This week I started working on a new version of Train Sim. For this update I asked my Twitter & Facebook fans to vote on which Level needs to be improved the most. The majority of my followers selected the Airport Run Level.
I have been working on the update now for a better part of the week. I am pleased to say I made good progress. Here is a short preview video of the new Airport Level. Coming Soon to Train Sim!
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)
I am a little behind on posting blog updates so today I am catching up. Since my last post there have been two updates to Train Sim. Both were very exciting and addressed several popular user requests.
The first update introduced a new Achievement system to replace the older score system that just gave you points for driving & crashing trains. Most players agreed that it was very boring.
The new system allows players to earn various Achievements that range from simple (Decoupling a Train) to more complicated (Completing a track on every scene with a Diesel Train). You can access the new achievement system by clicking on the trophy icon on the menu screen. On Android you can also share your achievement points and compete with your friends or other players. Since this is a new system please feel free to send me feedback and suggestions on improvements.
One of the other complaints I often get is related to Train Drivers. The trains do not look as real when they are driving empty. So in the last 2 updates I introduced drivers for all freight and steam trains. (next update will introduce a subway/passenger train driver)
Lastly the new version of Train Sim also added a new Class 66 train (very requested by users) This new train turned out very well and has an awesome 3D Cab.
This brings the total of 50 Trains to a mobile game that is still less then 100 MB on Android! At this point I don’t think there is another mobile Train Simulator offers more quantity & variety of Trains from around the world.
If that was not enough, the last update also added new Custom Environment items as well as 2 new car variations, including a pressure tank car & new double stack car with random container colours.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Currently the update is live for Android but I am working on porting it to the other platforms.
I have been working crazy hours on a new update to Train Sim. At this point I have 2 in-progress videos I want to share with you. The first shows of the improved Ports of Call scene, while the second videos shows off the new “wet glass” rain effect along with working windshield wipers (a very requested feature).
I don’t yet have a release date for this new version of Train Sim. I still need to add working windshield wipers to about 30 more trains and I was hoping that the new Train 3D model would be done in time for this release. (not sure if this will happen)
I am however very excited about this upcoming release as I think it will address many user requests.