Train Sim World 4
Train Sim World Roadmap: January 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.
- 4 items confirmed on this month’s Roadmap including:
- ScotRail Express: Edinburgh-Glasgow
- West Cornwall Local – Steam Railtour
- Amtrak Acela Express
- Niddertalbahn: Bad Vilbel – Glauburg-Stockheim
- ScotRail Express: Edinburgh Glasgow releases on 26th January
- Skyhook Games’ next British route has been added to the Roadmap
- Add-ons Manager is in its final stages before preparing for launch on PlayStation
- Patch released on Monday, containing Steam physics improvements, London Commuter red lights improvements and new freight services, work to improve lighting timing on future routes (as well as Southeastern High-Speed), AWS/TPWS Save Game improvements, and more
- Class 20 Livery Designer functionality has also been released
- Boston Sprinter is receiving a signalling and lighting update
Welcome to 2023! We hope you and your loved ones had a nice festive break, and you’re ready to go for another exciting year of Train Sim World fun. We certainly are!
And we know you’ve not missed our ‘War and Peace’ Roadmap updates. Our New Year’s Resolution is to make our Roadmaps all killer, no filler. So, shall we get started then?
Just before Christmas, you might have noticed some cheeky teasers popping up on our Social channels, designed to whet your collective appetites for what’s coming in 2023. In case you missed them, here they are.
So, we can confirm that ScotRail Express: Edinburgh-Glasgow, West Cornwall Local – Steam Railtour, Amtrak Acela Express, and Niddertalbahn: Bad Vilbel – Glauberg-Stockheim will be coming this year to Train Sim World 3, and have been added to the Roadmap.
And earlier today we confirmed that Edinburgh-Glasgow, developed by our friends at Rivet Games, will be arriving in Train Sim World 3 on Thursday, January 26th! Head here for more information. We’ve grabbed some of the Rivet team to chat about the new route, which you can read below. We’ve also added in Skyhook Games’ first TSW3 route to the Roadmap – it’s British (you can have that clue for free), and we’ll provide more information to you all when we’re ready to share more details.
On top of these, you can expect positive progress on our epic Add-ons Manager journey, a substantial update which hit earlier this week (adding Class 20 Livery Designer functionality, improving Steam physics, red light improvements for London Commuter, implementing ambient light-sensitive station lighting on Southeastern High Speed), and quick updates on lots of other things we’re working on.
Just before we get started – tomorrow, we’ll be launching a new Train Sim World 3: Birmingham Standard Edition for Train Sim World 3, which replaces Southeastern High Speed with Birmingham Cross-City as the base routes. Don’t forget, if you own Southeastern High Speed or Spirit of Steam, you’ll receive the extended (SEHS) and enhanced (SEHS, SoS) routes for free. Cross-City will, of course, remain available as a separate Add-on. Keep an eye out on our Stores for it! Ready for some more detail? Oh, go on then.
ScotRail Express: Edinburgh-Glasgow – Rivet Games interview
We’re really excited to bring the second Scottish route to Train Sim World, and we’re equally excited that our friends Rivet Games (based in Scotland) are able to help us bring it to you. We spoke to Jasper, Community Manager at Rivet, to find out a little more about the route, and the much-anticipated Class 385.
JD: Hey Jasper, good to see you again. We’re super-excited for this. Why this route and this loco?
JH: Edinburgh - Glasgow was one of the routes we’ve wanted to do for quite some time now. It’s right at our doorstep, has a cool new train running on it and it also features many remarkable areas that we wanted to bring (and now have) into Train Sim World 3!
JD: What have you learnt from your previous TSW Add-on releases when building the route?
JH: That we love the idea of going beyond what players expected gameplay wise. We started this on our Island Line 2022, where we opened up several areas for the player to walk into.
JD: Your last Add-on (Island Line 2022) was the last for TSW2 – what has been the difference between developing an Add-on for TSW2 and TSW3? (Dynamic Weather, skies, etc.)
JH: The lighting is drastically different and presents a multitude of new challenges and different ways to work.
JD: In what period is the route set?
JH: The route is set in the here and now. That means you can experience a real true-to-life version in Train Sim World 3!
