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Why Are We Left In The Dark?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The7Train, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    What I’d like to see and do if made possible is to be able to edit an existing DTG route. I know this will be technically challenging given the restrictions but the idea of being able to improve and update an existing route exists me, and I know a lot of other people would like this too as it opens up a lot of opportunities.

    Even if we can’t technically extend or change anything track wise, being able to add, replace/move (or remove) assets to the route would be better than nothing.

    It’d be a shame if this wasn’t possible, as I’m no route builder, nor have any intentions of building a route from scratch, but what I do like doing is making existing route look more better and detailed.
     
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  2. Alex01

    Alex01 Active Member

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    we are not left in the dark :cool:
     
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  3. Alex01

    Alex01 Active Member

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    and if we was DTG would not talk to use
     
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  4. Rudolf

    Rudolf Active Member

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    There is a huge difference between creating a software pack that is used by a few users, more or less sitting in the same room as the authors and a pack that is distributed for say 20k users all over the world in an environment you cannot control fully. It takes more time, requires a much higher reliability and must be more robust for variety in environment, base computer knowledge etcetera. It is coming. W have seen a fantastic demo for the scenario editor already. Just be patient, though that is difficult.
     
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  5. Digital Draftsman

    Digital Draftsman Well-Known Member

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    It's clear at this stage that either DTG have deliberately witheld the Editor as part of a new business model or something has gone very badly wrong behind the scenes. The Editor is just a variation on the UE4 tools, so it's not like they were developed from scratch, and DTG have had about 2-3 years pre-release and 2 years post-release to develop them. They missed the original 2017 release target as well the 2018 release target.

    The absolute best case scenario for a release version of the Editor is about 5 months from now. We have been told the tools are currently in a closed beta and the scope of the testing will likely be quite broad, so I would expect the testing, analysis and implementation of changes to take at least 3 months. After that there will be an open beta which I would imagine running for at least four to six weeks. Once the open beta ends there will be another period of at least a month where DTG implement any changes required to produce the release version.

    I do think DTG should have made an open appeal for third parties to be involved in the closed beta. The companies and/or individuals which DTG have chosen to be involved in the closed beta now have a competative advantage over those not chosen. DTG already has a monopoly in Train Simulation, a classic symptoms of which is customers paying higher prices for a lower quality product; Things will only get worse if DTG have decided to give certain third parties an advantage over others. In fact, what's to stop DTG from selectively releasing the tools to a chosen few third parties (under terms most favorable to DTG) and to withold them from the rest? Hence my my mention of a new business model at the start of this post.
     
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  6. NorthRail1

    NorthRail1 Well-Known Member

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    There is no evidence that DTG has withheld the editor. DTG knows that users want the editor quickly and wouldn't intentionally delay it as that would have a bad response from the community as your post proves. Only giving the tools to selected third parties would also have a very negative response from the community so DTG wouldn't do that as it would only have repercussions for them.
     
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  7. Medellinexpat

    Medellinexpat Well-Known Member

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    Digital Draftsman I'm think your explanation of the process is probably correct, although I think that they'll launch the beta soon. There's a lot of pressure on them to do that. They of course can continue more in depth testing in parallel while the Beta is in progress. The length of the Beta is interesting to speculate. You of course have to give people time to come up the learning curve to effectively test the editor so that will be an interesting decision for them. What DTG will have to do is dedicate resources to handling the feedback from the Beta, Where those resources come from (the development team?) might have some consequences as well for release of other DLC.

    NorthRail1 I'm not aware of who the third parties are that are participating in the testing. Is anyone outside of DTG? Generally someone like DTG would choose who was going to participate (they would be 'selected') probably based on prior relationships and also presumably commitments that might have been made about 3rd Parties working on content in the future. As DTG probably already use 3rd parties to help produce their own content they may have also included them in the testing. It's not even impossible that the third party reference could be something of a red herring - the third parties that DTG may have included in the trial might be part of the DTG test effort. That's not unknown in the software world. We may never know who is and isn't participating. Difficult to have a negative response in that situation.

    DTG have been very quiet about any third party involvement. An argument has been given that the cloak of secrecy is explained by NDAs. That doesn't make sense to me - at this point third parties saying that they were going to be working on TSW content I would see as a positive.

    One thing I'm a little hazy on is why the third parties need the editor. If they're working in collaboration with DTG, presumably under some sort of agreement, why can't they be using the same tools as DTG are? After all those 3rd parties are professional software developers. If they need licenses they would acquire them in the normal course of business. Hopefully someone like Digital Draftsman to explain to me why that is the case.
     
  8. The7Train

    The7Train Member

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    That's insane. We were told "by the end of 2018". What has gone so wrong that forces them to push the release date back by 6 MONTHS!?!
     
