Simutrans 25th Anniversary #3: The Simutrans Museum

In the last post of this series we talked with Hajo about the first years of Simutrans. However, many of the players reading this today have never played a Simutrans version from Hajo’s era. If you ever wanted to take a taste of one of the earlier Simutrans releases, today is your lucky day!

The first demo version


A screenshot of Simutrans demo version 0.50, with text in German.

The first of the versions we have made available is not the actual first release, but it is pretty close. This beta version was released on 02/05/1999, while the history.txt starts just two months before (06/03/1999). As the “demo” name suggest, this version has practically no content, and crashes frequently, since it was just a version to show up the Simutrans engine working and a little more. Because of this and the need to use a DOSBOX, we recommend you to skip this version and try the next one if you want to truly play an early Simutrans.

The first playable version


A screenshot of Simutrans beta version 0.78.7 with the minimap and some toolbars and windows opened.

Thanks to the donation of user Khaki we got our hands on one of the firsts playable versions of Simutrans, beta version 0.78.7 (released on 14/06/01, two years after the previous demo). As you can see in the image, this version has already some basic working tools (rail, road, ship and terrain tools). The minimap is also present, with a familiar view.

You can play this version natively on Windows or with WINE under Linux, although you might find some game-breaking bugs (particularly one with pop-up windows).

The Museum and other versions

In the SourceForge Museum you can find the versions mentioned in this post and other versions from Hajo’s era (beta versions 0.80, 0.84.01, 0.84.04.1 and 0.84.10) which were recovered thanks to Markus Pristovsek. Do you have any other previous version of Simutrans not listed there? Please share it with us!

And of course, you can still download (and compile) any version of Simutrans since it became open-source on SourceForge.

Schedule of the Simutrans 25th Anniversary Posts

Talking about Markus Pristovsek, join us two weeks from now as we will interview the lead developer for the 25th Simutrans anniversary!

Simutrans 25th Anniversary #2: An interview with Hansjörg Malthaner, the Founding Father.

Simutrans was started 25 years ago, not by a game development company, not even by a team, but by a single man who dreamed to build the best ever transportation simulator: Hansjörg Malthaner, known by the Simutrans Community as “Hajo”.

But who is this “Hajo”? How did he develop Simutrans in its early days? What has he been doing since he left the project, and what does he think about Simutrans today? We have reached Hansjörg Malthaner himself for an exclusive anniversary interview to reply to these and more questions.

Let’s begin the interview!
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First of all, introduce yourself. Who are you? Where do you live? What did you study? Where are you working or have worked on the past?

I live in Stuttgart, Germany. A place that often is called boring and provincial, but actually the living quality here is quite good. To German standards it counts as a larger town with a population of more than half a million people.

Most of my professional career I’ve worked as programmer, mainly using Java. Later the focus changed to quality assurance and automatization of build processes, testing and deployment. Meanwhile research has also become an aspect, to find and compile information which enables other people to do their work efficiently. In summary, still all typical software development just with emphasis on different aspects of the development process.

With such a curriculum, it is of no surprise that programming is also a big hobby of yours. But do you have any more hobbies?

There never was a scarcity of hobbies, just scarcity of time. Electronics was something that I was very interested in during my teenage years, and which recently was refreshed by experiments with microcontrollers, like the Arduino. Gardening was something that I picked from my parents. Not sure if hobby is the right term, it’s more just part of my life all the time. As child I used to paint, and art has become a growing focus, while programming became less of a hobby and just a profession. Traditional art, pencil and watercolour, but also 3D art with help of the computer. Also experiments in sculpting and with arrangements of dried plant parts and rocks, but I even have written a few story fragments, that got some positive recognition.

Cooking has also taken a bigger role in my life lately, and I consider that a very nice hobby, particularly in conjunction with gardening and the options to grow some vegetables of my own. At times I build furniture or refurbish old furniture. There is really a lot of different things that I’m interested in. Music, both in composing or performing is likely seeing the least attention, but that didn’t stop me from building a pipes instrument which is played similar to a xylophone.

Overall I think the shift away from programming released a lot of energy that went into very interesting and often also very satisfactory activities.

Talking about your art hobby, in the previous interview (more than 10 years ago) you stated that you were bad at 3D modelling. But now, looking at your art gallery, you have definitely improved a lot. Did you work on any 3D-related project that boosted your ability?

I think I am still bad at 3D modelling, but over the years I found ways to work around this and still produce interesting scenes. There are things like people or animals though, which I can do only with a huge investment of time.

There was no particular project, but at some point I changed from drawing game related graphics to 3d modelling. The rendered graphics both were more consistent and of higher quality than what I could draw. That set my focus on using the 3d tool, and made it worthwhile to really try to get good at it.

I’m still learning new things all the time though. Both about the 3d software and also how to set up scenes. There was no quick boost, it was more of a slow progress over many years. As you mentioned, 10 years passed and I even had used the 3d software before.

The next level will be short movies, so I’ll have to learn how to move the camera, when to zoom how to cut and blend from one view to the next.


One of the artistic creations of Hansjörg Malthaner

Did you work on any serious project before starting Simutrans?

