Category Archives: Blog

All the Other Games

If you read my Twitter & Facebook posts it may feel like I only work on Train Sim.  While Train Sim is my most popular game with very active & vocal fans, I have 22 other games I made that are also quite popular.  So after my last Train Sim release I decided to focus on updating all my other games.  Here are some of the highlights of the awesome new features now available.

Kids Train Sim

Kids Train Sim received a much needed overhaul.  I actually deleted all the scripts/code from this game and replaced them with them with code from Train Sim.  This I was able to provide all the updates, fixes & features of Train Sim but in a more kid friendly package.  Features like train decoupling, improved passengers, manual door control, custom environments & new user interface are now available in Kids Train Sim.  While I was there, I also added a new City Scene & New Trains.  All of this took a while to implement but I think the end result was worth it.

Kids Train Sim

3 Jewels Sequel

Because every game company should have a Match 3 Game!  As some of you may know I have a very popular Match 3 game called 3 Jewels.  I have been secretly working on a sequel called 3 Jewels 2 with 300 new challenge levels, new graphics and awesome new effects and game mechanics.  3 Jewels 2 is currently available on Google Play and so far the reviews are 5 stars!

3Jewels 2

Aquarium Sim

Aquarium Sim is one of my newer games that I am trying to promote.  So far its launch was a bit bumpy but it is improving.  On this latest update I improved the Custom Environment Feature.  Just like in Train Sim you can now move items around after they are placed.  I also fixed a few bugs that Improved the overall experience.  I am happy to report that after this new update the average rating on Google Play has improved to 4.0.

Aquarium Sim

Kids Car Racers

I was watching my son Play Mario Kart and noticed that the karts in that game can launch things (mostly shells) at each other.  I decided that this would be a fun feature in Kids Car Racers.  So the new version of Kids Car Racers now allows players to launch Barrels at the other cars.  I also added a new Alternate Reality Scene which allows players to race cars, well in their living room and wherever they are.  The scenery from their environment comes directly from the camera just like in Pokemon Go.  The effect is quite cool.

Kids Car Racers AR

Train Sim Santa Fe & Double Stack Cars

I am happy to announce that another Train Sim update is fully rolled out across all supported devices; Android, iOS, Amazon Apps, Windows Store & Mac App Store.

The main feature of this update was the new Santa Fe EMC E1 Train which I think turned out really great.  I am especially happy with the observation car that just looks awesome during rain.

Double Stack

Another great addition in this version is the Double Stack Car which was requested by many Train Sim fans.  The actual Box cars are separate from their base so in the future I am going to add different colours and maybe even allow them to be unloaded from the train.

In addition to the new Train & Cars I also added 20 new items to place in Custom Environments & implemented the ability to move previously placed items.  I think the Custom Environment feature is coming along very nicely. There are a couple of things I would still like to add in the near future, such as deleting items & modifying train tracks by dragging their spline control points.  However I have not yet figured out how to implement these 2 features yet so stay tuned for more news.

Finally I have been spending allot of time over the last few months trying to chase down some Train Sim performance issues on older devices.  This was very apparent on any devices that have less then 1GB of RAM Memory.  Although most devices sold over the last few years meet that requirement, I know there were many people that played Train Sim on older tablets & phones that were experiencing crashes.  I have probably spent 60 hours trying to figure out how to lower the memory usage while not reducing the overall quality of the game.  I am happy to report that I finally figured it out.

The issue was actually caused by break sparks.  I am not going to go into technical issues but basically each of the spark effects on each of the wheels was kept in memory even if they were not shown/used.  The actual fix was quite simple and involved creating the sparks only for the currently shown train and deleting them immediately after the train was changed.  The result is that Train Sim now uses 40% less memory then before.  This means it will now work on much wider range of devices then before.

In the future I can’t guarantee that Train Sim will run on that (5 year old) 2011 Samsung Galaxy Nexus or  iPad Mini Generation 1.  But as of today it does, so download future updates with caution 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this new update as much as I enjoyed making it.  I have allot planned for future Train Sim releases, so keep checking back here as well as my Twitter & Facebook pages for daily updates on what I am working on.

Happy Rails!

 

 

 

Working on Train Sim next version

Currently I am working on improving the Custom Environment feature in Train Sim.  First I started with adding 20 new items you can place in your custom environments.  These new items include new Trees, Bushes, additional Farm Textures Grain Silos, Tractor & Cow plus more.  If you have any suggestions on what other items you would like to see feel free to contact me.

I also worked on adding a way to move previously placed items by simply clicking on them.  I would like to also let people delete previously placed items, but I am not sure how to actually implement this in the interface.  Here is a video preview of some of the new items and the ability to move items around, coming soon to Train Sim.

 

 

 

 

Train Sim Custom Environments

I am happy to announce that another Train Sim update is now live on Google Play!  This time I was able to include 3 of the most requested features:

  • Custom Environments
  • Train de-coupling/Coupling
  • Improved Track Connections

Allowing users to build their own custom environments, is something I always wanted to add to Train Sim.  It is obviously something not easy to implement and previously I never had the time to focus on it.

