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    The future of Open Rails

    Hey guys,

    I know I have not been on the forums too much lately as I have been very busy with other priorities at the moment but hoping to get back on here soon and get back into modeling. However I would like to bring up something that I have been thinking about a lot lately and it's something I think we should try and start doing as soon as possible.

    Being that the community is mainly older folks and not so many of my generation on here or Elvastower.com it has come to my attention that we need to start trying to get the younger generation involved and interested in Open Rails other wise it will die.

    Me being one of the very few younger modelers and game players on here I would really like to see Open Rails continue as a leader in game development. I have always enjoyed running Open Rails for it's realism in train physics and the ease of being able to modify the coding. However many other train simulator games are way ahead of us when it comes to eye candy, graphics and other game play features that I think Open Rails would benefit from greatly if implemented.

    Let me ask you this! Do we want to keep Open Rails alive and get younger folk involved or do we want to see Open Rails not go any farther then it is currently and die a slow painful death as the older generation either give up on it or pass away?

    The technology is there already so why is the Open Rails team not using it to improve the gaming experience?

    Yes Open Rails is open source and the coders are doing this all on there free time and not getting paid but in my personal opinion it would be very beneficial for Open Rails to have some sort of way to give donations so we can further the development and get some more of those features into the game that it is lacking that many other Train Simulator games already have!

    We need to get with the times and put in some of these features instead of focusing so much on physics because truly that is all Open Rails has going for it currently. Yes I know many of you will disagree with my argument but all I am trying to do is give you the facts coming from someone who is younger and only uses Open Rails for there Train Simulator gaming!

    Yes I have tried other rail simulators like Train Simulator 2019 and TRAINZ but they do not give me the realism that I am looking for when it comes to what I mentioned earlier with physics but they do give me the eye candy that many of the younger generation want from a train simulator game.

    Now I do see a future for Open Rails but not in the way many here see it and want to challenge all of you to try and see it from someone who is from a much younger generation than many on these forums. I am not trying to start arguments with what I am trying to propose but what I am trying to do is look out for the future of Open Rails and would love to see it come to its full potential that I truly believe it can be!

    Brandon​

    #2
    I completely agree, Brandon. There have been some great steps forward with Monogame and Reshade, but it still doesn't approach what DTG has achieved in their game engines.

    On a parallel path, we need to be encouraging the next generation of route builders and model makers. Guys like Pete and Erick have been showing what's possible and are even sharing their source in some cases, which is huge for those who want to learn Blender. Every week I see someone asking for a new variation of a GEVO, but I don't see those folks asking for the tools or skills to build them. That conversation needs to happen, and for those of you who are actively building, PLEASE write about it here so that there are people to share that. Jerry Sullivan's been doing that with his route progress updates, and I'll be doing likewise as my development sprints pick up again over the winter.

    As long as we're talking about route building.... Something I've noticed with the routes that seem to be selling quite well in the DTG world... short routes....

    I'm talking 15-60 miles with seriously decent scenery. That seems to be a sweet spot for folks with limited time, and it should be an easy go for route builders. Some of us can build 15 miles in a day or two. We do ourselves no favors by coming up with 300+ mile routes that never quite get finished.

    Yeah, I know. I'm one of those who have multiple routes with over 300 miles of track, but when I have time to rune one, my favorite is still the IRM followed by switching on Packerland (not released).... things I can spend 30-60 minutes doing and then walk away from.

    Last point on the band wagon... we can limp along on TSRE for a few more years, but we really need an editor that follows the same development standards, and can serve as a jumping off point for developing routes with new file formats and data structures.. We still don't have one from the OR Development Team, nor have I really been satisfied with any of the commentary back from the ORMT when the questions have been posed.

    Every three to four weeks on the somewhat private team development forum, there's a request from the ORMT asking if there's a topic for the steering committee to discuss. Be sure to let them know your thoughts. It may not result in immediate action, but it does get some attention.
    Last edited by eric; 10-25-2023, 10:44 PM.
    If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, agreed. It's time to start focusing on the eye candy aspect of things.