  9. Medellinexpat

    Medellinexpat Well-Known Member

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    The7Train that date is speculation or (an educated) estimate as to when the FiNAL editor will be available.

    The last - at least documented - commitment that I've seen was in the Studio Update of December 4th

    'Last time I discussed the Editor I indicated that our hope was to be able to release it this side of Christmas. Unfortunately, getting the Editor in to the right state for the public open beta is proving challenging, so while we are still aiming to get it to our internal beta group and to the third-party developers we’re working with this side of Christmas, the public open beta will now be in the New Year.'

    At the time I commented that 'the New Year' was a little vague (it could mean anything from early January to sometime in 2019!) but I think that intent was that the beta would be available sometime after 'Xmas. The prior update had hoped to have it by the end of December (Studio Update September 27th).

    So what we know is that the beta should be released sometime soon. How long the timeline is to the release of the final editor will depend on how the Beta goes and so at this point it's complete conjecture. Whether the community sees the release of the Beta as DTG meeting the commitment of providing an editor is again a question. My guess is that if it's a pretty good effort people will see the Beta positively. If it's a mess - likely a lot of questions will again be asked.
     
  10. Digital Draftsman

    Digital Draftsman Well-Known Member

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    The Editor that DTG uses is the same as the Editor they plan to release, there's very little, if any, difference between the two. It's one of the reasons that I'm very dubious about the lack of an Editor. The Editor shown by Matt P in the live stream is the standard UE4 Editor with some proprietary plugins DTG have created. Aside from an issue with licensing from Epic, I can't see why it would take so long to make the Editor available to all. If the hold up has been an issue with licensing from Epic, that indicates very poor management of the project from the beginning, as one would expect the licensing to be agreed upon at the start of the project and the Editor developed within any limitations spec'd by Epic.

    As for the beta testing, if I was DTG I'd have created an open invitation to all third party developers to participate in the closed beta. Any third parties could submit examples of previous TS DLCs or other simulation software they'd worked on as credentials, then subject to signing an NDA they could participate in the closed beta. That way no developers gain an unfair advantage over the rest and DTG receives the greatest amount of quality feedback from those who will make the most use of the editor.
     
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  11. Medellinexpat

    Medellinexpat Well-Known Member

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    Digital Draftsman I'd presumed that the changes they'd needed to make to the editor were to make sure that there wasn't any back door way into the proprietary content - that is that they could impose rules on what could be changed, modified, redistributed etc. Is that correct, and if so how much work might you need to do to the editor to enforce that? Or is it that the proprietary content can't be accessed anyway and therefore my point is moot?
     
  12. Delta_Who

    Delta_Who Member

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    Complained when Dovetail showed the editor... complains more when they don't release it. I'm a serial whinger myself, but don't some of you think that Dovetail should be left alone on this one. They clearly are trying to deliver the editor as promptly as possible, and there are clearly things in the back end that are clearly throttling the quality of the editor they want to release. It is in their mutual interest to release it to allow third-parties to expand their sim and expand their player base.

    So chill, and relax. It's coming
     
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  13. Medellinexpat

    Medellinexpat Well-Known Member

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    OK, I hadn't heard that 'there are issues in the back end' that are 'throttling the quality of the editor'. What's the source on that? Is that a common issue?
     
  14. LT586

    LT586 Active Member

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    One thing I am confused about is there seems to be a going backwards while a step forwards in performance. Why are there no station announcements on the train, why are there no platform screens on? With PCs today my old PC from 2002 specs wouldn't run games today but with Unreal, FPS taken in account but OMSI can do physics, and a whole lot even simulate many things but with TSW there just seems to be a lack of those minor but really possible features. If an old game engine can do these things why can't UE4?

    Even TS2019 could do it, OMSI is extreme in what it can do just the GFX engine is poor
     
  15. darkage

    darkage Member

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    From what I've been told, the reason we can't edit existing DTG routes, is due to UE4 limitations, when you export the content, in UE4 called baked content, you can't do any changes to that content, unless you have the source material, assets and code, that the devs used to make the final baked content.

    Also they explained that the reason they're doing an editor for 3rd paties is because they're trying to do it in a way that does not require to give away the game's source code but still give you all the tools needed to make your own railway's stuff.

    The last thing that I can remember now is that when the editor is ready for release, they need Epic's approval of the changes they made, even as a mod for the original UE4, and it can only be released to the public after that approval.

    edit: also from what I've been told, UE4 was made for games that have nothing to do with trains and DTG had to make a lot of changes tot he mod version for it to handle trains' stuff better

    Are you seriously comapring OMSI (an outdated sim that everyone, by now, wishes there was an updated OMSI 2 version) to TSW?

