Is the magic gone?


New member
With the release of T:ANE and the talk of Trainz Next on the horizon. Lets take a minute to go back in time shall we.

Personally my first copy of Trainz was the deluxe edition of '04. Man I loved that game. I loved Auran as the Brew Crew. I loved that era of Trainz. Am I saying the new games aren't as good as the old, not Im not. Trust me I know that old needs to be filtered out with new. But something about that old interface, and the excitement that box gave off was unbeatable. The Big Boy and the DD40X on the cover just carries more excitement than the new covers.
I especially loved the greasy grimy interface that really brought out the face of railroading. It just seems like the company changed, not in a bad way, but not in a good way either. So I ask you is the magic gone?

Do you agree or is it me just being sentimental?:)


I'll admit, getting Trainz 2 want as exiting as getting Trainz 2006 as a kid. And I have to say that I was pretty heart-broken finding out that that I couldn't find the first Trainz loco I ever drove wasn't in the default game.:p
Do you agree or is it me just being sentimental?

I suspect it is largely sentimentality. The "first" of anything is always something special, different, exciting. Certainly I felt the same about my first Trainz and the first layout I ever created using it - today I cringe with embarrassment over the "quality" of those earliest layouts.

Certainly, as each new (and better) version of Trainz appeared, they did not recapture the same feelings - you can only have one "first" of anything.

For me the test is how long do you continue using the previous versions of Trainz (or any software package for that matter) after the newest one has been released? I stopped using TS12 when TANE SP1 was released.
At first I didn't like T:ANE. But after the SP1 and hot fixes and stuff, and manipulating it to suit my tastes, I feel it is the best version so far. It's going to get better as time goes on I feel. I mean, I'm sure Tony and the others aren't working hard to make it WORSE are they? No, they've got to be working to make it better.

At first I didn't like T:ANE. But after the SP1 and hot fixes and stuff, and manipulating it to suit my tastes, I feel it is the best version so far. It's going to get better as time goes on I feel. I mean, I'm sure Tony and the others aren't working hard to make it WORSE are they? No, they've got to be working to make it better.

Well said Dave I had similar thoughts when I first heard about TANE when it was just a Kickstart project and I thought this project would fail but they sure prove me wrong and since its release TANE has come a long way since last year. It was a rough start but its improved a lot along the way to this point.
In the beginning we had big changes about what could be done. The fact that anything could run on a PC was a biggie. Then we've got more complex, yes the new stuff is better but in many ways not so much fun. The content creation side is certainly more complex in some ways but easier in others. Getting my first textured box out of GMAX was hell even with two tutorials to help. The tutorials are better these days.

I think the big change came in TS2009 when we got a lot more information about how the software worked and what made sense and what didn't. Before then it was very much suck it and see what could be made to work without really understanding the performance side.

The error checking is better, scripting is certainly more stable but definitely some of the initial magic has gone.

Cheerio John
It's you being sentimental. The first of everything always stays with you the most and when we look back to those times we look through those rosy red sunglasses and see the best of these times. Trainz its self is different too than many games because even though we've moved on through various iterations to what we have now, the versions are pretty much the same more or less once we get into them. Sure there are some additional doodads here and there, some nice new features, but overall the Surveyor interface is the same. This is part of your problem. There isn't anything really new here for us longtime users, at least not yet.

So in some ways it's like being married to the same spouse for 50 years and as they say that the honeymoon doesn't last forever and familiarity begets contempt. We notice the sameness, the quirks, the farts, the snorts, and the rest that comes with the package, and forget the honeymoon we once had.

I too started back with TRS2004, though I did try the earlier version in 2001 (UTC I think), and as I've gone back to the earlier versions for various reasons, I've come to realize that what we have now is so much better. The interface has been refined a bit, though still familiar, and the program is so, so much faster and smoother. You want to install a CDP in TRS2004? You need the Content Packager for that, which is awkward to use too. TRS2006 is clumsy. It's got the early elements of TRS2009 and beyond in it, but CMP is clumsy and slow, besides there's no content filtering in the program its self. And worst of all, those crashes in CMP if you look at it the wrong way or click too many times on something. TRS2009 through TS12 are more or less variations on the same theme with TS12 being the best of that line at the end of the old Jet Engine era.

Now we have the new baby on the block. Sure there's a lot of sameness here, however, there's also a lot of new stuff. The CM is different, but the same, but the filtering, multiple windows displaying different information, at the same time is most helpful. Sure the interface still can be improved and it is and will be over time. The program its self has a lot of hidden things that make it so much faster and after SP1 HF3 quite stable too. The 64-bit game engine its self means it makes use of system resources better, which also means we can have more going on in better environments like longer draw distances, shadows, and much, much more. I'm not saying it's perfect, far from it, but it's still being improved via HFs and SPs to come and Next is the same with more.

