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Latercomer discovers RT3, and some questions


Rikki
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Well, after all these years of hearing about Railroad Tycoon I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about.  So I ordered my copy of RT3 about a week ago and no one has heard from me since!  Oh my god, RT3 is great!  I can't compare it to the older versions since I never played them but I can see I missed a lot.  So glad I finally discovered it, and this forum.

Anyway, a couple of questions for those in the know...

1) Consists. I want to have a train gather cargo from several locations before unloading at a distant station.  Is there a preferred way to have a single train pick up cargo -- and hang on to it -- as it goes to the next supply point gathering up more?  In my experience the trains often discharge the cargo at the next stop, probably cause the price was $1 higher.

2) Whenever I add a new station to a train's itinerary I get completely befuddled by the way the route map changes the order of the stops when I click on it.  What's the best way to add the new stop without reprogramming from scratch and wiping out the train's current cargo run?

3) How is the multi-player activity with RT3?  Thriving?  Barely active?  Non-existent?  Where do people go to join multi-player games?  Also, I'm curious to know... how do they even work?  Are they played in real time, or are they broken into turns, somehow?

Thanks for any help, and look forward to being part of this great community!

Rikki

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Hello, Rikki.  Welcome to the forums. 

As you can probably tell, there isn't much activity here... old game at this stage.  But, I for one still enjoy this game a lot.

1)  Yes... this is a problem.  You can try doing "manual consist" (forget the term).  So your train moves from Station A with a certain cargo, it automatically drops it off at Station B and you want to move it to Station C.  What I think the AI wants to do is always determine what cargo it can move for the highest profit, so it might grab your carge anyway... but might not.

If the cargo is clothes, for example, you can manually designate your consist to include clothes at Station B.  I usually do this... add 3 loads of clothes (or however many you have), then "any cargo" for the rest of the cars.  If you have a six car train, I set the minimum cars to 4 or 5.  This way, the AI usually will pick up the clothes and then whatever else it wants, but with the minimum number set higher and since you just dropped off the clothes at Station B, they should be there in order to get reloaded.  Experiment with this... since if yo don't have the minimum number of loads in the station, your train will wait until it get the rest of the cargos to move.  I try to make is so the train can't leave without some of my desired cargo.

2)  You can insert a station in the middle of a route by holding down the "shift" key.  On your list, select the station BELOW the spot where you want to insert the new station, hold shift and click on the new station. 

3)  Good question.  I played RT3 multiplayer once.  Had about 4 players in game.  But my connection stunk, so it dropped me.  I will have DSL next week and I would be curious to try again.  Anyone else play RT3 multiplayer??

Bannon

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1) There are many solutions:

a) if C is the destination A, B, E have the wanted cargos, and D is neither e.g. has a competing industry, the stations are near each other, and the topology is A-B-C-D-E, then route the train ABCEC.

b) If the cities are far apart it might be best if each source had its own train.

c) If you simply want the product or to make money, build your own industry at an optimum location, e.g. where the cargo is flowing anyway, or right beside a couple of raw industries and you won't even need a train except to haul the more expensive product away. I have a strong preference for this technique. Just think of the money you save in shipping costs.

d) If they are related to load haul goals, take the materials straight to the destination.

e) Monitor the price differences in the cargo display and plan your route so that there are always significant price increases e.g. >=+$5k at the next station in the chain.

f) Be sure that the factory really wants the cargo, i.e. it does not have enough raw materials already OR there is a high demand for the finished product. The chain should flow from red to green whether you are talking about the next city or you are transforming into a new product. Make sure you are hauling away the finished product to areas of high demand: that will really make the factory hum. I was able to set things up so that my grain farms were producing 6 loads per year, 2.5x what they were supposed to when supplied with fertiliser. In this example, the grain farms are in part factories because they are processing fertiliser into grain. Read this thread, especially my May 22, 2005 post: http://www.railroadtycoon.info/forum/viewtopic.php?t=50&highlight=mars

Incidentally, for practice on working with industry chains, you might want to play Greening the Red Planet, downloadable at the same website. It has a spaceport where you import chemicals, manufacture fertiliser and distribute it about the planet, make alcohol and export it in a swap for chemicals back at the same spaceport.

g) Passengers will get used to not going straight to their destinations, and you can make money on hotels where they disembark temporarily. Troops are finicky: some players report that they want to go direct to their destination. For mail there seems to be no problem, especially if you make liberal use of post offices.

