Economy is a very important part of OpenTTD - in fact, money is what it's all about!
In OpenTTD, the costs of everything inflates. Inflation for cargo payment rates and costs are different. Inflation is limited to the first 170 years of game play. The inflation rate for costs is equal to the initial interest rate of the game, as determined by the game difficulty, and the cargo payment inflation is slightly below that (about 1 percent).
Unless the economy is set to steady it may go into a recession. During a recession these points change:
- The production of industries reduces to half of the normal value.
- The amount of passengers and mail produced by town houses and headquartes is also reduced to half of the normal value.
- No new industries will be built (since r21169/OpenTTD 1.1.0).
Loans can be taken out by a player. The maximum loan varies during the game and is dependent on the company value. Loan interest is paid monthly to the bank, at the current interest rate. The initial interest rate is set at the game start according to the difficulty settings. The interest rate does not change during the game. To quickly repay a loan, press ctrl + click the repay loan button on the finances screen, which allows you to repay as much as possible. The same goes for borrowing money.
If you buy out a company (see the next section), their loan will be added to yours.
In single player once a company has started selling its shares you may buy them 25% at a time by paying 1/4 of the company's labeled value. You may then sell them at a later date when the company's value has increased for a profit, or buy 100% to take over the company. In doing so you will gain all of the company's vehicles, but also their debt.
Shares can be used to make a lot of money, if you buy them at the right time. Buying shares in a starting company is very cheap, but it can be risky, because the company might fail and your investment is lost. But if the company flourishes you can easily get your investment back hundredfold (or several thousandfold, if you wait long enough).
Note that for multiplayer games, you can only buy 75% of a company. There is no way to take over a rival company (run by a human).
In order to buy shares the company of which shares will be bought must be at least six years old.
The expense of property maintenance is directly proportional to the company's number of stations, regardless of their size. So make sure your vehicles' profits make up for this as well, and don't spread out over too many stations.