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Transport Tycoon is a pair of business management simulation games created by legendary Scottish game developer Chris Sawyer (of Rollercoaster Tycoon and Microprose fame). The apparent object of the games is to end up with a monopoly of transport services for a usually randomly generated map. Transport is provided in all four major modes; air, rail, bus, and water, though the most profit tends to come from rail and then air.

The two games in the series are Transport Tycoon (released in 1994 and now referred to as Original) and Transport Tycoon Deluxe (released in 1995). The latter of which provided many bugfix and UI improvements to the original game.

The game was superseded officially by its 2004 Spiritual Successor Locomotion. A freeware fan port of the game - Open TTD - was established around the same time and is still going strong. There is also a Fan Sequel of sorts, called Simutrans, but it's an indie game only Inspired By and not related or legally connected to the Transport Tycoon series.


The Transport Tycoon series contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Break From Reality: Even the most sprawling metropolises will only house about 30,000 people.
    • The effects of events like World War Two or the 1970s oil crisis on the economy are completely absent.
    • Helicopters, which are quite useful for delivering mail and passengers in big cities, basically cease to exist after 2020.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The prices eventually rise so high that a piece of road costs more than a skyscraper in real life.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You
  • Artificial Stupidity: The stupid things the AI tries to pass as traffic routes has to be seen to be believed. The AI is less insane in Open TTD, though it's still a pushover.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Aircraft. There is no doubt that they are awesomely cool and fast, but their low cargo capacity and need for expensive airport infrastructure makes them, well...impractical.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Trains. Road vehicles are next to useless on longer distances, as they're slower and can't keep up with increasing cargo rates.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Some of the "future" (past 1990) buildings and vehicles are really odd looking.
  • Boring And Impractical: Road vehicles. They don't have the allure of trains, the inherit coolness of aircraft, and they're basically useless. Their only advantage is they're cheap and can use existing city roads.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On higher difficulties, rival companies enjoy automatically high ratings.
    • Not Playing Fair with Resources: AI can completely destroy their environments around towns with no ill effect; the local authority will hate you and you will hate it if you bulldoze one tree. Justified, in that the AI as designed couldn't possibly compete with human players without this kind of handicap.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: All companies have a single, associated colour. Locomotion and Open TTD allow you to violate this, letting you choose different colours for different vehicles (e. g. different colours for steam, diesel, and electric locomotives).
  • Cool Plane: Several. The Yate Haugan stands out, even though it looks like a burning hang-glider when breaking down. Also the Guru Galaxy - and expy of the Lockheed TriStar.
  • Cool Train: Of course.
  • Crapsack World: Intercity transport is controlled solely by private companies who compete with each other to the point of sabotage and bribery. Also, there are UFOs.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: If an AI competitor is using road vehicles, it's possible to set up a rail line across the road and order a locomotive to "dispose" of AI vehicles. This leaves your reputation and the locomotive completely unharmed.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Trains. The most complicated transport method to set up initially (especially if you're trying to network all your lines together), but overall the most efficient way to ship non-passenger goods (Planes are best for passengers).
  • Easy Logistics: Averted in that vehicles need to be maintained, otherwise they breakdown. Played straight with passenger and cargo; they will go wherever you ship them.
  • Game Mod / Fan Remake : OpenTTD.
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting: The original starts in 1930. Deluxe has 1950 as the earliest date. Spiritual Successor Locomotion starts in 1900.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: After December 31, 2060, the date loops back to January 1, 2060, rather than proceeding to 2061. A Game Breaking Bug if you have vehicles scheduled for maintenance in 2061...
  • Karma Meter: Crash accidents make your company rating go down. This can be used cleverly to cause trouble for your opposition, however.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo / Captain Ersatz : All vehicles from the original 1994 UK installment were real ones from the various eras of the 20. century and all of them used their Real Life names. To avoid potential lawsuits, every vehicle in the US release, and subsequently the Deluxe version (and by extension, Open TTD) was renamed. For example, a Vickers Viscount is a "Coleman Count", a Boeing 747 is a "Darwin 300", the Lockheed Tristar becomes the "Guru galaxy", all planes of the Airbus brand are called "Airtaxi", and the Concorde is referred to as a "Yate Haugan".
  • Made of Explodium: When two vehicles or convoys collide (except the train in a road/train collision), the vehicles will explode into a fireball. This occurs even if the vehicles aren't carrying flammables of any type, such as an electric passenger train.
  • Level Ate / Toy Time: The "Toyland" climate.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: City and town councils can become this, for better or for worse. Especially if they don't know your company well yet and you start massively altering their surroundings and tearing down older buildings - they'll simply ban you from constructing any of your company's structures on their territory, until you regain your reputation (which can often take years).
  • Physics Goof: Trains can go around extremely tight corners at 300mph, but immediately slow down to a crawl when encountering a tiny hill. Only the OpenTTD implementation finally added a (more) realistic acceleration model.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: Every single time a small UFO flies above a bus, they both breakdown at the exact same time and UFO crashes exactly onto the bus.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Spiritual Successor Locomotion uses Scott Joplin Ragtime pieces for the 1900-1920 era of the game. Averted after 1920, and also averted in the Transport Tycoon.
  • Units Not to Scale: Ships are not much bigger than train cars. In reality, cargo ships carry hundreds of containers which are as big as train cars. Also, each tile is about 600km. You can build trains that take up more than 7 tiles.
  • Shout-Out / Easter Egg : Every now and then, an X-COM fighter jet or UFO will appear and fly around the map.
  • "Stop Having Fun!" Guys: It's a Chris Sawyer game. He has issues with people modding the game to make it more of a sandbox.
  • Suicide Mission: As detailed below, this is a perfectly reasonable way of dealing with competitors.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Want to try and nurse mainline steam traction into the 21st century ? Now's your chance.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • It's possible to cause the deaths of thousands of people in one go by judicious use of the "Ignore signal" button.
    • It takes a little time to set up, but if you have created cities directly at sea level, only protected by a dike, and then delete the dike, the city will be overrun by the water and destroyed.
      • There is a map in Transport Tycoon Deluxe called "Damn!" where the entire map is at sea level and protected by a dike.
    • You can take revenge on the computer-favoured AI opponents' badly built railways by building a railway depot at the end of their stations and sending a steam engine of yours running kamikaze-style into the opponent's station. His train eventually enters the station and...
  • Video Game Time: A day passes every few seconds, so trains take weeks to travel from one town to another. Because of this, we have the oddity that passengers will pay through the the nose for the privilege of traveling a couple of miles in "only" ten days.
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