Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #4593: c-square's DOS Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon in 00:39.93

Console: DOS
Game name: Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: game.exe
Emulator: JPC-rr 11.2
Movie length: 00:39.93
FrameCount: 2396
Re-record count: 259
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: c-square
Submitter: c-square
Submitted at: 2015-02-26 07:07:42
Text last edited at: 2017-09-23 02:25:26
Text last edited by: c-square
Download: Download (9715 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
In 1990 the renowned Sid Meier released Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon. The game received many accolades including Computer Gaming World's Game of the Year. The goal of the game is to achieve the highest job ranking by slowly expanding your railroad empire across the land, building stations, buying trains, creating industries and fending off your competition losing as much money as possible.


(Probably more fun to watch before reading the comments)

(Link to video)

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: JPC-rr 11.2
  • Retire with the highest job rank (Prime Minister)
  • Uses hardest difficulty (100% Difficulty)
  • Genre: Strategy

Comments (w/ spoilers)

Game Setup

England is chosen simply because it takes the least number of frames to set up. 100% difficulty is chosen just for kicks. It doesn't really affect the TAS, but it doesn't take any more frames to choose it either.

Money Underflow and Time Management

The whole TAS is set around the fact that money is tracked with a signed int. By losing money past negative 32,767,000 pounds, the value wraps around to be positive 32 million. (Even though the money value turns black at 20 million pounds, it's still negative) So, the goal is to lose money as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, there's another consideration. Your job rank isn't reevaluated until the end of the fiscal period, which means the earliest the TAS can end is two years from the start of the game. So the first thing that needs to be done is to crank up the game speed to Turbo, to get time to go as fast as possible. Running on Turbo has some other consequences for the TAS, which will be discussed later. (Short version: Never play this game on Turbo)

There's one more thing. The more actions you pack into a frame the slower the game clock goes. So, although it's possible to hit the underflow faster by doing all your actions at once, this ends up stopping the game clock while you do it. It turns out, you get to the end of the fiscal period faster if your actions are spaced out as evenly as possible. In this TAS, the final action that causes the money to underflow happens one frame before the end of the fiscal period.

Losing Money

The fastest way to lose money is to build track. This is where the first extra consequence of Turbo speed comes in. On Turbo, all in-game messages and notifications are instantly closed as soon as they pop up. This includes dialog boxes asking if you want to build a bridge over water, a tunnel under a mountain or if you want to build track on a slope of any significant grade. The result of this is that it is impossible to build track on any of the above-listed features while the speed is set to Turbo. In other words, never play this game on Turbo.

Luckily for me, the map tile that is in the exact middle of England is pretty track friendly. After zooming in, you can see there's only a small section in the top left corner that can't be built upon (they're too close to those mountains and have slopes that pop up messages). Also, if you build track two tiles away from the window border, the game will readjust the window to center on your cursor, slowing down the game clock (which I want to avoid at all costs). I build as much track as I can before I run out of money.

The game is smart enough not to let you build track once you're in the negatives, so we need to find a new way of wasting money. Luckily, the game has no problem with you going further into debt by turning your existing track into double-track and then back to single-track. This costs 8,000 pounds and can be done an infinite amount of times. The TAS uses this method to get the rest of the way to negative 32 million pounds. It is possible to do this manually, but at my fastest it took me 17 minutes to get all the way to negative 32 million. Even if someone with more nimble fingers than I have could shave a couple minutes off that, there's still no humanly way to get all the way down to the underflow within the first fiscal period without freezing the game clock.

Freaky Flashing Heads Glitch

This glitch is not an emulation bug, nor has anything to do with the money amount or the underflow. These freaky flashing heads appear whenever you play the game on Turbo. As I said, never play this game on Turbo.

Other comments

As soon as the year-end report comes up, I buffer the keyboard commands to retire so that I can end input early, and cut this TAS just under a clean 40 seconds. It may be possible to pull a few more frames out of this by playing around with the track-laying sequence or ordering the double and single-track commands slightly differently. Finally, the rerecords value is not really accurate. I did most of the work for this TAS altering the movie file directly.

