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metro trains
March 7, 2014 8:28 AM   Subscribe

mini subway game alpha
posted by garlic (91 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I were to model San Francisco Bay Area's systems onto this I'd have to create a large number of separate systems, few of which connect to each other in any convenient way or location and leave empty key areas that are crowded with cars.
posted by eye of newt at 8:43 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


I've been playing this obsessively for 24 hours. Circle people, screw you. Just drive.

My top score is approx. 500. Beat that.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:45 AM on March 7


Very cool, thanks for posting this
posted by Outlawyr at 8:53 AM on March 7


I love this game so much it is shocking. The Press page shows a great trailer and some awesome teaser images. Different cities, you guys, different cities! Can we talk strategy? I'm having trouble making it past a couple hundred completed trips. What am I missing?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:57 AM on March 7


I'm pretty sure 75% of the reason I enjoy this is because the idea of being able to extend and change public transportation lines with the swipe of my finger is how I would use my omnipotence if it was given to me.

(hint hint, giver of omnipotent powers)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:01 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


nuts.
• Unity Web Player 4.5.0 and lower (click-to-play), Mac OS has been blocked for your protection.
• Current versions of the Unity Web Player plugin have known vulnerabilities that can put users at risk.
• All Firefox users who have these versions of the plugin installed.
• The problematic add-on or plugin will be automatically disabled and no longer usable.

Does anyone have a link to an updated Plugin for Firefox/Mac? I can find a link to what appears to be a 1.8 gig dev tool package, but not anything that's definitely just an up-to-date browser plugin.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:03 AM on March 7


Hint: If you double-click on the clock, you can pause the game and move subway lines around.
posted by suedehead at 9:03 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]


Also useful if you are ostensibly at work.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:04 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


618.

Qualifications: being stuck on Toronto's Yonge-University-Spadina line nearly every day for months now.
posted by Imperfect at 9:06 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Rock Steady -- strategy wise, you want short lines connected to every symbol. Once the weird symbols start popping up, that's not as easy, so you get 5 or 6 stop lines with as many different symbols as possible. Sometimes you need to build an express that jumps over nearby stations to the farther away stations. It can be very useful to have your central stations hit by 2 or 3 lines, and only your edge stations be hit by a single line.
posted by garlic at 9:11 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


My top score is approx. 500. Beat that.

559. boom!

(The entire system then proceeded to implode in multiple stations.)
posted by andrewesque at 9:19 AM on March 7


Thorzdad, there's a standalone build if you scroll down that works fine on Windows. Haven't tried it on Mac yet.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:21 AM on March 7


It's appropriate that this ends up looking so much like the DC system map, since it also is a demonstration of how poorly Hub-and-Spokes works as a concept here.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:17 AM on March 7


It also doesn't give you any information on which geographical regions have political clout and which ones don't. How am I supposed to know where to put the G Train?!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:31 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


Do the icons have any particular meaning? Do circle people just want to go to circle stations or something?
posted by backseatpilot at 10:38 AM on March 7


Ah, never mind, I get it now. This is good!
posted by backseatpilot at 10:58 AM on March 7


Wait, no! Do they have meaning or not?!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 AM on March 7


The shapes indicate which type of station the peep wants to go to. Circle people want to go to circle stations, etc. Presumably you want to mix up the station order on your lines so you're not carrying people for too long.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:06 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Circles are north side Chicagoans who complain no matter how much better their routes are than the rest of the city.

(north side Chicagoan since 1997)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:11 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


I've noticed the station markers have a frequency. They may even have a specific order they come in. Square is the most infrequent about until the quarter circle shows up. Circle is the most frequent.
posted by garlic at 11:14 AM on March 7


My strategy changed once I realized that circle passengers, for example, will settle for any circle station instead of a specific one. In theory, completely isolated lines will work provided each line has the full selection of symbols. I suppose that means that the rare symbols later on are where you should join them, hmm...
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:19 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


369! Getting better!
posted by Rock Steady at 11:24 AM on March 7


Coming soon - the Toronto version, where a 50 year old subway design sees very little expansion, then as demand grows, you finally get the green light to build some new lines in efficient LRT technology, then all of a sudden a zeppelin-sized mayor* blocks your LRTs and forces you to build a couple more subway stops at great expense.

