Transport Tycoon Coming to iOS and Android

The classic management sim is making its way to the small screens of mobile platforms later this year.

News by Pete Davison, .

Mobile phones and tablets aren't the same as dedicated gaming handhelds.

It may sound like a blindingly obvious statement, but it's one a lot of iOS and Android developers are seemingly yet to grasp. The touchscreen control scheme of most modern smartphones and tablets make these devices ill-suited to classic console-style experiences; the best games on these platforms are ones that have either been specifically designed to take advantage of touchscreen devices' unique benefits, or those which make use of an interface which easily converts to touch.

One genre to which touchscreen controls lend themselves rather well -- particularly on the larger screens of tablets -- is the strategy genre and all its offshoots, such as management and business sims. Strategy games in all their forms are typically a bit more sedate in their pacing than many other types of game, allowing the player to take their time over making decisions, and making fast, clumsy touchscreen interactions unnecessary. Instead, most strategy games make use of detailed menu-based systems whereby players can review lots of information, easily navigate between it, and then apply the actions they'd like to perform.

One such game that would be ideally suited to the touch controls of a tablet would be Chris Sawyer's 1994 classic Transport Tycoon, but there's been no sign of a port... until now, that is.

This is OpenTTD, which looks quite close to the original game; new developers Origin8 say the upcoming mobile version will look noticeably different.

Yes, Transport Tycoon is coming to iOS and Android devices later this year. Unfortunately, we're yet to see any gameplay from the new port, but the very fact that its developers are referring to it as a "port" and not a "reboot" or "remake" is encouraging; many classic business sim fans are still smarting from the abomination that was EA's free-to-play social take on Theme Park back in 2012, after all.

For those who didn't come across Transport Tycoon back in 1994 -- or in its more recent free, open-source incarnation as OpenTTD -- here's the gist: you're in control of a transport company, and it's your job to try and make as much profit as possible while also beating out your local competitors for lucrative contracts. You'll achieve your goals by building a transport infrastructure in the area, constructing up-to-date vehicles, ferrying passengers around and attempting to be the first to move various resources around the map from one place to another.

The game begins in 1930 (or 1950 in the slightly later Transport Tycoon Deluxe) and ends in 2030 (2050 in Transport Tycoon Deluxe), and takes about 40 hours for a complete playthrough. At the end of the game, your score is recorded in a Hall of Fame, and much like Sid Meier's classic Civilization series, you get the opportunity to continue playing, but the years no longer advance.

Transport Tycoon is a great fit for mobile devices -- particularly tablets. The new version has been designed and directed by its original creator Chris Sawyer -- who later went on to produce the Rollercoaster Tycoon series -- and developed by Origin8, who promise to recreate and restore Sawyer's original simulation code while giving the new version its own distinctive look and feel. There's no firm release date yet, but watch for it later in the year. In the meantime, why not give the open-source recreation OpenTTD a shot?

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