Friday, January 23, 2009

MSTS 2 future unclear

The future of Microsoft Train Simulator 2 (MSTS2) appears very much in doubt. According to this report at Gamusatra, Microsoft's Aces Studio, responsible for Flight Simulator X and Train Simulator 2, has taken a big hit as part of Microsoft's budget cuts. Does this mean a permanent stoppage? A short term stoppage? An outsourcing? At this point we simply don't know.

On a personal note, I'd have to say that for any new train sim to make it, that sim would have to have so much going for it in realism, features, power, etc. that it could overcome the lack of a huge amount of readily avialble free add-ons such as are already available for Trainz and the original MSTS. Such capabilities would almost certainly require a major increase in computing power - something most of us are not in a position to purchase (even if available) because of the current economic climate. I hadn't planned it this way, but my recent article "Stop Already, I Need To Get Off! Coping With The Technology Spiral" seems very appropriate at this time.

It should also go without saying that we wish all success and comfort to those who stand to be (and have been) laid off - at Microsoft and elsewhere.

-- Al

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stop Already, I Need To Get Off! Coping With The Technology Spiral

New at the VR Reading Room .

Tired of the technology spiral? Don't give up. There's plenty of affordable, modest-spec train sim software out there and it's not going away any time soon.


-- Al

Monday, January 05, 2009

MSTS 2 Update

No, there isn't any announced release date, moreover there's still precious little information, BUT, there is an active website for MSTS 2 and clear evidence of progress. There's a video you can watch and there's new a quarterly newsletter in PDF format you can subscribe to and/or download from the website. The first issue was Fall 2008.

The most impressive thing I saw was the new animated people with detail and realism you wouldn't believe. There's also an article explaining how they do this without breaking the performance bank in terms of system resources. Very interesting.

What we DON'T know yet is when the game will be released or anything at all about the ease or lack thereof of building layouts a la Trainz. We DO know the game will include four routes (like the original) and will support 3rd party creation and will be built on Flight Simulator X technology. Beyond that it's just more waiting.