OpenTTD, as it’s name implies, is an open-source remake of 1995 game Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Back when I had my first computer, TTD was one of my favourite games. So what was Transport Tycoon all about? Basically, you have to build a transport network, using Trains, Planes, Trucks, Buses, Boats etc and earn as much money as possible, sounds simple but when you start building huge networks, all that can go out of the window!
OpenTTD has taken the original game, made for DOS and hence incompatible with 2000, XP and so on and re-written it completely in C. However, it dosen’t stop there – as it’s open source many enhancements have been made which hugely enhance the game experience. For example, trains are the major network tool, able to carry large amounts of cargo at high speeds. However, with large networks and large numbers of trains comes problems – signalling, platforming and so on. The original TTD only allowed for a maximun of 4 platforms at a station – hardly a huge amount when dealing with large towns or industry, signals where very basic and had little logic, no custom graphics could be added and so on.
One thing I always found lacking, even in OpenTTD however was passenger destinations – passengers would just turn up at stations and you could deliver them absolutely anywhere, giving you no incentive to link up every town. This is in stark constrast to the real world (I presume!) where people have all different destinations, and may need to take several modes of transport to reach their final destination. Again however, the open source nature of OpenTTD trumphs again – a Passengers & Cargo destinations version of OpenTTD is in developement, and once complete will be merged into the main version of the game. This adds another dimension to the game, ensuring that certain key routes are not overloaded which can often be an interesting problem to solve.
If you’re looking for an interesting game, which runs on pretty much anything and will keep you entertained and thinking then go give OpenTTD a try. The only restriction is that you will require the graphics from the original TTD, which can’t be distributed for legal reasons, however they are easily found with a bit of searching.