There are loads of people who love games like SimCity. While the city simulation genre covers all sorts of different aspects, plenty of people are interested in the transportation systems and their efficiency and effectiveness. For those people, there are games that fall under the transportation management genre. Although there aren’t many games that represent this genre, there’s still a few. One of them, OpenTTD, is easily accessible, free, and available for all major platforms.
OpenTTD is a clone of the original Transportation Tycoon Deluxe. While the game it’s based off of is quite old, the OpenTTD project has provided many improvements to the game over time. Some of these are functional, such as changes made in the various tools that you can use, but a lot of them are also technical. For example, you can use maps up to 64 times as large as the original maximum limit, and servers can support up to 255 players or 15 companies at a time.
Don’t expect the graphics to be spectacular as the game is still based off of the old code — the graphics are similar to those of the original Roller Coaster Tycoon.
The idea of the game is that you are running your own transportation company. Ideally, you’ll want to be profitable while providing the most efficient and effective transportation system possible. Your transportation network should be able to handle travelers/commuters, as well as material transportation.
You have the same modes of transportation available to you as you would in real life — roads, rail, sea, and air are at your disposal. Each mode of transportation has its own advantages and disadvantages, including the price, the speed, and the amount of cargo you can carry. Of course, air can be the fastest, but it can also carry the least amount and cost the most. As a tip, if you want to carry a lot of stuff over longer distances, choosing rail or sea is best (depending on whether the two destinations are separated by land or sea, obviously).
If your transportation system is efficient, you’ll be able to carry materials and people to cities so they may grow. They’ll expand around your transportation infrastructure and demand more so that they can continue to grow and/or support its residence and their transportation needs. If you can react to these demands appropriately, things will go well for your company. You can track all of this via informational charts and tables that show you the progress of your company.
Speaking of companies, we’ve only talked about one — yours. In multiplayer mode, you’re not the only one. Instead, you’ll have to face off against rival transportation companies to be the best one in the region (map). Again, you can succeed if you have the most efficient and effective transportation system, because most people will want to use yours to get where they need to go.
Additionally, your prices should be competitive so that people are enticed to use your system, but it should also be profitable enough to fund further expansions that can outpace your competitors. Finally, although it’s not an official part of the game, you can chat with other players/companies and agree to terms where one essentially gives full rights to a certain part of a region in return for certain conditions, or any other similar deals that the two or more companies could see as mutually beneficial.
You can win a multiplayer game when you’re the last company standing (where all other companies have gone broke) or if you’ve reached a preset milestone so that the game doesn’t last indefinitely. Essentially, the single player mode focuses on building out a transportation system, while the multiplayer mode has a higher emphasis on competitiveness and business elements.
You can easily install OpenTTD by downloading the appropriate file for your platform. After a quick installation, you should be good to go. Debian and Ubuntu users can simply use a package, while users of other Linux systems will need to use the precompiled binary and place it in a convenient location. This isn’t as useful as using your package manager, but it’ll do.
OpenTTD is a really fun game that takes some planning to master, but those who are obsessed with transportation infrastructure should have a good time. Again, don’t expect the game to have exciting graphics, but the mechanics are very solid, and for a game like this that’s exactly what counts. At least I think that OpenTTD is much better than LinCity-NG.
For more great games, check out our Best Linux Games page!
What’s your favorite city/traffic game? Are graphics that important as long as the mechanics are complete? Let us know in the comments!