Microsoft Train Simulator
|Microsoft Train Simulator|
|Distributor(s)||Microsoft, Ubisoft* Xplosiv, (Empire Interactive), * Atari,*|
|Release date(s)||June 2001|
The simulation allows players to operate a train on various routes in Europe, Asia and the United States. Players need to stop and start the train, couple wagons, using the computer mouse, keyboard or a hardware addition such as Raildriver to operate the controls. Sound effects are enabled.
The original game featured six routes:
- The Arlberg railway in Austria in the 1930s, with the Orient Express.
- The Settle to Carlisle Railway line as it was in the 1930s and 1940s, with the Flying Scotsman.
- The Northeast Corridor in the United States between 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and Washington Union Station with Amtrak's Acela Express and Metroliner.
- The Marias Pass route, in the United States depicting the BNSF Railway's Hi-Line Subdivision between Shelby, Montana and Whitefish, Montana, with C44-9W, SD40-2, and GP38-2 locomotives.
- The Odakyu Odawara Line commuter service in Tokyo and the Hisatsu Line on Kyushu in Japan.
Included with the game was the Editors & Tools program, which allowed the user to build custom routes, create activities for any route, create custom consists, create custom cabviews, or edit the default ones. The Editors & Tools program is also included with later versions of the game.
The original version contained many bugs. For example the "front coupling bug", where the locomotive's front coupler would not work, the "white void bug", where the route scenery disappears, leaving a white void, and the "end-of-the-line bug", where the locomotive, if it crashes through the last buffers on the route, would fall into an empty void. There are also issues with the signalling and AI dispatching. The game is also notoriously unstable with unusually high tendencies to hang, crash without giving reason, and display error messages incorrectly and/or at the wrong times. In many instances, out-of-place error messages, usually for missing files, will cause a highly undesired crash at the wrong time. MSTS 1.2 addressed some of these issues.
v1.2 added new items such as British and American rolling stock, namely the British Rail Class 50, British Rail Mark 1 Coaches, an EMD SD40-2 and general US freight cars, along with two new activities each for the SD40-2 and Class 50.
Microsoft Train Simulator 2
On May 7, 2003, Microsoft announced that it would be making a sister game of MSTS called Microsoft Train Simulator 2 and it was first demoed to the public at E3 on May 15. Seemingly its main improvements were the addition of people to the game (e.g. passengers waiting at the stations, people operating the new locomotive roster, etc.), more realistic crashes and other accidents, and turntables. It was being developed by Kuju Entertainment, the original MSTS creators. Despite restructuring efforts at Kuju, the project was however handed over to Microsoft Game Studios on August 18, 2003.
This project was ultimately halted, as the following statement on April 24, 2004 from Microsoft confirmed:
Microsoft Game Studios has halted the Windows-based game "Train Simulator 2.0." The decision to halt "Train Simulator 2.0" was made some time ago and was based on a long, hard and difficult look at our business objectives and product offerings. We remain focused on the simulations category with successful, platform-driving franchises such as "Microsoft Flight Simulator."—
On January 19, 2007, Microsoft announced the relaunch of the Microsoft Train Simulator project. This time the game was being made in-house by ACES Game Studio (Microsoft Game Studios) known for its long line of Microsoft Flight Simulators, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The game would have used the Microsoft Flight Simulator X graphics engine and it was planned to be compatible with both Windows Vista and Windows XP. A post on the 'The Little Wheel Goes in Back' blog, written by one of the developers, on August 23, 2007 suggested the working title was 'Train Simulator 2'.
On January 23, 2009, Microsoft announced that it was permanently closing ACES Game Studios, the internal development studio responsible for both Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Train Simulator. As a result, all future development on Train Simulator 2 (which was entering the final stages of development at the time of the closure) was immediately halted, marking the second time that the project was terminated. While Microsoft states that "they are committed to both the Flight Simulator and Train Simulator brands", it is currently unknown if the Train Simulator 2 project will ever be resurrected and completed sometime in the future. Many former employees of ACES Game Studios went on to join Cascade Game Foundry, a new company that was itself founded by two ACES alumni. Cascade Game Foundry focuses on developing entertainment simulations.
- * Distributed under license.
- Train simulator – reference article to other train simulator products.
- Open Rails – a free software successor to MSTS which uses current technology.
- Amazon sales page for MSTS
- Marchelletta, Courtney. "Fuill Product Review Microsoft Train Simulator". About.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- Train Simulator Add-on page
- "Microsoft Train Simulator Review for PC". GameFAQs. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- "Train Simulator 2 Impressions – PC News at GameSpot". uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- "Microsoft takes over Train Sim 2 – PC News at GameSpot". uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- "Train Simulator 2 canceled – PC News at GameSpot". uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- "The Little Wheel Goes in Back : Guter Tag von Leipzig!". blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- "The Simulation Game – games TM". www.gamestm.co.uk. Retrieved April 2, 2012.