It’s been rather a long time ago I played Transport Tycoon (Deluxe) last. It’s one of the games that I started with in the beginning of my time with PC’s.
Name: Transport Tycoon (Deluxe edition)
Platform: PC (nowadays also linux, mac)
Year: original edition: , deluxe edition:
Developed by: Chris Sawyer
Music: John Broomhall
My connection to Transport Tycoon
My parents weren’t really so much up for new technology and wanted us mainly to play with friends outside. So my time with PC’s started much later than what would be usual nowadays. The only person in the family that got a little further with this was my grandfather, who worked at some point in his lifetime at IBM in Canada and thus was a little more ahead than his own children. He bought a PC early in the 90’s and when we came over for visit we were allowed to play games on it. But that is for another story, as this game named Transport Tycoon couldn’t run on this old machine. Perhaps it even didn’t exist at the time yet. Later on we got a commodore 64 from friends and even later my uncle gave his old IBM machine away for us to play around with (DOS games).
My parents didn’t buy a PC until december 1996, right half a year before I had to end my college degree with a lot of reports and stuff. So you could say from somewhere in 1997 I started playing Transport Tycoon along with games such as Diablo 1, Warcraft 1 and 2, Starcraft, Sim City, Command & Conquer, Civilization and Alpha Centauri.
So, Transport Tycoon.. and I did get the deluxe edition, so I had no clue what the normal edition would have been like.
The game starts in 1950 (Deluxe Edition, 1930 in the original game) and ends in 2050, although it actually never ends. You start out by choosing your name, avatar and colour for your transport, followed by borrowing a lot of money from the bank.
Then you look up two things: a resource and a factory that can produce something of that resource. And then you start building a transport between them. This isn’t just about ordering a truck from one place to the other, but completely building the roads between the two places, complete with truckplace and workshop. When you’ve build and connected the roads and workshop and truckplaces, you have to build a truck and give the truck orders. When that’s all done you can start the truck on its route. It will then go automatically to the first place and fill up to a certain point in time and then go to the destination to unload.
Next to trucks you can also build railroads with trains, build boats for transport over water and build airports for transport through the air. Trains get in later years upgraded to monorail and later on even Maglev. You can also build busses and mailtrucks and build truck and bus stations in cities to deliver people, mail and goods. Also can you check out the subsidies window, which means that the local community will subsidise your transport between these focused areas as a bonus. When you’ve build a road between them and your truck has delivered at least once, you will earn a bonus, which means you will earn twice or triple as much per delivery.
How to start out
I usually start out by finding a forest and a sawing mill. Or a coal mine and an electricity factory. They are usually far enough from each other so that it doesn’t cost you more than it delivers and they give good money on delivery. You create the roads or trainrails between and build two stations and a depot and connect all the roads/rails. Then you click on the depot to buy a transport unit such as a truck (or a locomotive + wagons) and route them from A to B wherafter you can start them. It’s probably adviced to start with trucks and roads as they aren’t as expensive in building costs. Also trucks can drive over existing roads, while trains will only go over your tracks. Boats and planes are simply out of the question at the beginning.
Depending on the configuration, you will have opponent (AI) companies starting in your world that will build their transport empire and will try to beat you in the game.
The detail in this game is amazing. You can get reports on financial level, on company level, you can build and show your house that slowly is getting upgraded to a palace and that means you can also see that of your oponents.
You can start marketing campaigns at cities to get more people using your transport, you can build a statue in the city to get more fame. Your reputation is also very important. If you have a bad reputation with a city, they will less likely allow you to build a station in their city.
You can even buy out your opponents when you have made enough money and build a company value.
I believe I am unable to tell you everything that this game has, as I perhaps haven’t discovered all of it yet myself. You also can fund factories to build a new factory so that you can build transport between them.
I started playing it, learned much from the built-in tutorials and then played by myself. So one winter day I started at the morning at 7am and a bit later it was suddenly 3pm. I was shocked that I got sucked up in that game! And I am not the hardcore gamer type (similar situations that I have nowadays with Minecraft).
Transport Tycoon is in isometric 2D, meaning you see everything from the 45 degrees on the side. The animations are amazing for that year. Every factory, city, airport and transport unit has it’s own animations. Grass grows, farms grow crops and harvest crops, trees grow and water sparkles. This game has an amazing level of detail.
The music is made by ‘John Broomhall’ and have a funky jazzy style. I always loved these songs and managed to sing them by heart in the end. The sound effects are also very true to each object in the game. Every train, truck, plane and boat have their sounds. They don’t make that sound the whole time, but usually only when they are leaving. You can hear the wind blowing, the money coming in, the pings and whoops from new financial journals coming in and people applauding when a unit arrives for the first time on their station. So the sound effects are not disturbing you, but just helping you hear what is happening.
Retro or something one still can enjoy?
Ofcourse Transport Tycoon doesn’t run by itself on newer operating systems and the old company who made this game doesn’t exist any longer. Luckily the opensource community started working on an improved version that would work on all OS’s but would require the original game. So basicly it’s like a patch that can run your old Transport Tycoon on a newer machine. It’s called OpenTTD and you can check their website out here.
So for writing this article, I ofcourse started playing again. I once got the tip of a friend that I should try to start with building a railway around a couple of cities in a circle. The train(s) will just go from one station to the other and every station will make you money. So I tried that out and I must say that it works actually very well. But just with one or two train circles you don’t earn much company value.
I believe that the original version didn’t come with a multiplayer version, but the version that you can play nowadays does come with it, although in my experience very buggy.
It’s strange, but this game is still a difficult game with an enormous amount of strategic thinking in it. It’s fun every time again. I still enjoy playing it and I can still easily lose a whole day playing it. More information? There’s a fanatic guy that made a huge page with information about this game, check it out!