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TS19: The Dawn of a New Era

As perhaps the single biggest feature request for Train Simulator since it came to market all those years ago, we’re excited to announce that Train Simulator 2019 will include Train Simulator 64-bit.

We’ve put together some points below to explain more about what this means and we’re sure you’ll all have lots of questions once you’ve been through this article and we’ll answer these on the forums as they come up.

Why 64-bit?

Well there are several reasons why we’re doing 64-bit, one of those reasons is that we’ve received lots of feedback from you all asking for this feature to become a reality.

The first of the two biggest reasons are that as Train Sim World continues to grow and develop, we want to ensure that Train Simulator will be able to stand alongside it and continue to go on for many more years to come. Many of you are proud of the extensive collections you’ve built, and you’ve invested many hundreds of hours into Train Simulator, and so it is the best possible thing we can do to ensure your collections continue to be accessible and playable well into the future particularly as computers are always moving forward.

The second reason is purely to do with stability when running the more detailed and advanced content we’re seeing today. We’ve seen developers really pushing the limits of what Train Simulator can do. So, to ensure Train Simulator can operate with this type of highly-detailed and advanced content moving forward, it needs to gain access to more system resources to ensure it can remain stable and functional.

So what exactly is 64-bit?

Essentially, a 64-bit processor can store more computational values, including memory addresses, which means it's able to access over four billion times the physical memory of a 32-bit processor. 64-bit processors are to 32-bit processors what modern high-speed trains are to steam engines. For all intents and purposes, they do exactly the same thing, but one does it more efficiently and with less limitations than the other.

What will 64-bit do for Train Simulator?

The introduction of 64-bit will essentially mean that Train Simulator will have access to all the available memory your computer has to offer. If you have lots of memory, 16 GB or more, then the software may be more stable overall as it will be less limited by the hard 4 GB limit (2 GB on a 32-bit computer) that all 32-bit applications are limited by. This means, for Train Simulator, you can get more AI trains in a scenario or have a longer route with more detailed scenery throughout and even more advanced trains that have more complicated functionality.

Overall, it will help Train Simulator be more efficient with how it manages and uses data.

What won’t 64-bit do?

There are many myths about the benefits of 64-bit over 32-bit and there is one that everyone thinks of when they think about 64-bit – and that is that it will magically improve graphics and frame rates. The reality is that 64-bit won’t do anything to improve your graphics in Train Simulator. There may be a very slight improvement in frame rate that is simply due to the unrestricted efficiency of how data is being managed but it won’t give you any improvements that you’ll notice visually. The graphics will look exactly the same as you’ve been used to (it still uses DirectX 9.0c), and it will work in exactly the same way, if not a little smoother than before.

Will Train Simulator run better on my 64-bit Windows XP computer from 2005?

It might do but we would not recommend that. We would recommend, that you have a computer that is more recent that has a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or newer. The more memory your computer has installed, the greater the chance you’ll see the benefits that 64-bit brings. If your computer only has 4GB of System Memory, then you’ll find you won’t see any tangible benefit at all.

What if I own a state-of-the-art computer that I bought last week which has lots of memory?

Then you’ll find your computer is perfect for getting the most out of 64-bit Train Simulator. However, we should point out that you absolutely don’t need to have the latest and greatest computer – in fact, if you’ve been playing Train Simulator quite happily for weeks/months/years, it’s likely you’ll already have what you need. Most new computers sold within the last 10 years are potentially 64-bit capable – that’s pretty much the entire lifetime of Train Simulator. You’ll just need to check you have a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 installed (we’ll show you how to check this later in this article).

I only have a 32-bit computer right now; does this mean I won’t be able to play Train Simulator anymore?

Not at all. In fact, if you only have a 32-bit computer, you can continue to use Train Simulator in the same way you always have. We’ll continue to support 32-bit Train Simulator for the foreseeable future – there are no plans to take this away.

What if I own a laptop or notebook, will I be able to run 64-bit on there?

The answer to this is exactly the same as it always has been for 32-bit – Train Simulator might work on mobile versions of hardware, but we cannot guarantee or support these types of configuration. Mobile computers (the posh way of saying laptop or notebook) are essentially designed to operate at lower power thresholds and have lower heat tolerances – so they’re more prone to become less than what they appear to be when they “throttle” (a technical term to describe when a device slows itself down to avoid over using power to save battery charge or limiting damage that can be caused by excessive heat). It’s for this very reason that any performance issues relating to mobile computers cannot be supported. If you find Train Simulator works perfectly fine on your laptop or notebook, then great. If it doesn’t, then you’ll most likely need to think about upgrading to something more powerful or moving to a desktop equivalent.

What happens to my route and train collection; will I need to do anything to make it 64-bit compatible?

Absolutely nothing will happen to your content. It will all continue to work in 32-bit and will also work in 64-bit too. There’s nothing you need to do. Train Simulator 64-bit will just work with all of your content from 32-bit and some of it might even be more stable overall – though we’ll need to monitor this, and you can help us by telling us how you’re getting along.

Ok, so what about the tools and all the Train Simulator features that I use to make content, are there going to be 64-bit versions of these?

Short answer to this is yes. The route editor within Train Simulator will automatically work as part of the core software upgrade to 64-bit and the other tools such as the Blueprint Editor will also receive a 64-bit upgrade to ensure those who make content for Train Simulator are also not limited by system resource limits.

Is there anything else I need to know about 64-bit?

Just one thing – we really need your feedback to assess how 64-bit is going for everyone. If you experience problems with Train Simulator 64-bit, we need your co-operation in reporting problems directly to us via Customer Support, so we can keep track of it all – we’ll add a new option to the customer support form, so you can tell us your feedback is related to 64-bit.

Ok then. Just one more thing, what’s the new content going to be this year in Train Simulator 2019?

We’ll confirm all that soon!

You mentioned you will tell me how I can check I have a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit edition of Windows?

We did indeed, here’s the instructions:

On your computer, press the Windows Key on your keyboard and press the Pause/Break key (if you don’t have a Windows key on your keyboard, you can find the information in Windows 10 by clicking Start > Settings (the gear icon) > System > About). This will display a pop-up dialog like the one below. Under System type, it will say something like “64-bit Operating System, x64-based processor”. If yours says the same, then you’re good to go.

PC-System

If you see something like “32-bit Operating System, x64-based processor”, then you’ll only need to upgrade your operating system to a 64-bit version to become compatible. If it says “32-bit Operating System, x86-based processor”, then you’ll only be able to continue to run 32-bit Train Simulator.

Summary

If you just want the bullet points of the article, here’s a brief summary:

  • We’re adding 64-bit to Train Simulator 2019 for everyone
  • You’ll need a 64-bit computer with a 64-bit Operating System to run it
  • 64-bit means you can do more in Train Simulator, but it won’t run on every computer out there
  • We’re not taking 32-bit away, you’ll still be able to play this for the foreseeable future if you don’t have the computer to run it
  • All your content will work in 32-bit and 64-bit in exactly the same way
  • We need your feedback on how well 64-bit works for you via our Customer Support site

This is all we have for you right now, but we’re open to answering any questions you might have on 32-bit and 64-bit Train Simulator – so head over to the forums and get your question posted in the thread linked below.

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