Friday, 24 June 2016

GWR Saint: In game!

As promised it's time to see the GWR Saint all textured up and in Train Simulator.
We're really pleased with how this loco has turned out, bringing together everything we've learnt to date with all the best features from the Peppercorn K1 and USATC S160.

The GWR Saint and TPO DLC will be coming with both square and curved frame variants of the 2900 class and in liveries for 4 GWR eras: 1905-26, 1926-34, 1934-42 and 1924-47.
All 74 members of the class (Scotts, Ladies, Saints, Courts) are included along with 1 of the 3 prototypes, "Albion".
The 3500 gallon tender is available in riveted and smooth sided styles with 6 different livery options including 2 non-express versions (although not officially used on express services sometimes tenders were provided using "whatever we've got available"). The tender is fully compatible with water troughs.
Red or White lamps are optional based on the era, as well as selections for any reporting code you choose, outside or inside steam pipes, headboards (Cornish Riviera, Torbay Express and Mayflower), and speedometer.
All of our usual advanced features are fitted including steam chest simulation, realistic injectors, 3D firebox, head out views for the cab (driver's AND fireman's), animated controls on the external model and we've even come up with a great new stoking system - no longer will you be forced to trickle feed coal into the firebox but you can put it in in shovelfuls, all timed perfectly with the cab sounds!

So without further comment, the 2900 "Saint" class..

Lady Disdain (square frame) in very early livery

Lalla Rookh (square frame) as the Cornish Riviera Express

Lady of the Lake (square frame) in 1934-42 livery

Bride of Lammermoor (square frame) in 1942-47 livery

Saint Andrew (curved frame)

Hampton Court (curved frame)

In addition to all of the 2900 class the DLC will also include the working GWR TPO baggage coach and sorting coach (in 3 GWR  liveries) and line side apparatus (including marker boards, huts, etc) and repaints of the Collett "Sunshine" coaches from the Exeter-Kingswear route in two GWR liveries, 1934-42 and 1942-47.

Currently we expect to include 4 scenarios for the Exeter-Kingswear 1950's route based around the Great Western TPO service.

So that's everything as it stands at the moment. Next week we expect to have some in-game pictures of the TPO coaches and soon after we will make some videos to show them in operation.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Steam Summer Sale!

It's that time again - the yearly Steam Summer Sale!

All of our Steam DLC is included except for the newly released USATC S160. So if you've had your eye on any of our add-ons for a while then now is the time to grab a discount.

Click this link to see all of our DLC on Steam or click on an image below to view a particular DLC.

GWR 14xx - 20% off

LNER Peppercorn K1 - 20% off

GWR Small Prairies - 20% off

GWR 56xx - 20% off

GT3 Gas Turbine Prototype - 20% off

GWR Steam Railmotor - 20% off

Southern Bulleid Q1 - 50% off

USATC S160 - Latest Release

Friday, 17 June 2016

GWR Travelling Post Office

So we thought we'd keep you in suspense a little longer before showing the GWR Saint actually in game (and also we've not had time to take any screen shots!) but today we're going to do a Work In Progress update on the accompanying GWR Travelling Post Office (TPO) coach.

The first task was to hit the books and decide which version to make. We ended up choosing the Diagram L.21 which served the West Coast of England from 1933 until 1959 as we had good reference images and also there were 3 coaches of this type, no.'s 793, 794 and 795, which is the most amount of any other types we considered (others diagrams had 3, 2 or even just 1 coach).

The basic coach outline took shape pretty quickly.

The next task was to cut out the doors and add some details to them. There are 2 doors on each side, those on the LHS side opening to allow the mail bags to be swung out for dropping off, as well as 2 doors on the RHS side just for loading parcels (and crew!) and also the door behind the net where the bags being collected fly in at a great rate. The bags can weigh anything up to 60 lbs each which when hitting the net at up to 40mph carry quite some force.

Next we modelled the details of the "traductor arms". These are used to hang the packages out from the side of the coach for dropping off into the net on the ground - 2 either side of each door, so 4 in total. Once it's all animated and scripted the coach and apparatus will allow for the dropping off of 0 to 4 bags and the collection of 0 to 3 - this varied in real life based on the needs of the location.
We have had some very useful images and advice from someone who works on the TPO's in preservation to whom we are very grateful and we were also able to visit coach 814 at Didcot and have a good play around with parts of the coach apparatus to see exactly how they functioned which has been invaluable when modelling (and of course we visited Lady of Legend while we were there).

