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    Originally posted by c44d9w View Post
    I guess I am a bit of a contrarian here. I understand the need to get younger people interested, but if that means making it a game, then I am not interested. Eye candy is low in my priorities.

    I want to operate trains that behave realistically, over routes that are prototypical.

    I also think that ORTS needs to reduce complexity, and some of that comes from the MSTS compatibility. Something to consider is to convert MSTS files to ORTS files. Another thing to consider is modularisation - eg. we should be able to include a specific brake vavle or diesel engine, instead of having to define the same over and over (each time just slightly different).

    I agree that route and model building needs to be improved (I have yet to dare to build a route).

    I guess I'm confused. Are we not there realistically with the physics and other features that's NAVS and Trainsimulations have pushed out as a pretty good standard across the board?

    Include files will also create the feature you are looking for, something the above two have also produced.

    Only reason I absolutely do not use include files on my own work, is no locomotive and no rail car, acts the same when it comes to power, braking, etc.

    It's time for the focus on the eye candy. Like for instance, more than one light cone. That's been needed for a long time...
    -Shawn K-
    Northern Maine Productions


      I feel like the physics are always going to be tweaked again and again, that is one of the strongest suits of this game after all. Got a guy over on the trainsimcommunity site doing an excellent job at that.

      Something I see is that newcomers have a harder time trying to get all this stuff to actually work and spend more time doing that than playing the actual game. I've gotten a few into the game and a lot of the time they would just have to download 20 sound and cab files because the original model was aliased to the MSTS sounds or whatnot. I feel like some sort of "common" download that includes sorts of replacements for default stuff so newer players have less time trying to get things to work. (Hopefully, that makes sense to some?).



        It is a problem faced by many organizations. I belong to the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic and am working on a education project. Educate who? Target is ten year olds, most likelly boys. Why, well think about it. In our generation the rite of passage was when a boy got a Lionel Train and they even made them in pink for girls. Now for either boys or girls, the rite of passage is when you get your first iphone or eqivalent. Eye candy is nice, but I would rather see accurate physics and having run trains during strikes in the long ago, I have enough experience to know what I am looking at. Eye candy for me would be a shaking chair & side to side lunges on curves. If you attend church, look around and see who is there - in mine it is mostly folks over 50. So we have to provide enough eye candy for the young ones and we might still lose out, and we have please the old farts or we might lose out. The ultimate aim of this education project is to have units in both hard copy and as apps for the iphone.

        Roger, try to build a route. TSRE is a quantum leap improvement over MSTS/RE although don't throw away the RE, you will still need it to shape cuts and fills. That is the main area where TSRE just does not "do it". ORTS is great and one of the tools, Track Viewer, is quite handy for checking a route and creating paths.

        Jerry Sullivan (retired P.E., retired from Southern Rwy. (not NS), retired from CSX, age 85 in 2 months)


          At the end of the day, the "eye candy" element is what is needed to bring in new users and stabilize/grow the platform. Sure there are some who will find OR because they value the physics and operational realism over the visuals and want a true simulation experience but that view clearly takes a back seat for much of the train sim community as evidenced by the broader success of other platforms. However, that doesn't mean we can't have both. Erick/NAVS's work and the recent products from Trainsimulations are some great examples of what can be achieved visually while still retaining the operational piece.


            Not knocking all of the other wants and needs, but yes improved eye candy is a must for a "simulator". I want to feel like I am really driving a train in the real world, not in a game or a model trainset.
            Better lighting, weather, environmental parameters, etc.
            That is why I spend all my time modding it get it looking as realistic as I can, or it can be like driving in the original MSTS at times.

            Chicago Railroading Fan


              Yup. Physics and realism will attract some, but this isn't one size fits all.

              Run8 is an operations simulator with some physics, and moderate eye candy. But they appear to have more US users than OpenRails does because they focused on multi-player, and when you play the game with friends, they tend to invite more friends along for the ride. That grows an audience.



