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Thread: TSW realism - any real world feedback?

  1. #1
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    Default TSW realism - any real world feedback?

    I've been around flight simulation since the mid 1980's and have a pretty good idea of how realistic it is, the more so because of the background of a 47 year career as a professional pilot.

    Trains have always been another interest of mine, but here I have about the same real world experience as most of the flight sim hobbyists - ie, none!

    I played around with MSTS for a long time, and realized that it was probably only an approximation at best of the physics and overall experience of driving a train. And for a decade or so I left it on the proverbial shelf, oblivious to whatever improvements and new products were on offer over here, on Nels' other website.

    And now comes TSW, with a breathtaking visual realism which I have only seen heretofore in things like GTA5. So of course I went out and bought it (when it went on sale; after all I AM still a retired airline pilot and bound by the canons of my ancient profession - the principle of which is penury!)

    Cutting to the chase here, I can't help but wonder - how realistic is the operational aspect of TSW? The train physics? As an example, I thought that it would take more than run 2 to pull a half mile train of stacks up Sand Patch grade, even with the two end-of-train helpers! But run 2 does it on the 1.5% grade, and it takes less than that on the level.

    Having never been a real engineman, I ask those among the community who ARE real engineers(hopefully at least a few dabble in this sort of thing on their off days, like a few of us real airline pilots do over on Flightsim.com) this question - how realistic is the driving experience with respect to such things as power required, time and distance to stop, effectiveness of brakes and dynamic braking, and so on?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Tony Vallillo

  2. #2
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    Hello Tony,

    I think it might be wise to read some of the other threads in this section, that should give you a good idea of what is offered within the TSW franchise, so far. We started with the CSX Heavy Haul version, which was also used as a sort of base game for the British and German route add on versions that followed on afterwards, so, customers were obliged to buy that firstly, regardless of whether they had any interest in American Railroading, or, not!!!!

    Let's start with this one, as your first enquiry regards Physics.

    https://www.trainsim.com/vbts/showth...-Physics/page7

    I don't mind telling you as a newcomer to this gaming genre, Dovetail Games are rubbish as a PC software company, they are nearly all ex-Electronic Arts staff who used their knowledge of Arcade computer gaming to infiltrate the Simulator market, starting with trains, they have absolutely zero working knowledge of anything to do with railways/railroads around the world, ergo, things like Physics and operational performances are totally negligible, they, like the rest of us customers, rely on 3rd party developers and creators from around the world to enhance the game immeasurably with their generally high quality payware and freeware creations, without them this game would have died a death about 5/6 years ago, something very akin to the FlightSim hobby.

    Cheerz. Steve. a real life ex-railwayman, 1977-2001.
    Last edited by ex-railwayman; 04-25-2018 at 10:32 AM. Reason: ex=edit
    i5 4690 3.5 GHz Quad Core CPU, Gigabyte Z97-HD3, 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX1060 6GB, WIN 7 PRO 64-bit.

  3. #3
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    Tony - I work for the railway in the UK, albeit not as a driver/engineer but have been around these sims for a long time even since pre-MSTS days. Put as politely and diplomatically as I can, the train performance physics in TSW is at best described as arcade. The Great Western version from Paddington to Reading is slightly better than the US CSX one (I haven't tried the others), well at least the HST seems to accelerate more or less as experience travelling "on the cushions" would indicate. However there are only so many times you can drive back and forward over the same 36 miles without getting a little jaded.
    Vern.

  4. #4
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    TSW is the most unrealistic pile of number 2's. Since i was bought my first clockwork trainset in the very early 1950's.

    Of course that is only my opinion, but an opinion with a railway background.

    HST accelerates to quickly Vern, although not as toy town as the TS20xx versions.

    Both have gone from my pc, along with Steam that i dislike immensely as a gaming distribution platform.

    I am now more than happy, to spend all my train game time and what little money i have.

    Invested in Run8 and it's various DLC.

    Mike.
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt

  5. #5
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    Sounds pretty much like TSW is MSTS with much better visual appearance. Not that near-photorealistic appearance is a bad thing - indeed, that was the problem with MSTS; it looked, and still does, like a cartoon.

    Just as an experiment of sorts, I ran a mixed train with two engines up front down Sand Patch last night in run 8 all the way! It did not derail until the speed got up to around 85-90 mph. Even I know, based upon real world incidents, that a train can't go around those curves without derailing at a much lower speed; probably around 50-60 mph. And at least MSTS showed you the wreck in progress! All TSW does is shut down the activity - no spectacular eye candy crashes here.

