Video Game / Transport Tycoon

Transport Tycoon is a pair of business management simulation games created by legendary Scottish game developer Chris Sawyer (of RollerCoaster Tycoon and MicroProse fame). The apparent object of the games is to end up with a monopoly of transport services for a usually randomly generated map. Transport is provided in all four major modes; air, rail, road and water, though the most profit tends to come from rail and then air.

The two games in the series are Transport Tycoon (released in 1994 and now referred to as Original) and Transport Tycoon Deluxe (released in 1995).

Transport Tycoon Deluxe is an updated version. It contains numerous bugfixes and gameplay improvements, including new transport modes and UI. The primary difference between the games is how signals operate. The original Transport Tycoon allows only bi-directional signals, which allow trains to pass in either direction. The Deluxe version introduced uni-directional signals, that only allow a train to pass in a single direction. The Fan Remake Open TTD is derived from Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

The game was superseded officially by its 2004 Spiritual Successor, Locomotion. The free software fan game, Open TTD, was established around the same time and is still going strong. There is also a Fan Sequel of sorts, called Simutrans, but it's an indie game only Inspired By and not related or legally connected to the Transport Tycoon series.

OpenTTD official site

Transport Tycoon series fansite (very informative)

The Transport Tycoon series contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Break from Reality: Even the most sprawling metropolises will only house about 30,000 people.
    • The effects of events like World War II or the 1970s oil crisis on the economy are completely absent.
    • Helicopters, which are quite useful for delivering mail and passengers in big cities, effectively cease to exist after 2020.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The prices eventually rise so high that a piece of road costs more than a skyscraper in real life.
  • After-Action Report: Some fans of the series frequently compile these to describe how they built up their company and the country's transportation infrastructure during their playthrough. Pre-made scenario maps are especially popular for AAR recaps.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: The series is considered one of the classics of the "tycoon" genre of business sims.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The stupid things the AI tries to pass as traffic routes has to be seen to be believed. The AI is less insane in Open TTD, though it's still a pushover.
  • Artistic License - Physics: Trains can go around extremely tight corners at 300mph, but immediately slow down to a crawl when encountering a tiny hill. Only the OpenTTD implementation finally added a (more) realistic acceleration model.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Aircraft. There is no doubt that they are awesomely cool and fast, but their low cargo capacity and need for expensive airport infrastructure makes them, well...impractical.
    • Averted in Open TTD, where vast maps (4096x4096) can make Planes a game-breaking tool.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Some of the post-1990s futuristic buildings and vehicles are really odd looking.
  • Boring but Practical: Road vehicles. They don't have the allure of trains or the inherent coolness of aircraft, but they can use existing city roads (and roads laid by your competitors!) and are much less affected by gradients. OpenTTD has a large number of add-on packs that increase their usability, especially since Traffic Giant/Simutrans-style individual destinations for passengers and cargo have been introduced which for example make town buses as feeder lines to a train station or an airport possible.
  • Clown Car Base: The train depots, barely bigger than a train engine.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On higher difficulties, rival companies enjoy automatically high ratings.
    • Not Playing Fair With Resources: AI can completely destroy their environments around towns with no ill effect; the local authority will hate you and you will hate it if you bulldoze one tree. Justified, in that the AI as designed couldn't possibly compete with human players without this kind of handicap.
    • Absent in Open TTD, AIs now are able to survive without cheating.
  • Colour Coded Companies: All companies have a single, associated colour. Locomotion and Open TTD allow you to violate this, letting you choose different colours for different vehicles (e. g. different colours for steam, diesel, and electric locomotives).
  • Cool Plane: Several, from early propeller driven craft to the supersonic Concorde Yate Haugan (i.e. the Concorde).
  • Cool Train: Of course. Classic steam engines, diesel and electric locomotives of various sizes. And, from the 1990s onward, monorails and even maglevs !
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Acting like one is optional for the player. You can bribe local governments for transport monopolies, city-wide advertising campaigns, and "essential" reconstruction of a town's roads (in a competitor's town, of course).
  • Crapsack World: Intercity transport is controlled solely by private companies who tear up the landscape, dominate small towns with massive transport complexes, and compete with each other to the point of bribery and sabotage. Also, there are UFOs.
  • Creator Provincialism: Before the name change for legal reasons that came in Deluxe, all vehicles in the game sported not only the likeness of their Real Life counterparts, but also their names. Most of these were of British manufacture, representative of British vehicle evolution over the 20th century. This is played particularly straight with nearly all locomotives, as well as virtually all antique trucks (e.g. Bedford, Scamell, etc.) and buses (e.g. the AEC Regal). However, Sawyer subverted and averted this approach in other parts of the purchase rosters : Only a few aircraft come from UK companies (e.g. the Vickers Viscount, BAC 1-11, BAe 146, partly the Concorde), with your first available aircraft being a German Junkers Ju 52. Most later 20th century road vehicles are of European (Renault, Volvo, Peugeot) and American brands or marques (Ford), while keeping some British-made buses around (e.g. the Leyland Leopard). The vast majority of the ships are actually generic, not meant to represent any specific Real Life models. The only exception to the this would be the unnamed model of hovercraft, which is clearly modelled on the classic British Saunders-Roe SR.N4 "Mountbatten class".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If an AI competitor is using road vehicles, it's possible to set up a rail line across the road and order a locomotive to "dispose" of AI vehicles. This leaves your reputation and the locomotive completely unharmed.
