Train Sim World 4

Train Sim World Roadmap: April 2023

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.
  • Three new additions to the Roadmap
    • The much-anticipated (and teased) Class 700/0, Just Trains’ first Train Sim World route and A new UK route!
  • Updates on Midland Main Line and Peak Forest
    • Find out where we are in development and embrace new screenshots!
  • Four releases in March
    • Including West Cornwall Local Steam Railtour, Linke Rheinstrecke, Loco Add-on Bundle 2, and Niddertalbahn
  • Patches for Edinburgh-Glasgow
    • Passenger improvements, US content, and PS4 Add-ons Manager are now live
  • Train Sim World 3 Core Improvements and Content Patches
    • With updates on HST Livery Designer Compatibility, TSW2 updates, Peninsula Corridor and Oakville Subdivision
  • Inside development: Choosing a Route!
    • A development deep dive on how we select our routes
  • TramSim on Console launches on April 25th

The Roadmap

Whew! And breathe. After a busy March schedule, April is here – and with it comes fooling, frolics, and fun. And trains, obviously.
We have three new items for you in this month’s Roadmap: in the worst-kept secret since, well, TSW3 (sorry JD), the Class 700/0 has made its way into proceedings. Whilst it’s a little while off releasing at this point, we have your first opportunity to some screenshots of what we know is a highly-anticipated EMU addition to TSW3.
We’ve also added Just Trains’ first Train Sim World route to the Roadmap as a UK Route – again, this is a while off launching at this point, but the team are making good progress, and we have a short update for you in the ‘Partner Programme’ section.
We’re also working on a new UK route, of which there will be more information in future Roadmaps.
In case you missed it last week, we announced Midland Main Line, developed by Skyhook Games, will now be releasing in April – you can check out the latest news, with some new screenshots, in our ‘Upcoming Content’ section.
And in more UK railfan news, we’ve also got some more details on our next Steam route, Peak Forest - again in our ‘Upcoming Content’ section.
Combine that with a Patch Notes update, as well as a cheeky feature on how we select our routes within TSW3 – a question we get asked all the time – and the news that TramSim Console, developed by our friends at ViewApp, is now available to pre-order on PlayStation before release on April 25th (Xbox Series S and Series X pre-order will be available a little later down the line), it’s another busy month in the world of TSW.
For those who celebrate them, Happy Easter, Ramadan Mubarak, chag Pesach sameach, and happy reading!
Note: due to staff holidays, we will not be doing a live stream with today’s Roadmap, but have opened up an April Roadmap Q&A forum thread for you to ask question. Read on, and fire away!

