Like Yogi Said…


“It’s deja vu all over again!”


Now that we’ve made the “official” annoucement about Train Simulator the online forums are alive with comment and speculation. For me it’s an eerie feeling, like I’ve been through this before. Oh, wait. I have–with Flight Simulator X!


First is the consternation over the OS platform–Vista. We expected the reaction of some, knowing that many folks haven’t yet upgraded their systems. But we also know that system upgrades are periodic events and that there is a long way to go until the game is available. Plus, that time includes an ever-so-important holiday buying period. While it might be a bit early yet, I’m sure the papers will be filled with new PC deals in time for <insert appropriate year-end holiday here>. True, there are some that simply won’t be able to afford a new system in the next couple of years. That’s always a tough judgement to make for us. But in the end the data we have predicts enough people will to make the game a success. And, as many people on the forums have pointed out, we need to keep focussed on the future, not the past (or even the present!). Keep in the mind that TS2 will likely still be store shelves 7 years from now!


Another similar wrinkle in the TS2/FSX story is the confusion over DirectX. What I told journalists in Leipzig is that we’re targeting both DX9 and DX10. Vista supports both and what you get depends on the hardware you have. Admittedly this can be confusing but as I found out with FSX, trying to explain it in simple terms isn’t completely effective. I just hope folks will eventually get it sorted out in their own minds.


One other parallel is the group of folks who have declared, based on a few screenshots and blog posts conerning a game still over a year from shipping, that, “I’m not buying it!” I commend their resolve but, if FSX is any indication, a few of those folks will be converted before all is said and done. My thoery is that in any hobby where people invest a lot of time and passion the first reactions are the strongest and if those reactions are negative the impulse of many is to cry out. But we have a long road yet to travel with time for more revelations and discussions.


Lastly, one thing that has no analog with FSX is the hot debate over which routes will be “included” and how that will dictate someone’s buying decision. We predicted that reaction and believe it represents the first step in a mental shift that will take place as people wrap their heads around the “World of Rails” concept. WoR forces you to ask, “What is a route?” Is it the terrain and scenery? The track and signals? Rolling stock? Signifcant landmarks? We are striving to supply many of these attributes through our data-based WoR. What else is required before you believe we’ve “included a route”? The question is only partially rhetorical. I look forward to seeing who we–collectively–answer that in the months to come.


Comments (12)

  1. Bill Womack says:

    Good old human nature, eh? In some ways, Microsoft has been a victim of its own success. I suppose it’s cold comfort to realize that all those FS9 and XP users are hesitant to trade up because they love their old familiar standbys so.

    Although my father was a HUGE train fanatic, I never quite got the bug. Having seen the preview pics and vids from Trainsim 2, all I can say is let me at it. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, all around. This is one release I’m seriously looking forward to. You’ll convert me from virtual pilot to sim railfan, I can just tell.

  2. Wedge says:

    That’s true that some people overreact on any little details, we’re still far from the releases and lot of stuff can change before that.

    he software looks really promising, and I think some people can’t recognize that the fact that FSX and TS2 will share the same kind of tools of course with slight difference as a train is quite different from a plane. But in the end the main aspets will be the same, and I think it’ll help a lot because people working on FSX could work on TS2 new stuffs and vice versa.

    I’m appy to tell that in the few threads I4ve seen after I made my french article nobody reacted like that, and all the people we’re really impressed and expecting a lot from this new software, which I think is really nice.

    I’ll be sure to follow the developement carefully, and try to report on the two big french forums I know about this game, on the english news that are going to be available here and on other english official website or blogs on the net.

    What disappoints me a little is that not ay of the big french gaming site has put things about TS2, some even still have data only on the first abandonned project by Kuju. So I’ve tried to post a bit of info on the forums of this site just to let the people have information, that is really sad in my opinion, even big ones like gamespot and ign don’t seem to have anything on it :/

  3. Larry N. says:

    Sounds as if you’re making good progress on the sim, and I’d love to get the program, but until Vista gets rid of problems such as excessive DRM, sound reducing internet bandwidth, remote disabling of a system I paid for, and other rather odd design choices, guess I’ll not be able to run TS2. I’ll go to Linux before I go to Vista, as Vista is now. Granted that I’ll miss FSX (and whatever is later), or maybe I’ll just keep my XP machine around for FSX, but…

    Oh, yes – and I know a few others who think the same, though you’ll probably do well in the mass market.

  4. Batroost says:

    I’m an enthusiast for a particular railway – the Ffestiniog Railway in Northe Wales – so whilst I enjoy Trainsimming generally what I want to see in a route is as much realism as can be modelled. Every curve, every cutting, every lineside structure and every straight has its own uniquely identifying features on the 13.5 miles of the FR and this is what we’ve started to model on MSTS. WoR sounds like a neat concept but I’d like a bit of confidence that we can go further with high-fedility route modelling as well.

    Best wishes,

    Batroost

  5. Peter McDonnell says:

    I was really happy to read all the descriptions of the game so far and checking out the first screen shots it looks and sounds like it is going to be absolutely amazing and the best game ever made when it comes out.  I look forward to reading more as the project progresses and definitely look forward to the day when it comes out and I purchase it and play it for hours on end.  

  6. Bernadette Schaepdryver says:

    From what I saw till now, I have just one word: wow.

