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The third rail of train simming: RS?

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#1 rgarber



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:52 AM

Okay, I learned you can't make an opinion over at train sim's Rail Simulator forum without a match getting lit but here, I control this forum with an iron fist, so what say you? Rail Simulator, is it showing enough promise for you to purchase the USA version or are you like me, waiting to see what happens.

Before you write your opinion, think first, then engage the keyboard. If you got a pro/con opinion, please back it up with some thought and not just a remark of passion. A post, if it's pro-RS propaganda for the sake of that, I'm gonna delete ya.

This is your chance you loyal MSTS'rs to speak your mind about what you intend to do without somebody jumping all over you calling you an old fogey. Of course that said from one old fogey to another.

Those are the rules, I like it peaceful in here, so it's gonna stay that way. So watcha thinking? (I'll post my own thoughts in a separate post too.)

Rich Garber
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#2 stresstool



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:25 PM

Am I Excited? Nope. Am I interested? You bet. For me, I don't get what all the fuss is about. We're talking only a little bit of money here, around $50. What can one buy for $50 that will amuse one for a few hours and then be forgotten? Perhaps a nice dinner, a ball game, day at the races, a tank of gas, etc.

Am I going to get it? Yep. Will I keep using it? Hard to say. Will I bash or praise those who stop or keep using it for whatever reasons? Not a chance.

What possible difference will it make to the world order who or who does not use this product?

Just get it and have some fun. If you don't like it, toss it and play something else.

#3 august1929


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:39 PM

An interesting thread Rich smile.gif.

Well, I have had the European version almost since it hit the shelves, and as a purely visual experience I enjoy it. The current problems are well documented elsewhere - what most affects me is the difficulty of creating activities and having to learn a new way of modding textures etc.

I have tried a bit of track laying (not very serious) and it was very easy to do (in a very simple way). Doing it properly is a very different matter (but then I never mastered MSTS tracklaying!).

When I got the new Sim I used nothing else - the visual experience was just such a knock out, but I was, personally, very frustrated by the lack of US content (British routes don't generally ring my bell, or toot my tooter, but the S&D route has come close in this Sim, the closest ever). I was also frustrated by moving back into MSTS and the relatively "dated" visual look (doesn't take long to start to change loyalties, does it sad.gif ). However, WP Feather River came out, I got it, ran it, for the first time ever in MSTS, completed 3 activities, loved the visual experience and haven't been back into RS since (tho' I am keeping abreast of developments).

My reason for this rapid "ditching" of the sim is nothing to do with the quality, or useability, but is entirely down to my preference for US routes and engines, and the fact that there aren't any yet.

I am going to be as frustrated as **** when the US content comes out as I won't be able to get it for a while, unless Kuju make it available for d/l.

My considered opinion is that, at its best, the old sim can be quite stunning and a real treat - routes like WP, if they continue from Marc and Co, will certainly keep me around - add into this the high quality engines and stock, and it is hard to see how this "old" sim could ever be ditched - running alongside this, however, I will definitely have my US version of RS. It will not take long for user content to build up, along with payware (just have a look at UKTrainsim and some of the links over at Trainsim).

RS was pronounced DOA by many (almost gleefully by some, like there was no desire to see it be a success) - it clearly is alive and is going to stay so. High quality engines and stock are already being produced for the European version, and will be for the US in due course. What is going to be lacking for a while will be decent routes.

So, I am looking forward to the US version (when I can get it), and I will be running them both (I'll even throw in Trainz, once or twice a year, maybe), on separate drives. I certainly can't see the death of MSTS for a long while yet, or the predominance of RS - no such thing as an old fogey here, all young whippersnappers just raring for the next MSTS treat and any other bones thrown our way smile.gif


#4 rlbarr


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 12:46 PM

Two or three years ago I would have been excited. Now I'm only mildly interested. In the last two or three years so much has been done within MSTS to address and mitigate its problems and limitations. I realize that we are attaching Maserati accessories to a VW engine, but amazing things have been done. On the nuts and bolts side, MSTS Bin has made a huge difference in the "playability" of the Sim. The route creation abilities of Rich Garber and the folks at 3DTrains keep raising the bar as to what it's possible to do in the context of aging software.

