Train Simulator (video game)

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Train Simulator
Developer(s)Dovetail Games
Publisher(s)Dovetail Games
Producer(s)Paul Jackson
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Release12 June 2009
Genre(s)Simulation
Mode(s)Single-player

Train Simulator (originally RailWorks) is a train simulation game developed by Dovetail Games.[1] It is the successor to Rail Simulator, and was released online on 12 June 2009 and in stores on 3 July 2009.[2]

The first release of RailWorks contained all five real-world routes of the original European and North American releases of Rail Simulator, and added three new fictional routes: Hedborough North, a large UK goods yard, Seebergbahn, a route set in the Alpine region and Castle Rock Railroad, a route based around Denver, Colorado.[3]

It is a Steamworks title, which means it uses and requires Steam to activate and to deliver core game updates. Steam is used to deliver additional routes and locomotives in the form of downloadable content. The core game has received several updates since release, including major new versions RailWorks 2: Train Simulator, RailWorks 3: Train Simulator 2012, Train Simulator 2013, Train Simulator 2014, Train Simulator 2015, Train Simulator 2016, Train Simulator 2017, Train Simulator 2018, Train Simulator 2019, Train Simulator 2020 and Train Simulator 2021 released between 2010 and 2020, respectively.

Releases[edit]

The first major update to RailWorks was RailWorks 2: Train Simulator, released on Steam on 18 October 2010 under the name RailWorks 2. Retail versions were released later that year. The new version contained a range of new features and enhancements, including enhanced menus, the new RS Cab Control driver interface and new RS Career System scenarios. Players could earn Steam Achievements for completing scenarios, as well as compete and compare scores online via Steam Leaderboards. It also featured level crossing animations, among other improvements.[4] RailWorks 2 featured the same routes and content as the original game, and only one new route: TestTraK, based on the Test and validation centre, a German testing facility owned by Siemens Mobility used for technical acceptance tests and approvals of locomotives and rolling stock.[5] Contents in retail versions could vary in different countries to include local routes and locomotives. Owners of the original RailWorks received a free upgrade to the RailWorks 2 core technology via the Steam platform.

RailWorks 3: Train Simulator 2012 was released on Steam on 23 September 2011 under the name Train Simulator 2012. Retail versions were released later that year. It contained a number of improvements and new features, including a new user interface, action-oriented loading screens, the new TSX game engine with multi-core and FXAA support and many graphical improvements (including extended draw distance, improved lighting and shadows, enhanced sky and water effects, new depth of field camera focus effect and particle effects, (e.g. rain drops on locomotive windows with working wipers), superelevation to allow simulation of curved tracks, improved track unevenness and cab camera movement increasing with speed, improved editing tools and others.[6][7] The base package contained nine routes,[8] and those who purchased from Steam or purchased the retail Deluxe Edition, also received the Horseshoe Curve route.[9] Contents in retail versions could vary in different countries to include local routes and locomotives. Owners of RailWorks 2 received a free upgrade to the TS2012 core technology via the Steam platform.

Train Simulator 2013 was released on Steam in two editions. The Standard Edition, available for a limited time, was released on 20 September 2012.[10] The Deluxe Edition was released on 10 October 2012.[11] Retail versions were available from October that year. New features and improvements included Xbox 360 Controller support, Relay Play mode allowing for users to combine efforts to complete scenarios (removed since Train Simulator 2014), new menus and control options (including the new Quick Drive mode), updated HUDs, improved 2D task map and support for a new community download center using the Steam Workshop where players can share and download free user-created scenarios. It also featured enhanced graphics and performance improvements. A route included with previous versions, Hagen–Siegen, was heavily updated and renamed the Ruhr–Sieg Line. Routes included with the Standard Edition were Sherman Hill, London–Brighton, Northeast Corridor and Isle of Wight. The Deluxe Edition included Sherman Hill, London–Brighton and Munich–Augsburg.[10] Contents in retail versions could vary in different countries to include local routes and locomotives.[12] Owners of Train Simulator 2012 received a free upgrade to the TS2013 core technology via the Steam platform.

