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Improved Features And Functionality General Discussion (continued)

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Olaf the Snowman, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. Olaf the Snowman

    Olaf the Snowman Well-Known Member

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    I made a new thread as I didn't want to hijack the previous one and thought this was an interesting discussion. See here: https://forums.dovetailgames.com/threads/station-names-on-map.18196/#post-114928

    A very good question. Just to give you an insight, the train driver rulebook is 961 pages long. Then you've got the traction manuals which all of mine are between 200-400 pages depending on the traction. Also, there are working instructions, depot books and various other publications. Obviously, I don't expect TSW to produce anything like it but just trying to give an idea of 'how deep the game can go' as synthetic.angel nicely puts it. However, I would expect a small manual of 10-20 pages just to explain the basics including signalling guide, how AWS and TPWS work, how the DRA works, how to secure your train when stopped at a station or immobilising the cab and other very important and fundamental operational procedures. Edit: I have just seen that they do have a signalling guide.

    I'll give one example of one such procedure: 'Running Brake Test' (RBT). Whenever someone posts a video on here, the first thing I look for is whether a RBT has been carried out. This is such a fundamental procedure that happens on every single train journey that gets carried out in the UK- no exaggeration. This is the first thing a Driver Manager would be looking for when he/she does a download of the On Train Data Recorder. It is very simple and not hard at all to understand yet 99% of people I suspect reading this post don't have a clue what it is. (By the way, a RBT is just testing/getting a feel for the brakes at the first available opportunity of your journey- e.g. leaving Paddington, when I get to 50mph, put it in step 3 and lose 10mph to bring it down to 40mph and RBT complete.)

    Another example that I just remembered is the coupling/uncoupling procedure of the Class 377. There was a member here thinking that you just couple by pressing the 'couple' button as in the trains will automatically move closer together and she didn't realise that you have literally got to drive in to it- not blaming her obviously but it just proves your point that some people genuinely have no idea and a simple manual or guide would help them.

    Route learning isn't a big issue as you can have the HUD on and you will eventually pick it up naturally if you keep going over the same route. If doing 125mph, typically it would take 1.5-2 miles to make a controlled stop and 0.9-1.0 mile for an emergency stop so you can use the 'miles to next station' to help you with this.

    The main issue is that there are so many fundamental operational flaws with the game that I don't even think TSW making a manual would even be much of use. Take the latest flaw with the flashing yellow sequence for Newhaven yard on East Coastway for example; I could forgive the poor HST handling and braking performance, TPWS that doesn't work properly, other issues with signalling system, lack of functionality (Selective door opening, etc...) because I realise TSW may have had software issues or difficulties trying to implement it but this flashing yellow issue that came with latest update is really taking the biscuit to put it extremely politely. Even right now, I am genuinely shocked how badly they've got it wrong.

    This is why when I see threads asking for something that really is pure aesthetic and doesn't affect the driving experience (e.g. PIS display, destination boards, etc...), I see it as a non-issue. I know I am quick to criticise TSW for operational issues but let me just that I think the aesthetics of the game and basic handling of modern units is superb so minor details like destinations boards is a non-issue for me when there are so many major operational flaws and/or functionalities they could add that would very much enhance the gameplay and give it a realistic experience.

    Then you've got the people that ask for too much. E.g. Automatic Train Protection (ATP) on the Great Western Railway. Again, I would much rather they fix the signalling and implement other important features before they start working on something additional that probably isn't going to work properly anyway. Also, as ATP is a very specific thing to GWR (and Chiltern Railways that operate out of London Marylebone), it is not something that is going to be transferable when they build other British routes. Whereas if they can implement, for example, TPWS grids on the approach to buffer stops to be set at 10mph (i.e. if you go over 10mph over the grids, you will get an intervention and emergency brake will apply), that is something they can just transfer on all (modern) British routes on approach to any buffer stop platform- again, the grids are in place on all Paddington platforms but they don't work if you overspeed (I've tested them haha).

