I hesitate to say anything negative about “this wonderful game of ours” for fear of bringing out the “Love It or Leave It” crowd that was a tad bit vocal about my return as contributor here. Interestingly enough, I have received a number of emails coaxing me to “stop being so nice” and let my “Cranky” side fly, as they find it more entertaining, and honest.
However…this is Alissa’s place. And Alissa is nice. Very nice. But, admittedly even she wants me to be honest and pragmatic (within the confines of also being nice). Which brings us to the paradox at hand.
First of all, let me state unequivocally, “I love the monorail.” It is in my less-than-humble-opinion, the best addition to the game, ever. There are lovers and haters of the monorail. I am a lover, and really don’t understand the haters. But, that is the way it is in the world with most things. I am not a fan of chocolate ice cream. I don’t hate it, but it is waaaaaaaay down on my list of favorite flavors. So, when someone says “I love chocolate ice cream” I mostly just smile, while I order my cone of “Apple Pie Caramel Crunch.” No harm. No foul.
However, I am pretty sure that both camps would agree, that if you ordered an ice cream cone, and the server placed the scoops just off to the side of the cone, barely out of reach of your ability to reach it with your tongue, and you just couldn’t get to the satisfaction that is so close you can almost taste it…but can’t…that you’d be pretty torqued off. It might become so frustrating, that you just say, “Forget this!! It’s too much trouble! I’ll just have a cookie! Who needs ice cream?”
And so it is with the monorail and the addition of the tunnels to the game which almost…but not quite…allow us to connect our monorails in Springfield proper and Springfield Heights easily.
Take a look…you’ll see what I mean. You might want to grab a couple of cookies and your favorite beverage…it is going to require you to have something sweet at the ready, as I may go a tad “un-sweet” in my description.
Let’s begin with the fact that most of us who love the monorail, spent countless hours creating monorail loops in both our main Springfield and Springfield Heights, because we could. We had the spare stations. We had loads and loads of spare track (don’t forget that for months now, there have been weekly Bonut Rewards for finishing the weekly track challenges). And for about as long as the monorail has existed, those of us in the “Love the Monorail” (LTM) and even some in the “I Think the Monorail is Fine, but it Isn’t My Whole Life” camp (TMFIMWL), have wanted a way to connect the two towns together, through the mountain barrier that separates them.
So, when July 26th, 2016 brought us the “Dilapidated Rail Yard” mini-update…we in both camps were THRILLED, even if the “I Hate the Monorail” (IHM) were just annoyed that so much attention was once again being placed on something they don’t care for. We got two wonderful things on that day… a TUNNEL…and a greatly reduced level of tapping required to get the tunnel (weekly requirements to max out and collect the reward being near 70K points and now being just 25K points).
There was rejoicing in the streets of both Springfields, with shouts of “We Shall Finally Be Unified!!” echoing across the mountain passes!
But then…rEAlity set it. Yes. Again, I emphasize the EA in rEAlity to make a point.
First…as there are no cross tracks, switch tracks, or other connecting tracks that allow you to have two directions connect in a “Y” to return to the tunnel, it became very clear that you were going to need TWO tunnels to pull off a completely closed, one-way loop.
Now this is where there are two very distinct camps within the original camps (starting to feel a bit like politics and religion?) come into play.
Some of us “Monorail Loop Purists” (MLP), many of whom have come from the world of model railroading, feel that the best layouts are those that allow a train to run in a long, interesting, connected loop…the same direction. And so, we built at least two of these loops, one in our regular Springfield and one in our Springfield Heights.
Others, from the “Monorail Bi-Directional Purists” camp (MBDP) feel that as the monorail was in fact designed with two engines, one on either end, it is SUPPOSED to travel from one station to the last station (with perhaps many stations in between), and then change direction, and head back to the original station on the same track.
The arguments for both are sustainable and salient. It is the kind of thing that is much like our ice cream cone analogy, when deciding between chocolate and other flavors. We all agree we like ice cream, we just agree to disagree on the flavor or mode of delivery (I understand that some chocolate lovers will eat their cones out of a bowl!)
But when it comes to the monorail, and the tunnel…every flavor of monorail enthusiasts in the entire spectrum of LTM, TMFIMWL, MLP, MBDP, and even the IHMers, would agree on one thing; “EA is SCREWING WITH US!”
Why? Because there is no simple, EAsy way to connect two existing tracks…even if they appear to line up perfectly. As has been noted by several frustrated tappers (no double entendres please) in the past, even the most simple coupling is about a half of a short track too short or long. Coupling is thwarted! Close…but no cigar! It is Monorailus-Interuptus at its worst!!!!!
Take a look at my own attempts to couple. (and get your mind out of the gutter).
It started when I tried to connect my existing SH loop and my regular town. Nope. 1/2 track short.
Nope. Two tunnels only exacerbated the coupling aspects. (again…please look up the word, and don’t get excited).
There is no EAsy solution. It is too short, or too long…never just right. And that is just for ONE of the tunnels. After getting my second tunnel, I tried to figure out if the same thing would happen if I placed it in another location along the mountains. It did.
Surely, I thought, EA wouldn’t make things so difficult as to make the 2nd tunnel behave in the same manner…
But, I was wrong.
No matter which way I tried to connect EITHER side of my existing…EXTENSIVE monorail layouts…they would not couple.
This is even further exacerbated by the fact that there are limited number of locations EA allows you to place the tunnels along the mountains. I did figure out that once you placed the two tunnels near one another, you could EAsily couple them to one another…a bit of self-coupling as it were (again….get your minds out of the gutter!).
But…that left me, and everyone else in the very real situation that there is NO WORKABLE SOLUTION or combination of existing track pieces that will allow you to make most existing monorail layouts hook up EAsily to the tunnels that EA provides.
This means that some serious reconstruction, and perhaps minor “Nuking” (using the green highlighter, rather than the nuke button) will need to take place in order to accomplish my final dream of a working, full-loop between my two Springfield halves.
I have…at last count…more than 850 pieces of monorail track on my layout. I may have to move them all. Every. Single Piece. With extensive changes to the perimeter of my town’s layout.
And for that…I have a message for you EA.
This whole mess is the result of one of two things…
EA is either just screwing with us…
Or like so many other things in the game, THEY DIDN’T TAKE THE TIME TO TEST before they released. It is one more example of EA Lazyass Programming (EALP).
I am going to make this work. It is going to take a ton of redesigning and manipulation. It is going to take hours, and hours, and hours, just because they were too lazy, or too cruel to do it right.
IF ANY OF YOU CAN SEE ANOTHER SOLUTION…PLEASE SHARE IT. But…for now…I am an Unhappy Monorailist with a Coupling Issue. (UMCI).