Transport Fever: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started

“What the hell does the error, ‘Unable to find path to stop’ mean?” book-ended my first session with Transport Fever. I’d started play at an unwise time of night for a game I was still learning to be fair. But it was juuuust about enough for me to decide the game was ‘too quirky’ and put it down.

I’ve since come to love Transport Fever enough that it’s going to warrant a series. Considering a run at hard mode, starting in 1850, while attempting to achieve Penny Pincher, wherein you take no additional loans beyond what you start the game with until the year 2000.

I’d love for more people to be able to get on board as well, so hopefully sharing some of my early frustrations and their solutions will help, in addition to perhaps just some nice to know tips. So here’s the first of these, dealing with this blasted error!

Starting out, that little nondescript error box can become a nightmare.

Trains and the ‘Unable to Find Path to Stop’ Error

The most common reason for this is that your track isn’t actually connected like you think it is.

This will happen most often when either the angle of attack for joining the lines isn’t right. You might need to bulldoze further back where you’re trying to join to come in with a softer angle.

Even at a reasonably zoomed out view, it is possible to identify when this is happening. You’ll see far more speed indicators when it is creating a line that crosses over rather than joining. When it is ‘right’ there will be three key speed indicators surrounding the point of the join.

Here we go, this will work.

In addition to seeing only speed indicators for the track immediately before the join, at the point of the join, and immediately after — we can also tell this is right by the track positioning control doodackey being dead centre on the track we’re joining.

Unable to Find Path to Stop can Occur with Trucks, too

You might find it to be a connectivity error with the roads, but this is generally much easier to spot than the train example.

Most likely if you get this with trucks (or buses) then the line you’ve created is a complete mismatch of station/stop types.

Transport Fever does allow some flexibility here. Passengers will happily disembark at a freight station. Cargo can even be unloaded at a bus station if the catchment area includes the industry or property types that will consume it. This is actually quite useful when you’re dealing with just a small town in the 1850’s.

But passengers and cargo will never load at an incorrect station type.

After stations are placed you’ll need to visually identify them for type. Left is a small passenger stop, with seating. Passenger train stations will similarly have benches. Middle is the freight station with plenty of loading space. On the right is simply the road vehicle depot.

If you’ve inadvertently setup a passenger to passenger line, and you attempt to assign a vehicle that carries only cargo to it (or vice versa) — you’ll see your old friend ‘Error: Unable to path to stop’.

Interestingly, setting up a train incorrectly in this way will allow the train to run regardless of the type mismatch. Possibly this is because it could be ‘fixed’ with adding an additional carriage of the right type.

Signals Might be to Blame

Signals may well require a post all of their own, but your first adventures with double tracking and signals may well cause the re-emergence of the ‘Unable to find path to stop’ error.

You’ll have found that simply creating a double track doesn’t mean your line will automatically use it. You will need signals to make it operate efficiently with more than one train.

Track is correctly setup with a join at both this station and the other, but the line still wants to travel both directions up one side. Not exactly conducive to having multiple trains run the line.

Here are some things to note:

  • Transport Fever pathing prefers traveling on the right side, even if you’re playing the Britain map.
  • You don’t want to create any stops at a signal which will result in blocking other trains or traffic.
  • Without signals, trains will check the entire section of rail ahead of it is clear, up until the next station.1
  • Trains in Transport Fever will never crash. At worst, they’ll get stuck.
  • Where you have contest for right of way, generally an unsignaled train will have right of way over a signaled train. Queuing and wait rules will be smartly managed though.
This one signal was enough to update the line’s routing. But not quite enough to fix all issues!

Facing the direction of travel, I placed just one signal on the right side. I placed it far enough back that any train exiting the station still has room to get by on the left.

If I had placed the signal much further forward at the split, we could still run into situations where two trains found themselves in a stand-off and unable to move.

You need to place another signal at the other station as well to prevent the same happening there. Flip the camera as necessary to again align yourself to direction of travel and place the signal on the right side, before the merge.

This is your minimal set of signals, and this should work in that trains should be permitted to be assigned to the line. If you have simplified your signals down to this level, and you still can’t — check your joins or other sources of potential trouble again.

Signals Continued…

…I mean we got this far. May as well finish the basic introduction!

Signalling for the Train Depot

I might have to adjust this in the future if my train length grows.

Your depot may not require this, especially if you’ve simply attached it to the end of a station. But I figure this shows the principles in action again so might be useful.

