Train Sim World 4
Train Sim World 4 Roadmap: October 2023
The Train Sim World Roadmap
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) summary
A quick summary for those who don’t want to go through the whole article. There are more details on all these points within the Roadmap.
- A New Route!
Announcing our first new German route for Train Sim World 4!
- Blackpool Branches: Preston – Blackpool & Ormskirk
Update on Just Trains’ Blackpool-Preston-Ormskirk route
- Formation Designer and Suspension Improvements
An update on where we're at with the upcoming features.
- PC Editor (Beta) Initial Thoughts
Spotlighting useful guides and some early-on community projects!
- Photo Mode Showcase
Your best screenshots from TSW4 launch
- Update on Xbox crashes, Mods and New York-Trenton.
- A Patch is Coming Today!
Find out all the improvements and fixes we have planned.
- Inside Development – Train Sim World and Licensors
featuring Gareth Peate, a Graphic Designer for LNER!
Whew, that was exciting, wasn’t it? Welcome to the first Roadmap since the release of Train Sim World 4!
Thank you for all your excitement, feedback, and patience as we’ve released TSW4 into the world. We’ve been so happy to see all the amazing screenshots, Free Roam chaos, and first forays into the PC Editor – and, of course, start absorbing all your questions, suggestions, and thoughts. We’re still in the early stages of checking through it all – we hope this Roadmap will hopefully answer some of those initial questions and thoughts, as well as sharing what we’re working on to improve and enhance your game.
In just the first week, over 800,000 services and gameplay sessions have been played across a variety of routes, so it’s clear to see that you folks are getting stuck in!
In this month’s Roadmap, we’ll be revealing our new German route, talking about Formation Designer and Suspension improvements progress, checking in on Just Trains’ Blackpool Branches: Preston - Blackpool & Ormskirk, and summarising as much as we can that has come from the release. In this month’s Inside Development, we’ll also be chatting to our friends at LNER, to find out what it’s like to have your trains developed into a game!
Shall we get on with it, then?
NEW ROUTE - Maintalbahn: Aschaffenburg-Miltenberg
Happy October to all of you, and happy German Unity Day to all our German players. We have a big, fat, Bavarian-shaped treat for you in this month’s Roadmap.
We can officially confirm that the first Dovetail-developed route for Train Sim World 4 is Maintalbahn: Aschaffenburg-Miltenberg! Congratulations to you eagle-eyed viewers who noticed our tease in the ’10 Things to Check Out in Train Sim World 4’ video from Friday.
Full of regional charm and featuring the new, sleek DB BR 642 DMU, as well as being ably supported by the BR 363 offering local shunter freight across the route, we can’t wait for you to wind alongside the Main river on this Diesel Desiro beauty. Set in the modern day, and layering in the Red DB BR 628 – a recent addition if you own Niddertalbahn, there’s a lot of diversity and opportunity to explore in many different ways – particularly through the new-and-improved Scenario Planner, and Free Roam modes!
The route will be priced at £24.99/$29.99/€29.99.
We’ll have much more information for you in the coming weeks, but, for the meantime, here are some WIP screenshots of what you’ll have to look forward to:
BLACKPOOL BRANCHES: Preston – Blackpool & Ormskirk
The Just Trains team have been hard at work getting to the latter end of development of the route, and for this Roadmap, we wanted to direct you to their In Development blog (and, of course, show you some nice screenshots).
This time, they’re talking all-things landmarks, and boy are there some iconic places on the route! Check out the Blackpool Branches blog (plus, some more screenshots!)
The Iconic Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
St Walburges Church
Warbreck Water Tower
And, in case you missed it, you can check out a little bit more about the route’s timetable (with a handy timelapse video), and the stations on the route with their handy Development Updates.
Work is ongoing to bring Formation Designer to Train Sim World 4 – your opportunity to create your own consists and use them in Scenarios or Free Roam Mode – and, whilst our current priorities are supporting your launch feedback, we wanted to share some screenshots of how it currently looks in-game.
Here you can see a sample custom formation within the new interface. Trains can be 100 vehicles long, but the longer the train, the more powerful you’ll need the locomotive to be!
Some of the options available whilst creating your Formation – including the (very) handy ‘flip formation’ option.
