Update announcement and Happy Holidays!

During the last couple of weeks, in our blog series “Behind the scenes”, we gave you insight into various topics developers usually don’t talk about. In return we received a lot of positive, interesting and valuable feedback! It’s time to conclude the series and start looking forward again.

Let us say a big “Thank you!” for a great 2015! We would like to bring the holiday spirit to Train Fever and present you with a little gift in the form of two announcements about our current and our next game.

xmasHappy Holidays!

There is a long list of features which could further enrich Train Fever. With so many people still playing, the list grows constantly and a game like Train Fever will never be truly complete.

No matter what we would like to do, we have to consider the financial aspect of the development. Finding a good balance between investing time (and therefore money) and maintaining a healthy business is challenging. As a consequence, more than a year after the release, we have to concentrate our efforts on our next game.

Nevertheless we feel the necessity to show our appreciation to our loyal players. Thus we decided to work on a final update for Train Fever!

We are excited what players and modders can achieve with the Train Fever engine. To further support this, we will introduce a tool enabling the free placement of trees and various other assets in the game world.

On top of that we would like to open more possibilities for generating maps. We are working on a way to allow utilizing external sources like height maps. If successful, we are confident that modders can then create their own landscape scenarios and thus enable completely new challenges.

We will also treat you with a widely requested improvement initially developed for our next game: Tram tracks can finally be electrified and therefore get the long awaited catenary.

To support our ever growing modding scene, we will also extend some shading modding possibilities. The first project benefiting from the changes will be the “Nordic DLC”, an extensive total conversion, created by our community over at train-fever.net.

nordic dlcScene from the fan made Nordic DLC – Image courtesy of community member Stepke

In addition, the upcoming patch also features a list of various improvements and bug fixes. We will give our best to make the gameplay more fluent and less daunting.

The patch is scheduled for release in early 2016.

And to finally answer the most frequent question: We are very happy to disclose that we will officially announce our next game in the first quarter of 2016!

Let us emphasize, that all your feedback – no matter if yet realized or not – anyway fell on good soil. Our next game will highly benefit from everything you told us and what we have learned.

We wish you and your loved ones pleasant holidays and a happy new year!

45 thoughts on “Update announcement and Happy Holidays!

  1. I’d wish you make some paid dlc rather than one final patch and be done with it….. I for sure would buy whatever enhancements you decide to release for Train Fever…

  2. Its really bad that the final patch of the game is about tree placement and catenary on trams while you have a game breaking issue that are industries losing production in a second and only recovering 1 unit per month. This is the biggest game issue and everybody agrees.

    I hope your next game is not using in-house engine. Learn with others and use Unity please.

    • As stated in the post, we are also trying to improve the gameplay as much as possible. Taking care about the industries is one of the top priorities.

      Which engine to use for a game is for sure an interesting topic and I would love to see a pro / con discussion about that in the forums!

      Best,
      Tom

      • Unfortunately I have absolutely no technical knowledge to discuss engine use. All I know, from a gamer perspective, is that Colossal Order made a very laggy Cities in Motion with in-house engine, also limited. I guess the time and effort used to build an engine makes others aspects of the game limited. And then they switched to Unity and Cities in Motion 2 was much better game, with bigger maps and smooth and then Cities Skylines, a turning point on cities management game, also Unity. Of course Unity is not responsible for that, but it shows the possibilities if you know how to use it.

      • Unity sounds like a great place to start. Unreal Engine 4 is also exciting, but I’ve yet to play a game that actually use UE4. What I especially like with both of these are PBR support, which would make it even easier for modders to make photo real, or close to photo real textures.

        The way Colossal Order added modding support for Cities: Skylines proved to be very good. Some quirks, not perfect, but an insane effort to make it very straight forward for modders to add and create custom content for the game.

        And I wish that you, for the next game at least, make modding tools available as early as possible, instead of relying on third party ‘hacking’ to make modding tools. As with many community tools, they’re usually not the most straight forward to use.

        I’d love to see a modding tool that makes it easy to implement both assets and animations. Say, have the game support joints and skinned objects. And have the mod tool support FBX, which basically is supported by all 3D apps.

        I’d love to discuss this in more detail!

        • +1 for UE4 or some engine with PBR-support. Well, Quixel Suite was in requirements for 2D\3D Artists, so I hope for this. :D

          And about modding – I hope models import will some easier than for TF. :D

  3. You really think your game is fit for a final update? You think it’s achieved what it set out to? Apart from making you a pretty penny it’s certainly not doing what you promised. Your half built, half optimised, lazy simulation is not worth the asking price and many of your supposedly valued consumers have said so. But you want to get on to your next money maker and leave the criticism behind. Absolutely shocking behaviour. You pretend they don’t exist, instead.