Suggested Screenshots: (15154, 15981)


HDD, 16 tracks, 63 sectors, 16 sides.

Timestamp MD5 Size Filename
19900101000000 5d5262d2bd41aef375154e9fbaf2438d 26118 ACTION16.EXE
19900101000000 6e1402e0877a778939ae03642ff7f3ae 8905 ADVERT.PIC
19900101000000 78d59fe5b4cba646aec84daf3e0258eb 11494 ASOUND.RR
19900101000000 cd83fb159b891f73cffc0dc090a179cc 6640 BRITAIN.PIC
19900101000000 a5a8dd8c0930b6a66233ac6c2d31dd28 9428 CGRAPHIC.EXE
19900101000000 7a84582cfdb5a769ab86152cd772d2a4 2000 CITIES0.DTA
19900101000000 c1e474d94979bed671da656415ce6f27 2000 CITIES1.DTA
19900101000000 25e63bbb9ff11b4f722f9996322eae16 2000 CITIES2.DTA
19900101000000 3fcb35a6cfa1aa81d1bf6fbf3ccb3d5c 2000 CITIES3.DTA
19900101000000 0a69118fb1dcf28181b42e4bfeb9655a 420 CLOCOS.DTA
19900101000000 8942f699929ef1e2ae145d11f175c064 9233 CLOCOS.PIC
19900101000000 7a453c5eb2696060aeeaa9b79ff59189 9527 CLOCOSM.PIC
19900101000000 9f3430e700360d8a622a22308f098943 8425 COUNCIL.PIC
19900101000000 fbdbf3468be1356521b665928def1509 7022 CREDITS2.PIC
19900101000000 4dfd0c673b2282ed7ed909b496f37fdd 11085 CSPCGA.PIC
19900101000000 c717d490aa3c54fe870f18c1b6533e38 13282 CSPRITES.PIC
19900101000000 761bc1155a414567eb844e52d523f83e 10544 DIFFS.PIC
19900101000000 809714b94bb35385bbb63402a2b3bdbf 9031 DIFFSP.PIC
19900101000000 dd0474e378080b5509a8fa39244d24b2 8722 EASTUS.PIC
19900101000000 5db84bce752eacb8de9a925ad0c79624 10390 EGRAPHIC.EXE
19900101000000 399a1a7e29eca75df9770beaa5f60857 420 ELOCOS.DTA
19900101000000 9a2fe80ea845f97cd63f1a9c50fe4e94 9560 ELOCOS.PIC
19900101000000 1446b5df6ee9f6610178dfb3d9460e9a 3862 ELOCOS0.PIC
19900101000000 bbde068838daf20f6e48c572d1f08711 5263 ELOCOS1.PIC
19900101000000 4be84412c1245c78a8bb6ab0b8d5a532 5240 ELOCOS2.PIC
19900101000000 e38d58d332c9f2d13ccde9d7c3ec1274 4625 ELOCOS3.PIC
19900101000000 71bd9144cc18e1788f337a06b02bf22f 9972 ELOCOSM.PIC
19900101000000 81f86728b2270c733d945506944207dc 41824 ENGFLDM.PAN
19900101000000 77b0f5788c55f2109df16d66094010a7 10909 ESPCGA.PIC
19900101000000 a2cb8666382b2001d55f89302fac04c9 12934 ESPRITES.PIC
19900101000000 588d446f526b1e6f6bfeb4b93f87e116 6643 ESTATION.PIC
19900101000000 ab2168b9a43a7cdcc45fab90e782ba1e 10983 EUROPE.PIC
19900101000000 6c404e89f295cf95b4cf09008fe22ebf 8332 FACES.PIC
19900101000000 a8e0d65871a901c83978c2a7bc55d3fb 408 FAME.DTA
19900101000000 a8a262cd57d0ca0f6f3b137a5b81d240 38408 FLOODM.PAN
19900101000000 9ef2e5db160b43387d815f6094551ece 10137 FONTS.RR
19900101000000 7330a135bb8f8fdb0e6d5be159fdd4cb 197210 GAME.EXE
19900101000000 3a3ea483d647ac3b6762ea35d316e414 2288 INIT.EXE
19900101000000 7ec7eb9e2322ec05dee407dc93591112 25390 IRONM.PAN
