|Genre(s)||Business simulation game|
Multiplayer (Online and LAN)
OpenTTD is a free and open source 'urban planning and business simulation game', in which the player aims to earn money through transportation of passengers and freight by road, rail, water and air. It is an open source remake and expansion of the 1995 Chris Sawyer video game Transport Tycoon Deluxe.
OpenTTD duplicates most of Transport Tycoon Deluxe's features but also has many additions, including a range of map sizes, support for many languages, custom (user-made) AI, downloadable customisations, ports for several widely used operating systems, and a more user friendly interface. OpenTTD also supports LAN and Internet multiplayer, both co-operative and competitive, for up to 255 players.
OpenTTD is licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2.0 and is under ongoing development. According to a study of the 61,154 open source projects on SourceForge in the period between 1999–2005, OpenTTD ranked 8th most active open source project to receive patches and contributions (after 2005, development moved to their own server).
The development of OpenTTD was driven by the desire to extend the capabilities of Transport Tycoon Deluxe to support user made additions to the graphics and gameplay. Furthermore users wanted to play the game on more modern operating systems and alternative computer architectures which Transport Tycoon Deluxe, which was released in 1994, programmed in assembly language and designed for MS-DOS, did not support.
Previous modifications to Transport Tycoon Deluxe
There was a previous attempt to modify Transport Tycoon Deluxe to run on more modern operating systems. OpenTTD was preceded by a commercial conversion of Transport Tycoon Deluxe to run on Windows 95, which was created in 1996 by the FISH technology group, but only released in 1999 as part of a compilation of older "Tycoon" games. Unfortunately, this release was still greatly restricted in terms of operating systems and computer architectures it could run on. Similarly, there was an earlier success aiming to open Transport Tycoon Deluxe up to modification by users. TTDPatch, initially created by Josef Drexler in 1996-7 and still being developed in 2010, changes the behaviour of Transport Tycoon Deluxe as it is running to introduce many new features to the game, such as new graphics, vehicles, industries, etc. TTDPatch is restricted by the same operating system and computer architecture limitations as Transport Tycoon Deluxe and has limited control over what features of the game can be altered.
Development of OpenTTD
In 2003, Ludvig Strigeus announced he was intending to reverse engineer Transport Tycoon Deluxe and convert the game to C. In 2004, this re-engineered Transport Tycoon Deluxe was released and christened "OpenTTD". This release was popular and OpenTTD, as of 2014, is still under active development.
The early development of OpenTTD focused on restructuring of the code to improve its readability and extensibility. This allowed restoration of features like sound and music, improvement of the user interface and introduction of new languages for the GUI. Many new gameplay features and possibilities for user modification were also added around this time, aiming to replicate the abilities of TTDPatch. One major improvement was the reprogramming of multiplayer (network games) to use the internet protocol allowing multiplayer gaming both online and over modern local networks.
By the late 2000s, OpenTTD was a stable and popular game and development moved towards more substantial changes. 2007 saw the development of support for custom, user-made AIs, which can provide players with more of a challenge than the original AI. Other more major changes include introduction of support for IPv6, integration of an integrated download system for user-made customisations and support for alternative base graphics, sound and music sets in 2009. Since 2007, OpenTTD has been gradually evolving into a game written in C++.
Up until 2010, OpenTTD was reliant on the graphics, sound and music files from Transport Tycoon Deluxe. While OpenTTD itself was free software, it required copyrighted components of a commercial game in order to be played. Starting at the end of 2007, a large community effort worked to generate replacements for the 7000 2D sprites which make up the graphics of the game. Similar community efforts to create free sound effects and music soon followed. When the graphics and sound effect replacement projects (OpenGFX and OpenSFX, respectively) reached completion at the end of 2009, it was possible, for the first time, to play OpenTTD completely independently of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. A music replacement set OpenMSX is also available. This was celebrated in early 2010 with the release of OpenTTD 1.0.0, named to reflect its new status as a fully stand-alone game.
OpenTTD's gameplay is very similar to Transport Tycoon Deluxe on which it is based, although there are many improvements in both options within the game and ease of use. The player's aim is to build a transportation network using trucks, busses, trains, airplanes and boats to link together industries and towns on the map and transport the cargo they produce. Every time a vehicle makes a delivery of some cargo the player receives an income, allowing them to build more infrastructure (rails, stations, etc.), vehicles, modify the terrain and interact with towns (via their local authority). The default game runs from 1950 to 2050, during which a player aims to get as high a performance rating (based on number of vehicles, income, amount of cargo delivered, etc.) as possible.