So yes, I'm mildly interested in Kuju's new product and will probably buy it mostly out of curiosity. I a bit more interested in MSTS2 and will no doubt get that as well. But I also plan to keep on buying attractive routes and rolling stock for MSTS; and I hope that developers keep on producing them. Thanks to the enormous efforts of a number of talented folks, there's a lot of life in the old girl still.

Bob Barrows

#5 ajwtcb



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Posted 10 January 2008 - 04:12 PM

I agree, Bob. Mild interest here as well. It's always interesting to see and evaluate the latest trends in any game or simulator. That certainly applies here with MSTS and KRS. Will I do as much with KRS as I have with MSTS? More than likely I won't. I would still run MSTS more than anything, and use Trainz and KRS when I feel the need for a change of pace. My philosophy is that it will take some time for KRS to catch pace (if it's going to) in terms of content. Who knows, it may open up some opportunities for things I hadn't tried or wanted to get involved in with MSTS.

#6 Pennsy_Reading _Lines

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 06:16 PM

Bob Barrows

I'm about in the same boat as you Bob. When KRS info was first announced, I was not interested and felt I would stand by MSTS, especially knowing a new version would be on its way later this year.

Now after reading all the pros and cons in recent days my interest has been peaqued and I've decided to purchase KRS (USA version already onorder) and at least give it a try before turning my back with a ho hum attitude.

With the abilities of so many experts in all MSTS categories, just on this forum alone, I would suspect new US Routes and Locos wiil soon begin to appear, both freeware and payware, in only a matter of days. Meanwhile, It will be interesting indeed to watch the progress of KRS while awaiting the new MSTS2 developments soon to arrive.


#7 rgarber



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:08 AM

Good thoughtful stuff guys. The thread over at train-sim's RS forum was beginning to remind of me of the msts vs. trainz wars so I bailed from that discussion. But I like the topic. I know for myself I've almost done a complete 180 when I was pretty gung ho for something new, and I still am. But why RS isn't fitting the bill mostly has to do with the juggernaut coming down the tracks in the shape of MSTX.

From the very beginning I thought if Kuju could put out RS and get it mostly right from the start, that was their best chance to compete with MSTX or any serious development in RS would be in vain. To me, RS is still a work in progress (read unfinished) and any serious developer who wants to produce something that will have some longevity to it might find themselves disappointed.

When I say serious development I mean something like Canton which still sells decently four... five? years after its release. Cumberland has been out there a couple of years and its still doing decently too. The question in my mind is even if I can release something in three months being it's already January now, how long will that route sell? With MSTX just around the corner, not long I'm afraid. And I say this because my feeling is the community at large is looking forward to MSTX because it most resembles the look of MSTS.

RS looks good, and we've seen some excellent scenery in it, but I can't help but say it doesn't look natural to me. Rod, who posted earlier, was putting up some amazing pics very early in RS's life which would tantalize anybody who saw them. But even with that I kept thinking as I was working with RS, it doesn't look natural. In speaking with Marc who we all regard his opinion highly he says it's the lighting aspect which is what I'm referring to when I speak of looking natural.

So that I think the community will gravitate towards MSTX is one of my primary concerns against RS development. There's no point in our opening a 5 and 10 store right next to a soon to be opened Walmart, and to me that's what this has become. Without the fast start to give RS the chance to entrench itself I believe the pre-hype coming soon for MSTX will have folks holding off from developing too seriously for RS.

I listed some other points in my post at train-sim too where I feel RS has some issues which I believe will slow down development or rather being too deeply entrenched before MSTX hits. The lack of a 2d cab will deter too many freeware and payware engine developers in my opinion. I love the 3d cab, don't get me wrong. The problem is as I looked at it is let's say I wanted to do a steam cab. The thing a lot of people discount is how much the community's expectations for new product is. We're already used to excellent 2d cabs put out by engine builders. So if I build a 3d cab will the community allow my excuses for not having the real cab nearby for me to take pictures and get measurements from? The 2d cab is advantageous for quicker development and a faster entrenchment of a sim for a community. RS needs that to survive the juggernaut coming.

