Train Sim World

TRAIN SIM WORLD 2 ROADMAP 5 JULY 2022

Hello, folks. As we move into summer, we have a similarly British Summer surprise for you coming from Rivet Games – as part of this Roadmap, we’ve asked the team at Rivet to tell you a little more about it.
Also, we have good news on the Xbox ‘Jackhammer’ Audio issue, an update on other things we’re working on, an introduction to a new member of the team, and a special Development Deep Dive talking about how we develop gameplay for our routes. Enjoy!
What’s changed this month?
As we announced earlier, the Island Line 2022: BR Class 484 Add-on from Rivet Games will be coming to Train Sim World 2 on July 19th. Read on below to find out more from the Rivet team about the project – whilst you can find all the important details here
Various items have been removed from the Roadmap as they’ve been released, including the Xbox Jackhammer fix, Great Western Express, West Somerset Railway, and Northern Trans-Pennine Preservation Crew releases, and batch 1 of the Livery Designer logo decals.
NEW: Island Line 2022: BR Class 484
Earlier today, we announced the next Add-on coming to Train Sim World 2, from Rivet Games: Island Line 2022: BR Class 484. We asked the Rivet Team for the details on what you can all expect!
With the Island Line 2022, we’re revisiting a true classic in Train Sim World 2. Since the original Isle of Wight railway was under construction throughout 2021 to make it ready for the new Class 484 Electric Multiple Unit two-car trains to be brought in, this pack comes not only with a new loco, but a major overhaul of the entire route. This will be a standalone route that doesn’t require the original Isle of Wight line.
We have been working hard over recent months rebuilding the Isle of Wight Island Line, not only to include the changes made to the track in real-life, but also adding in more detail and upgrading quality throughout the route. This includes more features throughout the stations, more scenery along the length of the track, new signaling system, completely rebuilt platforms & raised sections to match the new train height, as well as several new interiors along the route which players can now visit. 
New functionality developed for this route includes new arcing effects on the third rail to special effects for scenarios. And the scenarios themselves are more interactive than ever before - more details to follow in a later article though.
Because the route has a very low profile, it continues to use former London Underground Tube stock that has been rebuilt as the newly introduced BR Class 484 to serve the Island Line. Rebuilt in a breath-taking level of detail, the train features true-to-life physics and audio based on recent recordings taking on the 484’s in real life.
Whilst working on the new Island Line 2022: BR Class 484 Add-on, the Rivet team have also been making some small improvements to the original Isle of Wight: Shanklin to Ryde route, with some art and audio tweaks to the original route, general bug fixes, as well as updating the water textures to the ones used in the West Cornwall Local route. These are largely based on your continued feedback.
Want a first-look? Here’s a helpful walkaround video to whet your appetites:
The Add-on will come to Train Sim World on July 19th.

Preservation Crew Update

After the substantial update to GWE, NTP, and WSR, the team will be working on the next batch of improvements. You can see in the list at the bottom of the article what areas they’re still working on.
If you wanted to meet the Preservation Crew team, we did a 4UP challenge with them last week to showcase some of the GWE improvements. You can watch the full stream here.

PS5 Add-ons limit/Add-ons Manager

Last month, we updated you with a potential solution for the PS5 Add-ons limit, which would not only enable you to download all your Add-ons again, but also potentially save on memory whilst playing. This in turn would reduce the rate of ‘Out of Memory’ crashes, particularly those playing on 8th-generation consoles and/or with lots of Add-ons installed.
Work is still ongoing – it is currently being actively tested internally, before we put it out to our beta teams for them to try. Watch this space.

