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Thread: Railroad Transportation Simulator 2021 announcement

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Railroad Transportation Simulator 2021 announcement

    Well I guess I've gone all in now. Nothing like the pressure of failing and the entire world knows right? I wanted to be certain this time that this was what i wanted to accomplish. Then a few things came together. My drone flights and looking at some images made me realize that I could achieve better resolution than Google.

    This concept has actually been on my mind since the days of Freight Yard Manager. The big exception is I had a different vision of what potential it could become. Not so much in the huge network that it was and still is today, but what can go on between the yards and after hours when nobody is around.

    I wanted something first and foremost that could be run single player, and feel part of a system. A system that lives, breathes, and acts like a railroad. Whether you want to take the role of dispatcher, mainline crew, yardmaster, just sit back and watch the trains run as a fan, or anything in between.

    I didn't want to spend weeks, months, and years building complex scenery. What I have found though is I love to fly my drone. Right now is winter in Canada so the air is a bit too cold to run every day. But now I have a new purpose of some scenic flights. Go 30 or 40 meters above the mainlines and look straight down and keep shooting. Get every detail of ballast, grass, etc. in the best imagery possible and use it as a canvas.

    From there take the canvass that spreads across main lines through yards, sidings, industries, and entire subdivisions. Allow an intelligent AI dispatching system to route prototypical trains with loads, tagged for various industries, interchanges, and other destinations. To be worked on in the yard by other AI systems, or if lucky let the player take control while the AI brings you into the sim.

    Eventually I do want to include the possibility of MP, perhaps 45 degree side angles to show off more drone scenery and digital art representing the engines and consists. But for now an absolute looking straight down at the track with enough detail to read upcoming signs, signals, and grade crossings. No it's not the 3D cab we all love, but it is the top down view of a living breathing railroad in as much detail as I can show. All images filmed with my drone to represent a complete network from end to end.

    With the name yes I hope to release the first version in 2021. I wanted to produce something this year. Short term goals include getting some preliminary test images of Southern Yard on Niagara's Stamford Sub to try some switching concepts as well as possible AI routines. As the program begins to develop further include up to date imagery of summer like conditions. I'm hoping for a fall release and this will include 30 miles of CN's Stamford Sub with additional interchanges planned with CP at Southern Yard, PCHR at Feeder, and NS as Fort Erie. Staging will be provided for Niagara Falls at Clifton along with Black Rock at Buffalo NY (though imagery will not be provided of the crossing of the US border as well as a few miles inside the city of Niagara Falls part of the Niagara Falls NO FLY ZONE).

    My site is below along with YouTube channel. I can take any comments, suggestions, ideas, etc. here privately, on twitter, or in the suggestions section of my site.

    Looking forward to an awesome 2021.

    Thanks

    Sean

  2. #2

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    Sean, I think I need a short summary of just what this is and does. The "for Dummy's" version.

  3. #3
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    Gladly. It's a train simulator actually similar to Nimby I suppose certainly much like Freight Yard Manager. If you take a look at my updated signature image this is from my drone. I'm not sure if I will be that detailed or not (depending on the standards I decide to go with but 30m or 40m above track level will be the normal). This allows the drone safe passage over trees and transmission lines while looking straight down to capture imagery.

    With that imagery this creates the route and the background for the simulator. It will NOT be a full world simulator, and be built in routes similar to other train simulators.

    The key thing is logistics and AI. Trains come in and get sorted at freight yards and run to industries with actual waybills of shipper and consignee. You can operate any position dispatcher, engineer, conductor, yardmaster, or casual viewer (screensaver) and the trains will go bout their runs switching where they are needed etc.

    The AI system will do it's best to handle car forwarding and dispatching though it may not be as efficient as some players who think outside of the programming.

    Cars will be also imaged but their own systems that run over the tracks. Trains will have a physics engine, and take into account each car's weight, the grades of the line, etc.

    Hope that helps.

    Thanks

    Sean

  4. #4

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    Interesting. I like the sounds of it. I think you've got something good here.

    I wish you could take your vision of car forwarding and logistics and graft it onto Open Rails.

    wishing you the best'
    Christopher

  5. #5
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    The AI would have to better than Trainz and the operations and MP better than Run8. The physics I can live with if they're not horrible.

    Thanks for the best wishes.

    Sean

  6. #6
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    You're a veteran train simmer and I wish you well with your new endeavours, Sean, good luck to you, enjoy the ride......

    Cheerz. Steve.
    i5 4690 3.5 GHz Quad Core CPU, Gigabyte Z97-HD3, 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX1060 6GB, WIN 7 PRO 64-bit.