I’ll say no. I had made a ray-casting engine, the original Doom game was popular the early 90s, and a simple space flight simulation, as I was an Elite fan. Also a drawing tool. Well, let’s say the drawing tool was a serious project and actually used by some friends. But it soon was surpassed by other tools which were available for free. Also I had made a tool to model a sort of skeleton for 3D puppets and pose them easily. That one had potential but also limitations. Now tools like Blender serves the same purpose and does it much better. So I was working on projects, but none of them was published, at best shared with friends. Just the drawing tool I’ve offered as download for years, but I don’t think it ever was used by many people.

A remnant of the space flight project persists, it went through many incarnations, had become Solarex, then Solarex GL, then Stellar Prospector, using OpenGL for display but deep inside there are still some design ideas that came from the old 3D space thingy. It actually might become a game some day.

https://freegamedev.net/d/22-stellar-prospector-formerly-solarex-gl

Allow me a note here – Simutrans did not start as a serious project. It started as a “let’s see if I can do something like this” project and was only published when a person whom I had told about it in a sort of forum, asked to show a demo. The first versions were very bad, crashed often and barely had any functionality but show vehicles moving over roads on a tiled landscape. It took a lot of time to get past this infant stages.

The drawing tool sounds interesting. Did you ever use it to paint Simutrans graphics?
Yes, all the early graphics of pak64 were made with it. At that time 8 bit graphics with colour maps were still pretty standard, and the tool was aimed at working with colour mapped images. Later I changed to GIMP which is now the graphics tool that I use the most.

Actually, I forgot a later incarnation of the drawing tool, which focused on creating tile sets for games with tiled graphics. That one was used for some of the graphics in pak48.Excentrique, but more to conveniently handle and edit them. Most of the graphics were made with PovRay, a ray-tracing tool.


A screenshot of the painting tool “Drops” main menu.

So at mid 1997 you started Simutrans. A transportation simulator. Of all the projects you could have started, you started a pretty complex one. Did you ever think that the project was too much of a task for you?

Yes, I was often pushed to the limits of my skills. Particularly creating suitable graphics was a big problem. One time I got a comment, “Simutrans is too ugly to play.”

I sure wanted to do better, but at the time my graphics skills were just not good enough, and only slowly improving as well. Programming was also tough, but a task that seemed to be more a matter of time to develop good solutions.

So from about 2000 I had been looking for help, and while it was very hard in the early days to find people willing to help, the more the project grew, the more it showed potential, the more offers came. I think, you can still see all the names in the credits scroller of the intro screen. Some had gotten monuments in the game. That time there was only one pak set, so pak64 was “the game” as much as the binary.

Only few wanted a monument though. So some had their names or nicknames preserved as vehicle manufacturers, architects and company names in the game. Some wanted no mention like that and only are named in the credits.

It was my way to honour those who helped in the years when help was really hard to get.

How did you promote Simutrans and find your first contributors in the early days?

This is a surprisingly tough question. After this long time memories can be deceiving. I remember the first announcement was made in a Usenet group, but version was very incomplete, so definitely not suitable for promotion.

I remember that for a while there were a very small number of people who had shown interest and which whom a had frequent email contact to talk about the project.

Before the first forum, we used e-group, a mix of mailing list and file repository. That was the major place for Simutrans for some years. Actually I tried to keep all talk in one place, I did not want to scout a lot of places daily and look if there are questions or comments which I should respond to.

Later it spread out, and we moved from the e-group to a forum which I hosted for a while. At that point I am fairly sure that I posted links in several game development places to the forum to attract more people.

This way I got into a surprisingly friendly contact with someone who was working on a commercial transport game.

But the pressure to promote was smaller, internet was somewhat exclusive. In private I did not have internet access before 1998 and that was a pay-per minute dial up connection, so any minute online was costly and somewhat precious.

Usenet also was a good place to get in touch with other game developers, but over the years, that also moved to forums.

It was not before 2015 that I published a game video on YouTube, way past my active time with Simutrans. I never was on Facebook, so my social media experience is limited.

How was the reaction to the first releases of Simutrans?

I really can’t remember many details. It was just a demo, to show vehicles driving on roads. A proof of concept for the landscape display and vehicle driving. No game by far, and most of all, the early versions had no railroads.

A few people believed that it can become a proper game, helped with testing and feedback. If there were negative comments I seem to have forgotten, except that the art had to be improved a lot. That stuck, cause I could program, but not paint, and I had to deal with it somehow.


One of the first Simutrans demos released.

You have been quite a while apart from Simutrans. Do you miss working on Simutrans?

I certainly did not miss the working. I felt burned out and disappointed when I left, at least that is what I remember. Also more than once I voiced the opinion that software projects are a bad hobby for me, and even that I started a few over the years, it usually boiled down to the very same finding. These projects do not make me happy. I now have a stance, to only work on them when I really want to, which means that there are often year long breaks.

I missed the talk though. Usually around these projects there were challenges, ideas, solutions. They often were challenging in many ways, technical, artistic and in interaction of the player and the game. I liked to talk to other game developers about such.

What is the biggest challenge you faced when working on Simutrans?

At first I was tempted to say route calculations for vehicles and goods. But while this indeed was the biggest challenge in the early days, long term, the creation of good graphics and sound effects turned out to be an even bigger problem.

