One of the new items coming as part of the Simulator update that I haven’t talked about is the highly limited printed edition of the Operating Manual!
Although a PDF copy comes with the Simulator, this printed version allows you to actually hold a “piece” of the Simulator. It is printed on 6″x9″ format and spiral bound, mimicking the real operating manual typical of steam engines and other technical/industrial type of work.
It is printed in color on glossy paper, and makes reading and browsing through the technical aspects of the Simulator and steam engine operation a breeze.
The printed manual is based on version Simulator version 1.0.1 (ie, the first update after the initial release of 1.0). You can also take this announcement to hint that the long overdue but minor update is coming really soon now (I hope!).
Alex the Historian posted another review of the sim. This one is a bit more like a “walk through” so it’s almost an hour long!
At some point near the beginning he said that the sim gives a window into what the early days of Disneyland was like. You’re exactly right, Alex. That’s what the sim (currently) aims to do. Sure, the park may look sparse, and there are only two engines, but that’s what it was really like!
I’m going to dedicate some posts answering frequently asked questions about the sim. Perhaps the most asked question of all time is “what about the other engines?”
I get the demand. It would be cool to try your hand at all the different engines, and not everyone’s favorite engine is either the #1 or #2. But, it’s not so easy a task to bring the other engines into the sim. As you know, the goal of the sim is to be as accurate as possible a digital replica of those steam engines, so just slapping on a different engine skin on the existing engine won’t work.
But, to recreate the other engines, the #3, #4, and #5, requires very close access to the engine in order to record the sound, get photo references, and most importantly watch how the engine behaves under different circumstances. Number 3 and 5 are particularly the most difficult because there’s no cab ride available (except for that one time…) so it’s very challenging to get the necessary observation.
I was very fortunate way back many years ago to have had such access to the engines and the crew. I watched and learn many things but I don’t have that luxury anymore. So, until I can have that kind of access and insight, I’m afraid there just isn’t going to be enough data to rebuild these engines in the sim.
So the last post here was in February about an upcoming update. It’s now practically September. Sorry about that! Was it some kind of ground breaking or technologically advanced feature being worked on behind the scene that’s holding up the update?
Well, we over here did add one more human being to the family roster this summer. I’ve been busy developing his independence and behavior and that’s taking a lot of time!
Truthfully, other than the OSX version, there really isn’t anything new or exciting that will completely change the sim. If you have the sim now, you’ll hardly notice a difference with the update.
Well, except for a few of my favorite features:
Glowing/dimming lamps. The electrical lamps will glow and dim as the generator kicks in when the train is in motion or slows down. It’s pretty!
Keyboard control: additional keyboard control has been added to the throttle and the Johnson Bar, if you get tired of moving the mouse around (even though that’s like one of the main “feature” (uhh… goal) of the sim—to show the fatigue from operating the controls all day long!)
Dynamic fireman. In the current version if you select “auto firing” your fireman Otto will always do a very good job of holding about 130 psi. In the update, you can select the “experience level” of your fireman from novice to pro. If you select novice, expect to see the pressure gauge swinging and a lot of “hunting” for the pressure. If you select “expert” of course you can expect a rock solid pressure! This can make your pulling experience quite interesting when you have a novice fireman in the left seat.
And that’s about it… not much to it if you’ve been waiting this long. Like I said, you can basically enjoy the sim as it is now and you’re not missing much from this update.
But there is a not-so-secret secret about the sim that’s to be revealed much later also!
Thank you all for making the release of the Steam Simulator such a success. I really hope you are enjoying it. I love reading about what people have learned from the sim. And since you have come back to read this blog, I guess you are still looking for more 🙂
You may have noticed that the functionality of the website was reduced a few days ago. Unfortunately, the website suffered a malware injection attack, but we are now back to being fully operational, which is timely for me to announce an upcoming update to the simulator.
Thanks to everyone that took the time to find these bugs and report them to me. Here’s a list of features and fixes in the upcoming update:
macOS version! More info about this closer to the release of the update
Keyboard remap – allow for remapping of the keyboard controls
Speedometer fix – speedometer works when moving backward
FPS lock – add a FPS lock option
Crashes – fix a crash when operating some valves with the auto-firing option active
If all goes well, I anticipate finishing the update in about 2 to 3 months. Of course, you’ll be the first to know when it is available if you check this blog regularly.
It’s about time to feature the EP Ripley in its own video preview!
Here, we take a quick trip in the EP Ripley around Disneyland in 1955, much like what Walt probably did before the park officially opened. We’ll be departing from the roundhouse, stopping at Main Street Station, then continuing through Frontierland and around the back side of Rivers of America.
Get your overalls and gloves ready, because it will be your turn at the throttle very soon!
One of the last few details behind the scene is one of the “surprises” I mentioned a few updates ago. It’s a small detail that helps give life to the Disneyland scenery but it’s actually pretty big physically… the Mark Twain River Boat!
Also a steam powered vehicle, you’ll see it glide along the river as a long time companion to the railroad, and you’ll hear its very distinctive whistle through out the park from time to time.
The Mark Twain is also quite a sight at night!
In addition to the whistle, in the sim the Mark Twain also features animated stern wheel with water splash effect and steam exhausts. It was quite enjoyable just watching it cruising the river while I was taking these preview pictures 🙂