  7. #7
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    Appreciate it. The only problem is when you jump and there is no familiar ground to walk on, I guess you either fly or crash and burn

    Thanks

    Sean

  8. #8
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    Hello:

    Coding should start either tonight or tomorrow depending on how fast image processing takes place. The initial flight with my drone at 1.8m/s 40m above the ground went fairly well. Moderate winds made it a bit more challenging to stay in line (which simply means more work for rotating and lining up the images).

    The initial platform will be Just Basic which will likely morph into Liberty Basic as I'll eventually need more advanced features not available in the free program. Considering that I do have a business model in mind, supporting Liberty Basic is important to me (though not required apparently) once I've decided to release out of beta testing hopefully by December 2021. The reason why I'm shooting for that date is to give my self plenty of opportunity at getting winter images of the entire Stamford Sub. I may even go so far as rebranding it for RTS 2022 but I'll do my best to get as much video as I can this winter. It's just too dam cold to fly. If it's ready I'll release sooner and go with simple summer scenery. For now the winter scenery that I have is great for alpha testing.

    Speaking of features and the business plan, I'm targeting for a price target of $20CAD with future packages ranging from $10 to $30 CAD (I think $20CAN is about $16USD but you can look that up as well as other currencies. I have no immediate plan for an editor, however I'm encouraging 3rd party development. I will announce when the program is green lit for this process (actually going through with production and worthy of distribution). The current requirements of a 3rd party developer would be as follows subject to change:

    Drone or other applicable aircraft (fully responsible for own requirements in the country territory of filming)
    Minimum 2.7K imaging camera (this is the DJI Mavic Mini's max setting, and the Mavic Mini 2 can come in at 4K)
    Worldwide support of any scale, region, type of stock, etc.
    No minimum imagine requirements for local rolling stock, number of camera angles, etc.
    Commission of 10% of sales (payware add on), or minimum set-up costs (freeware) TBD and negotiable.
    All sales will be processed by my system, with support of sales system
    The 3rd party will be responsible for support of their own territory related to the route (I'll support the RTS2021 end).

    The features planned will be as follows and subject to change:
    Base program RTS 2021 with the CN Stamford Subdivsion (approximately 30 miles of mainline, 5 miles of industrial spurs).
    Realistic physics to be overlooked by former and current railroad employee(s) invited to beta team.
    Realistic railroad logistics and car forwarding fully editable by player or route developer can be included, edited, or added on.
    Free updates and full support of all features of RTS 2021
    Routes again will be capable of supporting any railroad type and region worldwide.
    AI dispatching and communication system, player can take over at any time.
    AI yardmasters, player can take over at any time, or add instructions.
    AI trains, fully capable of complex switching tasks, dynamic track selection, etc.
    Future consideration of Raildriver and other device support pending popularity of software, level of interest, etc.
    Future consideration of free update in MP pending popularity of software, level of interest, etc.
    Future consideration of free update in hump yards pending popularity of software, level of interest, etc.

    Future add on planned:
    CN Grimsby Subdivision
    CP Hamilton Subdivision
    Port Colborne Harbor
    Hamilton Area (portions of CN Oakville Subdivision along with full Hamilton Belt Line (Hamilton Harbor)
    CN Dundas Subdivision
    CN Halton Subdivision (including Brampton Intermodal Terminal & Toronto Macmillan Yard)
    If I'm still alive and happy I'll keep expanding further out. Hopefully by then others will as well.

    I did a live stream earlier today where I outlined where I've overcome my 1st hurdle, and I'm sure I'll have many more to go. But I'm fully committed at making this happen. At this point I don't see why it won't work and will seek advice from the community including the Just Basic community for support if I get stuck.

    For those of you wondering what my inspiration it's simple. MSTS, Open Rails, and even Trainz though great programs is not what is inspiring me here. My inspiration comes from what I personally consider to be the following:
    Best railroad simulator on the planet - Freight Yard Manager & Best train simulator on the planet - Run8.
    What I look to improve on each or not include of each I'll go over here. FYM I was first introduced to about 10 years ago and hasn't really changed much that I can tell perhaps more territories. This is freeware, and to be honest looking at it now I can understand why that is with all due respect. Again nobody does a railroad simulator like it, as it has a huge network. What it lacks is better imagery and better AI. I've always hoped it would be more of a 24/7 type program but it's more of a batch processing program. You download a bunch of trains and simply run them. Also this is not pay to play, but it is time to play as in the following. You must have plenty of time and work your way up the ranks to get the busy yards. You must have plenty of time to handle the demand. Otherwise your left with smaller less meaningful operations. I was fortunate enough to be a YM in Mac Yard and Oakwood in MI one time and it was a blast as I have fond memories. This is the kind of thing that inspires me but built first in a single player environment with considering MP down the road as things hopefully grow.

