We’ve been too quiet lately (unintentionally), so just wanted to quickly share some information and keep you up to date with how things are going:
Is a new demo update coming soon?
Yes. It is quite considerable too, spanning over what we originally intended to be multiple smaller updates.
One of the reasons it took so long is that many of the under-the-hood parts of the game, which were rushed for the MSI contest, have been reworked. This will help us keep the game stable and easily expandable in the future. Many small additions and improvements are included too - you’ll hear all the details in the upcoming devlog!
The update is nearly complete. Actually the biggest chunk of work left to do is to prepare the accompanying devlog.
Is Early Access release still coming in June?
Unfortunately no. It’s been an uncertainty for the last couple of weeks, but we just made that decision definitive. Based on our observations and comments we’ve received over time, our idea of what the release should include evolved into something slightly bigger. We’ll be postponing the release a few months to include those changes. The paid game should be undoubtedly perceived as a larger game than the free demo, which is the primary reason for the postponement.
With those extra features implemented from the start, a steady flow of updates will be far easier to maintain from there on during Early Access, and at the same time we will have more information to accompany the Early Access roadmap.
Postponing will also help us avoid a potential clash with summer holidays and sales.
Roadmap for initial Early Access release
The advantage we have now compared to several months back is that while reworking many of the things for the upcoming demo update, we got a clearer picture of what exact features we want to have in the initial release version, as well as how we’ll implement them. Thus, at this point we feel confident to share the rough initial release roadmap with you. Of course, more detailed explanations will follow in the months to come:
Large world (proof-of-concept)
Without going too much into gameplay details (this will be further discussed in a future devlog), we want the release version to offer at least one long hauling mission (lasting ideally more than 30 minutes to complete). It would require a railway network spanning over many miles of realistic landscape, and include a few train yards where shunting missions will be available.
The large world will not be fully complete at the time of release, but its purpose is to prove the feasibility of this major feature and to let us confidently announce what’s yet to come at the time of release.
One new locomotive
We want players to strive for something specific in the game, and already in the initial release version we see the need for at least one new locomotive (probably steam-based). Players will need to earn enough money by completing missions in order to buy the new locomotive.
We plan to add several more train types after the release, but again, further gameplay features will be discussed in a future devlog.
While going about your business, you will encounter other trains along the way. This will include the signaling system (which has been made already and is coming in the demo update), as well as new cars (one is also coming in the update, others are in progress).
Improved train physics
Driving a train is going to be more dynamic. You’ll see big improvements to derailment (coming in the next demo update already), as well as more gameplay-specific elements such as wheelslip, engine overheating, brake pressure management, etc.
Walking / Teleporting
We think that being able to walk outside the train is a crucial feature in order to solve visibility problems, especially when shunting long trains. A lot of work has been done in the upcoming build that made it possible to start working on this as soon as the update is released.
This will also make it possible to come out of derailed trains and observe them, or just do some trainspotting.
Support for more devices
Oculus has supplied us with a free devkit of Rift and Touch. We want to officially support these devices at release date.
Additionally, thanks to your feedback we’ll include rudimentary support of keyboard & mouse controls, for players who would like to try the game but don’t own VR headsets or even just controllers yet. A lot of work was put already into making many systems in the game work with such controls.
Now, we know that the release postponement might come as a turn-off for some of you. It surely is for us, and considering that the game is already playable it might not seem necessary. However the demo is still there and updated, and we think the game will have a better future if we ensure it will release with more content, more stable updates and more information regarding its future roadmap right from the start.
While the upcoming demo update will already provide a refreshment (it’s got entirely new missions, for example), for those of you who are absolutely eager to try the release version as soon as possible we might be able to sneak in beta access some time prior to release. :)
That’s all for this update. Please let us know your thoughts about this news and in the meantime stay tuned for the demo update coming very soon!