* As featured on Jimmy Kimmel
posted by Artful Codger at 11:27 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


MORNINGTON CRESCENT!

I win.
posted by uosuaq at 11:44 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


And if you drag the stations back from their terminus, you can redraw the routes. Which is good.
posted by ambrosen at 11:57 AM on March 7


Such a great game; I was going to post about it!

My strategy notes:
- The symbols have meaning; a circle person wants to get dropped off at any circle station. No one wants to get taken to another station of their same symbol.
- The most common are circles and triangles; you do get a second square after a while (after two or three other more unique symbols); the pie, plus, star and diamond are unique as far as I've survived.
- suedehead's tip about clicking the clock to pause is vital.
- Basic lines should have a mix of circles and triangles; O-O-O-^-^-^ will have your vehicle overflowing as it gets to the middle, while O-^-O-^-O-^ will keep it empty.
- Sometimes multiple lines in parallel can be useful, particularly to reinforce service on a key section of the network.
- I started out obsessed with getting people across the river, but as long as there's a connection to ensure unique symbol travellers can cross, it's not a big deal.
- You can build a loop by dragging back to the origin station; this can be helpful since there is no return trip so the stations are visited more frequently.
- Unique symbols are better for station connections.
- It doesn't really look like you are doing work while you are playing it, even if you are a transportation engineer.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:59 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


397 so far. Seriously nice game.

Only glitch so far - it insisted on using a tunnel to connect two stations that were on the same side of the map, which robs you of a tunnel.

The windows version makes ZoneAlarm complain that the app wants to monitor user activity. I don't let it.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:06 PM on March 7


Thorzdad, as a security person I thought I'd never say this, but it's ok to click through that warning.

The plugin is supposed to play games without letting the game developers do nasty things to your machine. The vulnerability mentioned in the warning makes the protection incomplete, so a malicious game can do (some) bad things.

If you download the native version instead and run it, *there is no protection in the first place*, and the game can do anything it wants. Security-wise, you're strictly better off playing the game using the "vulnerable" extension.

There should be an "enable for this site (only)" button -- using that is safe (well, at least no less safe than downloading the native version).

(but don't press "enable everywhere", if there's a button for that; if you did, it would be possible (but unlikely) for some website you visit later to trick the plugin into stealing all the things)

posted by you at 12:34 PM on March 7


The symbols have meaning; a circle person wants to get dropped off at any circle station. No one wants to get taken to another station of their same symbol.

Would you mind rephrasing this? As-is these two sentences appear to contradict one another.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:13 PM on March 7


The symbols have meaning; a circle person wants to get dropped off at any circle station. No one wants to get taken to another station of their same symbol.

Would you mind rephrasing this? As-is these two sentences appear to contradict one another.


Yeah, that's a lot of crummy verbage on my part. A circle station will generate triangle people each of whom are happy to be taken to any triangle station. (I'm not 100% sure what the routing algorithm is; the point is that if a train goes from the circle to a triangle they will ride it and they aren't looking for a specific triangle.) The circle station will generate square, pie, etc. people as those shapes exist in the system (although there seems to be a bit of a delay before the unique symbol people appear). A circle station will never generate a circle person.

And since we're posting; I can usually get into the 500s, unless I get one of those hilarious "all the circles are on the south side of the river and all the triangles are on the north and you are screwed" maps.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:19 PM on March 7


I can't break 400.

Also, tracks cannot cross? Seriously? What is this, Boston? Even BART and TRIMET cross lines and TRIMET isn't even a metro. It's light rail. (Ok, Moscow doesn't cross lines either, but they have a metric fuckton of trains there. I never saw a wait over three minutes in either St. Petersburg or Moscow.)

The track crossing thing keeps throwing me off, I have to completely reconstruct lines to get around that. I don't know if I could get higher if I could do that, but honestly, it's getting on my nerves.
posted by Hactar at 1:21 PM on March 7


I just want to make the yellow one a circle line all the time and everyone knows that circle lines are bad ideas (even the yellow circle line, which isn't a circle anymore)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:23 PM on March 7


It seems as though if you get an upgrade for an extra line or tunnel it is lost if one of the line or tunnels is deleted. So rather than "upgrade the number of lines you can have from 3 to 4" it is "add one more line to those you currently have".
posted by Thing at 1:27 PM on March 7


689! One side of the river was small, and was served with a circular loop. Another line only had 2 stations, crossing the river. The rest, including 2 upgraded trains, desperately tried to keep up with the north traffic.

