Rail Nation in 2015

Dear Rail Nation community,

Thanks to your amazing passion Rail Nation has developed into a great game. We are very proud to have such an active and passionate Rail Nation community. Your many ideas and the extensive regular feedback help us to continue to improve Rail Nation.

This is why we don’t just want to say thank you, but also offer you a more revealing peek behind the scenes of Rail Nation as the year nears its conclusion.

Recently we have been slow with integrating the many ideas and improvement suggestions into the game. We are also fully aware of the growing unhappiness within the community, regarding performance problems, absent bug-fixes or rule changes during running game rounds. Of course we can feel and understand the anger of the affected users and we would like to take this opportunity to tell you that we are deeply sorry about the fact that solving these issues takes so long.

It is very important to us to tell you that we are working flat out on a holistic technical solution to those problems. Under no circumstances do we aim to give the impression of being inactive or of neglecting your feedback on those difficulties. However, in order to improve performance, there is no easy solution like for example putting up more servers. Particular bugs, such as errors during era changes, are rooted so deeply to the core of the game itself, that it is impossible to quickly fix them without negatively impacting the rest of the game, too. The event system (RTS), which is responsible for all in-game calculations, simply has reached its limit.

What can we do? The only solution here is: programming Rail Nation from scratch again.
The good news is: we have already done that. That is why it’s been fairly quiet when it comes to new features in the last months, since all the programmers have been fully engaged in this massive project.

The new version is already being tested on the test server (PTR). This is very important, considering the huge change, so that no new bugs make their way onto the live servers. Already the performance has improved greatly, despite the fact that on the PTR server we normally have many more players online at the same time than on normal servers. Here we would like to thank you so much again, because it is only with your help that we can get meaningful results!

All of you are cordially invited to take a look at the new version on the PTR with us and to test it thoroughly. Following the conclusion of the testing phase, we will start to install the new version of Rail Nation, piece by piece, on newly starting live servers by the beginning of next year. Please understand that the new version cannot be installed directly on running servers, as the technical specifications are incompatible with those of already running rounds.

Once again we would like to sincerely apologise to you that this step has taken so much time. At the same time, we are looking forward to experience the fascination that is Rail Nation with you and with a much-improved system-chassis.

On that note, we wish all of our Rail Nation players all the best for 2015 and clear tracks at all times!

Your Rail Nation Team

17 Comments

  1. We only complain because we,like you,want to make railnation even better.

    Some changes haven’t been for the better either,although that might be personal.In example i liked the old integration way better,players(even complete associations/corporations/Cities) had to make a choice,either haul for prestige or haul for cash.Choices are good,especially since the choice of one can affect a whole city.

    Also now we have no more old school-integration but we have gotten 289 engines perfect for it in return.That doesn’t make any sence.Most players use 7 to 8 engines in the whole round.Practically there are no choices in regard to engines,its a big pile of bread&butter.The conductor hints can hint all they want(way to confusing for new players maybe?) but in the end the most active players will all use the same engine and the only reason your numbers say otherwise is because of the numerous players that simply buy what they unlock or are stuck to bad gameplay community inventions like WSP(waggon speed product,check the wiki page please and see how it is trying to polute our community,even the official forum is effected).

    Also coupling removed a choice : “Will i buy new engines now and help the city or do i keep my old engines untill i unlock the engine of my desire?”

    Those are 3 core gameplay choices removed.You don’t see Kafka removing Gregor either ;-)

    That sums up my railnation wish,more choices all around :)

    Goodluck!!

  2. I posted this reply when you originally posted this update, but you’ve since created a different link to your update which didn’t show the earlier comments. So here’s mine for you to enjoy(?) again.

    Good luck with the new RTS, I hope it does bring the improvement you’re aiming for. Personally, I’m more concerned by the changes you’re planning to introduce to the game itself than by the RTS performance. The endgame changes that you said you’re going to implement in the next update are simply terrible, and raise the question of whether the people making these decisions actually play this game and understand what’s fun about it and how actual players play.

