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Better Ways to Move Mountains

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Is it possible to host images on site? (and how) I could use imageshack, but it may delete images sometimes.

 

I also see that when I click on the image I posted it magnifies the thumb (and opens the pic in a new window). How do I fix this?

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 Hi All,

 

I will be posting two track laying tutorials in this thread (Diagonally, in the SW<->NE and NW<->SE direction - involves flattening the trackbed as well). As basic as this may sound (virtually all RT2 players know how to lay track one way or another), there are quite a few details involved which affect both the quality of the track laid and the economic results it delivers.

 

The player is assumed to know the so called "stitchning" technique (how to build a flat trackbed) in an orthogonal direction (E<->W, N<->S).

 

 


 

Part A: Laying Diagonal Track in the SW<->NE Direction

 

0. Before laying your (diagonal) track it is suggested that you check if and where the track can actually be laid. Save your game, select the straight track tool, and try laying a section of track along the desired path. You may find that it would require bulldozing a building or industry, or crossing a river but the bridge cannot be built (because of the river's direction - bridges may only cross rivers vertically) and you have to change the track's route, but this results in curves and therefore speed reduction. In such cases you should rather consider alternative routes, eg shifting the track one or tiles often solves these problems. If you have made (or modified) the map yourself you would have reserved the map cells (remember, you need as many as three tiles across, see the pic below) but often (usually?) you play with maps designed by someone else. It is recommended that you open the map in the editor and check what the author intended to do.

 

post-6587-0-22710800-1377542622.jpg

 

 

1. The first thing you need is an "anchor" or "reference" point. The diagonal track we will lay will be at the same elevation as this reference point. This, of course, is a section of track. The tile you want to use as a reference point must be flat (0% grade) and lying on the desired (diagonal) route; if not, use the "stitching" method (for straight orthogonal track - should I write a tutorial for this too?) until it meets the diagonal route.

 

post-6587-0-24640800-1377542752.jpg

 

 

2. Now select the single piece track tool (in the NW-SE direction, ie perpenticular to your diagonal route). Hover the piece (don't lay it yet) in front of the anchor track piece (on the track route). As you can see in the pic, you can place it at two positions. Costs, as well as the deformation it causes to the adjacent cells) are different. Choose the cheapest or the one that affects adjacent tiles the least. These are not necessary the same, often the one that causes less deformation costs more, because the other end of the track piece is laid on a tile with trees (up to 8K), but usually the more the deformation the higher the cost. I usually select the position that causes the less deformation, because it tends to be propagated along the track direction, unfortunately.

 

post-6587-0-00176900-1377542778.jpg

 

Once you have decided where to place it, click at the desired position to lay it. Look what has happened now: the vertex opposite to the reference point has been moved to the same elevation. That is we took the first small step. One might think that we could lay a small piece of track between the anchor point and the leveled piece, but this is not yet the case, because the other two vertices of the tile have not been leveled. We will see how to do this in the next steps.

 

post-6587-0-10152800-1377542800.jpg

 

 

3. Now select the bulldozer tool (1x1 of course) and bulldoze the piece you last laid. Place the cursor (bulldozer) on the tile that lies on the route (not the other end of the track piece) and click. Why? The answer is again trees. The bulldozer tool removes both the track piece and the trees, and (normally) you want to: a) bulldoze the trees on the track route (because laying tracks on trees costs more, and more expensive track has higher maintenance - 6% of the track value per year), and b) keep the trees everywhere else (for landscaping).

 

post-6587-0-15421600-1377542813.jpg

 

 

4. Without clicking, hover the bulldozer tool over the two tiles around the track route and check the bulldoze costs (at the bottom of the screen).

 

post-6587-0-99493800-1377542821.jpg

 

This way you can detect whether any of the two tiles contains trees, and how many (the track pieces laid may be hiding them). Remember the tile that has no (or has the fewest) trees.

 

 

5. Select the single piece track tool again, and lay the track piece on the above two tiles. This will level the rest of the tile (the other two vertices). We now have a fully flat tile.

 

post-6587-0-36379900-1377542831.jpg

 

 

6. Select the bulldozer tool again and bulldoze the new track piece. Of course, bulldoze the tile that has no (or has the fewest) trees. This will result in the best possible aesthetic result. Sometimes though, in the case where both tiles have trees, bulldozing the tile that contains more trees, may actually deliver better results because the trees are close to the track, and the track would hide them. If (in step 4.) you found that both tiles have trees, you can "test-lay" (hover without actually laying) a piece of track (along the route, ie SW-NE) to see if it hides the trees or not (of course, this is an extreme measure, for perfectionists ).

 

post-6587-0-04435300-1377542850.jpg

 

If the track piece you have used as the reference point is not part of your permanent (and presumably "cheap") track, bulldoze it now too.

