Manuals And Tutorials And Training, Oh My

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Tanglebones, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. Tanglebones

    Tanglebones Active Member

    Aug 21, 2020
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    In the most recent roadmap stream, DTG Natster told us they're interested in feedback on what we, the community, would like to see in terms of manuals, tutorials and training. This thread is my attempt to put my thoughts into some form of coherence.

    TSW is a piece of software that many of us enjoy for years on end, driving a wide variety of trains in a multitude of countries, and IMO our training should reflect that. I view this as covering three distinct changes:

    1. Updates to the driver's profile.
    2. Core training - things that are common to every route/train combination.
    3. Specific training that relates to specific routes/trains.

    Starting with the first one - it bugs me that I can't edit the driver profile I created, and if my hard drive crashes then all the progress I've made is wiped out. It's all just an illusion - delete a directory on my drive and the all my achievements are gone, they're not recorded anwhere and I have to start over. So my first suggestion is to overhaul that so that I have a driver that can evolve over time as I progress through this train sim world, with all progress being saved so that it's permanent. And let me edit that profile - some days I just feel like changing the face that stares out at me from the cab window.

    Core training is the basics, teaching techniques rather than specific systems. I'll leave it to others more versed in details to add to this, but I imagine it to cover things like starting and stopping practice and techniques, the different types of braking systems available (as opposed to specific ones on individual trains), manual and automatic switching, the theory of multiple locos, etc.

    Specific training I view as layered - as each year in this ecosystem passes your driver gets more experience on a wider variety of routes and locos. I imagine different modules, one per country, one per route and one per loco. The country ones would teach the signal system unique to that country. It really irks me that something so fundamental to enjoyment of a route is just left to guesswork in game. Why can't there be a scenario that has you drive along a length of fake track, a few miles, that teaches you all the different signals and signs you can expect to see in that country? As there would be one per country, each one you do adds a new achievement to your driver profile and they can always be revisited if you haven't driven that route for a while, as a refresher. Also, another scenario that teaches the safety systems used in that country, so no matter what train the driver ends up driving they are prepared for the unique set of systems used in that particular train.

    Route training is similar but doesn't need to talk about signalling as that's already covered. This one could cover required line speed, highlight steep gradients or busy junctions where one can expect delays. Give us route knowledge so that we are prepared, and like the country-based set, a new achievement for each route learning scenario we've unlocked.

    Loco training is the most detailed - perhaps a series of small scenarios that teaches you the train. How to cold start and shut down a train, how to change ends, identifies the braking systems this particular loco has, how to turn on and off the safety systems (recalling that details on how each system worked was already covered under the country training). Perhaps another on the various lighting combinations and/or banking comms.

    In my view, all this is a lot of work and effort - once. Invest the time up front and then, once created, it's done and only new routes and new locos need to be added to it each year. Each player buys DLC that suits them and trains up based on what they have. You have to own a DLC in that country to unlock the training for that country, have to own that route to open up route knowledge scenarios, have to own that train to open up specific loco training. And, just as importantly, you are teaching people how to get the most enjoyment out of the game, should they choose to pursue this. The more they learn, the farther they advance in their career, the more enjoyment they will get out of product and the more likely they are to continue as the years and DLC pass.

    You've built an incredibly detailed and rich simulator/game but skimp on teaching people how to use it. Some figure it out, some teach others, but most just dabble - and go from level 249 to level 1 if they lose a hard drive or are forced to make a new profile because they can't edit the old one. Teach us your product, and use those wonderful scenarios to do it. I think it safe to say the majority of us love scenarios and it seems an ideal, in-game way to teach us.

    Just a thought.
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  2. IfICanDream

    IfICanDream Active Member

    Jan 19, 2021
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    I've often wondered about the professional way of pulling into a station/stopping. That, I think, goes along with one of your suggestions. i've also suggested in the past that each route be rated for difficultly.

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