Microsoft Train Simulator 2

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Microsoft Train Simulator 2
Microsoft Train Simulator 2 Logo.jpg
Developer(s) Aces Studio
Publisher(s) Microsoft
Distributor(s) Microsoft Game Studios
Designer(s) Rick Selby
Series Microsoft Train Simulator
Platform(s) PC - Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008
Windows 7
Release January 2007
Genre(s) Simulation
Mode(s) Single Player

Microsoft Train Simulator 2 (MSTS 2) was a train simulator developed by Microsoft Game Studios until it was postponed indefinitely due to the closure of ACES Studios.

MSTS 2 was first announced on January 19, 2007 (2007-01-19) and originally scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2009.[1] The program's lead designer, Rick Selby, also announced in late 2008 that it was to be compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It was to be the successor to Microsoft Train Simulator and was being developed by Aces Studio (Microsoft Game Studios), known for their long line of Microsoft Flight Simulator games, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The simulation was to use a modified version of the Flight Simulator X software platform. However, with the closure of Microsoft's Aces Studio on January 23, 2009 (2009-01-23), development of this simulator was immediately halted.[2][3]

First attempt: 2003–2004[edit]

An earlier attempt at building a second version to Train Simulator was originally announced during the Spring of 2003. Many improvements were attempted to make with procedural switches and walking passengers and was again going to be developed by Kuju Entertainment, who were the original creators.[4] On May 15, 2003 (2003-05-15), a preview of the title was shown at the E3 Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles to demonstrate much of the new work, such as its new routes, rolling stock, and other features including animated people & functioning turntables.[5]

However, only three months later into the Summer on August 18, 2003 (2003-08-18), Kuju had handed the project over to Microsoft Game Studios and they would eventually halt the entire development by Spring of 2004 as the following statement from Microsoft confirmed:

April 24, 2004 (2004-04-24)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."[6]

Much of the former development team from Kuju later established Rail Simulator in order to continue development of their own simulation platform. Its first version was later released in October 2007, Later Railworks in June 2009, then Railworks 2 Train Simulator in October 2010.

Second attempt: 2007-2009[edit]

Development[edit]

The re-launch attempt at Microsoft's second version of the "Train Simulator" project was officially announced on January 19, 2007 (2007-01-19). This time around the simulation was instead being made in-house by Microsoft's ACES Studio, which was most known for its successful Microsoft Flight Simulator series line, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The simulation leveraged most of the existing core components of Microsoft Flight Simulator X's platform, thus providing an entire earth model in which to play from, and 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, confirmed the working title was 'Train Simulator 2'.[7]

Microsoft's first demonstration of Train Simulator 2 occurred on August 25, 2007 (2007-08-25) at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany and released an official press kit which included several in-game visual prototype images, asset renders, and two videos. One of these videos presents a brief demonstration of the simulation's ability to model the entire planet's track corridors, reproducing a similar concept in Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, with global rail network data for anyone to operate their trains around freely without limits.[8] The data would have also been available to route builders for modification of any kind to suit their modeling needs anywhere in the world. As opposed to starting an entire route from scratch, this would require more or less simple cosmetic details & object placement.

Despite having the name in common with its predecessor, backwards compatibility with the first version of Train Simulator would not have been possible due to the completely different base platform used for development and programming designs between the two versions. The original Microsoft Train Simulator uses routes based on individual levels which are loaded separately within the application, whereas this version would have introduced the entire world as a single game playing area where railroad corridors would have been based on their actual real-world locations just as in Flight Simulator.

Routes[edit]

In addition to the entire global earth model from which FSX was based, Train Simulator 2 was also going to feature four high-detail routes. They decided they would have only 4 routes including the following lines, along with their respective railroad carriers:

Route Name Featured Trains Rolling Stock Terminal stations km miles Set in Country Notes
Horseshoe Curve Norfolk Southern Dash 9-40CW
SD40-2 High Nose
Norfolk Southern's "Pittsburgh Line" from Altoona to Johnstown, Pennsylvania.[9] N/A N/A 2000s United States N/A
Stevens Pass BNSF Dash 9-44CW
GP38-2
SD40-2
BNSF Railway's "Scenic Subdivision" from Everett to Wenatchee, Washington.[10] N/A N/A 2000s United States N/A
BLS Lötschbergbahn SBB Re460 BLS's "Lötschberg Line" from Thun to Interlaken and Brig, Switzerland.[11] N/A N/A 2000s Switzerland N/A
Cologne–Düsseldorf DB ICE 3 Deutsche Bahn's "ICE" route from Cologne to Duisburg, Germany.[12] N/A N/A 2000s Germany N/A

Locomotives[edit]

The second attempt contains unknown drivable locomotives and multiple units, unknown if MSTS 2 feature AI-only trains, or a static ingame number.

