Trainz - Very Complex - Market ???


Well-known member
Trainz has become a very complex product. Place yourself in the shoes of someone who has always had a fondness for railroads and is looking for a way to satisfy that with their PC. Trainz becomes one of the set of programs they look at. Three years ago they would have found a "detailed" program that offered several avenues to becoming a fun hobby. Relax and start with some existing railroads ad gradually modify the ending up building your own. A normal progression that may diverge to building components and not whole rail lines. Version 2019 was ideal for that.

However, customers wanted some new railroad components and talented people began to create quality trains and railroads. It was an ideal environment where creation and use existed in a manageable fashion. Well, Auran, now N3V, decided that they needed more money to grow the business. You see growth is the only personal measure of success in modern business. So, to expand the market N3v decided to rebrand (common strategy) and now called their product a game. That probably added some curious folks from the gaming community.

Games began to show a new visual reality that was very attractive. People really looked human. Guns were detailed, blood looked real, etc. How could N3v compete with that. They studied the gaining industry and the new graphic techniques and decided that was the way to go.

They had a platform but it was "old" graphically. Development followed. After a few years we now have a game that is visually striking. Our railroads run through an almost photographic landscape. But, the new jargon of graphics had to be understood to apply the dramatically improved visuals to "your route". The desire for better looking trains and scenes brought us to today as Trainz evolves into a graphically intensive product with outstanding visuals.

While the evolution was occurring customers were asking for more simplified ways to manage the trains and railroads fashioned in the improved reality. Thus we are at the beginnings of TLR a script writing program that removes the almost programming of steps to "run" the trains.

Where are we, the staid Trainz we all used to know is now the new high reality railroad product . The evolution was painful for some and complaints followed. However, revenue demands required "staying the course".

Not satisfied with success, N3V decided to rebrand their new products . That produced confusion and probably had little effect on sales . When you have to EXPLAIN your pricing and product definitions to customers you have made a marketing mistake. Any possible customer looking at the new forums (Yep, more new) might react differently than N3V intended.

Well, "The Train Has Left The Station" and we are in coach for the ride.
There are "many" Trainz users (I have never counted them so the exact figure is unknown) who never build routes and sessions and have no interest in ever doing so. For them the new Trainz tools such as S20, Effect Layers, MPS, HD, etc are useless.

I do not believe that TLR will remove the need to program sessions using session rules. TLR is basically an extension of the Driver Command Bar at the bottom of the Driver screen. It will allow some "mindless" automation of trains but it does not, as yet, allow for the more complex decision making, such as the Trigger Check Rule, Multiple Junction Alignment Rule, Navigation Point Rules to name a few that are found in the Session Editor.

Not sure what you mean by "Not satisfied with success, N3V decided to rebrand their new products". The product line branding has not changed much since TRS2004 - T:ANE was an exception.

The only significantly "new idea" in the product line was the introduction of an optional subscription offering, Trainz Plus. Despite many predictions to the contrary, this subscription version has not seen the end of the retail versions - TRS22 (and now TRS22 Platinum) are still with us.
It does seem that the great focus has been on S20, MPS, HD, etc. I don't do any of the three. I like to run proto operations and that's why I'm mostly railroading in a different sim. I don't think we have enough info on TLR yet to know what it's going to be. In my opinion it's Alpha stage and not Beta. I tuly wish some focus would be placed on those things that someone wanting to setup prototypical ops would appreciate. I'd like to be able to run a railroad on a continuous basis, pickup up a session where one left off. Sadly, conditions and states are not saved as things are now so this is impossible. In other words... we need the ability for "Continuous Proto Operation" (CPO).
Agree with that pware, in my mind and it is only a rough guess. 75% of Trainz owners only want to run trains. With only 25% of the user base, being route creators. I am talking freeware here, not payware or partners. Yet the whole focus of TRS22 so far has been shiny new editor tools and HD terrain. 20 years down the line, we still do not have realistic tunnels or realistic rain effects on loco's and station platforms etc. SimRail has pools of water on the platforms, which all adds to the immersion. Yes Surveyor is the best route creation software out of the main stream train games. But actually driving and operating the trains is far from a stellar experience, in regards realism.
In many ways, I see the product losing focus. It's as if N3V is trying to please every customer but in the end, we end up with a confusing mess of multiple things that are kind of the same, mostly the same, but are subtly different. This is like a restaurant that has way too many items on the menu. When restaurants do that, customers don't know exactly what they want because they are overwhelmed by choices.

As I've said a few times now, the product should be all inclusive with user-selectable levels of complexity.

Basic for just running trains. This is on by default. People still have access to the DLS and can set up their own sessions and install their own trains either DLC, from the DLS, or third-party.
Regular or Standard mode. This is what we have now but without HD and S20.
Advanced is the whole shebang.

The reason is there are many, many people that just want to run trains and not put up with something that's getting to a point where an advanced degree in Computer Science is required. Others such as myself like to tinker and try new things, and then there are those that like some of the new things but would rather chug along as they are.

We can do this now but having all the switches on in the interface is, as I said, a menu with too many choices.

TLR I think will be a nice way to build up background traffic once the bugs are worked out. Instead of building huge schedules for AI drivers to haul captive freights, we can assign a simple go here and go there and let them do their thing while we do the more complex stuff. With this in mind, it might be better to give the AI drivers their own separate line with fewer options, meaning switches and adequate space to hold their consists.

Once TLR is fully implemented, it would be nice if N3V really seriously looks into creating a real dispatcher and real schedule system. With many of us using a second display, a dispatcher and schedule screen setup on another display would be really helpful for managing the AI drivers as we control their routes as needed, and setup precise schedules for our hotshot passenger trains.
One of the strengths of Trainz has always been its ability to do many things for many different interests. It might not be the best in all classes but overall it is. I fall in the 25% that rarely goes for a Drive unless it is to test a new route. I like to build my worlds, whether a fantasy place or inspired by a real location (thank you TransDem). Having a resource like the DLS is great. Plus with a bit of skill, the ability to make and add my own objects is a big plus for Trainz.
Unless HD, S2.0 and TLR become mandatory, as long as they can be turned off and ignored, I don't see why it should bother anyone that they exist.
One of the strengths of Trainz has always been its ability to do many things for many different interests.

Unless HD, S2.0 and TLR become mandatory, as long as they can be turned off and ignored, I don't see why it should bother anyone that they exist.
Totally agree.

I now almost exclusively use S20 in my route creation. Compared to the original Classic it has significantly improved my productivity.

I don't use MPS but I can see that it would be very useful on big projects.

HD interests me and I can see it has enormous potential for creating the "more realism" that so many users have always demanded. I plan to start investigating it when I finish my current very large 10m grid routes.

Likewise TLR. As I commented in my earlier post, I don't believe it will replace the need for using the Session Editor to create realistic sessions but it will (when it gets out of "alpha") make it very easy for both Session non-programmers and programmers to create automated sessions.