    With the start up procedures, etc... again as the functionality and most of the cab buttons/indications are not in use, there isn't much you can do apart from put your key in and set exterior lights. Train Management System (TMS) has basically zero functionality on the Class 377s; GSMR radio doesn't work and even if and when it does, I suspect it will just be that you can register your head-code but won't be able to test it, use it, etc... SDO is not operational. DOO (Driver Only Operation) screens and/or CD/RA indications and/or automated bell buzzer are not operational. The sander button doesn't work and nor does it need to as the train handles the same in all weather conditions. Brake cylinder pressure gauges are very simple to understand on the current traction although I'll be very interested to see how they do on the Class 390s which separately displays dynamic braking effort and how they incorporate it with the brake cylinder gauges. All other indications such as dragging brakes/locked axle/brake computer fault, TCA fault, Hot axle box, Parking brake fault, Passcom pulled/emergency egress by the passenger, bogie instability fault, etc... won't ever illuminate as TSW has not implemented any train faults to occur. This final point about faults and failures I wouldn't expect or want TSW to implement but all other others should be gradually phased in.

    As well as improving or fixing functionality of the cab, signalling equipment and systems that I have described above, I would like TSW to have more scenarios that improve variety. For example, have more traffic so that you are not just running on greens all the time but rather, sometimes you are following cautionary aspects or being crossed over onto the relief (slow) lines thus also being able to see and learn how the signalling system, flashing yellows, splitting distant signals, approach-release signals work. I have a feeling there would be a lot of SPADs on this forum if you actually faced cautionary aspects due to not understanding how the signalling system works and not being aware of all the SPAD traps. This would also bring TSW to life seeing lots of (AI controlled) trains running around as well as your own.

    Ultimately, I hope a lot of the stuff I have spoken about will be gradually introduced in TSW on future or current routes as I think they will significantly enhance the driving experience thus making it realistic as possible. Some of the stuff definitely needs fixing before they release more routes because it would be shame to see another British Intercity (high speed) route with a broken HST again, etc...

    If anyone has any questions or would like me to expand any of the above, please let me know. Otherwise, thanks for reading.
     
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  2. synthetic.angel

    synthetic.angel Well-Known Member

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    Oh wow - a truly fabulous post...! Thank YOU for taking the time to write it....! Well... I'd like all of the above....! LOL.... but... for now, I would like DTG to look at the capabilities of the current build of TSW (when it works), and help players of all skill levels get the most out of the software, by providing some basic in game support/documentation. So.... in the very least... DTG could...

    - tell PS4 and XBox users (that don't install via Steam), where the manual actually exists (when the manual actually exists for DLC....)
    - actually... just stick a PDF of the existing manuals into the UI... that would be better....
    - develop the manuals to explain why you might want to switch off the "Next Signal HUD", to learn to be a driver

    .....I could write a very very long list..... but you've already done most of that on the other thread.

    The point I am making, with respect to current potential for gameplay depth, is that there will be many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, that will buy TSW for PS4 and XBox, but have zero or near to zero industry knowledge. It's a completely different marketplace from TS20xx on PC. TSW is a potential gateway to create new enthusiasts, but these people are given absolutely nothing to grip on to, to keep them involved.
     
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  3. BjornGroen02NL

    BjornGroen02NL Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for explaining everything in detail... As I can use a lot of this in game, I might also be able to use this in real life... Yes, I´ll be attending a school to become a real train driver in the Netherlands next year ;) Still, I hope at least some of what you've said will be inplemented into TSW, and RBT sounds very interesing :)
     
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  4. esteeleiv

    esteeleiv New Member

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    I would like to state that in CSX heavy haul there is a scenario where it is snowing and cold and before you tackle the mountains you will have to come to a stop for a passing train. Train passes, you attempt to get going but game did not explain anything about sanding which does works in CSX heavy haul so you will see that the train will just slip in place instead. Took some trial and error and a lot of tugging but eventually got the train going again. Then useless second man at the end of the mission suddenly states that he will notify HQ about the bad conditions... what me slipping in place for a couple minutes with no help wasn't a good enough indication of conditions!?!
     
