Training Wheels: Train Simulator 2015 Introducing School

By Alice O'Connor on July 21st, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Trouble with the thermic syphons, I see.

I sometimes fancy visiting the countryside in the driver’s cab of a virtual train, especially now I’ve seen the new Japanese DLC route inspired by Spirited Away, but know I’ll never put the time into teaching myself to drive one from manuals and tutorial videos.

Almost as if they knew train simulators appear terrifyingly complex from the outside, Dovetail Games have announced they’ll tackle that with Train Simulator 2015. This year’s refresh will bring a train-driving academy teaching how to make choo-choos chug-chug, along with new base routes and trains–including a train from the future.

Train Simulator 2015 is due on September 18. It seems the 2015 will be a hefty patch, like TS2014 was, rather than a whole new game. The new base game will another three routes, going from London to Peterborough, New York to New Haven, and Munich to the scenic Bavarian resort of Garmisch-Partenkirschen. That does sound pleasant. The future trains are ones that won’t be on that Peterborough service until 2018, not eg sentient trains which scamper about on nanotube legs.

This isn’t the year that Train Simulator will make its planned switch to Unreal Engine 4, though. “A little longer,” Dovetail say in an interview on their community site Engine Driver. TS2015 will still bring new pretties with the SilverLining 3D cloud tech and more animated platform crowds, though. They’re also improving the tools to create custom scenarios and routes too.

As for the Train Simulator Academy, Dovetail explain:

This is a new route featuring custom trains and a whole host of training scenarios to teach users all about driving and operating trains. Broken down into bite size chunks will be everything users need to know in order to get the most from the experience of driving in Train Simulator. Even seasoned players may find they can brush up on their driving techniques, for example learning to use steam engine controls and understanding signals.

It offers awards too. I could be an award winning train driver. Yes, me. It’ll all be worth it to drive this lovely in that ‘The Story of Forest Rail’ DLC:

The DLC even has a story!

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28 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    yandexx says:

    Alice, their page says it will launch September 2014, not 2015 :)

  2. int says:

    Fine and dandy, but when are they gonna give us a Train Stimulator?

  3. ghling says:

    Will they finally add the feature that you would expect from a simulator game like steering it with a realistic input device (kind of) ?
    I still can’t understand why they don’t allow me to use my Joystick Throttle as input device, especially as it is a nearly 100% realistic input, at least for trains with only 1 throttle. I know there is a 3rd party plugin for that, but that doesn’t work very well (at least for me).
    So, Dovetail, why do I still need to use A and D for steering? It’s like you can’t use your steering wheel for that racing / trucking / bus driving simulator.

  4. Skabooga says:

    Finally, I can train while I train.

  5. Premium User Badge

    daver4470 says:

    I respect what Dovetail’s done with what’s essentially a niche simulator now…. but I do wish that the financial/manpower heft of Microsoft was still behind this.

    If you recall, in the distant past Microsoft was planning, for Rail Simulator 2.0, to incorporate the MSFS whole-world technology into the game. In other words, they’d model the ENTIRE rail grid of the US, UK, Europe, etc., at least in basic form, with details filled in at a pop-in-as-needed basis (like airports in Flight Simulator). That…. would have been epic.

    That sort of interconnectivity is the biggest thing that’s lacking in the TrainSim series. There’s a Philadelphia-New York route now; there will be a New York-New Haven route in the new one. (Which is available right now as a $40 third-party add-on… whose sales are going to plummet now, alas for them.) Although they both terminate in the same station (Pennsylvania station), and are actually two parts of the same Washington-Boston electrified line, you can’t go from one to the other.

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    Hammer says:

    It might just be me, but I found the upgrade to 2014 managed to render all the packed in routes completely unplayable – they won’t even load despite meeting requirements, Hopefully this upgrade might fix that?

    I used to work for the company that operates the London-Peterborough trains – the new ones are certainly “future”.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    I just want 2013 back. The forced upgrade to 14 made me stop playing as I went from 60fps to 15ish. And some of my puchased expansions stopped working.

    And they scoured the SPUF for any critical posts and started deleting posts asking for help, instead funneling people over to be hidden in their tech support. Basically, these guys are not very nice at all.

  8. P.Funk says:

    “but know I’ll never put the time into teaching myself to drive one from manuals and tutorial videos.”

