed from the start.
    And it was amazing how much time it could be add if the materials have to travel up a little joining road.

    It might make a bit more sense if  the pace of the natural route is half the speed it is now, so its not on the same speed as the 20 minute pedestrian trip.


    The other revalation I had today – Oh you can actually start/stop a train and reverse it to get out of jams – it sure isn’t obvious they are buttons until accidentally clicked on. 28 hours playing and only found out that one today.


    But I suppose that goes back to my point in the first post, the key to the game , and also it’s greatest weakness, is the lack of help. its a joy to finally figure out how the world works for yourself and try new things, but it can be frustrating when you haven’t stumbled onto the solution yet





    • This reply was modified 6 years ago by lobsang.

    Same here. It took a while to realize that the running and reverse texts are actually buttons. Or that there is 6 types of streets and roads to build.

    Just remember, that cargo simulation is based on demand. Nothing happens unless there is demand for it. So steel factory must have demand for the goods first before it produces anything. And mines will only produce enough to meet the demand. So build first the truck routes from the factory to 3-4 cities to bump up the demand and start with trucks on the coal and iron feed as well. Only when things get big, change them to trains.

    For passangers, build your train lines at least 5-6 cities long and aim for the frequency around 3-4 minutes. That seems to work quite optimally. More frequent than that and your expenses go up without getting more income.



    Two more tips:

    1. You can make signals “one-way” by clicking on them.  That way, trains will never pass them in the wrong direction.
    2. You can also raise or lower the end of a segment of road/track: just press on the square that shows the slope and two arrows will appear to raise or lower that end.
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