Cool down your fever.
Transport Fever 2 is a rich and bountiful management sim with a whole bunch of varied offerings. Combining your traditional transport sim with historical technology, a detailed campaign, and more control over your city-planning, TF2 may at first seem a little overwhelming – so we are here to clear it up a bit.
These tips should work on either Campaign or Free mode, but are designed not to ruin or be a spoiler for any of the challenges set out. They should serve more as a rough guide to not freaking out and running away when the UI loads.
Plan, Plan, Plan.
You will start life as a small local transport company, and want to build your empire to be globally wide-reaching and flawlessly efficient, so take your time in the early game and don’t go mad. Just like in real life, demolishing structures and infrastructure costs a lot of money, and wastes whatever resources and cash you lovingly poured into it to begin with, so restrict your purchases until you are sure of the direction you want to go in. Let the game guide you, and save as much money as you can in the early stages, whilst balancing customer satisfaction. Do things well on a small scale and your empire will grow faster than you could ever hope for.
Don’t Forget The Little People
It’s easy to forget when you’re zooming in and out of your town, examining huge structures or swanky new vehicles, but it’s the people who make the town – and who make you money. You shouldn’t assume that just because an area falls outside a catchment zone that it’s your next focus point. Zoom in on your citizens and get to know them; their routes and desires should be your primary guide, so don’t underestimate their importance.
Utilise your colour palette like you’re literally Rembrandt. The further you get in the game the more you’ll need them to sort your transport links from one another. As you can imagine, TF2 gets a little visually crowded at times, and you’ll want to keep your planning a few steps ahead. Remember to check catchment areas and keep an eye on your active lines.
Don’t Miss The Band Wagon
Start off with the Campaign mode if you’re planning to really invest in this game and take it for all its got. Starting with literal wagons in the 1800s, you’ll soon work your way up to super speed trains – just don’t rush yourself unless you’re confident in your skills. The Campaign tutorial may feel lengthy, but you’ll be surprised how many new features are included in this game. You’ll want to use them all.
Don’t let any of your stats fall too low, even as a short-term sacrifice. Although your focus may be on expansion and development, you’ll be surprised how difficult it can be to raise stats after they’ve fallen. A happy medium may be necessary sometimes, but try to prioritize the factors that keep your city healthy. Seems like an obvious one, but when victory is close by and you suddenly start to plummet it can be quite lethal.
Highways are pretty much always a good investment. Although it can put a bit of a drain on resources, and take a while to build up to, they will divert both pollution and traffic jams by easing some of the strain on your cities. Just make sure you pause and build away from the centre of the town/city or you may end up with everyone rushing at once and causing more of a jam than you intended.
Making money is made 100x easier by connecting towns. The resources and transport links will tie in neatly if you build them just outside the starting towns, allowing the city to gradually swell around them. Watch and learn as your cities merge, and don’t forget to plow resources into your suburbs, not just city centres. The bigger your city, the more people you have relying on you – and the more money you are going to make.
Make sure to pay close attention to signal boxes, traffic lights, and directional flows. Although a small town will work fine with a main street and a few outliers, a city will require some complex planning. Sketch an idea of what you want your city to become, and make sure you regulate traffic earlier rather than later, when everyone is committed to their commute.
Think Outside The Box
Don’t constrain yourself to straight, American-style grids. Bear in mind this game was built by a Swiss team, so European town planning applies. Bridges, curved tracks, raised junctions, ring roads, complex suburbs, and tunnels will form a crucial part of your infrastructure if you want to save money and keep people happy. Just make sure enough rules are in place to prevent a pile-up.
Keep an eye on specialized vehicles and buildings, as they tend to offer great returns if you can strategize for their shortfalls. If you’re making a connection between a farm and a food factory, maybe you only need a truck or train that carries grains. They may not be the flashiest vehicles but think carefully, as you’ll reap the rewards of higher capacity and lower prices if you keep this in mind.
Make sure to apply real-world logic whenever you can and recognise the relationships between different types of vehicles. Transport relies on transport to keep itself afloat. If your airport doesn’t have a bus stop, or your train station is isolated from cars, you’re going to have a hard time getting anyone to use your wonderful services. Remember: your goal is to create an empire, so the more reliant you make people on your service network, the more money is going to come rolling in.
Don’t Get Lost
Getting lost in the UI is easy, especially if you’re a Cities: Skylines regular and are used to a different categorization system. Just remember that no matter whether you’re looking for a building, vehicle, or path type – it all depends on the area that will use it the most, not the object category. These areas are split into Road, Rail, Sea, Air, and Terrain. If you want a truck stop, quit looking for a building menu and click on the Road tab. Keep an eye also on the overcrowding menus etc., as it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and end up with a huge deficit in an area you never check.
A Note On Easter Eggs
No spoilers from me, but once you’ve unlocked the cockpit camera, have a search for some animals… a school of fish or a flock of birds… and see if you can’t combine the two somehow…
Transport Fever 2 is easily one of the most complex and replayable games to come out in a long time, so use these tips to get yourself started, try not to feel overwhelmed, and experiment with map types and timelines. TF2 will probably grow and develop, so just follow the key rules of management sims: always be doing something, and dont be afraid to pause! The modding community is always a rich one surrounding TF games, so keep your eyes peeled for some new additions to the Steam Workshop sometime soon, and good luck!
Miri is an English grad with a fascination for sci fi, RPGs, grand strategy and point-and-click games. She also enjoys strong coffees and cats.