Train Simulator 2014 was released on Steam in two editions. The Steam Edition was released on 26 September 2013, and the Standard Edition on 7 October 2013.[13] Retail versions were available from 4 October that year. It featured a new menu system, better graphics including increased draw distance and headlight flares, a new camera system with user-adjustable FOV, improved passenger appearance and behaviour, improved editing tools, expanded Quick Drive mode and an enhanced Career mode, letting players earn points towards medals, rewards and achievements. The new Engine Driver community website was made accessible in-game. The Steam Workshop feature was expanded to support free user-created routes, in addition to scenarios, and the new Marketplace was designed to make it simpler to share and obtain new third-party payware content. Routes included with the Standard Edition were Hamburg–Hanover, London–Faversham High Speed and Donner Pass: Southern Pacific.[14] Those who purchased the Steam Edition, also received an additional seven-mile (11 km) Sheerness Branch line in Kent (an extension to the London–Faversham High Speed route) and two extra locomotives (Class 466 and SD70M). Contents in retail versions could vary in different countries to include local routes and locomotives. Owners of Train Simulator 2013 received a free upgrade to the TS2014 core technology via the Steam platform.

Train Simulator 2015, was released on Steam on 18 September 2014 as a Standard Edition and a Steam Edition. Retail versions were available from 19 September that year. It introduced several improvements and a learning mode called TS Academy, a training area designed to introduce new players to the series quickly and easily. Routes included with the Standard Edition were East Coast Main Line: London–Peterborough, Northeast Corridor: New York–New Haven and Munich–Garmisch-Partenkirchen.[15] Those who purchased the Steam Edition, also received the Pacific Surfliner: LA–San Diego route and two extra locomotives (Los Angeles Commuter Rail F59PH and San Diego Commuter Rail F59PHI). Contents in retail versions could vary in different countries to include local routes and locomotives. Owners of Train Simulator 2014 received a free upgrade to the TS2015 core technology via the Steam platform.

Train Simulator 2016 was released on Steam on 17 September 2015 as Train Simulator 2016: Steam Edition. This version provides a selection of new 'extreme' challenges set across a variety of different eras with the addition of the long-requested "Railfan" feature, which lets players create and play scenarios in which the only objective is to watch the trains go by from a vantage point (so-called "Railfanning" or "Trainspotting").[16]

Train Simulator 2017 was released on Steam on 16 September 2016. A limited edition of Train Simulator 2017, called Pioneers Edition, was available for players until 7 December 2016. The Pioneers Edition included two bonuses: a bonus route, Semmeringbahn: Mürzzuschlag to Gloggnitz and the ability to have beta access to Train Sim World: CSX Heavy Haul, an Unreal Engine 4 made game that was released in early 2017.[17] The beta access to Train Sim World: CSX Heavy Haul started at 8 December 2016 at around 6pm GMT.[18]

Train Simulator 2018 was announced on 23 October 2017,[19] and was released on 16 November 2017.[20]

Train Simulator 2019 was released on 11 October 2018. This version introduced a 64-bit core, making the game able to use more memory and generally have better stability. The game comes with 3 routes and 2 route extensions; Soldier Summit and Salt Lake City Extension, the Rhine Railway and Frankfurt High Speed Extension, and the re-worked Portsmouth Direct Line, now including London Waterloo station.

Train Simulator 2020, released on 19 September 2019, comes with three routes: Nuremberg & Regensburg, South Western Main Line: Southampton – Bournemouth and Norfolk Southern N-Line. It also comes with some graphical improvements, and filters for taking photos in-game.[21]

Train Simulator 2021, released on 17 September 2020. This version introduces Steam Workshop integration, letting players browse and download Workshop scenarios without having to exit the game. This year's edition comes with three routes: Norddeutsche-bahn: Kiel – Lübeck, Clinchfield Railroad, the Fife Circle Line. The Deluxe Edition also includes a new route, the West Coast Main Line South: London Euston – Birmingham.[22] In March 2021, the game received an update that improves route loading times.[23]

Features[edit]

The game features steam, diesel and electric traction trains; keyboard, mouse or gamepad control of throttles, brakes and switches with Simple and Expert driving models for varying player skills. A variety of scenarios are available for Standard and Career modes, as well as an exploratory style Free Roam mode. Quick Drive mode allows a player to pick a train (or to put together their own by snapping together cars), choose a route, set departure and destination stations and decide on the time of day, the season and the weather. Cargo and passengers are animated, and weather changes dynamically with time. Steam Workshop allows players to upload and download additional user-created routes and scenarios.

