Given the almost life like characters and scenery in combat gaming nowadays on XBox and others, wondered if any train simulation game makers have pushed the envelope to make cab rides or dispatching games more realistic life like?  I had Train Sim but for me after a awhile, it looked "cartoonish", and I quit playing (but that was just me).  Granted we won't be doing hand to hand combat, blowing up things, killing, but have simulators evolved ? 

Or are newer simulation games on the market?

Original Post

many years ago I had a commodore 64 computer game and I had a train layout simulation program and you could create your own railroad layout design with full city's and town and then have the program run the trains on computer screen around the layout you just created and it was in full color! really was a neat train layout, even the switches could be thrown.

also had good sound effects  !

Alan 

p.s. does anyone remember this program ran on a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive!

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Alan Mancus posted:

many years ago I had a commodore 64 computer game and I had a train layout simulation program and you could create your own railroad layout design with full city's and town and then have the program run the trains on computer screen around the layout you just created and it was in full color! really was a neat train layout, even the switches could be thrown.

also had good sound effects  !

Alan 

p.s. does anyone remember this program ran on a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive!

Yep, had a commodore 64, then an Apple knockoff, then a Z80 PC, and finally a PC that could run Windows 2.0 I think.

As for 5 1/4", my Z80 that used them, then came the add on $400 10 meg hard drive, how in world could we possibly fill that space??

Back to topic.   I had a dispatcher game I think ran on Commodore.  It was fun to run trains, create meets, get as many through as possible.  Then improved when you could back up a train into siding.   Only wished the software could have been ported to 80xx windows platforms, but never did.  Too bad, I found the game challenging, and relaxing as I was playing against myself as such, no online networking (remember 300 baud dialups? (now I am showing my age.)) 

rrman posted:

...snip... remember 300 baud dialups?

I remember buying a 2400 because I could not afford a 9600.

Later Gator,

  Dave

 

Here comes a Yankee with a blackened soul,
Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
......Anonymous U. S. pilot during the Berlin Airlift

There are at least two examples of train simulator software commercially available for Windows PCs.  The development focus over the last 15+ years has been on ever-improving 3D graphics appealing to the general public.  I find the games good-looking and entertaining.  I don't believe that either one has truly accurate physics that would help someone learn the nuances of handling a heavy train in mountainous terrain.

It's possible that in the future, V-scale (as virtual railroading is sometimes called) will compete with or even exceed the physical scales in popularity.  These simulators are immersive, more realistic than small-scale models in terms of train-handling, and require NO physical space!  And at least one of the consumer simulators has an online "multi-player" feature where you can run side-by-side with other human-controlled trains.  Very cool!

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

I used to run Microsoft Train Simulator with some add on locomotives. Not bad for what it offered.

The thing that they got correct was the reality of long haul train operation. It took forever to get from one place to another. My favorite route was the Glacier Park - Marias Pass through the mountains. The Northeast Corridor was also interesting.

I waited for a long time to receive the upgrade that was to include the mainline over the Horseshoe Curve. But Microsoft sold it off before it was ever released. I haven't run the sim for a number of years.

PRRMP54 posted:

There are none.

Actually, there are two that fit those qualifications. Trainsimworld  (TSW) and Train Simulator both made by Dovetail Games and both are available on the Steam Store. I use and enjoy Train Simulator for my PC, the base game only has a few North American routes that come with it but I think they are fun. There are some pretty dang cool downloadable routes available but the minimum requirements are above what my little PC can handle and they are all at an extra cost so I have to stick with the basics.

TSW looks far superior in gameplay and graphic but it would probably set my PC on fire! The gameplay can be very detailed, for example on the GP38-2 tutorial, they have you going to the side of the engine to prime the motor. TSW does have content available for the both the XBOX and the PS4, however, I have not played that yet as I'm afraid I might get sucked in pretty hard. You can judge graphics and game mechanics yourself before you purchase by looking at Youtube videos of people playing. I found a channel called Train Simulator Gameplay. Here is a link to the tutorial video I mentioned above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUGfU7kVr30

Happy playing!

-Ken 

PRRMP54 posted:

There are none.

You're just not paying attention.

To answer the OP, yes, there are a number of simulators available. But in my experience, they aren't created equally.  Most seem to be simulations of standing trackside, watching trains go by (with the exception of ones like Ken posted, above).

Personally, I prefer a simulator that allows you to actually operate a train. As far as steam locomotives go, I haven't seen anything better than this:

https://ckhollidayplans.com/di...oad-steam-simulator/

This, to me, is a true simulator. Yes, it's based on two narrow gauge 4-4-0s that operate at a famous west-coast theme park. But those locomotives are fully-functioning steam engines, and have to be treated no differently than their main-line counterparts. They are oil fired. And actually,  small steam engines such as these are great teaching tools to learn the basics of steam locomotive management. Far easier than jumping into the cab of a Big Boy.

This is a true simulation. Everything is based on physics. You can't add water to the boiler without pressure dropping. If you increase the firing rate, your pressure will increase. Opening the throttle, or even blowing the whistle, will drop the pressure. As the lubrication heats up, the train will run more freely.