Like pware I too have forsaken the older versions as I have moved on to T:ANE. I too waited for the SP and HF2 before moving on, which happened rather suddenly too when I lost my TS12 backup drive of my install. Go figure - that was one way to give up on TS12! The good news is I hadn't used TS12 in close to 3 months by then anyway and it had been moved off the system to make way for other programs.

The other good news is I was able to bring the majority of my assets with me, like 186,000 of them. What's really cool is I recently installed my first project route - the one that started in late December 2003/early January 2004 right into T:ANE after I fiddled with files a bit, but it came in and I've since done a bit of chopping and pulled in parts into a newer version of the same route. The route by the way is the "updated" version from TRS2010 through TS12. What other program, outside of Windows OS, and Office can you do that with? There's not too many and this is a virtue of having the sameness and compatibility we have.
I do agree with you guys, it probably is mostly me being sentimental. But here the funny part...

I still use Trainz 2004. Daily.

Yep you heard that right.

Anywho, keep posting your thoughts. I like to read them!
I had a taste of what "old" Trainz was like when I tried the Android version.

I would not want to go back to that on the PC.

For the route builder, late TS12 or TANE combined with the power of Transdem trump any earlier version. I have dabbled back in TS2010 but even that seems clunky.

As regards the magic generally, well I would be the first to admit I don't have quite the enthusiasm I once had - even when it comes to route building. Pre Trainz (and MSTS) I was tracking down every train sim or train related game I could find and listing them on a website, at the same time campaigning for something much better than the largely text or very simple raster graphic programmes we had.

As a comparison here's a page from my old web site via the Wayback Machine:

Take a look at some of those then consider what we have now...
I guess a lot of folks who have played games for a couple of decades will feel the same way. That's also because back then, a lot of the fun in the games was the gameplay itself and your own imagination. Photo realism was unthinkable then, so what you didn't see, you made up yourself. This adds to the experience more than it detracts from it.

I have played games that when I play them now, they are still as great to me as they were back then. But when I put someone in front of it now (someone who never played it at the time) there is no magic at all for them. All they see is some pixels moving around the screen.
I don't see Trainz as a game but rather a hobby. That's because I like making stuff. But I've always been keen on trains since I was a loco spotter in the UK back in my early teens. That was a very long time ago.

I thought Microsoft's Trainz Simulator was terrific and hadn't heard of Trainz until I happened across a copy of TS2004 in an electronics store in about 2005 (I think). I loved it and thought it better than MSTS. I pottered around with TS04, TS06, TS09 and the Classics series until I retired in 2009 and discovered content creation. That's when it really got interesting for me.

AFAIK, TANE, in its current iteration, is just just another stop along the line. Through Trainz, and these forums, I've encountered some truly wonderful people across the globe. That has been the best reward of all.
At first I didn't like T:ANE. But after the SP1 and hot fixes and stuff, and manipulating it to suit my tastes, I feel it is the best version so far. It's going to get better as time goes on I feel. I mean, I'm sure Tony and the others aren't working hard to make it WORSE are they? No, they've got to be working to make it better.


I agree with you. I am at a point where I only go back to TS12 when I need something old, to transfer to the T:ANE. I really do not miss those random database repairs and audits the TAEDEAMONNNNNNN thingy would always do.
Trainz for me in the beginning with the 06 demo was like "WOW, this seems REALLY real!". That was about 7 years back. Now, since I've been exposed to every trainz version, the goldenness of 06's charm kinda wore off. But, for me, Trainz 2012 is still a no-go zone for me after the whole "bad experience" with the mutiple database repairs, the lag, and other said things. 06, 2010, and T:ANE are what I stand by the most. Adding in how I create content for trainz, well, that's a big thing. Making sure your stuff doesn't break in later versions, yet leaving the compatibility for those using the older versions (unless it's a route, then they are screwed).
Ten years ago somehow Trainz and Windows just seemed to work together, with an occasional update during their life cycle. Today Windows is updated practically every week and Trainz every few months unfortunately to frequently requiring our intervention which I believe few of us really want to give. Yes we look forward to the enhancements and fixes but equally dread the thought of our working setup again failing after such updates, hence bring back the good old days. Peter
As a comparison here's a page from my old web site via the Wayback Machine:

Take a look at some of those then consider what we have now...
Hey, that is quite a stroll down memory lane. Another one of my favorites from those bygone days was Bahn. Even though the graphics were clunky isometric, the networking possibilities were awesome, for the time.


