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Thread: Development of New Train Building Sim?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    New Jersey

    Lightbulb Development of New Train Building Sim?

    Hi, I'm currently a college student looking to start developing a new type of train sim, a train builder sim.
    Along the line of the popular space sim Kerbal Space Program, it would allow you to select from parts and build all sorts of unique, grand, wacky, etc trains. The game would be developed in C++ with DirectX 12 3D serving as the graphics layer, while the game engine would be based on Microsoft's MiniEngine.

    I'm thinking the graphics would look somewhat cartoonish or toyish in the vein of Prewar Lionels, or perhaps just to lower the system hardware requirements.
    The game would be easily moddable, but you wouldn't need to spend a lot of time or effort designing and modeling routes and trains, as the game would provide you with sufficient parts to design a number of locomotives, with custom placements of wheels, customizable boiler sizes and shapes, and would start off with support for 1850s era steam locomotives but would eventually support for 1920s era pacifics and then eventually electric/diesels.

    Other features include, a way to program time tables, for multiple trains to run on your line, a voxel based terrain system, and multiplayer where you can invite others to control their trains on your lines.

    You'd also easily be able to share creations on Steam.

    The game would probably cost $39 on steam, and best part is: no expensive addons.

    Maybe it wouldn't be the most realistic looking sim, but it could be the most interesting,
    boiler pressure, wheel size, etc, would all determine wheel torques by the physics engine, among other things.

    I would really appreciate feedback as soon as you can about this if you're interested.
    Any tips, or suggestions are very encouraged! I would really love to get any feedback!


  2. #2


    Aside from the Frankenstein nature of building wacky trains, you've just described OpenRails, aside from the development platform and engine. If you're a developer, I'm sure they'd love to have the help.

  3. #3


    I would echo the advice to turn toward open rails.

    Advantages in turning toward open rails:
    (1) A vast body of previously existing content. Some is "dated" (the charitable way to put it), but some is quite modern in standards.
    (2) A head start with the code.
    (3) A pre-existing community of users that can test your work and give you mentoring
    (4) Opportunities to really make a difference and make your own contribution and mark

    If you join the open rail community, you won't be selling a simulator for $39 on steam, but it is my opinion that the market for such a simulator wouldn't be all that big. I say that with some experience as a producer of some of those expensive addons. If you look at the downloads in this forum over the years, fairly popular items got about 200 downloads each. But those were free. I'm guessing your total sales will be measured in hundreds, not thousands - and that is if it is fairly appealing in some way. It would have to be better than what is already existing, AND incorporate routes and rolling stock from railroads that I care about (which is different for each person). That's a "heavy lift" as they say. And your competitors have years and years of head start.


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