Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

A brand new simulator announced from Microsoft based on the Flight Sim X engine. Note: Microsoft closed the ACES Studio on 23rd January 2009 thus terminating this product along with other Simulation products -Flight Sim and ESP.

Moderator: Moderators

anand99
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:22 pm

Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by anand99 »

Lets put this question to rest. We keep hearing about railway simulators but the only thing we get in the end is a rail driving simulator. Its impossible to simulat an entire network of AI driven trains in MSTS and Kuju Rail Simulator as it stands right now. Can the MSTS2 development team answer the following questions for me and others.

1. Will it be possible to simulate a railway network with multiple AI driven trains none of which you have to drive yourself.
2. Will it be possible to footplate/ride along with these trains without having to take control of them?
3. Will it be possible to setup timetables for the AI trains and setup destinations and give platform options at the destinations without being rigid?
4. Will the AI driven trains resolve signalling disputes correctly without human intervention?
User avatar
ajax103
Very Active Forum Member
Posts: 2445
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:41 pm
Location: Peterborough & Hertford North
Contact:

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by ajax103 »

Interesting questions...only time will tell though :D
User avatar
jbilton
Very Active Forum Member
Posts: 19267
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2003 12:08 pm
Location: At home ..waiting to go to Work.
Contact:

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by jbilton »

Hi
They are interesting questions....... however I think you already can in MSTS.
(Train spotting activities?)
So I don't see why you won't be able to in MSTS2.
Or am I missing the point ?
Personally though I like to drive, and the AI traffic around is just for scenery really.
cheers
Jon
------------------------Supporting whats good in the British community------------------------
Image
75027
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:23 am
Contact:

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by 75027 »

My thoughts on this, based on what FSX can do with AI Aircraft, and assuming (perhaps totally incorrectly) that MSTS2 implements something similar, perhaps borrowing & modifying the FSX code:

1. Will it be possible to simulate a railway network with multiple AI driven trains none of which you have to drive yourself.
FSX allows the simulation of entire AI airlines (providing you have the right AI aircraft models, of course) including configuring (using the SDK) accurate schedules, departure and arrival airports, so I would guess "Yes" to this.

2. Will it be possible to footplate/ride along with these trains without having to take control of them?
FSX allows the user to switch from their aircraft to any AI aircraft within their vicinity & fly along with that aircraft, so again I would guess "yes" to this. Of course, your plane is still flying, so if not on autopilot, even though you still have control of your plane, it could end up crashing as you are no longer actively watching where your plane is going. In MSTS2, I would expect your train to continue down the track while you were on an AI train, so you'd better be sure that points & signals were all in your trains favor ahead of time, or you could find your loco ploughing off the end of a siding. Oops! :oops:

3. Will it be possible to setup timetables for the AI trains and setup destinations and give platform options at the destinations without being rigid?
As mentioned in 1. above, FSX allows accurate AI scheduling, inc. departure and arrival airports, and aircraft can be instructed to taxi to the right gate for that airline. So I would guess "Yes" to this, but its not a perfect system in FSX - there are some issues with getting aircraft to land on the right runways depending on wind direction, for example, so I'm not quite as confident of my "yes" answer here.

4. Will the AI driven trains resolve signalling disputes correctly without human intervention?
Hmm - not sure at all about this. FSX does allow ATC to control AI aircraft, but it's not perfect, and I doubt if this code would be of any use in MSTS2 anyway. So my guess for this one is "Don't know" :-?

Note that in FSX, running a lot of AI aircraft can take up considerable CPU resources. Having 50-60 AI aircraft at a major airport such as Los Angeles International can significantly reduce framerates. Maybe the MSTS2 team will alleviate this with improved multicore functionality, but i would speculate that you will still be limited in the number of AI objects active at any one time in MSTS2 by FPS considerations.

- regards, 75027
anand99
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:22 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by anand99 »

Any chance someone from the dev team can reply to this question?
stonelance
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:21 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by stonelance »

anand99 wrote:Lets put this question to rest. We keep hearing about railway simulators but the only thing we get in the end is a rail driving simulator. Its impossible to simulat an entire network of AI driven trains in MSTS and Kuju Rail Simulator as it stands right now. Can the MSTS2 development team answer the following questions for me and others.