I don't see Trainz as a game but rather a hobby.
That pretty well sums it up for me too. I have always spent more time making things than actually just driving around. And most of the driving I do is to test my latest item to make sure it looks and behaves correctly. Like my father who was a scratch-building model railroader at the HO level and who was happiest just making the parts for his never finished layout, I also never finished a map but have had loads of fun along the way.

As for the magic, part of it, I think was the newness of it all back when it started. The online comradery is also something that was and still is something special. Plus with the clunky graphics at the time, just being able to see something was wow enough. Realism was a figment of your imagination.
There is something for everyone in every version of Trainz, and the important thing is to enjoy what one is most happy with. Like recent contributors to this thread, Trainz to me is a hobby, not a "game", much like my attitude when I was building "real" model railways/railroads - in other words, creating models was to me more enjoyable than running trains - although of course I aways wanted to make sure things actually worked as they were supposed to. With that in mind, I could be happy with any version I have had since and including TRS2004. I now use TS10 for preference, but test new models and upload them using TS12, for obvious reasons. When support for TS12 ends, that will probably mean no more models to upload but I will continue making them for my own interest and pleasure - and that is what my hobby is all about.

Ray actually sums it up perfectly. There's something for everyone with this hobby.

I've always looked at Trainz as a hobby and a time away from the drudgeries of life. Trainz in my opinion has never been about the prototype, though I do prefer realistic operations and realistic-looking assets, and I have always thought of it as a model railroad which can outsmart the pants off of any physical model railroad out there with its ability to build something that would never even fit inside of a football stadium all without the mess and expense. I once said in a post somewhere, a few years ago now, (no I'm not searching 18,000-plus posts!), that the various parts can be equated to the different aspects of model railroad with Surveyor being the bench work, and the scripting and programming like the wiring. The model building and creation is like scratch building, and so on. And like a model railroad, we can get as complex as we can without impacting anything in any great fashion, and even more so like a model railroad routes are never a finished entity.

The thing is as a computer program, Trainz rivals Windows in its longevity or business suites such as Office. Nowhere, other than business applications, that I can recall a computer program, a game no less, that has this longtime use. In business terms, the return on investment (ROI) is extremely high. For a mere $30 in 2003 to about $50-70 today, which is comparable to most games today, this cost is quite small given the number of years of enjoyment we have. In terms of other programs that have come and gone from my hard drives over the years, every time Trainz in some version has remained while the others disappear either due to incompatibility, or lack of interest beyond it's initial honeymoon period. Now keep in mind that I'm not saying there isn't a lot of frustrations too due to various things. As with any product, tangible or virtual, there are limitations and there are things which require improvement. As much as we'd like to think Trainz is perfect, it is not, and like a lot of things nothing is never perfect in the imperfect world. Perhaps because we are so intimately involved with the product, in some cases since its inception, that we expect that honeymoon to always be there - that perfection we saw in it when it first landed on our hard drives!

As far as the honeymoon, well, that has waned as with many things, but the fact that there is still a dedicated group of enthusiasts who are taking their precious time to ensure we will still have our asset libraries intact, by repairing and testing the older content, is a testament to the interest in the product. Like that shiny new car, with that new car smell, after a few McDonald's hamburgers, farts, and scratches, our shiny new car is nothing more than transportation to and from work, the supermarket, or the computer store. And like that new shiny car, a newer one will come along in a few years or more which will make our shiny new car look drab and dirty no matter how much we try to spruce it up. Then that new car, or Trainz version to keep on topic, comes along and the honeymoon starts again, but being more of the same the honeymoon is much shorter as we are now aware of the imperfections we once saw before and we are now on guard for these and newer ones.

But anyway, I know for myself that as long as Trainz works in some version or another, I'll still have it on my hard drive. I haven't given up on it yet, though I did come pretty close to it a couple of years ago with the constant issues that TS12 had with the performance and database validations, but outside of that I have used it nearly every day since I purchased my first copy in December 2003.

John, you hit the nail on the head. I never had much room for a model railroad and even less now and from day 1 Trainz was my model railroad ...... only better than anything I could ever hope to have IRL. I still have all my HO stuff in boxes just like Trainz so ya never know but Trainz will be running on my PC before my models will ever see the light of day..... Of that I am sure.:D
I second that from John, while I have a model railroad myself, the O gauge layout requires money (any lots of it) for every upgrade, track, scenery, rolling stock etc.... Thats why I got Trainz back in 2004 because it has no limits to what you can build. you can create the model railroad of your biggest dreams in Trainz without having to worry about Space or Budget.