Locomotive Image Ingame Number Type mph km/h Built Country Route Livery(s) Notes
Dash 9-40CW NS 8921 GE C40-9W.jpg 9039
9713
Diesel 70 112 1993 United States Horseshoe Curve Norfolk Southern N/A
Dash 9-44CW BNSF Dash 9-44CW 5518.jpg 4897 Diesel 70 112 1993 United States Stevens Pass BNSF N/A
GP38-2 BNSF 2276 at Seattle SODO (Public Domain).jpg 2264 Diesel 70 112 1972 United States Stevens Pass BNSF N/A
SD40-2 MRL 250.jpg 7184 Diesel 70 112 1972 United States Stevens Pass BNSF N/A
SD40-2 High Nose NS 3204 (3246054426).jpg 5095 Diesel 70 112 1972 United States Horseshoe Curve Norfolk Southern N/A
Re 460 SBB Re 460 Schottikon alternate crop.jpg 014 Electric 120 200 1991 Switzerland BLS Lötschbergbahn SBB Dark Blue N/A
ICE 3 ICE 3 Oberhaider-Wald-Tunnel.jpg N/A Electric 200 320 2000 Germany Cologne–Duisburg DB N/A

Aces Studio closure[edit]

On January 23, 2009 (2009-01-23), Microsoft announced that it was permanently closing its Aces Studio, 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 just entering the final stages of development at the time of closure) was immediately halted, marking the second time that this project was terminated.[2][3] A week later, Microsoft issued the following official announcement from Train Simulator Insider:

January 30, 2009 (2009-01-30) – "By now, many of you have heard that Microsoft has closed Aces Studio, the publisher of Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Train Simulator. This was not a reflection of the quality of the products Aces has developed, the sales performance of the games, or the quality of the team at Aces. This difficult decision was made to align Microsoft’s resources with our strategic priorities. As a result of this difficult decision, development of the next version of Train Simulator is being postponed for an indefinite period.

Microsoft Game Studios is investing significant resources in many exciting and new areas of gaming and entertainment, including Windows games. We believe these future investments will push innovation, community, and collaboration to unprecedented levels and will provide more synergy with our ongoing investments in Games for Windows - LIVE as well as other Windows entertainment technologies.

We are humbled and proud of the passion and support that the Train Simulator franchise has developed. This includes you, the large community of railroading simmers, as well as the vibrant third-party ecosystem that has developed around the game. Thank you for your understanding of our decision and for your continued support."[13]

However, Kuju game studios have continued to make a train simulation product, Rail Simulator.

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.[3] Information regarding the product can still be found on Microsoft's official Train Simulator website.[14]

On October 12, 2009 (2009-10-12), several members of the former ACES Studio team announced the launch of a new simulations-based development studio named Cascade Game Foundry.[15] Further details relating to their first project are to be announced.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Train Simulator Insider - Overview Official Web Site Announcement
  2. ^ a b "DailyTech - Microsoft Flight Simulator Devs Part of Job Cuts". www.dailytech.com. Retrieved January 24, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Microsoft shuts down its Aces Studio". blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com. Retrieved January 24, 2009. 
  4. ^ "GameSpot Preview - Train Simulator 2 E3 2003 Preshow Report". gamespot.com. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  5. ^ "GameSpot Preview - Train Simulator 2 Impressions". gamespot.com. Retrieved March 10, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Train Simulator 2 Canceled - PC News at GameSpot". uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009. 
  7. ^ "The Little Wheel Goes in Back: Guter Tag von Leipzig!". blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved January 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ TS2's World of Rails Demo Global Rail Network Data
  9. ^ Train Simulator Insider - Horseshoe Curve Norfolk Southern Route Profile
  10. ^ Train Simulator Insider - Stevens Pass BNSF Railway Route Profile
  11. ^ Train Simulator Insider - BLS Lötschbergbahn Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon Railway Route Profile
  12. ^ Train Simulator Insider - Deutsche Bahn Cologne-Duisburg Route Profile
  13. ^ "About the Aces Team". www.tsinsider.com. Retrieved January 30, 2009. 
  14. ^ Initial Announcement of New Microsoft Train Simulator
  15. ^ a b "Cascade Game Foundry".  Press Release: Cascade Game Foundry Forges Ahead, Opens New Simulation Game Development Studio, October 12, 2009 (2009-10-12)

External links[edit]