JD: What was the most challenging part of creating this Add-on?
JH: Waverley Station was one of the most challenging stations we’ve ever done. Undertaken by two artists, they tried to capture an accurate representation of the model and bring it to life in Train Sim World 3. And, Edinburgh - Glasgow was a very dense route for a small team like ours. We had to prioritise stations and scenery, while still finding time to implement new features.
JD: Describe the route in 3 words.
JH: Detailed, Authentic, Scottish.
JD: What has it been like working with ScotRail?
JH: Working with Scotrail has been a pleasure. They’re always quick, super helpful and overall just nice people.
JD: Rivet Games are based in Scotland – how excited are you to bring our second Scottish route to Train Sim World?
JH: VERY excited - so many of us have been using this route in real life and rebuilding it for Train Sim World 3 was a super exciting experience!
JD: This is your longest route to date, clocking in at 48 miles/77 kilometres. What stations can players expect to stop at en route?
JH: The route is framed by two breathtaking stations. Edinburgh Waverley with its massive glass and metal roof structure and the many open spaces at one end and Glasgow Queen Street with its unique approach at the other end. Both feature a very unique (and different) architecture. In total, there are 10 stations along the way for you to discover.
JD: Are there any surprises in-store in the Scenarios for the route?
JH: We always aim for interesting scenarios, with unusual and challenging situations different from what’s in the timetable services – but that would ruin the surprise!
JD: What iconic landmarks can players expect to see when they’re driving the route?
JH: We’ve spent quite some time making sure the route features as many remarkable buildings and structures as possible. This includes the famous Edinburgh Castle (which is scenically lit at night times), the Scott Monument and many other scenes around Edinburgh, as well as the Avon Railway Viaduct, Murrayfield Stadium, and the Edinburgh tram (as a working AI train).
JD: With the Island Line 2022, players really enjoyed the amount of exploring on foot they could do. Is there the same approach taken on this route?
JH: Absolutely yes! With Edinburgh - Glasgow, we’re adding in even more walkable areas (sometimes hidden behind doors), upped the quality of our station interiors by a lot to make it interesting to wander around, added usable Elevators & interactive Pianos. There’s definitely a lot to explore with this route!
JD: How much of Edinburgh Waverley is accessible (platforms, concourse), for instance?
JH: You’re able to explore the front half of the station with this release. This includes the two ramps going up to the street, where you can enjoy the view onto the tracks from a custom platform. There's one working elevator and players can go over its iconic walkway, getting a perfect overview over the station.
JD: What collectibles can players expect from the route?
JH: We have the traditional ones like an Edinburgh themed poster, the route map and two more traditional Scottish ones: A haggis plush you can put on a hat, and a suitcase that reveals a bagpipe once collected! The iconic ScotRail planters however are not included as a collectible, but they sure are as scenery object!
JD: What is your favourite part of the BR Class 385 EMU?
JH: Definitely its iconic looks, combined with the features it packs you’d expect from a modern train like this.
JD: What was the most challenging part of creating the locomotive?
JH: The overall layout of the train. There are many different layouts for the individual coaches, which make working on the model difficult, because we’d often need to remember that we need to apply that little change to all other versions as well.
JD: What unique features have you implemented into the BR 385 EMU?
JH: With the Class 385, we’re bringing a working TMS (Train Monitoring System) into Train Sim World 3 for the first time. From there, you can control a number of things, including our new announcement system: You can select from multiple categories and if a certain announcement plays just once or more often.
Of course, we also kept the working guard panels we introduced with the Island Line 2022 and we added automatically setting blinds depending on the sunshine for the first class section of the train.
JD: Will there be any tutorials for the loco?
JH: Of course, there’s a tutorial on the Training Center available.
JD: What physics considerations did you need to take into account for the loco?
JH: A big point with the physics of this train was that the dynamic braking power should be similar regardless of how many coaches you have and so this is taken into account via the Simugraph by checking the weight of the train. There is also blending of air to compliment the electric braking, which will kick in to help reach the target deceleration or get the job done if you don’t have any power.
Thank you very much to Jasper at Rivet for answering our questions – he’ll of course be on our preview stream for the route in the coming weeks.