Here is the general UI for Formation Designer – you can see the key details around your formation including weight and power, to identify how you might want to use them in-game. Work is ongoing, and we’ll update in future Roadmaps when we have more to share!
As mentioned in the Train Sim World 4 keynote video, the team are working on we can do to implement suspension improvements (i.e. include vertical as well as horizontal sway, that coincides with the way you’re driving).
You can see a first pass at this in the BR Class 323 in TSW4’s Training Center, but we still need to add air suspension to the locomotive (it is very bouncy at the moment). Our Train Physics team will be continuing to work on what this might look like across the trains that feature in the Standard Edition’s 3 Core routes, and, as with Formation Designer, we’ll update when we have more to share.
New Köln-Aachen timetable
Work continues on the new Köln-Aachen timetable, which Joe is beavering away at. You can find out more details of what we’re planning by checking out August’s Roadmap article, linked above.
Post-launch patch (#1)
We’re putting together the first post-release patch (after last week’s Early Access patch, and wanted to share some of the content you can expect.
- Issues with Bremen-Oldenburg red lights
- Passengers not being visible on Peak Forest, Linke Rheinstrecke, and Luzern-Sursee
- Xbox Creators Club access
- Increasing the brake hiss from Rotem cab cars
- Azuma Coaches gangways now connected by electrical wiring
We’re putting the final polish to it now, so players can expect this to launch very soon.
Our plan is for smaller, frequent patches in the early launch window of TSW4, much of which will be dictated by your early feedback. From our current lists, some of the areas we’re looking at include, but by are no means limited to:
- Haptic feedback being too strong
- Missing collectible on Vorarlberg
- Imported liveries from TSW3 missing layers
- Camera navigability
- Free Roam crashes
- Azuma AWS and motor sounds
Give us your best shot(s)!
We asked you to share with us your best shots using the new Photo Mode. And you did not disappoint. You can see the full Photo Mode collection, but here are some of our favourites:
Player captaingunadeep, showing off the Vectron during a rainy sunset.
Pixelade, capturing the unlikely combo of F125 and Austrian mountains on Free Roam.
Player nhilsubsolenovum, showing a foggy, moody British evening.
We genuinely thought richardwwoodward’s shot of Flying Scotsman was a photo. Phenomenal!
The Azuma hurtling through the East Coast Main Line, captured by paintbrushguy
And finally, bence950906, making full use of Free Roam and Photo Mode to make this German locos meeting!
The PC Editor (Beta)
One of the biggest changes to come with the release of TSW4 was the opportunity for Steam and Epic players to experiment and create their own content with the launch of the PC Editor (Beta).
We’re very much in the early stages, and thank you for everyone who has been giving it a go and letting us know where your challenges are, so we can tailor tutorial materials accordingly.
Our first priority development-wise, is to establishing what does and doesn’t work with creating the basic types of content (assets, scenarios, routes, trains), and understanding how you play it – and therefore, which tutorials are needed.
We’ll be populating our PC Editor forum with helpful guides and FAQs to support those giving it a go – as well as providing some Masterclass sessions with our developers (starting next week!), to help you through. It isn’t an easy tool to learn, and collectively, we’ll be able to support each other to create something wonderful.
As a first step, we recommend learning about UE4, to give you some of the basics that will enable you to understand our adapted version of the Editor a little easier. Here’s a good beginner’s guide to kick you off:
Some of you, however, are taking the lead, and to finish off this section we wanted to share the work that player fecrails has done building his first simple route, with tracks, trains, and some scenery assets. Well done!
We also wanted to share the work undertaken by some players creating locomotives:
Oystein’s NoHAB Di3:
Check it out: https://forums.dovetailgames.com/threads/my-first-loco-for-tsw-nohab-di3.74459/#post-729555
Livery Designer usability
Whilst this is a recurring theme of this month’s Roadmap, we want to work with you on the changes to Livery Designer, and how you’re finding using the tool.
Please let us know your thoughts on our Livery Designer Feedback Forum.
Community talking points
Our #1 priority at the moment is resolving an issue which is causing some Xbox players to crash in-game. Thanks everyone for your patience as we’re trying to diagnose the source of the problem. We’re working on it, but don’t have a full explanation for what is happening and why, but we will get there.