    Funny thing is you rarely need to, most of the trains are bafflingly simple to operate (default controls use WASD) and don’t even have much complexity modeled in. Sure you’re missing out on knowing how to turn on the wipers and there was this one train I couldn’t start until I read the extra button to press before I was able to start it but… uh I will always be baffled by the lay-gamers apprehension about the sim-like experience. Many of the more modern passenger trains have the brake tied into the power so you just press D to slow down and not just stop going with no separate brake control.

    Train Simulator is so not DCS: A-10C. I’d say my biggest complaint is that its not simmy enough with most of the product offered. At most the only thing you need to learn is what the traffic lights mean, and its amazingly similar to driving. Red means stop, flashing yellow means start stopping now cause there’s a red up ahead, solid yellow means there might be a flashing yellow ahead if you keep speed, and green means go. American lines though can be esoteric but who wants to drive freight trains with no modeled depth for hours on some winding path to nowhere? British passenger rail is where its at.

    Only a couple trains have the complexity that melted my brain and it was fun because I had to manage the steam engine like it was a real steam engine, most steam engines modeled in the “sim” are just fake and so oversimplified.

    In many ways a simple passenger train included in the default game is no more complicated to learn than the trucks in Euro Truck simulator, and that doesn’t baffle anyone, specifically because the frame of reference is familiar. Driving a train is like driving a car, but without having to make decisions about turning. You just spend the whole time on the accelerator and sometimes press the brake. Most of the complicated engineering stuff is not modeled or absent in modern vehicles. XD

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      This reply is more to Alice than you P.Funk, as I’ve seen you are a prolific poster on the ED forums, but the thing I am loving about A-10C is exactly the fact you are learning this hugely complex task. I know its going to take ages and that investment will mean maybe one day pulling off one or two of the moves I see good youtubers doing. I’ve been playing for 4 days and just got onto take off after getting comfy with the HOTAS. Its like savouring a long delicious meal and knowing all the while that investment will lead to Blowing Shit Up In Cool Ways By Going BRRRRT A Lot (TM). To me its like having real flying lessons which would be awesome.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        “Blowing Shit Up In Cool Ways By Going BRRRRT A Lot (TM).”

        And that’s why I play DCS A-10c. I’ve even learned to actually start the plane from cold and take off. Struggling with weapons delivery these days.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Best Steam review I’ve seen for it just reads “BRRRT BRRRRRRRT BRRRRRRRRRRRRT BRRT” :)

          On weapons, I’m yet to even try. I figured out how to get the safety off and play with the thrustmaster’s two stage trigger for the GAU, wasting all the ammo, but that’s all. There’s a few YT vids I’m going to check out at some point on how to best use the weapons, dunno if you checked all those out? Also quite impressed with that ralfidude guy and am working through his channel.

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            Stellar Duck says:

            Don’t know if you’ll see this but speaking of youtube videos, Bunyapsim has a really good series called On The Range where he goes into different subjects so people can learn them. They’re really good.

            I think he also has a video of Smerch Hunt that details the start procedure.

            I’ll also recommend finding the checklist someone made and print it out. It’s something like 70 pages but well worth it.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Thanks, I will check that out. Are there different startup procedures depending on mission? In training they mention that there may be additional pre flight checks not covered in the tutorial. Whats the startup procedure you mention there? I just transcribed the one from training and its only about 4 pages of A4 :) Do I have to learn more stuff too? Lol. Coooool

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            Stellar Duck says:

            Yea, there are plenty of additional stuff to do if you want. I’m not able to yet, but as he also shows in some videos there’s stuff like calculating optimal roll speed for take off based of fuel and load out, registering winds in the CDU for CCRP released bombs,

            The check list I mentioned also covers after landing and shut down procedures, weapons delivery settings, refuleling and repairs as well as well as more stuff I don’t understand at this point.

            It can be found here: http://2rima-gaming.com/wiki/DCS/DCS_A-10C_Operator_Checklists.pdf

            Does RPS have a DCS community, I wonder?

      • P.Funk says:

        That is specifically why I play sims so much. Everyone talking about mainstream games, you know the E3 kind of gaming with big trailers and all that, always wonder about how long the campaign is, how many hours they might invest in it, whether it will distract you long enough to be worth the price tag, etc. Simming is about a long term investment in a gaming experience that will last you months or years. The A-10C cost me $40 when I got it on steam and I’ve been playing it for at least 2 years if not more. I’ve played it for more than 100 hours since January alone. The ratio of dollars spent to hours enjoyed is unparalleled considering there isn’t any grinding or repetitive action involved. Doing anything is a skill so it takes constant play to ensure you keep it, meaning any break involves restarting some learning which is its own rewarding task.