And, if you’re itching for the chance to see the route and Class 385 in action before then, keep your eyes peeled on their socials for dev blogs coming over the next week!
Train Sim World 3 Core Improvements
A progress summary on the core improvements the teams are working on. This month, we have updates on Add-ons Manager, patches, and more.
First and foremost, the good news: we’re getting close.
The latest test builds are effectively feature-complete, with one issue left to resolve – early testing has been positive. We are still not in a position to put a release date on it – as mentioned in the previous Roadmap, we’d only do that when testing is passed – but we are optimistic we’re on the home straight (providing testing throws up no additional issues).
A quick summary on Add-ons Manager: this will allow PlayStation players who are currently unable to play all their content due to a 64GB Add-ons limit imposed by Sony the ability to do so, due to some behind-the-scenes wizardry. It will also likely slightly improve the experience of those who are seeing crashing on some content too.
Patch Notes Highlights
Here’s a quick selection of some of the larger Patch Notes we’ve released in the past month, so you don’t miss them – including a summary of what we released earlier this week.
Highlights of Monday 9th’s patch notes:
We released a chunky update at the start of the week, which improved and added many long-awaited improvements to TSW3. Here are some of the highlights.
- Spirit of Steam physics improvements
- Added Class 20 Livery Designer functionality
- Enabled night lighting at stations to be sensitive to light level, rather than clock time
- This has been added to Southeastern High Speed this week, and the technology will be added to future Add-ons
- Save Game – AWS/TPWS features will now remain in the same state when loading from a save
- Livery reskins should appear as expected across player and AI traffic
- PIS monitors on West Cornwall Local now display trains for London Paddington
- Two standalone red-light improvements on London Commuter
- 17 new freight services added to London Commuter
- Various Spirit of Steam route improvements
- DB BR 187 Achievement ‘A Long First Trip’ now unlocks correctly
For the 17 new services in London Commuter, we asked our resident timetable expert, Joe, to give a quick summary of what players can expect.
These are 17 new freight services (some are multi-part) that run through both night and day times allowing players to explore new places such as Ardingly. It's fun to see how the freight "fits in" to the busy nature of this route, many of the services have trains to follow, some even have timed stops to allow trains to overtake. With such tight blocks in South London, following a stopper there can be quite the challenge!
They also have slightly different paths to passenger trains, adding more services that run all the way from Clapham to Three Bridges on the slow lines, via Redhill. I haven't personally seen the effect on the existing passenger services yet, but I know 5B90 is now affected by one of the new services, so there's a good reason to replay that one!
There are also a variety of extra AI services to be seen around Clapham Junction as well as a less common aggregate train to be seen at Battersea Park!
These new services are for Gen9 Consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series S/X) and PC only. They're spread across three layers:
- GWE layer: for FKA diversions and HKA services requires both ECW and GWE. This layer is brand new.
- ECW layer: which has services hauling HKAs and on convoy train, requires ECW.
- The AI layer in the London borough of Battersea (which includes Clapham Junction) requires ECW.
The ECW and AI layers have been there from release but had much fewer services on each.
Note: There were a couple of issues encountered by players after the release (Scenario Planner not allowing you to select an end-point for scenarios, London Commuter crashes on PS5) – we’re pleased to say a post-release patch is now available for players to download, which solve these issues. Consoles should receive the update imminently, if they haven’t already.
You can check out all the details on our January 9th Game Update post.
A quick note on…
Some areas of the Roadmap we don’t have a substantial update for you on this time around, but wanted to provide a quick summary as to where they are in development.
- HST Livery Designer Compatibility – we are fixing the final couple of issues, and then it will be ready for testing.
- Spirit of Steam AI SPADs – we believe we have a fix, and it is currently in testing.
- Red Lights/Dispatcher Core improvement – currently ongoing.
- Incompletable achievements – DB BR 187 ‘A Long First Journey’ released for all platforms – others remain under investigation.
- Performance improvements – continued incremental improvements coming in patches (see Patch Notes section for full details). Add-ons Manager should also help those experiencing crashes with lots of Add-ons installed.