You can start the engine cold, in real time, using an air hookup to provide atomization and draft. It will take several hours to reach operating pressure. The "fireman" has to manipulate blower, atomizer, firing rate and water to maintain pressure. The "engineer" has to understand the air brake, and know about "hooking up" to save fuel and spare his fireman. There really isn't any aspect of firing and running a small steam locomotive that hasn't been covered here. You can also set certain functions to be "automatic," so if you just want to concentrate on being the engineer, you can set the engine to fire automatically. You can even quill the whistle.

I own a small library of about 50 catechisms and texts about running steam engines from the 1890s to the 1940s. The manual provided with this simulator is welcome to share shelf space with those authentic volumes.

This simulator was designed and created by someone with an engineering degree, and also someone who has studied steam locomotive mechanics and operation in-depth. If you really want to experience what it's like to be in the cab of a steam locomotive, this is the one for you. All that's missing is the heat.

Full disclosure: Yes, I assisted with the development, including beta testing. I don't benefit from any sales.

Steve

 

What MSTS is lacking in graphics has been greatly addressed by a third party platform.  Still not photo realistic but if you haven't tried it yet Open Rails is an open source free program that runs MSTS content without all the hitches and bugs.  Better frame rates, route developers can improve the look and feel and my favorite is a rather large free route, Pennsylvania Eastern Division 2.0 which allows one to run from DC to NYC, or to Harrisburg and beyond.  Something for everyone.  For you California folks Surfliner 2.2 is another fine example.  You don't need a super high end PC and you can simulate multiple experiences.

I like “Train Sim” on an Apple iPhone 11 Pro.  The best thing is that it is free at the Apple App Store and free always gets my attention.

1 Train Sims

You the engineer starts at the roundhouse by picking your locomotive and climate.

2 Train Sims

“Train Sim”, starts with setting up your day on the rails.

3 Train Sim

You can control the locomotive from inside the cab and pull the whistle cord.

4 Train Sims

You can also change out the locomotive & share your game on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Gary

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smd4 posted:
PRRMP54 posted:

There are none.

You're just not paying attention.

Actually, I was; note the title of the thread: "Realistic train simulator(s)?".

Later Gator,

  Dave

 

Here comes a Yankee with a blackened soul,
Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
......Anonymous U. S. pilot during the Berlin Airlift

It really depends on what aspect you're looking to have as "realistic". Realistic operations? Realistic looking scenery? Realistic route building capability? Other things to consider, is it a closed system (ie., only the developer and select others can contribute content, routes, etc.) or an open one (3rd parties can create add-ons), and if the latter, how active that community is. 

OF all the ones I've played, MSTS is still my favorite.  But I'm not one looking for realistic operation.  I loved MSTS for the ability to just jump in, pick a train and route, and go.  Controls were simple too.  My understanding is Train Simulator 20XX (XX=year, current being 19) is the spiritual successor, having been made by ex-MSTS team members, and even being built on the MSTS2 code that never was released.  I got it in a Steam sale years ago and messed with it for a bit, but never really enjoyed it like I did MSTS.  The main reason is it's simple controls are not simple.  They still put some realism into what they called simple controls that took all of the fun out of just driving a train around.  In MSTS you had bell, whistle, lights, brakes, throttle, and reverser.  But in TS20XX even in simple controls you had to mess with the train break and locomotive brake, and you had to move handles in the correct order or you couldn't get the train moving, and it shut the train down in you over speed.  So I haven't touched it in years.

I haven't heard of some of these other games, so I'll have to check them out and see if I like any of them.  About that very real steam locomotive one, it reminds me of an old DOS based text only steam locomotive sim I found once and messed with.

Honestly I like the Auran Trainz series the best, because of the ease with which one can create a new route.  Trainz got its start as a MODEL railroad simulator.  But it has a tremendous facility to import real world digital elevation maps, which also makes it easy to recreate real-world routes.

There are some neat features like "portals" that give trains an off-world destination.  The portals can spawn trains too.  And there are animated industries and loading stations that I would think might be a real hit with the Lionel crowd.  There's also a huge library of detailed North American steam.

For many years the lighting, shadows, etc., were flat and unrealistic.  However, in the very latest PC version, Trainz Railroad Simulator 2019, they finally have a light and shadow treatment that matches what I think MSTS has had since the beginning.  No opinion on physics.  Again, I think MSTS was better when they both launched during the first decade of the 21st Century; Trainz may have since caught up.

I like to dispatch and watch the trains in the third person view, so the controls and cab view are less important to me.  YMMV.

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

So as an avid hardcore PC gamer (build my own rigs) for a very long time there are indeed Train simulators with accurate scenarios, routes, time tables, and high resolution graphics.

If anyone has any questions feel free to email me.

The one I'm playing on my PC now is below.

Train Sim World (PC, Xbox One, PS4)

This isn't me playing or my channel but gives a good indication of what this simulator looks like. 

 

This one below has steamers, but is more of sandbox mode.

Train Simulator 2020 (PC ONLY)

 

 

 

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