However recently I added a similar feature to my other game Aquarium Sim and I thought, maybe this could be adapted to Train Sim.  After a few hours of effort moving the code over from one project to another I was surprised that it worked.  I was able to place objects on a Terrain on a predefined track.  I quickly posted a preview video on my Twitter feed and happy with my progress I went to sleep.

Next day I started the real work which would continue over the next 2 weeks.  First I needed to add 50 predefined objects to the custom environment editor.  This was easy but repetitive work as for each object I needed to create a small preview icon.  This involves taking a screenshot of the 3D object, opening it in Photoshop, cutting out a transparent background and saving the result as a PNG image file.  50 times.

I also had to build 2 separate tracks layouts and allow the environments to switch depending on the user choice.  This turned out to actually be that hardest part as none of the other scenes in Train Sim support multiple track layouts, and things were constantly breaking.

Add to that object rotation, Terrain Texture selector & the massive amount of testing around this feature, and I would estimate 100+ hours of total effort.  However I think it was worth it.  Here is one of the later preview videos of the Custom Environment feature (still only had 1 track to choose from)

The other major feature I focused on this release was Train De-Coupling/Coupling.  This was also a much requested feature from many users.  The actual de-coupling implementation was simple.  The tricky part coupling the Train again when it is backing up & from behind the train.  Each engine has a different size which means I had to adjust and test each of the engines plus double engines, plus tenders.  If that was not enough I also had to make sure I can de-couple go around the track and push the train from the back.  Again accounting for the variable engine size, testing each one. I even build a small track for testing this feature that allowed me to go around and push the train from behind faster.  48 times …

Here is one of the final video previews I shared on my YouTube channel.

In the future I hope to expand this by allowing users to drop off and pick up cars from the rail yard.

Finally one of my personal pet peeves in Train Sim were always the Track Connections.  Not only were they buggy, they also looked terrible as the tracks would visually just overlap with the main track always on top of the connection.

This new version of Train Sim fixes both this issues as Track connections now work much better and look much better.  The actual solution to this was very simple and I can’t believe I have not through of this in the past.

As always this new version of Train Sim is available on Google Play first with the other platforms coming soon after.

 

Another Month Another Train Sim Update

Train Sim New Interface

One of the things that always bothered me about Train Sim was the User Interface (Buttons).  I never liked the look but more practicaly I did not like the fact that it used words.  Even when I translated the button labels into 7 other languages that meant there were still millions of users that did not have a translated user interface.

Furthermore there are lots of kids that are younger then 6 years old that enjoy playing Train Sim but do not yet know how to read.  My son was amongst those for many years.

So I decided that in this update I will focus on an improved user interface.  I have been posting in progress screenshots on my Twitter Account but finally I settled on the above look which is now live on the Google Play Store (Android).  Thanks to my Twitter followers I also learned that some people simply like the old interface.  So the Old Interface will still be available in Options.

In this update I also added a new (much reqested) Open & Close Doors Button that will show up when the train is stopped.  From now on that button will need to be pressed when the train is stopped at a station to let the passengers out.  It will no longer be automatic.

Train Sim Update is now Live for Android, with iOS, Amazon, Windows Store, Mac coming soon!

Train Sim Update Released

I am happy to announce that another update of Train Sim is now live.  This time I focused on replacing the R160 New York subway model as well improving the Mountain Trail Scene.  I also added additional Leaderboards to Train Sim that allow players to compare their total distance traveled as well as the number of crashes.

Train Sim Mountain Trail

One of my favourite things added in this release were Break Sparks to all Trains & improved the Break Animations on steam trains.  When breaks are initiated the wheels will lock in place rather then slowing down.

I also updated some minor details such as the vehicles on all the scenes to the improved models I previously used in the Desert scene.  There were also some bug fixes, such as the never-ending rain in one of the train cars.

Train Sim Leaderboards

Currently the update is live for Android but I am working on porting it to the other platforms.

Aquarium Sim Update

Last week I worked on a new feature for Aquarium Sim that allows users to create custom Aquarium Environments.  This is a feature I always wanted to include on launch but never had the time to implement.  I am really happy with how it turned out.  Rather then just being visually appealing Aquarium Sim now also allows you to be creative.

This new version of Aquarium Sim is now available for Android & Amazon Devices with iOS version has been uploaded & is waiting for review.

Train Sim Update Live

Train Sim update is now live across all platforms.  These include: Android, iOS, Amazon, Mac Store, Windows Store.  You can now play this newest version of Train Sim, any time on any device.  No Limits!

Train Sim Rain

This was a large update that took me almost 2 months to complete.  The work completed includes:

  • Complete rewrite of the Ports of Call Scene
  • Improved Rain Effect (rain drips down windows)
  • Working Windshield Wipers on all trains
  • Longer Trains
  • Higher Resolution Textures for several Trains
  • Many Bug Fixes

I would like to thank all of my Facebook and Twitter fans for all your great suggestions and encouragement while I was working on this release.  I hope that you all like it.

Happy Rails!