While graphics have improved over time thanks to pakset authors (pak128.german, pak192.comic, and pak256 specially), the sounds are indeed still a challenge no one wants to take. Is there anything more you think current Simutrans is in great need of improving?

I think a better user interface is needed. One that is easy to learn, understand and use. One which makes common tasks easy to accomplish. Also I think, a better looking user interface would be nice on top of an easier to use one.


Simutrans Depot window with the classic theme. The UI has improved since then, but not by much.

What was the thing you liked the most about working in Simutrans?

Actually, the thing I liked most was the feeling to be important. Older games, like civilization, had a big name on the title screen. Now I was on my way to join the ranks of these, whom I admired for their game making.

Simutrans has changed a lot through the years. When you look at it today, what makes you think?

It might sound strange, but often I wonder how much of it still is the same. All the core of the game is still quite like in the old days. I think the underground mode is the biggest new part, much of the rest was optimization and tuning what was already there. And yes, the networking code. I had a different approach in mind, and the team chose what I considered the hard way to do it. So that truly is new and it was no easy feat.

Simutrans has stand the test of time, so far. But it reached its peak in April 2012, when the game was downloaded more than 100.000 times on SourceForge. Since then its popularity has declined slowly but surely. What do you think this is due to?

I can think of three reasons. The first one is kinda obvious. Even free to play or indie games nowadays have very good graphics. Simutrans struggled to get on par with games from the 90s, and clearly looks very poor these days, compared to what players are used from other games.

The second is a more general change in gaming. Simutrans is very complex. Overall there has been a trend to simplify games. I think for most new players these days, learning how to play Simutrans is ridiculously hard.

This leads to the third point. Simutrans offers nothing inside the game to help new players. At least nothing that is easily accessible. After starting Simutrans, a player is prompted with some menus, lots of options to choose, and if they make their way through it, they are left with a kinda sad looking map and a bar of icons.

I think most new players give up at this point, if they even make it past the map creation dialog. They want to play a transport game but have to choose a pak set – a term that new players don’t even know – and then create a map. “Where is the transport game?”, many will think. And the newly generated map doesn’t look that much like a transport game either.

I think Simutrans is just too obscure for new players and not looking good enough. These days games must look very good and help the player right from the start to give them a feeling of success.

But these are just my thoughts, and others my find other explanations.

If you were to start Simutrans today, would you make it different? Would you make it simpler to accommodate the game to current trends?

This is a difficult question. I was not very experienced, neither as programmer nor as game designer and if I put myself in that position today, I think I’d again miss to understand the importance of a good interface and what is called user experience today. It had not been part of my studies, it’s something I’ve learned later.

When you left Simutrans, the code was still closed-source. However, a few years later, you agreed to open-source it. Why did you took this decision then and not before? And why was the Artistic License choose over more popular open-source licenses?

The message from Prissi came in a very bad time. I was very depressed and not able or not willing to care. I was just like “leave me alone and do what you want with Simutrans”. I was not involved in the choice of license, I think. I am sure I was asked but did not discuss, just said the choice looks good to me, that is what I remember. I did not think much about the consequences. I just tried to live. If you are depressed like that, you care very little about license details and I did not expect to get in touch with the project again, so it meant very little to me those days.


An old post by Hajo, stating that he would open-source Simutrans should he left the project, which he finally ended up doing

There has always been the discussion of OpenTTD vs Simutrans, because they are both open source transportation games with similar looks and inspirations. While Simutrans is a success, it is far from OpenTTD in term of success. Why do you think players prefer OpenTTD over Simutrans?

The Transport Tycoon games had a huge fan base already when I started to work on Simutrans. And they are good games. There is little reason for their fans to look for alternatives.

Another aspect came to my mind when I dug out TTD once and compared it to Simutrans. It had limits, but it felt more fun to play. More dynamic? More “game”? Hard to really name it. My impression was, Simutrans is a huge and heavy simulation, TTD though was more fun to play.

It is hard for any project to be alive for 25 years without an organization backing it. And yet, here it is Simutrans. What do you think are the reasons Simutrans has gone so far and lasted so long?

I think it’s mostly Prissi’s determination and persistence, also Dwachs. Maybe there are more which I missed here, due to my long absence from the community. But in any case, it’s the persistence and endurance of the people around it.

What’s your opinion about Simutrans Extended? Have you ever played it?

I never played Simutrans Extended but I think it’s good to have some competition. Usually this sparks new ideas and gives a push to try new approaches and solutions.

Finally, the question everyone wants to know., What is your favourite pakset?
pak96.comic was much to my liking. I don’t know if it is still in development, but I liked the easy and fun approach taken there.


“Big Bus station” from pak96.comic, 1st place SMSC October 2010

Let’s talk about your other recent project, “Stellar Prospector”, a sim trading game set in the space. What are your inspirations and what do you want to accomplish with it?

Inspirations are old, games like Elite and Elite 2 – Frontier, but to some extent also Masters of Orion and Ascendancy.

The project’s core is very old, dates back to 2000 or even before. It started as a stellar system generator, suns, planets, moons, atmospheres, resources and physics that were at least not openly nonsensical, even if very likely nowhere accurate either.

After that stage it became a trading game, actually without a flight simulation, well eventually a very limited 2D one. Just enough to get from place to place, cause that is what a trading game needs.