      Erick Cantu and the guys at Trainsimulations have nailed the physics, time to keep it as is and move forward instead of tweaking it so it works for one person and not the other.

      To be honest, Train Sim World has some of the best eye candy when it comes to the current simulators. If they were better with sounds and physics, it would be perfect, and I don't think I'd ever come back to ORTS. Though still sort of taking a long break from it..

      -Shawn K-
      Derby Rail Shops
      Maine Central Mountain Division: 20% Track, 10% Scenery.

      Comment


        #4
        TSW is ever so slowly getting there since now it even has an actual editor. Though it's still lacking in the other fields (and I don't think dovetail really cares to fix stuff like that themselves).

        As someone in the DTG TSC community, it's definitely true that most shorter and well-detailed routes sell extremely well. Some even get extensions to them (solider summit, north jersey coast line, caltrain, etc). People over there don't really want to run routes that would take them over 8 hours to run trains across the entirety of it. Though routes over there tend to include less stock than stuff you'd see for this game.

        I'm really glad you got Trainsimulations, Erick/NAVS, and a few others still making content for this game, while most others have moved on now.

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you guys for your input! I really just wanted to get the conversation going and see what others thought. Not only for the ones who play the game but also the coders in the open Rails team as I think the time is now to start looking towards the future for Open Rails and figure out where we would like Open Rails to go in!

          Brandon

          Comment


            #6
            The first step towards the eye candy aspect of things would be dynamic lighting. Station and trains at night look so dull and boring. Night activities are genuinely unfavorable.
            I know, achieving the level of DTG or TSW would be difficult and will take time (who knows, maybe I'd grow up one day and move on with my life). It would have been nice to enjoy beautiful lighting as a teenager.
            But that's my stuff. I really wish the coming youth gets to enjoy the legacy of OR as well as the new features.
            No matter what other sims I play, OR will always take the first place in my heart. ❤️
            Why? My entire childhood was OR. Yes, that PC was old and laggy, but OR ran fine on it. That feeling I used to get in my childhood getting the vibes of train travel can NEVER match the feeling I get today playing DTG.

            I'll always stand up for OR. 🥳
            Let it not die. 🙂

            Comment


              #7
              While I personally agree with the eye candy thing, the bigger problem is the massive barrier to entry. It's not uncommon for me on Discord or other places to hear about people having difficulties setting up OR, from figuring out file structures to various issues with the program. The various starter packs have helped, but I have the feeling one can do more...
              Parker B. - A Misplaced Midwesterner.
              Also known as Mr. Two Bits and Mr. Squarewheels.

              Comment


                #8
                People need to understand that ORTS is currently a big box of Legos.... when they're used to an XBox, that has challenges.
                If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

                Comment


                  #9
                  It's a virtual trainset and it has to be put together.
                  That appeals to me.

                  Randy

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have to agree with you Parker with that statement. It would sure be nice to have not just a starter pack per say but a more professional way to install the game.

                    What I mean by this is you download the game from Open Rails.org BUT you include the few routes and locomotives that go with the starter pack along with the route editor and consist editor all in one download and downloaded to the same drive.

                    That way you can streamline the installation process and people who want to play the game don't need to download multiple things, practically manually install them by having to put the download into a separate drive and when the download is done people are able to use the route and locomotives right away.

                    This download could be Up To Date Stable Release with less options then the so called unstable/coding and testing version that would only be updated to the site when there is a new stable release available.

                    Another thing I would like to see is a new upload full screen instead of the little half box that we have currently with everything just crammed into it because honestly its a complete disaster and if I were a teen or young adult wanting a Train Simulator game Open Rails would probably be my last choice because by the looks of how it is set up looks very daunting and unprofessional in my personal opinion.