Midland Main Line: Leicester – Nottingham and Derby

Coming later this April, Midland Main Line is something we know loads of you are excited for. By way of introduction, we asked Jane Whittaker, CTO of Skyhook Games (and avid railfan), for their view of the route. If you haven’t already, check out last month’s Roadmap (https://live.dovetailgames.com/live/train-sim-world/articles/article/tsw-roadmap-march-2023) for some more details on how Skyhook have developed the route.
"Very shortly after we started work on Midland Mainline, we realised that we were creating something special. This was not just “another” route for Train Sim World 3. In our hands were a responsibility to deliver an iconic route dear to the heart of many rail fans, taking in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. Add to that the equally iconic Class 158 DMU and the VP185 powered HST.
"One thing we did not wish to do was rush this awesome opportunity but to create a route and locomotives that will, we hope, become a firm favourite with fans. With that in mind and with the full support of our friends at Dovetail, we have gone the extra mile with quality and prototypical realism.
"Thousands of man hours have been spent by our talented art team to create the route and surrounding environments in a way that we hope that does justice to its real-world counterpart, within the limitations of home simulation. Utilising new optimisation techniques, we have striven hard to create a sense of immersion and familiarity to those of us who have regularly travelled this route. We want you to be there, with hundreds of hand crafted buildings, landmarks and interesting things to spot in the landscape!
"Supporting this, we know there has been huge interest in the 158 DMU. We share the excitement of the community, so this DMU has been built from the ground up, in terms of visual model, systems and performance. Great effort has been made, in consultation with real Class 158 drivers and engineering technicians to have the 158 drive as close as possible to the real thing. Yes, we spent weeks ensuring braking was accurate to a “well worn” Class 158. Acceleration and a range of parameters are as prototypical as we can get them. Not forgetting a unique sound set which brings this 158 to life. Thank you to all our resident experts and beta crew for your depth of support.
"Last but not least, we are introducing a new version of the equally iconic HST. The VP185 version which has never before been seen in Train Sim World! We wanted to do this justice not only with an accurate sound set recorded from the VP185 but also taking in to account the differences that enthusiasts appreciate. There are cab layout differences to the previous HST variants. There are performance differences with the VP185 powerplant. We have worked long and hard to make this version of the HST unique.
"If that were not enough, we have added scenarios which I was keen to see added into the mix, as a keen rail enthusiast myself. Layering with other route locomotives allows you to drive a Class 45 “Peak” on a railtour, other specials and even freight services. Let’s not also forget the Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT), to name but a few of the “specials”. In short, we have really brought this route to life. I felt a tingle down my spine, at the helm of a Peak and a rake of MKII coaches pulling out of Derby!
"I want, on behalf of myself and the team to thank you for your support and keen interest in Midland Mainline. Your comments and enthusiasm across the Dovetail forums and social media has inspired us. We hope that translates into enjoyment for all of you, on each and every mile you drive."
  • Jane Whittaker, CTO of Skyhook Games
Timetable
Thanks, Jane! Whilst we’ll talk more about the timetable at a later date, we wanted to share some top-level details with you.
The Skyhook team have accurately simulated the 158 and HST playable timetable for this route, equating to:
  • 72 playable BR Class 158 services
  • 59 playable HST services
And, if you like variety, there’s a lot to be found with content layering onto the route:
  • 2 playable Class 45 railtour services (1 each way, requires Northern Trans-Pennine)
  • 2 playable Class 66 railtour services (1 each way, requires Southeastern High Speed and Northern Trans-Pennine)
  • 5 playable Railhead Treatment Train services (requires Railhead Treatment Train)
  • 5 playable ROG Class 37 services (requires Rail Operations Group BR Class 37/7, and mixes with Northern Trans-Pennine, Southeastern High Speed, and London Commuter)
  • There is one freight service, featuring Southeastern High Speed’s Class 66
The HST will appear as AI at St Pancras on Southeastern High Speed, too.
A Process of Collaboration
Midland Main Line has been a thoroughly collaborative project. Just as we at Dovetail have sought help from the likes of TSG and our beta community for the BR103 on Linke Rheinstrecke, we’ve been able to help and support Skyhook in Midland Main Line.
So, in practical terms – Skyhook have built the groundwork for the 158 and HST by building the models, artwork, and animations, and we’ve been able to support on the implementation of Armstrong Powerhouse sounds, as well as physics set-up and loco set-up. The 158 will also have the same internal destination system (GSM/R) as Birmingham Cross-City’s BR 323, so players can expect a consistent experience.
The Class 43 will also have new AP-sourced, Dovetail-implemented sounds as well.
We’re looking forward to you seeing it in action in the preview stream planned for later this month – there’ll be a 158 and HST walkaround video later this week, and if you keep an eye out on Skyhook’s socials (available at the bottom of their website here: https://skyhookgames.com/), they’ll be sharing lots of screenshots and gameplay as the month continues.