2) Hover over the station you want to find out how to deal with this problem. "Press [shift]click to insert station above currently selected stop in list."

3) AFAIK play over the internet is completely dead and never was. PopTop completely failed to deliver the goods on that one. Some people have made great efforts to set this up on LANs but it is really finicky. My answer to this has been fan-made maps - both building my own and playing others. You can play with events and special conditions to make the AI more of a threat. And the socializing comes in with visiting forums like this one, exchanging ideas on mapmaking and playing.

Edit:

3) Bannon posted while I was writing my reply. Looks like you can play multiplayer. Perhaps the problem is there are not enough players around? I never tried really.

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Bannon, JayEff, thanks for responding. 

Bannon, your example of how you do consists was a huge help, especially when you mentioned you could click on Any Cargo when putting together a custom consist! That came as complete news to me!  Don't ask me why, but for some reason I thought you could only click on the small icons when customizing.  I feel so dumb now!

I feel even dumber regarding the add-a-station stop issue, only this time it's because even after both of your exhaustive explanations I STILL get confused when I try to change a train's route.  Yes, I know I can shift-click to add a station in the middle of a route, but what do you do when you want to entirely reorganize the sequence of stops, let's say the stop immediately after the one the train is currently heading towards?  There doesn't seem to be a way to erase and re-add stops later on down the line because hitting the minus button changes the itinerary in an odd/undesireable way.  So I end up erasing everything and starting from scratch, which wipes out the current (and often profitable) load.

If you guys want to give up on me I can quite understand. Maybe my skull is just thicker than most people's.  :P  I'll keep experimenting and hopefully figure it out.

JayEff, thanks for your response.  You had a few side-comments related to the consist thing that were really helpful.

I have some other questions brewing, but I'll wait till they are more clear in my mind and then post them seprately in the next day or so.

Rikki

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Rikki --

No problems.  I recently learned to add a station myself no more than two months ago.  ;D  I always did it the hard way.  I don't recall if it was in the manual or not.

Here's what I do when rerouting an entire route -- if the train is already in motion, I slow the game speed down.  I let it continue and delete all the other stations.  Once, I add all the stations for my new route, I delete the last station once the train has reached if it is no longer on the new route.

JayEff has the more capitalistic solution for sure... just build your own industry.  He is a real magnet.  ;)  How likely is it with the low traffic around these forums to get an near instantaneus post?  Could it be a RT3 revival in the making?  :D

Bannon

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You mean this is considered a surge of traffic in this forum?  Didn't realize things had gotten so quiet.  Well, I'll do what I can to help spark a rennaissance in game interest -- I absolutely love this game and I am thoroughly absorbed in it!  (Even if I am getting my butt kicked.  :-X)

Bannon, thanks for the explanation on re-routing.  Yeah, I'm slowly getting the hang of your method. I'm guess you use the station list and delete stations there, right?  I keep trying to use the map cause it SEEMS more intuitive, and is certainly necessary when introducing a newly built station stop, but that's where things get weird cause each time I click on the map the ordering remains the same --  minus one stop -- but the entire sequence shifts one stop across all stations which is not what I want (did that make sense?)  Anyway, using the list seems to be the answer I guess.

I'll have to prod JayEff for the more mercenary tips.  Right now I am playing the Coast to Coast scenario and having no luck generating any big profits, especially in the first five years or so.  I am enjoying solving the puzzle, though.  How on earth do people rack up  $15 and $30 million in profits in 20 yrs, much less $50 million for the gold?  I feel proud of myself for just getting to 7 million before I end up a penniless hobo, and even that was only after playing the thing about seven times.  Oh well, nothing like a challenge to keep me up at night!

Rikki

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Yes it is nice to see new members so Welcome - and however long you've been playing you keep learning new things - like the shift click method of inserting a station which I've been doing the old/hard way as described above for years. One of the great things about RT3 is the number of user built scenarios which makes the game virtually inexhaustible so if you heven't got any yet there's scores available when you've beaten all those in the game as supplied.

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Yeah, I just took a gander at some of the maps and scenarios for RT3 -- awesome!  Looks like this game has a fantastic, long shelf life.  I only hope I'm not too late to have missed the multi-player wave (if there ever was one).  If anyone's interested in putting an MP game together, please let me know.

