• Microsoft Train Simulator Features

     

    Microsoft Says...
    TrainSim.Com Says...
    Six highly-detailed train routes from around the world with over 600 total miles of rail, carefully recreated with accurate elevation and terrain data, to mirror the real-world scenery, industry, and towns along the routes. Routes include both historic and contemporary rail operations: Six hundred miles sounds like a lot, but is it really? It probably doesn't even matter...the key is that the sim is open to add-ons and those are what will give it its long term value, not what comes initially included.
    • Amtrak - the "bullet train" comes to America with Amtrak's new Acela high-speed train running the busy U.S. Northeast Corridor.
    Being from the northeast I'm excited about this one! The real Acela service has just started too so we'll have some real world benchmarks to compare with.
    • Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway - experience the challenges and awesome power of moving today's freight through the spectacular Marias Pass and along the southern border of Glacier National Park in Montana.
    Good, basic, American freight operations...the real day to day stuff of railroading. This sounds like one of the highlights of the sim.
    • The Flying Scotsman Railways - race along some of England's most beautiful countryside in the late 1920's in what is arguably the world's most famous steam locomotive.
    It's hard to argue with this choice...railroading began in Britain so you can hardly leave it out. The Scotsman is a class train to include and doing some old time steam operation will provide a very different challenge from some of the other choices.
    • Kyushu Railway Company - explore the mountainous Hisatsu line on Japan's southern island of Kyushu.
    Japanese railroading is going to be, well, foreign to Microsoft's American customers...we know of the Bullet Trains but including two Japanese lines?
    • Odakyu Electric Railway - navigate one of the busiest commuter lines out of Tokyo or take in the breathtaking scenery of Mt. Fuji.
    A spectacular area, but I probably would have chosen some more typical, closer to home freight operation rather than a second Japanese line.
    • The Venice Simplon Orient-Express - visit the Austrian Alps in the 1930s for the ultimate in romantic European steam train travel.
    Another classic! Hard to go wrong with a choice like this one, and another chance for some steam railroading.
    The most realistic experience of rail equipment ever brought to the PC - placing you in the cab of each detailed locomotive, with accurate, fully-functional gauges and working controls that you manipulate. Whether it's working the regulator on a steam engine or the air brake system on a modern diesel, you are in control. You've got to like this. Flightsim fans go nuts over detailed cockpits so why should train operators want anything less?
    Authentic train and route sound recordings of the actual equipment and locations. Whether in the cab or standing by the tracks, you'll hear the distinctive hissing of the Flying Scotsman as it gets up a head of steam, the throaty rumble of a Dash 9 diesel as it hauls its load of freight, and the distinctive sounds of jointed, wooden-tie track versus welded, concrete-tie track. With current sound technology users wouldn't settle for less!
    Real-world rail activities based on operational events unique to each route. Players can choose from a variety of challenges, such as keeping to a strict passenger timetable amidst unforeseen obstacles, or using helper engines to get a 50-car intermodal train over Marias Pass during a winter storm. Alternatively, you can enjoy any of the routes from a passenger or observer view - just sit back, let the computer control the realistic rail operations, and enjoy the sight and sounds of your journey. Smart feature! With a game you have set tasks and goals but with a real sim you sit down in front of it and do...what? Both the power and the weakness of a real sim is that you can do anything with it. Offering users specific tasks to try is an important inclusion.
    An open architecture, and tools that encourage enthusiasts, railroad clubs/historical societies, and third-party developers to customize and extend the product by creating new trains, routes, scenery, and challenges, many of which will be available for download from the Internet. This is THE most important feature! This same concept is what made Microsoft Flight Simulator and it should work here too. The other features almost don't matter...give users a quality sim engine and tools to create with and the users will make the sim. It's happened with flightsims and it will happen here too.
    Key partnerships with major railroads around the world who are assisting Microsoft in recreating the trains and operations to provide an authentic rail experience. The same sort of partnerships are part of Microsoft Flight Simulator, but it's questionable how much they really helped the final product. Can't hurt though...
    Microsoft Flight Simulator heritage, and the exacting standards of quality and realism associated with that product family. The same ingredients that make Flight Simulator so appealing will make Microsoft Train Simulator irresistible to anyone with an interest in trains. Can't argue with success.
    Microsoft Train Simulator is © 2000 Microsoft Corporation.
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