Peak Forest: Ambergate – Chinley & Buxton

Our second Steam route is now deep in development, and it’s a very different prospect to Liverpool-Crewe. Set in 1963, in the latter stages of the dieselisation of the British Railways, the Peak Forest route will provide a more challenging Steam experience, whilst offering incredible scenery into the bargain.
Incorporating banking operation in service mode to navigate steep inclines, and a scenario featuring double-heading, it aims to bring new dynamics to steam under the breathtaking backdrop of the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
You can see the route in action in screenshots, and we’ll talk more about the content in the coming weeks, but we wanted to include some answers to questions we know you’ve been asking.
Why terminate at Ambergate?
When we look at the extents of any route project, we look at more than just where trains naturally start and end, consider what we want to focus on, and what the key elements of a project are. In this case, the journey from Ambergate to Chinley across the Peak Forest and the Wye Valley, as well as really capturing the incredible beauty of this area of railway line were our primary goals.
We want to provide immersive player experiences, and we felt like this was the best option. Hopefully during the preview streams you’ll see what we mean!
Will there be banking operations?
Yes – within scenarios, and as part of timetable mode.
What will the timetable look like?
It is based on the 1963 timetable. There have been some tweaks to make it all work (a lack of sources for the freight timetable at the time has meant we’ve taken a ‘best guess’ approach based on photographs we’ve sourced from the time), but we’ve kept as close as possible to that timetable.
Will there be any diesel locomotives in the pack?
Not with this release. We wanted to focus on the Steam experience with this Add-on primarily.
Will Steam physics be improved?
The team are working hard to improve the physics of firing and general operation for this release for the LMS Fowler 4F.
We also plan to add these improvements to existing routes that use them in the TSW back-catalogue (Spirit of Steam, West Cornwall Local Steam Railtour). These might come after release though.
TSW3’s worst-kept secret is out. The Class 700/0 is coming to Train Sim World!
And, it’s coming this summer. As you can see from the screenshot above, the skeleton has been built, and the next step is making it operable, and working with the Southeastern High Speed timetable. We’re a way off from talking features, audio, and set-up at the moment, but when we have more we’ll share it with you!
If you look really closely, you can see a Thameslink service on the PIS board, and right in the distance, you can just about make out the beginnings of the Class 700/0. Well done if you spotted it!
…and if you were hoodwinked by our April Fools fun, then we can only apologise – sorry (but not really!).

Easter Mastery event

Who’s ready for an egg-siting treat? (get used to the egg puns, there’s going to be lots of them).
From tomorrow (Wednesday, 5th April), you can take part in an Easter Egg Hunt in the Training Center, as part of a Mastery event, for some egg-cedingly good rewards.
Complete Tier 1 by completing any tutorial, scenario, or timetable in the game, and activate the Easter Egg Hunt overlay in the Mastery menu (the same place the Christmas decorations overlay is – if you want to go fully festive, you can have them both live at the same time). Then, hop in and get searching!
Find 15 eggs for the giant Easter Bunny in the Reception area, and pick up some Easter-themed decals for using in Livery Designer. There’s a special surprise if you collect all 15. Egg-straordinary!

Train Sim World 3 Core Improvements and Content Patches

A progress summary on the core improvements the teams are working on. This month, we have (everyone’s favourite) Add-ons Manager, a follow up on pathing/red lights improvements, and a quick note on upcoming patches.
Add-ons Manager
We’ve added Add-ons Manager functionality to PS4, which, as well as helping players who had reached a limit on Add-ons access to their full collection, has brought on a reduction of loading time and general performance improvements. Next on our list is Xbox, before we bring it to PC platforms afterwards.
Spirit of Steam AI SPAD and physics improvements
The team are aiming for Peak Forest’s release to bring you improvements to AI SPADs on the Liverpool-Crewe route, as well as some physics tweaks (that we plan to bring to both Liverpool-Crewe and West Cornwall Local Steam).
HST Livery Designer Compatibility
We are hoping, all being well, to bring this to you with Midland Main Line’s release in April.
Peninsula Corridor and Oakville Corridor Baby Bullet services
We’re now bundling these two pieces of content together, as they are caused by the same UI issue. Whilst we’ve not made progress since the last Roadmap on this one, it’s something the team will be investigating as soon as we’re able.
TSW2 Preservation Crew releases
This has been a particularly tricky project to schedule into our calendars, and we apologise for the delay in bringing this to you. We are committed to bringing the improvements to you, and are hopeful they will be released in the next couple of months.
For context, this was the largest patch update we’ve made within TSW (when it released for TSW3 in September), so requires a lot of space to prepare and put into builds. Thanks for bearing with us.