1. Will it be possible to simulate a railway network with multiple AI driven trains none of which you have to drive yourself.
2. Will it be possible to footplate/ride along with these trains without having to take control of them?
3. Will it be possible to setup timetables for the AI trains and setup destinations and give platform options at the destinations without being rigid?
4. Will the AI driven trains resolve signalling disputes correctly without human intervention?
1. We will have a system of AI trains that will help to create a living world. The AI developer has a pretty cool prototype working in an external tool to test the routing algorithms, etc. He will be moving them to work in the game soon. The possibility of entering the world as just a spectator and viewing the world without you directly controlling a train has been discussed but whether it is implemented depends on many things.
2. We definately talked about this feature. I don't know what the status of it is.
3. I'm not sure what you mean by "without being rigid". There will be some control over this sort of thing in activities. How much, I'm not really sure of.
4. AI is almost never perfect, but the goal is always to act reasonable and believable. Since it is not actually implemented yet I can't say how good it reacts.

There are basically two AIs to think about. One that is the driver AI that controls an individual consist, and acts like another player driving a train through the world. The second one is the dispatcher AI which needs to handle all the routing, and timing of trains through control points.

*edit clarified #1
Last edited by stonelance on Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Steve Heijster
Graphics Programmer
Microsoft Game Studios
anand99
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:22 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by anand99 »

What I meant by rigid in #3 was you should be able to setup a timetable for an AI driven train to arrive at a particular station and be assigned to any available platform from a pre-defined list of platforms. So if other trains are occupying certain platforms in a station the AI train should be able to take one that is available.

Regarding #2 I have to say that I think this is a must have feature because having #1 without #2 would make it difficult to track what each AI train in your network is really doing and it will be impossible to switch between trains in your network. There is not much value to 1 without 2.

Note that in TRS2004 it was possible to switch between AI driven trains in your network without having to take over those trains. AI trains were not just eyecandy but actual trains no different than the human driven train then went about their business not dissapearing when they were out of sight etc. Is this going to be the case in MSTS2?
stonelance
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:21 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by stonelance »

Ok. I misread your #1 point originally, so sorry for the confusion. We will have a system of AI trains that will help to create a living world. I do not know if it would be possible to enter the world as just a spectator and view the world without you directly controlling a train. There are still many things that are being designed. I'm going to edit my first post so that it doesn't confuse anyone else, me especially :)
anand99
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:22 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by anand99 »

So in essence this is nothing more than what MSTS or Rail simulator offers in terms of functionality. It is a rail driving simulator not a railway network simulator. This is quite dissapointing. I was hoping someone would step up and offer an alternative to what TRS does with better graphics. Looks like I have to keep waiting.
User avatar
CaptainBazza
Has a sign reading.. Its NOT the end of the world!
Posts: 18852
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 10:21 am
Location: Land of the Long White Cloud.

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by CaptainBazza »

So in essence this is nothing more than what MSTS or Rail simulator offers in terms of functionality. It is a rail driving simulator not a railway network simulator. This is quite dissapointing.
I don't think they have ever claimed it was a railway network simulator. However, I reckon that functionality could be added in the future, perhaps by a third party commericial developer.....look at the plethora of fine add-ons for the FS products and if TS has the flexibility someone might think about it if there's a prospective market.

Let's get the basic railway/railroad functionality right, physics, etc, first.