Hactar, tracks can cross each other at stations, if that helps.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:31 PM on March 7


ceribus, I know. I just want them to cross outside of stations. Otherwise, I get forced to have something like three circles in a row.
posted by Hactar at 1:53 PM on March 7


Circle people want to go to circle stations

THAT'S RACIST
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:00 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I've noticed the basic symbols, plus the others that I interpret as:

The "pie" is a baseball field: there's only one per game and demand seems to go up for travel there when there's a game on- the clock changes color so you can tell when it's night or day, so evening games cause a demand spike as the clock turns dark.

The 'cross' is a hospital- there's also only one of those. I haven't figured out if there's a demand peak.

I think the 'star" is an airport, but have nothing much to base this on.

No clue as to the diamond.
posted by pjern at 2:10 PM on March 7 [6 favorites]


...and the whole 'tracks can't cross each other' thing is totally bogus IMNSHO.
posted by pjern at 2:11 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Things I may have said to my screen today:

"Nobody would move out there -- there's no trains there yet!"

"This is what urban sprawl looks like."

"I hope the tunnel collapses on your train."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:16 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


ceribus, I know. I just want them to cross outside of stations. Otherwise, I get forced to have something like three circles in a row.

And stations have the unfortunate problem of dwell time, which slows things down.
posted by ambrosen at 2:16 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is great. It combines my fondness for antfarm-style games with my love of maps and trains. I'm also enjoying thinking about how various parts of it were implemented. The routing algorithm is pretty clever. It's also interesting that passengers will let a train pass them if it's going to come back to the same station before going to their destination.
posted by dylanjames at 2:37 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


This is Triangle.
Doors open on the right at Triangle.
Transfer to Circle, Square, and Other Square at Triangle.
posted by Zaximus at 2:50 PM on March 7 [23 favorites]


Gah. Franconia-Springfield keeps getting overcrowded...
posted by schmod at 2:57 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


Has anyone else removed all the tracks in a fit of pique? "Fine, you want to put six circle stations south of the river and nothing else? Good luck with that when you have no trains."
posted by Hactar at 2:59 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


aaaaah I have always wanted this game to exist
posted by threeants at 3:04 PM on March 7 [6 favorites]


There should be a way to dismiss the "game over" message without starting a new game, so you can grab a screenshot of your final map and score.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:05 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


...and the whole 'tracks can't cross each other' thing is totally bogus IMNSHO.

Reading the developer's blog, it seems much more likely this was to do with their problems routing the lines neatly than any constraint they wished to put in the gameplay.
posted by ambrosen at 4:12 PM on March 7


I love this game, and I want to give these people my money. The iPad version can't show up fast enough for me, as long as it doesn't really change much from what it is now. I don't want any cutesy interface, and I really don't want any game changing mechanic (fares, capacity, etc.) that will make it more complex. I just wanna play with trains.

(I loved A-train for the mac, years ago, but pretty much every other train simulator I've ever played has been insanely overcomplex for me)

Also, I got up to the high 300s last night. I was ecstatic.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:33 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


660! My strategy is to put in a central loop that connects the innermost circle-triangle-square and then connect lines outward that all terminate at the square. The inner loop insures that people don't pile up at the square too quickly and the outer branches serve the unique symbols.
posted by notme at 5:39 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


THIS GAME

can't beat 350
posted by rebent at 6:02 PM on March 7


Motherfucking circles.

(I love this game, and can't stop playing it. Glad to see it on the blue.)
posted by jcreigh at 6:58 PM on March 7


Holy cats the map is always zooming out.

533 is my best and overcrowded stations always seem to pop juuuuuust before a train reaches it.
posted by Spatch at 12:00 AM on March 8


I cannot believe that there are people patient enough to be able to pause it, analyse the layout and work out where things should be going, suedehead. Amazing to me.
posted by ambrosen at 5:46 AM on March 8


I have always wanted this game to exist

Pretty much sums up how I think about it. What a great and attractive game. I'm looking forward to buying the iPad version. A couple of questions for strategy masters:

If you notice a station is about to become terminally overcrowded, is there any last-ditch effort you can make to stop it? Or is it too late by then?