Patches (from the past month)

Here’s a quick summary of the contents of the patches released in the past month you may have missed.
7th March
14th March
20th March
29th March
4th April
Post-release patch, U.S. content (Northeast Corridor: New York – Trenton, Amtrak’s Acela®)

Upcoming patches

Other content we’ve added to the Roadmap are post-release improvement patches to:
  • Linke Rheinstrecke
  • Loco Add-on Bundle 2
    • New scenario for Railbow and Enhancement on Cajon Pass timetable for SD70Ace
  • Niddertalbahn
  • Bremen-Oldenberg

Third-Party developer (Partner Programme) update

Updates from some of our Partner Programme developers. This month, we have an update from the team at Just Trains, after their first TSW3 route has been added to the Roadmap.
Just Trains
The Just Trains team are working hard bringing our first product to Train Sim World. We've completed over 40 miles of track laying and signalling, and the team are now in the process of detailing the world to the level that our customers have come to expect from Just Trains.
A fully featured seasonal timetable is in the course of development and we are looking forward to be able to show people what is being achieved in the coming months. Along with this, an exciting new train will join the Train Sim World line-up as part of our product!
TSG
The team are working on post-release Niddertalbahn improvements, which will come in a later patch. As well as performance improvements, the headliner of which is allowing consoles to activate PZB as intended.

Inside Development – How we pick our routes

It’s one of the questions we get asked all the time: How do we select the routes we develop within our games?
Well, it’s a pretty intricate process, and we’ve instilled Steve, one of our Senior Producers (and owner of the LAMP process – more on this below!), to provide the details.
Choosing a route is a particularly complex process and generally begins with an outline proposal, either from an internal (staff member) or external (community) source. It is particularly important for us to understand what it is we’re trying to achieve and that anything we proceed with is of value not just to us but to our players too. Understanding where a route fits in with the entire catalogue of content, whilst providing value and entertainment for players is critical. When we evaluate a proposal, we look at four major areas, what we refer to as the LAMP process: Licensing, Anticipation, Mix and Prominence.

L - Licensing

Licensing covers our legal obligations and answers questions such as do we have licenses or agreements in place to ensure we can represent the route appropriately with the trains that are seen on the route in the real world, for the time period proposed? Are there any additional licenses we need to bring in to develop the route? This then informs our Licensing and Contracts Team on where they need to focus their resources.

A - Anticipation

Anticipation is about how our players perceive the route, and the included content. This probably is the most subjective area of the evaluation as we’re essentially evaluating how well players will receive the route in its proposed form. We spend a great deal of time looking at the reviews and comments from similarly based routes that we released previously as well as any thoughts and concerns raised on any proposals that have been submitted by players. Are players going to find the content boring or just a duplication of a previously released route? If there is strong support for a route, where is it in the hierarchy?

M - Mix

Mix looks at the gameplay element in greater detail. Is there enough gameplay provided in the route to keep players occupied and engaged? Does the value of the included content and gameplay align with the intended pricing? Does the gameplay volume align with previously released content? Are there any unique elements in the gameplay that we can leverage to improve the gameplay offering (new industry elements or interactive components that can enhance the experience)?

P - Prominence

Prominence looks at the global commercial appeal of the route – are the locations represented known globally or is the route known only to locals? Are there prominent landmarks which are required to properly represent the route? Do the included locos have appropriate appeal to the players? Is there any prominence to the locos (are they famous)? Routes that have greater global appeal and have strong landmark features, with trains that are likely to engage the players are more likely to move forward to approval.
Once all the above areas are evaluated, we then use traffic lights to score each segment: Red – No Go. Yellow – Concerns. Green – Go. Recommendations are then made for any areas marked Red or Yellow and placed in a fifth section called Recommendations/Opportunities. Recommendations are those which highlight where the proposal can be modified to improve the overall score. Opportunities are those areas which enable us to “push the envelope” or raise the bar by adding additional content or including key elements not factored in the proposal such as a yard which could add switching/shunting opportunities or a key landmark which will help to improve global appeal.
As an example, on reviewing the proposal submitted for the Boston – Providence route, it was identified that a key aspect was required to maximise the route’s potential in terms of gameplay and prominence – this was of course Amtrak’s Acela®. We highlighted that it is more likely that Amtrak’s Acela® was perhaps known internationally due to tourism in New York, as well as nationally and locally, due to its prominence as America’s only High-Speed Train service. This was also cross-compared with proposals submitted by players who also confirmed to us it was a highly demanded train and we recommended it should be prioritised for development.

