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nealmac

Train Simming

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So I've been taking a bit of a break from flight simming lately. Just kinda lost interest in it. I've spend hundreds on addons and I know it seems ridiculous to lose interest in such a hobby I've invested so much in. But that's just the way it is. Hopefully it's only temporary.

 

Anyway, I was looking for a change, and I've noticed there are a lot of train sims on the market now. I'm what's the best way to start out on such a venture? Which sims offer the best options in terms of expansion? Obviously I don't want to make the mistake of investing a lot of money too early on, in case I realise it's not for me further down the line. I'm based in Ireland, so anything European would be ideal. I have a Steam account, but I'm not sure if Steam is the best option, as it may have limitations in terms of expansion.

 

So what is people's advice?

Edited by nealmac

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I used to regularly lose interest. Did try Train Simming once but my goodness i found that got boring within an hour or two. That spurred me on to make sure that whenever Flight Sim gets tedious, i just take a break from it and go enjoy the realities of the real world.

These days i have found a balance whereby i never get bored of Flight Sim, and i constantly look forward to having spare time to be able to enjoy it (and spend interim periods reading about upcoming developments and mentally planning my next session).

I probably on average have a single 2 hour session every 2 weeks or so, with a selection of my favourite aircraft and some terrific scenery all setpup and ready to go at the drop of a hat. I have plenty of stored flightplans etc... so whenever i get a window of spare time, i can jump right in and simulate a flight to a very high degree of accuracy. Currently i focus on FSL A320 and PMDG 744 (although rarely used as its long haul). And right now, im just getting into the MaddogX and enjoying reading about the real world MD80 and perusing real FCOMs in my spare time between using Flight Sim.

"And on that bombshell..." (in reference to your pic! 🙂 )

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I'd go with Train Sim World from Dovetail. It's very pretty as it's based on UE4 and it actually has a proper timetable and the trains have proper systems and start up. Downside is lack of content, there's only a couple of UK lines available (Manchester to Leeds via Huddersfield in the 1980s, and Reading to London Paddington in the 2010s)

Their older Train Simulator series has a lot of content available, but it's all at a price and variable quality and ultimately it's just rather old hat.

Edited by ckyliu
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I'd have a look at Train Sim World if I were you. It requires a fairly decent computer to run it, but if you have a good flight sim PC then that won't be a problem. The reason I suggest it is because it does something a little different from previous train sims, and that is, putting you in the world as a person who can walk around, which might not seem like a big deal but in practice it actually adds a lot to the experience: You actually can explore the world on foot and of course walk up to the locomotive, get into it to operate it. You get out to operate the couplings, throw points manually, operate turntables and such and can walk about on the trains themselves.

Since trains are fairly complicated to operate (i.e. they have all kinds of different brake systems and such, and the signalling system is quite complex to understand initially), the fact that the CSX Heavy Haul part of Train Sim World has a kind of 'storyline' of tutorials whereby you start out as a new freight train driver employee of CSX, to show you how things work and teach you the correct way to operate a locomotive and its related stuff, is another big plus point of it. It even has you refueling the things, and yes, you do actually have to drive the train to the pumps, get off, walk up to the pumps, connect them, pump the fuel etc, etc.

It helps too that it is absolutely beautiful to look at graphically and is therefore amazingly convincing in appearance, thus the feeling of actually being on board a locomotive and operating it when inside it very much adds to its appeal in a way which becomes immediately obvious when you experience it. The appeal of trains is such that a simulator where actually feeling like you are really in and around them cannot be understated, and TSW definitely delivers on this aspect of the experience and I think you'll probably enjoy that treatment of a simulation experience, as it is a more 'inclusive' one.

Every bloke is basically a big kid at heart, and so being let loose in a world where it feels like you really are getting on the locomotives and operating them is one of the goals Dovetail stated they were aiming for with TSW, and they absolutely did deliver on that goal. so if you want to feel like you are genuinely playing about with a real locomotive, you can't go wrong with TSW.

Edited by Chock
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2 hours ago, Jetset408 said:

I used to regularly lose interest. Did try Train Simming once but my goodness i found that got boring within an hour or two. That spurred me on to make sure that whenever Flight Sim gets tedious, i just take a break from it and go enjoy the realities of the real world.