Developer Deep Dive: Making Gameplay

In this month’s Developer Deep Dive, we grabbed our Associate Designer, Michael, to discuss how we bring you gameplay options within Train Sim World. Read on to find out about how we make training modules, scenarios, timetables, journey chapters, and more – particularly how we did it for Spirit of Steam. Take it away, Michael!
Research & Planning
Before we begin work in the Train Sim World 2 Editor, we plan out the content we want to include. 
Once we’ve had a briefing over what content is going to be included in the project, the team presents ideas for narratives and events for scenarios, what to cover in training modules and specific service types for the Route timetable. 
This is usually the part where we come up with names for scenarios, journey chapters and achievements. 
Research is done to represent authentic experiences and engaging stories and events.
Information is collected from many different avenues:
  • TOCs (Train Operating Companies)
  • Both physical and online WTTs (Working Timetables)
  • Tourist websites (for local information about the area)
  • Videos from Railfans
  • Dovetail Beta Forums and Discord servers
Once we have the initial ideas and research in place, the team branches off working on specific content. 
Training Modules & Scenarios
With all of our training modules, we aim to be able to teach the player the basics as well as any other specifics about the locos included.
This proved to be a challenge for Spirit of Steam, as we had to try and explain not only how a Steam loco should be driven, but including how they work internally too.
With scenarios, we aim to give a more narrative driven experience than you will find in the Route Timetable.
We work closely with the Rail Vehicle Setup team, to ensure we have the correct start-up and shutdown procedures and any information on specific features the loco comes with.
All of our Training modules are fully voiced, so we work closely with the Audio team, writing up scripts to be recorded.
Once we have all the information shared across other teams, we are able to block out our Training Modules and Scenarios.
  • A Data Asset is created, which includes information on the Scenario or Training Module. This information will appear in the in-game menus. 
  • We use something called Blueprints to build out the player objectives.
These, when combined, allow us to implement an early working version of a Scenario or Training Module.
We then include Dialogue and Voice Overs into the Objectives Blueprint.
Every week we review the content we’re working on and give each other feedback. We then move on to polishing. This will include cleaning up any issues, adding in scenario specific scenery, scoring, AI trains and thumbnail images.
Route Timetables
With all the service data collected in an Excel document, the route timetable can be implemented.
The Route Timetable is a 24-hour version of the ones implemented into Scenarios and Training Modules, meaning service patterns need to flow correctly and we keep track of every train. Since Route Timetables are 24 hours, we have to simulate running them (which is far quicker than testing them for a whole day), ensuring trains run on time, meet at station platforms or yards correctly, and leave and enter portals, amongst many other factors.
One of the challenges when working on these is that you can’t have any late trains, which can take many hours of simulating and tweaking, ironing out any minor issues.
Journeys
Journey chapters house all the scenarios, training modules and the services in the Route Timetable, each chapter allowing for varied experiences.
Spirit of Steam allowed us to explore this slightly differently than before. Allowing us to focus the player on knowing how to control a steam locomotive before offering them more challenging experiences as they continue to familiarise themselves with both locomotives.
Scenario Designer
Scenario Designer is a task that can be either fairly simple, or very tedious to implement. It all depends on the route. We aim to open up as many paths on the route for the player to take, keeping in mind, we want to avoid causing obstructions or queuing at signals.
Sherman Hill and Harlem Line are great examples of fairly straightforward routes to design and implement. 2-3 up and down lines, lots of yard roads for variety.
Spirit of Steam again was another challenge. There’s a lot of the route to cover, allowing for all manner of paths you can potentially take. In this situation, we review what paths are covered in the Route Timetable and use those as reference to implement as many paths as we can.
Michael will be joining us on Railfan TV this month to talk specifically about making scenarios, so keep an eye out on the weekly schedule!

Team spotlight: Alex

Each month, we’ll bring a new member of the Roadmap and ask them a little bit about themselves. This month, it’s Alex, our new Community Manager for Train Sim World.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well to start from the beginning, I've grown up in North-West England but also partly in Spain and Wales for a few years. I love science fiction and movies, as well as creating artwork and being creative - I previously had a YouTube channel where I loved creating gaming content.
From there I studied Astrophysics at university for a year before switching into a Video Game Art degree and graduating last year! I also love cats and very much plan to get many of my own someday.
2) What is your history with trains?
My history with trains is very brief, but I do travel on the rails very often as I commute from my home in Chester to my partner in London a few times a month so I've found that train time is where I can get creative with sketching and watching TV shows, it's become a comfort to me now.
I'm looking forward to getting onboard with the world of train and rail, learning more, and channelling the passion you all share!
3) What are you enjoying most so far about life in the Train Sim World community?
Everyone in the community is extremely passionate about the game and they all want to help us get Train Sim World to the best place it can, which is why I'm so excited to get more projects and fun events planned to give players new experiences. The community has also been incredibly welcoming!
4) What will your role entail within Dovetail?
My role in the Dovetail team is to join in with the community and help the team create exciting new ways for players to play and enjoy the game, giving players that fantastic feeling of having a greater connection to their favourite games. I will also be jumping on live streams and creating more fun patch notes, like these here.
5) Describe yourself in 3 words.
Enthusiastic, Compassionate and Dependable.
Alex joined us last week for an introduction stream. To find out more about him, give it a watch here (and please excuse JD’s driving…)!

