Who doesn’t love trains? Also, I think we’ve got a winner for r/titlegore
I totally realise trains should have an overall pretty low impact for 4.0. Still, I’d like for their mechanics to be solid this time around instead of how they are in 3.0. The more options we have, the better. Still, I’ll try not to go too crazy. There has to be a reasonable level for something like this. Oh, and for you non-Americans who might be using different terminology or even different trains/cars to begin with, heads up that all of the trains/cars/etc in the post will be based on American stuff.
Here’s some mechanics I’d like to see in 4.0 regarding trains.
Trains promote a really “heavy duty” playstyle, in which usually a group of players (probably 4-8) run large amounts of supplies from location to location. There are plenty of uses for trains and all types of servers, from RP to regular survival, would likely enjoy and make use of them. Depending on just how crazy 4.0 gets with survival, there could easily be a repairing mechanic involved with trains. I’ll get into this later.
I want trains to act like trains, not like cars stuck to a line. For starters, your train wouldn’t constantly accelerate. You gotta move the throttle up one if you wanna go faster, and you won’t go past the current speed/power your throttle is at. And you don’t just go 0-60 in three seconds. They’d take time to get to speed, and if you want to slow down, good luck.
Real life freight trains have to start hitting the brakes usually a mile before they want to stop. For gameplay purposes, scale regarding speed, slowing down, and similar factors would be lowered. Not in size though. Give me full sized trains. Therefore while it might be nice to hit full speed sometimes, I think having a pretty lengthy braking time would not only lead to some quite possibly hilarious moments, but would also serve to force players to drive slow if they want to brake easily.
Multiple units can work together. Each unit adds more strength to the train but lowers acceleration. If one unit is destroyed (this would be seen in-game as the engine on fire) the other unit could still pull the train, but at reduced efficiently.
Another thing I’d like to go over is switching. Switching tracks should be a very simple process, marked by a hand switcher on a pair of interconnecting tracks. Imo, this should even be controllable from the train itself, regardless if that’s not very realistic.
Lastly, derailing. Trains should be able to derail if a proper obstruction is in the way. For balance, most things wouldn’t derail a train. But a train colliding with another train, or a train car in the way, should definitely give it the chance to derail.
First off, I believe there should be a few train types. Not many, but at least these:
Switcher: A smaller, 2 seater engine which is generally more common to find.
Switchers start and stop more quickly and are solid for moving cars around, but have a low top speed and aren’t exactly meant for long distance. Still, they’d often be the “poor survivor’s train” as they’d be a bit more common. They’d have a max of 5 cars they could run before they cannot move anymore. This encourages usage of a Diesel locomotive. They’d have a solid amount of fuel, but not as much as other train types.
Based off a EMD MP15T Model (CSX switcher, not too common but used in America by CSX to shunt cars around. Couldn’t find too much more info, so I could be wrong here, either way, I liked the model and felt it best fit the switcher I was looking for).
Diesel locomotive: Standard 4 seater engine which is fairly rare. Slow to accelerate, but a high top speed (and more “notches” than the Switcher).
Diesels would be able to go long distance fairly easily, but would suffer from difficulty in slowing down, reaching top speed, and general rarity. Diesel locomotives therefore would typically be driven at a somewhat slow speed, especially with long amounts of cars, and the want to slow down as well. Think a train coasting by They’d make up for it with increased fuel capacity, the ability to run way more train cars, and in size. It would have a limit though, and with enough weight and cars you’d end up struggling to move.
Based off a EMD GP38-2 Model (Hood Unit which is used by many American/Canadian railroads. Actually the same model of train that passes my house quite often.)
Survivor Steam Engine: An old model steam engine modified and rebuilt by post-outbreak survivors.
…This one is definitely iffy and is more of an interesting idea. Think Metro: Exodus. One outlandish use of this train could be an NPC-controlled train which slowly makes its way up the tracks. Another could be quest involvement. Either way I think it’s an interesting concept. Perhaps it could even be armed?
Passenger/Bullet Train: It’d be cool and all but… why? We really don’t need a passenger train when most of the maps we’ll be playing on likely won’t feature places with passenger trains to begin with, nevermind a bullet train. If Pineridge is anything to judge off of, regarding overall theme and location, then Northern Canada/America typically isn’t a great place to spot fancy Passenger Trains. I would NOT be opposed to a properly working Metro/Subway train at some point, though.
Secondly, I think we deserve a decent variety of train cars with different purposes. Keep in mind that outside of the box car, I’m going off of shortened variants of these train cars (which do exist IRL). The reason I want big box cars is that they give a solid reason to use them sometimes over flat cars. The disadvantage of having the “box” part of the car in the way of larger stuff is traded off for by having more available space inside.
Box car: You can’t get any more basic than a good old American box car. The box car would be a somewhat common train car, able to hold a fairly decent amount of loot (if stored in crates/other things), or perhaps four ATVs or something similar. Another feature of box cars would be the ability to - as a player - ride in them without needing to strap yourself into a chair. You’d just hop on all 1900s style, and ride inside the boxcar. If for whatever reason 4.0 has limitations regarding this, then a solution would be placeable seats (craftable) which would snap to some places in the boxcar, or just a seat or two already in the boxcar to begin with. Neither would be great but it’d be something. Anything placed inside a boxcar would add to the weight of the train.
