The first part, Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon , was developed by Sid Meier and MicroProse and was released in 1990. The second part followed in 1998 with Railroad Tycoon II , and in 2003 with Railroad Tycoon 3, the third part of the series. Both titles were developed by PopTop Software without Sid Meier's involvement. He is only drawing again for the fourth part, Sid Meier's Railroads! , responsible.
Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon
Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon , an idea of the successful game developer Sid Meier , appeared in 1990 and was considered the first real railway simulation . The publisher of the first part was MicroProse and there were versions for Amiga , Macintosh , Atari ST and PC . In the game, the areas North-West America, North-East America, England and Europe were available.
The game is about building a thriving railroad company with $ 1,000,000 in seed capital. On a map of the play area with real cities, the size of which varies from game to game, the player can now choose the starting point for his route network. The start-up capital is initially enough for little more than a short distance, two train stations and a locomotive. By cleverly choosing the route and the composition of the train, the player can achieve high income with which he can expand his route network. Mail, passengers and a whole range of special goods are available for transport that have to be brought from the deposits to possible places of demand. In the course of the game, three computer competitors appear who expand their own routes and inhibit the player's growth. The game is rounded off by a financial market where you can issue bonds and buy and sell shares in your own and other companies.
The game draws its charm from three components. Firstly, it is an economic simulation in which both technical aspects (expansion and organization of railway operations) and competitive aspects (takeover battles on the stock market, limitation of the opponents' route network) have to be mastered. The economic situation plays just as important a role as the growth of cities and technical progress. Second, the gameplay is closely embedded in the real story. The user manual alone is an introduction to the history of the railway. The computer-controlled competitors represent entrepreneurs and politicians who advanced railway construction in the 19th century, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt , George Stephenson and Napoleon III. From the time they were invented, historical locomotive types are available to the player, from the first steam locomotives to high-speed trains (including Planet , Consolidation , Pacific ). Thirdly, the freely selectable routing with switches, tunnels and bridges as well as the sparse but lovingly animated moving and waiting trains create a certain "model railroad feeling".
While the playful quality is still excellent today, the graphics were already average for those times. You can see the 2D map from above, the grid squares can take on a dozen different types of landscape, the menus and buttons are functional and straightforward. Only a few animated overlays for certain events, e.g. B. the commissioning of new trains, provide variety.
The deluxe version appeared in 1993 and was an improved version of the first part in some areas. Despite some improvements, it also had a few disadvantages. So the challenging early scenario around England was removed and replaced with Africa and South America.
This version has been available as freeware since 2006.
Like many computer games, this one also has built-in more or less useful cheats , e.g. B. Pressing Shift + F4, which is $ 500,000 per run on the map.
Not to be confused: An unofficial expansion of Railroad Tycoon II was also published under the name Railroad Deluxe .
Railroad Tycoon II
Railroad Tycoon II (1998) was a completely new development from PopTop Software and there were versions for PC (Windows and Linux) and Macintosh (Application Systems Heidelberg). The economic system was much more developed; For example, there were now national borders that had to be observed when building the railway lines, as well as much more sophisticated stock trading. Sid Meier was no longer involved in the game, which can be seen from the lack of his name in the title.
Instead of a 2D view, the graphics engine offered a high-resolution, detailed isometric 3D view. High-resolution 3D maps could be created in a separate construction mode. A particularly convincing result was achieved with the option provided by the manufacturer, for example, to feed in satellite maps and to develop excellent landscape models with a wide range of processing tools (coniferous forests, tropical forests, deserts, ice, rocks, buildings, rivers, fields, etc.). Regional peculiarities could be taken into account in the train stations. There were two models of early European railways as well as colonial and art nouveau stations. Even the Asian countries were taken care of.
Furthermore, with Railroad Tycoon II , multiplayer sessions with human players were possible for the first time in this series .
Railroad Tycoon II also had a particular technical disadvantage compared to its predecessors. No more tunnels could be built. New Railroad tycoon fans did not notice that the regulation of train traffic through block signals had also been eliminated . Since you could have 30 or 40 trains "in the running", it would have been very difficult to monitor hundreds of points. The German player was missing various famous German locomotives. If you add the German conversion of the Soviet diesel locomotive "Ludmilla", which is still in use today as the 232 class , Germany was not badly represented with eight locomotives (Japan: 1, France: 1, Italy: 1, Austria: 2 , Switzerland: 3, England: 9 (including the John Bull delivered to the USA )). Otherwise, the game manufacturers particularly emphasized the US position in railway history with 34 locomotives.