- Derailing improvements – the second of the three improvements, that focuses on harsh braking, is currently ongoing, and remains awaiting testing. The third improvement, related to couplers, will be reviewed after the second is out.
- TSW2 Preservation Crew releases – in a queue for an appropriate build.
- Peninsular Corridor improvements – we’ve identified a couple of issues in testing which will require us to fix them before we can get these out to players. Work is ongoing.
Behind Development: Boston Sprinter route upgrade (TOD4 and resignalling)
Teased before Christmas with the Acela, you might have noticed that Boston Sprinter has received a bit of a facelift. Upgrading the route to what we call ‘TOD4’ lighting (more on that below), but also reworking the signalling on the route. We spoke to one of our artists, Adam, about the challenge associated with incorporating TSW3’s lighting to legacy routes, and Brandon (who some might know as CactusJuice) – a community NEC subject matter expert, who has been helping us resignal parts of the route, on how the updated system works.
P.S. enjoy some bonus Boston screenshots with the new lighting!
Upgrading lighting and volumetric skies – Adam, TSW artist
Upgrading a route to use the new TSW3 lighting system, which we call "TOD 4" or "Time of Day version 4" is an involved process that mostly involves re-tuning and adjusting all the lighting of everything on a route. The first step is to switch the route itself over to TOD4, which is a very straightforward process, however from that moment the lighting on the route is now in an ‘invalid’ state. The reason for this is that the new ‘Physically Based’ lighting system that is part of TOD 4 uses significantly brighter light settings than the older TOD3 system, so anything that had an “emissive” texture or a light will no longer be visible, it’ll simply be so dark it will be ineffective.
There are a number of areas to go through, review and correct. Here comes the fun part!
The obvious first pass is to go through all the lights on the route such as station lighting, street lights etc, these are the lights that actually cast light on other scenery. These will all need bumping up in their brightness significantly.
Frequently, lights are not simulated in the game using an actual light, because the nature of it is such that it’s more for you to see the light, than what it actually casts. Lights in game engines also have no “source” as such, if you look at the light in your room you can see the light shade or bulb is lit up in addition to the effect of the light on the room.
In game engines these are two separate things, the lit-up bulb would be done using an Emissive texture and the actual lighting effect on the room is the light itself. Another good example of this are headlights on trains. All of these will need boosting in brightness to become visible again in the new lighting levels.
Tunnels and large covered stations are usually lit using a technique called Light Baking (you might have heard us talk about this in relation to ‘polishing’ a route near the end of its development). These bakes will now need to be re-done following the lighting changes over the route. It’s a time-consuming process, but makes an enormous improvement to the quality of the lighting as well as the performance of the game in those areas. Without re-doing the bakes, the lighting in these areas would look suddenly very different to the rest of the route that’s using dynamic lighting.
Updating Signalling – Brandon/CactusJuice, Community NEC subject matter expert
Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve been working very hard the past year resolving signal issues for Boston Sprinter. I’m extremely excited to announce that these fixes will be available to you all very soon! It’s been an amazing experience learning how to script signals for TSW3 and I’m hoping to carry that knowledge forward into future projects.
So, what can you expect when the signal fixes are pushed to the public branch? I’ll break it all down.
First, you’re likely to notice changes to the progression of signal aspects. On slower areas of the route (less than 125MPH), the typical signal progression has been revised to: Clear 125 -> Approach Limited/Advance Approach -> Approach -> Restricting (cab signal drop) -> Restricting/Stop/Stop and Proceed.
On the faster areas of the route (greater than 125MPH), the typical signal progression has been revised to: Clear 150 -> Clear 125 -> Cab Speed 80 (cab signal drop) -> Approach Limited/Advance Approach -> Approach -> Restricting (cab signal drop) -> Restricting/Stop/Stop and Proceed. The main difference here are the more gradual drops in cab signal aspect to bring you safely down from speeds such as 150MPH.
The signaling for the Stoughton branch has been completely revamped as well. It’s all cab signaling territory, and a lot of work went into ensuring it functions properly! Many factors go into deciding what the signals will display. These include (but are not limited to):
- Signal Functional Classification (home signal, code change point, etc.)