Based off the generic modern day American Box car. It’s hard to find a standard model. Graffi not included.
Tank car: Rare train car which holds literally nothing but fuel (other liquids and stuff are held IRL though). For gameplay balance these wouldn’t hold the 34,500 gallons of liquid that a standard DOT-111 tank car can (also; yeah, that’s the car the Tank car in this is based off of), but they’d still hold a solid amount of fuel (for reference, likely around 2-3 industrial cans worth of fuel). Can be set on fire and explode, maybe?
Flat car: Fairly common train car which is similar to the box car but doesn’t really allow players to ride on them (outside of slow speeds). More suited to holding something like a car or other heavy object. Nothing else really special about them.
Based on a standard US flat car model which only holds one intermodal container (we see these containers in 3.0).
Gondola: Basically a flatcar but with protective low side walls. Same concept, more or less.
Passenger car: Despite me not wanting actual passenger trains in the game, I don’t see a reason against generic passenger cars. These would be pretty rare and would hold 12 people. Not much more to these. I’d also like if players could move around in them while the train was in motion (aka getting out of their seats or something), and would also enjoy being able to walk between passenger cars while the train is in motion.
Based on a somewhat smaller version of the generic American passenger car.
Freezer car?: Super rare car that keeps food and other perishables very well.
You might be thinking “well gee doesn’t just buffing trains overall make them way OP? i mean they can hold a lot more than they can in 3.0!” Well, I sure hope you’re not thinking that, cause if you are you’re an idiot. Let’s do Cons first, because I’m going to assume you hate the very thought of trains that can actually hold stuff. Screw you guy. Or not, if you’re on board with this. In that case, you’re great and you should feel good about yourself.
For starters, trains are already restricted to the tracks they can run on. Adding on to that, they can’t exactly slow down easily, and even though the Switcher kinda breaks that rule, you have to keep in mind it holds less fuel, has a pretty weak top speed, and can’t hold much weight before it gives out. It’s designed mainly for switching around a few cars at a time for another train to move them.
Trains also have to deal with weight. Everything you put on them slows them down just a tiny bit. But that all adds up, and a diesel engine with 10+ fully loaded cars won’t be seen going fast at all, but rather a slow crawl that another group in a car or even just some fast runners could easily board.
Trains are also somewhat vulnerable to attack. Enough damage to the main unit pulling the train will cause its engines to be set aflame (and possibly derail if there’s a serious obstacle in the way), shutting it down. Train drivers/passengers can certainly be shot at, too.
Even with armored trains, you have to remember there’s only so much they can do. Being restricted to the tracks means there’s only so many places they can go. Cars can usually keep up with them too, meaning they can trade gunfire with the train, trying to knock the drivers out.
Now here’s the repairing I mentioned ages ago. Keep in mind this is quite hypothetical. Essentially, what if certain train parts broke? Keep using that emergency brake and you’ll wear it out. Do (quite heavy) damage to the wheels and they’ll break.
Now for why you’d actually want a train.
They hold stuff. A lot of stuff. A box car could safely fit 12 3.0-sized crates. Tank cars can hold a pretty good amount of fuel. Passenger cars, while not being the most bullet proof, certainly can hold a lot of people.
They can go fast. Sure you’ll be holding the brakes for a while, but trains would easily be the quickest long-distance form of travel. If maps get bigger than Russia, this will be a very sought after form of transportation.
Their fuel efficiency is good. They don’t waste too too much fuel and can hold a large amount of it as well, making them solid for going long distance. It’d still take a lot of fuel to get one up and running, however. Switchers would be toned down in all regards to this.
Hypothetical Armored train would be hypothetically armored. Maybe not BF1 level of armored, sure, but it’d feature at least one machine gun for fending off those pesky railroad bandits, and good amounts of health.
Trains wouldn’t care about what’s in the way (most of the time). A small car on the tracks? Meh. A wooden sign and some small fortications? M e h. Complete metal clan base (assuming base design is similar to 4.0, at least somewhat) built right on the tracks? You’ll break through some of the walls, but good luck getting through without derailing.
If you’re looking for a TL;DR, you should instead be looking for a reason as to why your education is so piss poor you can’t properly read some paragraphs.
Actual TL;DR: Trains should be expanded on in 4.0, and be much better at transporting large amounts of stuff. Trains should have a few engine types, along with multiple train car types. They should have several mechanics such as the ability for players to stand on them (mainly in the case of the box car and passenger car), delayed breaking (meaning trains take a while to stop at full speed), have throttles instead of constant acceleration (like current unturned cars), and the ability to be destroyed/derail.
If you managed to read the whole thing, congrats! I sure hope Nelson takes a look at this and maybe uses some of these ideas for trains in 4.0, whenever those come down the line.
Any thoughts or suggestions to build on this?