Is the "light train" useful at all? (It reduces capacity of a train but increases speed by not very much.) I tried using it once and immediately regretted it.

Also, I think it's funny that circles are advantageous in this game, since they create some disadvantages in real life.
posted by grouse at 6:13 AM on March 8


My record is 696, with a Station Upgrade at work. Just tried a Light Train on a slower route and it was totally not worth it. Should have taken that tunnel...
posted by gc at 6:21 AM on March 8


It seems as though if you get an upgrade for an extra line or tunnel it is lost if one of the line or tunnels is deleted.

!@#$
posted by grouse at 6:27 AM on March 8


Right, so you can do a full track rearrangement while paused (maybe you have to be careful not to lose the track outright, though)
posted by ambrosen at 6:35 AM on March 8


So I had things to do this morning and instead I spent two hours playing this game while listening to game of thrones themed hip hop. So, um, thanks metafilter?
posted by shelleycat at 8:31 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


You max out at 5 lines, and you don't lose them, although sometimes a line you killed has to unload its passengers and disappear before you can re-draw them. I suspect the same it true for tunnels.
posted by Badgermann at 8:42 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


But if you erase a line completely any upgrades do disappear.
posted by Badgermann at 9:32 AM on March 8


circle routes is where it's at. You get higher frequency pickup rates at all your stations on the line, instead of just the central stations. Cross those circles Venn diagram style to start getting scores in the 500s.
posted by garlic at 12:00 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


730
posted by ilikemefi at 1:33 PM on March 8


alpha 6 is out
posted by Artful Codger at 1:34 PM on March 8


I love this and can apparently play it for hours. My high score is 656. It seems like you only get the "light rail" upgrade around 550-600; I haven't had a chance to see its effects yet. Is it any good?

I got my highest scores just picking "line" and "tunnel" every time; the station and train upgrades don't seem very useful if you reroute your lines a lot.
posted by audacity at 3:18 PM on March 8


One annoying thing to me is the fact that the window is not resizable in the downloadable version. I have a teeny tiny macbook air, so I have to go into fullscreen mode to see the bottom of the window.
posted by audacity at 3:19 PM on March 8


834!

If you look at the image the station about to pop is a circle where the red and light blue lines meet. The problem is that both those lines had a circle station before it (two in the case of red) and so couldn't clear passengers between them: nobody got off at that station who hadn't gotten off earlier, limiting how many passengers could be taken on. The solution I needed was to cut the first of the three circle stations from the red line, as that was already served by the yellow and light blue lines. But as that would mean the red and light blue lines crossing the light blue line would have to be routed through the square to let that happen. Whether this would have caused more problems elsewhere on the light blue line is unknown.
posted by Thing at 3:21 PM on March 8


circle routes is where it's at. You get higher frequency pickup rates at all your stations on the line, instead of just the central stations. Cross those circles Venn diagram style to start getting scores in the 500s.

Circle routes are probably advantageous in this game, but they bother me aesthetically because they're a terrible idea in real life. I've been avoiding them entirely and have found that scores in the 600s are readily achievable anyway.
posted by my favorite orange at 3:24 PM on March 8


I think you should choose the upgrades in the following order of precedence:

1. New line.
2. Greaten line capacity.
3. New tunnel.
4. Greaten station capacity.
5. Light rail.

I can't think I've seen other upgrades than those five. Really the light rail upgrade needs to be a whole new line to make it more worthwhile. It still adds an element of strategy as you get a sixth line which is quick but low capacity: useful but needing thought.
posted by Thing at 3:32 PM on March 8


I have never lived in a city with proper public transportation, so someone explain to me: Why are loop/circle routes a bad idea in real life?
posted by jcreigh at 6:53 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Whew. 918, using strategies similar to garlic, Thing, and Homeboy Trouble. Aaaaand there went my morning.
posted by benbenson at 3:26 AM on March 9


jcreigh: "I have never lived in a city with proper public transportation, so someone explain to me: Why are loop/circle routes a bad idea in real life?"

This is pretty in depth, but a great read. Summary is, you can't easily adjust the timing of the trains by speeding up or slowing down the turnaround time at the terminuses (termini?) and it's hard to make up or lose time to keep to a schedule.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:16 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


696. It's really amazing how much full loops give you an advantage.

Keeping a station upgrade in reserve can be very helpful when you are about to lose.