I wrote how I have the sense that when I tried working with RS it was msts all over again. Folks who don't develop have no idea what that means. Plainly it's like visiting a cluttered office with papers strewn about and the boss tells you to find something. You spend more time learning the details than on actual development. Of course to an extent that's natural but with RS the development tools are separate from the game itself and much of what is featured is unexplained. For a fast start, that's bad. RS needs that fast start to survive the juggernaut coming.

The overriding factor in my points is I have less time than before to learn route building in this new sim. To make that time I need motivation. RS with its slow start in getting the developer tools, a US route, documentation and any sense their involved with this community (like a strong presence at train-sim and not just the usual pop-in hello I see happening) suggests a slow start for RS. This unmotivated me.

What does motivate me is to see how MSTX is being embraced and talked about by a number of people in both 3dtrains forums and train-sim. When the announcement came about it, the flurry of activity for it was awesome. Kuju didn't receive the same favorable greeting with RS and I sense enough hostility towards the company. its disconcerting. So like two riverboats in a race the momentum to win is still in MSTX's court. The winner is clearly where the serious developer wants to be. Not one of our payware vendors I know of is speaking to any length about serious RS development which is another indicator to me there's too much pausing for reflection. I imagine they are asking the same question I am asking, is developing RS going to be worth the effort.

When the dust settles I believe RS will have made the same kind of impact Trainz did. It'll be there but probably not enough to cajole reluctant people like myself to see it as anything other than as an alternative to the masses. For serious development that to me is a no-go issue. If for some reason MSTX becomes vaporware or is seriously delayed, then I would see things differently. It's not my point to bad-mouth RS, at this time I just can't see it as a platform to develop on.

Anybody want my copy of RS?

#8 lelandfletcher



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 02:02 PM

Dear Friends,

I find it interesting that the topic of realistic operating (i.e. the physics and physical realism of operating a train) hasn't been mentioned in anything I have read.

While I like the realism of the modeling, to me it is second to the realism of how an engine and train actually work. How a train takes a grade, both up and down starting and stopping, etc. are my main concerns. MSTS has been tweaked to give a reasonable standard of physical operation.

Second in importance to me is the modeling of the grades and main features of a route. As an artist, I do appreciate the visuals, but as long as the terrain and objects are consistent with each other visually, I can accept simplicity over complexity. In other words, I look for a virtual world that has a natural feel and is believable.

Another point is that there are some excellent MSTS payware and freeware routes that work for me that don't tax my computer too much. Also, I doubt that another NorthWest Pacific (NCR2- NorthCoast Railroad v2) will be made in another Train-Sim format. There are other routes that likely won't be created again either.

I would be likely change from MSTS when another TrainSim has trains that work more realistically, but until then the eye candy doesn't appeal to me as the major motivation for giving up MSTS.

Yours truly,

#9 laming


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Posted 11 January 2008 - 05:00 PM

Rich's post is a very thought provoking and well thought out treatise that managed to pinpoint and convey what I had yet to put my finger on concerning KRS. Now I can.

Interesting thread.

#10 cwhense



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:21 PM

Well having tried the game and sent it back. I am still on the fence for this one. I have a pretty decent system here

over all specs.

6850 due2core process
2 gig of ram a 8800gts 320 meg card it might be the one with more ram.
640 gig of hd in raid 0 I think, its the one where if one drive crashes you are screwed

It ran fine is great FPS except that it jerked, studders and sometimes up to one second pauses.

worst then MSTS ever did. when running a line at slow speeds no real problems its when you are running at high speeds this all happens, now I like running slow freights but also like running the hotshot expresses also.

no way to see where you are going or which way the switch is turning when flying along at 70 mph unless you go into the 2d map, the heads up display shows you about maybe 2000 yards ahead if that.

really going to wait to see what they fix on the major patch coming up and else they break.

