Open Transport Tycoon, Northumberland,

A scenario by Peter Loud

Way back in 2008 I developed an Open Transport Tycoon scenario based upon Northumberland. It is game in which the player builds railway, roads, ports and airfields. Then trains, road vehicles, ships and aircraft are added and given routes to transport people between towns and goods from mines and factories to consumers. If the transport system is well managed the towns and villages prosper and grow.

The game started off in the 1990s as Transport Tycoon running under MSDOS, that was before Windows. It had wonderful graphics and was great fun to play. It could be a very challenging game and attracted a cult following. These enthusiasts created OpenTTD a free open source, Windows version of Transport Tycoon. It retains the appearance and feel of the original game, but has been greatly enlarged and had improvements added.

If you create only a few simple train and bus routes the game can be relaxing. However there is a temptation to create complex rail and roads systems to move goods and people around more efficiently. Then the game becomes very serious. Buses, trains and ships breakdown and in due course need replacing with newer models. That makes it a challenging business simulation. The greatest challenges are probably in creating complex rail systems running several trains along the same track. This requires very careful planning of the railway layout and the signalling.

If you are new to Transport Tycoon, and its variants, I suggest that you install OpenTTD and try it out with a few simple games and become familiar with it. There is an on-line tutorial which is worth looking at, after that it's easy to learn by just messing about. With modern screen is probably worth going into the Game Options and setting Interface size to Double Size. When you are familiar with the game, try my Northumberland scenario.


I have to admit that I have rushed into putting this on-line without completing my testing. I am just so enthusiastic, and unprofessionally impatient, about the game.

If you have any difficulties installing the game or find any problems don't hesitate to get back to me.




North Blyth Engine shed, c.1965



OpenTTD Northumberland, (1)

This was my first attempt at an OTTD scenario. The elevations are reasonably accurate. The positions of towns and villages are estimated. It stretches from north of Berwick to south of Gateshead and out beyond Haydon Bridge to the west. I have tended to concentrate on south east Northumberland, where I was born and brought up, because it has coal mines and a power station. It also has places which are a convenient distance apart for road and rail building. Historically it is a right mix-up.

I have deliberately kept towns and villages small so that there is plenty of room for development. I have placed many industries in reasonably accurate places, but I have added fictitious industries and resources to improve the gameplay. The scenario has 1024 x 512 tiles. This is large for normal play, but the player can concentrate on particular areas of interest. If you wish you can develop Berwick, South Shields or even Alwinton. Years ago, one friend concentrated upon Holy Island, gave it ferries and an airport, and turned it into a mini Las Vegas. I prefer to play the game without other competitors.

I originally created the scenario for OTTD 0.6.3 in 2008, but in the past few days have updated it to OTTD 1.6.1. This screwed up some the required graphics files, (GRFs). Unfortunately I have lost most the limited expertise that I had, I can't remember which files should be where and I suspect that my update is not as good as it should be. However, I think it's working and is a great game.


Installation of OpenTTD and Northumberland scenario.

To install OpenTTD go to OpenTTD and download version 1.6.1 for your particular system. It says "Window XP / Vista / 7" but it works with Win 10 too, and download the zip archive.

Expand the downloaded file to a directory named "OpenTTD" in your Programs directory. So you have C:\Programs\OpenTTD or similar. This is the installation directory from which the game is run. In the OpenTTD readme.txt this is referred to as the binary directory.

Now run "openttd.exe" which is in that installation directory. The first time you do this you will be asked if you wish to install extra files, say "Yes", or whatever. Then a set of directories are set up, (For Win 10), under C:\Users\\Documents\OpenTTD. OpenTTD refers to this as your personal directory

Download the sound file opensfx-0.2.3.zip from here. Expand the zip files and copy opensfx.cat and opensfx.obs to directory \Programs\OpenTTD\baseset under your binary directory.

At this point you should have a workable OpenTTD. However there are many additional files which, when incorporated make the game better and more fun. To play the Northumberland scenario some of these graphics files are essential. I suspect that when I developed the scenario I inadvertently locked in some graphics files. These must be installed for the scenario to work. To save you lots of hassles these are the files,
coalminew.grf
ECSChem2.grf
ECSMach.grf
newships.grf
pb_hovs_bus.grf
pb_ukrs.grf
UKRoadsetw.grf

I have put them together into a single zip file to simplify your finding them. They can be downloaded here. Copy this file to C:\Program Files\OpenTTD\newgrf\ and expand it to get all the GRFs.

The scenario file can be downloaded from here. Copy this into the C:\Programs\OpenTTD\scenario\ directory. Then run OpenTTD and run scenario "Northumberland_1024-1.scn".



Blyth Harbour, c.1965


OpenTTD Northumberland, (2)

In 2009 I started on a more detailed 2048 x 1024 tile scenario for Northumberland. This resulted in a scale of approximately 22 tiles per mile. This gave me a more detailed coastline, accurate positioning of towns and villages and much more space for development. However, this meant that all routes were much longer in terms of tiles, resulting in more breakdowns on journeys. It also meant that creating roads and railways between the main towns was a very tedious task. To ease this burden I added many of these main roads and railways. However, because of the tile format I could not add these routes accurately. In North Northumberland the roads and railways were particularly inaccurate.

I have an almost finished scenario which I am at present, (Jan 2017), testing. I hope to make this available in the near future.




Oil rig support ship DEEPSEA WORKER, Blyth 2016


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