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eScape Magazine
Welcome to the November issue of eScape Magazine - brought to you by Simuscape
Bringing a community closer with fansites, members and supporters doing their best to give everyone the greatest possible experience of all time. This Magazine is entirely dedicated the Transport Tycoon Community.

La Mimita Chiquita, eScape Magazine Editor at large...
eScape
• eScape Magazine - November issue 2013 • A Simuscape Experience • Presented by La Mimita Chiquita - Editor at large • Dedicated the Transport Tycoon community •

           

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The Patcher Pitcher

October 2013, by La Mimita Chiquita

The story of a community coder!

Unlike Chris Sawyer's original version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, todays range is considerably greater for those who wants to go ahead as a successful CEO of a fictitious company in the freight and passenger transportation industry. And while a few still chooses Josef Drexler's TTDPatch for their ultimate gaming experience, a vast majority nowadays leans towards the open source version, OpenTTD, both of them offering far more than what the original game ever touched. But there is always that clique of users who aren't satisfied with these options at all, instead eager to try out even greater challenges - or rather more specific solutions for their ultimate gaming experience. The more complicated, the better it may seem! And if you happen to be one of those preferring the latter there are a number of choices out there, all thanks to some especially devoted and diehard fans in the Transport Tycoon community.


'I wasn't allowed to touch his computer at all'


We're of course talking about patch packs, mostly sharing the common denominator of generally being a one man development process. In other words, they are usually designed and constructed by one person to be used by anyone who wants a little bit more challenging games than what the more or less "official" versions are able to offer. But none of this is obviously done in a jiffy! It requires some extraordinary skills and ideally also a design that appeals to a larger group of users, which in the end increases the responsiveness and motivation to both continue and further improve what is already done. So with that said, what is the recipe for a successful patch pack concept? Well, one person that obviously should know is ChillCore, up to this point serving version 14.7 of his rather huge patch pack, released earlier this year and consisting of nearly 50 other smaller patches and game scripts developed by other devoted fans in the community.

Starting his career at early ages ChillCore became very impressed by his fathers Spectrum ZX81, a device produced by Sinclair Research, which he wasn't allowed to touch at all as ChillCore explains;

-"Those machines used to be quite expensive, but I settled down with the manual instead, reading it from the first page to the last over and over again. The device itself contained a little slalom game, nothing fancy graphical wise, but it was awesome to view text you entered on the screen performing certain tasks such as speeding up the game and making it harder as you added more and more obstacles to it"!

His father later on got a VIC-20, a less expensive 8-bit home computer released by Commodore, but things
started to change when he finally invested in a Commodore 64, a home computer that still remains the highest selling computer of all time. Having full access to the VIC-20 ChillCore got himself going by typing in example codes he found in manuals and other various litteratures his father used to buy, basically wherever he was able to find code examples. He also took a weeks worth of BASIC classes that didn't provide any significant new learnings, except perhaps how to draw schemes. And when the time eventually came for his father to purchase an Amiga, Commodores high-end family of personal computers, ChillCores life unfortunately took some turns and twists based on bad decisions and choices at the age of 16, taking him away from the coding interest for awhile. A few years later, having his life back together in one piece and at the same time getting his brothers older PC, ChillCore was back again;


'I learned where my limitations are'


-"I kept reading books by the masses and had various consoles, most of them ending up with a burnt graphics processor as I pushed the limits in every game possible. But I still couldn't compile programs until I found JavaScript, which allowed me to continue from where I left off back in the days of BASIC".

He also messed around with different freeware programs as well as a few paid softwares, trying to learn the ins and out of creating graphics, music and everything else that is needed to actually make a site. But facing a lack of interesting content he eventually turned it into a HTML/DHTML/JavaScript tutorial with links to a help page, explaining how things that is seen on a screen, the working code, is actually done without having to view the source code in a separate window. He also aquired the skills to make flash movies, as well as director applications, although most of it currently in a rather unfinished state and not likely to ever get completed. ChillCore continues;

-"I borrowed every single book I could find on programming in the local library, which I read front to back. This proved that nearly every programming has the same principals, only the things you can do in some of them is easier then in others. One language stood out and that was C++, it allows you to do everything while keeping fast execution of the code at the small cost of having to type more code to make it run on all platforms. By that I mean that Java will run on all machines, but at the cost of losing execution speed because of the virtual machine it runs on".



   eScape Opinions

   Column Chronicle
 
New files added/updated in October;
- Test       - New       - Updated

• NewGRF's;

German RV, v.0.3 alpha 8
Fake Airport Anthology
OpenGFX+ Landscape, v.1.0.1
OpenGFX+ Trees, v.0.8.0
NUTS Unrealistic Train Set, v.0.6.0
Monkey Bar Bridge, v.1.4.1
PURR Universal Rainbow Rails, v.0.0.3
Korea Train Set, v.0.8.05

• Patches & Game Scripts (GS);

