Train Sim World
Train Sim World 2 - Arosa Linie Rivet Interview
We speak to Rivet Games about the upcoming Swiss route...
With 41 Bridges, 19 Tunnels, steep gradients, and breathtaking scenery Arosa Linie provides an exciting experience for railfans. We speak to Tim, Laura, and Jasper from Rivet Games about their work on this route and bringing the first Swiss journey to Train Sim World 2.
Hi Tim, Laura and Jasper would you like to introduce yourselves?
Tim: Hi, I am Tim Gatland, and have been involved in Train Simulation for the past 15 years. I started work with the original Rail Simulator back in 2005 and in 2019 I started Rivet Games, a 3rd party developer making add-on content for Train Simulator and Train Sim World.
Laura: Hi I am Laura, a producer at Rivet Games. I worked with Dovetail Games and then moved over to Rivet Games when we set this company up. I lead our art and route-building teams and also work with the track, signalling and loco teams.
Jasper: Hi, I’m Jasper, I am the community manager for Rivet Games and joined the team in March last year. My job is to look after the community in both English and German.
Rivet is well known for Swiss routes already on Train Simulator, where has the interest for Swiss Railways and the RhB come from?
Tim: What we really like about Switzerland besides it being such a beautiful place, is that it has a fantastic train heritage. Many of its trains are well-known, and people travel from all over the world to see Gotthardbahn, Bernina and to ride the Glacier Express. We have great partners there, and our friends at SBB, Thurbo and RhB have been particularly helpful. Switzerland has a great range of material - both standard and narrow gauge, plus many different types of environment.
What was most appealing to you about creating Arosa Linie as the first Swiss route for Train Sim World?
Laura: For us it was a manageable length; it’s our second route in Train Sim World and the very first Swiss route for that game - so we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew. However, we still wanted to create something that was an interesting driving experience for players. There are extreme differences in gradient along the route and the fact it’s narrow gauge makes it pretty unique for players and something new for Train Sim World.
What is unique about the Arosa Linie?
Laura: The most unique part is the Chur street running area - the fact that the train runs down the street and the traffic is driving along beside you, and you are really close to the buildings. I don’t think there is anything that’s been tackled like that in Train Sim World yet so will be a very new experience for players.
How have you made the move from Train Simulator to Train Sim World?
Tim: Although Thomson Interactive had already made the route for Train Simulator, we had to start with a pretty blank canvas for the Train Sim World version. Most things we had to build from scratch, although there were a few things we could bring over, and so, in cooperation with Thomson Interactive, we took some of the Train Simulator framework models into Train Sim World. During the development, we encountered quite a lot of new challenges, but we also discovered some great features in Train Sim World that weren’t possible in Train Simulator, so we think players will find lots of new things to like.
What is the process like for bringing the first Narrow Gauge Railway into Train Sim World?
Tim: We encountered a lot of interesting challenges; not only did we need to create metre-gauge track and junctions, but we also had to create Swiss signalling. One of the other challenges is the gradients in the Arosa line are very significant so we had fun there. Although Switzerland has two different types of signalling, we only needed to implement L-type for this route, but even that required building a new set of signalling assets and getting the associated signalling logic working in Train Sim World.
One of the big differences compared with British signalling is that the Swiss signals also determine the speed limits, whereas in the UK that’s not the case. We did know that our first Swiss and narrow gauge route would require a huge amount of extra work but surprisingly the Train Sim World tech accommodated this without too much trouble.
With so many Viaducts, Tunnels, heavy gradients, and large mountains along the line how have you overcome this?
Laura: The team have spent a great deal of time modelling and texturing bespoke viaducts, tunnels and large granite style rocks to fit to the track and terrain. Because we were able to use some of the models from Thomson Interactive’s Train Simulator version of Arosa as a starting point, we developed a technique for getting the geometry from Train Simulator into Train Sim World, aligning it with the track and getting everything to fit properly.
Although these existing models were a good jumping off point in some areas, even with them there was still a lot of retexturing and reworking of models, and in many cases we had to start from scratch.
The series of tunnels and galleries beyond the Chur street running zone is one area that needed a lot of extra attention - because the super elevation on the track works significantly differently to Train Simulator, we had to remodel the tunnel profile and some of the Galleries. I think the artists have done a really good job at recreating the overall look of the area, it looks brilliant!
This environment will be new to many players, what can they expect in the way of gameplay challenge?
Jasper: One key thing is that RhB often attach freight wagons to their passenger trains which is quite unusual in other territories. Also, the density of the service mode is really interesting because we don’t just have the different train types, and regional service which stops at every station, we also have a fast regional express which only stops at a few stations - and then of course you have to run round the locomotive at either end of the route. Plus you will experience the steep gradients – it’s quite a challenge to drive these and keep to the speed limits.
What are you most excited about for players to experience on this route?
Jasper: Not only the beauty of Switzerland, but having the first narrow gauge route with a really interesting choice of the locomotive and the street-running bit of Chur, which I find very well done.
Laura: Yeah I agree with Jasper, for me it’s the beautiful scenery. The art team have done a really good job of recreating that and an immersive experience for the player. One exciting new feature is the Signal Guard Boxes on the platforms - I think players will find these fun and interesting.
Tim: We also tried to make the Chur area feel alive, with people and traffic moving around the trains. I’m also very excited about the train in the route, Train Sim World allows for greater modelling detail than Train Simulator and the modern shaders make for a breath-taking end result.
What is your favourite RhB locomotive and route? And why?
Laura: For me; one of my favourite routes is the Surselva Line. I love travelling through the Rhine Gorge looking at the totally unique limestone rocks. When we were working on the route in Train Simulator it was totally new as the rocks we had previously worked with were granite style rocks (which are in Arosa) but these limestone rocks were something else - really unique and it was a really fun route to work on. I think my favourite locomotive would be the Allegra.
Jasper: My favourite locomotive is this one, the Ge 4/4 II which is included in Arosa because I love the overall look of the loco, I think it looks timeless. My favourite route is definitely Arosa – I played it in Train Simulator and it was my introduction to the world of train simulation.
Tim: I’m always interested in what is new, so I’d have to pick the Capricorn as my locomotive. We don’t have any plans to make it just yet as there are currently only a few that are operational, but it feels like the future.
In terms of route, there is so much to choose from in Switzerland, but I think I’d have to pick the Bernina Line as my favourite RhB route. When we decided to make it in Train Simulator, I did the line survey for the route, and had many adventures, including rather bizarrely including an encounter with a venomous snake which I didn’t realise was present in that part of Switzerland. I love the way the line climbs up on the mountain and the spiral viaduct at Brusio is marvellous, plus looking over Glaciers and ski resorts is just fantastic.
Arosa Linie is coming soon to Train Sim World 2, Make sure you’re following @TrainSimWorld on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.
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Train Sim World 2 - Arosa Linie Rivet Interview