- Custom Signal Parameters (this block occupied, next home signal at Stop, etc.)
- Custom Logic (forced behavior at specific points)
- Track speed at the signal
A snippet of the signal model blueprint
Next, you’re likely going to notice that the Aspect Display Unit (ADU) and Speed Display Unit (SDU) now display the correct cab signal information in all situations. Part of this is due to the custom logic I built into Boston’s new signal model. On a per-signal basis, you can force cab signal aspects if appropriate. The most common example is within Tower 1 interlocking at Boston South Station. Cab signals will always be at Restricting there regardless of the situation, so the signals around there will force that. Additionally, Clear 150 is finally here! If operating an ACS-64 or Acela Express, you’ll get Clear 150 on the ADU in the appropriate areas.
An example of the custom logic implemented for Boston Sprinter
Finally, I’ve completely replaced a majority of the signals around Southampton Street Yard. Many of them were the incorrect style, so that’s been rectified.
I take a lot of pride in this route as I originally laid the foundation for it back in 2019. It’s my hope that these fixes will breathe new life into it so that it may be enjoyed for years to come!
Special Projects Team update
Having released the BR Class 20 Livery Designer compatibility last week, the team’s work on the HST compatibility is also complete (now awaiting testing).
As well as the work on bringing volumetric skies and clouds to Boston Sprinter (as mentioned above), the team has been working closely with our Partners (see more below), preparing them for upcoming releases, but in the meantime have snuck in a PIS improvement for West Cornwall Local too.
Third-Party developer (Partner Programme) update
It’s all getting exciting with our Partners, as we’ve confirmed Rivet’s British route, Expansion Pack, TSG’s German route, as well as adding Skyhook’s new British route to our Roadmap. As mentioned above, when we’re able to share more details. Watch this space! We’re working with Alan Thomson Simulations (ATS) and Union Workshop (UW) on familiarising them with Train Sim World’s toolset, so we are still very much still in the early stages. Just Trains continue to make steady progress on learning the tools and producing their first content. It is very unlikely that there will be content added to the Roadmap from these developers any time soon.
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 Guide thread.
- New [TSW3] – [3.NBB-L7 01] Amtrak Acela Express
- [TSW3] – [3.NBB-R7 01] US route
- [TSW3] – [3.NDD-E7 01] Route Expansion Pack (US)
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 Guide thread.
- New [TSW3] [3.GBB-R7 03] ScotRail Express: Edinburgh - Glasgow (developed by Rivet Games)
- New [TSW3] [3.GAA-E6 01] West Cornwall Local: Steam Railtour (developed by Rivet Games)
- New [3.GDG-R7 02] (UK) – (developed by Skyhook Games)
- [TSW3] [3.DGG-R6 01] Niddertalbahn: Bad Vilbel – Glauburg-Stockheim (developed by TSG)
- [TSW3] [3.DBB-L5 01] DB BR 420 Electric Multiple Unit (Hauptstrecke München-Augsburg) - Developed by TSG
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 (previously PS5 DLC Limit fix)
- [TSW3] – Derailing improvements (harsh braking derailments, coupling derailments) – these will be released for TSW2 where possible
- [TSW3] Red Light / Dispatcher improvements across multiple routes (starting with Rush Hour routes and Harlem Line)
- [TSW3] Save Game improvements (route-by-route)
- [TSW3] Performance optimisation
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] Spirit of Steam manual fireman functionality
SPECIAL PROJECTS TEAM
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.
Note: Preservation Crew updates will continue after the launch of Train Sim World 3
- [TSW2][TSW3] HST Livery Designer functionality
- New [TSW3] Boston Sprinter route upgrade (lighting, skies, signalling)
- [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] Class 20 Livery Designer functionality – released
- [TSW3] – [3.XMAS-R 01] Holiday Express – the Runaway Elf - released
Please join us tonight on YouTube and Twitch (Thursday, January 12th), where we’ll discuss the above (and more!) with Matt and JD at 19:00 UTC. If you have any questions, please add them to our January 2023 Roadmap Q&A Thread.
You can also discuss the contents of this month’s Roadmap on our forums!.
Train Sim World 4
Train Sim World Roadmap: January 2023