Train Sim World

Rush Hour – Building Riesa Dresden

We talk to the development team on Train Sim World 2 to find out more about the featured German route featured in Rush Hour...
We are joined by Joe and Michael who are associate designers for the Gameplay team at Dovetail. And Lukas Klimczyk who has been working with Dovetail to help with the signals and track laying for Rush Hour.

Lukas this is your first time joining us, what have you been responsible for in the creation of Rush Hour?

Lukas: I am contracted at Dovetail to lay track and add the signals for Rush Hour. I have worked with Dovetail in the past on Train Simulator, and that’s how this opportunity came my way.
I work closely with the rest of the team to assist with any German specific questions they may have.

How have you approached this project? Is it different to other things you have worked on?

Lukas: This has been different. We already had a lot of research because the route was created in Train Simulator, which certainly helped us save time in areas that could take hours.
The research in track and signals is 50% of the work, we require a lot of information, and we spend a lot of time looking for it and talking to people who can help us.
Image of super-elevated junctions

What kind of services are we planning on having with Dresden?

Michael: We are currently planning for everything, it’s how we approach every DLC.
Even if we don’t have the stock required, we put everything in planning so that if we do decide to create the DLC for the rolling stock we have all of that information to hand. Our focus is on passenger services, but there will be some freight services too.

On the theme of rush Hour, is there anything you have had to take into consideration to make it feel the way it should?

Michael: You will definitely see some changes, what we are focusing on for Rush hour now is that we include every single service we can available. We then put focus on freight and passenger to ensure the traffic is there.
Joe: One thing we are trying to focus on this time is background AI. Not stuff you drive but just things you will see in the background.
The S3 for example is one train an hour but it heads down to Freiberg. It's what we like to call “scenery trains” as it just adds a bit more to the route and makes it feel more alive. We have used them before in previous routes but we are trying to add more this time to really get that Rush Hour feel.
Spreadsheet, showing research for the S1 service pattern.

How busy is this route from a signaling point of view?

Lukas: It is especially busy at the yard, the thing about Dresden is that it’s old east Germany, so we still have these old east German HL signals. At Dresden they seamlessly intersect with the KS signaling.
Further out on the route you have the same signals but you can distinctly see one signaling system end and a new one begins.
In Dresden they just overlap with each other. It was a huge job because the signaling systems, like in reality they are separated in the code. Making them interact with each other is a lot of work and it was very satisfying when it came together.
For this route we have spent a lot of time trying to include more features such as the multi block signaling so that when the signal is Red further ahead it starts to lower the speed on the signals ahead to make you approach slower.

How many different types of signals are there and how many have you used?

Lukas: The route has a lot of different signals, we have implemented the HL system which is completely new to Train Sim World, with the help of the art team we created 20 new signals just for this system.
We have also reworked the KS signals to tweak the colours so they look more realistic and give it a more natural feel.

What makes this route Rush Hour?

Michael: The good thing about this route is that we can bolster the traffic with previous DLC we have had before. You will not only have four rail vehicles (Deutsche Bahn's BR 442, BR 143, BR 146.2 in DB livery and BR 185.5 in MRCE black livery) which already come with the pack, but you can also enhance your experience with other DLC from your collection. It will be the busiest route that we have ever released. There are going to be large portions of services compared to what we have done before.
Joe: Where freight is concerned, it’s important to remember that you are second class and you are going to have to wait for every single passenger service that needs to get to their destination. Expect a lot of red signals. We like to look at it as an opportunity to admire the route art while we wait. It’s also trainspotter paradise.
Lukas: Dresden is very compact and that’s why we needed that multi block signaling system, because the trains really come in rapid succession and they share a lot of tracks. There will be a lot of red and yellow signals and it’s certainly a lot of fun. In the Dresden area there are hundreds of signals and it gives you the feeling that there is a lot going on here.
Michael: There’s a lot to do and it’s going to be up to the player what they like the sound of the most.

Has this been challenging to create?

Lukas: Train Sim World 2 brings with it many opportunities; I find that we are able to do more and spend more time adding extra features.
We were able to add super elevated junctions, this will be a first for Dovetail. It is something that requires a lot of work because we need to angle the track and make sure the heights are correct to ensure the best rider experience.
It’s a unique feature for this route, but it is something we hope to start getting implemented for future routes.
We are also introducing different ballast colours for this route as we now have the technology to do so.

How have the new consoles impacted gameplay?

Joe: What the new generation consoles do allow us to do is it takes the upper limit bar away from us so we can allow for a lot more traffic. Trains can be queued up at signals without performance issues. In the past we have had to be very aware of memory limitations, with the new generation we should hopefully be able to add more. We don’t know the current memory limit for PC users, but it should be somewhere similar to the next generation console.
Michael: If anyone is going to be testing the limits of memory usage it will be our team.

Have you had a highlight creating this route?

Lukas: I think the most satisfying thing for me is the Dresden main station itself, we have been able to sculpt the track to the many different gradients, approaching the station feels much more real now.
I love routes with gradients, and although this one doesn’t necessarily have large gradients. This route has a lot of big junction areas a lot of them are with flyovers. It’s really fun.
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Train Sim World
25 May
Rush Hour – Building Riesa Dresden
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