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Persistence in a railroading game

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Persistence beyond a scenario in RT1-3 doesn't exist. Would that have helped? I'm inclined to say no. I say that because the timeline within a scenario is usually a human lifetime. So the only thing that I was thinking would be essentially a player profile that collects achievements. However, if this doesn't provide any tangible persistent asset that the player can use, is this just then a glorified statistics board? Would that be good enough?

 

Along side of that, did people like the Chairmen they could hire in RT2/3 or was it just a stat buff that came and went and could have been anything? 

 

More specifically, I'm wondering if scenarios always let the player "Build-a-Chairman" at the start of each scenario. A more elaborate version of the starting options in RT2/3 scenarios. This would then potentially eliminate Chairmen being hired/fired within the game.

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Persistence may add some interest to a campaign. This has potential of being an interesting avenue to explore technological advancement, with research and development costs (and maybe special tasks) from the previous game having an effect overall on the current game and hence the final resulting technology at the end of the campaign. This way players can stick with steam by investing in compounds and super heaters, or invest in electric motors for both electric and diesel trains and subsequently catenary improvements etc..

 

I assume that you mean "managers" for hire instead of "chairmen"? RT3 dropped this feature, by the way. In RTII these managers add something to the game in my opinion, but I envision the possibility of setting this up a little differently. Whatever the case, it should be impossible to hire and fire them one after the other to find exactly the one you want. I propose dividing the managers into main categories such as, Track-laying overseers, Master Engineers, Station/Yard masters, and Marketers and Financiers. The scenario creator should be able to choose whether to allow managers in the first place, the allowed categories, and also potentially the specific chairmen allowed/otherwise this will be random. Managers will attract a base salary plus a a percentage of revenue based on the strength of his effects. The managers with stronger effects will potentially also have a negative effect on the company on top of being most expensive to retain. At game start, after choosing a category, the player will then have a choice between the specific chairmen (either random or as chosen by the creator), as to how he wants to play the strategy. There is some loss of realism as far as attracting a great chairman to a small company, but I am sick of the switching thing. Is this similar to your vision of "build-a-chairman"?

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My first take on this is to provide the player with the ability to train a manager in areas that the player feels are important, like locomotive improvements, track engineering, sales, business management etc. The player can create a manager that they keep for use in a campaign... probably for scenarios too with some restrictions. But the idea is that they use a resource earned from completing scenarios to pay for the training of a manager. They can also be more specifically tailored for their own personal style... or to try a different style. Make them critical path choices so hiring and firing isn't an issue in a game. My only fear with this kind of thing is complication. We can't make this game harder than RT2. Tiny choices are not choices in the end. Big and motivational is what I'm trying to focus on. Like I'm trying to come to grips with if the player IS the chairman and is sort of RPing the position. It may be too "fiddly" but I enjoyed PopTop's use of making you RP the dictator in Tropico and the game was still a strategy game, but it added to the immersion. So i guess that's really where I'm headed, dropping managers and chairman as they were in RT2 and making them a personal chemistry set for encountering scenarios.

 

Make sense?

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I don't know whether I like moving too far away from a business sim model. A RP aspect isn't likely to add anything to a tycoon game for me. I see a risk that strategy could get compromised. The main play path in railroad tycoon of starting and building up a company from nothing (rags to riches) almost always appeals to me even in unrealistic situations where I am starting a new railroad in the US in 1980 on a blank map for example. This whole idea isn't very compatible with persistence and sticking to one player. Since you can be a different "chairman", it makes more sense that you get to start a new company every time. I said that maybe past scenarios you have played could have an effect on technology, but after more thought I realize this also takes the game away from being a sim (it's not based on real-life), so forget about that. It's fun to think what-if for a while, but I think the core idea of the tycoon genre is a simulation of history/real-life. These are the issues I see with this idea, probably there is a way to make a compromise, but I doubt too many old schoolers will be thrilled by this addition.

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