Then I’ve tried to add a 3D flight simulation, but never could fix some bugs in the display of the planets. I think, compared to other projects of mine, it got some pretty cool looks, though.

There were days when I really wanted to make a proper game out if it. I designed 5 major species to inhabit the galaxy, some politics and an attempt to simulate social events like sports events and concerts. The game even had a newspaper to read what happens in systems near and far.

But in one of the former questions you asked what is the reason for the success of Simutrans and I answered, the persistence and endurance of the core team members.

I don’t have that any-more, or maybe never had. So at the moment I don’t want to accomplish anything with it and I think the last update happened a year ago.

Furthermore there are now projects like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizens, crowd funded, very ambitioned, with very good graphics and likely way better stellar system generation code than mine.

So I don’t think it makes sense to have big plans here. I’ll work on it if want to try something, or to entertain myself in boring times.


A screenshot of Stellar Prospector

Thank you very much for this interview. Anything more you would like to say to Simutrans players?

Actually the ones I would like to address are those who joined and helped in the early years. They joined while the project hardly showed potential, had very limited graphics and it was closed source. Thank you for your trust in the project and thank you for the contributions.

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Did you find this interview interesting? Do you want to know more about how these early Simutrans versions by Hajo were? Well, you are in luck! Join us in two weeks as we will explore Simutrans’ past in the most practical way possible: re-releasing the earliest versions of Simutrans we were able to find!

Schedule of the Simutrans 25th Anniversary Posts

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Simutrans 25th Anniversary #1: A look back at our shared history. The Simutrans Timeline.


Hajo’s first Simutrans sketch. At the top-right, a date can be read: 30-06-1997. Today, 25 years ago.

Simutrans started 25 years ago. Not yet as bits and bytes, but in the mind of a man: Hansjörg Malthaner (known by the Simutrans community as “Hajo”). Today, Simutrans is still alive, not only as bits and bytes in the thousands of computers (and now smartphones) that run Simutrans, but also in the hearts of many talented programmers, excellent artists, amazing modders and dedicated players.

To everyone of you: Thank you! Simutrans has gone very far, and it will go even further, thanks to everyone who believes in the Simutrans project.

Let’s take some time to congratulate ourselves and celebrate this milestone!

But first things first…

A little bit of history

Hajo started Simutrans alone in mid-1997. It was not until early 1999 that the first public beta was released. Simutrans started gaining some interest, and the first contributors, as the precursor of our current forum was created in the early 2000’s to accommodate a growing community.

Hajo kept developing Simutrans until he retired from development because of personal reasons in 2005. Since then, Markus Pristovsek “prissi” takes care of Simutrans, but not alone. In 2007, Simutrans became open source. This move ensured the long term survival of Simutrans and attracted many contributors.

Simutrans stayed on good track after that and would eventually come to other platforms such as Linux distributions, Steam, or more recently, Android.

Meanwhile, as Simutrans matured, other projects were born from it with the intention to innovate even further like jamespetts’ Simutrans Extended or himeshi’s OTRP.

But enough of reading about history. Reading about history is boring. So why don’t you instead see it?

The Simutrans Interactive Timeline

For the first event of this anniversary, here is an exciting idea: Let’s build a Simutrans Timeline of events. Surely a project as old as Simutrans has a lot of history to tell! So let’s tell it, graphically.

The very good news is that we already have built the foundations of this timeline, and it is interactive!

See it right now at simutrans.github.io. You can look more closely an also filter by event type. Here is a closer look at the last two years.

I have added the events that came to my mind, but there are many things missing, and I don’t know everything about Simutrans. Help us get a complete view of Simutrans history by adding missing events to the repository at GitHub. Missing releases, the date a contributor joined, or important events such as the forum migration. Every help is welcome!

The Simutrans 25th Anniversary

That’s not all we have prepared for this anniversary, but that’s all for today. In the upcoming weeks, you will see more posts to celebrate the anniversary. Join us in two weeks from now for an exclusive interview with the Man Who Started It All: Hansjörg Malthaner (Hajo).

If you want to know about the rest of the events: I am not telling you yet!

  • 2022-06-30 – A look back at our shared history. The Simutrans Timeline.
  • 2022-07-15 – An interview with Hansjörg Malthaner, the Founding Father.
  • 2022-07-30 – ???
  • 2022-08-15 – ???
  • 2022-08-30 – ???
  • 2022-09-15 – ???
  • 2022-09-30 – ???
  • 2022-10-15 – ???
  • From 2022-10-30 to 2022-12-31 – ???

Happy Simutransing!

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Simutrans on Social Media


Screenshot shared by ahakuoku on the Simutrans Discord

Building amazing transport networks is a lot of fun, and after building the railway of your dreams you surely would want to share it with others! For this purpose, and also delivering to you Simutrans news and other content, Simutrans is present on many Social Media platforms.

Official presence

You can follow or join the following communities, managed by Simutrans contributors:

Simutrans Extra #2: Simutrans for Android, Introducing the Extended Pier System and the New Directory Structure.

Welcome to another Simutrans Extra! For the ones that join us for the first time, Simutrans Extra is a series of articles bringing you the latest news of the Simutrans world, in a bulletin format. You can read previous editions in the Simutrans Steam News section.