                Here is a podcast I just listened to and think many would Bennifit from hearing this! It is an interview with the founder of Jointed Rails Simulations and may give you guys an idea of where Train Simulators are going!

                Mike Cyr, head of two train sim development companies (Jointed Rail and Crosstie Studios), joins us to discuss his history with producing content for Trainz Railroad Simulator, what he enjoys about being self-employed in the hobby, and what the team at Crosstie Studios is working to put into their new train simulator.


                  Neat interview - whatever happened to CrossTie Studios?


                    I am not exactly sure but I see that Mike is no longer part of Jointed Rail either so maybe he got out of the business completely. The reason I put that podcast up is to show others where the Train Sim community is heading and I found it interesting that much of what was talked about I had brought up when I started this thread on here and Elvastower.


                      Thanks Brandon, I wonder why he left the business.

                      I think it's also valuable to look at the other side of that - here's a group of people that had all the right conditions: their full time jobs were creating content from Trainz, they were able to put in 40 hours a week on developing the new game AND pay their bills, and they used Unreal engine, which did a ton of the heavy lifting, and even with that huge advantage, it didn't work out.


                        There are many reasons he could have left the industry including family related but he did have 3 companies along with this new game they were creating so maybe it just got to be too much. Who knows but anyways his old company Jointed Rail Simulations is still kicking and pumping out content for Trainz.

                        Now has anyone considered using Unreal Engine for ORTS or is that out of the question?



                          Originally posted by BrandonS261 View Post
                          Now has anyone considered using Unreal Engine for ORTS or is that out of the question?
                          From post #12 of same topic started over at Elvas:

                          "eye-candy"....the way I read that is graphic presentation.....and this relates back to the "Game-Engine" most have seen recent releases of video's utilizing the "Unreal engine" as a core engine for a steam train game...Unreal utilizes C++ which would be almost a complete rewrite for OR since OR is coded in C#...Unity is a fairly robust C# 3d game engine....but that would also take a major effort to recode OR it's not an easy tasks....for someone to do in their spare time as a hobby.....
                          Last edited by R. Steele; 11-01-2023, 02:12 AM.
                          Cheers, Gerry
                          It's my railroad and I'll do what I want! Historically accurate attitude of US Railroad Barons.
                          Forever, ridin' drag in railroad knowledge.


                            BrandonS261 eric and others.
                            What I am about to state might look long, but it is important. It might provide a big insight on what could make the installation of routes and other OR content much easier. One of my insights could also remove the route element limit that OR currently has.
                            I am younger than 30 and can tell you that the problems Brandon has stated are only some of the issues. The issues that have not been brought up are the following.
                            • OR is only available on Windows, and forget about Android or iOS, it is not even available for Mac. Many other rail or plane simulators have long been on Mac, and have even gone on mobile. (This is probably the biggest problem outside of graphics, and is preventing others from using OR). As for Android, the developer of TSRE (Goku), had released a video on his youtube where he actually shown he had created a mobile version of TSRE that could actually simulate the routes. This video was also not even recent and almost a decade ago he had made this app. Many have asked him about it and why has it not been released to the Google Play Store. However there has been no response, or his response would be something along the lines of beating around the bush. Forget about simulation stuff even, full fledged games that one point were only on gaming consoles are even being released as mobile apps. Even stuff like AutoCAD or 3D building is now available on Android. We are not just behind as Brandon said... we are WAYYYYYYY behind.
                            • OR is not optimized for more modern screens like 4K.
                            • OR can crash in places where it would give a bad appeal to those using OR.
                            • There are many routes on here, ET, and on RailServe, that have .bat installation files. For anyone that does not have MSTS, the bat installation file would do nothing. The workaround for this involves installing a large well made Mini Route like Vince's PRR, opening the bat file from Word Pad, and seeing what files to copy from mini-route main route, to the route with the bat file manually.
                            • Some routes have been uploaded using not default tools and thus requiring special unzipping software like WinZip.
                            • People are releasing reskinned train engines by copying problematic engines (the ones that are still in like kN), and the trains never move like many of the U25Bs. Thus it becomes a chore to find a working model of a specific engine. I think sites like this and ET should at least require train engines to work without the need of modifying the engine files by the person who downloads the file.
                            • The route downloading via websites and the slow download rate. (Will go into this in more detail as to how another open source simulator is doing much better without these limitations).
                            As for the errors:
                            • Error messages mid-simulation leading to the simulation to crash due to car spawner for those that never had MSTS (this is easily fixable, instead of the simulation crashing to main menu, the error message should have the option to continue by ignoring the car spawn file).
                            • The Cntrl+9 map needs to be re-done. It can become too laggy, and if it freezes for a certain amount of time, the simulation will crash.
                            • Multi-steam engine unit consists where one of the steam engines does not have cabin view is unusable (no way to turn on water valve, thus leading to fuse plugged if first engine, or simulation crashing if water level goes bellow zero).
                            In terms of platform availability, I think the OR team should consider getting the mobile and Mac applications available before working in the waters with the graphics. This might give us a much larger base of people who would support the project, and thus more people to work with the graphics. Storage space is not that big of an issue in modern day mobile devices.