We generally use what we call ‘dev kits’ for our QA team to review new builds, as they (in most cases) are reflective of what you as players will see in-game upon release. Unfortunately, with the release of the Compatible Content last Tuesday, we’ve seen the ‘Retail kits’ (i.e. what we can access when certification from the platforms has taken place) behave differently to our testing environment. In this way, our beta community also were not experiencing issues until the day content went live too.
As a result of this situation, we now understand how to make dev kits simulate the Retail (live) environment, and will be implementing this into our testing plans moving forward.
As a temporary workaround if you’re experiencing this issue, putting your Xbox console into Offline mode (via Network Settings) will offer as a temporary workaround and all you will be able to access Train Sim World 4 without experiencing crashes during startup.
Please note, some users have reported it can take a short while to launch (up to 5 minutes) if you have a large amount of add-ons installed. Whilst this workaround should let you access the game without crashing, due to being offline you will not be able to use services that require an internet connection (such as Dovetail Live and Creation Center / Online Sharing Hub).
We will be updating this thread when we have an update: https://forums.dovetailgames.com/threads/xbox-crashes-weekend-update.74409/#post-728277
Note: we have held the Creators Club update for Xbox so we can get the crashing update live as soon as possible after we’ve resolved and tested a fix. If you would like to subscribe to Creators Club content in the meantime, you can do so via our website: https://creatorsclub.dovetailgames.com/
We are working on providing documentation for modders in the wake of TSW4’s launch, so hang tight everyone! Thanks for being patient.
To debunk one myth: it’s less of an Add-ons Manager issue, and more due to the fact that we've changed the compiled material format to support the Public Editor. It's not the whole reason, but it's a contributing factor.
Essentially, core mods seem to be in reasonable shape (like ‘God Mode’, which we believe has a TSW4 update for it already), but content mods will need a little more TLC. There are some fixes that help them work better which are in a future build, but it'll be an ongoing process. Texture mods, for instance, have had a good response to the improvements in the future build (previously mentioned).
For the time being, we recommend that players who do mod content hold fire until we’ve been able to offer guidance – otherwise they risk their work going to waste if we have to update anything to support them longer term.
We have a lot of modders in our beta community, who we’re actively working with to support, and we’ll update as soon as we have something tangible.
Audio – we need your help!
We’ve had some lovely feedback for the Audio work done on Antelope Line, as part of our trip to California to record real-life sounds from the route and the F125.
As we’re UK-based, getting authentic sounds for some content can be a huge undertaking for our Audio team, so we’d like to ask for your help. If you have direct access to and can record real-life sounds (safely, and with permission) – or have recorded them in the past (YouTube videos and non-in situ recordings aren’t what we’re looking for, apologies), we’ve set up an 'Audio - We Need Your Help!' thread where our Senior Audio Designer, Adam, can chat to you about them. Thank you in advance!
New-York Trenton performance
We’ve noticed some players have been experiencing performance issues with the NEC: New York timetable with the updated timetable.
We are taking a look at the source of the issues – our initial investigations at this stage are reviewing passenger density, signalling computation, and the bi-level cars – however, at this stage we are unable to provide any more information or detail.
Any improvements made would be backported to the TSW3 version of the new timetable, when released.
We’ve taken a couple of your questions from our [Question Thread]https://forums.dovetailgames.com/threads/october-roadmap-q-a-thread.74640/#post-730027) to answer prior to the live stream, which we hope will be a regular feature of future Roadmaps.
meMC83: What updates (from all the extensive feedback that’s been provided) do you have planned for TSW 4 (if any)?
First up, thank you to everyone who has been playing and sharing your thoughts on the content in TSW4. During Early Access – it’s really important for us that you provide us feedback, so we can continue to improve our content. We have plans to provide regular, smaller-sized updates in the weeks after launch, with the majority coming from your feedback on our TSW4 core routes, and core game features.
At the moment, our priority is to resolve the Xbox crashing issue, which is proving to be a complex beast, and then focus on other improvements. This should, however, not mean that updates aren’t coming for other content in the meantime.