        Its like a great FPS, nodding at my discussion of TF2 downstairs. There is this extremely high threshold for learning things, and you will basically never reach the top because it keeps going. Thats the benefit of this intimidating complexity, it means you’re gonna enjoy it down the line rather than getting bored in the first few weeks. Simulators bring gaming as close as it gets so far to hobby. Most hobbies that sustain people for decades are predicated on some long term investment where what you produce down the line is much better than what you start with. Most gaming is however disposable consumerism. Its just a short term thrill to be consumed that can’t hold your attention for too long.

        In my disappointment with mainstream gaming I’ve found solace in simming. Its pretty far from the disappointments of an Ubisoft E3 reveal.

        Also the first time anyone has ever noted me by name from a different website. XD

  9. Premium User Badge

    Rikard Peterson says:

    On the topic of tutorials…

    I’m quite bad at playing shooters. (I started playing Borderlands 2 the other day, and just keep getting killed. I’ve played the first chapter of Doom, Wolfenstein and Duke 3d, but not much modern. Portal doesn’t really count, does it. TF2 was no fun when you don’t know what you’re doing.) Are there any games that are good at teaching how to play, beyond “press this button to shoot” things? The ones I’ve tried seems to assume that you already are good at playing shooters. (Unlike puzzle games and platformers, who typically take it one step at the time, teaching the various game elements.)

    • P.Funk says:

      The idea with most shooters is that beyond the mechanics you’re supposed to teach yourself. Probably a handicap if you’re not 12 anymore and with obscene concentration and reflexes that can push you through a 7 hour gaming session from nub to passable teammate.

      Multiplayer games usually have some kind of community that might help you, but single player usually has difficulty settings for making it easy for you so that you can play on easy mode, learn how it works, then ramp up difficulty.

      Honestly I have always found dying to be the best tutorial. If I can identify in every death why I died then I learn something. I’m not sure what there is to teach most of the time though, other than the rudiments of gameplay mechanics. I think most people just learn to play shooters the way most people learn to understand a spectator sport, by accepting ignorance at first as they slowly learn by observing.

      What is it that makes you bad? Reflexes? Inability to aim? Is everything just too fast for you?

      TF2 I think offers lots of great options for easing into it. Soldier or Sniper or something that doesn’t involve terribly complex mechanics for basic utility and play a CP map and hang back. Play Payload and its pretty obvious you should push the cart. As a soldier or sniper you just put yourself in a position to be doing damage to bad guys near the main object of possession, after that it becomes a lot of specific details that most people learn as they go, or you can get those by watching lets plays or specific tutorial videos. in TF2 a map like Goldrush or Dustbowl usually leads to a lot of stable stand off gameplay, there is a point where the easy push stops and things settle around an area that requires more effort to push through if the defenders aren’t total crap. This is a great time to basically stand back and watch and try to see how you can be better. Sniper on defense for Goldrush or Dustbowl could be very very easy, so long as you watch your back (maybe use the razorback).

      • Premium User Badge

        Melody says:

        I don’t know, I think playing the Sniper on TF2 requires a pretty good, quick aim, it’s probably the most mechanically difficult class.

        • P.Funk says:

          Who said you had to be good at killing. Its the safest role that has a job that is self explanatory. It allows a new player to stand back at the margins of the battle and observe through a magnified scope whats happening. Seems like a pretty ideal way to take it all in. It doesn’t take great aim to get a few kills here and there, and even a nub can counter snipe a likely position if the other guy pops his head up.

          I would also say its far from the most mechanically difficult. I’d put that mantle on the Soldier. Rocket jumping is fascinating and obtuse and perhaps the skill with the highest threshold of required competence before it becomes effective. Just watch some pro rocket jumper videos. What they can do with that skill is obscene. Then you’ve got air shotting with the rockets. Thats also ridiculous. It makes snap shooting a moving target as sniper look like child’s play. On top of it all the soldier is always in the fray, always being threatened with death so his mobility and situational awareness is paramount. Being at the front of the attack means defending yourself while you attack, avoiding an all too quick death if you put yourself out of position.