We have been very quiet this year so far, but there are nonetheless exciting things to share! We’ll also be celebrating the 25 years of Simutrans during the second part of this year, so stay tuned: special publications coming soon!

But now, let’s review what has been happening these months in the Simutrans world, starting with the biggest plate: the Android port.

Simutrans for Android

Since the past year and thanks to the initial efforts made by krosk, we have a working Android build of Simutrans. This was one of the major goals for Simutrans, and it is finally here!

Publishing the game to the Play Store was a long effort (which prissi took personally), due to Google’s review process. And it is mainly the reason why this Simutrans Extra number took so long to publish – I was waiting for that process to end.

Although the build an publishing is already done, that does not mean that there’s nothing left to do: Simutrans has not been designed to be played on mobile, and a lot of work needs to be done to adapt the current interface to mobile characteristics.

You can download and play Simutrans from the Google Play Store:
=> https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simutrans
Or directly from the GitHub releases page:
=> https://github.com/simutrans/simutrans/releases/tag/Nightly

For the Google Play Store, you can play the current nightly by joining the beta program. If you encounter any problems or have any suggestions feel free to post them on the Simutrans International Forum.

New directory structure

Traditionally, Simutrans has had two main directories:

  • Base directory – Simutrans installation and paksets go here.
  • User directory – Savegames, configuration and other user-specific stuff go here.

However, with the new pakset installer it was clear that this separation was not enough; we have added a third directory:

  • Paksets install directory – Simutrans paksets installed by the installer will go there.

Why? Well, when Simutrans is installed in the system, the user usually does not have sufficient permissions to allow paksets installation. Also, operating systems (like MacOS) have been pushing for self-contained programs, which was not compatible with pakset installation in the previous directory structure, and involved some hacks to even make it work in the first place.

From now on, paksets will be installed in a separate directory (inside %appdata% on Windows and the user directoyr on Unix-like systems. Note: Name still to be decided). Worry not, because this will not affect traditional Simutrans installations (including Steam) – Simutrans will still be able to read your paksets from the base directory!

Pak128 maintained again

This year started with a bad new: pak128 (default pakset on Steam) was marked as unmaintained, after 5 years without updates. After the announcement was done, however, Simutrans user garro (Gianmarco Garrisi) expressed interest in maintaining it again, and prissi also made some necessary maintenance.

However, this effort is losing momentum. So if you want to collaborate, check “pak128 revive: How to contribute” post in the International Simutrans Forum:
=> https://forum.simutrans.com/index.php/topic,21329.0.html

Elevated Way Support System for Simutrans Extended

We have not yet talked about Simutrans Extended in Simutrans Extra, and I owe you a proper presentation. But for current Simutrans Extended players, this is a new worth mentioning.

A new system for elevated way supports (formerly know as “Pier System”) has been incorporated recently into Simutrans Extended (Simutrans’ main fork). The Elevated Way Support System, developed for months by PJMack, is (in the word of its author):

“A new system for elevated ways that allows not only half-height elevated ways, but elevated ways on uneven terrain. Such method involves an new object type pier and new ground type pier-deck where the ground is placed on top of a pier. The system also allows the pakset designer to place restrictions on the ribi of ways both on the pier-deck and under it, as well as place restrictions on what types of piers can be built on others what other types and what types of piers can be placed on the same tile as another.”

You may find helpful this video-tutorial made by MG about this system

How can YOU contribute to Simutrans

Simutrans is an open source project. That means that anyone – including you – can improve it! Did you ever want to contribute to Simutrans but you have no skill for coding? Worry not, you can contribute to Simutrans in a variety of ways:

Translating

Simutrans is constantly updating and adding texts so we are always in need for translators:

Painting

Simutrans is always looking for artists! If you want to paint graphics for Simutrans, check:

Coding

Reporting bugs and submitting suggestions

Simutrans 123.0.1 Released

Simutrans 123.0.1 has been released. This is a small bugfix release to address some of the bugs of the 123 release, but there are also some interesting quality-of-life changes (such as the the option to scale the screen manually).

This release brings the Steam version back in sync with the non-Steam version, so regular players should be able to play network games again with Steam players.

Download Simutrans 123.0.1

Highlights of this version

  • All resizeable windows get minimize button in title-bar
  • Infinite mouse scrolling can be activated manually in the display settings
  • Option to adjust screen scaling manually (either via display settings or ‘-screen_scale’ command line option)
  • Illegal schedule entries are highlighted and a button to clear them up will appear.

Paksets updated

  • Pak64.german 123.0.0.2
  • Pak128.german 2.1
  • Pak128 2.8.2 (this is the default pakset on Steam)
  • pak48.excentrique 0.19 rc3

Full changelog

Here’s the full list of changes since the last version.

