Train Sim World 2: Dovetail Games talks about its upcoming train simulator
After getting a first look at Train Sim World 2, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dovetail Games and ask a few more questions about the game, its development and the reasons behind the team’s choices.
I was interested to hear what they had to say in regards to improvements over the first game, what they have in store for Train Sim World moving forward, and more. Here’s my interview with Dovetail Games.
If you want to hear my own personal thoughts on Train Sim World 2, you can check out our official preview at this link.
What would you say is the single biggest improvement for TSW2 over the first title?
From a gameplay point of view, immersion. We've spent a lot of time during development of this to make sure this feels as realistic and immersive as possible. Everything from the user interface upgrades and the new immersion controller scheme to the upgraded visuals and new adhesion physics have been designed around making you feel like you are really sat in the cab and in control.
Do you plan on releasing more Train Sim World titles in the future or are you focusing your entire team on TSW2 add-ons for now?
The focus right now is on Train Sim World 2 and we're building this as our new evolution of train simulation.
On the first TSW, some routes only stopped at a couple of platforms in the timetable, not doing the full route and passing a lot of stations. Does the Scenario Designer now allow you to stop at any destination along a route? Even in the preserved add-ons?
Where platforms are on the supported lines then yes, we will be setting pathing up to allow you to stop at any intermediate stations along the route, or even start and end there too. We’re also adding in various sidings as well, so for example in the Bakerloo Line you can choose to start in the sidings tunnel south of Elephant and Castle, or actually start in Elephant and Castle.
With the off the rails mode, does this mean you're trying to accommodate to the players who just want to mess around with trains rather than simulate them? If so, what else could you do to accommodate to these kind of players?
With 'Off The Rails' we're giving players to try out their fantasy train combos. It allows anyone to answer the "what if?" question. What would it be like to drive a German high-speed train into Brighton station? You can experience that with Scenario Planer set to 'Off The Rails'. We're already thinking about ways we could expand on the Scenario Planner to give more to both these players and true simulation railfans. This is an exciting first step in to letting players do whatever they want and combined with the Livery Designer we’re really keen to see what people do and hear what else they’d like to do to explore their own creativity and desires within the game.
Are you already working on add-ons for TSW2?
We'll be talking more about post-release Add-Ons for Train Sim World 2 very soon.
What changes do you need to give to a preserved add-on to port it over to TSW2?
As part of Train Sim World 2 we moved to a much newer version of the core Unreal Engine, version 4.23. This brings a massive number of core changes to Unreal and how it handles its assets and data structures and means that there have been many cases where content from Train Sim World 2020 simply hasn’t worked at all without fixing various problems. As an example of a completely unexpected and somewhat outlandish issue that occurs during this kind of upgrade, some of our routes began showing a model of a car instead of a signal lamp! You’d be approaching a signal and see some overlapped cars stuck on a post at the end of a platform, instead of colour light signals. So, part of the work involves finding and fixing all the things that used to work and now either don’t work or work differently.
Another example is that Audio rendering has changed quite a bit, which made many of our existing setups no longer work properly so they’ve needed work to re-mix the audio and get the mix balanced again. Beyond fixing issues that crop up from the upgrade, there’s then looking at leveraging new features that we might want to bring in from Train Sim World 2 or indeed Unreal 4.23. In this case, we’ve announced we’re going to be supporting the new Scenario Planner in all Preserved Collection content from the moment it launches on Train Sim World 2, so there’s plenty of work to do there to add in the required configuration and setup to enable that.
Are you planning on taking advantage of Unreal Engine 5 next year and beyond?
We are not announcing anything for UE5 yet, our focus is on Train Sim World 2 and the upgraded engine for that.
You mentioned multiplayer in your original announcement FAQ, mentioning that it's on your future roadmap. Is it high on your priorities?
Multiplayer is something we want to get to, but not until we have a design we're happy with and that all players can enjoy.
With the livery designer, it seems you're more open to train customization – will people be able to share and download custom liveries?
Custom liveries from the Livery Designer are unique to each player at the moment. You won't be able to share and download.
Are the livery and scenario designers big steps towards the full PC editor?
The Livery Designer and Scenario Planner mark the first time that we're doing creative tools for Train Sim World 2 and we're excited to see what players do with these. This is definitely a small step towards more custom tools, and we're excited to see what players create and what they want to see next.
How far can you explore the tube stations? Just limited to the platform itself?
You can travel through corridors between platforms, but you can't go up to the overground entrance areas.
Have you made any improvements on the passengers?
Passenger AI has been upgraded to handle the unique experience needed with the Bakerloo Line, for example with things like standing passengers in the train coaches.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected development?
It’s certainly had some impact, primarily it’s made our traditional research trip impossible to do so we’ve been relying on people who have collections of photographs and videos, knowledge themselves from being on or working on the various routes and train, locals who can more readily go and visit and talk to staff and take more specific photographs or capture specific sounds. We’ve very much been leaning on our supporters locally to help us create the most realistic experiences possible and certainly want to send out a huge thank you to them. From the team perspective, we’ve all been working at home which, as with many people, has been variably challenging depending on personal circumstances however on the whole the team has managed to achieve exceptional results even through this adversity and we’ve seen only minimal impact on the team, and certainly not in terms of the great content they are able to produce.
How will upgrades to TSW2 be named? Will it be Train Sim World 2 2021 or something else?
There's nothing to announce on main game upgrades as we're focused on this launch, but future Add-Ons for this simulation will be called "Train Sim World 2: Route Name".
Train Sim World 2 releases August 20th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
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