    • I agree that the game is not polished as it could have been. There are many basic things that have not been ironed out (limited industries, little map variety, insufficient information / map overlays, balancing, optimization, some annoying bugs such as train reversal, industries going istantly to zero), but I find the value to be enough (a new transport game, interesting simulation concept, nice 3d graphics, many vehicles to choose from, a lot of mods) and would probably buy a sequel.

    • Wow, you seem to know already the full content of the next patch or why would one complain about its content at this stage? If just the number of patches bothers you, I recommend UG to release 50 small patches instead of a final large one. How do you know what the devs set out to achieve? You also seem to know the budget of UG very well. The absolutely shocking behaviour here is your imputation of greed! If they intended to rip off their customers, they wouldn’t have patched and extended the game 29 times over the last 15 months. This shows clearly that they did not at all deny the existence of criticism. Besides your blah blah in the post, i can’t see any constructive criticism from your side. So what should be the bottom line message of your slur? And please don’t post a wish list like the one of a 5 year old kid to Santa, just the few essential thing which would massively improve the game for you!

      • Train Fever told us that we would get such fanciful things as a modern day Transport Tycoon. That, and exactly that, is stated on their Steam page for the game. What we have instead for the cost of £19.99 – the price of many decent-to-large budget games with far deeper gameplay – is no financial aspect to speak of, game breaking issues with industrial production, railway track that insists as being laid like track yet is not run like track, stations that can’t be used as railway-technical termini, a terrible UI, shocking menu system, freezes at the end of the month no matter of the power your PC has behind it, the list goes on.

        The developers have patched the game repeatedly with very small fixes that don’t improve the larger game. That may be listening to the easier requests of users, but it certainly doesn’t give us a ‘modern transport tycoon’. The problem is that such vast requirements of improvement are, further, a sign of a game not worth its release price and not fit for purpose when leaving the gate. It’s a game of fractions of play – it’s stupidly easy, and insists on realistic curves without even running termini station properly. You can’t even use it as a train set because you can’t built complex track work. You can’t use it as a realistic railway simulation as you can’t run it like one. You can’t use it like a business simulation because the game is completely uninterested in micromanagement or the larger financial aspects of play. You can’t run it as a city or people simulator because people, no matter what the developers say, never become more than a single number on a list. It’s as deep as a bathroom sink.

        Their budget should have very heavy implications on their game’s asking price and scale; if it’s not fit to be a £20 game it shouldn’t be charged as such – and frankly, I don’t believe it is. Is it greed? Hardly. It’s my honest belief the game has not achieved what it intended to and has very vast gaps in its fabric. The game doesn’t need patching – it needs repairing. The larger issues have either been built INTO the game and thus cannot be rectified by the developer, or simply don’t get worked on.

        The game is a wasted opportunity, and it’s not greed to think that £20 of anybody’s money should be more readily polished and fit for purpose. I can purchase a 650-page hardback novel for that, and it’ll distract, enthrall and serve more than the game is capable of. I’m holding one now; it’s on the societal and technical effects of the railway on people, business and industry – and it’s got far more understanding the game has.

        The game should be capable of doing everything a release published on floppy discs was capable. It should be a good financial simulator, a good business simulator, it should have multi-leveled gameplay that dictate profits and loss, it should have vast worlds of bustling variety and unique requirements, and it should carry the opportunity to lay networks – not single, straight lengths of track into single usable platforms.

        So tell me, Christoph – what reason do you have to defend the game so ferociously against complaints? Only 65% of steam reviews are positive. The discussions on the Steam page are full of complaints about bugs, calculation issues, mechanics that users don’t understand and people complaining about truck cargo.

        The game isn’t terrible. Not by a longshot. But for £20? Absolutely not worth a penny; £10.00 maybe. £15.00 at a push. But £20? I can get far deeper, more detailed simulations for less.

        There’s very hard, very thorough work to be done; and it should have been done a long time ago.

        Steam has a very nasty situation of developers releasing half-finished games at full price and patching problems for years on end, when the better thing to do would be finish the game. Train Fever is another one of them.

        • >”single, straight lengths of track into single usable platforms.”

          Are you referring to the pathfinder always sending trains on the same line to the same platform (which is a limit of the static pathfinder used by TF), or are you referring to only having one line use a platform? If the latter, it is actually possible for a platform to be shared by multiple lines. Also, if you have two or more lines entering and exiting the station via the same set of tracks, those two lines can use a different set of tracks. The solution to both problems is to make use of waypoints.