Added

  • Option to adjust screen scaling manually (either via display settings or ‘-screen_scale’ command line option)
  • not connected to any player network as additional option
  • selected convoi in minimap now magenta. Also network display properly updated when activating or closing windows
  • Illegal schedule entries are highlited and a button to clear them up will appear.
  • Infinite mouse scrolling can be activated manually in the display settings; but it will fail with certain touch devices
  • mark obsolete vehicls in vehicle-details tab
  • minimize buttons to convoi, halt and line window
  • button to remove double entries in schedules

Changed

  • Infinite mouse scrolling can be activated manually in the display settings; but it will fail with certain touch devices~
  • FluidSynth looks also for SF3 soundfonts
  • All resizable windows get minimize button in titlebar
  • one more row in schedule dialog for a little nicer display
  • lang files are loaded if their name is *XX.tab or XX*.tab. The first is preferred to avoid confusion by name like ja-taken.tab

Fixed

  • show overlay number on vehicle of convoy in depot
  • station display crashes on old paksets when certain windows unicode fonts are selected
  • time and minimum loading were not correctlin shown for schedule entries
  • empty schedules should be allowed…
  • pakset installer closes simutrans again after exiting the second time, but only if no paksets are found
  • sscanf_schedule ensures valid schedule
  • correctly adjust current_stop when moving entries in schedule up/down
  • Mouse pointer is restored after exiting the pakset installer from in-game options
  • allow tunnel building starting from tunnel tiles
  • Exiting pakset installer for a second time no longer closes Simutrans
  • loading of savegames with broken AI data (table keys have to be enclosed by [“..””> not only “..”)
  • when loading AI scripts respect -noaddons setting
  • delete double entries in schedules while editing, fix memory leak
  • Memory leak when translation contains malformed strings
  • tooltip in main menu
  • beach calculation was broken
  • crash in line window (when sorting in reverse order)
  • size of follow convoi when minimap is zoomed
  • Wrong formatting specifier in network_send_data
  • Translations from paksets fail to load
  • schedule highlightnigh in transport net on convois and minimap fixed and restored
  • ISO code can be first or last
  • pakset isntaller in windows after fullscreen enabled caused hang, because of invisble isntaller
  • Runaway simulation speed in some cases if modal_dialogue is open
  • show_month==1 now consistently for 24h per month
  • buy vehicle only with release (fixes also finger usage)
  • no jumping up and down in gui if schedule in empty or waypoint
  • arrow now call the inteded routines
  • arrow also works with two entries in schedule

Announcing the Simutrans Steam Screenshot Contest 2 winners

Votes have been submitted and winners are very clear. Congratulations to the winners!

First winner

The first position goes to… Aéroport De Jean Luc Picard, by DThunder518. Congratulations for your revenge, you finally win a contest!

Second winner

In second place, we have another image by DThunder. Schmetterlingsstadt gets the silver medal. What’s this, is DThunder518 going to claim all the podium?

Third winner

The well-earned third place is for… Leartin! Tropical Screen managed to reach the podium and deny DThunder518 yet another victory. Congratulations!

Winners 4-10

In order of votes.

4 – Transit Center, by DThunder518

5 – HSL ICE Passing Berngau Station, by danivenk

6 – Lübbecke, by Flemmbrav

7 – Dos Puentos, by DThunder518 (I think you mean “Dos Puentes”?)

8 – To The Moon!, by Flemmbrav.

9 – Bösel Hauptbahnhof In The DMZ, by danivenk.

10 – Fuchshofen Grenzbahnhof Where 2 Nations Meet In The DMZ, by danivenk.

Conclusion

I’m personally very happy with the results (specially since my favourite screenshot won) and with the participations. The screenshots look pretty good and more than enough were submitted to populate the Pak192.Comic store page, where you can already see them, replacing the old screenshots.


Library Header using the second winner.

I’m also delighted to see that this contest has drawn some necessary attention to pak192.comic, and I’m sure some of you have discovered this magnificent pakset thanks to this. Many of you have expressed feedback on the forums or other channels, and this was very valuable to pak192.comic developers. Perfect, all of this was a secondary objective of this contest. So if you have any additional comments, go leaving them before you forget! And if you liked pak192.comic, let a thumbs up in the Pak192.Comic store page.

Congratulations to the winners, and good luck next time to the ones who didn’t make it there! Join us next time at the end of this year in a special edition of this contest to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Simutrans. Until them, happy Simutransing!

Vote now in the Simutrans Steam Screenshot Contest #2

Thank you everyone who have submitted screenshots for this second Simutrans Steam Screenshot Contest. Submissions are now closed, and we have over 20 screenshots from pak192.comic (I must admit that it is a bit over my initial expectations). It is now time to select the winners! Let’s proceed to cast the votes.

Wiki survey

Vote now on https://simutrans-germany.com/wiki/wiki/survey19

IMPORTANT: For voting an image select the checkbox at the bottom of the image NOT the checkbox at the top (even if it looks much closer).

When voting please have in mind the theme and guidelines. For this edition you can cast up to three votes, so if you have more than one favourite you can vote for one or two more.

You have until January 23th (inclusive) to vote.

List of participations

I will let you below a complete list of participations, so you can see the screenshots at their original quality.

