27th December 2011

Belated Christmas greetings to visitors to the site, hope that all went well and your (these days virtual) stocking was well stuffed with plenty of train sim goodies.

A reminder to any Railworks owners that there is currently a 50% off sale on all items of official (via Steam) DLC for the programme. Unfortunately it looks like this year we won't be seeing the 75% blowout sale that Steam had last year.

If you're on a budget, there's a new freeware route for Railworks 3 based on the Swiss Rhaetian Railways which has absolutely blown me away. It's called Albula 2 but in actual fact extends all the way from Thusis, through St Moritz and down the Bernina line to Tirano in Italy. The author is a route building master - the experience of driving the route is stunning and lifelike, you will believe you are there - particularly winding up through all the spiral tunnels. The route can be found in the file library at UKTS.

Anyhow as the last few days of 2011 wind down, here's hoping that 2012 will be another good year for the train sim software scene and of course soon time to make all those resolutions for the New Year - in my case not starting so many projects only to dump them by the wayside after a couple of weeks.

12th November 2011

While I don't normally report on every piece of DLC released for Railworks, I must mention the new Class 50 created by Meshtools and available through the RSC Railworks Steam Shop. This is a complete rework of the original Meshtools Class 50 and if, like me, you were maybe a bit sceptical of buying something again, in this case please don't be. In addition to very nice visual model and cab, the loco has a very good soundset and, perhaps most important of all, what appears to be a very realistic physics implementation. Now as many of you may know, the owner of Meshtools is a very nice guy called Mike Whiteley. He provided many of the custom 3D models used on my freeware Blackpool Tramway and considerable motivation to get the project finished. So if you enjoyed Blackpool, please consider buying the Class 50 as a means of passing on your appreciation for his previous contributions.

7th November 2011

Here is a link to the long awaited Demo Version of Zusi 3. (You may want to run the page through Google Translate or similar). At the moment it's in German only but if you are familiar with the current Zusi simulation it shouldn't cause you too much trouble. I must say, I was very impressed, even though the demo section of route only takes around 10 minutes to drive, the graphics are a vast improvement on the current version though still retaining the emphasis foremost on the railway infrastructure and operations. With a further demo apparently planned later in the year it seems release of the final programme is still a little way off, but it can't come soon enough for me as a breath of fresh air and life into our hobby.

Assuming you now have Railworks 3/Train Simulator 2012 running to a reasonable degree, one of the better third party add-on developers is a group called Oovee. In conjunction with another developer (Thomson, the group behind Edinburgh to Glasgow) they just released a rather nice Class 150/2 "Sprinter" DMU for the sim. Apart from a Load/Save bug (which may or may not be related to the main programme) this is a very nice bit of work and recommended. Payware (what isn't, where RW is concerned) at £11.99 via the DLC feature from the Railworks Steam store. i.e. Log into Railworks/Steam as normal and open up their Steam shp page from there.

13th October 2011

If you have been unable to start Train Simulator 2012 aka Railworks 3 and are getting error messages either to the effect that the Railworks.exe cannot be found or via Steam that the game is unavailable, try again later, you probably are the victim of a failed patching attempt. This has happened at least twice to me. The solution is to verify the game cache via Steam, which will repair/replace the damaged/missing files and grab the update. To carry out a verify procedure...

1. Run the Steam client (not Train Simulator 2012).
2. From the top left menu bar select Games, then Games Library.
3. Go down the list to Train Simulator 2012, right click and select Properties
4. Under Properties, highlight the Local Files tab, then click/select Verify Integrity of Game Cache.

Depending on what mood Steam is in, it can take more than one attempt to verify all the files and each process can take upwards of 30 minutes, so be prepared for a long wait before you can play trains.

I sincerely hope and Steam work together to eliminate this problem from future updates. The whole point of using Steam is to supposedly deliver painless updates and non-technical users may not be aware of the process required to get things working again.