A lot of the folks over there at train sim that are defending RS as the greatest thing since apple pie like to point put that MS never supported MSTS, well MS didn't make MSTS they put thier name on it and marketed, KUJU did, and KUJU made RS and they dumped it just as soon as they releaseed it.

MS did make one patch for MSTS. we will see what happens with the new owners of RS what they will do.

#11 Eaglefan9727



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:50 PM

This is a very good thread you started Rich about this subject and youre right. The thread over at Train-sim has gone mad in a way.

As I stated over at the Train-sim forum. KRS has been supporting the sim ever since the European release, But the question is how long will the developers decide on backing up this program. If the sim does well, I believe it will be for a long time. On the other hand, If the sales starts to fall. I really dont see how they would keep supporting the sim in the long run.

I have already tried out the demo version a few weeks ago and while I was impressed with the demo. There was still things that I really wasnt impressed about when to certain parts of the sim which I wont go into.

Am I really interested in this sim? Ill be honest with everyone. I am not that excited over it, But I havent ruled out getting the US version at some point down the line my feelings change and if I do get a copy. I will just get a second hand copy of ebay.

The only thing that is keeping my interest in this sim is the WIP freeware routes that I have seen over on the UKtrainsim forum, But I am hoping that once the US version is release. I'll start seeing some great US routes in the making as I am interested in only running american power.

If this US version of this sim was release last year over the summer instead of now. Things would be diffrent, But with MSTS-X just right around the corner. The KRS sim is taking a back seat on my computer.

#12 jivebunny



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 10:04 PM

I've joined this forum purely to express my opinion, so I think that's a credit to the OP smile.gif

Having started out with MSTS in 2001, I quickly found the sim lacking in various areas and decided to move on to Trainz as soon as it came out. I won't go into the differences between the two sims since they are well documented and certainly well debated, suffice to say that I found in Trainz what I did not find in MSTS. Everyone looks for different things in a sim and that case was no different. There is no point arguing over this and that's not what I want to do, whether it involves MSTS, RS or TRS.

At first I was very impressed by Rail Simulator, the graphics certainly helped but my view was that in the six or seven years that mainstream trainsimming had existed, Kuju must have learned a thing or two. Then in the weeks before release things quickly went downhill with the lack of communication, lack of screenshots and lack of documentation, and I had decided not to bother investing in a new sim when I was perfectly happy with TRS2006 and BVE4. I can see that the first two of these things are currently affecting people in the US and I certainly know how that feels: frustrating.

Fortunately, for both RSDL and myself, I came across RS in the shops whilst out buying Christmas presents, and being the typical selfish Brit I bought it for myself tongue.gif My gosh was that a good choice to make. The sim so far has been everything I could have wanted and more. Yes, it has problems, but find me a software release that hasn't at one point or another. At least RSDL are working their butts off to fix them. Despite the odd bugs and improvements that could be made, the sim is still enjoyable and, more importantly, fully useable. I have not had mny problems building complex, busy scenarios, and those I have encountered have all been down to user error.

There are very few areas upon which I can fault RS, as IMO it takes some of the best features of MSTS and TRS and improves upon them. Ok, it's not perfect, but it's very workable and the guys at RSDL have done a damn good job in making it that way. My advice to anyone who has bought or who is considering buying the sim is to try it out, tackle the learning curve, and give the thing a chance just like you did when you tried out the original Settle - Carlisle or Marias Pass routes. Think back to how basic and ridiculously poor they both were and then compare that to the quality of the routes, rolling stock, and scenario editor contained within RS. Give it some time, third party content is already flowing in thick and fast for the EU, and as soon as the US version is released I would imagine the same will happen over there.

Despite the minor bugs (which in the grand scope of things really are MINOR), RSDL / Kuju have delivered a very promising product. To dismiss it purely on what some people have heard and what some have experienced without giving it a proper try would be premature and if nothing else, a little short-sighted. It IS good, and you WILL enjoy it. RSDL have been releasing extra content on a regular basis in the three months since release and I am very much looking forward to downloading / buying the US addon when it is released over here.

Some very solid views in this thread and certainly a lot more balanced than over at train-sim.com.



