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Thread: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the updates

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the updates

    All in all, a encourageing update, along with a reasonable explanation behind the lack of communication. I am sure this is probally posted on thier forums as well, but here is the e-mail that was sent out today anyway.


    Hello all,

    A little over two years ago, when the idea first came to into being that we could recreate a hi-traffic, hi-speed rail corridor with the railroad’s blessing and support, I never would have dreamed we’d be able to so accurately reproduce not only the look, but the ‘feel’ of running these trains at 90mph between LA and San Diego. I never would have believed we could push Microsoft Train Simulator so far beyond its documented capabilities so as to have things like AI trains that talk to you over the radio, dispatchers that call to advise you of conditions up ahead, and conductors that notify you of upcoming speed restrictions or tell you to stop the train so they can put off an unruly passenger. I also thought that having a route where no two runs were ever the same was but a fantasy, something that at best would have to wait for Train Simulator 2 to be released. Two years later, we have Pacific Surfliner v1.0, where now you can run the exact same activity and actually experience different things along the way… people along the tracks or some police-activity that wasn’t there when you ran the same activity only the day before. In fact, even though this Activity got you safely into San Diego the last time you played it, this time you weren’t so lucky… you’ve hit a truck at one of the of the last few unprotected crossings on the corridor.

    Helping to fill the void created by MSTS2’s absence became a very real requirement of ours when Facing Point Media first learned of MSTS2’s cancellation about nine months ago, long before news of its demise ever found its way into the online forums. We knew we had to accomplish much more than what has become standard fare in an MSTS Add-On. Example: two years ago, talking Defect Detectors were the cool new thing (kudos to 3D Train Stuff!), but we felt it was time to take this feature and really make it functional. It was important to us that the detectors could tell you what track you were on, give an accurate axle-count, and most importantly, act as they do in the real-world. You see, from time to time, a Defect Detector will ruin your day when it finds a defect and demands that you “Stop your train! Stop your train!” It’s features like these that make running trains in Surfliner v1.0 so much like running trains in the real Los Angeles – San Diego corridor, and we’re exceptionally proud to have been able to make these things work.

    Two years ago, I never could have dreamed that Pacific Surfliner v1.0 would become all it’s turned into, but I also never, ever, dreamed that after two years, we wouldn’t have a completed product! I never would have thought we’d encounter technical hurdles so disasterours, so bizarre, and so significant that we’d end up stuck in holding pattern for almost three months! I never would have thought that Facing Point Media would have so many unhappy customers, folks who feel cheated after having to wait such a long time to get the route after they’ve put their credit card down. We thought the PreSale concept would easily hold folks over for the short time between their purchase and the route’s release. We never thought for a minute that its completion would be delayed again and again, month after month after month. I want to tell each and every one of you, that I am truly sorry. I’m sorry not only for the persistent delays, but also my overall lack of communication. I should have been much more up front with all of you when these problems we experienced first came to light. I kept wishing we’d find some ‘smoking gun’ that we could quickly fix, so I continually put off communicating with all you, always hoping I’d have something more positive to offer if I waited one more day. This isn’t an excuse, it’s just an explanation, but I wanted you all to know that I offer my most humble and sincere apologies to each and every one of you.

    That said, with all the amazing new features we’ve been able to implement, I still feel strongly that the delays have been worth it. We’re finally in a place where the route is very, very stable, and more importantly, it’s remaining stable while we run some of the most realistic activities anybody has ever developed for any Train Simulator anywhere. What this means to you is we’re really getting close. There are still a few areas of scenery that need to be populated, mainly between East LA & Norwalk and between Fullerton & Anaheim, and we still have to write and re-write several older activities so they’ll be able to properly function within our latest Beta, but we can envision ourselves completing the route in the very, very near future. At the moment, our plans are to spend the next two weeks rebuilding and testing the Activities, implementing the various Sound Regions, and recording the remaining Dynamic Audio. Once these tasks are complete and have been tested enough to ensure reliability, we’re going to set a date for an initial release (which should be only about ten days later). In this release, we’re going to follow the suggestions so many of you have offered; we’re going to release the route to you, our PreSale customers! It’ll be complete, and it’ll be stable, and by offering it to you in this manner, you’ll be able to run the route more than three weeks before we’re ready to commit everything to a glass-master and begin mass-producing the CD’s. This release will be made available for download only, but we can set up a CD-sharing pen-pal arrangement to get CD-R’s to those of you with dial-up.