NateDogg7a: Regarding the "improved" OHLE for TSW4, some have the feeling that it is too dark, or too black in color. Will this be addressed so that it doesn't stand out quite so much? Also, the accompanying guide and support wires have not been given this treatment, resulting in a graphical inconsistency and making the main overhead line appear to be floating. Regardless of whether or not the overall look is going to be tweaked for better appearance, will the other parts of the supporting OHLE be adjusted to at least match with the new look of the main wire?
We’ll be reviewing feedback from you all across a variety of topics – as you can imagine, we’ve had a lot of sometimes varying feedback across multiple areas of the game, and OHLE is one of them.
We have no current plans to amend the other areas of the OHLE – the power wires are a relatively manageable change, whilst the horizontal spans and supporting structures would require every 3D model to be changed – a much larger piece of work across all routes.
We’re assessing the options available to us, but there are no promises at this stage.
In terms of priority, we’d want to focus on things that aren’t working first, before tackling things like this.
Inside Development – Train Sim World and Licensors
We’ve brought the Azuma to Train Sim World 4, and we’ve been delighted to see you all stretching its legs on the East Coast Main Line.
So, as part of Inside Development this week, we have something a little different for you – the view from the other side of the platform, as an approved Licensor for one of the brands featured in our games. We invited Gareth Peate, a Graphic Designer for LNER, to tell us a little bit about seeing their real-life work immortalised in our sim.
Gareth Peate is a graphic designer working for LNER having worked on the East Coast Main Line since 2016 and who, amongst other design projects, played a key role in the development of the brand and styling of LNER Azuma trains as part of the project team responsible for delivering the fleet.
Hello Gareth, great to chat. Please let us know what your role is within LNER, and what that entails.
Gareth: "Hello, and thanks for inviting me for a chat! I’m a graphic designer for LNER, part of our in-house design team.
As a team we produce a variety of designed creative – anything from a business card to a station poster to a train livery – and we are proud to have the talent in our team to create our branding inhouse.
In the team we all have our own creative areas which we specialise in – I focus on customer communication at stations, such as posters and wayfinding, and working with our engineering team on train branding, interiors and livery design."
How did you get involved in the Railways, and what is it that appeals to you about them?
Gareth: "I’ve always had an interest in the railways, going back as far as I can remember, probably spurred on by family visits to heritage railways when I was very young and my dad being a keen railway modeller with a large layout in the spare bedroom at home – I was allowed to look but not touch!"
"Fast forward to leaving college and, living in rural Shropshire at the time, jobs in the railway were difficult to come by. I was able to get an apprenticeship away from the railway in graphic design – another interest of mine – which eventually became a full- time job and served me well for over 18 years. Commuting by train every day maintained my interest in rail, and helped to kindle a real passion for good design in the railway. When you spend a couple of hours each day commuting, with a designer’s eye, you’re always thinking about what you might do differently with some of the creative work that you see on trains and at stations."
"Eventually the opportunity arose to apply to join the design team at Virgin Trains East Coast as we were back in 2016, which was – working in design and on the railway – undeniably my dream job! I consider myself very fortunate to have been successful in applying for the role, relocated to York, and have been working here ever since. For me the appeal of the railway is a real mix between great people – both customers and fellow colleagues who work in our industry – as well as the towns and cities we serve, and the almost continual evolution and push for progress that our industry brings. Tell someone that you work for the railway and they’ll almost certainly be able to recount a good experience or a happy memory from a time when they’ve travelled by train, and it’s great to be part of an industry that can help to enable those."
How important is the Azuma to LNER's fleet / passengers / railfans?
Gareth: "As our first new fleet of trains in a generation, the Azuma fleet is hugely important to LNER, allowing us to operate services for customers in ways that may not have been possible with our older trains."
"I know that for rail fans, as exciting as our new Azuma fleet is, it does replace older trains which a lot of people hold in high regard and will remember fondly. On a personal note I'll always be a big fan of the InterCity 225 and it’ll remain special to me - both as the first model train set I received as a child, and as the fleet I was able to pay tribute to by developing our LNER take on its classic livery design last year."
"Back to our Azuma trains, and forming the majority of our fleet today, they are helping to ensure that we’re able to deliver faster and more comfortable journeys for all of our customers, and operate in a more sustainable way with a greater number of electric and bi-mode trains than we’ve had previously."