22nd September 2011

Just one day to go until the big Railworks upgrade from Railworks 2 to Railworks 3 (aka Train Simulator 2012). Don't forget, if you already own Railworks the upgrade is free and you need do nothing other than let Steam download and update your installation automatically. However existing Railworks owners will need to buy the new route being bundled with fresh purchases of RW3, if so desired. This is the famous Horseshoe Curve route in Pennsylvania USA and from what I can understand is being made available at a special introductory price to existing customers.

Other interesting news. It appears we might be a step nearer to seeing the release of Zusi 3. A video clip has been released on You Tube, together with an announcement by the developer of a demo version being included with a German computing magazine and from the Zusi site. This is exciting news indeed, for me perhaps even more exciting than the Railworks upgrade as the next version of Zusi has been eagerly awaited for nearly five years!

Hot on the heels of their World Of Subways 3 based on the London Underground Circle Line, TML Studios have released their other big title, "Bus and Cable Car Simulator", which is based on the transport system of San Francisco. I believe for UK customers this is available on Amazon at a very reasonable price of £15.35, though when I checked there were only two copies left (of which I just bought one!).

2nd August 2011

Couple of snippets today. First off I managed to get another route created for Railworks over the last couple of months. This one is loosely based on the famous Blackpool Tramway (a project I also did years ago for MSTS) and can be found in the UK Trainsim file library, Ref 26957 for anyone interested. More about future route building in the diary, which I also updated today.

Now for some really interesting and exciting news!! If, like me, you lamented the fact it was no longer possible to play Railroad Tycoon 3 on a Windows Vista PC then think again. After a bit of research I discovered that the budget version available on the Sold Out/Mastertronic label is Windows Vista compatible!! (Not tested on Win 7 yet). This is fantastic news and means one of the great all time strategy games can once again be enjoyed, particularly as there's never really been anything to rival it in recent years. For more information or to order a copy, visit the Mastertronic site. Price is a very reasonable £5.10 which includes postage within the UK.

16th July 2011

Some interesting and potentially exciting news from (RSC) about the next big upgrade to the Railworks programme. Further information can be found on their official Train Simulator 12 site. (Title not to be confused with the latest N3V Trainz release Trainz Simulator 12). Following demonstration of the new features to an invited group of train simmers (your's truly not included it galls me to say) to the RSC offices in Chatham, there's some further discussion of what was seen taking place on the main Railworks discussion groups at UKTS and

30th May 2011

The download version of World of Subways 3 The Circle Line has been released and can be ordered via the Aerosoft Shop. I'm holding out for the DVD version, at which point I hope to do a review of the product. Reading on the forums, WOS3 has received a generally good reception so far and appears to be the best installment in the series so far from TML. Hopefully the San Francisco game can't be too far behind and TML have also announced another WOS product based on the Paris Metro. Excellent...

23rd April 2011

Some more good news today. Reading the TML Studios Blog about World Of Subways it looks as if WOS3 The Circle Line is almost ready. The team are reporting it has been sent off to both LU (London Underground) and Aerosoft for QA and approval so hopefully a release is imminent. If that is the case, then the London version has actually beaten the San Francisco one which is also eagerly awaited.

22nd April 2011

Further to my comments yesterday about getting hold of the TS12 boxed/DVD edition, it seems that Just Trains are coming to the rescue. They have announced on their In Development Page, a product called "Rail Simulator" which to all intents and purposes looks as if it is TS12. This will hopefully mean being able to purchase for a more reasonable price, particularly if the product hits the big online retailers such as Amazon or Play. My only caveat is that previous JT versions of Trainz have stood outside the official Trainz patching roadmap and may require the DVD in the drive during use. However that's a small price to pay for being able to get the title for probably half of what going through the import process would cost overall.

21st April 2011

In the run up to Easter there's been quite a glut of payware addon content for Railworks. themselves have just released a Class 156 Sprinter DMU pack and are scheduled to release a new addon route Woking to Portsmouth this coming Friday (i.e. tomorrow). Ordering is done via the Steam shop, best accessed from the Railworks pre loading screen. In the meantime, Just Trains have released a Class 153 DMU addon. This can be purchased with or without a small fictional route either by DLC or on disc (note the disc version is the 153 + Totham route together). Also from a company called Meshtools comes a route/rolling stock pack based on the East Somerset Railway. So plenty there if you're looking for a late Easter present, though might put a bit of a dent in your bank balance as, with the exception of the Class 156 pack, none of them are particularly cheap.