The world map is dotted with both industries and towns. Cargo for transportation is supplied by both industries (e.g. the coal mine which produces coal) and towns (which produce passengers and mail) and accepted by other industries and/or towns according to their requirements (e.g. the power station accepts coal). Placing a station near a source and a receiver of a certain cargo allows transportation between the two. The amount of cargo supplied by a town or industry depends on the quality of transportation the player is providing to transport its goods. Payment for delivering cargo depends on the quantity of cargo delivered, how quickly it was delivered and how perishable it is. Some cargoes, e.g. passengers, have to be delivered more quickly than others, e.g. coal, in order to receive a good income.
During the course of the game, the player has to build and expand their transport infrastructure. The only infrastructure present on the map at the start of the game are roads within towns, all other infrastructure; ports, stations, airports, rail and depots, have to be built by the player. The tools for building a rail network are particularly powerful and the player has access to many different signal types in order to build a complex and interconnected rail network.
During the course of the game, technological improvements give the player access to newer, faster and more powerful vehicles. In the case of rail transport, new track technology also becomes available over time, first electrified rail, then monorail and maglev track. In general, newer vehicles cost more money to purchase and to run, and the player has to have earned enough money in the earlier stages of the game in order to be able to afford to upgrade their vehicles. The full course of the default game, from 1950 to 2050, takes around 24 hours. The player can optionally start at earlier dates and play on past 2050, although no new technology becomes available.
OpenTTD can be played as a single player, against a computer controlled AI, or multiplayer both over a LAN or the Internet.
OpenTTD supports multiplayer games for up to 255 players between 15 different transport companies can be played both over a LAN or over the Internet. Each transport company is in competition with each other transport company, and each transport company can be controlled by more than one player at any time. This allows both co-operative and competitive multiplayer games. Competitive team games (e.g. two transport companies, both controlled by three players) are also possible.
Mods and online content
OpenTTD supports extensive modification for both single player and multiplayer games. Modifications come in the form of a "NewGRF" (New Graphics Resource File). NewGRFs package both new graphics (2D sprites) and the computer code which describes how the new graphics should be used. Many aspects of the game can be altered by NewGRFs; a NewGRF can introduce a complete new set of vehicles, new industries and the cargoes they produce, new town buildings, new rail graphics and behaviour, etc. NewGRFs, along with heightmaps, scenarios and custom AIs, can be downloaded and installed using the "BaNaNaS" in-game online content system.
Due to its use of Simple DirectMedia Layer cross-platform graphics and sound layers, OpenTTD can be compiled and run on many different operating systems. The officially supported operating systems are: 
- BSDs, especially, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD
- Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7/8 (32-bit, 64-bit XP and later)
- Mac OS X
OpenTTD has been praised for the amount of improvements it has made to the original Transport Tycoon Deluxe, such as the AI, graphics, sounds and ability to play multiplayer.  Lewis Denby from PC Gamer ranked OpenTTD 20th in its May 2011 list of best free PC games. OpenTTD has been chosen as the favourite (free) game in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 by users of the Hungarian Unix Portal.
- Nash, Andrew (November 14, 2009). Web 2.0 Applications for Improving Public Participation in Transport Planning (PDF). Presented at: Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting 2010, Washington D.C.: January 10–14, 2010. Session 337: Public Involvement in Transportation; January 11, 2010; 2:30PM - 5:00PM; Washington Hilton.
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- "Changelog for version 1.0". Changelog in the svn branch 1.0. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
- "Merge the cpp (C++) branch". Revision log of OpenTTD's version control system. Retrieved 2009-12-11.[dead link]
- "OpenGFX 0.2.0". Official OpenGFX news. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "OpenSFX 0.2.0". Official OpenSFX news. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "Graphics and sound replacement complete". Official OpenTTD news. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
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- "Game speed is too fast". Transport Tycoon Forums. Retrieved 2009-12-11. Note: 2.22 seconds a game day -> 2.22 * 365 (days in year) * 100 (years) / 3600 (seconds in hour) results in about 22.5 hours
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- "HUP Olvasók Választása Díj 2005 - eredményhirdetés". Hungarian Unix Portal (HUP) (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "HUP Olvasók Választása Díj 2007 - eredményhirdetés". Hungarian Unix Portal (HUP) (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "HUP Olvasók Választása Díj 2009 - eredményhirdetés". Hungarian Unix Portal (HUP) (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2010-01-14.
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- Official website
- OpenTTD Wiki Manual and Resources for users and developers alike.
- TT-Forums, the official discussion and support board for OpenTTD and similar games.
- OpenTTD Google Plus page and community.