#13 rgarber



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Posted 11 January 2008 - 10:30 PM

Thanks JB, Marc Nelson has given us a lot of latitude for us to conduct our forums as we please and to his credit we try to keep all the forums here thoughtful and respectful of others. On behalf of myself and the gang here, come on back and enjoy the shop talk whenever you can. smile.gif

Rich Garber

#14 OwainGlyndwr



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Posted 12 January 2008 - 07:14 AM

All i will say Rich is, how does anyone know that MSTS-X will actually appear.

I buy all and every trainsim available. I pre-ordered RS weeks before it`s release and i will do the same with MSTS-X.

MSTS for me is now old hat and i do not run it anymore. I have 90% of the payware released for it, including your releases. But i am bored with it all now and so all the cdr`s and dvd`s that i have bought, compiled and collected are now in a box under the stairs.

I would have bought Marc`s WP route, but i see it as thowing money away now. No personal offence to Marc, he knows i respect him and all his great work for MSTS.

I am not a ranting RS zealot, but i do see the potential. My problem is with certain people on the ts.com forums who set themselves up as guardians and self proclaimed spokespersons of the hobby.

I can understand a certain retinance from the North Amercian community towards RS as at the moment it has a wholely UK\European bias. But from what i have seen in the piccies of Cajon Pass, it seems to look even more pleasing than Marc`s superb update.

I am certainly not anti MSTS, i ran it from day one of the US release, a good 6 weeks before the UK had their version.It was on my hdd and used every day for 6.5 years, even when i was heavily in to Trainz.

The more trainsims the merrier, is my view.


#15 rgarber



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Posted 12 January 2008 - 08:23 AM

I'm going to jump in here again and say don't anybody be sorry for having an opinion on this. Everything you said it your post Mike, I agree with completely. The mistake people are making in this mini-skirmish is thinking somebody is absolutely right and everybody else is wrong. We all come from differing experiences with this issue because a good many of us have been around a long time. What we don't want is silly accusations taking place which was going on in the other thread. So don't hesitate to present your own view on this situation.

For my own self I look at this "mess" strictly as a developer. A payware developer on top of that. To me the bottom-line is the singular most important issue in how I decide to go. I only know of myself and Marc who do MSTS full time and hence it's even more important to us the bottom line is healthy. So that's where I'm coming from. I try not to speak for anybody else though what I'm saying is a prognostication of what I think things will be like many moons from now.

The key issue for me is what will May to June look like. As a route developer I have always had to look down the road a few months to guess what the community will be like when it becomes release time. For seven years now there's always been something making that forecast difficult. A new train sim maybe? Because of this Andre and I have both lamented almost tearfully that we never got cut a break because the euphoria for something new was always a formidable obstacle.

This one is different because instead of one new sim being talked about, there's two. Two good ones. So our guessing is which one will the bulk of the community go for. I have always speculated the same of what you wrote so to me, you're in good company! biggrin.gif At the same time, and there's no need for me to repeat what I already wrote, with these sims so close together like MS meant for this to happen to sludge up the works for Kuju, just where will the largest contingency of users end up? That's the guesswork, that's my dilemma, and that's my headache!

Like I said at the other place, I'm not knocking RS but the circumstances. It's David and Goliath. And by Goliath I mean Aces Studio, not MS. Having used Aces Studio products for a very long time now, that's a name I trust. I liken this to my buying a saxophone. I purchased a Yamaha and it is a very good horn. I would have preferred a Selmer cause I had one and I know their quality.

Forecasting the future maybe new to most users, but to route developers and especially payware developers who have to see months down the road, it's part of our livelihood. It's not my job to deter anybody from purchasing and using RS. It's my job to guess what you'll be using six months from now. And that's all I'm saying, like Eaglefan wrote at the other place and I believe he does routes too, which he put so succinctly - where will the developers be six months from now?