Turning to Trainz and TS12, as expected N3V have now released a regular priced version of the latest edition. At the moment this can only be purchased by digital download though a DVD boxed release is due out very soon. One thing worth noting is that this time round, N3V have ditched the legacy content from previous versions and TS12 is effectively 10 routes and the content you get with them - almost a return to the Trainz Classics scheme from three years ago. As a concession older content is in the process of being uploaded to the Downlopad Station but at this stage it is not clear how users get the new routes that came with TS2010 - such as the superb Avery to Drexel - into TS12 without doing an unsupported import of the files from TS2010. A concern for potential purchasers outside Australia is that this time round there is no bulk shipping of TS12 for regional distribution. That means on top of the (approx) £33 purchase price at current exchange rates you are looking at an unspecified amount for postage and very likely a £15 surcharge for Customs VAT/Duty and the Post Office collection fee for same.

4th April 2011

The Edinburgh to Glasgow route pack has just been released for Railworks 2 and can be purchased via the Railworks Steam Shop. The route includes the modern Class 170 DMU, in a selection of liveries. It is a good route and particularly optimised for driving from the cab view. Those who have purchased the route may like to know that I have uploaded a scenario for it at UK Trainsim. Look for "Football Special" or "Northern Warrior Developments" in the file library there and you should find it.

N3V - the company which took over Auran - have just announced there will be a Trainz Simulator 12. Initially this is only available as part of a 10th Anniversary Collector's Pack which is being sold as a limited edition at a premium price (Aus$149.99 to be precise) but I'm hopeful there will be a standard release at a more regular retail price following behind. For more information, go to the Trainz Homepage and follow the links.

22nd March 2011

One of the landmark releases for MSTS was the North Wales route and stock CD, in support of the Class 15 restoration project. This just got a new lease of life with the release of North Wales Coast 2, an expansion pack which adds the lines from Llandudno Jn to Blaenau Ffestiniog and the freight spur to Trawsfynydd, also the mothballed line from Gaerwen Jn to Amlwch. Further information to be found on the MSTS page at the Class 15 Society. If you are intending to buy the addon, worth reading the requirements first, as it will not run on a bog standard MSTS installation.

Across the other side of the Atlantic (and continental USA!), Cascade Game Studios in Seattle have been refurbishing their website. Still no hard and fast information about their product but if you click through the subpages there's some nice train related banners at the top of the pages. Taken alongside the hints in the text it does seem they're working on what could possibly be the ultimate dream transport sim - World Of Travel, perhaps? Very intriguing and I'm longing to see exactly what they're up to.

27th February 2011

I have been hearing good things about the OMSI Bus Simulator. This is a new transport simulation which has been developed by MR Software in Germany. For more information visit the OMSI Home Page. The sim is already available to purchase as DLC but is getting a DVD release by Aerosoft during March which is probably what I'll wait for. Certainly from what I've been reading this is one of the most detailed bus simulations to hit the market to date, giving the player options to micro-manage just about every aspect of the journey - even down to making change for each fare!

6th February 2011

After what seems like a very long gap it seems like we might finally be getting a new transport related strategy game to play with. The title is Cities In Motion and you can read more at developers Paradox Interactive website. Release date shown as late February though not listed at any of the major Etailers sites as yet.

15th January 2011

On a much happier note, if you pop along to the TML Studio's blog, some real progress evident on both forthcoming versions of World Of Subways. On the SF Blog the progress bar is hitting the green sector and the latest video clip shows off the sim at work (though this is inter-cut with scenes from the Circle Line). The Circle Line blog has a new video clip giving an in depth walk around Aldgate station. Both titles are shaping up very nicely and while I know they're not "sandbox" titles I'm beginning to feel that World Of Subways is shaping up to be the main train sim event of 2011. (And not just saying that so I don't get sued!!).