The Train Sim World Roadmap

DOVETAIL GAMES RELEASES
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. For Train Sim World 3, we’ve amended these product codes. To see what these ID codes mean you can refer to our ID code thread.
  • [3.GAA-R5 02] Peak Forest: Ambergate – Chinley and Buxton
  •  New  [3.GBB-R7 04] UK Route
  •  New  [3.GKK-L7 01] Thameslink BR Class 700/0
PARTNER PROGRAMME RELEASES 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 our ID code thread.
  • [3.GDG-R7 02] Midland Main Line: Leicester – Derby and Nottingham – (developed by Skyhook Games)
  •  New  [3.GDF-R5 01] UK Route – (developed by Just Trains)
  • [3.DBB-L5 01] DB BR 420 Electric Multiple Unit (Hauptstrecke München-Augsburg) – (developed by TSG)
CORE FEATURES
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.
  • [TSW3] Add-ons Manager (Xbox, PC)
  • [TSW3] Derailing improvements (route-by-route)
  • [TSW3] Save Game improvements (route-by-route)
  • [TSW3] Performance optimisation
MISCELLANEOUS
Projects that players will notice but don’t fall into one of the other categories.
  • [TSW2/TSW3] Rush Hour passenger system for London Commuter
  • [TSW2/TSW3] Manual fireman functionality for Steam locomotives
SPECIAL PROJECTS TEAM AND PATCHES
Projects that are being tackled by the Special Projects team. 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. We have included a ‘scale’ of the size of the work/features put into the update.
  • [TSW3] US Content post-release patch (Trenton, Amtrak’s Acela®, UP Heritage Collection)
  • [TSW3] Linke Rheinstrecke post-release patch
  • [TSW3] Loco Add-on Bundle 2 post-release patch
  • [TSW3] Niddertalbahn post-release patch
  • [TSW2][TSW3] HST Livery Designer functionality
  • [TSW3] Peninsula Corridor + Oakville Subdivision – access to Baby Bullet services
  • [TSW3][TSW2] DB BR 187 Audio improvements
  • [TSW2] [Tiny] Scottish Commuter
  • [TSW2] [Small] Hauptstrecke Hamburg-Lübeck, including timetable update
  • [TSW2] [Medium] Rhein-Ruhr Osten
  • [TSW2] [Small] 2022 Bakerloo timetable (600+services)
  • [TSW2] [Small] Long Island Rail Road
  • [TSW2] [Huge] Peninsula Corridor – NOTE: there are further improvements to come on both games
  • [TSW2] [Huge] Oakville Subdivision
  • [TSW2] [Tiny] LGV Mediterrannée
REMOVED FROM ROADMAP
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.
  • [TSW3] – [3.DBB-R6 04] Linke Rheinstrecke: Mainz-Koblenz - released
  • [TSW3] - Loco Add-on Bundle 02 - released
  • [3.GCD-L7 01] Rail Operations Group BR Class 37/7 - released
  • [3.NDD-L7 03] BNSF SD70ACe - released
  • [3.DBB-L7 04] DB BR 403 ICE 3 Railbow - released
  • [TSW3] [3.GAA-E6 01] West Cornwall Local: Steam Railtour (developed by Rivet Games) - released
  • [TSW3] [3.DGG-R6 01] Niddertalbahn: Bad Vilbel – Glauburg-Stockheim (developed by TSG) – released
  • [TSW3] Add-ons Manager for PS4 - released
You can discuss the contents of this month’s Roadmap on our forums, and ask any questions you want to on our dedicated April Roadmap Q&A thread, or send us messages across all our socials (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).
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Train Sim World Roadmap: April 2023