          Spy is also mechanically difficult in a way that sniper isn’t. He has to worry about all kinds of factors. Just picking a disguise can be laborious as you try to keep track of who’s dead, what the likelihood is of being guessed for an enemy in this area of the map, looking out for your doppleganger, and of course paying attention to the weapon you’re holding. Thats before we consider the problems of clock management as well as acting. Yes a spy must act. Its amazing what you can get away with when you learn to disguise your behavior as convincing too. The number of key commands needed to juggle this is great and requires a decent amount of time to program the muscle memory. This is before we even consider the mechanics of stabbing. The only class where the primary attack is to stab. There are so many kinds of stabs, and you need to understand the hitbox and work on muscle memory that will allow you to execute stabs properly. Stabbing usually means moving while stabbing. Corner stabs, leaping stabs, etc. Then you have the other main weapon. No proper spy is without his pistol. If you aren’t using your Ambassador ever chance you have to try and snipe the head off a medic or a soldier or whomever then you’re wasting your potential. 2 main weapons, 2 totally different muscle memories. A spy must learn to headshot as well as a sniper but while running and jumping at the same time, usually dodging rockets and avoiding death before he makes an escape. Finally he has the tertiary duty of attacking the engineer’s infrastructure. Take out the sentries, take out the teleporters (very important) keep harassing and delaying him as much as possible. Sap enough stuff enough times you can end up with 2 or 3 guys running around their main trying to keep the spy from torching the teleporter, which without slows the respawn from affecting the battle. This is without considering all possible tactical differences in the weapons, for which the spy has the greatest variety.

          I haven’t discussed the other important class, the Scout. Or the Demo.

          Naw Sniper isn’t the most mechanically difficult, though it is one which requires a specific muscle memory, a certain skill, but its very easy to be a mediocre sniper whereas being a mediocre soldier or spy or scout is a lot harder.

          • Premium User Badge

            Melody says:

            I just said that because, even though I’m not rubbish myself, I’ve tried to play Sniper a few times in TF2, and I always end up with a couple of kills at best, and double digit deaths.

            I wouldn’t describe Spy as being mechanically hard. The decision-making is hard, the awareness of the map and of the game may be hard, but it’s easy to execute if you know what you’re doing. I mean, it’s hard being a good spy, with all the mind games, but there’s nothing mechanically hard, purely in terms of aiming, jumping, moving in a certain way etc. By comparison, I know what I have to do as a sniper, I just could never hit the enemies before they hit me.

            As for the soldier, I’d agree that the skill ceiling is higher than the sniper, but you can be useful soldier by just shooting people in the face without rocket jumping.

            I’d say the easiest classes, besides medic/engineer, would be heavy and pyro. But it’s been a long time since I played TF2, and I was never really good at it.

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        Rikard Peterson says:

        “What is it that makes you bad? Reflexes? Inability to aim? Is everything just too fast for you?”

        My main problem is probably not having a clear answer to that question, but I can play arcade racers (Rollcage! Blur!) and platformers (love the Raymans and BG&E, currently playing through Enslaved), so I can cope with a fast pace and reflexes in some games. I find third person games easier to orientate myself in though, and to know where the character is, so I guess that means that the aiming is one of my problems. (Which of course was easier in the old games, where you just had to worry about left and right.) In Borderlands 2, I don’t know what’s going on before I’m dead. (I’ve so far only – barely – survived the first fight.)

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Hmm its an interesting one. I think a lot depends on your gaming heritage. I picked PC gaming back up in around 2002/3, and was playing the first Far Cry, Half Life 1 and Doom 3 a lot. I remember having a guide (printed book, no less) for HL1 that explained strafing, circle strafing etc, and things like telling you to never ‘turn’ a corner with the mouse – always side strafe into a corner so you are automatically facing any opponent that might be waiting. It saved my butt instantly and became a staple of my gameplay. Circle strafing was a great way to kill a bullsquid you may have got stuck in a room with. That stuck with me too. Then I moved onto games like Crysis 1 and built on what I learned, adding the suit functions and weapon options. In Half Life 2 I practised a lot with never looking at the keyboard and switching weapons by feel, which made the game much more dynamic. I am by no means a great shooter player and if I went online I’d probably lose instantly, but for SP shooters I always feel pretty competent.

