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  • World Of Subways Volume 1 The PATH


    Review: World of Subways, Volume 1, "The PATH"


    By D.C. Shoemaker
    6 August 2010




    This is part overview and part help
    for getting started with this unique game. Winner of the "2009
    Serious Game Award," Aerosoft of Germany has now produced two subway
    simulations, the PATH and the Berlin U-7, and they are spectacular.
    Be aware that some quick-overview reviews imply or say outright that
    WoS is an add-on for Microsoft Train Simulator; this is not so, the
    simulator is completely stand-alone.



    I'm running WoS on a moderately powerful laptop. Written in 2008
    and released in 2009, the graphics are about state-of-the-art for the
    time, but you still need a decent machine. This is the most
    impressive simulation of any kind I've ever seen, including
    Railworks, Flight Simulator X or Space Shuttle Mission Simulator. It
    is, however, likely very different from any other rail-based
    simulation you're likely to have seen. You have control of only one
    train at a time, with no switching, consist make-up, scheduling or
    the like. There are AI trains you can run to enhance the realism,
    with provisions for waiting for conflicting trains and signals, and
    equipment failures. You have a choice of three car types, several
    routes and times, and weather. You also have the choice of running
    one route, or working an entire shift, for which the simulation rules
    and scoring differ. For now, there are two add-ons, one of which is
    included in the current version, a 3-D Manhattan skyline, and one
    that adds scenarios to the basic game.






       


       




    This add-on has five new missions and additional options for the
    simulator. With a completely new Mission Module and five new missions
    you work on train orders outside normal shift duties: take workmen to
    their site on time, show your ability by driving a train with a
    defective brake, or take your train for a wash before your shift
    starts. This package also installs new scenarios including rail
    workers on the tracks, traffic accidents on the road and close to the
    tracks, and a burning building. These additional scenes can be turned
    off or on. When you install the update, it seems everything reverts
    to German. To fix this, open the Control Panel and uninstall the
    Expansion Pack. Then uninstall WoS 1.20. Then delete the TML folder.
    Reinstall the full version with a fresh download that contains
    v1.20 with all the current updates built in and reinstall the
    Expansion Pack. Start Wos and everything should be in English.
    Clearly, work remains to be done. I suspect WoS is a small team.



    While PATH is partly a subway
    system, it's also partly a surface railroad. The scenery is truly
    amazing for a 2009 game, and to an extent you have the ability to
    look and move around in it. For example, start a train from Newark
    and press the "O" key to follow it through the tunnels and across the
    bridges to New York City. Unless you're engaged in a free roam, you
    have a schedule to keep, varying numbers of passengers to take on and
    discharge, and widely varying speed limits. So while some say all you
    get to do is drive, that's what a real subway driver does, and I
    expect you will find that sufficiently challenging.






       


       




    A number of comments in forums and elsewhere suggest that users
    have had difficulty getting started with WoS. The instructions were
    originally written in German, and while the English translation is
    adequate, finding the information you need to get started can be
    awkward. You will also occasionally encounter a German term in the
    game that wasn't translated, such as todman switch, the deadman's
    switch. I've distilled and paraphrased and just plain stolen what I
    needed from the instructions, and present them here to either help
    you or pique your curiosity. It would be a shame to miss out on this
    excellent simulation because of start-up difficulties. Note that you
    can reconfigure the commands; with a laptop, this was the only way I
    could make the train and station announcements play.



    The simulation runs well under Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7,
    but you will want a fairly powerful computer. If your system can run
    Railworks, you can probably run WoS, but you should review the
    specifications on their


    web site
    .

    For earlier versions of Windows, the launcher program (WoS.exe) works
    just fine, but for Windows 7 users, an updated launcher is required.
    Using the original launcher file in Win 7 seems to produce a memory
    sharing violation error, possibly due to Windows 7 running a 32-bit
    emulator in a 64-bit system. For some reason Aerosoft has not yet
    made this file available for direct download from their site, but if
    you request the access-share-violation version of WoS.exe from the


    support forum at the maker's site


    you can get it in less than 24 hours; technical support is not
    Aerosoft's forte. There is also a patch that affects the operation of
    one of the display panels that you should probably install called
    "visual_indicator_air_condition.zip" from the Download section of the
    main site. I downloaded my version of the game from an on-line
    distributor. My understanding
    is that the patches are required regardless of what version you buy;
    this may change in future packages/releases. To start the download
    version of World of Subways an online registration is required; the
    PC running either the downloaded or boxed game version requires an
    active Internet connection to register the game, but after that, no
    Internet connection is required. It's possible to register via
    e-mail, but I didn't try that option.






       


       




    Following are the main keys you have to use, in the order to use
    them to start the train. Note that because I use a laptop, the number
    pad keys have been reassigned to regular numbers. This is done under
    "Game Options."



    Main Key Summary (in order of use):




    K for A/C

    SPACE for dead man's switch

    PAGE UP for direction

    LEFT ARROW to release brakes

    NUM 7, 8 & 9, then F3

    F1 / F2 to close doors (L/R)

    UP ARROW to accelerate

    L for lights

    H for horn

    O outside cab



    You must be in the cab to drive, but once underway you can use the
    "O" key to view the outside of the train and its surroundings; most
    impressive. Direction control and power levers are set to idle to
    begin with. Press "Page Up" to set the driving direction forward;
    "Page Down" sets it to reverse if you need it. Pressing "K" switches
    the air conditioning system on; this should remain on during the
    entire journey. Set the destination (F8) so that passengers know
    where the train is going; the CTRL key toggles the mouse pointer to
    allow you to move into the display panel.



     
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