Aéroport de Jean-Luc Picard, by DThunder518

1 – Flemmbrav, Hamm Station
2 – Flemmbrav, Lübbecke
3 – zeruon, Journey to the East
4 – Huperspace, The Mesh Road System
5 – Huperspace, The Death is waiting
6 – Huperspace, Not so busy market
7 – DThunder518, Aéroport de Jean Luc Picard
8 – DThunder518, Dos Puentos
9 – DThunder518, Schmetterlingsstadt
10 – DThunder518, Transit Center
11 – Flemmbrav, Printing money
12 – Flemmbrav, To the moon!
13 – Cousjath, Clune Junction, 1981
14 – Leartin, Tropical Screen
15 – danivenk, Biggest city in Sitzklauf: Tröndel Hauptbahnhof
16 – danivenk, Gemünden am Main (Tröndel Hbf) Railyard for the NS Abellio Main lines & HSL
17 – danivenk, Main road busy with busses in Willwerscheid just in front of the station
18 – danivenk, Bösel Hauptbahnhof in the DMZ
19 – danivenk, HSL ICE passing Berngau station
20 – danivenk, Barby Quadtracks
21 – danivenk, Fuchshofen Grenzbahnhof where 2 nations meet in the DMZ

Simutrans 123 Released

Happy New Year 2022! This year is very special for Simutrans, and we have some special events coming later this year, but for a start let’s announce a new release of Simutrans (123) and bring back to life the Simutrans blog before the fanfare begins.

Let’s also mention that we have a Screenshot Contest for pak192.comic currently going, and there’s a new version of pak192.comic (2021 RC2) available to play with this update!

Download Simutrans 123

Highlights from version 123

  • You can now schedule convois with fixed departure times, and with a specified number of departures each month.
  • Rivers now go from their source through lakes until the sea, and are shippable after passing a lake.
  • Paks can be installed now ingame.
  • You can switch fullscreen mode in the display settings.
  • The new GUI is now enforced in all dialogs.

Paksets updated

The following paksets were updated between the release of Simutrans 122 and Simutrans 123

  • pak64 (123)
  • pak64.german (123)
  • pak128.german (2.1)
  • pak192.comic (2021 Release Candidate 2)
  • pak.Nippon (0.5)
  • Pak64.japan (123.0)

Full list of changes

If you are interested in the full list of changes, you better take some breath, because it is long. There’s nothing more after that, so you can stop reading if you are not interested :-P

Added

  • cbuffer_t::trim() to have consitent line spacing in dialoges relying on imported texts
  • compare savegames (command line parameter -compare)
  • Desync debugging mode: Heavy Mode
  • command-line parameter -scenario also looks in addons directory
  • (ranran) mouseover on any car of convoi works
  • (ranran) edit dialogues with reverse sort option
  • on SDL2 use back button as backspace
  • cancel button for isntall dialogue
  • Print name of test to be executed
  • Automated tests + GitHub Action to run them for each nightly build
  • (Roboron & prissi) Toggle fullscreen mode with GUI
  • three finger movement should drag the map
  • Command line option ‘-scenario’ starts requested scenario if available
  • get_tile_list for buildings and reused it in the code in hausbauer and gebaeude
  • get_tile_list for buildings and reused it in the code
  • easy date format settings from option window
  • (Ranran main) adding factory overlay + FIX: power consumption on multiple inputs/output were broken
  • Button to copy fatal_error to clipboard (for bug reports)
  • reservation overlay now also shows single way directions and signal states (inspired from ranran)
  • single GUI button added to line list to close topmost line window when opening a new one
  • tooltips for line entries
  • revenue to line sorting and remeber last used line statisitcs buttons
  • reselect a tool will close it (new default, set by reselect_closes_tool in menuconf.tab)
  • haltlist now saved and relaoded
  • chat window transparency in network mode now controlled by theme: gui_color_chat_window_network_transparency and gui_chat_window_network_transparency
  • (Freahk) player color network synchronisation backport
  • Fatal error message when loading pakset fails
  • new button type imagebox for having a delete (and many more graphical buttons)
  • New raw image loader
  • Height map loader now supports PNG height maps
  • More supported image file formats for makeobj
  • (roboron) FluidSynth MIDI backend
  • target tile for jumping to a position (via pos button, window icon or jump dialog) will be marked with the current cursor
  • load translation text files from AI directory for translation (*.tab like en.tab etc)
  • (Leartin) totally overhauled edit windows
  • (Leartin) totally overhauled edit windows
  • (Leartin) groundobj editor
  • cursor settings for scripted tools: parameters cursor_area and cursor_offset (THLeaderH)
  • waiting time in schedules is now entered in days hours minutes (but old games will still have the old steps)
  • proper thread support for ZSTD
  • special key “SCORLLOCK”, “DELETE”, ESCAPE”, BACKSAPCE” and “+” sign for shift as modifer in tools key binding”
  • SCROLLLOCK as key binding for the scroll lock key
  • SCROLLLOCK as key binding for the scroll lock key
  • construction cost tooltip also for normal tunnel construction (clicking on slopes)
  • classify_file() to determine file format
  • 2 new height conversion modes: linear + clamp
  • GUI for pakset install script
  • new option in simuconf.tab “numpad_always_moves_map” regardsless of numlock state
  • map only moves when numlock off, new tool to move to map view (simple_tool[36]=,keybinding,-1|0)