Cheers Bazza

PS Except when I'm modeling, I have the attention span of a sparrow fart, so I really don't want to manage anything other than my train from A to B, providing there's not hours involved getting there. But, different strokes for different folks, even in train simming.
anand99
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:22 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by anand99 »

I think that works for you since you are only interesed in driving but not for others who are looking as I said to transition from TRS to something that provides all the same functionality but better graphics. Its unfortunate the MS continues to focus only on driving a single train rather than working on the entire aspect of a railway network simulation. AI trains must be more than just eyecandy that dissapear once you pass them. I don't see MSTS2 as an alternative to Trainz at this point if what has been mentioned in this thread is true. At least I am glad that they are not making claims of timetabled scenarios like Kuju did and are being honest about it upfront. I seriously doubt such a critical function can just be added into the game engine later. I would think it would have to be a fundamental part of the simulation from the start. But I am not a game developer.
anand99
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:22 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by anand99 »

I have to wonder are both these AI being implemented in MSTS2?
by stonelance There are basically two AIs to think about. One that is the driver AI that controls an individual consist, and acts like another player driving a train through the world. The second one is the dispatcher AI which needs to handle all the routing, and timing of trains through control points.
If so what would be the additional degree of difficulty in being able to ride along on an AI driven train? It seems like the majority of the hardwork would be in getting an AI driven train to behave correctly by following all the rules and the dispatching AI to function correctly. If those two are set isnt the matter of adding capability to ride along on an AI driven train marginal? Or is this because once the AI driven train is out of sight it no longer exists in the game?
stonelance
Been on the forums for a while
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:21 pm

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by stonelance »

I didn't say for sure that we weren't going to allow you to drive along with AI trains. I just don't know yet.

One other thing is that even if we do not ship with the "rail network" functionality, through the use of SimConnect I forsee similar concepts being added by 3rd parties. If you look at the FlightSim community they already added abilities to FS to allow people flying in multiple places around the world, and the ablity to take different roles inside of a virtual world of aviation (such as pilot, or atc) and communicate to each other though an integrated use of skype\ventrillo or something similar (Do a search for SquawkBox).
ratsarrse
Getting the hang of things now
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri May 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by ratsarrse »

stonelance wrote:I didn't say for sure that we weren't going to allow you to drive along with AI trains. I just don't know yet.

One other thing is that even if we do not ship with the "rail network" functionality, through the use of SimConnect I forsee similar concepts being added by 3rd parties. If you look at the FlightSim community they already added abilities to FS to allow people flying in multiple places around the world, and the ablity to take different roles inside of a virtual world of aviation (such as pilot, or atc) and communicate to each other though an integrated use of skype\ventrillo or something similar (Do a search for SquawkBox).
It may prove to be a development too far, and maybe something to consider for future versions or expansions, but an online element for train simming could be entertaining. You could have a given area with objectives waiting to be completed (freight at siding A needs to be moved to yard B; the 18:35 express from Cityville to Capital City needs to be driven; the 19:05 local passenger needs to be at Cityville station from the depot in time for departure; train 768 needs to be assembled ay yard B; etc)) and the people connecting get to pick which assignments they are given. People who don't want to drive trains can operate as signalmen/dispatchers controlling routing and signalling and making the whole thing work. AI dispatchers step in if there aren't enough/any human ones and AI drivers fill any vacant jobs not being picked up by human players. People don't necessarily have to interact, but some kind of teamwork will probably make everything work better. Also, it would be nice to actually be able to talk to the signalman when stopped at a red signal...

OK, a bit of a diversion - you could almost make a rail MMO - but there are some possibilities for online play.
User avatar
nicknackpaddywack
Established Forum Member
Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:24 pm
Location: Devon
Contact:

Re: Is this a driving simulator or railway simulator

Post by nicknackpaddywack »

anand99 wrote:Lets put this question to rest. We keep hearing about railway simulators but the only thing we get in the end is a rail driving simulator. Its impossible to simulat an entire network of AI driven trains in MSTS and Kuju Rail Simulator as it stands right now. Can the MSTS2 development team answer the following questions for me and others.

1. Will it be possible to simulate a railway network with multiple AI driven trains none of which you have to drive yourself.
2. Will it be possible to footplate/ride along with these trains without having to take control of them?
3. Will it be possible to setup timetables for the AI trains and setup destinations and give platform options at the destinations without being rigid?
4. Will the AI driven trains resolve signalling disputes correctly without human intervention?

Except point 4. where human intervention is sometimes a need, Auran Trainz can do all these extremely easy.
Locked

Return to “Microsoft Train Simulator 2”