After a few more tries at Coast to Coast I'm starting to improve slightly -- (at Hard setting.  Latest high was 23.5 million, bronze requires 30 for full access rights.)  I suspect the idea in most RT3 games is to constantly invest, invest, invest so that you are always up to your eyeballs in debt but the return on the investments will hopefully keep outperforming the interest on the debt.  Doesn't leave much time for sitting back and enjoying the scenery, though.  :-\

I'm also assuming it's critical to study that color overlay in the very begninning and lay your first track in the right spot. I often end up going bust very quickly if I don't make a good choice right off.  The tutorial seems to suggest that connecting population centers is a good opening move but I'm finding that doesn't always work as well as a decent color difference.  (Though good color mismatches seem hard to find in this scenario.)

I'm still amazed that 50 million in profits is possible, and I still haven't touched the Expert setting.  I'm eager to hear some hints from you guys, but please, just hints to point me in the right direction, not detailed spoilers.

Thanks,

Rikki 

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One trick that would work well in C2C is to merge with one of the AI companies. When you do that you get immediate rights to the middle of the map and don't have to wait.

A good general strategy is, having scanned the colour displays and seen where the most lucrative businesses are, buy the businesses, but also haul their products to where they are demanded. It is really important to understand these industries - how they profit, and what implications of color are. Freight moves from red to green. This applies over land, through ports, on your trains, and when being manufactured into something new. The steeper the gradient, the more profitable the industry. Secondary industries must buy their raw materials - that is the materials cost on their books. If they are next to red raw materials and near green and yellow-green markets, they will do awesomely well. Look for gaps. Logging camps and furniture factories but no lumber mill? A board full of sheep with no textile mills? Is there long line of coal laden barges flowing down the river?

The most profitable primary industries are the ones that have just been randomly seeded onto the map in an area where their product is yellow or better. A quick way to find it is outlined here: http://www.exdx.net/cgi-bin/Yabb/YaBB.pl?board=RT3;action=display;num=1097807204

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Thanks, JayEff...  I didn't know merging with AI companies gives you automatic rights to those territories -- that's such a major piece of info that I wonder whether leaving it out of the brief was an oversight or intentional.  Your other tips are helpful, too, and what I like is that you simply reinforced known principles of the game without giving away any "tricks."

Actually, though, I think my problem was less about understanding the colors and what makes businesses profitable but rather how one raises enough funds early on to buy those businesses.  But I now realize that's probably because I've been overly concerned about taking on too much debt.  (Chalk it up to my Protestant work ethic!)  The whole point of RT3 is that you take the biggest risks possible to make the biggest payoffs.  I also didn't realize that my credit rating, and the number of available bonds I could issue, would increase so quickly in the game as long as my railroad showed decent earnings.  Major discovery!  So last night I was able to invest a lot more capital early on than usual (though it ran against my real life nature!) and now I am easily on my way to win the silver if not the gold.  What a difference a day makes!

What's really interesting for me is the history this game teaches.  Here I am feeling nervous about debt and I'm just playing a GAME.  The actual tycoons were taking those risks for REAL!  Now I can see the courage, or vision, if you like, that it must have taken to be a Vanderbilt or whoever, at least early on.  (I'm putting aside for the moment the less savory business practices that they also engaged in.)

Anyway, great game, and great tips.  Thanks for the support!

Rikki

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Rikki-

You might want to check out the "Strategy" section over at Hawkdog's Forum.  There are tips for particular scenarios available here:

http://hawkdawg.com/Forum/index.php?showforum=14

and zipped files of a whole bunch of strategy stuff and general info gleaned from the old Gathering Forum that's available here:

http://hawkdawg.com/Forum/index.php?showtopic=66

Welcome to the group.  Like you I get totally absorbed in playing this game.

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Good stuff -- thanks for the links!  I'm sure I will be checking them out shortly. 

Having just won the silver for Coast to Coast today I am starting to feel invincible.  (Perfect time to be taken down a peg or two by one of you pros in a multi-player game  ;) )

I'm sure I will have more questions soon, which I'll post at a later time.  I'm still reading some old posts to see what's been covered already.  I guess it's safe to say the RT3 bug has bitten me hard. : :)

Rikki

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  • 5 weeks later...

Rikki...

I'll give you the strategy that I use for managing my trains because it works well for me.

Pick the right loco for the train you want to set up. Speed is one factor, but look at its costs as well.

City to City trains are a good speed loco at 6 cars. Set custom consist with 1 minimum. Never run city to city trains empty, unless you are running a trains from a big city to a burb, then you set only one station to 1 minimum. Empty trains cost you money, so you are better off having them sit at a station for a month than to have it run early, unless you have one station that has a high demand.