    OMEGALUL (check the twitch.tv emotes if you don't know what this emote is lol)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  16. Delta_Who

    Delta_Who Member

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    No Source, just common sense. I speak as someone on a development team myself (not for train simulators though ;P). If something isn't released, that means something is not meeting the expected targets of the developer...whether that may be

    - Unexpected bugs
    - Lack of Content (which would be a reason why an editor was not launched with TSW)
    - Licensing issues (remember that multiple third-party tech is used in TSW, including Unreal itself and Speedtrees)
    - Functionality
    - Performance
    - Some feedback that may alter how Dovetail interpret the user experience of the editor

    My point being, Dovetail are not obliged to discuss what goes on in the backend, just to deliver the best working editor that they can. Once they commit, it's much harder to turn back.
     
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  17. darkage

    darkage Member

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    Sorry for the second post, forgot to include something in the other one one

    Do you even know what a NDA is? It means Non Disclosure Agreement, it's a contract you sign, that says that by law, it is mandatory that you only disclose the information that the company you have an agrrement with let's you disclose, and when they let you. And it isn't to prevent you from saying bad things, it's to prevent you from sharing anything with other people that and the company doesn't want you to share and when they don't want you to share, like you saying something about what's going on or sharing some product you're currently working on. If at any time you breach the NDA agreement, the company can legally act against you if they want
     
  18. darkage

    darkage Member

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    This one doesn't make sense in your context, it is actually a reason why they'd want to release the editor asap, precisely to increase the amount of content available for TSW, by also having thrid parties producing new content.

    This has actually been the main reason DTG, mostly Matt, have given to why there in no MP yet, due to the still reduced amount of content, and they'll be implemente MP when they think there is enough content that the MP mode is justifiable
     
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  19. Delta_Who

    Delta_Who Member

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    Content as in assets darkage. It depends on the use-case.
    If you're an established third-party developer who's been making train-sim addons for 7 years.... sure.... you probabaly don't see that as an excuse. If you're a casual player who wants to create a route, you'll probably want a library of default assets and a base to try and limit the amount of development you undertake.
     
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  20. Medellinexpat

    Medellinexpat Well-Known Member

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    darkage thank's for that information on what an NDA is. I always wondered what they were when I used to negotiate them (over many years) with clients or third party developers (you'd know some of them) as part of contracts when I was a Project Manager for a well known Fintech firm.

    Funnily enough the NDAs didn't stop us saying stuff that commercially was harmless or even positive. For example when we signed a NDA it didn't stop us saying that we had a new client (there's one exception I can think of for a particularly secretive client) and the third party developers wanted the world to know that they were involved in the effort as it was good publicity.

    Let's say Just Trains have plans to work with DTG on TSW as they do with TS1. Having third parties involved is neither a negative for DTG or JT. They might want to have an NDA in place so that neither party divulges what specific things they are working on (e,g the agreed routes or locos).. Equally neither party will likely be able to divulge any financial arrangements.

    So, this idea that NDAs are putting a cloud of secrecy over the development of the TSW editor that means that DTG can't say anything meaningful is at best fanciful. Note also as DTG own TSW rights they're in the driving seat. Any agreements are going to be weighted towards the other party needing to be silent on things (e.g. DTGs payment structures) rather than enforcing silence on DTG.
     
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  21. darkage

    darkage Member

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    You're generalising and fogetting that each company decides what terms their NDAs will have, so, tell me all you want about the experience you have, doesn't mean youy're totally right on the subject and be sarcastic when someone is explaining to you that the way the world works is not restricted to the way you experienced it
     
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  22. darkage

    darkage Member

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    Then next time, just be more specific :P
     
  23. Digital Draftsman

    Digital Draftsman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, UE4 is very unfriendly to modding and Epic have some very strict restrictions covering redistribution of the UE4 editor. Basically each change you make to the game results in the whole game needing to be re-exported and 'cooked'. So by default, if you wish to add a wagon to the TSW, you'd need to re-export the whole game, which unless you're DTG you can't do as you don't have access to the 'uncooked' files. So as things stand DTG would have to release the source version of TSW to allow any mods.

    There's two options for mod support with UE4. Either you create your own in game tools and file types, much like TS2019 has for assets, route and scenario editing, or you change the UE4 Editor and hope that you can get Epic to agree to distribute it through the Epic Launcher. DTG have opted for the later.

    It's worth noting DTG have made no official statement indicating they have all the agreements in place to distribute through Epic. It's not just the final release version of the Editor Epic must approve, they will also have to approve the open beta as well, so we can factor that into our timescale and safely say we're months away from an official release of the Editor.

    Modding is so critical for TSW it's quite suprising they chose UE4 as the engine to base it on. UE4 is probably regarded as the least modding friendly game engine out there.
     