For Railroad Tycoon II , an expansion entitled Railroad Tycoon II: The Second Century was released in 1999 . With this package, the railway manufacturer received more modern trains (including TGV and Transrapid / Maglev ), new maps and economic types.
Railroad Tycoon 3
Railroad Tycoon 3 was released in 2003 for Windows PCs. In this part you can choose different scenarios around the world. In this version, the game is shown for the first time in the form of real 3D graphics . Furthermore, the game has an extensive editor with which the player can create his own scenarios. The dynamic price setting system, which calculates the market price adjustments for every good at every location based on supply, demand and the distances in between, is a great step forward. In this new edition, however, essential game elements were also lost; a lot was added. Train runs can now be automated or can still be compiled manually. The much more extensive movement of goods was also largely automated. The track construction engine has also received a lot of criticism. By switching from “building it up” to scenarios with fixed goals, a bit of variety was created, but on the other hand you are also pushed to make certain decisions if you want to achieve the lap goal. Overall, the game has developed from a creative railway construction and operation (now with tunnels) to an economic simulation.
Locomotive enthusiasts were, on the one hand, disappointed that on the one hand important European machines are no longer available (for example, all German locomotives from the period between 1900 and 1934 were deleted from the game and the globally pioneering role highlighted in Railroad Tycoon II became more European Electric locomotives removed) but on the other hand also satisfied, as some other important locomotives are finally available. For example the Adler, the tried and tested Prussian P8, the DR / DB express train class 01 that has been running successfully for decades (in a wine-red paint job that takes a lot of getting used to), as well as an example from the powerful German war locomotive series in dirty white winter camouflage. As in the previous games, however, almost all of the pioneering new steam locomotives were missing after 1945, apart from the " Red Devil ". The focus is again on the US locomotives, although some impressive machines such as the “Daylight” have been removed there too. Eastern European productions were also given greater consideration. In addition to the Soviet diesel locomotive "Ludmilla" ( class 232 ), which was already known from RR II , there was now the Soviet electric locomotive VL80T and the Polish electric locomotive ET22 .
The following nations are represented in the Macintosh version published in 2004: USA: 24, Great Britain: 10 (with “Adler”), Germany: 7 (without “ Adler ”, converted locomotive “Red Devil” and “Ludmilla”), Switzerland: 3 , Italy: 2, USSR: 2 (with “Ludmilla”), South Africa: 2 (with “Red Devil”), Japan: 2, France: 1, Poland: 1. Created in England, but worldwide almost exclusively in France and southern Germany to be found and further developed, the Crampton locomotive is a machine that cannot be assigned. In addition, four fictitious locomotives are still in the running. So there are just as many locomotives in use in Railroad Tycoon 3 as in the previous game. The Austrian locomotive developments as well as some pioneering Swiss electric locomotives from RR II fell completely victim to the red pen in RR 3 .
In August 2004, the free expansion Coast to Coast was released for Windows users , with which it is possible to integrate new player portraits, company logos and other locomotive colors into the game. In the same year, MacSoft also published the German edition for users of the macOS operating system . The expansion Coast to Coast was already included in the game.
Since Railroad Tycoon 3 , experienced hobby tinkerers have had an opportunity not provided by the manufacturer to open the pk4 files for the locomotives, wagons and buildings or to offer their own locomotive creations free of charge on fan pages on the Internet. In most cases, the quality of these extensions, which are now numerous, corresponds to the standard set by the game manufacturer. The focus of these free expansions is on English and American locomotives. However, German wagons from all eras were also built. Even the ICE and some German steam engines, which were made available by the manufacturer in Railroad Tycoon II, got back on the rails.
Sid Meier's Railroads!
In 2006 Sid Meier's Railroads was released! . Sid Meier has further developed his original game concept and fitted it into a three-dimensional landscape, in which bumps have a significantly greater influence on the construction of the route than in the predecessor; There are hardly any long straight stretches left. In addition, the focus on industrial production was again significantly strengthened. The player must now plan a production chain in order to keep his trains running sensibly. In 2012 a Mac version of Feral Interactive was released .
Board game implementation
In 2005, a board game adaptation for two to six players, ages ten and up, appeared.
- Railroad Tycoon 1 test report from the Amiga Joker
- Manufacturer's website for the Macintosh version of Railroad Tycoon 3
- American site with many maps, locomotives, wagons and all patches created by international users
- Railroad Tycoon series at MobyGames (English)