Wednesday, May 27, 2009

OpenBVE has arrived


OpenBVE stable version 1.0.6.0 was released by Michelle, its creator, on 24 May 09. In my brief testing, I'm happy to say it works beautifully. I tested it with Steve Green's Northern Line route and 1995 stock, both updated from BVE4 for openBVE.

For those unfamiliar, openBVE is an open source, all-new program patterned after and largely compatible with BVE2 and BVE4. All are cab-view drive-it sims with a great sense of “being there,” though openBVE goes beyond and, in my opinion, is poised for greatness.

The big improvements for me include availability for use with Mac and Linux in addition to Windows. This is huge for Mac and Linux users, who have been largely left out of the train sim hobby.

Something more for my own needs as a Windows user is the ability to accommodate any dimensioned window or screen. I also like the interface, which combines the clean, uncluttered look of BVE4 with the very useful stopping position indicator of BVE2. The latter, along with all messages, is wonderfully unobtrusive.

Initial setup includes the ability to change any and all key assignments. The dialog box that lets you change assignments also lets you scroll through all the default assignments, so it doubles as a handy reference.

Animation Potential Simply Amazing

Other features of openBVE include support for animated objects and, of course, open source. To be fair, I haven't tested these yet. You can see some examples of the new animated object capabilities in this YouTube video. The wind and rain are truly astounding.

Getting Started

Complete instructions for downloading and installing are given at the openBVE site. You will still need to get a route and a train. I got these at Steve Green’s TransimCentral as previously mentioned. The file structure is not explained by anyone, and the downloaded route and train zip files expand to their own folders. The structure is the same as for BVE. Inside the Data folder, add a Train folder and a Railway folder. Inside the Railway folder add an Object folder and a Sound folder. Your new train folder (eg, LT1995_openbve) goes in the Train folder; your new route folder (eg, Northern Line OpenBVE) goes in the Railway folder; your new NorthernLine_Open folder goes in the Object folder; and your new NorthernLine_v3 folder goes in the Sounds folder. Now you’re in business. Oh yes, your openBVE folder can be anywhere.

More Information

The English speaking home base – in my mind – for BVE is still TransimCentral, hosted by Steve Green. This site includes a forum for all things BVE and openBVE as well as Steve’s superb creations modeling London Underground routes and trains. This site is also a great starting point for finding just about everything else out there that applies to BVE and openBVE. For a forum dedicated to openBVE, see the openBVE site.

You can see a number of videos of openBVE here.

Conclusion

I continue to be astounded by developments in the BVE world. Its practitioners continue to take this once unassuming sim, the brainchild of a 14-year-old, to new heights. There is a great worldwide following for BVE, particularly in the UK and Japan. It would be nice to see more North American routes and trains.

-- Al



2 comments:

Slayer Gothpaladin said...

How about OpenBVE 1.1 (3D Panels) and openBVE in Ubuntu 9? I think you should write about that, too!

VR Blogger said...

I've been planning to do a complete review of OpenBVE but just haven't had a chance.

I don't have Ubuntu and don't have room for it on my laptops, so that part won't get covered.