Where to start?

Use this forum to discuss generalisations that apply to all / some / none of the present train simulators.

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charles9malcolm
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Where to start?

Post by charles9malcolm »

Hello folks,

Been away from here for a long time, getting on for ten years in fact! However I've decided to get back to the world of train-simming.

I guess a lot's changed since my last adventures in route building and just plain enjoying playing trains. So what's new?

What's a good platform to get back into that gives a good mix of simulation experience, the ability to use content created by the train sim community and route building functionality? Also what sort of hardware is needed these days?

Best,

Charles
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AndiS
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Re: Where to start?

Post by AndiS »

If route building is included, then nothing has changed. Railworks is called Train Simulator now and sold in a new pack with a new year number attached, which causes must people call it TS2022 now (or TS2021 before September). The graphics did improve compared to 2011 and there is a sea of content.

There is Train Sim World, now at number TSW2. They called off the editor for the unwashed masses but there was an scenario editor in the news, maybe already released. There are some guides on how to get a house into the game (I believe) and there are some hints on some forums on how to select the route yourself but it sounds cumbersome.

Open Rails certainly made some progress but I cannot see winning the masses.

Trainz got some small improvements via a crowd funding campaign, but like OR is mostly for those who got used to it and stay loyal to what they came to love.

There is a new project called SimRail which had an open beta out recently. Content is currently Polish like the developers but there were announcements concerning an editor and it is still early days for this project.

In case Zusi 3 has not been released 10 years ago, well now it has, for a bunch of years. Content is German and the graphics were never meant to beat anyone but they did a release on Steam to gain a wider audience and the route building community is growing.
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bigvern
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Re: Where to start?

Post by bigvern »

You've also got Derail Valley which can be quite fun, though must admit my interest waned after going round the map a few times and, despite tweaks, the trains really did derail rather too easily for my liking.

Diesel Railcar Simulator is up and coming though primarily UK DMU focused as the name suggests. However loco driving is available with an 03 shunter, Class 37 and some lovely looking Mark Ones, there are also rumours of a Class 40 in the works. It does have a route editor but very basic compared to the ones in Trainz or DTG TS.

As regards the big three, well Andi has pretty much summed it up. If you have a modern PC, old MSTS is pretty much dead in the water. Open Rails does offer an alternative if you can get your old routes and trains installed, but It is very niche.

Trainz still has the best route building tool, but as always seems to be trying to do too much. N3V can't let go of the old code and start anything new as they say they don't want to break backward compatibility, despite the fact each update seems to render more and more old stuff unusable. There is also a somewhat confusing hierarchy of ownership, you can buy the basic TRS19 or otherwise take one of their subscription packages which throws in various DLC and premium Download Station access but, like Netflix, if you cancel it all goes away. Driving is still largely limited to free roam, running your train around the route setting points yourself as you go. Of all the sims, it still has the weakest physics.

The best bet is really DTG TS or TSW2. the latter is well established and at this point offers something for everyone in terms of DLC. The editor hasn't really seen much love in recent years and remains a bit of a battle if you want to create your own routes or scenarios. I quite like TSW2 but the quality of the content varies dramatically. In general the German stuff is best quality. The UK has some good routes like Tees Valley or Northern Trans Pennine, however the latest West Cornwall route provided by Rivet Games has some major QA issues. No route editor and very limited scenario tools mean you are pretty much limited to playing what DTG give you. However in most cases that is a full days or nearly full timetable, only drawback with that is at present the save game doesn't always restore properly so your plans to keep going and do a full shift end up in tatters.
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charles9malcolm
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Re: Where to start?

Post by charles9malcolm »

Thanks for the advise chaps. In the end I went for TS2022. I'm enjoying Birmingham Cross City at the moment, but your right about the variability of quality in add-ons out there. And I was surprised to see some aspects of scenery quality hasn't improved at all - give me the MSTS UKFineScale track textures and Tundras vegetation set any day! And hasn't the hobby got expensive?!?

Enough moaning though. My view is is there isn't something out there to you liking then build something yourself, so you might see me pop up on the route building forums.

Cheers!
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