OTTD Spring 2013 PatchPack, v.1.7.98
(GS) ServerGS, v.1
Signals - tunnels/bridges, v. 3.03 r25867
Order Modifiers
OTTD Console - Imp. Towns Cmd, v.4
OTTD WinBuild - Imp. Towns Cmd, v.4
(GS) Silicon Valley, v.3
(GS) Simple City Builder, v.2013.10.20
Small Patch Pack, (YACDis2Daylength)
New Map Features, r.25881
New Map Features, v.25881M (Win32)
Convert Depots (r4), r.25932
YAPP, Yet Another Patch Pack, v.2.99
Death Toll Patch
Message Display Patch

• AI's & AI Libs;

MailAI, v.2.22
cEngineLib, v.7

• Scenarios;

World (WAC), v.1.2

• Heightmaps;

Ireland
Portugal
Cape Town & West Coast, v.5
World

• Town Names;

Irish Town Names, (Imp. Towns Cmd)
Portugal Town Names, (Imp. Towns Cmd)
Estonian Town Names, v.0.2.1

• Multiplayer/Servers;

Luukland Special Event, v.2013.10.16
MMNL Ready2Play MP PatchPacks, v8.1

• User Tools;

The Ultimate Map Toolkit
Imp. Towns Cmd

   
Transport General by Navigation-Info Kft.

Developed by a Hungarian game company Transport General for mobile devices was released shortly before Chris Sawyer's own Transport Tycoon in the same genre...

   
Train Fever by Urban Games

Scheduled for a quarter 2 2014 release, Train Fever, a 3D transport simulation game for PC, is developed by a newly established Swiss-based game company...

  eScape On The Soft Side
 
Great reviews and free copies...

October, 2013


  'In the true spirit of the silent and reclusive     woman of mystery...'  



Only a month on the market since the release on October 3rd of Transport Tycoon for mobile devices, game site reviews have exceeded one another on a regular basis. And it's indeed mostly positive news for Chris Sawyer's 31X Ltd. along with Origin8 Technologies, responsible for the development of the



sequel to the less popular Locomotion, released in 2004 for the PC market;

Android Police;
A lengthy, engaging and solid game with a steep learning curve and a less good tutorial, but worth the relatively high $6.99...

Slide To Play;
With some major issues, terrible graphics and menus cluttering the board, this game isn't for everyone. But can still be enjoyed...

148Apps;
A deep and rewarding game. Fans, nostalgia junkies, and genre lovers should definitely give Transport Tycoon a download...

iPad Board Games;
A port likely suitable to fans of the original game, and a bargain with no IAP's to worry about, but unfriendly to new players...


Available for both iOS and Android the game has already rendered a number of patch updates for both devices, the latest specifically targeting the Android version as recent as two days ago. But there is also a release of some bonus material such as super-sized versions of scenarios, ringtones based on the title music from the original Transport Tycoon game, and wallpapers for the most enthusiastic fans to rejoice.

Except for a few limited interviews, to say the least, with the creator Chris Sawyer himself, he seems determined to keep away from the public light in the true spirit of Greta Garbo, the world wide famous Swedish actress that passed away in 1990, well known for being the silent and the reclusive woman of mystery. A behaviour he has basically pursuited throughout his entire career in the industry alongside an unwillingness to allow himself the interaction with users, which in many ways is rather unfortunate. At least from a game development perspective where a more active engagement most likely would have contributed him with both useful and valuable experiences in his career of developing games in a genre that still appeals to a large group of gamers world wide.

 
Where did they all go?

October, 2013


  'I regret not sticking through with more of     my projects...'  



Running a successful business trying to make a profit by transporting goods or passengers from one point to another requires more than a set of rails - or some asphalt if road vehicles is your preference. One of the most important necessities are obviously places where all this can be done without to much troubles or other hazzles one way or another. And seeing as this game has been around for some time, allowing users to add their own custom designs whether it's about basic features or new graphics, there are a lot of choices available. One set recognized by most is the Project Generic Stations, affectionately known as P:GS at the time, developed by Richard Eldred from "down under" - or Aegir as he's known from his active days within the Transport Tycoon community.

Joining the community in early 2004 he had a somewhat bumpy introduction, especially in regards to his age, fifteen at that time. Ongoing disputes and bad behaviour amongst some members made him feel the age group itself gained a bad reputation. Able to move on he soon found himself with an...

 
New HoF inductee elected!

October, 2013


  'The election was quite a thrilling race this     time...'  



With the ballot ending at the end of October and all the votes counted for in the second round this year for the inductee to the Transport Tycoon Hall of Fame, Simuscape officials, in charge of this yearly event, has announced the winner who will join Chris Sawyer himself, coincidently elected as the first inductee earlier this year, into the honourable chambers of fame.

Not surprisingly the choice this time was Joseph Drexler, a.k.a. Patchman, without a doubt the main reason behind the existance of the Transport Tycoon community in its current form. Initiating the work during the late '90s on what was to become the TTDPatch, later on evolving into the open source version OpenTTD, Joseph Drexler's innovative work brought a completely new set of features to the original game Transport Tycoon Deluxe by Chris Sawyer. An effort alone that almost two decades later is still widely used and played by a large number of fans world wide. And considering that development even now continues on both versions, the TTDPatch and the OpenTTD, couldn't provide a better...

eScape Magazine - Next Issue
December 22nd - 2013
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