The trains inbound to the depot will come from the right as we’ve discussed. I want them to be controlled off the main line and out of the way so that other trains can still carry on without interruption. To that end I pushed the signal as close to the join as I possibly could that still allows trains outbound from the depot to get by.

Similarly, trains leaving the depot should give right of way to any train already at full speed on the main line. I’m controlling them with the signal as close to the main line as possible to create space for any potential train incoming to the depot while one waits to leave.

That situation should be fairly rare, but as I noted under the image, if my trains start getting longer I’ll have to bulldoze this on/off section and rework it for additional length before the join.

Signal Pairs on the Main Line

This deals with the principle that in Transport Fever trains will look ahead at the next entire segment of track. If it has a train on it (even if they’re going in the same direction) the next train will not go until it is clear.

That is currently a huge block of track uncontrolled by signals that trains would have to wait to be clear before starting at the moment.

Fortunately, this has a simple fix. You apply signal pairs at regular intervals down the length of the track.

You don’t need them to be too close, but you will need (at minimum) one segment for every train you plan to run, otherwise eventually you will get something stuck. Being too far apart is not great either though simply due to the wait times if one section does happen to be blocked.

Here’s what I changed mine to:

Much better. Trains should be able to freely flow along this path.

And that’s it for the basics! Hopefully it helps. :D

One Final Bonus Tip on Pairing Bus Stops

Knowing that Transport Fever travels on the right (even in maps set in Britain) can certainly help when placing your bus stops in avoiding your carriages taking truly bizarre routes through town.

But you can simplify it a heck of a lot further by simply placing two bus stops together, one on either side of the road.

Transport Fever will automatically consider these as a single terminal/point for the purposes of creating your lines and will route to the correct side of the road depending on the needs of your path.

On the left, can see the bus stops have been automatically considered as a single point with two terminals. Lines using this will be free to approach from whichever side of the road is best. On the right, is a single bus stop. Lines using it from the ‘wrong’ side will need to turn around, often in a loop.

Heart of Rage: Tips for The Monitor

Moments before disaster struck. Here’s some tips to avoid this happening to you!

Learning the Scelos fight last night taught me something about Anthem. It’s difficulty shares some parallels to WoW. Anything below Grandmaster and the mechanics can be preeeetty much ignored (or at least not fully understood) just like in WoW’s normal dungeon or PUG Raid (LFR) difficulties.

Crank that switch up though and things start to matter.

In order to do this as a Stronghold, you need to have gone through the encounter as part of the Story so you would have seen it already. But as a bit of a recap The Monitor-ascended has three-major phases to it.

  • Phase 1: The ‘ow hothothot’ phase, where the floor, the sky, the boss the boss’s weapon (and sometimes your Javelin) are lava.
  • Phase 2: The ‘ow I’m melting’ phase, but this time it’s acid burn.
  • Phase 3: The ‘ow-‘ ZZzzzT! Lightning phase.

Of the three I think the first phase is the roughest to get through, especially if you’re not sure what’s going on or if enough of your party doesn’t know what’s going on.

So let’s fix that.

Phase 1: Fire

If you take only one thing away with you from these tips, take this:

Shoot the balls of fire on the ground.

The first time I encountered this mechanic, I assumed it was intended that we find a safe spot on the ground and run to to it. That’s a trick, a dirty- dirty- trick.

Fire, fire everywhere.

By the time they’re ready to go critical and explode, they’ll be covering about 95% of the arena floor. You can fly above and treat the floor like lava during this phase, but this is risky business if you get knocked out of the air before they’re finished turning everything at ground level to bacon.

There is a secondary bonus to destroying the Meteors before they can detonate as well. Destroying the meteors gives you a crazy amount of ultimate charge. Destroying even a couple each round of meteors will see you being able to get several Ultimates off before it pushes into Phase 2.

The expanding rings around each meteor are safe to be in before they explode, you can run right in close as you’re destroying one to make sure you don’t accidentally get hit by an explosion from another nearby meteor.

There are no adds to worry about in this phase either, so you can position yourselves as you see fit around the room. I’d suggest not stacking too tightly due to the leap attacks and fire orbs, but if you see someone who is struggling with clearing a patch of safety around them in the Meteor phase, it’d be better to hang out nearby and help them than to let them take that damage repeatedly. It’s intense.

