In OpenTTD, vehicles are what keep your company moving. They produce your only source of income, and therefore must be deployed on a map to ensure success for your company.
Built in depots, your vehicles will follow orders between stations, and will pickup any available cargo that they are able to carry. (Passenger trains do not pickup mail, for example, unless you add a mail van).
There are four different types of vehicle in OpenTTD, each representing the major transport methods. They are as follows:
Each method of transportation has its own strengths and weaknesses:
- Ships have a large fixed capacity, but move slowly and have high initial costs.
- Aircraft make a lot of money, but airports require a lot of space, and large airports are needed to handle many planes.
- Road vehicles can move easily around towns and cities, but carry and make little money per trip.
- Trains can carry any amount and travel fast, and are usually cheapest in the long term. But rail infrastructure requires a lot of space, and advanced planning is needed for high capacity networks.
Every vehicle has its own reliability rating, which affects how many Breakdowns it is likely to suffer. Every vehicle of the same model has the same maximum reliability score. Prototype vehicles (see below) will have lower maximum reliability scores than normal for that vehicle type. When a vehicle is serviced at a Depot, its reliability score is reset to the current maximum reliability for that vehicle model.
It is possible to become rich in the game via any type of vehicle, given an appropriate environment. Over vast distances planes and trains perform well and for small distances where huge amounts of cargo needs to be delivered, ships become a good solution (for example, when serving oil rigs). Ships are inappropriate for very long trips because of the time penalty for slow delivery. See Cargo income for details on income calculations.
From time to time, your company will be offered one year's exclusive use of a new vehicle prototype. Prototypes usually have low maximum reliability scores, but this score increases once the vehicle has been officially launched. If you accept an exclusive use offer but don't bother to build any of the new vehicle type, you won't get any more trial offers for the next 5 years. Trials are offered to all companies working downwards from the company with the highest rating. AI-controlled companies can get exclusive previews too.
Maximum Reliability Ratings
When new vehicle models appear, they usually start out with quite a low maximum reliability rating. The reliability score then creeps upwards for a year or two (by 1% per month) until it reaches a peak value. It then stays stable at that value for many years until the model is eventually withdrawn from service, and then begins to decline.