    Run8 hands down has the best physics of anything else out there. Nobody has been able to beat it and honestly I have my hands full just to match those physics. I do want to try my best but it's not my only objective. I also want to improve on things I found weak in Run8. This obviously at this point will not be a 3D simulator and likely will never be. I may get into 3d objects at some point, but for now this is looking straight down. What I look to improve is the AI system. I basically want the player if getting ready for work in the morning, or relaxing having a meal for the entire railroad to run on it's own. In other words do everything including dispatching, switching, etc. Then the player can take over what he wants, and hopefully in the future MP can do even more.

    Anyways always open for comments and suggestions. Keep you eye on my YouTube and website for more information.

    Thanks

    Sean

  9. #9

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    My 2 cents here:

    I think what you are doing is brilliant.

    I suspect I'm like a great many railfans in that my interest is local. When I was first drawn here it was the reskinning of people like Rick Franzosa and Shawn Kelly that inspired me and routes like Paul Charland's Springfield Terminal and FJ&G. I'm from New England. In other words, there is nothing drawing me to a CN line in Canada.

    The biggest thing that has kept me away from run8 is the lack of interesting (to me) territories to draw me in. Combined with the difficulty making my own contributions to rectify that.

    That's why my question wishing you could bolt this onto Open Rails. What I really mean is, I like what you are doing; I wish you could bolt it onto something already interesting to me.

    This is not a criticism - I think what you are doing is terrific. Just sharing my own thought process because it might help you understand the market.

    Christopher

  10. #10
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    Thanks for your feedback and I can understand that because I'm from Canada, I'm not going to be able to create something far away. This is where I'm hoping that the program and operation itself is something that inspires other. So that if they have access or is interested in a drone to be able to come aboard as a 3rd party developer. That way RTS will becoming more appealing to many in the United States. I'm really hoping our friends overseas might be interested as well. Though to be honest I don't know freight operations as much from here. Nothing I can't make sure is compatible for all systems.

    I don't expect RTS2021 to be something that breaks any records for sales except perhaps the bottom of the train sim list

    As far as Open Rails, MSTS, or Trainz I'm not sure how I can plug in? I'm open to the idea of OR but someone needs to get my attention of everything I've started planning here as soon as possible before I get in to deep with my own coding.

    I'll say this much. I have no issue if OR, Run8, or any other simulator especially one with 3d has the ability to link into my system to offer compatibility. I remember trying to persuade Jim Hill of FYM to consider the 3D simulators to be FYM compatible but he didn't want to bother with collaboration with others. For me similar to Run8 that was when I knew I was at the end of the line with that software. FYM from what I can tell has not really changed much in 10 years. Run8 hasn't changed much in at least 2 now, and in some ways more for other features. I'm more than happy to work with other developers with conduits that communicate with one another.

    So here is what I will propose and if you want to reach out to OR there is plenty of time yet. I'm likely to start coding tomorrow as up next is the map build. Once the map build for my first 1KM is complete there is about 50 lines of code (much of which I'm going to borrow from a sample) to test the performance. This will simply make sure I have speed control, forward, reverse, and that the display is scrolling properly and not distorting under execution.

    After that I will be working on two branches. The 1st branch will take place as weather and time is available for flights, and that is continued imagery of the Stamford Sub. The 2nd branch will be ongoing and will further develop the code to do more. I'm about 10 miles away from Port Robinson yard being reached which will take me about half a dozen to a dozen flights. My next window of flight is not until 2 weekends from now under current forecasts. So I'm estimating Port Robinson will be coming into play likely April.

    So to sum this up someone has minimum between now and April to talk with me. I'm hoping to have the 1st in game screenshot and video game play up in a few days if all goes well. Between now and April I have no plans to work on the physics, sounds, and I'm only near 1 industry. I might try to set this up since I'm nearby which will involve coupling operations. But I'm going to hold of physics. I may work on the AI switching though I need the wye at Clifton about a mile away to turn a test train.

    Let me know what you think. The bottom line is the car forwarding and AI must be possible in a 3d simulator or open to working, or else I'm not interested. This is something that has been lacking in every simulator including the AI rich Trainz. The is an absolute prerequisite on my part or I won't be able to help.

    Thanks

    Sean

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