Back in 1994, Chris Sawyer released the game Transport Tycoon, which was published by Microprose. The following year (1995), a revised and updated version of the game called Transport Tycoon Deluxe (with the option for one-way signals, and some added environments) was released.
Transport Tycoon was a very popular simulation game which allowed players to build road, rail, sea and air transportation networks, moving passengers, mail and a variety of goods, either in free-play form (with or without computer opponents) or in an attempt to meet targets specified by scenarios.
The original game ran on Windows 95, and it was possible to coax it into running on Windows 98, and Windows ME if you were lucky (though you’d have to have been pretty unlucky to get stuck with the ill-fated Windows ME).
Gameplay ran over 120 years (playable in about 40 hours or so) from the age of steam to monorails, and featured aging of vehicles, new technologies, and growing towns and communities. All in all, it was very well received, sold quite well for about a decade (including budget labels) and remains one of the milestones in creative simulation gaming.
The same game engine was used in Roller Coaster Tycoon 1, and Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. Transport Tycoon and Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 are among Sawyer’s most celebrated work in the genre.
In 2002, Swedish programmer Ludvig Strigeus began reverse engineering Transport Tycoon, and the first public release of that effort became available in 2004.
This week, six years after that release, OpenTTD finally reached version 1.0.0, now fully complete and fully playable; slick, polished, fast and cross-platform.
If you’ve got the old Transport Tycoon Deluxe CD, OpenTTD is quite capable of using the graphics, sound and music right from that. If not, there are free versions of all three data-sets available for use. If you use the Windows installer (a mere 3.5MB) will download and install those packs for you at your option, adding a mere 15-20MB of download to the process.
Binary downloads are also available for Debian Linux (Lenny and Squeeze), Ubuntu Linux (Karmic and Lucid), and generic Linux. All are available in 32 and 64 bit varieties. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s source-code. All of the technology that OpenTTD uses is widely supported, and should also work just fine on *BSD and Solaris.
The game itself runs smoothly in any resolution from 640×480 upwards, either windowed or full-screen.
OpenTTD will present information in roughly 30 different currencies (or you can add/create your own), supports 50 different languages (though translations are still needed to complete Ido, Urdu, Macedonian, Basque and Thai), handles vehicles driving on the left or the right, and measurements in Metric, British Imperial (as used in the USA) or SI.
OpenTTD sports as much information as you might want on vehicles, stops, stations, depots, industrial facilities and more.
If you liked Transport Tycoon Deluxe, you’ll probably love this. Everything you had in TTD is in OpenTTD, along with:
- bigger maps (up to 64 times in size)
- stable multiplayer mode for up to 255 players in 15 companies or as spectators
- dedicated server mode and an in-game console for administration
- IPv6 alongside IPv4 support for all communication of the client and server
- in game downloading of AIs, NewGRFs, scenarios and heightmaps
- new pathfinding algorithms that makes vehicles go where you want them to
- autorail/-road build tool, improved terraforming
- canals, shiplifts, aqueduct
- larger, non-uniform stations and the ability to join them together
- mammoth and multi-headed trains
- different configurable models for acceleration of vehicles
- clone, autoreplace and autoupdate vehicles
- possibility to build on slopes and coasts
- advanced/conditional orders, share and copy orders
- longer and higher bridges including new ones, full flexible tracks/roads under bridge
- reworked airport system with many more airports/heliports (e.g. international and metropolitan)
- presignals, semaphores, path based signalling
- support for TTDPatch newgrf features giving lots options for graphics and behaviour configuration/modification
- drive-through road stops for articulated road vehicles and trams
- multiple trees on one tile
- bribe the town authority
- many configuration settings to tune the game to your liking
- save games with zlib compression for smaller sizes which does not interrupt gameplay
- big support for internationalisation. OpenTTD is already translated into more than 50 languages
- dynamically created town-names in 18 languages and newgrf support
- freely distributable graphics, sounds and music
- framework for custom (user) written AIs
- zooming further out in the normal view and zooming out in the small map
Lots of effort has been put into giving OpenTTD a better usability. These include:
- convert rail tool (to e-rail, monorail, and maglev)
- drag&drop support for almost all tools (demolition, road/rail building/removing, stations, scenario editor…)
- sorting of most lists based on various criteria (vehicle, station, town, industries, etc.)
- mouse wheel support (scroll menus, zoom in/out)
- autoscroll when the mouse is near the edge of the screen/window
- sell whole train by dragging it to the dynamite trashcan
- cost estimation with the ‘shift’ key
- advanced options configuration window, change settings from within the game
- screenshots can be in BMP, PNG or PCX format (select in game options menu)
- more currencies (including Euro introduction in 2002)
- extra viewports to view more parts of the gamefield at the same time
- resolution and refresh rate selection for fullscreen mode
- colourful newspaper after a certain date
- colour coded vehicle profits
- game speed increase (through fast forward button or by pressing the TAB key)
- snappy and sticky windows that always stay on top and neatly align themselves to other windows
- more hotkeys for even less mouse-clicking
- support for 32 bit graphics
- support for right-to-left languages
- support for other (sized) fonts where the user interface scales based on the font and translation
There’s even a (free!) downloadable content system for downloading new AI modules, maps, scenarios graphics packs, and modifications. There’s a manual online for those of you who want something to refer to, and right-clicking on pretty much any control pops up some explanatory information.
And consider a donation if you feel it is awesome.