Routes (RailWorks to TS2021)[edit]

The original RailWorks base package contained eight routes, most of which are available now as legacy DLC. The three fictional routes originally introduced in RailWorks and subsequently withdrawn in Train Simulator 2013 (Hedborough North, Seebergbahn and Castle Rock Railroad) are not available as DLC but are available as free downloads on Steam Workshop as official uploads by Dovetail Games, branded as Classic Routes. In 2010, users could add the free Port Road route DLC to their Steam accounts, but it is no longer available. Set in the final years of steam operations, Port Road represents the branch line from Dumfries to Castle Douglas and Kirkcudbright, part of the now-defunct Dumfries to Stranraer line in Scotland.[24] The route has since been re-released in the Western Lines of Scotland route, and was extended to from Stranraer to Carlisle.

The 2014 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2015, contained only three or four routes, depending on the edition; East Coast Main Line: London–Peterborough, Northeast Corridor: New York–New Haven and Munich–Garmisch-Partenkirchen included with the Standard Edition, plus the Pacific Surfliner: LA–San Diego included with the Steam Edition. People who purchased Train Simulator before 18 September 2014 retained their original content, and had the option to purchase the new routes via Steam.[13][25]

The 2015 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2016, contained three routes: Sherman Hill featuring the Union Pacific SW10, ES44AC, SD70M and GTEL. The Riviera Line in the 50s contains the GWR Castle, King, Grange, modified Hall and Pannier classes. The West Rhine route contains the DB classes 101, 146.0, 146.2, 155 & 294. The Steam Edition included an additional route: the Norfolk Southern Coal District route containing the Norfolk Southern ES44AC.

The 2016 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2017, contains four routes: LGV: Marseille - Avignon featuring the French TGV Duplex. The South Wales Coastal Route contains the Arriva Trains Wales Class 175, the GWR Class 43 (HST), and Freightliner Class 70. The Hamburg-Lübeck Railway contains the DB BR 145 and 218 and the DBAG Class 294. The North Jersey Coast Line contains the Bombardier ALP-45DP and drivable Comet V cab car. The Pioneer Edition of the game also included the Semmeringbahn Route, with the ÖBB Class 1116 "Taurus". The Pioneer Edition was available until 7 December 2016 as a way to opt into the Train Sim World beta.

The 2017 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2018, includes three routes: North Wales Coastal: Crewe-Llandudno and Conwy featuring the Virgin Trains Class 221, Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 and Class 175; Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco-San Jose containing the CalTrain MP36PH-3C, drivable Bombardier Bi-Level Cab Car, and Union Pacific GP38-2; and Mittenwaldbahn: Garmisch-Partenkirchen-Innsbruck, including the DB BR 442 and ÖBB 2016.

The 2018 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2019, the first edition based on a 64-bit engine, includes five routes (three main routes and two route extensions): Portsmouth Direct Line: London Waterloo - Portsmouth featuring BR Classes 444, 450, 455/8 and 377, Soldier Summit Route featuring D&RGW GP9, Amtrak F40PH and D&RGW SD40T-2, Salt Lake City Route Extension (this is an add-on to the Soldier Summit Route), The Rhine Railway: Mannheim - Karlsruhe including the DB BR 406 ICE 3M, DB BR 189, DB BR 425 and DB BR 294, Frankfurt High Speed: Frankfurt – Karlsruhe (this is an add-on to the Rhine Railway Route).

