I really hope dev focus shifts to map generation options…

Home Forums General Discussion I really hope dev focus shifts to map generation options…

This topic contains 25 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  OIFEVT101 5 years ago.

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  • #17473

    grimdanfango
    Participant

    I’ll preface by pointing out that I really do love this game, and I think the Urban Games guys have made far-and-away the greatest attempt to modernise the Transport Tycoon formula so far.  I absolutely love the fact that so much focus is give to player-vs-landscape.

    I’m very appreciative for free DLC too, and I do applaud them for releasing the USA expansion.

     

    That all said though, I’ve found I’ve been waiting since pretty much the first week after the initial release for some dev focus to fall on the map generation itself.  In my opinion, the landscape forms the central focal-point of the entire game.  The random terrain generator creates beautiful, natural landscapes with believable erosion, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed by it as a starting point.  That said, I feel at this stage it’s absolutely crucial to the longevity of the game that the devs look to create more variation and dynamism in the map generation.  I had hoped this might come with the USA expansion, but the map is quite literally a straight reskin – the same seed will generate the exact same terrain with a different texture.

    As a bare-minimum starting point, I feel the game needs:

    • Variable map aspect ratio – I’ve mentioned it a few times, a 64×4 km map would presumably require the exact same memory and system requirements as the current 16×16 maps, but would instantly give a new lease-of-life to the game, as you’d not only be forced to negotiate terrain barriers, rather than always being provided the convenient option of just routing around river-valley lowlands, you’d also be able to have far more substantial long-distance routes too.  Huge variation in game styles from an alteration that should take very little dev time to implement
    • Variable town/industry numbers.  Less towns and/or industries would also provide far more interesting challenges, as you’d have to work with what you had, rather than always having the option of linking up conveniently located towns.  Combined with long-thin maps, this would necessitate some epic long-distance routes.  Of the games I’ve played, it’s always been the maps with the fewest towns that have proved the most interesting to play on… to the point where I’ll reroll 20-30 times when starting a new game now, just so I can pick the one that generates with the fewest.  Again, this seems like such a simple option to include, I’d presume it would take negligable dev time to implement.
    • Variable water level, and maybe even “coasts” – the ability to set the base water level, and to select particular map edges as coastal, selecting all four to effectively create an island map.  I’m not sure how the game currently works with regards to water – the rivers and lakes currently seem like pathed entities added to the map, rather than something created as a byproduct of a water-level setting… but I presume there must still be a water level element within the game.  Perhaps that would take more work to change, but I’d hope it wouldn’t be too difficult to implement.

    The result of those three straightforward options being added to map generation would allow things as diverse as a 64-km long section of coastline, with a few distant towns, and the need to follow river estuaries to work train routes around sections of the coast with steep cliffs.

    Surely this would extend the longevity and appeal of the game far more, and far more easily, than any amount of content-packs and reskins?

    Besides, content and texture-packs are exactly what mod communities are best at.  I’d say the devs would be best off concentrating at broadening the diversity of the underlying game… just think of the screenshot potential, and that’ll lead to more sales of this already-wonderful game!

     

    Of course, a full-blown map-editor with a height-field input would also cover a lot of the potential benefits I’ve mentioned.  I know the devs have mentioned it.  I still think my suggestions would be great to have though, as they wouldn’t require manual editing, and should be far easier to implement than even a basic editor.

    #17474

    grimdanfango
    Participant

    Additionally, as minor considerations, I’d suggest the following might make for interesting options too:

    • An ultra-mountainous option, or perhaps a “no rivers” option, as the current mountainous option still generates a lot of smooth flat lowlands that feel like they partially defeat the challenge.
    • Perhaps an option for a “gradient” of terrain severity, so a map will be mountainous (/ultra-mountainous) on one side, and smoothly transition to flat/lowlands by the opposite map edge.  This would allow for really interesting long-distance hill-climb routes to get from one side to the other.  It could also be implemented as simply a straight continuous incline from one side to the other, added to the existing terrain types, so you could have an overall flat terrain, that still has a general gradual incline from one edge to the other.  (Would combine wonderfully with a “coast” option as I mentioned above along the low-edge of the map)
    #17479

    Neldot
    Participant

    I second the necessity to improve the map generator, and add a pair of related requests (I think that these two are awaited by many people since the release too).

    - a map editor, even a very simple one using the same interface of the game, but with improved terraforming tools.

    - bigger maps (with the some max number of towns, so in terms of calculations there would be no performance issues). Perhaps the 20 minutes limit should be adjusted to match the new map size, but in terms of simulations bigger distances between towns would result in a much more enjoyable railroad building and train watching.

    #17480

    tomtom
    Participant

    I am in complete agreement. Put this with an expanded industry DLC (reasonably priced) and it will do well. The game has a lot more potential.

    #17481

    kimmaz
    Participant

    A horse wagon travels at 15km/h, and in 1 day ingame it travels aproximatly its own length along the road. This means the horse wagon is 15×24=360km long and travels 360km per day. (assuming this game ignores sleeping/resting along the way). It takes 2 years to travel back and forth between a oil well and refinery in 1850 and they are pretty close on the map. This is 131’400km in one year (one way). This means that the map size must me a lot more than this in both lenth and height.

