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Train Simulation... What Made You Do It?

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by Trooper117, Jun 21, 2020.

  1. Trooper117

    Trooper117 Active Member

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    Understandably there is quite a bit of 'doom and gloom' about at the moment... I thought I might just change tack a bit and talk about how I came to be here so to speak.
    I've long been into what gaming genres call 'simming'. In particular flight sims and racing sims.
    I love skill based stuff in gaming, but if you would have told me a year ago that I would get into 'Train Sims' I would have laughed in your face.
    As a young lad back in the early 60's, yes, I and some other scallywags would wait on the bridge for the trains from the steel works to come past and revel in the loud engines from the diesels and the steam from the locos enveloping us as they chuffed away under the bridge... exciting stuff for young minds!
    I have looked at sales in the past at train enthusiasts games and thought ''no, they can't be fun or interesting, not much to do in those surely''...
    Eventually, I started looking at peoples videos on you tube and thought about my childhood and how I had been excited by the trains and eventually took the plunge and bought TS in the sale.
    And so, here I am... now a definite fan with another great interest to expand my mind... who would have thought it?
    What about some of you. Where did you start?
     
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  2. longo239

    longo239 Well-Known Member

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    Always gone in for simulator and sports management type games.

    Spent many hours on the original Sim City, Railroad Tycoon, A-Train and Locomotion (which i still have a copy of and runs on Windows 10).

    I came across TSW as a Steam recommendation one day and thought I'd give it a go. Put in a few hundred hours buying many DLC's.

    Then I saw TS was being offered on sale, I thought there was nothing to lose for the price. Eventually found myself spending more and more time on TS to a point that I can't remember the last time I started up TSW.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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  3. JJTimothy

    JJTimothy Well-Known Member

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    In days of yore I had a "train simulator" on my Amstrad CPC briefly but got my money back- it was an unashamed Spectrum port and even worse than that makes it sound. Later I fought shy of train sim's since I feared that, given a combination of trains and computers, I might never get anything useful done again. Then I went to Locomotion- the railway museum in Shildon...

    This was 2015. Dovetail were launching The Weardale and Teesdale Network in the '60s and Derek Siddle of Dovetail, who comes from this area and for whom the route was very much a labour of love, had brought some PCs running TS with the W&T to show off and let people try. Of course I had a go driving the Class 101 up Weardale from Bishop which was thrillingly reminiscent of driving one IRL on the Wensleydale Railway a few years before. Then came the coup-de-grace- he was giving away copies of TS2016 with the W&T. He was actually giving away samples! I didn't have a chance.

    At first I was quite disciplined- I didn't buy any new DLC for a year or so but then I got a £10 Steam card with some birthday money and it started. The laptop I was using was just about adequate but that second hand machine has a GPU and isn't that expensive and I can justify getting a newer system anyway... Now I've got a Ryzen powered behemoth and twenty-odd routes (and TSW more fool me but let's not) and no- I haven't done anything useful for ages.

    Watch out for that Derek Siddle- he's an enabler. I'm very grateful to him.
     
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  4. railway12

    railway12 Active Member

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    My journey to TSW
    Hundreds of CD games, mostly about animals
    Locomotion, doing most transport with trains, also modding stuff
    TransportGigant, again mostly with trains
    FSX, also restructured models
    Ship Simulator (astragon)
    Transport Fever, once again train based transport
    Mhhhhh trains? Yes.
    *TSW*

    Like all sorts of transportation only trains were missing so I searched for a train sim. And that's why I've got TSW. I like playing strategic that's why i like economy simulators. So to sum it up first i was in the head of the company managing the whole system and later I became a typicall worker.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
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  5. rwaday

    rwaday Active Member

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    Same here. Every so often I fire up Heavy Haul and remember why I switch back to TS.
     
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  6. Plastic Pal

    Plastic Pal Well-Known Member

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    Interesting...! Okay - so I have believed for a very long time that there are very many people like you out there that could become interested in TSW and TS1 (and stay interested)......... from a wide variety of backgrounds... if given the chance....

    The "niche" does not have to be as "niche" as everyone keeps saying. The market for TSW/TS1 is far wider than the (Venn) "intersection" (a niche within a niche within a niche....) of:

    - people that are almost exclusivey interested in trains;
    - people that have immense amounts of railway industry expertise;
    - people that have PCs;
    - people that have a high level of competence with using PCs;
    - people that have an extra-ordinary amount of patience;
    - people that have vast amounts of spare cash (or disposable income);
    - etc......

    The "market" actually..... is a (Venn) Union of:

    - all people interested in trains;
    - other people interested in simulators (including car/truck/plane);
    - other people interested in other forms of transport;
    - other people interested in technology;
    - other people interested in games;
    - other people with no deeply seated specified interest in anything at all, as yet - ie. children....;
    - etc.