The 2019 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2020, includes three new routes, one of which is exclusive to this version. They are: Nuremberg & Regensburg Bahn featuring DB BR 440's, 442's and 185's, South Western Main Line: Southampton – Bournemouth featuring BR Classes 444 and 450 'Desiro' EMU's with the exclusive LNER A2 'Blue Peter' steam locomotive, and Norfolk Southern N-Line featuring NS Electro-Motive, EMD GP38-2s and NS EMD GP40-2 and several new freight rolling stock.

The 2020 released version of the game, Train Simulator 2021, includes three new routes. They are: Norddeutsche-Bahn: Kiel - Lübeck featuring DB BR 218's, 648's, Fife Circle Line: Edinburgh - Dunfermline featuring BR Classes 68, 158 and the Class 170 DMU in the ScotRail Liveries, and the steam locomotive LNER A4 'Union of South Africa' , and the Clinchfield Railroad: Elkhorn City - St. Paul featuring CRR Electro-Motive, EMD GP38-2s, F7's, SD40-2s and the GP7's. The Deluxe edition additionally includes the WCML South: London Euston - Birmingham New Street Route featuring lots of locomotives including the new Class 390 and 221s in Avanti West Coast liveries, Freightliner Powerhaul Class 66s for freight activities, Midland Class 350 'Desiro', Class 377 and 378 EMUs.

Editing tools[edit]

A complete suite of tools is also available to create custom content. This allows players to create their own custom routes and scenarios with the in-game editor, or to create custom rolling stock and other 3D assets that can be imported in game via the Blueprint Editor. The route editor has the ability to import Digital Elevation Model data (DEM) to shape the terrain and has a built in Google Maps overlay. These two tools massively simplify creation of real world routes. Track laying is spline-based, giving almost unlimited freedom over the track shape. The scenario editor lets players create their own custom scenario, with a defined set of instruction, like having to make passenger stops, shunting and verious other tasks. Scenarios can also have scripting, making simulation of possible failures and other unexpected events possible. The Blueprint Editor lets creators import their models and textures into the game. With this tool, creators can import pretty much anything in the game, like custom skyboxes, ground textures, track, roads, vegetation, buildings, track linked object (like signals) and various other scenery assets, and of course rolling stock too.

Downloadable content[edit]

Various add-ons are available for Train Simulator, containing routes and rolling stock units for Quick Drive use, as well as scenarios for Standard, Career and Free Roam modes.[26]

Add-ons directly created by Dovetail Games can be found on Steam as DLC. The game is infamous for the sheer amount of DLC available on Steam, costing over $10,000 in its entirety.[27]

Third party add-ons[edit]

Thanks to the freely available editing suite, there are many third party add-on developers for Train Simulator, that produce both paid and free content. While 3rd party content is mostly found on the authors' own websites or the various Train Simulator mod hubs, payware third party content an also be published on Steam as DLC, thanks to Dovetail Games' Partner Programme. Some of the more estabilished 3rd party payware creators are:

UK content: Armstrong Powerhouse, Victory Works, Caledonia works, Steam Sounds Supreme, Digital Traction, Bossman Games, Just Trains

German/Austrian content: virtualRailroads, Train Sim Germany, Railworks Austria, 3DZug, RSSLO, The Forge

American content: Smokebox, Digital Train Model, G-TraX, Reppo, Searchlight Simulations, Travel By Train

Rest of the world content: Union Workshop (Japan/China), ChrisTrains (Netherlands), TrainworX (Switzerland), Rivet Games (Switzerland)

As said above, a lot of freeware content can be found on Train Sim mod hubs. These are the biggest: Railworks America, UKTrainSim, Rail-Sim.de, Alan Thomson Simulaton, SimTogheter, Train Sim Community Mod Hub, DP Simulation, Vulcan Productions.