          Cut to very recently, and I am switching genres, trying to play driving and flight sims, and especially with the latter I completely suck. I kept falling out of the sky because I thought a rudder was for turning a plane (its used, but is not the main tool for the job). I also played Dark Souls on a gamepad (new genre as I avoided 3rd person like the plague), having only ever picked up my 360 pad for about half an hour. It was a tough learning curve. So I dare say for you, there are genres of games that you are great at, and it may be that shooters do not make up as much of your heritage for you to be “good” (for want of a better word) at them. There just tends to be an assumption that if you are a gamer, you must be good at shooters, similar to how my nephew couldn’t believe I was a gamer and wasn’t amazing at Mario Kart. He thought that was the only game it was possible to play.

          Another question is, if you play with mouse, do you have a mouse and mousing surface that is good for shooters, and is it PHYSICALLY set up in an advantageous way? My dad had this mechanical mouse for ages, rammed into a tiny corner of the desk and at a weird height, as the chair was not height adjustable. I always felt like I had vertigo playing FPS games and immediately sucked 60% more when playing on his setup. It was hard to get my hands comfortably on the keyboard, too. Also look at DPI settings and even the response time of your monitor. More than 10ms and your reactions will suffer. Can your rig output decent frames per second? That will affect your ability hugely. Maybe you are playing on a TV? They tend to be horribly laggy, which was another thing my Dad often did :)

          Secondly, do you think defensively as well as offensively? I know when I watch some people play shooters, they will sort of wander up to a target and unload, rather than using cover to peek out and chip away or confuse enemies (a technique I think I got from CoD 2 and Far Cry 1′s lean ability, if I am not mistaken). Cover automatically gives you more time to think and establish where opponents are. If its a corridor, backtrack a lot to give yourself space. Other tricks include using “suppressive” fire (learned that from Brothers In Arms series) or grenades when you are pinned or overwhelmed (HL2′s Combine). Enemy AI will either usually run away from a grenade, giving you precious moments to relocate or take some out as they move, if they aren’t blown up. If you walk into a room full of enemies like the hangar scene in Star Wars, hit that ‘G’ key right away and back off :)

          Sorry if any of this is telling you stuff you already know, its just a brain dump of the things I remember learning as I picked up shooters.

        • dejoh says:

          When you see your resources (cash) drain out with each death, thats the best incentive to be a better player.
          Borderland 2 is a fantastic game. And yes, you need a decent reflex to enjoy the game. Practice makes perfect.

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      Melody says:

      You’re right, I don’t actually recall any shooter properly teaching me how to play it.

      What I can say is, the very old shooters like the original doom were all about quick aiming and sidestepping bullets, so there’s not much to say there, you just have to improve your coordination until those things come natural to you. Modern shooters have a slower pace, and generally allow for more varied strategies to an extent, like hiding behind cover and popping up at the right time, and such, and instant aim is not really as necessary.

      I’d have to see what you’re doing wrong to really give you tips. My father is pretty bad at shooters because of bad aim and inefficient/suboptimal decisions, but he tries to make up for those by approaching the enemies smartly and going really slowly about it, taking as few risks as possible. Because of that, he’s really good at, say, the Rainbow Six Vegas games (at least in Single Player).

      Maybe that’s it. They don’t really teach you to play the game the way a puzzle game eases you into its rationale, but a slow tactical shooter like R6 Vegas could be an easier place to start from, perhaps. (I can’t think of more games like that right now, I’m sure there are)

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        SWAT 4, the Ghost Recons and the early Rainbow Six (in fact, @ Rikard Peterson, treating yourself to a copy of R6: Raven Shield could be a great experience on many levels, fantastic thinking man’s shooter) games all had weapon familiarisation / shooting gallery and even hostage rescue training type bits that taught many of the mechanics of shooting. Thinking about it, even the Opposing Forces expansion for half life had a boot camp too. Is this what the OP means?

        Edited for extra info, Raven Shield may be one of the best for actually teaching you how to play it. A true classic IMO.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Being successful in FPS is all about putting the time in on a regular basis

      I thought I was crap at shooters. A break in my work schedule allowed me to spend a month playing a FPS. My KDR went from 0.6 to 1.3 and I maxed out every gun and every award in the game.

      It is about learning the maps, the game, the way other people play and playing through those times when you have a bad run. Not much different from any other learned skill really, and some of the skill does transfer to the next game.