Next to be modelled was the net framing, again based on photographs, diagrams and measurements we were able to take from 814.

The coach was completed with the addition of the side lights which will turn on and off during the exchange process if it takes place at night.

The coach is only half of the operation and next we modelled the ground apparatus - the hanging bags for collection by the coach's net and the ground net to drop off the hanging bags into.
Oh and of course some nice plump mail bags as well.
The apparatus is actually positioned the other way around - ground net first and then hanging bags - this image was just taken as we were working on the models and making sure scaling etc was correct.

Then the moment of truth... would everything line up properly?!

It did! As before these are WIP modelling images and when the exchange is taking place the doors are opened, etc. This was purely to make sure that everything lined up.

Still be added are the ropes and nets for both coach and ground apparatus and then it's time to exercise the excellent physics capabilities of Blender as we start throwing packages into nets at high speed to record the animations needed for Train Simulator.

Friday, 10 June 2016

USATC S160 is out!

So, after much waiting we finally got to the release of the S160!
We'd like to thank you all for your patience and also for the messages and screen shots that we've been receiving from happy owners of the DLC.

"Would like to thankyou for creating such a great add-on with the S160 it really completes the Churnet Valley Route that we've made"

 "The War Effort"

"Thank you very much VW and DTG, it's fabulous. Well worth the wait!"

 "By far the most dynamic loco DLC yet. So many options and variations. The details of the whistle and advanced controls are fantastic. The blue FDR gets my vote as well. Worth the wait!"

"Thank you so much for this incredible engine. The best add-on I have ever bought for TS! Thank you VW"

"Well done and thank you for a wonderful pack of locos and stock that was oh so worth the wait. I'm absolutely elated by it"

"What an amazing DLC pack. Bravo!"

Matt Peddlesden from Train Sim Live also took the S160 for a drive on his live stream:

He did a summary of everything in the pack (and there's so much he got a bit confused!)...

And he drove 2 scenarios, one in the UK...


And one in the USA...

We've sent a small update today to DTG with some minor niggles that came up which will hopefully be pushed out to everyone next week but nothing show stopping we're pleased to say.

The S160 DLC has 10 liveries with hundreds of options between them all and we've had a few people asking us about changing various components on the locos and tenders so we thought it might be a good idea to give a more comprehensive break down of how it works.
This style of customisation is available on all of our locomotives but the S160 has by far the most options and components.

At the end of the manual there is a section entitled "Appendix 1: Locomotive Numbering". So for this example we're going to edit the US Army livery which is listed on page 50.

US Army – Buckeye/Air
# # # Tall or Short Chimney [T,S] / Original or Vertical Whistle [V,O] / Firebox cover [Y,N] / Black or Yellow Buffer Plate [B,Y] / Westinghouse location [B,S] / Pilot [W,E,B,Y,S] / Front Steps or Stairs[A,E] / Bell location [F,B] / Reverser [S,L] / Yellow or White Hand Rails [Y,W] / Front Number on Smokebox or Lamp [S,L] / White Wheel Rims [N,Y]

Place the loco down in the game editor and double click it. In the right-hand flyout  you will see the pre-set loco number which is what we're going to edit.

So let's say we want to create a loco with the number 612.
The first characters in the list above are # # #
#'s are always used to indicate places for a loco or tender number, so in this case we begin our loco number with 612. 
The next part of the code is Tall or Short Chimney [T,S]
This means that the next (4th) character should be either a T if you want a tall chimney or S if you want a short chimney. If we choose a tall chimney our number is now 612T.
Next is Original or Vertical Whistle [V,O]
So the 5th character should be a V or an O depending which whistle you prefer. Let's go for an Original so our number is now 612TO.
You continue like this adding the chosen character for each component until we might have a number like this 612TONBSBAFSWLY
This would give us a locomotive numbered 612, a Tall chimney, Original whistle, No firebox cover, Black buffer plate, Westinghouse brake located on the Smokebox, a Black front pilot, front stAirs on the running board ends, bell located on the Front, a Screw reverser, White hand rails, front number mounted on the Lamp and Yes to white rims on the wheels.
And tenders work in exactly the same way. Do note that changes will not take effect until you re-start the game in play mode.
There are about a dozen options for every loco so you have literally thousands of possible combinations and you can have a loco almost any way you want it.

Have fun trying it out! 

So that's it for this week. Next week we'll return to updates on the GWR Saint and working TPO which is coming along very nicely.