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  5. Tomas9970

    Tomas9970 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for taking your time to write all the informations. These things are always interesting despite the fact that I'm more interesting in Czech and Austrian railroading.
    I feel like TSW was designed for ease of access rather than for realism. Things in the game are simply designed to not require your attention or effort (notice how things that you can't do yourself are magically done for you) so that you can just release the brakes and add power to get going without having to worry about anything that is specific to the train that you are driving at the moment. This would be perfectly fine if it was optional and those who want to could still set up their train from scratch.

    The closest thing to a "ground truth" train driver simulator is probably ZUSI which I really like but it only has German trains. Other than that, there's TS 20xx with it's pro range addons which allows for quite realistic driving.
     
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  6. esteeleiv

    esteeleiv New Member

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    In real world, from what I read from somewhere I forgot, to some degree, if you are the driver that handles the routes you really do just hop on and get the train going. But if you are the shunter or whoever is the one that handles the engine then you would deal with start up and building the train, but you would just stay in the yard and not go on any routes. Of course we players want the whole enchilada.
     
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  7. Trim

    Trim Active Member

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    British practice is mostly that drivers do everything, from locomotive/train preparation in the depot to driving it on the main line. Some larger depots used to have (and maybe still do have) depot turns worked by a second or third link, and the link each driver belonged to depended on seniority, but I think most depots just have a single link these days. Where a depot now has more than one link, this is usually because the depot serves two or more distinct routes and is nothing to do with seniority.

    Northern Transpennine (the route I play the most) seems mostly right to me in terms of what the driver has to do (although I am sure it is very much simplified as Olaf says, even on 1980s trains), except that if you select a train from the timetable list which starts with a mid-way crew change, then it is bizarre that you need to set the lamps (which should already be set), and even more bizarre that you need to set the brake system for anything other than passenger air brakes (the AI doesn't actually use the brakes, so there is no need for them to be set correctly). In fact, I got so irritated by not having enough preparation time (depending on which turn it is) that I usually spawn in on foot at the correct location a few minutes earlier. Also, doing it this way means that the incoming AI driver usually has the lamps already set correctly, except for DMUs reversing, where the incoming driver never sets tail lamps or the correct destination in his cab before leaving.

    Like Olaf, I'd rather do more, and I too am particularly irritated by signalling errors, particularly since I am now at a stage where I have the HUD signals turned off (Northern Transpennine have two that fail to display clear aspects at all and a third which sometimes fails to display a clear aspect, although they all display as clear in the HUD. It also has at least two errors in how routes are signalled.
     
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  8. Olaf the Snowman

    Olaf the Snowman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies.

    One thing I neglected in my original post is non-UK routes and as a player/driver in the UK, I am biased in the sense that I only like UK routes/traction. Part of the reason for this is because when I do decide to play a German or US route, I really struggle with the signalling, safety systems (e.g. ATC/PZB etc...), rules/regulation and the traction. I have kind of got the general idea now with the signalling and safety system mostly by trial and error and stuff that I found here but I am still not too confident. Part of it is lack of guidance/manual and part of it is physically not being faced with cautionary aspects, etc.... as I said in the original post, it’s only when you face cautionary aspects, etc... will you actually understand signalling. You won’t learn anything when you’re just constantly running on green lights. I guess I don’t really appreciate the difficultly that a lot of players have when playing UK routes because I find the signalling, traction and rules very easy obviously being a driver so it’s only when I start thinking of German/US routes do I actually appreciate most people’s situation- therefore manuals/videos would definitely be welcomed.


    Firstly, best of luck with training and I’m sure you’ll love it. It’s always nice to hear an enthusiast becoming a driver especially in the UK where driver jobs are extremely competitively (thousands often apply just for a few vacancies) and sadly, most people only apply because of the money.