  • Diagonal Speed Boost: Sort of. At least Open TTD does not provide a literal diagonal speed boost; however, the payments are tied to the number of grid lines you have to cross between the stations. If you go 50 squares diagonally, you can be faster than 100 squares parallel to one axis and still receive the same payment for your cargo.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Trains. The most complicated transport method to set up initially (especially if you're trying to network all your lines together), but overall the most efficient way to ship non-passenger goods (Planes are best for passengers).
  • Downloadable Content: OpenTTD has this in spades, specifically with the "Check Online Content" option. There are hundreds of NewGRFs, scenarios, AIs, and game scripts available.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted in that vehicles need to be maintained, otherwise they break down. Played straight with passenger and cargo; they will go wherever you ship them.
  • Game Mod / Fan Remake : OpenTTD.
    • TTDPatch is exactly this: a Game Mod for Transport Tycoon Deluxe which alters the executed binary code at runtime while leaving the original executables intact.
    • OpenTTD itself has got loads of patches and several ready-to-compile or pre-compiled patch packs.
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting: The original starts in 1930. Deluxe has 1950 as the earliest date. Spiritual Successor Locomotion starts in 1900. OpenTTD can start even earlier, given the right NewGRFs.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: After December 31, 2060, the date loops back to January 1, 2060, rather than proceeding to 2061. A Game-Breaking Bug if you have vehicles scheduled for maintenance in 2061...
  • Karma Meter: Crash accidents make your company rating go down. This can be used cleverly to cause trouble for your opposition, however.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo / Captain Ersatz : All vehicles from the original 1994 UK installment were real ones from the various eras of the 20th century and all of them used their Real Life names. To avoid potential lawsuits, every vehicle in the US release, and subsequently the Deluxe version (and by extension, Open TTD) was renamed. For example, a Vickers Viscount becomes a "Coleman Count", the TGV Réseau becomes the "TIM", an Eurostar becomes an "Asiastar", a Boeing 747 is a "Darwin 300", the Lockheed Tristar is a "Guru Galaxy", all planes of the Airbus brand are called "Airtaxi", and the Concorde is referred to as a "Yate Haugan".
    • Several of these vehicles new names are Shout Outs to the QA testers' last names, including Bakewell, Luckett, Sampson, Kirby, Witcombe, Uhl, and Dinger.
  • Made of Explodium: When two vehicles or convoys collide (except the train in a road/train collision), the vehicles will explode into a fireball. This occurs even if the vehicles aren't carrying flammables of any type, such as an electric passenger train.
  • Level Ate / Toy Time: The "Toyland" climate.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: City and town councils can become this, for better or for worse. Especially if they don't know your company well yet and you start massively altering their surroundings and tearing down older buildings - they'll simply ban you from constructing any of your company's structures on their territory, until you regain your reputation (which can often take years).
    • Conversely, be on good enough terms with a Town Council, and the player can encourage a Council-sponsored reconstruction of the town's roads, blocking any AI-controlled road traffic for months.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Every single time a small UFO flies above a bus, they both breakdown at the exact same time and UFO crashes exactly onto the bus.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Spiritual Successor Locomotion uses Scott Joplin Ragtime pieces for the 1900-1920 era of the game. Averted after 1920, and also averted in Transport Tycoon.
  • Terrain Sculpting: Players can reshape the land to suit their needs. The cost is usually high enough that the player will only make small changes.
  • Units Not to Scale: Ships are not much bigger than train cars. In reality, cargo ships carry hundreds of containers which are as big as train cars. Additionally, facilities such as train stations and railyards can be as big as or bigger than the cities they serve.
  • Shout-Out / Easter Egg : Every now and then, an X-COM fighter jet or UFO will appear and fly around the map.
  • Suicide Mission: As detailed below, this is a perfectly reasonable way of dealing with competitors.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Want to try and nurse mainline steam traction into the 21st century ? Now's your chance.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • It's possible to cause the deaths of thousands of people in one go by judicious use of the "Ignore signal" button.
    • It takes a little time to set up, but if you have created cities directly at sea level, only protected by a dike, and then delete the dike, the city will be overrun by the water and destroyed.
      • There is a map in Transport Tycoon Deluxe called "Damn!" where the entire map is at sea level and protected by a dike.
    • You can take revenge on the computer-favoured AI opponents' badly built railways by building a railway depot at the end of their stations, buying a cheap locomotive and sending it running into the opponent's station. His train eventually enters the station, your locomotive charges at his train kamikaze-style and...
  • Video Game Time: A day passes every few seconds, so trains take weeks to travel from one town to another. Because of this, we have the oddity that passengers will pay through the the nose for the privilege of travelling a couple of miles in "only" ten days.
  • The Wiki Rule: Transport Tycoon Wiki, OpenTTD Wiki and even more specialized wikis.