    I think you guys just need to play on normal speed and zoom in a bit, and realize the size of the maps :D

    This shows that From South in Spain too up north in Norway is closer together than 2 average towns currently are in train fever. Only 5300km.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  kimmaz.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  kimmaz.
    #17485

    Traian Trante
    Participant

    +1

    #17493

    simonmd
    Participant

    Mate, you really need to get out more………..

    #17511

    isidoro
    Participant

    I agree that map generation should be improved.  Or at least, a map editor implemented so that the community can produce customized maps, even those based on real geography.

    I would like a map in which a badly needed resource (e.g. coal) is only located in a very abrupt part of the map, so that  you have to carefully build a line to reach the resource.  In the present situation, all maps look more or less the same and if you need coal, for instance, you have plenty of it more or less everywhere…

     

    #17513

    grimdanfango
    Participant

    @kimmaz

    - I’m not really seeing what you’re aiming to contribute here… nobody here is complaining about realism or the simulation/time scale not making sense.  My own post was just a list of simple-to-implement suggestions to make map generation more varied and uniquely challenging and thus to make the game more replayable and interesting.

    At the internal abstract scale the game is designed to function at (and at which I feel it feel it functions well and is enjoyably balanced), I would nevertheless enjoy having the option to have long, thin maps, as even the large maps currently feel a bit too restricted, while at the same time, feel like they lack focus, as the landscape and town distribution feels too evenly spread for my taste.

    I’m saying nothing about how realistic or not the scale is.  I’m simply considering what would make the game feel more fun.  Transport Tycoon had almost a complete disregard for realism, and that didn’t stop it being fantastic back in the day.  I feel Train Fever could easily feel as fun, if only there was a bit more variation.

    It really doesn’t bother me in the slightest how far a horse walks in a day.  Call them days, call them minutes… it’s just a game design abstraction so that it doesn’t literally take 150 years to play a single game :-P

    #17515

    kimmaz
    Participant

    @grimdanfango

    I do agree that every single map generated look very similar in train fever. The way the towns and other things are spaced out on the map is very predictable, even the terrain is somewhat predictable and repeating map after map. And I dont like it. They need to spice it up a bit. It almost feels like the usa “map” is a re-textured version of the original map. I was hoping for a new game mechanic or some new resources like water pumps and water demand from towns considering it is in the desert. Or at least some new UI or something new other than textures and vehicles.

    But i don’t think any other similar game has specific persons with specific houses and workplaces and that goods have a specific factory they are going to. So its at least something new and not a blind copy of lets say transport tycoon even tho I think a lot of people would be happy to see a complete remake of openttd with this level of graphics.

    #17517

    grimdanfango
    Participant

    @kimmaz

    I wouldn’t dream of suggesting they make it too much like TTD, as I really feel there’s a whole lot that’s too dated to really enjoy anymore in OpenTTD, and by-and-large, they’re things that I feel the Urban guys have absolutely nailed and brought screaming into the 21st century with Train Fever.  I’m certainly appreciative of the deep level of procedural simulation going on, and I absolutely love the focus on mastering the terrain and realistic-feeling line engineering.  It always bugged the hell out of me that TTD allowed trains to turn such tight corners :-P

    It’s possible the reason you feel the USA map almost feels like a re-textured version of the original is because that is literally what it is.  Try using the same seed for both settings… it generates an identical map in both cases, even down to the town layouts and names.

    As you mention, all I’m hoping for to make this a complete and eternally-compelling game experience for my taste is the addition of a few ways to spice up the map generation.  The important parts are all in place as far as I’m concerned, I just want to be able to take on specific and varied challenges.  I want to have no choice but to thread a train line through that map-spanning mountain range… I want to tame that winding coastline…  I want to build a massive viaduct across that deep, sheer-sided desert gorge! :-)

    #17618

    Neldot
    Participant

    @kimmaz, you are considering only the in-game time, that is clearly an abstraction  with the purpose of making the game economy work while the years flow fast.

    But if you consider the scale and the speed of the vehicles (in real time 1x), the maps are simply too small, at a maximum size of 16×16 kms, and the towns are too near between each other (they are usually spaced only 1 to 4 kilometers).

    For more realism (and fun) in making long train lines and networks, I hope that in the future there will be bigger maps, or, at least, as suggested by Grimfandango, that in future maps we could have a different scale ratio (8×32 km or 4×64 km).

     

    #17983

    grimdanfango
    Participant

    Erm… “Bump”

    I really think these suggestions are important!

    As I suggested in the “Skylines is out” thread, I feel the terrain in Train Fever is both the core focus of the gameplay (literally, your opponent *is* the terrain), and also the game’s strongest asset.

    Yet I feel like after the mammoth work that went into the terrain engine and map generation during development, post-release, it’s been ignored completely in favor of extra vehicle content and such.

    At this point, I feel it’s absolutely vital to the future success of the game that Urban Games put the map generation front-and-center.  It could add so much variety to a game that currently feels a little samey.  Random map generation counts for little when every map is almost indistinguishable from the last, but random map generation has the potential to offer massive variation and customisation options.

    Please, please, please, give us those options!

    Post if you agree!

    #17984

    larry.kubiak
    Participant

    I fully agree with you. There are not enough variety in the maps to generate new challenges.

    Even the USA DLC did not bring any new challenge.

    #17995

    isidoro
    Participant

    Agree!

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