Hello, This is one of my first posts here, and I would like to start off by saying, ‘It is nice to meet fellow fans of the simulation and the developers of the game communicating in one space.’ A special shout out to Matt Peddleston who has remained fairly communicative to the community in the forums, discord and livestreams (though I doubt he remembers me :P) So let’s get straight into it. There has been a lot of growing speculation as to what the future of Train Sim World will be… in terms of content and features. I’m here to slap my personal opinion, and say that Dovetail should pursue a subway system…in particular… a route from the London Underground network. However, to explain this choice, I need to break-down the current ‘state of play.’ Part 1: The formation of a multi-player experience in TSW The announcement of multi-player in TSW is rather strange… in that we currently do not know when and how it will function. Also considering that Dovetail haven’t really done larger-scale multiplayer games, leads me to speculate that the idea is still cooking in the oven. My current prediction for the service is this : i) Multi-Player will be offered as a subsidiary service, not limited or personalised to a particular route or style of play. Both roles of driver and signaller will be offered on each route. This is probably ‘The option with the least resistance’ to it in terms of compatibility and function. However, there are currently a few issues that could arise from this… 1. Dovetails economic model will MOST likely involve multiple DLC routes. This means for a multi-player experience, players are going to be too ‘spread-out’ across these routes 2. ‘Multiple DLC Routes’ means that there will be a particular bias towards certain routes in the form of nationality, variety, length and complexity. A long-span route such as ‘CSX Heavy haul’ might not perform as well as ‘Great Western Express’ in terms of a linear experience 3. Traffic = Trolls 4. You cannot guarantee that all these routes will be staffed with signallers. Routes with complex junctions are more in jeopardy of being ‘un-popular’ with simmers We can also infer what multi-player may end up being like, by taking a look at other online communities. Flight-Sim : By far the most popular form of multiplayer is the Vatsim/IVAO/ Pilotedge networks, where players and controllers are staffed. Each has a varying level of difficulty and practicality e.g. Vatsim is huge and works about 70% of the time, however in-experienced pilots/controllers can easily disrupt the flow of things. Pilotedge is a paid subscription model, but the level of professionalism and training is high. However it is not the most accessible network. Truck-Sim : The most popular multiplayer network out of all the sims, where the simulators simple mechanics and goals allows players to pursue their objective with a relative degree of autonomy. However, key cities and roads easily become congested/chaotic due to people rushing the experience or trolling. From this, we can also infer the key-qualities that Train-Sim World Multiplayer might require… - We need adequately paced, linear routes - Players need options to seamlessly drop-out from the multiplayer experience, without effecting other players - Signalling should not be placed in the hands of drivers - Signalling might work in the form of specialised and trained communities - The routes should be accessible and familiar on first place (eliminate the complexity) - We need a route that is relatively simple to control/signal - We MAY also need a route where it’s signalling could be relatively easy to control via AI - We need a method to filter out trolls, and should they succeed in trolling, be quickly dealt with and add to the experience We’ll put a pin in this as we address this later. Part 2: Introducing the London Underground network Well actually, I’m sure this doesn’t require much of an introduction. One of the oldest and most iconic rapid transit systems dating back to 1863. The underground is a rich and historic network of lines, and in my opinion, offers the most diverse options when it comes to general gameplay, particularly if we used the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines as a case study : Metropolitan Line : - Is one of the longest and oldest routes on the network - Has one of the oldest (now retired A-stock) and newest (In-Service S-Stock) fleet of the network - It also has a varying amount of special/out-standing trains which run on the network (Sarah Siddons, Met One, Class 20s etc) which could be offered as additional game-content as DLC or a reward - Has several branches and possible timetables that could be used. - Has a more intermittent timetable Jubilee Line : - Is one of the most modern routes on the network - Has a fairly recent fleet (1996 stock) - Is fairly automated, but can also be hand-driven - Has more frequent, rapid paced timetable - Runs 24 hours on the weekend (perfect for a multiplayer real-time scenario) - Has a fairly equal amount of underground and overground stations Both Lines : - Share a depot, making services somewhat interesting - Share a stretch of track in which they run parallel and connect at a few key stops - This also makes it interesting when starting scenarios. You would have to figure out a way to connect from line to the other, in order to ‘commute’ to work - Have contrasting styles of gameplay. One for drivers looking for longer gameplay times and high-speed. The other being more frequent and high-paced. Part 3 : The Proposal One of the things that draws my attention to TSW is the services mode. You are presented with a list of schedules, and then can hop onto a service whilst the ai handles most of the signalling and additional trains. This is something I imagined for multiplayer, where the ai is smart enough to handle continuous 24 hour operation, but you can easily hop-in and take command of a service/signalling. Because most of the services occur in a linear ‘loop’ it is much easier to control the flow of movement and signalling. Having a rapid-transit route so deeply integrated for the multi-player component, allows users to quickly jump in and familiarise themselves with a route. To slightly help, I’ve made an over-simplified map of the Jubilee line Route; Pic 1 : Here you can see a really basic look at the line from Stanmore to Stratford. The line is linear enough to allow for 1-2 hours operation from end to end, or accommodate shorter terminations at Wembley Park. This is also an incredibly fast paced route too Pic 2 : As shown, normal operations include a mix of ai traffic (green) and real drivers (red). Players can automatically assume control of a train, or alternatively leave at any given moment. Should any serious ai conflictions occur, the train can be taken out of service (removed) from the map for a period of time, and replaced by the server at the starting point of its next schedule The routes you get to play are determined by how much experience you have as a driver (see blue trains in picture 2) . So special shunts in the depot area are limited to players with a high enough XP. Pic 3 : Griefers (purple) should add to the experience of train schedules. If a train remains stationary beyond its allocated time (lets assume 2 minutes) … then a supervisor is called to check on the train. If for some reason, the train is determined to be a griefer, the driver is promptly removed, the train goes back into ‘ai-mode’ and a multiplier is added to the schedule to account for the delay. Part 4 : Your Thoughts So that is my opinion on what multiplayer should be like. You’ll have to excuse me for the essay, but I really think Dovetail have a chance to nail this idea. Please be civil about your opinions and respect everyone, including the developers ;D. Cheers!