                            Now on to what I was talking about in terms of route downloading, and an alternative way. There is a open source simulator that is called FlightGear (will be reffered to as FG following this point), and yes it is for planes not trains but the point I am trying to make is how they load scenery or one gets aircrafts. They use a download area needed at that moment method, rather than download everything and run it from local storage. The point is simple, not everyone is going to visit every nook and corner of a route in OR. Downloading new content at the moment and saving it to cache saves time that might be wasted in downloading parts that are never used.

                            In terms of how FG lets users get aircrafts, it is more central and via the app (however it is possible and optional to download FG aircrafts from the web and manually install them like how we install train engines in OR, some people do that to get aircrafts for FG outside of what FG main has.) The central aircraft download and choosing system, which is the main menu of FG does the work of downloading and installing the aircraft for the user.

                            In terms of how all this could be implemented in OR, there are two ways it could be implemented.

                            The first method uses the downloading of the entire route method we currently use, and would be implemented as follows. The OR main menu would have the option to login to, ET, or other OR content provider via OR rather than going to the website and logging in. Regardless if one is logged into one of the content providers or not, a tab in the OR main menu will have the option of "Download/Install". This is because under this method, is set as the default OR content provider for routes, cars, etc, and thus one does not have to login to use OR, more info of this in last paragraph. Clicking on it will display a list of routes, cars, and train engines installed. To find a route, car, ect, that is not installed, one has to type what they want in a search box that is also on the same tab. This search box will look for matches on all OR content provider that the user has provided credentials to the application. This would save time from going for here, ET, or etc to find something specific. Next to each listing, will be an option called "Download & Install". The application itself would download and install the content itself rather than the user doing so manually. Also in the "download/Install" tab should be the options to point to a different location than that stated as the source folder location where a installme.bat file points to. Another option available on that tab should be to check whether car spawner would work on a specific route, and options like ("delete car spawn file during route installation" or "try to find and install required cars") if it detects that car spawner could throw an error.

                            The second method involves something similar to the system that is implemented in FlightGear (that is not a typo, FlightGear is another open source project like FlightSim). On a side note, using this system could also allow us to implement real live live weather data in to OR. In FlightGear (FG), real actual live weather from the real world is inputted and displayed in the game by accessing METAR weather data. Basically by using a system of the following:
                            current coordinates -> find closest airport to current coordinate --> get metar data from that airport --> use that data to display weather on the screen.
                            What we could do is
                            current coordinates -> find closest airport to current coordinate* --> get metar data for that airport --> use that data to display weather on the screen

                            *I actually don't know how FG does this, but we would have to implement something similar.