        • While being a fan of this game, I do have to agree with many points Jordan made. Then again, let’s not jump to conclusions before the update is out ;)

        • @Jordan Mooney: Well, I’m not defending the game here, as you may notice by rereading my text. I certainly disagree with some of your points, but this doesn’t matter. What actually disturbed me was your insulting manner of criticism and this is what I was reacting to. You described the UG developers as greedy scrooges who just make games for the big money and leave their customers in the rain. This is simply not true and there is also no sign for this either. That’s my point here!

          • @Christoph you called Jordan out to explain his reasoning behind his “insulting manner of criticism” only to respond with that demeaning cop out?

            You and everyone like you are the problem behind these types of games on Steam. You will take any shit served to you on a plate and happily call it a steak purely because the chef tried hard and wasn’t a “greedy scrooge”.

            Jordan described one of problems being the game is not as promised on Steam. With many aspects of transport tycoon left out it is difficult to imagine what the developer feels they have achieved in this game. I agree with all of Jordan’s points as this game is just taking up space on my hard drive.

            I personally build infrastructure for a living, and if I took money from my clients without providing them what they expected when they paid or what is fit for purpose, I would have to answer to a judge.

            You can accept your shit on a plate but don’t stop the rest of us from complaining.

          • @Mig, I called him out on his first post, because there was just a pile of strong words (please read again). It was written in the style of many YouTube comments nowadays and this is something one should start to stand up against. In his second post he asked me, what I am defending and I answered this question. But since you want to know more, here you are:
            I liked his second comment as a whole and sure it has some truth in it. Although this focus on the price, at least his point about “for 20 it’s worth nothing but I would buy for 15 at a push” is weird. Also the pound didn’t perform very well lately, so stuff gets more expensive, but okay everybody has his/her own limits and budgets.
            I also agree that the difficulty of the game is quite low even on “hard” (although in this case you don’t even try to bother about trains before 1900).
            I was not aware, that this game is advertised as “modern-day Transport Tycoon”, which it isn’t and I understand people being disappointed about this point. So how should I have noticed the train fever advertising problem from the first post of Jordan (if you don’t believe me read his first post again).
            All in all the game is quite thin, if you expect a transport tycoon successor.

            And now to the YouTuby part of your comment:
            Now you start to twist my words, I wasn’t buying the game because they aren’t “greedy scrooges” and I was not defending the game in this way. As a matter of fact I didn’t defend it at all.
            Before I bought Train Fever I was watching some youtubers playing it. I asked myself, if this game would be fun for me to play and I concluded “yes it would!” and bought the game. Actually I do this a lot before buying a game, because advertisement is never accurate. So you can’t really say I bought shit. I got what I was expecting and I still enjoy it, if there is time.
            Nevertheless I think advertisement should be more accurate also concerning TF. Still your infrastructure comparison does not really hold here, since it is advertisement and not really a contract with a customer.

  4. This is indeed a very comforting and interesting post. I put lots of hopes I the note mentioning bug fixes. Right now the game really looks a lot like a promising concept rather than a finished product.
    Also, I’m sure there are other team, I haven’t played many games but to my experience you are best game developer regarding responsiveness to your client base.

  5. Wishing Train Fever and Fever fan a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!
    All the Best from
    OzWally from Sunny Australia!

  6. Very exciting news!! I’ve been waiting for height maps ever since the game was announced. I’m looking forward to how I can combine Train Fever with some real world height data from Norway to play with the Nordic DLC! :)

  7. Merry Christmas and happy new year to Urban Games and all!

    Sounds good and exciting indeed. I’d like to know, if you can say already, which assets will be possible to place on the map freely? Can I dare to hope it’d be possible to place industry on the map, the game throws them all over the map and would be great deal to have some control over them :)

    Looking forward to hear about your next title.

  8. It would also be interesting to be able to place and name cities and industries in a map, so as to be able to recreate some interesting real landscapes and challenges. This is what made games like the various railroad tycoons interesting to replay.

  9. Some of you guys need to get a grip. First of all I am not a fan boy but I do appreciate the efforts of a small in-house independent developer who produces a great game like Train Fever. Is it finished? No, however it has received a lot of support since its release and with modding help will improve from where it is. Some of you have obviously not been responsible for the financial side of a company where you need to strike a balance between income and what you spend. At this juncture income will be dwindling and expenditure constantly above that income. Therefore, a decision like this is inevitable. I for one look forward to the new game guys and thanks for all the happy hours of watching my trains run around the maps :)
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the team
    Phil

    • I understand the business logic wery well and I appreciate what a small dev team did very much indeed.