Community improvements

A short update on other areas of improvement we’re currently investigating.
Xbox ‘Jackhammer’ Audio - fixed
We are pleased to say that, as of the update on June 27th 2022, this issue is resolved. Thanks to everyone who helped us reporting the issue and providing us with details – as well as our Xbox beta community, who have helped us with testing this complex fix.
As part of this update, Xbox players should be able to upload Railfan Shots to Creators Club liveries again, too.
Crashes on Rush Hour routes (and others)
The current solution for out of memory crashes we’re working on relates to the DLC Manager we mention above. We hope to significantly reduce memory use within Train Sim World 2 (as you will have fewer Add-ons loaded each time you play), meaning a reduction of Out of Memory crashes.
In terms of progress since June’s Roadmap, we believe we have a solution – it needs to be comprehensively tested with both our internal teams and beta testers. There is no ETA yet, but work is ongoing.
Save Game/Red Light Issues
Whilst not the same issue, we’re bundling these together at this stage as they’re in similar places in terms of investigation.
We are currently working on what a longer-term improvement for the Dispatcher and Save Game functionality would look like, as it is looking like a case-by-case approach isn’t feasible, and, as with the Add-ons Manager, we’d rather work on a solution that will solve the majority of issues at the source.

Roadmap 

These are forthcoming add-ons that are being developed by Dovetail Games. Where details are still being finalised for a release we are including the ID code for it when possible. This will give you a good idea of what to expect. To see what these ID codes mean you can refer to this post
  • German Route 
  • US Route 
These are forthcoming add-ons that are being developed by teams outside Dovetail Games. Where details are still being finalised for a release, we are including the ID code for it when possible. This will give you a good idea of what to expect. To see what these ID codes mean you can refer to this post
  • NEW: [GCC-R7 05] Island Line 2022: BR Class 484 – developed by Rivet Games
  • [DBB-L5 01] DB BR 420 Electric Multiple Unit (Hauptstrecke München-Augsburg) - Developed by TSG
Core features are larger projects. These may be significant new pieces of functionality or changes that will affect players on one or several different platforms. Often requiring more time in development this list may move more slowly than others.
  • Add-ons Manager (previously PS5 DLC Limit fix)
  • Spirit of Steam manual fireman functionality
  • PlayStation 4 - PlayStation 5 profile transfer
Projects that players will notice but don’t fall into one of the other categories. 
  • Dovetail Live rewards
  • Rush Hour passenger system for London Commuter 
  • Red Light / Dispatcher improvements across multiple routes (starting with Rush Hour routes and Harlem Line)
Projects that are being tackled by the Preservation Crew. Many of these upgrades will simply be adding the latest game functionality to an older route. The additions or changes in the “upgrade” will include some or all of the following: station departure boards, animated crossings, platform climb-up functionality, improved track rendering, Rush Hour passenger density and appearance, support for RailDriver, contact signaller functionality, minor fixes to scenery, minor fixes to audio, minor fixes to gameplay, minor fixes to menu items, Livery Designer compatibility and Scenario Planner expansion. 
This month, we have included a ‘scale’ of the size of the work/features put into the update, but we’ll go into more detail about what will be included in each of these releases in tonight’s stream.
  • [Tiny] Scottish Commuter 
  • [Small] Hauptstrecke Hamburg-Lübeck, including timetable update
  • [Medium] Rhein-Ruhr Osten
  • [Small] 2022 Bakerloo timetable (600+services)
  • [Small] Long Island Rail Road
  • [Huge] Peninsula Corridor
  • [Huge] Oakville Subdivision
  • [Tiny] LGV Mediterrannée
Items that have been removed from the Roadmap. This is either because they have been completed, their status having changed or the project having been suspended. 
  • Approved licenced brand decals for the Livery Designer [batch 1 released]
  • Preservation Crew update - [Large] Great Western Express - released
  • Preservation Crew update - [Medium] Northern Trans-Pennine - released
  • Preservation Crew update - [Tiny] West Somerset Railway - released
  • Xbox ‘Jackhammer’ Audio issue - released
Please join us tonight on Twitch or YouTube (Tuesday 5th July), where we’ll discuss the above (and more!) with Matt and JD at 19:00 UTC. If you have any questions, please add them to this thread, where we’ll answer as many as we can in an extended Q&A at the end of the stream.
You can discuss the contents of this month’s Roadmap on our forums below.
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Train Sim World
5 Jul
TRAIN SIM WORLD 2 ROADMAP 5 JULY 2022