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  24. Medellinexpat

    Medellinexpat Well-Known Member

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    darkage frankly NDAs (and I've got experience on contractual terms for another industry) don't tend to be that complicated documents and I really doubt that the ones used in gaming software are that substantially different in intent. As to being sarcastic perhaps your original post, suggesting that I needed a Wikipedia explanation on NDAs might be considered a little patronizing?

    It is true that the world is not restricted to the way that I experienced it - but then again my experience is contemporary in the software industry. Perhaps you could explain based on your experience with NDAs and where you think the sticking point is for DTG?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  25. LT586

    LT586 Active Member

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    You seem like a very sensitive soul so I won't debate with you here as it'll get twisted. I've been with that sim since its release and yes hope like many it would progress and evolve but as of yet. TSW is the only supreme, im comparing the aesthetics if you read what I said. TSW is great, I love it. It's what I personally am glad to see.

    But someone else can debate with you darkage. A little light hearted discussions are always better
     
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  26. SamYeager270

    SamYeager270 Well-Known Member

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    From what I can gather from the studio articles and the editor stream I think the main sticking point for a long while was how to allow users to edit TSW without needing all the source. DTG seem to have (mostly?) got round this by eventually working out how to modify TSW/UE4 to allow cooked assets to be referenced, with limited customisation, in fresh projects. They now seem to be in the phase where they are trying to verify if all cooked content can be referenced by users as well as trying to make the editor more user friendly especially for scenario makers. Route makers will almost certainly have a steeper learning curve.
     
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  27. Digital Draftsman

    Digital Draftsman Well-Known Member

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    I still don't think those changes would need years of development. All those changes do ultimately need to be approved by Epic as the TSW version of the Editor will have to be distributed via the Epic Launcher, which seems a more likely development sticking point to me. Epic could insist that DTG leave the Steam Store and come to the Epic Store or they could just flat out refuse to distribute via the Epic Launcher. This seems to be quite a big issue but DTG have yet to address it publicly and tell us what the state of play is.

    Epic have to approve the open beta version of the Editor too, so surely, if DTG are at the stage to run an open beta, they must have an agreement in place with Epic to distribute the editor via the Epic Launcher, so why haven't they annouced that they have come to an agreement with Epic? Perhaps they haven't come to an agreement.

    Let's say Epic decide they won't distribute the Editor via the Epic Launcher, would DTG tell us this? Or would they play along like everything was going great like they did with Flight Sim World? I just don't trust DTG after the Flight Sim World debacle.
     
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  28. LT586

    LT586 Active Member

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    This is the thing, UE4 is less man hours but an editor just seems to be all over the shop, sorry if i sound old fashioned but if Astragon can do it, why cant DTG?
     
  29. Lombra

    Lombra Member

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    Why would Epic refuse to distribute their editor? That's nonsense. DTG is already paying for the engine. And why would DTG talk about their business agreements?

    The more simple and reasonable explanation for the lack of an editor is they have prioritised getting their own routes out first.
     
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  30. Digital Draftsman

    Digital Draftsman Well-Known Member

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    UE4 is free, the only payment is in the form of royalties and the standard agreement doesn't include any promises that Epic will distribute a modified UE4 Editor. The only way DTG can distribute the modified Editor is via Epic Games themselves and like any publisher, they must approve of what's being published and will only do so under terms they specify.

    DTG should talk about their business agreements in regards to the TSW Editor because at the moment no one has any idea if/when the Editor is coming and because of that the growth of TSW is stunted. If DTG were to announce that they have received approval from Epic for the distribution of the Editor we would at least know that there was a version of the Editor which will be made publically available. As things stand we have no idea if Epic will approve distribution of the modified Editor, which puts people off buying new DLC, as the content is locked, limiting the replayability and value for money.
     
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  31. Nick_Brad

    Nick_Brad Member

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    This is so complicated, from the suggestions being put forth here, every change has to be approved by Epic, so it stands to reason that they cannot/would not announce a deal has been done whilst it's in closed beta as any issues that are flagged fixed, then need to be approved again. If Epic decide for some reason that they don't like the changes and don't approve them, then the agreement that was announced by DTG, (if they had done so,) would not longer be true and so the editor couldn't be released for open beta.

    Of course, this is all conjecture at this stage and only DTG and Epic know how they are dealing with it, but from comments above, licencing seems to be a bigger issue than functionality of the editor itself.
     
  32. Fabrizio520

    Fabrizio520 Active Member

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    Nowadays all over the world, there are people who can make hard eggs with a PC.
    So DTG / Epic wake up or someone will create ( crack) an editor anyway. For DTG and, in general, producers of video games, this is well known.:cool:
     
  33. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    Got to say it really has been a quiet start to the New Year. Even on Discord where it is normally very active has been eerily quiet. Let’s hope next week (tomorrow) will see some form of some sort of communication.
     
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  34. nne4229

    nne4229 Well-Known Member

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    lol
     

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