    And I say this because.... I think that TS1 and TSW (especially) would attract and retain considerably more customers if TSW included:

    - decent manuals and documentation (no manual with the Class 20....!);
    - in-game manuals, annotated maps and background information (especially on console);
    - good working tutorials (by the way, the Class 20 tutorials are quite good);
    - any form of guided progress/difficulty system, including tips on how to get deeper into the simulation on offer;
    - sensibly designed and flexible control schemes (support for keyboard, and adjustable controls);
    - etc.

    Thank you for making this thread. I hope someone is listening.....
     
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  7. PlatChap

    PlatChap Well-Known Member

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    Simply enough, I love trains. When I was a kid my Dad would take me with him to his model railroad club and I believe that is where my interest in trains started. Model railroading isn't really a viable option for me as I don't have the space nor the money. A career in US railroading is also not in the cards in the current climate so simulated trains are where it's at for me.
     
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  8. jazznsf

    jazznsf Member

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    I may be a "newbie" to TSW, but I've enjoyed "sims" for a long, long time. RTS titles too for that matter, but never FPS titles: they're too stressful! The first ever "played" was SimCity, back in 1989, that ran on my old Mac Plus. When I upgraded to an SE30 I purchased SimEarth, which was very cool. Both games, even by the standards of thirty years ago, were very slow. The first RTS game I ever played was Red Alert from the Command & Conquer universe, that I ran on the "PC side" of my PowerMac 6100. (I think I have every tittle ever published in that canon.) By the time SimCity 2000 was released I had switched to an AMD powered PC. And, got into building my own machines, optimized for gaming. Because of the switch away from Macs, MS Flight Simulator - with many third-party additions - dominated the first decade of this century for me. I cannot honestly say how many dollars I've spent on software, let alone the money used to build capable computers to run complex simulation software. But I have had countless hours of enjoyment from that, and even had a very realistic model of my local airport rendered in FSX. I am a pilot IRL, so I can say from firsthand experience that landing a Cirrus SR22 in FSX at my local airport is as close as it gets to the real deal. Also during that time I purchased "Trainz" written by an Australian publisher called Auran. It never captured much of my attention, nor did MS Train Simulator. I stuck with flying planes back then.

    I eagerly looked forward to the "new" SimCity being released back in 2013, so much so that I built a machine just to run that title. Needless to say, that release was a disaster; the game itself was (is) a joke, and I quit gaming because of it. EA ruined SimCity, and they wrecked the C&C Universe as well... I was done.

    I built a new machine this Spring so I could easily and efficiently work from home during the Stay at Home order. I figured I'd build it pretty high spec, in anticipation of the release of the new MS Flight Sim. With the GPU purchase I received a three-month Game Pass. TSW 2020 was one of the "free" choices, and it looked intriguing. So I downloaded the title and started poking around with it. Turns out it's really lots of fun, and it takes up much less space than my HO gauge model railroad! I liked it so much that I ended up ditching the free version on XBox Beta and switched to the Steam platform to have access to the CSX route and some switching action. I've also added the Peninsula Corridor (since I live in California and ride CalTrain) and the East Coastway DLC packages. It's all been very good.

    It could be excellent with just a bit of work. And the bits listed below wouldn't even require much - if any - coding:
    I'm very curious now about the TS models and simulation(s) that are mentioned quite a bit. What's the difference between TS and TSW, and why have two (now three) platforms?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2020
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  9. JJTimothy

    JJTimothy Well-Known Member

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    Train Simulator goes back years and before that it was called RailWorks (still is under the bonnet). I don't know the full history but it was inherited or bought by Dovetail so they didn't develop the game engine it's based on which is proprietary and already a bit long in the tooth. There's so much content for TS it's worth keeping going but pretty much impossible to make major updates to without breaking compatibility with that content. The exception to this was the release of the 64 bit version which was completely unexpected. Therein lies the reason to start afresh using an up to date game engine as the basis for a new train simulator which would continue to develop, improve and be added to for years to come... No- let's not.
     
