• 5. Realism Questions

    TrainSim.Com Train Simulator FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions About MSTS

    5. REALISM QUESTIONS

    
    CAN YOU SELECT DIFFERENT LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY?
    
    
    Yes. Depending on what kind of a challenge you want, you can choose
    from a wide range of activities to select the difficulty you're
    looking for. Activities are rated for difficulty. You can also skip
    the activities and just explore a route in free mode.
    
    You can also control operating difficulty using the setup menus. For
    example, in operating the steam locomotives you can choose to do
    everything yourself or you can have an automatic fireman. There is
    also a simple controls mode that is not meant to be realistic but
    allows simple operation of any train. Another setting lets you
    disable derailments which lets you ignore speed limits.
    
    
    
    WHAT SIGNALLING SYSTEM(S) ARE INCLUDED IN MSTS?
    
    
    Each route has appropriate signals based on the real route. These
    include lighted signals that change with conditions as well as fixed
    signage to indicate things like speed limits. Since the signals are
    hard to see a driving aid pop-up window can be used that gives
    warnings in advance. A reference card is included with the sim that
    covers all the signals and their meanings.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU HAVE RANDOM SYSTEM FAILURES IN YOUR LOCOMOTIVE DURING YOUR RUN?
    
    
    No. The locomotive itself will not randomly fail. Player operating
    mistakes can cause failures, such as the locomotive boiler failing
    because the player failed to add water.
    
    
    
    CAN TRACKS APPEAR UNUSED AND WEED COVERED?
    
    
    No, track graphics are not that detailed.
    
    
    
    DOES THE GAME INCLUDE TRAIN STATIONS?
    
    
    Of course. All passenger trains in the game will include stops at
    stations. However, it appears that not all stations found on the real
    routes are present. For example, the Northeast Corridor route has
    stations appropriate to Amtrak operations but does not include the
    many commuter train stations.
    
    
    
    DOES THE GAME INCLUDE MAINTENENCE OF WAY (MOW) EQUIPMENT?
    
    
    MOW equipment does not play an active role in the sim. Along the
    sides of the routes you'll find a wide variety of vehicles including
    some that might be MOW related but they are just there for scenic
    effect.
    
    
    
    IS THERE TRAFFIC AT GRADE CROSSINGS?
    
    
    Yes. You will be able to see cars and trucks at grade crossings. What
    you see also varies by what route you are on. For example, in the
    Japanese city scenery you'll see many motor scooters.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU SEE ANIMALS NEAR THE TRACKS?
    
    
    Yes. You will be able to see some wildlife such as deer along the
    tracks. The deer quite often jump on and off the tracks.
    
    
    
    ARE PEOPLE INCLUDED IN THE GAME?
    
    
    No. Originally, people were planned to be visible at stations and
    crossings, but it was decided they would decrease the performance of
    the game too much. You'll find an occasional 2D person as part of the
    bitmap for a building.
    
    On passenger activities loading and unloading of passengers is
    indicated by a count down timer in one of the pop-up windows since
    you cannot actually see the people.
    
    
    
    DOES MSTS INCLUDE AMBIENT SOUNDS, SUCH AS WILDLIFE OR WIND SOUNDS?
    
    
    Yes. Sounds can be designed into the routes and the default routes
    take good advantage of this. In the country you may hear animal
    sounds while at stations you'll hear the murmur of voices or
    background music. Mostly it's quite subtle.
    
    Other objects that are specifically part of railroading activity make
    sounds as well, examples being crossing gates and the vehicles
    approaching them; you'll hear car and truck engine sounds and horns.
    
    
    
    ARE THE CONTROLS FOR EACH LOCOMOTIVE ACCURATELY DEPICTED?
    
    
    Yes. Each locomotive features a unique arrangement of controls,
    accurate to that locomotive. Obviously, some liberty has to be taken
    on many cab panels, though, to make a collection of 3D objects all
    visible on a single 2D screen.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU DERAIL OR CRASH YOUR TRAIN?
    
    
    Yes. If you exceed the limits for speed around a curve for your
    train, you can derail. It's also possible to derail on a switch or by
    driving past the end of a track. However, this is a game option that
    can be turned off. There also isn't any blood and gore, the train
    just jumps the tracks; the resulting pile of cars and locomotives can
    be quite a sight though.
    
    
    
    THE TRACKS LOOK VERY SMALL WHEN LOOKING FROM WITHIN THE CAB.  IS THIS
    ACCURATE?
    
    
    Yes. Although it does look small, you have to remember that not only
    are you suposed to be sitting several feet above the track, but the
    front of the train blocks much of the track right in front of you, so
    you can only see the track that is further away than you might
    otherwise expect.
    
