What exactly does crossing lines mean?


The Oct 20 patch notes were pretty terse:

Lines can now cross. It’s still best to avoid it as your trains move slower when they have to cross other lines.

In the old version, it was often difficult to tell whether a particular route would result in lines crossing, but because it was illegal to make them cross, you could fiddle around until you got a route that didn’t cross.

Now it seems like there’s no visual indication of whether a particular arrangement results in lines crossing. This seems like a bit of a bummer. Even if the old version was sometimes frustrating, it was always clear what was going on. Now it seems I’m left to wonder if I’m being inefficient or not. Or is there a visual indicator I’m missing?


@peter or @shiprib should be able to answer this for you.


We do want to add in an indicator to show line crossings now that you don’t get an error when you create one, it’s a surprisingly tricky proposition though! Ideally we’d have one line displaying as normal, and the other line having a gap before and after the other - so it looks like it’s going under it. The problem arises when you get multiple lines crossing over other lines in a tight space.

In the short term we could trigger a subtle indication when you cross lines, like when a station appears.


Thanks for the details! Yeah I certainly don’t mean to suggest it’s trivial. :slight_smile:

Out of curiosity, what motivated this change? Was it related to the recent mobile development?


The “don’t let lines cross” was always a core tenet of the gameplay. However after showing the game at a couple of PAXs and watching several hundred people experience the game for the first time, we found that the overwhelming cause of frustration was the line-crossing errors. There are something like five common errors possible in the game, and four of them are caused by lines being unable to cross (the other is lack of tunnels, the one remaining uncommon error is lack of available platforms at a station).

So we figured if we replaced the hard constraint of line crossing, and replaced it with a soft constraint (slowing down trains) then we would remove the cause of frustration, make it easier to learn how the game works, while also making the difficulty ramp more gradual - now you learn that line crossings are best avoided, but you can still use them if you need to.


Cool, makes total sense!

As a side note, I incorrectly assumed that the crossing restriction was responsible for the platform exhaustion in a station. I haven’t played enough since the patch to run into the station being out of platforms, but I thought that was a side effect of the crossing rule and not a rule of its own. Not sure if that matters to you, but just FYI. :slight_smile:


Ah okay, thanks. That is useful. We always knew it would be the most confusing of all errors! Each station can only have three lines per cardinal direction, so once you’ve used them all up we can’t connect it and give you the error instead.


Gotcha. And I’m assuming that this restriction wasn’t lifted just because there’s not a good way to draw 8 lines coming into a station on top of each other? :slight_smile:


Exactly, that one was just from a readability point of view.