You can sometimes save a station that is about to overcrowd by finding a train that is heading in that direction and removing all the intermediate stops.

Why can't we have more than one train per line?
posted by grouse at 5:32 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I've started looping too. It's creepy how the map slowly grows. I've been consciously trying to keep track of the size of everythign, but then suddenly, I'll realize I can see twice as much river as before, without realizing when it suddenly got bigger.

I can, and have, played for hours. They've got the tension level (when is the next station going to pop up? where will it be?) just about perfect. I can't wait until this is released on iTunes. This game is just about the only reason I have to sit in front of my computer anymore.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:46 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


(at home, that is. At work, well, reading a professional white screen doesn't seem too bad, but staring at a screen full of brightly colored lines and circles might be pushing the boundaries a touch)
posted by Ghidorah at 6:48 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


It's really amazing how much full loops give you an advantage.

Yeah, it's true, and it is kind of a shame. It takes away the feeling that you are creating a valid metro system, as the completed maps no longer look like alternate universe versions of the Underground. I wonder if there isn't a way to nerf loops to prevent that? Maybe as simple as train speed takes a hit on a completed loop?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:54 AM on March 10


To Nerf loops, you just make it against the rules. Or make it an upgrade, like tunnels.
posted by garlic at 7:15 AM on March 10


A penalty that would better match real life would be that trains on loops stall occasionally.
posted by grouse at 7:47 AM on March 10


this may help with strategy: World’s Subways Converging on Ideal Form
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:28 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


the man of twists and turns, I read that article (working link), but still have no idea what the "ideal form" would be.
posted by benbenson at 11:22 PM on March 10


For anyone who enjoys subway systems, you might enjoy these maps of the subway systems of Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai in 1993 and 2013 side by side.

If Rio gets included in this game I bet it'll be for the lowest difficulty setting.
posted by bjrn at 10:47 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


High score of 626. Almost had enough to put in a high speed light rail, but then I lost.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:33 PM on March 11


Alpha 7 is out. Seems that they've removed the limit on tunnels but trains now go significantly slower while they're in a tunnel.
posted by crasiman at 5:40 PM on March 11


Did alpha 7 lose the pause button?
posted by mittens at 6:48 PM on March 11


Oh, wait, there it is.
posted by mittens at 6:50 PM on March 11


SO MANY MORE TUNNELS!

Love this game by the way.
posted by NikitaNikita at 7:22 PM on March 11


551 peeps
posted by LogicalDash at 3:21 AM on March 12


Huh, I noticed the slow down in the tunnels (I hadn't noticed the new release, so it was kind of a WTF moment) but hadn't realized tunnels were unlimited. I'll have to give it another try, but... I don't really like the tunnel slowdown thing. Darn.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:52 AM on March 12


Although I just reached my highest score yet--730, thanks to the tunnel change--I don't know that I want to keep playing, because the beginning of the game is so slow and predictable. I wish there were an option to jump in at ten stops, something like that.
posted by mittens at 9:44 AM on March 12


Dev 8 is out, and... I'm not thrilled with it. Train cars are now a resource, and you can have up to seven different lines, providing you have a car for each line. Tunnels are back to being a finite/upgradeable resource, and most maddeningly, capacity for cars has been shrunk to four, and stations begin being overcrowded at six now. I was up into the seven hundred range on the last version, but now I'm back down to the mid two hundreds. It seems the more changes they put into the game, the less I'm enjoying it.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:50 AM on March 22


i got my highest score yet on the last version. It seems like you don't want a train line longer in stations than a single car can hold passengers (6 in the previous, 4 in this version).

I got my high score by using a train car held in reserve as a 'transfer bus' in that I would spot place it to deal with local overcrowding, and then erase it and move it to the next local overcrowding issue.
posted by garlic at 9:56 AM on March 24


alpha 8: 575 peeps

Buy all the train cars you can. Other upgrades are luxury.

Keep your lines short, ideally no more than 4 stops as garlic notes. And try to avoid repeated symbols on the same line. I like to make my lines of square, triangle, circle, and one of the weird ones. Not always reasonable because you can't control where the symbols appear but something to aim for.

Freely share stops between lines at the start, then get rid of the lines that don't get many passengers. It'll be easy to do since they were sharing stops--another line can pick up the slack, using the railcar from the one you just deleted, if necessary.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:28 PM on March 26


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