    That’s about it for now. I’ve decided not to include any screenshots with this newsletter because I wanted to just focus on getting this information out to you, but be sure to check the forums later this week and we’ll get something new posted for you. So, before I get back to work, I want to again apologize for the constant delays and lack of communication, and I want to thank all of you for hanging in there. We’re just a few weeks away, and we’re feeling better than ever about the route’s features and its inevitable completion just around the corner. Again, our most sincere thanks to each and every one of you for sticking with us!

    Sincerely,

    Andrew & the Pacific Surfliner Development Team


  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    Thanks for posting this, Chris! The type font on the email I got was extremely small and it made for difficult reading...

    JD

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    From what they are trying to do they can take all the time they want to get it right....

    Bob

  4. #4
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    >From what they are trying to do they can take all the time
    >they want to get it right....
    >
    >Bob

    I second that.

    Bill


  5. #5
    dgauci Guest

    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    The FPM forum also contains new screenshots along with the newsletter you'll want to see.

  6. #6

    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to receiving ther finished product.

    BRAD

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Winnipeg, MB, Canada.
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    >>From what they are trying to do they can take all the time
    >>they want to get it right....
    >>
    >>Bob
    >
    >I second that.
    >
    >Bill

    Ummmmmmmmmmmmm guys !!

    They CAN in fact take all the time they want to get it right !!

    Later


    Tim K - VIA Rail Canada 🇨🇦 Western Region

  8. #8
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    Thanks Chris for posting (did not yet find the mail in my inbox...).

    In a nutshell, the explanations offered make much sense. Anyone who ever authored a route will confirm that the worst phase is the "98% complete" phase. Its at this point that the seemingly minor bugs surface that you only discover while testing the first activities. I say seemingly minor because all too often you realize that fixing some of them includes changes to the track or road layout, and this quickly boils down to tearing out weeks of work 'cause lots of interactive objects, broken pathes etc. need to be re-done for the fix to work...

    Stability, reliability, and testing issues seem to consume the most of your time when building a good route. But it is the most important phase, too, the time invested here makes all the difference between a "four-letter-word route" and a masterpiece that everyone keeps and that sets the standards for future releases.

    Good luck to the Facing Point team for this crucial phase!

    Lukas a.k.a Swissie
    Lukas a.k.a. Swissie

  9. #9
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd

    From what I understood in the newsletter, it will be 24 days until the customers get it. So the end of June!! :7:7:7:7

    2 weeks for more testing: 14 days
    10 days to package up the route and upload it to the FPM site: 10 days

    Thus: 24 days.

    What Tim said too!! I cant agree with you any more mate!!

    What would you (customers complaining about the release date) perfer, Andrew and team take as long as they want and giving the BEST route in the history of train-simulation (all sims). Or would you prefer we put a fire cracker up FPM so they rush the route and put out a very buggy, not finished route.

    I say...go the first option!!

    :)

    >Mike Forster<
    Perth, Western Australia

    [email protected]
    [Link Expired]

    http://www.trainweb.org/aussiepix

  10. #10
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    Default RE: Surfliner Update...For those that don't get the upd


    >2 weeks for more testing: 14 days
    >10 days to package up the route and upload it to the FPM
    >site: 10 days
    >
    >Thus: 24 days.


    Ah, but you haven't read between the lines:

    "At the moment, our plans are to spend the next two weeks rebuilding and testing the Activities, implementing the various Sound Regions, and recording the remaining Dynamic Audio. Once these tasks are complete and have been tested enough to ensure reliability, we’re going to set a date for an initial release (which should be only about ten days later)."

    Now, if we look at what's happened, we can expect this rebuilding, implementing and recording prodcedure to take more than two weeks. 3 - 4 maybe. Then, before the setting of the release date, it has to be tested again. There's another week or two. And expect the 10 days to blow out to 2 weeks or more.

    I'm not complaining, but, being cynical, I'd say you're looking at the end of July at the earliest.

    Prove me wrong guys, prove me wrong!

    Koz

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