These days i have found a balance whereby i never get bored of Flight Sim, and i constantly look forward to having spare time to be able to enjoy it (and spend interim periods reading about upcoming developments and mentally planning my next session).

I probably on average have a single 2 hour session every 2 weeks or so, with a selection of my favourite aircraft and some terrific scenery all setpup and ready to go at the drop of a hat. I have plenty of stored flightplans etc... so whenever i get a window of spare time, i can jump right in and simulate a flight to a very high degree of accuracy. Currently i focus on FSL A320 and PMDG 744 (although rarely used as its long haul). And right now, im just getting into the MaddogX and enjoying reading about the real world MD80 and perusing real FCOMs in my spare time between using Flight Sim.

"And on that bombshell..." (in reference to your pic! 🙂 )

Knowing me Neal McCullough, Knowing you Rich Bates. A-HAAAA.

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32 minutes ago, byronp said:

Have you looked at Euro Truck Simulator.

Brian

Aye, I have it, and a couple of the expansions. It's pretty good but it gets a bit...samey after a while. I'm guessing TSW does too, but I just thought at least it would be a bit of a change.

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I also notice that as regards to train simming, hardly anyone ever mentions Run8, which is considered by many to be the "simmers train sim", with extremely realistic operation. (Pretty much a train version of study level)

That focus on realism comes with a steep learning curve that chases many away, and makes the title not nearly as financially successful as the much more accessible DTG train titles, but while Trainsim is wide but not very deep, Run8 is very VERY deep. http://www.run8studios.com/

 

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1 minute ago, dmarques69 said:

Hiflyer do you have the game? did you tried in VR? If yes give me your opinion please.

I think it's fun as heck. As in, little kid running around in a candy store fun.

 

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What you want/need is 'Transport Fever'. It's on Steam and it'll cost you 32 Euro and that's it. All DLC (and there's a LOT! )is freely available via Steam TpF forum/workshop. Perfect for slowly loose your flightsim addiction because, next to, railway-, tram-, bus-, truck- and boat lines you can run airlines as well. (yes, you can ride along with any vehicle too).

Starts in 1850 ( if you want) so you get a wonderful overview of what's been going on in the transport business thru the ages. The programming is amazing, you can even follow each and every individual that inhabits the villages, towns and cities as he/she travels around to their homes, work, shops, etc. Never crashed on me once. There's an abundance of  'maps' from countries all over the world (including Ireland) or fictious as well. From completely flat like The Netherlands to nothing but mountains and valley's to wiggle your way thru. You can choose either European or American setting.   

First en foremost: it looks absolutely gorgeous and you won't get bored easily because there's quite a bit of learning to do too.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/446800/Transport_Fever/

  

 

 

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2 hours ago, nealmac said:

It's pretty good but it gets a bit...samey after a while. I'm guessing TSW does too, but I just thought at least it would be a bit of a change.

It does. I find ETA (or nowadays ATS) a lot more entertaining than TSW. I drive in ATS every now and then for a short while when I don't feel like flying. You have a lot more freedom, obviously, in a truck sim than in a traim sim. In TSW it's mainly a matter of speeding up and speeding down (in time) on the same old track all the time. That's about it. ETS/ATS is a lot more like flight simming, you have a lot more freedom. If I had to choose between TSW or ETS/ATS (as a sim to play when I don't feel like flying) I'd pick ETS/ATS. ATS runs (and looks) better on my PC too: TSW isn't bad but has more obvious popup.

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3 hours ago, J van E said:

It does. I find ETA (or nowadays ATS) a lot more entertaining than TSW. I drive in ATS every now and then for a short while when I don't feel like flying. You have a lot more freedom, obviously, in a truck sim than in a traim sim. In TSW it's mainly a matter of speeding up and speeding down (in time) on the same old track all the time. That's about it. ETS/ATS is a lot more like flight simming, you have a lot more freedom. If I had to choose between TSW or ETS/ATS (as a sim to play when I don't feel like flying) I'd pick ETS/ATS. ATS runs (and looks) better on my PC too: TSW isn't bad but has more obvious popup.