    And yes, driving back and forth over the same short line can eventually be boring, but then that is railroading. I get the impression that here in the USA, at least, many crews work over an area not much longer than the Sand Patch. Except for Amtrak, I don't get the sense that a crew starts in Cumberland and works its way across the country to LA! That's one of the reasons I became a pilot instead of an engineer.

    I will look into Run8. Do you recommend that as the best of the lot?

    Thanks!

    Tony Vallillo

  6. #6
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    For me Run8 is the best of the lot, particularly if your interest is North American railroading Tony.

    In that respect it is far more realistic, than MSTS, Open Rails, TS2018, Trainz (TANE), and TSW doesn't come close.

    But there are far more guys on here that know a lot more about US railroad's than i do though.

    Mike.
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt

  7. #7
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    Now if they could take the performance of Run 8 and combine the eye candy that DTG produces you would have a winner. That being said, you probably would need a Cray XC50-AC to run the program.

  8. #8
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    Indeed so! Although since my current rig runs TSW pretty well, I imagine that merely improving the physics of the thing might not impact the running of the sim that much. My understanding, at least for flight simulation, is that most of what the computer is choking trying to do is draw the visuals, especially the 3d buildings and structures. Considering that train simulation covers a relatively limited area of view at any given time, might it not be a viable assumption that if TSW runs well as it is, that accurate physics might not add much of a processor burden, especially to the graphics card?

    Even a combination of the TSW interior cab realism with an increased level of realism in the overall operation would be a big improvement. Possibly Run 8 may move in this direction some day. In the meantime, they are not too expensive to have at least a basic setup of both!

    It is a shame, though, that Run 8 appears to lack the ability for third party add-ons that made MSFS such an interesting goodie, at least in the beginning. Who can forget the sheer fascinating madness of the SeaView route?!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by avallillo View Post
    Sounds pretty much like TSW is MSTS with much better visual appearance. Not that near-photorealistic appearance is a bad thing - indeed, that was the problem with MSTS; it looked, and still does, like a cartoon.

    Just as an experiment of sorts, I ran a mixed train with two engines up front down Sand Patch last night in run 8 all the way! It did not derail until the speed got up to around 85-90 mph. Even I know, based upon real world incidents, that a train can't go around those curves without derailing at a much lower speed; probably around 50-60 mph. And at least MSTS showed you the wreck in progress! All TSW does is shut down the activity - no spectacular eye candy crashes here.

    And yes, driving back and forth over the same short line can eventually be boring, but then that is railroading. I get the impression that here in the USA, at least, many crews work over an area not much longer than the Sand Patch. Except for Amtrak, I don't get the sense that a crew starts in Cumberland and works its way across the country to LA! That's one of the reasons I became a pilot instead of an engineer.

    I will look into Run8. Do you recommend that as the best of the lot?

    Thanks!

    Tony Vallillo
    Go one street away from the tracks in TSW and the buildings look to me like they were copied straight from MSTS and the graphics overall don't look that much better than TS20xx to have me doing cart wheels for joy down the street. Even if they were they wouldn't outweigh the fact that TSW's actual railroad simulation is a joke.

    Run8 does not show derailments or wrecks either but then I believe it was developed in consultation with real railroad workers who probably see enough of that in real life and just want to have fun without wrecking stuff rather than computer gamers which is why it also does not have players earning points by wandering around picking up items or performing inane tasks. In Run8 you're there to run a railroad, not admire the scenery or play childish games.

    I don't know about CSX but the BNSF crew districts in the southwest area are LA to Needles, Needles to Winslow and Winslow to Belen. Amtrak's are even longer at LA to Kingman and Kingman to Albuquerque. I think any real train crew working routes as short as those in TSW would think "wow, I wish I worked for this lot". In steam days crews generally changed every 100 miles or so which was around the distance a locomotive could go on a tender full of fuel in the early days but today crews go as far as they can safely get within their 12 hour service limit barring any unforseen circumstances.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameltanker View Post
    Now if they could take the performance of Run 8 and combine the eye candy that DTG produces you would have a winner. ...
    Run 8 is the winner anyway, irregardless of the graphics.
    IBM XT i386; 512Kb RAM; 5.25" FDD; 1.4Mb FDD; 5Mb HDD; VGA 256-colour graphics card; AdLib soundcard; DR DOS 6.0; Windows 3.0

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