      And because of this I think the devs should focus on some important and seemingly easy things to fix from a gameplay perspective rather than on marginal or even unwelcome “features” that may be harder to implement like some graphical gimmicks such as tram catenary or (in the past) the new “only one cargo type” model or the “main connection” feature (I liked the game more before these two interventions). Then they should move on to the new game, which I hope will learn from this.

      I am very happy that the devs appear to focus on maps, the “instant to 0 but recovering slowly” industry bug and on performance.

      I would add to my wishlist two things that maybe the developers will be able to squeeze in their next update:
      1) give more information to users such as on overlay to show which buildings use/do not use public transport, some more graphs on transport usage (e.g. % of users using the line), make a proper income statement instead of the current attempt at a cash flow statement
      2) make a game year run longer (e.g. 4x longer to allow multiple runs between cities and thus more stability of financial results) and offer the possibility to increase the multiplier even further for those that want to play faster (e.g. 16x).

      Anyway merry Christmas for all.

      • >” the new “only one cargo type” model or the “main connection” feature (I liked the game more before these two interventions).”

        You do realise that you can now turn off “main connection”, and the bug with toomany main-connections that appeared when it was first introduced has long been fixed.

        >”give more information to users…”

        I’ve made a list of improvement-ideas that includes several entries on ideas for improving the information-display – http://www.train-fever.com/forums/topic/a-very-long-list-of-ideas-for-improving-train-fever/

        • Yes, I do realize that these can be disabled. I was pointing out that – in my view – instead of changing such things, the devs should have addressed more important issues.

          Impressing list of suggestions about information display, even too big :) I really hope they address some of these suggestions, especially those about managing the economic side and about line/cargo usage.

  10. A great game – you guys have been very open and honest with your comments and updates. This attitude is very refreshing in Game development. I will happily purchase your next game as soon as you request funding. I feel that the lessons you learned in this first development will be carried forward into the next. Without giving too much away, is the next game transport related ?

    Best wishes to you all for Christmas and New Year.

  11. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the guys working on Train Fever and to everyone else reading this :) In my opinion this is the best train tycoon game since Transport Tycoon / OpenTTD and I hope your next game will be even better :)

  12. If you’re going to be improving the possibilities for the map-generator, how about adding regions to the maps.

    There are several layers to the concepts of adding regions to the map. The simplest is that when you enable importing heightmaps, you should allow the map-generator to apply some additional processing to the imported map (the base-map). For example, if the hilliness (amount of hills/mountains) in the TF map-generator is set to low, then the imported heightmap (the base-map) could contain the base-altitude of the region (which could be mostly flat but with a few large areas of high altitude). This way, you can generate maps containing large plateaus with not many hills. By using the same base-map, you can use TF’s built in generator to make many variations on the same map. In Transport Tycoon Deluxe when playing the Arctic map, half the map (a triangular area) would be a high plateau and half the map close to sea-level. This could be implemented in TF if the imported map was divided into two triangular regions of different height. Of course, more complicated layouts would be possible using a more complicated base-map.

    A slightly more elaborate way of adding regions is to have the ability to import a bitmap whose colours give different sets of parameters to the map-generator for the part of the map represented by the bitmap. For example, one colour in the bitmap could mean “perfectly flat”, one “slightly flat”, and “hilly”, “mountainous”, and “extreme” (more mountainous than even TF’s existing most mountainous option – if the whole map was like this, TF would be unplayable (without a really huge tunneling/terraforming budget), but if only parts of the map were like this, it could pose some interesting challenges). Of course, if this was implemented, it might mean my first idea of having a base-map would be unnecessary if each region is also given a base-altitude, but then again, there’s no harm in combining the two (in fact, I think that would be better).

    As well as having a bitmap for controlling the hilliness of a region, you could also have a bitmap to control things like the density of towns and industries according to region, and the ratio of small-towns to cities per region (this could make for some _really_ interesting maps), and whether or not certain types of industry are even present in the region. You could have a bitmap for raw resources so that you could add realistic seams of coal and other resources, so that coal-mines etc. will only appear where there is a seam of coal etc.

