NIMBY Rails devblog 2024-06

Asset listing map overlay

1.13 was released in the Steam beta branch early in the month. The new walk leg and station hall systems were bugfixed and further developed while in beta. One unannounced feature which made it to the 1.13 beta was a map overlay for station and train asset listings:

These blobs are circles whose area is proportional to the listing max value. You can change the colors, including the transparency. Adjusting the degree of transparency also enables a heatmap-like view. The map updates in realtime just like the asset listing, and it can also clamp the range to the visible objects by using the existing “on map” button in the assets panel.

Polishing 1.13

As explained in the last devblog, in 1.13 stations now split their pax capacity into platform capacity and halls. Halls have unlimited capacity but are ignored by trains, and platforms have a capacity limit and are interacted by trains. 1.13.1 launched with platforms set to the maximum capacity allowed, 100k pax. But, as expected, the old 10k pax limit is what’s keeping some player saves playable at all, since they are perpetually running over capacity. With the much higher limits this problem is now visible as overloaded stations rather than refunds, which I think it’s a better effect at communicating to the player what kind of problem their save has, compared to giving pax a refund and deleting them. Still, if the old mechanics are desired, it was made possible during beta to manually set a lower platform capacity limit, and to disable transfer pax overflow into the hall, enabling the refund behavior again.

The walk leg system was made more player customizable with two new features: custom walk radius and walk link buildings. Custom walk radius allows to set a per-station automatic walk radius limit. Stations will be considered to be automatically walk linked if both of them are inside their mutual radius. The walk radius (which can be set to 0) can be combined with a new special building: walk leg buildings.

This new special building can be accessed from the station creation mode (which now also contains the platform extension building). If a walk link building touches platform footprints in two (or more) different stations, these stations are considered walk linked, as long as the links from their centers is under the max radius limit (2.3km). This allows players to precisely specify which walk links are allowed and which ones are not, compared to the radius system.

Odds and ends

For the game to support a pax simulation which scales into the millions of pax, it is necessary to precalculate a lot of data, so the sim does not slow down to 10x speed or less. The timetable and pax pathfind heuristic are such an example that has been in the game for years, and 1.12 added a new precalc for the new demand system. These precalcs are slow, but they run in the background. But even in the background they can have an impact in the UI responsivenes, especially in large saves and if the player has not reduced the amount of timetabling CPU threads. For these cases the precalcs are now paused if the game is paused, and one of the three main editors are open:

They will resume immediately if the sim is resumed, or when closing the editor.

Walk links make it more flexible to design stations. Following the same idea it is now possible to change the platform footprint (half) width. This allows to keep stations separate despite being in close proximity, for cases like having a depot next to a pax station, or separating local rail services from long distance in two stations.

1.14 is some ways off

1.13 beta is ending today. At the moment I don’t have any specific plans for 1.14. I will start with some optimizations which are too involved for the beta series, so I can test them privately while I develop 1.14. I have a list of major features and systems which could be developed for 1.14, but I haven’t decided yet which one to do. Some of them are potentially very complex so 1.14 is going to take awhile to cook.