Transport Tycoon

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Transport Tycoon
DOS cover art
Producer(s)Steve Ramsden
Designer(s)Chris Sawyer
Programmer(s)Chris Sawyer
Artist(s)Simon Foster
Composer(s)John Broomhall
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Mac, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Android, iOS
November 15, 1994
  • MS-DOS
    • NA: November 15, 1994
    • DE: November 15, 1994
  • PlayStation 1
    • EU: September 15, 1997
    • JP: August 6th, 1998
  • Sega Saturn
    • JP: November 20, 1997
  • iOS, Android
    • WW: October 3rd, 2013
Genre(s)Business simulation game

Transport Tycoon is a city-based pixel video game designed and programmed by Chris Sawyer, and published by MicroProse on 15 November 1994[1] for DOS. It is a business simulation game, presented in an isometric view in 2D with graphics by Simon Foster, in which the player acts as an entrepreneur in control of a transport company, and can compete against rival companies to make as much profit as possible by transporting passengers and various goods by road, rail, sea and air.

Transport Tycoon Deluxe is an expanded and improved version of the original game, released in 1995. A version for Android and iOS was released on 3 October 2013 based on the sequel, Chris Sawyer's Locomotion.[2] A fan-made game engine recreation OpenTTD is also available.[3]


To start building a transport empire, the player must construct transport routes, consisting of stations near industries or towns, and in the case of trains or road vehicles, near physical routes. One transport route can utilize several different forms of transport, e.g. truck→ship→train. The player's company and the individual stations each have ratings that depend largely on their efficiency at moving goods from one stations to the other. A station with high ratings may attract more goods.

The game begins in 1930, and ends in 2030. The player starts out by borrowing money to finance construction of transport facilities, and is charged interest until the loan is repaid. As the user plays the game and earns revenues, they have the choice of expanding service along existing routes, or expanding their transportation network. The game features a progression of technology: in any particular year of the game generally only contemporary types of technology are available. For example, railroad signals which allow more than one train to use a section of track are initially semaphores. Later, they are replaced by red and green traffic-light signals. Similarly, in the beginning there are only steam engines, but later diesel and electric engines are introduced. In the game year 1999, monorails become available. These require a separate track system from railroads. If the player remains in business until 2030, the game announces that they have won, allows them to post their name on the "hall of fame" and then continues. At this point, the year stays 2030 and never goes any higher, although the game can continue indefinitely. Playing the entire 100-year campaign takes about 40 hours. The game allows the player to save at any time, and multiple saves of a particular game at any point are possible.

Vehicles in the game must be constructed at corresponding depots, which must be connected to the road or rail networks. Towns and cities have their own road networks, but extra roads may be needed to connect them to other towns, or to various resources.

Chart illustrating flow of commodities between industries and towns in Transport Tycoon, and Temperate scenarios in Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

The player earns revenue by picking up resources or passengers at a certain station, and delivering them to another station where there is a demand for them. Demand is determined by the area which surrounds the station; for example stations close to towns will demand passengers. The revenues will depend on the delivery time, distance, and quantity delivered. The influence of these factors on revenue varies according to the type of goods being delivered. For example, mail will rapidly fall in value, meaning that it can only be delivered profitably over short distances, or over long distances very fast. On the other hand, coal loses value very slowly, so it can be transported in bulk over long distances whilst remaining profitable.

At times, subsidies are offered to the first company to move a particular resource from one place to another. This encourages the player to create a larger more complex transport network, rather than focusing on previously profitable routes.

The game features a system of Local Authority. Each city has a rating for every transport company based on the impact of their transport network. When the rating falls too low, the player will no longer be able to demolish buildings or construct new stations. The rating depends on, among others, the level of service and the deforestation caused by the company.

In the course of a game cities develop and expand according to various economic factors, and new industries (demand) or other resource sites (supply) may appear. Some natural resources may also eventually be exhausted and industries without adequate transport service may shut down. Also, new models of vehicles are introduced and eventually come to replace older models. At introduction such a new model will likely have improved characteristics, but may suffer from reliability issues.


The music in Transport Tycoon are original compositions by John Broomhall. It features old-style blues and jazz tunes including parts of Herbie Hancock's Cantaloupe Island.[4]


A reviewer for Next Generation gave the DOS version four out of five stars, commenting, "The best economic sim since Civilization, Microprose's new Transport Tycoon has all the features of Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon mixed with the look and ease of Maxis' SimCity 2000 and a host of new features ... that give the game a feel that is all its own." He further lauded the game for its graphics, "pleasant" music, sound effects, addictive play, and realistic simulation of the growth of cities and towns.[7]

Next Generation reviewed the Transport Tycoon Scenario, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "A solid upgrade for a great game."[8]

Related titles[edit]

A "World Editor" expansion pack was also released for the original Transport Tycoon, but was overshadowed by the Deluxe version released shortly afterward. It featured an alternative, Martian set of graphics, which did not appear in TTD.