 

post-6587-0-86395800-1377542861.jpg

 

 

7. So now we have two consecutive flat tiles on the diagonal route (the anchor point and the tile we lelveled). Select the single piece track tool again (in the SW-NE direction this time) and lay a single piece of track there. The piece must be "cheap", as the two tiles contain no trees and it causes no deformation or smoothing when you lay it (if it does, exit without saving and start over - there must be something wrong).

 

post-6587-0-04680500-1377542873.jpg

 

 

At this point we have laid the first tile of our diagonal track.

 

(Cont) - Due to limitations to the number of images in a post

 


 

P.S.: Someone please help to hide those thumbnails at the bottom

post-6587-0-22710800-1377542622_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-24640800-1377542752_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-00176900-1377542778_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-10152800-1377542800_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-15421600-1377542813_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-99493800-1377542821_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-36379900-1377542831_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-04435300-1377542850_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-86395800-1377542861_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-04680500-1377542873_thumb.jp

post-6587-0-96275300-1377547488_thumb.jp

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(cont)

 

The good thing with the SW-NE track is that this kind of track is "stable" (or "unmovable", if you prefer). You cannot "deform" or "bend" it (any of its vertices), no matter what kind of track you lay next to it. This means that the last track tile can be used as the new anchor point, to continue flattening of the route, repeating the above procedure (steps 2.-7.).

 

post-6587-0-96275300-1377547488.jpg

 

 

Notes:
- The cost of "moving grounds" depends on the manager and the economic status. It's called "Mountainous Track Building", and it's not the same as "Track Building", which includes only the laying of the tracks and not the terraforming (smoothing) required. The cost of "moving grounds" is included in the track cost, and you pay maintenance for it (6% of the track value year, or 0.5% monthly). Therefore, for long scenarios it might be preferable to bulldoze the parts of the track that contain much "moving of grounds" and rebuild them, preferably with a manager offering reduced Track Building, like Charles Mayer (-40% Track Bulding). The new track not only will be built with a considerable discount, it won't comprise that expensive component (Mountainous Track Building) either. Namely it will be much cheaper and therefore will be paying proportionately lower maintenance. Bulldozing that "expensive" track results in a sharp worsening of goodwill, reduces track value (and consequently the company's Book Value), reduces profits (or causes losses) by the same amount as the cost of the track bulldozed (in the same year - it's booked as "Track Maintenance" too!), but lower track value results in lower maintenance costs later.
- In the example in the last image, our track was extended by one tile, using the double-track tool. If the tutorial was to be continued, the next step would be a single-track tile, then double-track again etc. Placing single- and double- track alternately results in the cheapest possible track, cheaper than dragging a double track segment all the way. But if you are using a manager like Robert Gerwig to "move the grounds" (prepare the trackbed), it might be worth to hire someone like Charles Mayer for building the final track, so in this case don't build double track (it will be bulldozed anyway), instead build single track, then bulldoze it and build the final (double) one with the new manager. However the track built with alternating single- and double-track pieces, isn't "expensive" either, as it contains no terraforming or trees, so keeping or bulldozing it is a marginal decision.

 

 

The above procedure might look too complicated or slow to some, but once you learn it you will find that it's quite easy actually.

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Thanks cogeo, this is great stuff, and you did an awesome job explaining everything!

 

Here's a question for you:  How can you create a track with a constant grade?  Of course, 0% is the optimum grade, but sometimes we have to go 'up' or 'down' over a haul.  If you know you need (on average) about a 1% grade to get from point A to point B, is there a way to terraform that in?  I know you can do it by trial and error in the editor, but I'm talking about doing it within the game itself.  Sometimes I wish I could just identify the beginning and end points of a track and have the computer calculate the most efficient route and grade to get between the two points.  :)

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Think of a sequence of cell grades like a series of elevation differentials. Sum them up yourself and then decide what slope you're willing to tolerate. Then you can calculate how many cells you need, and then you can go to work cutting and filling a rough slope. Dragging track over the semi-staircase should mostly smooth it out.

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Thank you cogoe. That's a great tutorial. 

This not only helps me to learn a new way to pave mountains, but also inspires me to look into the mechanics of the diagonal track grades more closely. I have something now, and I will post my studies later. 

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Great tutorial, thanks cogeo. Your method is completely fool-proof and aesthetically nice. Good stuff. Will use it.

 

Still trying to understand why the game levels differently in each direction. Why does a single straight track piece (N-S direction) lock the vertices of the cell on the south but not on the north?

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Think of a sequence of cell grades like a series of elevation differentials. Sum them up yourself and then decide what slope you're willing to tolerate. Then you can calculate how many cells you need, and then you can go to work cutting and filling a rough slope. Dragging track over the semi-staircase should mostly smooth it out.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I do now... I was just wondering if there was a better way to do it without spending so much money!

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Still trying to understand why the game levels differently in each direction. Why does a single straight track piece (N-S direction) lock the vertices of the cell on the south but not on the north?

 

I can imagine ways of programming a function that would look at each of a cell's vertices in a certain order, thereby creating a directional bias. I sure wish we could get a copy of the source code. I wonder what nightmares it would give us.

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