Three other things to pay attention to in this phase though are:

  1. Pay attention to the boss even while shooting the meteors. Use your abilities to get the meteors down quickly so that you don’t get blindsided by a leap attack. If The Monitor kneels down and is facing your general direction, jump, dash to the side and jump again. Your aim is as much horizontal distance as possible. If you’re a Colossus, err… die I guess? I suppose you could try out your shield. That might work. ;)1
  2. If the fiery orb is floating above the ground — it’s a trap! You can’t destroy those ones, they just simply explode. Mechanically they’re very similar to the stationary fire-orb explosions that Titans do. Just back away from these and don’t let them explode on you.
  3. At the midpoint of The Monitor’s second pip of health, watch out. You’ll also hear a voice-queue from your Freelancer, ‘Chase him down!’ to signal this is about to happen. You’ll get a wave of Meteors with a lot more health. You probably cannot kill these fast enough alone to avoid them detonating. If you’re nearby allies (or are on voice and can co-ordinate coming together as you near this point in his health) you might be able to focus fire one and carve yourself out a safe spot. If not, every person for themselves! Fly up immediately and aim for an outer edge of the arena. You should be able to find a safe spot to land and wait out the detonation, possibly ressing the less fortunate after it goes off. ;)

#3 signals the end of this phase — you’ll have time to regroup before flying to the next arena if needed and bring up your fallen if needed.

Phase 2: Acid

After all that for Phase 1, Phase 2 and Acid will probably feel like a cakewalk.

The main new addition here is Mordant Elementals who will be a near constant companion during this phase. Like any other elemental you’re likely to encounter in Anthem, they would love dearly to come up to you and give you a hug.

It’s just a shame that their hugs come in the form of an acidic shower.

Work on killing these rather than letting them build up, but you can achieve that simply through pretending to want a hug and walking up to them — to jump and dash away right after if you’re one of the more agile Javelins.

Meanwhile, The Monitor won’t be jumping around as much any more and slamming halberds through your party, but he will Teleport around the place. You’re generally most safe to stay positioned on the platforms in the room, although despite appearances the liquid at ground level will not innately damage you.

As well as offering splatter-hugs, Mordant Elementals who you gain sufficient distance from will instead spit acid at you. Yes, rather unpleasant.

The Monitor will do this too, but it will come in quite a wide torrent. For this reason it’s best to keep some distance from him. If he teleports nearby your platform, relocate to another.

On top of this, The Monitor will occasionally bring back his explosive orb trick — of course, this time attuned to Acid.

Once The Monitor is down 3 pips of health (50%), this phase will be over and he will teleport away again. Know that the elementals will not stop spawning. You should just leave as soon as the next waypoint marker appears on screen; not keep fighting the elementals in the room like I did for a while. ;)

Phase 3: Lightning

The final phase, and the second most difficult in my opinion.

The main new mechanic here to watch for is domes of exploding electric energy, which then course a wave across the entire arena floor. These can come from any direction and often overlap each other.

It does damage at ground level, so staying above it — either by hovering as much as possible, standing on the various pieces of machinery in the area, or timing your jumps to pass it by harmlessly beneath you is up to you. Learn the sound it makes though as the wave starts, as it may save your life.

Taking a single wave probably isn’t going to kill you, but taking one followed by a sequence of homing electro balls might.

Now, YMMV on this — but I found with my latency2 I had to jump a bit before what was visually suggested to me. In the video I’ll include below, you’ll see a few instances where I jumped over and still took the damage, and a few more where it appears I landed ON the effect and got by unscathed.

As you approach the final 1.5 pips of health, he will go berserk — crouched in the centre sending continual shock waves out. It is my belief that the orbs of light in the barriers in the arena are meant to protect you from the wave attacks.

But I found this to be somewhat unreliable. Watching the video back though, here’s what I think the situation is — I’ll be testing this further on future runs, but also happy to hear from any of you on it:

  • The barrier cannot protect you from the initial explosion that sources the energy waves,
  • The barrier also cannot protect you from the homing lightning balls.
  • But it seems that the barrier can protect you from just the waves of energy. I think when I take damage from a wave, I have juuuust inched my way out the back end of the barrier and therefore lost it’s protection.

If this is true, it might be an easier means of avoiding damage from that mechanic, but it isn’t infallible so keeping mobile except in times of dire need might work just as well and is probaaaably what I’ll continue to do.

Shortly after he goes berserk, he will fade out of existance. (No grand strider entrance this time.)