    
    
    ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BRAKES INCLUDED (I.E. DYNAMIC, EMERGENCY, ETC.)?
    
    
    Yes, different types of brakes, accurate to each locomotive, will be
    included. Up to three types are available: train brakes, locomotive
    brakes and dynamics brakes.
    
    There's some debate on whether the dynamic brakes are modeled
    properly. You may want to check the file library for user created
    patches.
    
    
    
    WILL RAILROAD CROSSING SIGNALS TRIGGER REALISTICALLY SEVERAL SECONDS
    BEFORE THE TRAIN CROSSES IT, AND WILL IT SHUT OFF IF YOU STOP YOUR
    TRAIN BEFORE THE CROSSING?
    
    
    Yes. Grade crossing signals are included on several of the routes
    with automatic activation of lights and sounds.
    
    
    
    ARE INTERCHANGES WITH OTHER RAILROADS INCLUDED AND OPERATIONAL?  HOW
    DO THEY WORK?
    
    
    It does not appear possible to link separate routes.
    
    
    
    ARE CARS AND LOCOMOTIVES UNIQUELY NUMBERED?
    
    
    No. When one model of a default locomotive or car is depicted
    multiple times in Train Simulator, each one will have the same
    number. The number is just drawn onto the model's textures, and so
    each car of the same model will have the same number.
    
    However, 3rd party designers can and do create multiple versions of
    the same car or locomotive. Some locomotives are available with
    factory fresh paint or weathered. Some cars are available with a
    series of numbers. Look in the file library.
    
    
    
    ARE TURNTABLES MODELED AND OPERATIONAL IN MSTS?
    
    
    No. The closest thing is a non-operable turntable found in the
    Whitefish yard on the Marias Pass route.
    
    
    
    HOW BRIGHT WILL HEADLIGHTS APPEAR? FROM WHAT DISTANCE WILL WE BE ABLE
    TO SEE IT? WILL IT BE BRIGHT EVEN IN DAYLIGHT?
    
    
    The default locomotives' headlights are quite bright when set on
    high, bright enough to be visible in daylight. The area illuminated
    by the lights is generally fairly large. High and low headlight
    settings show noticeable differences.
    
    The locomotive configuration file allows a great deal of freedom in
    setting up lights so quite a variety of effects are possible.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU DRIVE YOUR TRAIN AT NIGHT?
    
    
    Yes. The locomotives are equipped with headlights (most have two
    brightness settings) that allow you to see at night well enough to
    operate. Of course signal lights are visible at night as well as some
    buildings and other vehicles.
    
    
    
    DO THE SUN AND SHADOWS MOVE ACCORDING TO SIM TIME?
    
    
    Yes. The sim is on a real 24-hour clock meaning that when it is noon
    sim-time the sun will be high overhead and the shadows will be short,
    but near dawn and dusk the sun will be nearer the horizon and shadows
    will be longer. You will see the effects as the color of the sky
    changes too.
    
    TIP: This feature is something worth considering when taking screen
    shots. Just like in real photographs the object in your screen shot
    needs to be properly lit for the shot to come out good. That
    generally means the sun should be behind you and thus lighting up the
    side of the object you are looking at.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU MAKE WEATHER AREAS SO THE WEATHER CHANGES GRADUALLY OVER YOUR
    ROUTE?
    
    
    No. The season, time and weather are pre-set in activities. When in
    free mode you choose them before starting and the weather and season
    are the same until you quit. All four seasons can be selected and
    weather can be clear, rainy or snowy.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU RELOAD COAL/WATER/DIESEL ONTO YOUR LOCOMOTIVE?
    
    
    Yes. You are able to, and in some cases have to, refuel, re-coal and
    re-water the engine. On the default routes, though, the number of
    places where you can do this are limited and somewhat hard to find.
    
    One special feature worth noting is that on the Settle & Carlisle
    route there is one location with a water trough between the tracks
    where water can be loaded while moving.
    
    
    
    ARE THE TRACK CONDITIONS CUSTOMIZABLE?
    
    
    Yes. You will be able to select different weather conditions such as
    snow and rain, which will in turn affect the train's performance.
    Most locomotives have the option of applying sand to the track to
    help with slippery conditions.
    
    
    
    CAN I DRIVE THE TRAIN IN SNOW?
    
    
    Yes and no. You will be able to drive with snow on the ground and
    also have it affect the train's performance, but you will not
    actually be able to drive through snow. It will not pile up nor will
    a snowplow be necessary. The ground will just look as though it is
    covered with a thin layer of snow.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU EXCEED THE LIMIT THE COUPLERS CAN PULL?
    
    
    Yes. You must be careful not to exceed the limits of the couplers
    when accelerating or decelerating. However, this can be modified
    through game options.
    
    
    
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