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Horses and heroes

Entry 1331 posted in: 3. Gamebits

Time for some game updates. This post can be watched by anyone, if you are looking for some information about adult gaming, please consult Secret Fantasy Dreams or ArianeB UP 16 (game add-on).

OpenTTD, the open source remake of Transport Tycoon, finally has a stable upgrade, version 0.7.0. It brings you, amongst other things:

a reworked order system (with conditional orders and non-stop instructions);
more engines than in previous versions;
path based signals;
an AI framework;
downloads and automatic install of AIs, graphics and scenarios from a central server;
adjustments of previous limits concerning window size, the number of windows, network clients and companies;
… and a bunch of new languages.

Although the internal programming has been upgraded a lot the casual player will be most pleased by the download utility. The original Transport Tycoon was a bit too limited for experienced players and over the years several add-ons have been made to adjust the original framework. These add-ons can be divided into several categories:

eye-candy: replacing original graphics with new ones: vehicles, roads, houses, industries… These downloads don’t change the gameplay, but merely alter how the game looks;
new industries: the original game had only about a dozen of industries and these all evolved more or less independent from each other. Downloading new industries has made it possible to create realistic (and sometimes complicated) industrial chains, meaning that a secondary sector factory will only start producing if it gets raw materials from mines and farms, but also that the production will come to a halt if the finished product doesn’t get to the end consumer (the cities);
new vehicles: new industries mean also that new methods of transport have to be created and a lot of NewGRF files deal with alternative vehicles;
new (fan created) scenarios and maps.

In the past one had to browse through the Open TTD forum in order to look for a certain add-on and there were literally a hundred of places on the web were you could go looking for a particular add-on. If the add-on was changed (or upgraded) you had to find that out by yourself although the wiki more or less tried to centralise the information.

This is all gone with the download utility in version 0.7.0. It gives you a (long) list of the possible downloads and also warns you if the version present on your harddisk has been upgraded. Newbies however should be warned that downloading and activating all add-ons will not enhance the game, on the contrary, because some add-ons are not compatible with others. But the new version of Open TTD has also thought about that and allows you to save individual configurations.

A (quite recent) graphic set I like is called eGVRTS. The original game only started producing vehicles around 1930 (the default start of the game was 1950) but this enhancement offers horse-driven carriages that are available a century earlier (in the early 1800s). The screenshot at the top left side of this topic shows my current game in 1872 with a convoy of coaches transporting citizens from one city to another.

Open Transport Tycoon has been discussed a few times on this blog before and the last time was at Rock around the block. Programmers and would-be programmers can now make their own artificial intelligence module. AIs are added and constantly upgraded at the central server and give the human player some extra things to worry about. Two computer players have been created to do absolutely nothing, except providing some eye-candy. TownCars and StreetTraffic (that second one is an enhanced clone from the first) will randomly create cars to populate the streets in and between cities. Their only purpose is to give the streets a more realistic look and will of course from time to time block the commercial vehicles by creating traffic jams.

If you’ll excuse me now but I have some cows to transport.