Well done, you’ve beat it! :D

The Video

If you want to see this in video form, you may. But note it is completely unedited and not narrated. On the plus side, that means the bloopers are also intact. ;)

I benny hill an elemental around a platform for a while in, launch a grenade at a different unsuspecting platform and fire a devastator round into an equally unsuspecting wall. Fun times.

Nonetheless, the attempt was successful and it might help in visualising some of what I’ve talked about.

Scar Temple: Tips for Scelos

The type of reward, you too may have, if you follow these 27 easy tips! (Note: Likely not going to be 27 tips.)

Went into Scelos fight tonight on Grandmaster 1 after previously only having done Scar Temple on hard. To start with, Scelos was an exercise in frustration. “Oh for Fart’s Sake,” or perhaps something, um, similar, was heard over our Discord on more than one occasion.

The core problem was that we were over-cocky bastids at this point. Even Legendary Contracts on GM1 were starting to give us that feeling of super-human power again. Take that attitude into Scelos’ lair though, and he ain’t having a bar of it.

In case you’ve not yet seen or done this fight full-stop; the basic mechanics of it are that Scelos has fused himself into the form of a very large Escari shell, with all the fun and games that entails. Waves of devastating missiles and withering machine gun fire being the specials of the day.

Add to this though that every so often three giant shield generators around the room will power up and render Scelos invulnerable. Each generator must be taken down before Scelos can be damaged again, but also during this phase additional Scar support units will spawn in, with increasing intensity each time this phase is activated. Note that even while shielded, Scelos would love nothing more than to ruin your day with an unasked for Missile-enema.

Queue the tips — aka: The things we did wrong on the first two attempts that we corrected for the third.

  • Be mindful of where the fans arethey will hurt you if you’re taking their blades to the backside. They also activate with very little warning. Fan activation appears to be boss HP based rather than time alone, but it isn’t directly related to passing from one ‘pip’ of Scelos’ health into the next. Nonetheless, crossing that threshold is when we started to be extra alert for the fans starting, and making sure the cover we were currently using wasn’t right in front of one.
  • The scar waves with the activation of the fans are finite — kill them. Don’t feel pressured into doing the fans quickly in order to reduce Scar spawns. They do stop on their own without taking the fans down and should be dealt with accordingly. The first fan phase or two is not that scary, but if you ignore them they will hang around until dealt with, on top of the less friendly waves that come later.1
  • Moving in a group (or at least pairs) from cover to cover is good during the shielded phase. Pack mentality for handling the scars is the way to go. Focus fire the threats (Hunters, Scouts) then take out the little guys. If Scars spawn right into your cover, fly low and fast to another clear cover. You can barrel role (or shield) your way through this cleanly most of the time. Move around the room in a circle, clearing fans as you go and is safe. If there are Scars up in another part of the room, have someone not focus the shield to keep watch on what’s happening on the ground rather than in the air on the generator beams.
  • Opposite is true for the damage phase — spread out for this. Assuming you’ve cleared the Scar reinforcements out before downing the final fan beam, you can and should safely spread to different sets of cover around the room. Scelos’ turret tracks very quickly but still must aim to fire. The current target of Scelos’ ire would ideally notify rest of the team that it is (briefly) safe for them peek and poke with prejudice. Bonus points if you can get that poke on ol’ Scelos’ bad knee (a common weakpoint for Escari).

And that’s basically it. Scelos hits hard and fast, but isn’t as unfair as first impressions may seem. An example: His missile waves do incredible damage and have a force component meaning you can be knocked about if hit. But they do have a fair travel-time component, and there is always time to react between the first salvo and the second salvo, even if the first pummels you.

Taking that first salvo isn’t too bad, but the second as well? Definitely no bueno.

And that should be about that. This level of co-ordination is likely going to be difficult with PUGs to start with while people learn what is required of them. If you’re playing in this scenario I think the best you can do is to attach to one of the group while in the fan phase, keeping the Scar population around them to a minimum, and keep working on the Scar if for some reason your group leaves them up into the next boss damage phase.

You really don’t want to have to be dealing with your cover spots from the boss becoming increasingly dangerous with Scar swarming around as well.

Otherwise, keen to hear how people are finding this encounter on the higher difficulties. I went from making grumpy faces at it to having a newfound respect for the mechanics after managed to shift out of the mindset that current gearing has allowed for in other content.

BioWare told us that Strongholds would be the pinnacle of challenge for the launch game content — and it seems they meant it!