Changed

  • one more row in schedule dialog for a little nicer display
  • (roboron) similar width for labels on extended edit
  • enable heavy mode on command-line
  • two different modes to show selected lines
  • Include name of tool that failed in warning message
  • (THLeaderH) new definitions or roadsing images, which also generates meanigfult warnings
  • removes the maximum gap of 6 during renovation of building levels
  • narrow depot frame
  • make description text in depot a little close like multiline text
  • make depot dialog scalable
  • remove setting departures_on_time
  • handle more than one event per interaction in many cases
  • shrink android size by removing debug symbols from lib
  • more compact info windows (shrink of no information, only show owner if there is one)
  • more compact ground info, seperated climate water from ground type water (now Lake or Open Sea)
  • (ranran) try to move windows so not cover tile clicked with inspection tool
  • (THLeader) stop_halt_as_scheduled=1 in simuconf.tab wiil stop convoi on the desginated tile (unless more tiles are needed to fit it into the station)
  • dragger_size to be dynamic
  • Simutrans now allows more than one file per languange. The file must just ending in XX.tab, where XX is the language code
  • remove magic offset for display_outline_proportional_rgb, and factory is now real tooltip
  • Don’t save offsets of trees also in single player mode
  • scripted tools: work, do_work, mark_tiles have additional parameter to send state of ctrl/shift keys
  • move factory overlay to transparency settings
  • Omit status messages when calling makeobj quietly
  • double orange removed and bright yellow a little better differenciated
  • Log fluidsynth messages to our own log instead of stderr
  • display on request absolute departure times
  • depature board estimates also the departure of fixed slot vonvois which are not yet arrived
  • absolute departure time can be also more than once per month (repeats the time in equal intervals)
  • maintenance of powerline tunnel/underground transformer
  • also flat grounds with some tiles with slopes are now considered for multitile buildings (stations, factories, attractions, city buildings, … )
  • enforce maximum factory distance also for factory connections
  • Use network command names instead of magic numbers for readability
  • Use tool names instead of magic numbers for readability
  • detect language on first start if possible
  • new option set_workdir to debug
  • retry pak install at most once
  • renaming broken files on reading errors
  • line list now saved reloaded and up to standard
  • option gui now saved reloaded
  • label list now saved reloaded and up to standard
  • factory list now saved reloaded and up to standard
  • curiosity list now saved reloaded and up to standard
  • sortarrow and saving for city list
  • sortarrow for goods list
  • sortarrow for vehiclelist
  • renovated halt list to new standard
  • renovate convoi list
  • halt list entry: no status bar
  • removed V_space insde halt list entry and show name in statuscolor
  • extra V_space around halt list entry
  • adjust the toolbar to top left bottom right
  • Gradual loading and unloading (full unload takes loading_time) and full load as well
  • Input of waiting time now in days, hours minutes
  • Confine simuconf.tab entries to valid values
  • (PJMack) ribi lookup using shifts and 64 bit ints
  • sort minimap industry list by producer, factories consumer, and then by name (display left to right)
  • Add good category to comsumption info in factories
  • move error message to simtool
  • lines will open with default tab pointing to last seletced one (apart from schedule tab)
  • reload font when changing languages only if default bdf-font changed
  • line windows only opens with schedule tab when opened from convoi schedule or depot
  • Use logging instead of printf for status messages
  • show all connections of open factories windows in minimap
  • Ensure that tree age always fits within 12 bits
  • http to https, update dead links
  • Exit gracefully when simgraph_init fails
  • Distribute cities before trees
  • Allow querying gameinfo of older servers again
  • libpng is now a required dependency
  • Screenshots are saved as PNGs on all platforms
  • change tool_add_message_t to general-tool to be able to send scenario/ai messages over network
  • Added insert and append mode to schedules
  • split the unrelated code for displaying relative time differences and absolute times (as preparation for coming scheduling)
  • disable revert-schedule button before it is shown;
  • schedule editing survive now save-load cycle and entries can be moved deleted by arrow buttons
  • Only public player can skip years in networkmode
  • no tunnel construction without enough money
  • Only display way 1 in tunnelmouth
  • show way images in tunnel portals facing toward screen, so tunnel backimage can leave this spots free
  • speed in crossings is not max speed, no crossings of existing way speed higher than crossing speed
  • (RanRan) rollup all windows patch
  • rivers now go to the sea and pass through lakes. A tiny stream becomes navigatavble after a lake or merging with another stream
  • remove code that assumed all short tiles are slopes
  • new line list, overhauled convoi list, new line function to add all convois with same schedule
  • renovated convoi list astemplate for new line list
  • new single line management window
  • forbid adding/removign entries when part of line
  • schedule intergrated in convoi dialog, meybe still buggy
  • rework message list display, new item class for one display of one message
  • coordinates and ribis now tested in clockwise directions nesw instead nsew as before
  • MacOS build sugegsted by CannonBall7
  • report linenumber in fatal error messages in tabfile-reading
  • Sound now player on GDI via Xaudio2 for individual volume control

And many, many fixes, thanks in part to a new automated testing system, that won’t be mentioned because I would hit the character limit. Happy Simutransing!

SMSC Poll: January – Mountain Pass – The winner!

The winner of the January 2016 SMSC contest:

Alpenpass zu Au am See – by Leartin (pak192.comic dev) – not a real game.

Alpenpass zu Au am See - by Leartin (pak192.comic dev) - not a real game

Alpenpass zu Au am See – by Leartin (pak192.comic dev) – not a real game (Click for full size)

Here’s the contest thread