Here is a 2nd preview of the new Airport Level coming soon to Train Sim. Layout is mostly done, going to start testing tomorrow.
For a while I have been unhappy with the quality of the environments in Flight Sim compared to other flight simulators available for the mobile platforms. Many of my competitors used real arial photos to build their terrains. Even though Flight Sim offered 20 free airplanes while my competitors offered only 1-2 free airplanes (with others costing $2-$3 each), Flight Sim was failing to capture market share. I believed that the quality of the terrains (and some other bugs) was the major reason for the poor reviews that Flight Sim was getting. So over the last few months I have been working on a major update to Flight Sim, more of a redesign that improved the quality & realism of the environments available in the game.
Prior to posting any preview videos on my progress I had to first figure out how to use real arial shots of terrains in a game, without crashing the average phone. That process took a month on its own with many failed experiments and wasted hours.
However at the end I was able to create a fairly realist environment that will work on the majority of mobile devices. Since July 18th I have been posting these preview videos on Youtube documenting my progress.
Today I am happy to announce that Flight Sim for Android is now live! The iPhone/iPad version has already been submitted to the store and should be live within a few days.
After my trip to Europe I was inspired to add a train from Poland the ST44-700 which is a version of the Soviet Built M62 diesel locomotive. These trains were to the work horse of the Eastern Block countries as well as Cuba and North Korea. Although past their prime ST44-700 can still be seen in Poland and in other countries under various names.
Also in this update Custom Environment – Terrains. You asked for it and here it is, the ability to raise & lower terrains in Custom Environments. Also if you lower the Terrains far enough you can expose water. This will allow you to create truly unique environments for your trains.
Also in this update there have been many suggestions about how to improve Rail Signals in Train Sim. From now on Rail Signals will turn red once a train passes them, increasing their realism.
Train Sim update has now been updated for all platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows 10 & Amazon)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I am excited to announce that the new version of Dinosaur Sim is now live on the Google Play Store. This update includes a new Winter Scene for players to explore as well as a new feature that allows players to share their high scores with other players via the Google Play Leaderboard system. See you in the Jurrasic!
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.
I am happy to report that Train Sim has received another awesome update. This time I focused on updating one of the existing older scenes.
I started by asking my twitter account, Which Scene I should focus on updating. The Farm Land scene was a clear winner. (I think I will be doing more of that in the future)
Initially I focused on making a larger more interesting track layout. In the old scene the track was arranged in a circle, and I received allot of complaints about that from users. As you will see from the top view of the track, the layout is much more interesting then before.
I also wanted to add some new assets to the scene, These included:
- Improved Track Textures
- Improved Horse Model
- New Cow Models
- New Large Grain Elevator/Silos
- New Farm Textures
- Improved Water Effects
However I wanted the scene to seem familiar as well, so allot of the old farm textures & small towns found in the old levels are still present in this new scene.
On top of the improved Farm Land scene I also added a new GE AC4400CW train with custom freight cars to go with it. This brings the total number of trains available in Train Sim to 47!
Flight Sim for Android has been updated with 2 new airplanes and many improvements and bug fixes. This update brings the total number of airplanes to 16. My goal for this year is to bring the number of airplanes to 20 so I think I am right on track. As always these new airplanes are available for free and there are no in-app purchases in Flight Sim.