    You mentioned two (related) changes – keeping endgame goods until all 12 were completed, and continuing to give prestige even after a good had been completed. Both are killers. First, keeping the goods: this doesn’t give the weaker cities even a chance of completing a significant number of goods. Last round in Omaha, our first 12 goods included 7(!) goods that we never hauled previously, 5 of them were era 6. If we had to buy waggons for all of these goods and use level-1 industries, we’d never have completed more than one or two of them. Eventually we completed some 24 goods – NONE of them was one of these, so we actually had a choice of 5 goods each time. But under your new system, even this would have been impossible.

    The other (maybe even worse) idea is continuing to give prestige after a good had been completed. So, a player has an incentive to keep hauling the completed good just a little bit longer, “just until I pass this other member of my association” or “just until our association passes the other one”… But of course the other players and associations also have an incentive to do the same. So a large portion of players would keep hauling completed goods, and those who don’t will be penalized by getting less prestige on goods they worked hard to complete. An incentive to do just the opposite of what’s required – is that your idea of what will make the game more fun to play? Have you ever seen any game that lets players continue to score after “game over” and improve their personal hi-scores?

    You mentioned that the goal of all this was to help casual players. For heaven’s sake, this entire regular game helps casual players. The idea of the endgame is that it’s an intense but short period, where players who invest a lot of effort are able to gain a lot of prestige and impact their city’s chances of winning. So making it casual-friendly is against this basic rationale. Last round we found ourselves hauling like in the regular game – dividing work between associations, owning industries and restocking and investing, because consumption is low but targets are high. This takes a lot of the thrill from the endgame. If I had to make one change to the endgame it would be in the opposite direction: I would make the total tons hauled by each player get consumed at the same rate as the city stocks. This would prevent the phenomenon of casual players leaving their trains to run one uncalled good, raising the waiting time for the whole city. When eventually the city has no option but to haul this good despite the waiting time, these guys have already hauled some 200k tons or something and the take the 1st place and the prestige for this good, even though they actually hinder rather than help completing it. If the tonnage they hauled could be consumed with the city stocks, there would be no incentive to do that anymore – and if people still did, at least they won’t get the prestige they don’t deserve.

    • +1 for Ninesouls suggestion: especially during the endgame, player deliveries should be consumed every 15 minutes.

      But this also leads to: supplying an RG should also generate prestige.

  3. You focus is on “casual players”. What an immense error in your thinking. It is the devoted players who make this game what it has become and who, btw, spend the most money on it.
    What kind of business model are you pursuing?
    You are eliminating a lot of what made the game fun to appease a lot of whining occasional players who most of the time do not spend a dime on the game but love to hand out in the forum and complain.
    Way to go Rail Nation. Serious players, who do not mind spending time and MONEY on the game, will leave in droves.

    • “Serious players, who do not mind spending time and MONEY on the game, will leave in droves.”

      People who need to buy prestige are the bain of railnation :S

      It is crap and it will always be crap.No matter what moronic excuse you find for it.There are legit free e-sport games played by millions without the average joe spending MONEY so he can compete with others with a advantage.

      • Guess you don’t think developers need to eat and clothes themselves? You think they do all that work of making these games as a charity for folks who refuse to spend a dime? Who do you think pays for the servers, the support staff, etc.? I guess the same good fairies that also hand out government “free” stuff.
        There is nothing quite like the self-righteous free loaders who bash those who actually realize that it all costs money, are willing to spend a bit and make the free play possible for those who do not, but to then change the game to cater to the free loaders at the expense of the ones actually contributing is a bit over the top.

        • I didn’t say that.

          League of legends is making millions and millions.

          No gameplay benifits for paying members.

          GGWP

          • mathias van de Geer

            March 18, 2015 at 4:33 pm

            Hello RN
            I found personally the old version much better, you are trying to turn this nice game into mission impossible.
            to get to the top you need at least 120 players to haul all the good required to get into the top 10.
            If I look at smoke chamber, we have to get pipes from it takes 7 tracks, but it also needs hardware which need to be hauled 13 tracks away, what is this your new way of giving players fun , to me you took all the fun out of the game.
            On top of that I buy enough gold to keep up and find it more difficult to enjoy this game , over 100 euro for a game that takes 6 Era’s of 2 weeks is not peanuts.
            I even believe that without gold it will completely take the fun out of this game.
            I do not know how long I will continue, a game should be fun not a struggle.
            in Smoke chamber you were even so nice to lay mountains to make it even more difficult to haul the goods to the city.
            Could you clarify what your aim is here?
            loose players?

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