Critical reception[edit]

IGN gave RailWorks a 7/10 or "good" stating that the game "doesn't bring a lot of new stuff to the genre" and graphically "lacks the high-end flair of today's top-level titles".[28]

On 17 March 2011, it was announced that RailWorks 2 had won the award for Simulation of the Year 2010 by readers of Game Industry News (GiN).[29]

Legacy[edit]

Since 2014, Dovetail Games has been working on the next generation of the Train Simulator franchise,[30] titled Train Sim World, utilizing Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 technology. Train Sim World was released on 16 March 2017, under its new name, Train Sim World: CSX Heavy Haul. It features the 'Sand Patch Grade' route, complete with three locomotives (the SD40-2, GP38-2, and the AC4400CW), as well as a fully immersive first-person mode. It was released for the Xbox One as Train Sim World: Founders Edition a year later on 9 March 2018 and released on PS4 on 24 July 2018 with 3 routes Great Western Express, Rapid Transit and NEC: New York (along with Xbox One at the same time).[31]

On 20 July 2017, the first DLC pack for the game was announced, titled Great Western Express.[32] The pack was made available for pre-order, with the release date set as 24 August 2017. The pack includes the Great Western Mainline from London Paddington to Reading, as well as the InterCity 125 high speed train, British Rail Class 166 Networker Turbo and Class 66 freight train. The pack is themed around the current franchise holder for the GWML (Great Western Mainline), Great Western Railway (GWR).

Great Western Express was delayed to 14 September 2017, three weeks from its original release date. The expansion was apparently not ready for release; however, in posts on Steam and the Train Simulator website, it was claimed to be to 'extend the pre-order date'.[33]

Despite the new game, Dovetail Games has said that it will continue to support, and create new content for, the previous-generation Train Simulator.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Jackson (9 December 2013). "RailSimulator.com becomes Dovetail Games". Engine Driver. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Rail Simulator 2: Railworks – The evolution of Rail Simulator". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. 26 March 2009. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ "New British Publisher Launches RailWorks" (PDF). RailSimulator.com. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  4. ^ "RailWorks 2 Train Simulator Releases, Free to Existing RailWorks Customers". store.steampowered.com. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  5. ^ "RailWorks 2: Train Simulator for Windows (2010)". MobyGames. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Train Simulator 2012 FAQ" (PDF). RailSimulator.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Railworks 3 - Train Simulator 2012 Update Released". store.steampowered.com. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Train Simulator 2012 Announced for September23". RailSimulator.com. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  9. ^ "World-famous Horseshoe Curve comes to Train Simulator 2012". RailSimulator.com. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Train Simulator 2013 - what happens on the 20th September?". RailSimulator.com. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Train Simulator 2013 Deluxe Edition is now available worldwide via download on Steam". RailSimulator.com. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Train Simulator 2013 Announced for 20th September". RailSimulator.com. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Train Simulator 2014 on Steam". store.steampowered.com. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  14. ^ Livingston, Christopher (25 September 2013). "Train Simulator 2014 hands-on: all aboard the series' new vehicles and routes". PC Gamer. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  15. ^ Parish, Peter (21 July 2014). "Train Simulator 2015 choo-choo-chooses 18 September release date". Incgamers.com. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Get Ready For The Extreme With Train Simulator 2016". Engine Driver. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Train Sim World: CSX Heavy Haul review". techadvisor.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Train Simulator".
  19. ^ "Introducing… TS2018!". train-simulator.com. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  20. ^ "TS2018… Available Now!". Train Simulator.com. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Train Simulator 2020 out now!". live.dovetailgames.com. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Dovetail Live". live.dovetailgames.com. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Train Simulator 2021 Core Update - 2nd March 2021". dovetailgames.kayako.com. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Download the Port Road line - FREE". RailSimulator.com. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Train Simulator 2013 Driver Manual" (PDF). RailSimulator.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  26. ^ "RailWorks Add-on Products". RailSimulator.com. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  27. ^ Fox, Tanner (19 March 2020). "The 10 Most Expensive DLC Content of All Time". GameRant. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  28. ^ "RailWorks IGN Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  29. ^ "Game of the Year Results (2010)". Game Industry News. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  30. ^ a b "Dovetail Games begins work on Next-Generation Train Simulator". Engine Driver. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  31. ^ "Dovetail Games Looks to the Future Collaborating with Microsoft". Engine Driver. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  32. ^ "Train Sim World®: Great Western Express". Steam Store. Steam. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  33. ^ "Ongoing Engineering Works | Train Simulator". Train Simulator. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.

External links[edit]