    I myself have FSX and a very strong computer, also graphic card. So I know what to expect when able to play FSX as good as in every instance on the highest level of graphic and sound settings.

    And when I compare the pics with those I notice of the Railsimulator of EA (Electronic Arts)in cooperation with KUJU due to be released somewhere coming October, then I must say that I would definitely go for Microsoft without any doubt whatsoever.

    After all, what can you do with a starting simulator of just merely eight locomotives, even noticing that the graphics will probably be not that high as those of Microsoft TS. It gives me in any case a not so good feeling about that train simulator, to not say bad at all. Of course, it must be not an easy task to go against a well established TS like Trainz.

    And by the way for those who have FSX. Don’t just give up on FSX. You can easily love both games, and play both. Heck, you almost will have no time to play other games. Maybe not so good for the computer game business. Well, it’s good to have for once a game you can play much longer on without feeling bored about it. That’s for sure one of the best feelings you can have knowing that in this business everything becomes often allready an old lady after the first day that you have bought something.

    It’s about time that we today have a computer technology available that gives us the consumer the choice of going for something that will at least take quite a while before it becomes outdated, especially when you buy and play it on a Dell computer. And if I’m correct, then Microsoft & Dell do work together in testing out new products for the market whether its for gaming or otherwise.

    So again a huge promising positive asset to microsoft’s TS as well, knowing that it becomes also tested on the one of Dell’s computers especially designed for the PC gamers.

  7. Captain Bazza says:

    Quote: Keep in the mind that TS2 will likely still be store shelves 7 years from now..

    Along, we hope, with at least version 2 and 3! Heh, heh.

    Cheers Bazza

  8. As a fan and want to be developer for both FSX and TS2 I feel your pain. As I was flying my payware A36 from TTD to RNO last night, I noted the irony that I purchased two copies of FSX yet I continue to fly in FS9. I also compared that to the fact that I am happy as I clam with an OS (XP) that is over 5 years old when Vista is available and clearly running on newer tech.

    I am glad that you confirmed that TS2 will be targeted for DX10 and DX9 just as FSX was. Can you confirm that it will be running on the same engine?

    I think you guys are on the right track and I commend your efforts. FSX was wonderful and I am sure an in house developed TS2 will be just as good if not better. So please keep up the good work. It keeps the PC going strong!

    I have begun to think of upgrading my simulators the way I think of upgrading an OS. It is a pain and it does break your user experience for a time, but in the end it is more then worth it.

    Thanks and please keep up the good work,

    Nicolas Jackson

    Virtual Pilot and Virtual Engineer        

  9. Rick B says:

    Regrettably Microsoft did push out the Vista while still very buggy, and if you want to listen to the non-Microsoft owned gaming magazines, all are saying stick with XP for now as it may take a couple years for MS to get the worst of the bugginess out. Now that may work for the Train Sim gang as the hints dropped do suggest the TS2 is years away and work is going at a near glacial pace. So hopefully by time it’s ready to release, the OS:Vista will also be worth the upgrade investment.

    Side Note: For whatever it’s worth I also play several RT MMORPG’s as well and the in game chat when Vista comes up as a subject is avoid it like the plague, causing too many games to foul up or outright crash.

  10. Javier.- says:

    Data base WoR concept vs classic routes sound great! I look forward to reading more about.

    Javier.-

  11. Robert says:

    Could Vista be the "new ME?"

    Many, many people skipped ME and waited for 2000, perhaps the next version of Windows will be more successful than ME or Vista?

    Robert

  12. Donovan Reeve says:

    Hi.

    About routes, please remember that everyone else is

    including world content in their simulators also, but

    most are concentrating on everywhere else but North

    America.  Especially the company which should prove

    to be MS Train Simulator’s main competition, Kuju.

    They are mainly concentrating on England, their home

    country, which is understandable but useless to most

    modelers and simmers n this side of the pond.

     I don’t mind if Microsoft includes content from

    around the world, as you also sell products around

    the world, but PLEASE, as a U.S. company, provide

    a higher focus on your home market than on other

    markets, and provide a high percentage of content

    relevant to Nirth America, especially the U.S.

     And SHAME ON YOU if, being as you are in BNSF

    ex-GN and NP country, you don’t include some legacy

    content from the Pacific Northwest, which has

    received no coverage in any commercial train sim

    despite being very interesting country and routes.

    My recomendation:  Do the route over Steven’s Pass

    from Seattle to Wenatchee in the steam-diesel transtition period, preferably in 1948-51 when both

    steam and electric power were still active on that route along with diesels.

     Better yet, include versions of that route for both

    the steam-diesel transition era (Great Northern), and

    the present day (BNSF).  That way, almost everyone

    will be happy, as those who wish to model even

    earlier times (such as 1929, or 1938 will be able to

    use the steam-diesel era version of the route with

    little modification, and those who wish to model the

    1960s and 70s can easily update that same route.  And anyone wishing to model the 1980s and 90s can with

    little work back-date the present-day version of the

    route with the mere replacement of a few vehicles and

    buildings and pieces of rolling stock.

    Always remember, that content from earlier eras is

    often useful in modeling later eras, but content

    specific to the most modern era cannot be used in

    modeling any other era.

    Thanks for listening,

    Donovan Reeve