19900101000000 22ebbe681aaffc38d7f9032c8bd8ed7f 4273 ISOUND.RR
19900101000000 af3862dc5223fb49eea91a04ae61e819 2263 LABS.PIC
19900101000000 7ec319989fee1945ece763361216b68b 10796 LOCOS.PIC
19900101000000 c7446f4fcb26e821b47382c6a35e0b22 4330 LOCOS0.PIC
19900101000000 ec804f9a5ba405149f36445af9bdf2f2 6317 LOCOS1.PIC
19900101000000 b986a945f7db0479766bf2d99e03bc5e 5659 LOCOS2.PIC
19900101000000 68a02b422943b11be6e41a65d2d7cd6a 11132 LOCOSM.PIC
19900101000000 5b1af8bdb506989b6979190b9a99652c 1712 LOGO.PIC
19900101000000 8f086435de47a8cfb581bc889e021793 6756 MGRAPHIC.EXE
19900101000000 a5110d0b2000d4289fbfbb0eb041ca19 980 MISC.EXE
19900101000000 47beac66992552ed1ec04ac51563f5db 9782 PAGE0.PIC
19900101000000 9dfbce9e4ef8bc503ff08d50f2fa7bd8 10353 PAGE1.PIC
19900101000000 1dadd71ba804b86499e5686051c42d79 10880 PAGE2.PIC
19900101000000 4dd72486954cf7c51599087a1150e80b 12368 PAGE3.PIC
19900101000000 025666ec7280427265d12589cf6a4be4 10709 PAGE4.PIC
19900101000000 624e4dd04bef524b5ca9bcc6f8035c7a 10383 PAGE5.PIC
19900101000000 e454a47f619001461c6e142829eacd76 7791 PAGE6.PIC
19900101000000 433d7543aa5c281b366fee3af9a6e712 8904 PAGE7.PIC
19900101000000 6da63ce6a679ac5f08da29172db09161 8223 PAGE8.PIC
19900101000000 d62d15aa4fdf015de24ec29e2b46036c 10462 PAGE9.PIC
19900101000000 8b822b3a1e83c054196688335b4efc3c 36 RAILS.BAT
19900101000000 a41e0fb770cff94bfcf619c935612e02 2362 README.DOC
19900101000000 dbe01efa8982349f7ae099f0de18f303 13035 RR4.MAP
19900101000000 e581e2d84d8f2e31eee76c9720bea9aa 16017 RR4.SVE
19900101000000 09a44a0fb88086f29eb7b4942c0442ed 12489 RSOUND.RR
19900101000000 bbc0eabe0d7271ef7728049bd5cf84f6 11495 SPCGA.PIC
19900101000000 a40010fb9cdd9b9ff8a8e01d935413f2 13579 SPRITES.PIC
19900101000000 7aa2a8407b5ba76c7759e16063496e0e 7069 STATION.PIC
19900101000000 4219174785f262de0dcc4a3f1e9e9d8c 8852 TGRAPHIC.EXE
19900101000000 0caf38bbad78e20b25cda1d533010cf8 8100 TITLE.PIC
19900101000000 75a4a435182db24e891570c10bac2ec3 37626 TITLEM.PAN
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19900101000000 100de0434d4794266b05e834da3616c7 5691 TRACKSC.PIC
19900101000000 a2b711bf141eefae769b826a6d520bd1 8120 TSOUND.RR
19900101000000 68b5ab15b3a0b17f13710f00c89fad2f 9531 WESTUS.PIC
19900101000000 faf4a2a8189e0430cce98bbbb4c1f3f3 27502 WOOD2.PAN
19900101000000 b5399923d94d73bd7382f0d20e315182 40462 WRECKM.PAN
19900101000000 22ebbe681aaffc38d7f9032c8bd8ed7f 4273 XSOUND.RR

Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: The idea behind this run is simple, but entertaining. Accepting for Moons.

fsvgm777: Processing.

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