I have American Truck Simulator, but don't really run it all that often. Then again, what would that really accomplish when I actually drive the thing for a living.

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Thinking about it, I think I may be in need of something different myself. I've been in the community it seems like forever now, and looking back, pretty much nothing has changed at all, really. I started simming when FSX was just being released and X-plane was almost a cult thing that nobody but a chosen few took seriously.

Fast forward, and I'm still using FSX (with lotsa lipstick) and X-plane is finally getting some attention after toiling in the shadows for over a decade.

That's a lot of dog paddling to be in just about the same place. It can't be surprising that people get burned out, and look around for something that feels new, or even wander off altogether after being a bit too long in the genre that time forgot...... 😪

 

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It's usually around Christmas time that I get the bug to try a train sim (again) .  No idea why it's this time of year, but nonetheless.  I might give Run 8 a go this year.

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15 hours ago, nealmac said:

Aye, I have it, and a couple of the expansions. It's pretty good but it gets a bit...samey after a while. I'm guessing TSW does too, but I just thought at least it would be a bit of a change.

Although you will pay the price if you're a fussy driver.

 

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These days all I play is Elite Dangerous, my Goflight stuff and all my Controls are sitting in the loft.

I just got burned out with FSX/P3D and the relative lack of progress in the hobby over the years... Oh and the cost, I really don't miss the constant purchasing of addons, I feel sick when I think how much I have wasted over the years on FS9, FSX, P3D and chasing hardware.

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2 hours ago, Jude Bradley said:

Although you will pay the price if you're a fussy driver.

 

God thats good

 

although if they can afford to drive a Scania R620 TOPLINE, they could afford to buy a modestly priced train simulator.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys. Still not not sure what to go for haha. But it's nice to see all the options in one place.

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For train sims I would currently still recommend Train Simulator 2019 because the available selection of addon routes and trains is comparable to FSX. I would suggest waiting for a sale on Steam to get the base package, keep the advanced mode enabled (there is a simplified mode, but it is too boring for me), watch some youtube videos about brake systems, signaling and other stuff. When you are happy with what you see, you can then purchase some routes and more detailed trains. The quality and depth varies, so read reviews on Steam and elsewhere to see what fits your expectations.

Some of the trains have a "TS Pro" badge, those are usually (but not always) of better quality, just like with addon aircraft in flight simulators. One example: The DB BR 101 included in some of the German routes is OK, but on a basic to medium level. You can then buy the DB BR 101 Loco Add-On from virtualRailroads, either on Steam (most convenient; it has the TS Pro badge) or directly from virtualRailroads' shop (manual installation; from the ExpertLine; I think it has more liveries available than the Steam version). Of course for the UK you'll probably want a different locomotive 🙂

ETS/ATS are great, especially with a wheel instead of using a controller.

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Hi Folks,

There's always the free option - Open Rails Train Simulator - it's been a labor of love for more than a decade... The game engine isn't as pretty as TSW - but it has far greater depth with a focus on physics and operations... TSW is known for flash - not substance... ORTS has been developed by the community without concern for profit margins or deadlines - it's pretty amazing how far its come... If you like steam locomotives - which is my niche - ORTS has the most complex and realistic steam physics model ever placed in a sim... 

http://www.openrails.org/

 

Some of my modeling efforts in ORTS:

32494942048_666f5855f8_h.jpg

45454086665_4d6159c9ba_h.jpg

Regards,

Scott

Edited by scottb613
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Thanks Scott, that looks interesting. And a freebie might be a good way to check out the train simming world to see if it's for me or not

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6 hours ago, SierraHotel said:

Trainz 2019 looks interesting.............

 

I actually have the previous Trainz, A New Era, but barely use it. What it appears to promise and the actual experience are very far apart, and even the process of purchasing new routes seems very strange and a bit confusing. I don't regret the purchase, as it satisfied my curiosity, but it's not really what I was expecting from the videos at all.

I do note that the new title is using Nvidia Turf-FX, and that adds some very nice graphical touches that would have certainly raised my opinion of the previous title.

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