The same applies for trains from farms/mines to industries. Have them sit at the farm/mine until the have a load, but let them run back empty. For these trains, pick a loc that has a low running cost, speed is not a factor.

The most one train should visit is 3 stations.  If it goes to more stations then it will be away too long and you have to run multiple trains doing the same thing and eventually they will all end up at the same station and running empty behind each other. When you have 3 stations to service, you have to options for running trains. A-B-C-B-A and A-C, or A-B-C-A and A-C-B-A. It depends on the position of the cities , when they are in a line, the former, when a triangle, the latter.

The most fun for me in RRT3 is the planning, so I tend to really look at the map and plan routes far in advance. For the most part, I tend to play games less than 30 years at slow speed and longer games at normal speed.

I like to look at it like you are in the railroad business, so don't chince on trains. Build double track on trunk lines, but single track on feeder lines. On busy cities, run two trains between them, but only when the volume warrants it. Depending on the route and the qualities of the locomotive, run as many as 8 cars. On hilly terrain fewer cars but always watch to make sure your trains aren't backed up on a grade all doing 1 mph.

Run profitable trains, go from resource to industry, leave out the stuff in between. If you want something at station A, then take it from where it is to station A. If you want to chince on train, then your resource will stop at the first station where there is a demand, and it will sit there until consumed or demanded somewhere else and then it will go there. So it either gets slowed down or consumered.

The closer an industry to a station, the faster a resource with be consumed. So when you buy an industry, or build one, try to get it as close to the station as you can. Don't try to buy industries that have the resouce far away. Look at how the resources are travelling on the map, and when a resource is flowing down a river, try to get your station cache to cover the river.

Small and medium stations are a waste of time. If you can't afford a large station, then build a small one and the moment you get enough, upgrade or rebuild it.

Textile Mills, if well supplied are good industries to get, so are distilleries and breweries. Tool and Die are not a wise investment, nor are steel plants unless you have plentiful resources close by. Meat packing plants are great, and paper mills if you have a good supply of pulp close by, in which case so too are lumber mills.

The more finished goods are the more difficult to succeed with because the raw materials are more in demand in the cities than resources, so it's harder to get all of it to the factories.

I also don't waste my time with hotels or taverns, but post offices are a good thing but not necessary. Remember that an industry will generally take 10 years to pay itself off, 15-20 if upgraded. So be careful of using bonds too much because your average bond is going to cost you 50k per year, so if you use 3 bonds to buy an industry that makes 130k per year you will lose money. When you can, repay your bonds, and try to refinance them to get lower rates.

Hope this helps.

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Wow, thanks Nedfumpkin!  Lots of great tips in that post!

Interestingly, a lot of what you said are things that I was just beginning to realize myself, but your post confirms things and will certainly helpl quicken the learning process.  There were still a few things, though, like locations of industries relative to stations and rivers that I hadn't yet discovered.  The big epiphany was your explanation of train routes and how to optimize them for bigger profits. 

Anyway, thanks again.  I look forward to putting this new knowledge to work and seeing the results!

Rikki

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Glad it helps. But, there are always different approaches. A few more tips....

Cargo moves across the map, and if you open the cargo window and set the speed to very fast, you can watch it move across the map. Cargo will flow down rivers on barges, the map maker sets the direction of the river.

Your cargo has to travel from your station to the industry by miniature donkey. The close the industry, the fewer the miniature donkeys needed.

If you need access to a territory that has an AI rr in it, it's sometimes cheaper to buy that other railroad than to buy access rights.

More as they come to me. :)

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Right, thanks for the reminder.  I will keep an open ear to other players' approaches. And my own, as I develop them.

And yes, a few days ago I caught on to being able to watch cargo move on its own at the fast speed setting.  That was HUGELY helpful.  Funny, for the longest time I looked at those little flat lines not knowing what they were.  Only after watching them a while did I finally realize that they represented bits of a railroad car and that they seem to correspond to the incremental decimal increase of loads produced at the factories.

I generally don't try to haul cargo over a competitors' tracks other than the joining station as it seems too expensive to me.  So yeah, I would buy the railroad if it is small but in most games that I play I always seem to be way short of the merging price.  I do enjoy the battles for control of the mid-sized ones, though, and often feel myself in a personal war against the other tycoons who have the swing vote.

Rikki

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