Video Game / Transport Tycoon

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"Drontburg Coal Mine increases production!"

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). An expansion pack for the original game, named Transport Tycoon World Editor, was also released in 1995, which featured a scenario editor (which was eventually included in Deluxe) and a "Martian" set of graphics.

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, OpenTTD, is derived from Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Originally a set of patches called TTDPatch, it was created to allow enthusiasts to include other vehicles, especially historical trains and the like, and eventually grew to add all sorts of features. It supported a plug-in architecture, so users could download add-ons they were interested in. Eventually TTDPatch grew much larger than the original game, so some developers decided to replace the remaining bits, allowing the now much-more-elaborate game to be played by anyone. The replacement code was completed in 2004, and an effort begun to replace the art and music, which finished in 2010. OpenTTD is free/open source, and works on a wide variety of operating systems. TTDPatch is still maintained in parallel, and the huge library of plugins and add-ons works with both.

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.

The original game was superseded officially by its 2004 Spiritual Successor, Locomotion.

Owen's Transport Tycoon Site and the (now-defunct) Transport Tycoon Semi-FAQ (Archive link) are very informative fansites.

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.
  • 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 custom AIs available for OpenTTD are much less insane, even the one that tries to emulate the "classic" AI.
  • 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 (despite their actual speed being a ¼ of their advertised speed), but their low cargo capacity and need for expensive airport infrastructure makes them, well...impractical.
    • Averted in OpenTTD, where vast maps (up to 4096x4096 in the stock game; custom builds can go even higher) can make Planes a game-breaking tool. The fact that the speed handicap can be adjusted or removed entirely doesn't help either.
  • 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 depots can hold hundreds of vehicles despite being only big enough for one of them. The train depots are especially ridiculous; a 100-car train can enter a depot barely big enough for the engine just fine!
  • 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, free of charge, 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.
    • Averted in OpenTTD: the landscaping handicap was removed, which means the custom AIs must be programmed to survive without that advantage (and they're able to do so rather well).
  • Colour Coded Companies: All companies have a single, associated colour. OpenTTD 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 (a.k.a. Yate Haugan). Custom packs like the av8 set and the Planeset can give you even more of these.
  • Cool Train: Of course. Classic steam engines, diesel and electric locomotives of various sizes. And, from the 1990s onward, monorails and even maglevs! Lots and lots of custom train packs exist for about every major railroad nation.
  • 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:
    • The buildings in Original and the "Temperate" climate in Deluxe are of a British style: several were explicitly based on real buildings in Glasgow. A few houses in Original which had a more American design were moved to the "Artic" climate in Deluxe.
    • The vehicles play it straight or avert it on a case-by-case basis. The initial UK release of Original used real names for the vehicles, which were changed in later releases (see Lawyer-Friendly Cameo below for details):
      • The locomotives all play it straight: they're named and modeled after famous British models such as the Class A4 and the InterCity 125.
      • The starter road vehicles use British makes (Leyland, Bedford, Scammell, AEC, Dennis), but the 1970's-era vehicles use European (Renault, Volvo, Peugot, Fiat) or American (Ford) brands.
      • The boats are all generic (they didn't have brands in Original), but the hovercraft is clearly modeled on the classic British Saunders-Roe SR.N4 "Mountbatten class".
      • Only a few of the aircraft are British (such as the Vickers Viscount, BAC 1-11, BAe 146 and the British/French Concorde); the starter airplane in Original is the German Junkers Ju 52.
  • 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 OpenTTD 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 (unless you disable breakdowns). Played straight with passenger and cargo; they will go wherever you ship them.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A lot of them have been fixed by TTDPatch and OpenTTD:
    • Once the game reaches December 31, 2070, the calendar loops back to January 1, 2070. If a vehicle is scheduled for servicing in 2071, it will never get serviced and its reliability will steadily drop to 0%.
    • The newest model of helicopter in the default vehicle set becomes obsolete after 2020, making it impossible to build new helicopter routes or maintain existing ones to acceptable levels of service (what with the 0% reliability helicopters breaking down constantly). OpenTTD hasn't fixed that, although disabling vehicle obsolescence or using NewGRFs can solve that problem.
    • Buying out a competitor while a news item about them is showing can cause a crash, especially with the "[company] starts construction near [town]" message. Also, buying out a competitor with active subsidies will screw up those subsidies: they won't pay as they should, the information in the "Subsidies" box will be corrupted and opening said box will sometimes cause a crash.
    • Multiplayer gameplay in the pre-OpenTTD days was notoriously unstable: the game would start to go out of synchronization by the 1990's, slow down and eventually become unplayable.
  • 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. 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... Thankfully, this is one of the bugs TTDPatch and OpenTTD fixes.
  • Guide Dang It: After the large airport is introduced in 1955, almost every aircraft model introduced from then on will have a noticeably higher chance of crashing at small airports (which can't be built after 1959). Only a few models (3 in Original, 6 in Deluxe) introduced after 1955 can land safely on small airports, but the only way of knowing which ones is to either check on vehicle databases online or, in OpenTTD, set "Small Airplanes" in the livery scheme to a different colour from the standard one.
  • 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 : The initial UK release of Original used real company names for the vehicles and several were explicitly modeled after real models. To avoid potential lawsuits, the names were changed to fictional ones starting from the US release of Original: examples include the T.G.V. becoming the "T.I.M.", the Airbus brand becoming the "Airtaxi" brand and, most notably, the Lockheed Tristar and the Concorde becoming the "Guru Galaxy" and the "Yate Haugan" respectively. Those changes were carried over to the Deluxe version and remain in OpenTTD to this day.
    • Several of these vehicles new names are Shout Outs to the QA testers' last names, including Bakewell, Luckett, Sampson, Kirby, Witcombe, Uhl, and Dinger.
    • Deluxe includes the ability to rename the vehicles, allowing one to change the names back to the real ones if desired, and NewGRFs which do exactly that (and sometimes include new "real" names for Deluxe-exclusive vehicles) exist.
  • 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, where the trees are lollipops and you transport such cargoes as candyfloss, sugar, toffee and fizzy drinks (which are made by combining "flat" cola and bubbles, and yes, you get to transport bubbles). All those cargoes are treated as natural resources, that is, they're "extracted" from the land.
  • 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.
    • A common recommendation is to build the stations before building the tracks/roads, especially in forested areas. The local authority may block you from building stations, but they can't block you from building tracks or roads!
  • 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: OpenTTD has got an entire Scott Joplin soundtrack among its Downloadable Content.
  • Terrain Sculpting: Players can reshape the land to suit their needs. Early on, the players tend to avoid terraforming as much as possible to save money but once they're rich enough they'll often dig huge valleys in mountain ranges to build perfectly level tracks, especially in OpenTTD with its more convenient landscaping tools.
  • 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.

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