                            Now for the hard part which would require a lot of work, I would like to call it "Dynamic Route/Scenery Downloading" (DR/SD). Before we get into details, support for route files would remain in place. This is for those that have worked hard to make routes not feel as if they worked hard all this time for nothing, and to allow fantasy/made up routes. Now lets go into detail. In DR/SD, OR would install differently. All very highly used scenery, sound, track object, and signal files would come with the installation of OR. The only thing that would not come with the installation is routes (and/or how DR/SD will do routes), locomotives/rolling stock, terrain info, and not very highly used (scenery, sound, track object, and signal files). Those things would require an internet connection to get.

                            Everything stated above that does not come with the installation, with the exception of routes, can be downloaded using a the "Download/Install" option tab stated in the first method.

                            When a user opens the program the GUI will have two extra drop down saying track access and year. The first drop down will have the options of "Local" or "Server". If the first option is selected, the GUI would look like how the GUI normally looks. The second drop down will only display if the first drop down just discussed has the "Server" option selected. The second drop down of year will have the options of, "1900", "1920", "1940", "1970", "present". These options can vary and more options could be implemented. The drop down would decide which OR track server to access. Now let's get into the nitty gritty of this.

                            In DR/SD all route and terrain data for the real world would be online. There would be a total of 5 servers in this DR/SD idea. Each of the servers would have route data of all routes created for OR, with the route time set to a specific ranger year. For example,
                            1900 server would have routes set in 1900 to 1919.
                            1920 server would have routes set in 1920 to 1939.
                            1940 server would have routes set in 1940 to 1969.
                            1970 server would have routes set in 1970 to 1999.
                            present server would have routes set in 2000 to present day.

                            When the sim starts for the first time, it will download terrain data, track reference, and object reference data of 9x9 simulation tiles, where the center tile is tile where the sim would start. It will read this data and save it in a cache folder, so that it would not need to download it again if the player were to access that area sometime in the future. While the user's computer reads the data it received, if it sees any track object, scenery, sound, or signal file that it does not have, it will download that too. Once everything is available, the user's computer will create the display on the screen and it starts.
                            Now, what about the other tiles in a route, and what about the routes? Here is the dynamic part.​ As a user reaches 2 tiles away from the boundary of downloaded area, OR will look in its cache to see if it can find the content of 5 tiles ahead and 1 tiles to the left and right of the direction the train is moving in. If it does not have it in the cache, it will download this data.
                            The only downside here is that all routes in the above years would have to be merged into a single route. The good news on the other hand, NO MORE ROUTE ELEMENT LIMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                   actually has routes, cars, engines, and other stuff up for OR to download, some of which are not available here and nor even at ET. That too with no login and at fast speeds, thus it would be a good idea to put it as the default content provider in the event that OR is to use a centralized app for download and installation. This way, slow download speeds would not be a detractor and would not be the first thing experienced by a new user of OR trying to download and install content. For those wondering what I am talking about, and where does RailServe have this stuff, I will do a walk though here on how to download a 250 ton crane freight car from

                            1. On under games and sims, there should be a link for MSTS, click it.
                            2. The should be a link for Freight Cars, click it.
                            3. The 250 ton crane should be the first listing, click it and it would download a zip file with no login requirements.


                              Conceptually interesting. What I'll caution... flight simulation requires significantly less in terms of scenery and overhead to operate.

                              I do like the idea of having installers that can grab dependencies automatically, but isn't that essentially Steam's model?


                                Originally posted by DimPoint View Post
                                The Cntrl+9 map needs to be re-done. It can become too laggy, and if it freezes for a certain amount of time, the simulation will crash.
                                I have recently redesigned the map window in Open Rails. It can be currently accessed with Ctrl + Shift + 9 in the latest unstable release. Please see this topic at ElvasTower for more details.