It's easy for me to write long posts about this subject because people like myself, Marc, Andre have been thrashing about trying to figure out what's going to happen long before it does. This discussion is old news to us. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying this isn't the first time I've discussed this issue. I posted five links where in this forum I encouraged discussion about RS long before it was even released. That's long before the thread in the other forum ever came up I was already taking heat for being seen as pushing RS and a deserter to MSTS. To me, the only way I know what to do is to hear what folks like yourself have to say. I add in my own experiences and what I hear that from insiders and make my guesses.

#16 Capt_Scarlet


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Posted 12 January 2008 - 09:37 AM

As someone who bought Msts when it came out but lost interest when Trainz came along, I actually like RS. Its not perfect ( not many games are out of the box ) but I do see potential in it. I will also be getting TS2 when it comes out as I think competition is a good thing and it is a train sim after all. Though I am not entirely sold on the World of rails concept, it will be interesting how Aces implement it and how generic it ends up ( which is my main concern ).

Now I have to say upfront I am not a creator but I do appreciate the time and effort they put into there creations but I would have thought that if a developer was to to create for both RS and TS2 then they would be maximizing there return in the long run. Now that would be easier for someone creating rolling stock etc than say routes but given it is easier to create routes in RS compared to Msts one would think that the development time would be shorter.

Even if TS2 is a roaring success there will still be a market in the other sims as they don't just go away with its release. The other concern I have in regard to TS2 is if Aces do pull off the Word of Rails concept is how big the market will be for detailed routes as whats in the box might be good enough for the majority of users ( a example of this problem for 3rd party creators can be seen with FSX at the moment ).

So to summarize even if RS is a smaller market in the end, you might find that its users are more likely to snap up any good payware content released especially in the early stages of its life just like they did for Msts.


#17 rgarber



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Posted 12 January 2008 - 09:43 AM

"Even if TS2 is a roaring success there will still be a market in the other sims as they don't just go away with its release. The other concern I have in regard to TS2 is if Aces do pull off the Word of Rails concept is how big the market will be for detailed routes as whats in the box might be good enough for the majority of users ( a example of this problem for 3rd party creators can be seen with FSX at the moment )."

That's a great observation. And trust me the same scrutiny is taking place for MSTX as it is for RS. Thanks for reminding us of that. Serious implications there especially for me since I prefer fictitious routes.

Rich Garber

#18 OwainGlyndwr



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Posted 12 January 2008 - 09:45 AM


some very good points and a good read.

If i was to jump in with both feet and make a huge assumption.

I would say that the majority of North American simmers are going to go with the new MSTS-X. Mainly because it seems that it will have a NA bias and because NA payware will feel "safer" making that decision.


#19 rgarber



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Posted 12 January 2008 - 10:06 AM

Hey Mike,

That's been the take on what would most likely happen for a long time too. Back before any talk of the RS USA version, a fair number of people speculated that was why there hadn't been any talk of a USA version by Kuju. That got nipped when we heard rumors of a USA payware outfit working on a US route for Kuju. I think that happened very early of last year but I don't think we heard of it until about the middle of the year. You're probably right and I think much of that factors big in the reluctance of people here to embrace RS.

Rich G

#20 rgarber



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Posted 12 January 2008 - 10:16 AM

Following up on Mike's post there is a misnomer which has been accepted for a long time that MSTS sold better overseas than it did in the USA. I had a phone conversation with Kuju early last year and what I was told by them that wasn't the case. I was told the sales were fairly equal with the USA sales did slightly better than European sales.

Now hearing that it made what Kuju planned a bit confusing since the thinking then was that the USA release would happen months or even a couple of years after the European release. Not that this has a lot of bearing on the current topic but it did begin the foundation which is possibly part of the reason many of our users, developers and payware vendors here didn't opt to consider RS as viable.

And keep in mind that MS was stealthily moving into the train sim arena. About the time TMTS was cancelled there were rumors just starting to float that some developers had been approached by MS on a new train sim. It came as no surprise when MS made their announcement about MSTX but the timing and how soon it was, and with pictures was a shocker. I was under the impression that the MSTX was months if not a year or two off. There's a thread somewhere in this forum about this and I was speculating then that it might be because of bad blood between MS and Kuju that prompted MS to make the announcement so soon after RS made theirs.

Rich G