Transport Tycoon Deluxe[edit]

Transport Tycoon Deluxe is an expanded and improved version of the original game. It included many significant changes, such as:

  • 3 new gameplay environments alongside the original Temperate climate. These are: Tropical, Arctic, and Toyland. The new environments introduced different industries and challenges. For example, towns in the Arctic environment do not grow without regular deliveries of food, while those in the Tropical environment require access to fresh water before they will grow.
  • World Editor included - Allowing the creation of custom maps and scenarios.
  • Network play, allowing multiplayer games.
  • Improved railway signals. The original Transport Tycoon only included bi-directional signals, permitting trains to pass in either direction, while the Deluxe version introduced uni-directional signals, to restrict trains to a single direction of travel. This has significant effects on gameplay, as the original bi-directional signals could result in trains trying to travel towards each other on the same section of track. While this would not result in crashes on a properly signalled route, it did require either building extra track, to allow the trains to pass each other, or building a great many tracks in parallel, to avoid the problem. The new uni-directional signals enabled building one-way track systems, giving the player greater control over the operation of their rail network, enabling far more efficient routes, and preventing trains from trying to travel the "wrong way" on a section of track. By utilising both uni- and bi-directional signals, the player could now build effective switching yards, junctions, and other useful designs. It also enabled the building of continental-length railroad systems, by incorporating one-way tracks in both directions, as well as the option to merge other rails with the main line. This became a very popular strategy, allowing for transportation across entire game maps, resulting in larger profits.
  • Maglev trains and track.
  • Buy/Sell Shares and take-over rival companies.
  • Heliports.
  • Ability to re-fit aircraft and ships to carry alternative cargo types.
  • Games now begin in 1950 and end in 2050, while the original game covers 1930 to 2030. Accordingly, the Deluxe version loses many of the earlier vehicles from the original game, while adding several new types later on.[10] Moreover, the vehicle names in the original game were based on real-life models, but were replaced with fictional ones in Transport Tycoon Deluxe, due to trademark issues.
  • The Deluxe version also allowed players to rename their vehicles, stations and towns in-game; this can be useful for identifying services in a network and adding a personal touch.
  • Remixed music theme for the main menu.

Chris Sawyer's Locomotion[edit]

After the success of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Chris Sawyer turned his attention towards a sequel, but during development he changed his mind and produced RollerCoaster Tycoon, which turned out to be a runaway hit. After RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 was done, work on the third version was left to another development team, and Sawyer returned to work on a Transport Tycoon sequel, Chris Sawyer's Locomotion. It was released in September 2004 and was described by Sawyer as the "spiritual successor to Transport Tycoon".

It received poor reviews and was deemed a commercial failure on release, but sales through the digital releases are unknown. Regardless, there is an active Locomotion community that continues to produce modifications.

iOS and Android version[edit]

On 15 July 2013, Sawyer's 31X Ltd and Origin8 Technologies announced that they were working on a mobile version of Transport Tycoon. Sawyer was originally focusing on funding for the game, but ended up overseeing the design and helped with the debugging.[11] The game was released for iOS and Android on 3 October 2013.[12] The game is single player and is primarily based on Chris Sawyer's Locomotion.[13]

Third-party creations[edit]

OpenTTD network game across 4 monitors

Several development teams are currently working to improve Transport Tycoon. TTDPatch provides gameplay enhancements and numerous bugfixes to TTD by patching the original binary.

OpenTTD is an open source complete recreation of Transport Tycoon Deluxe, achieved by reverse engineering the original game.[3][14] It delivers many bug fixes and general enhancements to the game, like making it possible to run TTD on multiple platforms, including Mac, Linux, PSP, and Android. While both games allow new graphic sets for vehicles and terrain to be used, at present, TTDPatch still requires the original TTD graphics, sounds, binary and music files to run. While OpenTTD can still use the original TTD graphics and sounds, it does not need any of the TTD files to run as it has free graphics and sounds.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". United States Patent Trademark Office. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ Whitehead, Dan (3 October 2013). "Transport Tycoon out now on iOS and Android". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c The 50 Best Free Games On PC - 8. Open Transport Tycoon Archived 12 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine on Rock, Paper, Shotgun (31 October 2016)
  4. ^ Sawyer, Chris. "Is the music used in Transport Tycoon available as MIDI files?". Archived from the original on 25 August 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  5. ^ Bennett, John (January 1995). "Transport Tycoon". Computer and Video Games. No. 158. pp. 84–85. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Transport Tycoon". Edge. No. 17. February 1995. pp. 76–77. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Transport Tycoon". Next Generation (4). Imagine Media: 93. April 1995.
  8. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 6. Imagine Media. June 1995. p. 109.
  9. ^ "Transport Tycoon". PC Format CD Gold. Winter 1995. p. 30. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  10. ^ Rudge, Owen. "Owen's Transport Tycoon Station - Vehicle List". Retrieved 18 July 2023.
  11. ^ Chris Sawyer on his reentry back into video games Archived 22 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ 'Transport Tycoon' Releasing on iOS and Android October 3rd Archived 5 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine by Jared Nelson (013-09-19)
  13. ^ Brookes, Tim (14 October 2013). "Transport Tycoon Review: Infrastructure Has Never Been So Fun". MakeUseOf. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  14. ^ The 50 best strategy games on PC - 50: Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1994) Archived 5 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine on Rock, Paper, Shotgun by Adam Smith "Where can I buy it: OpenTTD is a free, open source remake." (18 November 2016)

External links[edit]