    Other things the region-bitmaps could do is to dictate whether or not certain types of building are present or absent in a given region. That way, the architecture-style of towns could change depending on which type of region on the map they are found. For example, the area representing Northern Europe could have buildings inspired by Hanseatic architectural styles, alpine towns could have Alpine architecture, and Mediterranean town could have Mediterranean architecture. The area representing Eastern Europe could produce a lot of monotonous concrete architecture in the period of 1945-1989. Of course, for this to be most effective, a town would not be allowed to expand into another region (the map-generator would have to be careful to not place a town too close to a region-boundary), and when naming industries and stations, only names of towns in the same region should be considered). As well as town-buildings, this could apply to trees. It would be nice to see each region given it’s own set of trees (also, increasing the altitude could also affect the distribution of trees – the higher you go, the more conifer trees). That way, each region on the map will truly be given a unique character! (BTW I also would have suggested mixing Temperate and Wild-West textures, but I suspect that that would not only require some work, but would increase the amount of texture required by the graphics card which could cause the game to slow down, unless the graphics card has a huge amount of texture-memory – and this doesn’t even address the problem of how to handle the boundary between the two types of textures).

    If all of this seems too much, could you at least add the ability to export the heightmap so we tweak generated maps until our heart’s content.

  13. Hello Train Fever Team,

    When I read about Train Fever for the first time I was very excited. After the launch I was a little disappointed. Train fever is a good game but even if looks great Transport Tycoon is more complex and more interesting then Train Fever.

    I hope the next game you will launch will be a game that starts from Transport Tycoon Deluxe (or openTTD) and brings more not less.

    I wish you a great 2016 and I realy hope to see from you the real successor of Transport Tycoon Deluxe which is still the best…

  14. I hope that each language localization translation can do to improve in the last update, and hope to add to set up a possible end time option of their choice, not aimlessly for the game, and the line management of the road vehicle exceeds a certain the number will not be able to view, hoping to improve.

  15. The word ‘final’ before the word ‘update’ is definitely a sad combination. But if developers will ask what we would like to see in the final update, my answer would be:

    ***Four bug fixes and three new features:***
    ***fixes***
    1) fix that microfreeze at the start of each month (in the late game);
    2) fix a Doppler effect for trains which have a reversed engine car in their tail (such as TFV and DUALSTOX) ;
    3) update a bulldoze via icons (I want to be able to bulldoze stops and stations by clicking on their hovering icons just like I do when bulldozing the path signals);
    4) fix DUALSTOX hopping when it is leaving the railroad crossing segment of the track (for instance, the TFV doesn’t hop on that part of a track).
    ***features***
    1) modifiable calendar speed
    2) update current event notification system which must log every notification and will report about the availability of a new stuff (electricity, high speed tracks, new roads, new signals etc.) as well as prediction of unavailability of an old stuff;
    3) 2D map with industry icons and a simple route planning tool (similar to editable polylines in CAD software)

    And I would buy a DLC which will add seasons of the year into the game (snowy winter, spring full of flowers, green summer, golden autumn). And please, add lakes to the map generator. Thanks, and all the best to Urban Games. Good luck.

    PS. And it is in an interest of the developers to implement in-game context based help system so the game will receive better reviews and farther sales.

    • Oh, and I forgot to ask for the easy way to find a slow parts of a track. When I modify an old track for a 300kmph TFV, I would like to turn speed limit symbols ON for that track (those which I see during the track creation process), so I will find slow segments in a moment, and will reconstruct them.

  16. I’m just surprised no one requested so far Steam workshop integration for that last update. So please if you could at least have a look at that feature…

  17. Since this is the last foreseeable update will you guys finally be adding Maglev? Germany did after all pioneer the technology.

  18. When I read this comments, I saw not everyone know this is the first game of the developers. In a first game I accept some bugs, because the developers can fix them for a new update. I think if every game is perfect during release, the developers wouldn’t update their games anymore. This was my philosophy about game updates and the developers. Now the ‘bugs an wishes’
    Bugs:
    - Lampposts on the streets; the buses, trams and cars drive into the pole.
    - (less disturbing) short freeze at the end of the month (later in game, when you have built more railways
    - if building a railroad crossing at a dike, the roads are quite steep
    Wishes:
    - Ability to set platforms at large train stations. (a little bit possible with waypoints or signals)
    - Diesel multiple units (like DB BR 643/644) from around 2000 (if mods installed not very necessary)
    - Modern articulated bus (like MAN Lion’s City G) for after 2010 (when the Duvedec disappear, also unnecessary if mods installed)

  19. Guten Tag geschätztes Entwicklerteam

    Die Ankündigungsfrist “1. Quartal 2016″ läuft langsam aus. Wird es eine Punktlandung?

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