Auran … Trainz … Kickstarter

Some questions have been asked regarding the Kickstarter project that Auran has announced for the new series of Trainz.

If you look at what it is they are going to deliver you will notice that, once again, they are totally immersed in the graphical side of the simulator without regard to driving. They seem to have no conception that whilst loads of people are interested in this, ie running Trainz like a model railway layout or model creation there are immensely more people who want to drive scenarios that are as ‘realistic' as possible. The original scenario system which peaked with TRS2004 was that style of thing, whilst it is possible to create scenario style story line driving with sessions it is not easy as the GUI based system simply is not setup to do all of the stuff needed.

When MSTS-II was shown at preview it was a huge enticement, we were going to have the same API as Flight Simulator had, at that point DaveRP and I wrote some FS code just to look at the API handling and we were seriously hooked on the approach, of course Redmond canned all Microsoft games and MSTS-II simply died before release. But no matter how much we try and show Auran that story based scenarios are the way to expand the reach of Trainz beyond the tinker players to those that want to drive they simply do not get it.

Two examples;

  • For simple animated signs (etc) activated by scripts I asked that they support animated GIF images, simple to use and the only easy way to have animated gadgets without going into 3d style animation crap which is overkill
    • Response: This is old technology that we will not add to Trainz
    • Solution: multiple images that have to be rotated using a thread and obviously use a stack more resource just to animate a simple graphic or have a flashing warning
  • Web Access so that simple messages and responses from RBR could be handled, like scoring and such without using iTrainz
    • Response: Too much of a security risk
    • Solution: Eventually we were able to do it with iTrainz but it isn't real time and new messages were not announced to the remote processor we had to continually poll for messages. Which means that when you fire a request ‘up' to RBR it will not know that there is a message until the next poll.

My belief is that they just don't get it and unless something really radical happens they never will.


As I told Norm yesterday as far as I am concerned Trainz doesn't exist any more, I shed a huge amount of blood and sweat on RBR we have showed Auran multiple times that what we were doing would be a huge extra source of income for them if only they would do a relatively small amount of in game support. But they have gone the ‘gaming' way with achievements again rather than a driving simulation.