    I agree it’s nice to know the ‘everyday’ procedure and protocols. I know you’re not in the UK but for those of you who are, next time you get on a train from a terminus station or station where a new driver takes over, you will within a couple of minutes, if not sooner, feel the brakes come on even though there is no drop in permissible speed/cautionary signals. You will probably think to yourself, “how come I’ve never noticed this all the times I’ve been using the train” haha. I’ve quoted some of my previous posts about RBT if you’d like to know more. Rules are slightly different when it is snowing as I’ve explained.




    I definitely agree that it’s designed for easy of access. What I’m worried, however, is that when they going build a new route/traction, the actually ‘driving’ experience is going to be exactly the same but just different view. For example, if they build the Class 390 and West Coast Mainline, I have no doubt whatsoever that they will do a wonderful job with the aesthetics of the route and traction. However, driving the Class 390 I fear will be exactly the same driving experience as driving the HST, 166, 377, etc... This is because everything unique and ‘fun’ about driving Class 390 will not be operational- e.g. SDO, snow brake, TASS (tilt authorisation and speed supervision), TMS, OHLE controls, hill start function, dynamic braking indicator, etc... So you’re just basically left with the exact same train handling as the other units such as 166/377/HST but with just a different view which kind of defeats the whole object of it. Let’s be honest, the Class 166 and 377 is basically the exact same train in TSW (yes ok, 377 has better acceleration) but with just different aesthetics.


    To be honest, nowadays we don’t do any shunting or preparation at depots especially since modern Multiple Units have replaced the conventional loco-hauled coaching stock/HSTs. Obviously with LHCS/HSTs, you would have to shunt coaches all night because they aren’t fixed formations whereas multiple units are. Hitachi/Alstom/Bombardier have their own depot drivers or shunters that do all the shunts and preparation. So in a night shift, all you would do is take a 1 or 2 sets to depot, sit there for 4-5 hours and then bring 1 or 2 sets back to the station. (When I mean 2 sets: you would take a set to the depot, get a company taxi back to the station and take another set back to the depot or vice versa) In other words, for a 10 hour shift for example, you actually only do 1 or 1.5 hours worth of driving. You just drop your set off to the depot (either a stabling road or into a shed depending where they want you) and depot drivers/shunters would do any shunts required while you go to sleep or watch a film :cool:
    A few years ago we used to do a full preparation in the morning before taking our set which we got about 60minutes which was to walk around the train externally, internally and do various cab checks in all cabs- checking all exterior positions, checking all positions in the power brake controller correspond to correct brake cylinder pressure, hillstart, plungers, releasing foot of DSD and ensuring emergency brakes apply, etc.... But now the depot staff do it themselves and instead we do something called a Safety Check which we get about 15 minutes for. All you do is walk around externally of the train. Depot drivers and shunters are not (usually) mainline trained so as long as they drive within the confines of the depot and not on Network Rail infrastructure, they are allowed to do so.

    Back in good old British Rail days which obviously you know well, there was plenty of ferry and spare drivers whereas now the companies are very tight and so there aren’t many spare or ferry men about.

    Most big depots do have multiple links and it is usually in seniority order. Links will determine the traction and routes you sign and generally speaking as you go up, you get better variety and routes/traction. For example, at Paddington. You start off on 387s and turbos and sign as far as Oxford. But as you progress through the commuter links, you will eventually learn Class 800s and sign further up to Worcester. Eventually you can join the Intercity links where you will lose 387s/166s and all branch and commuter work (e.g.Greenford branch, Windsor branch, Reading stopping service) and instead, you will get far more mileage by signing Swansea, Cheltenham, Bristol, Exeter St David’s and just Class 800s
     
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  9. mxdrozdow

    mxdrozdow New Member

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    "SDO" feature was leaked by Dovetail on their own website. It's shown in the preview image of East Coastway line DLC. Why is it (SDO) shown in preview, and not available in the game?.. Maybe they're still working on it...
     

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