13th January 2011

I've been aware of the Murchison 2 route for Trainz for some time now, but never got got round to purchasing. Pleased to say I've now redressed that and it is a lovely add-on which will particularly appeal if you enjoy running trains through spectacular mountainous scenery. The Murchison 2 add-on can be purchased direct from the author at Trainzone, or via the N3V/Auran shop as DLC. Well worth a look.

Still on the subject of DLC, though more orientated towards Railworks, if you are thinking of posting a public review or even making a comment on a piece of content you have purchased you would be advised to read this piece of advice on the UK Trainsim forum. To say I was stunned on reading that is an understatement. While fully understanding and supporting UKTS in their action (no-one wants to get sued over a train game review and we certainly don't want to lose the download library), this is a shameful stance by the developer(s) concerned. If you are releasing items of payware - not exactly cheap where Railworks is concerned - then you need to man up, grow a pair and accept there will be "warts 'n' all" comments and reviews. If you can't take that, then don't bother. What's worse about this situation is that reviews on just about every product or service pop up in all sorts of media - but you don't see Amazon or Play getting threatened with legal action over all the one and two star reviews some products attract. When the Daily Mail pans a new film with a "turkey" rating on a Friday, you don't see the studio suing over potential loss of earnings. For me this is just another nail in the coffin of my continuing involvement with anything to do with Railworks. I really can't support a sim where everything is so over protected against even the slightest adverse comment. To say more than that would probably invoke the ire of those behind this but suffice to say as a minimum I don't feel like purchasing any more DLC for the game or releasing any further routes that rely on the purchase of additional DLC (after my current WIP Dornoch route). Whoever you are, you've done a very good job of poisoning the well...

1st January 2011

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all visitors to the site and those who have supported my continuing involvement in the train sim scene a very Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011.

Some New Year's resolutions then...

First up is that I must spend more time making routes that actually get released. I'm staggered at the amount of ultimately unproductive time I wasted in 2010 on projects that never saw the light of day. I need to look long and hard at how I manage projects from the inception (a good idea sometimes loses its lustre after a couple of weeks) and seeing things through to the final release.

Second - restraint on forums or even abstinance. On several occasions after a row or rant on the boards, my reaction has been f**k it and uninstall everything, which leads me into...

Three - Never uninstall or delete something in haste. Particularly with Railworks, once you lose the blueprints it's gone forever. Or in the case of TS2009 it takes literally hours to reinstall while the various patches get to work.

Four - Don't announce anything in advance, even a casual, "I might have a look at that", on a forum leads to all sorts of misunderstanding and even ill feeling when nothing appears.

And now, some resolutions for the Developers to consider...

For RSC: Please try and remember some people see this as a simulation not a game. You've had three years to look at core improvements and bugfixes together with functionality of the editors. Setting up a scenario needs to be as easy as picking locations from a scrolling list so an activity with AI traffic can be up and running in 5 or 10 minutes. Get the signalling and AI sorted out, excuses that what we have is as good as it's going to be aren't good enough. Sort the physics engine so traction units don't power-cruise on 20 - 25% throttle. MMO is not that high on many user's priorities, unless it brings with it some of the other long awaited improvements.

To N3V (formerly Auran): Really time you gave the creaking behemoth that is Trainz a radical overhaul. What's the point of MMO when single player users still can't have the game path them from A to B or run to a timetable without manually throwing switches. You need to shake off the last vestiges of the "Virtual Model Railway". On the subject of switches, is it really that hard to upgrade the track drawing system so points actually look like the real thing with frogs and check rails? (And don't get me started on tunnels...).

To the Zusi guys: Come on, it's been nearly six years since Zusi 3 was announced. If it doesn't come out in 2011 then your credibility is fading fast and the project looks increasingly like vapourware. The "don't ask" policy doesn't hold water any more - a proper estimate of when this eagerly awaited sim will be available would go a long way to restoring faith in the project.

To TML Studios: World of Subways - party on guys, looking great.

To Cascade Game Studios: Well are you doing a train/transport sim or not?

To all those involved with OpenBVE, ORTS and any other train sim project - the very best of luck with your endeavours.


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