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  10. Plastic Pal

    Plastic Pal Well-Known Member

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    I thought I should give you an actual answer as well, and a relatively short one:

    - I had briefly dabbled with MSTS and Trainz, etc. over the decades but none of those caught my attention for very long (in fact, I probably did more hours on Southern Belle on ZX Spectrum when I was younger....), plus I was quite busy doing real things with real trains all over Europe, so I had no free time..... ;-)
    - I did notice the TS1 South London Network around 2015 and I was tempted, but I didn't like the idea of Steam, and the reviews were bad (people squabbling over how a powerful Deep Blue-esque PC was needed)
    - Then TSW came to PlayStation, and I was wowed by some of the screenshots of the 3D models.... so I bought a copy of TSW in late 2018......
    - I then happened to buy a powerful PC in 2020 for other simulations and put TS1 on the SSD as well (the power wasn't needed at all, it turns out.....), and I am now completely wrapped in South London Network... ;-)
    - The bulk of my train sim funds go to TS1, and there's another Steam sale coming up this week.....

    An even shorter answer would be one word: PlayStation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
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  11. Tay95

    Tay95 Well-Known Member

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    I used to play TS games on a PC years ago, think the last one I had played was TS Railroad back in 2008 or something similar.
    Between then and 2018 I had not played anything train related.

    I got back into simulators as I was so thrilled about having a simulator on PS4 and pre-ordered TSW. Being able to ride on the GWR route using the class BR166 was what made me pre-order and get back into these sort of games.
     
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  12. Trooper117

    Trooper117 Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing you lot! :D
     
  13. Easilyconfused

    Easilyconfused Member

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    I got here via a long and winding railway. Way back in 2002 my wife bought me MSTS as Christmas present since I had been pondering building a model railway and she thought it would be cheaper to have it on the PC. It took me about a week to find UKTrainSim for some extra things to download. By 2005 I was helping UKTS exhibit MSTS at some model railway shows as well as doing my own activities.

    When Railworks came out I did try it out but preferred at that stage to continue with MSTS and moderating the UKTS forums. Over the years I attended dozens of shows with UKTS at my own expense (same as the rest of the crew). Looking back at the show reports I see one year I ended up in hotels for 27 nights and drove about 5000 miles to do that. Not a cheap hobby by any stretch of the imagination when you do 9 weekends away.

    When TSW launched I was in from the beginning and got more engaged with that and a subsequent PC failure and a new custom built PC finished off MSTS for me.

    UKTS stopped doing the exhibitions officially but 2 volunteer teams based in the North of England and Bristol kept attending smaller shows offering a slightly different style of stand where the public were positively encouraged to drive. We have a mixture of PCs and PS4s and it generally goes down well with the youngsters to sit and drive on the PS4 or PC (using the xbox controllers we use). Clearly those shows are all cancelled this year but we have bookings for 2021.

    Along the way encouraged by Matt Peddlesden and his Dad I started to build my own DCC N Gauge layout so the initial theory from my wife didn't quite work out especially when I shelled out £430 for the DCC sound Pendolino. My layout was used as the DCC demonstrator at a number of UKTS exhibitions.

    Outside of TSW I also enjoy titles like City Skylines, Wreckfest and both American and Euro truck simulator. I played a whole lot of Civilisation V but haven't really wrapped my head around Civ VI. Wreckfest is a current favourite and most Friday nights I let off steam with Matt and a bunch of other people from his twitch channel on Wreckfest smashing each other to pieces.

    Outside of the current lockdown I visit the Onehouse Model Railway built by Matt's Dad, 3 times a year and help with the running weekends. That is on hold this year but we had 2 remote sessions at Easter and Whitsun. We are doing a stream the last Saturday of each month during the lockdown period so another one this weekend.
     
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  14. Thelonius16

    Thelonius16 Active Member

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    When playing Sim City and GTA San Andreas, I realized I enjoyed the trains more than anything else. So I got MSTS and, later, Trainz. I don’t really remember when I first got TS, but i didn’t play it much. Around the time TSW Came out I upgraded my PC and realized I could run this new game. Walking around in first person and service mode are major features that really take the whole experience to the next level.
     
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  15. jazznsf

    jazznsf Member

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    In SimCity all my cities had rail layouts, and stations every few blocks. Probably helps explain why I enjoy the "All Stops" services best in TSW.
     
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  16. Trooper117

    Trooper117 Active Member

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    I bought TS on a whim really but found I was enjoying it, but what I didn't know at that time was that TSW was out as well.
    Once I discovered TSW however I rarely go back to TS... I was hoping the steam side of enjoying railway sims would get taken up by TSW, but we know now that that looks unlikely for the 'technical reasons' for quite some time to come... If we were told it would come in TSW2 that would pretty much change my outlook for sure :)
     
  17. SaddingtonPlush

    SaddingtonPlush Member

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    What made me do it? No one in their right mind is going to let me into the cab of any diesel-electric. Model trains are one thing, but these sims are as close as many of us will get to living out our fantasies.

    I've always enjoyed Sims, starting with flight simulators. I also do Truck Sims (ETS and ATS) and Farm Simulator.
    Friends ask me - what's the point? You just sit there driving a truck/tractor/train? Don't you blow anything up or kill anyone?