                    We need to streamline the operation for beginners of Open Rails with a loading screen that goes into the options menu where they can change the locomotives, activity, route, weather and other game play options.

                    for the lack of a better word when you first look at the Open Rails screen it is very confusing and daunting. Sure I am used to it because I have been with Open Rails since the beginning but we need to look at it through the eyes of someone who is just getting into the Train Simulator programs.

                    And yes Eric you are certainly right! Open Rails is a big box of Lego's and it will take awhile to put all of the pieces together!

                    Brandon
                    Last edited by BrandonS261; 10-26-2023, 04:49 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      One thing Microsoft got right.... the "Introductory Train Ride" which had no option other than the route to pick.
                      If you like what you see here at Trainsim.com, be it the discussions and knowledge in the forums, items saved in our library or the ongoing development of our TSRE Fork, I hope you'll consider a paid membership to help support keeping the site operating.... Thanks!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes I agree Eric! That is exactly what I am thinking Open Rails needs to do along with tutorials on how to drive the locomotives.

                        Right now the way I see it ORTS practically just throws you into the fire and says figure it out yourself!

                        There with absolutely no guidance and you have to look through a very long manual to figure everything out and not something I would want to do if I was new to Train Simulators.

                        We need tutorials on how to do things and a download for the game that is specific to beginners.

                        Brandon
                        Last edited by BrandonS261; 10-26-2023, 05:58 PM.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by BrandonS261 View Post
                          Yes I agree Eric! That is exactly what I am thinking Open Rails needs to do along with tutorials on how to drive the locomotives.

                          Right now the way I see it ORTS practically just throws you into the fire and says figure it out yourself!

                          There with absolutely no guidance and you have to look through a very long manual to figure everything out and not something I would want to do if I was new to Train Simulators.

                          We need tutorials on how to do things and a download for the game that is specific to beginners.

                          Brandon

                          I hate to say it, but the community has been like that in general for a very long time with the "figure it out yourself". Not many people are willing to help others.

                          Needless to say, tutorials would be pretty good to start with, even an introduction of how to run things, with certain routes and features. However you end up with payware versus freeware on what is featured, and most freeware, besides what NAVS has been pumping out, is pretty dated.
                          -Shawn K-
                          Derby Rail Shops
                          Maine Central Mountain Division: 20% Track, 10% Scenery.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I completely agree Shawn and it is very frustrating! I feel like many people are just stuck in there old ways of doing things and not willing to open there eyes to get the younger generation involved to keep ORTS alive for the future!

                            I know I learned a lot from a few people that have been around the block a time or two when it comes to modeling and route building. This includes Eric and Allen N. so I thank you both for your time and effort of teaching myself and my friend Josh your knowledge of modeling.

                            I for one am always willing to help others out and key if we want to see ORTS flourish in the future. I also plan on working/releasing more models this winter and hopefully that will inspire others to do the same thing but I doubt it!

                            I am not trying to bash ORTS at all but trying to look out for it's future being one of the younger folks in the community. I think some of the ideas I have are essential to keeping ORTS in the game with other simulators and would greatly improve not only the gaming experience but also help with getting younger folks involved with ORTS.

                            Brandon

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It's all in the packaging. Trainsimulations has that part right, but even that's no good if the Open Rails game engine continues to be such a moving target.

                              When NAVS started putting out their own original engines and freight cars, I (and undoubtedly many others) studied their physics and learned how to apply the NAVS methodology to the best older MSTS models. We had plenty of experience from MSTS with applying Bob Boudin's physics to as many of our models as possible. Our expectation with Open Rails was that we could do the same, that once we knew which lines to paste and which numbers to plug in that we'd be all set to go - and then we could just run trains. But no... It turns out that as new features are added, when we update so that we can use the new features, other coders have been innovating with the physics to the extent that our earlier fixes may not work any longer.

                              Bottom line is, if you go to run an activity, but you spend the evening tweaking the necessary engs and wags and sms so that they work correctly in the activity, and then there's no time left in the evening to run the activity, then tomorrow evening you may decide not to run an activity!

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