Happy New Year!!!!

It’s been quite some time since I blogged anything.
I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed at the cancellation of TS2 and (unbelievably) the whole Flight Sim product line by Microsoft.
My thoughts are still with all those very talented programmers and artists who lost their jobs at the end of Jan.
Just over a year earlier I had the good fortune to share a beer or two with some of them at a p*ss up in a real brewery organised by MS. Confused
Mike Porter shows us what might have been here: http://www.portergraphic.com/?cat=9 UK content as well as other newly released images in his PorterShowcase.
 
So with FSXI and TS2 cancelled, where does that leave my hobbies?
 
FSX/FS9 has a few more years life left in it, hopefully by then X-Plane (http://www.x-plane.org) will have evolved a bit more or Vehicle Simulator (http://www.hangsim.com/vsf/) will have taken off (and may eventually include trains).
 
MSTS1 – still has a good core of fans and will run for a couple more years.
 
Trainz – Auran have released yet another version (patch) which provides very little new and it is starting to age.
They have announced TS-X as a major update – as usual with Auran, we’ll see.
Oddly this is what the TS community were calling MS TS2 before the name was announced.
 
OpenBVE 1 – A good community freeware production. Getting there slowly, still not quite up to modern standards but I would like to see more.
 
Rail Simulator – Originally Kuju, funded by EA and Fund4Games now passed on to RSD Ltd (http://www.railsimulator.com). Looks good, which as a modeller is something I care about, released early 2008. It’s initial popularity was hampered by quite a few bugs, complexity of modelling and operational issues.
Some say it was also hampered by those waiting for TS2 – I don’t really believe this was a huge factor, other than visuals Rail Sim was just not much of an improvement over MSTS1 for a lot of people.
They had something they were familliar with and a huge library to play with – The Rail Sim library of freeware is still only growing slowly as a large number of developers move to payware. Now that will hamper it’s development.
The patches, good support from RSDL and the recent announcement of RS2 (June 09), which unifies the current UK and US releases, will all help improve it’s prospects. I still have a few reservations about the quality of it’s internal programming but for now I believe it’s the best hope fro train simming.
 
As a consequence my FSX work is temporarily "on hold" till I get to a stage where 3D canvas will properly support RS and RS2 with a couple of extra helper plugins. Canvas 7.2 due soon, will also take up some of my time while I convert my plugins to the new API. Bone animation export for RS/RS2 may also become possible.
I have been gradually getting up to speed with the Rail Sim models and many of them are now available to download from UKTrainsim.com or from the Rail Simulator Downloads section on this website.
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