"Back to our Azuma trains, and forming the majority of our fleet today, they are helping to ensure that we’re able to deliver quicker journeys and a more consistent experience for all of our customers, and operate in a more sustainable way with a greater number of electric and bi-mode trains than we’ve had previously."
As a Licensor, what considerations need to be taken into account when you’re reviewing a representation of your trains in-game?
Gareth: "I always enjoy working with companies who license the LNER brand and produce representations of our trains, especially getting to learn more about the ways in which they work – be it a physical model train, or a virtual version in a game."
"What really matters to me when I’m reviewing any representation of one of our trains is the detail. Whether it’s a model or a game, ensuring that it’s accurate for the fans and enthusiasts who pick them up is important to me, and it’s important to us as a team to ensure that visually our brand is being presented with all of the attention to detail as it is in the real world!"
"I’m always glad when we’re able to work with companies who license our brand, and are able to provide guidance and feedback during the development stages to ensure that everything looks as accurate as possible – and I’m really happy to say that that’s something we were able to do with the development of our Azuma train in Train Sim World 4."
What is the general process, from start to finish, of getting a route and train approved?
Gareth: "Looking at the route from a brand perspective, which is the focus of the team I’m a part of, clearly there are many elements to the route which we wouldn’t be in the best place to advise on. Our focus is on what I’ll refer to as customer touchpoints for the brand, which are typically on our trains and at the stations we serve. All of the bits in between, as well as the technical aspects of the trains, we leave to someone who has much more knowledge of the routes our trains travel on look and behave."
"I was really privileged to be able to work with the TSW4 development team closely on the LNER brand elements that you’ll see in game, who made a brilliant job of taking our feedback and ensuring that our brand appears in game just as it does outside of the game."
"Providing guidance on how our brand appears in a game was a new experience for me, so I was really grateful for all of the support that the team at Dovetail gave to take me through the process of review and feedback – and after a couple of rounds of review and adjustments I was happy to approve our branded elements ready for them to be used to populate the route!"
Specifically for the work on the Azuma and the East Coast Main Line, what kinds of things were you paying particular attention to?
Gareth: "Clearly the biggest and most visible part of our LNER brand that appears in-game is our Azuma train itself, and I’m really pleased to say that the development team have made a brilliant job of bringing it to life."
"Being able to explore the train in the simulation, it’s incredible just how much detail has been put into the model, from our striking livery design right down to the small details like our at-seat food ordering stickers in Standard, and even the very subtle differences between the LNER 80x fleet and those of other train operators. Blink and you’ll miss it, but the addition of a golf bag on the bulk luggage store label – adapted from the default design to recognise the number of golfers we carry to many of the fine courses near our route – was some of my work and always makes me smile when I see it, so it was great to see it replicated in the game too!"
"Away from our train, the way that stations appear in game was just as important to us – and even though the Dovetail development team had already made a brilliant job of recreating some of our iconic stations in the virtual world, I was really keen that they felt like our stations through all of the bits of brand that are added like posters and ticket machines. Just being able to walk around a station in game and for it to feel just right was really satisfying – and a great achievement by the development team!"
How happy are you with the final product? Have you had a chance to play it yet?
Gareth: "It’s fantastic! The way that our Azuma trains and the LNER brand have been represented in Train Sim World 4 is brilliant. You’ve made an amazing job of applying our brand and bringing everything to life in game, right down to the smallest details."
"I was really keen to get a look at the finished product so picked up the early access copy – conveniently coinciding with a week’s leave from work meant that I was able to have a good look around the game. The experience that the game creates is so immersive, it’s almost uncanny to walk around spaces I’ve visited many times and for the virtual version to appear so familiar!"
"After several hours exploring the East Coast Main Line in game it’s fair to say that I don’t think I’ll ever make the grade as a train driver - though thankfully I’m very happy to remain in the role that I’m in!"
Exec Producer Matt, and Director of Community JD, will be talking about all the things we’ve featured above, and answering your questions in tonight’s Roadmap Live Stream, from 18:00 UTC on our YouTube and Twitch channels.
Have a question for us? Put it in our October Roadmap Q&A thread and we’ll answer as many as we can live tonight!
Train Sim World 4
Train Sim World 4 Roadmap: October 2023