    And for me that's the whole point. It's my happy place, no aggro or stress. But we need to know operating procedures and rules, there's a system to master, skills to improve, problem solving, multi-tasking, along with scenery to enjoy. And wow the locos look so good in TSW.

    My previous train sim was Trainz, I'm not sure if it's still a thing - but every so often I would do a search for "Train Simulator" on Steam in the hope that something a bit more modern would have arrived. I don't know how I missed TSW all this time, but when I recently saw a youtube demonstrating the CN content, I was sold immediately. No, TSW is not perfect. No sim is, but this is good enough to enjoy, especially at the special price which made it quite affordable.

    Really interesting thoughts in a lot of these posts. The idea of a Niche vs Market, the Union of different interests ... pretty much sums us up. On a Farming Simulator forum, someone asked the question - "why are there so many Germans here?" and the Germans replied: the game involves mastering time and motion efficiency. Efficiency - why would we not love it?" In the case of Train Sims - "it simulates Trains. Trains - why would we not love it?" ;)
     
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  18. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    Desperation.
     
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  19. theorganist

    theorganist Well-Known Member

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    Just a love of trains really and the ability to turn back the clock especially to those days of the "idyllic" rural branch line.

    My first "simulator" was a very basic one where you were basically driving a Railscene cab ride video from a mock cab. Of course you were restricted to only driving in one direction and only on the route the train took in the video.

    I then bought an early version of Trainz and had a bit of fun making some small routes, then discovered MSTS which seemed more realistic and I loved the amount of payware routes and of course the freeware CD's which were available and easy to install from UKTS. Some, you would get nearly 100 activities and the routes or networks with well over 100 miles of tracks. Then it was a natural progression to Railsimulator, through Railworks and then TS1. Then onto TSW which I thought would totally replace TS1 as far as I was concerned and I uninstalled TS1 briefly. A few months later I am spending more time than ever on TS1 and rarely touching TSW.

    It will be interesting to see where we are in ten years time, TSW will have had to come up with some steam, BR blue period and a wide variety of routes and stock from the 1950's to the 20 somethings, also with some way of creating immersive and realistic scenarios (something I have changed my position on) for it to replace TS1.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  20. Juxen

    Juxen Well-Known Member

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    Born in the early 1990's, played a bit of A-Train, played a lot of Railroad Tycoon 2. My first actual sim was Microsoft Train Simulator. Stuck with that until Rail Simulator came along, then stuck with that until TSW. Played a bit of TSW, but then discovered Run8. I used to be a freight conductor in the United States, and Run8 felt more realistic than anything else on the market. Plus, as it's more of a railroad simulator than just a train sim, it felt more alive. The graphics aren't great, but I enjoy the operations to the point that I don't really care.

    Bought Derail Valley when it first launched, and have loved it since. Now I cycle between Run8, TS1 (for steam locos), Open Rails (for more content than any other sim), and Derail Valley. I also tried playing Trainz (2006, 2010, 2012, TANE), but they're too much of a model railroad for my tastes. And then bought Rolling Line for the times when I actually feel like playing on a model railroad. I've honestly been following DV's updates more than anyone else's, as they actually update regularly, have a road map of planned expansions, and have an extremely good customer-company relationship.
     
  21. jazznsf

    jazznsf Member

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    Had completely forgotten about A-Train. Used to play with that too. That was back when I still had an original Mac (well... an SE30) with a color screen over to the side. Two monitors! Fancy! :)
     
  22. Cael

    Cael Well-Known Member

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    I dreamt of becoming a real train driver when I was a little kid. When I got my first computer, father bought me Microsoft Train Simulator and that took my breast away at the time. I loved playing the game, even though I didn't understand English at that time. I still remember the Murder on the Orient Express scenario, where a message told me "There has been a murder!" and I was thinking I did something wrong.:)

    And then I turned 15 and my dreams were forever shattered by the evil doctors prescribing eyeglasses to me. At the time, you had to have perfect eyesight, so I was out. The requirements are a bit looser now, but I still can't reach them.

    Fortunately, MSTS came to the rescue, and I got two MAJOR Czech routes, each of them a network of 1000+ kilometers of rails, one of them even had my home! It was a wrong model of course, but it still counts.

    But MSTS looks very outdated right now and ever since I installed it on Windows 10, it runs like a PowerPoint presentation for some reason, even in the menu.

    So I started looking for an alternative and TSW looked like a very promising platform, having just released the West Somerset Railway. Shame that turned into an expensive tech demo instead of a proper simulator, but I still enjoyed most of the 500+ hours I spent with it.
     
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