quick update… almost time to countdown!

This is going to be a quick update, not a lot of words but there are pictures! And this is the update I waited to make for a long time because I’m happy to finally show the preview of the Disneyland layout, as it was in 1955!

Can you believe that there are less than two months to release?! I can’t! I’m actually quite a bit behind schedule, but working late nights trying to catch up. There are a few more surprises in the sim that I’m saving. I hope it makes it into release in December. At this point it’s really up in the air if it’ll be in the sim. As usual, “more on this later”.

Two questions I get asked the most right now is “how much” and “what computer do I need”, so I’ll address this real quick. As you can see, I’m still waaaay deep in development mode and finalizing the price and computer requirement is still something I will need to devote more time to. But I’ve had in-depth discussion with people I trust about the price. It’s a delicate issue, and I hope that once it’s finalized you’ll find it fair. As for the computer, for now “anything relatively modern” will work. That means x64, dedicated graphics card capable of dx11 (say Nvidia GTX).

Okay, let’s get on with the pictures, straight from the sim.

This layout, I hope, is representative of Disneyland park in 1955, at least to the portions that are relevant to the railroad. Back then, the park was quite sparse and some part of it was very much still a construction site. So, in the sim, you’ll see this accordingly.

Let’s start with the roundhouse. It is a simple shed structure housing two tracks. Here are the two engines finishing their prep in a late summer morning.

Note the orange grove in the background, behind the chainlink fence. This was the rural Anaheim in 1955, quite different from today. Notice also numerous lumber and construction debris scattered throughout the backstage area. The yellow fuel pump, exactly as you’d find at a gas station in 1955, services the engine (tender).

The main visual centerpiece of the railroad, though, is the Main Street Station. In the sim, it is rendered at it appeared in 1955. The surrounding main gate sits nearby.

Details, details, details! From the cornice, to the working clock tower, which displays the sim’s time! But there is also some simplification in the model for the sake of performance. Hopefully the balance between detail and performance is right.

Notice also a portion of Main Street USA behind the station. Yep, it’s all there.

Here’s a stretch of Rivers of America. It was quite spare from any vegetation in 1955!

This section of the tracks passes by the desert/wagon scene. (I forget the name of it now). It’s right after the Rivers of America and before Fantasyland. See also that slight left curve up ahead? Yes, DRR had a left curve since its opening! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise that the DRR “never had a left turn until now” 🙂

Here’s the transition between the desert and Fantasyland. The castle peaks above the trees. Casey Jr is just on the right side of the tracks.

Here’s the turn into Main Street Station. Not much to say about this image; you’ll get to be at the throttle and pull the train into this station soon 🙂

It has taken waaaay longer to get this scenery to this stage than I anticipated. Every building had to be made from scratch. I tried to be faithful, down to even the size, type, and placement of trees. All of this to make sure that it feels right. All of these details of course include the building lights.

I think they look their best at dusk. Don’t you?

I hope you’re ready… the park will be opening soon!

9 thoughts on “quick update… almost time to countdown!

  1. Preston,
    This is mind-blowing. What a fantastic work.
    I understand that we can run the engines. Will the park also be active? For instance, will the Casey Jr Circus train move? Or will the teacups spin?
    Will we get any access to the park itself? And will the program allow us to enhance the park itself, such as adding more structures?
    I was there in 1955 and this is a time machine back to a great time. I’m ready to sign up for the opening day!!
    Many thanks

    • Hi Mike,
      Thank you! It’s rewarding to hear comments like yours. I will post another update about the park and outline what’s “working” in it. Initially, not all of the park’s animation will be in the first release simply because I’m running out of time, and I’m focusing on train-specific stuff to make sure that I get it right. Eventually, I’d like to update the park with limited animation also, like the rides going about as you say. The long term plan is that, with the 1955 park in place, we can start adding/modifying the tracks and park to reflect different years… 1960, 1970, and so forth. I will still need to evaluate whether this is feasible or not.

      • Preston,
        Thank you for the swift reply. I love where you are thinking. For me, Disneyland of the 70’s has always been a benchmark for me. And now that I am mostly bedridden, your park can allow me an endless excursion into the best the park had to offer. Many thanks for your fine work.

  2. Preston, this is amazing work. I am a Disneyland Historian myself and I can truly say that according to these pictures, you’ve gotten everything right, down to the last detail. I’m so excited to start operating these trains…I can’t even…Its mind boggling how much work you’ve put in and I’m so excited to have this sim. I gotta own it!!! Thank you so much for doing and creating something, all us Disney die hards wish we could have done ourselves.

  3. Love the work you’re doing! Even if all you were making were 3D models I would be impressed, but the idea of this being a working simulator is still unbelievable!
    Will the simulator include any kind of tutorial on running the engines?
    Also I remember on other train simulators I played when I was younger there was a “free roaming” control, where instead of the camera being anchored to the trains, the player could move the camera around and explore the rest of the environment freely. Will this first version have something like that in case people wanted to see something like Main Street up close?

    • Yes, there will certainly be a tutorial! You can’t just hop in the cab and go 🙂 And yes, you’ll have a free roam camera.

  4. Preston,
    Ever since I learned a few years ago about your endeavor to recreate the DRR in a virtual simulation, it always brought joy to me to see the progress you have been making on Walt’s favorite toy. I can’t wait to pull the reg and let the whistle scream as I set off on a Grand Circle Tour, especially since I haven’t been able to go into the park in over 6 years. I have two questions for you. 1) Does Ripley’s bell still sound like Holliday’s? 2) Are you planning on modeling the other engines, Holliday trains, and Walt’s Kalamazoo handcar?
    Of all the railroad simulators existent, this will definitely be the most realistic and will be by far the standard for any other simulator to live up to, but I doubt they can since they lack Disney magic. Best of luck to you Preston and thank you for doing this!

    • Hello JD!
      Thank you for your support! To quickly answer your questions: yes, the Ripley’s bell has been corrected. And there will always been room for improvement and expansions of park with more buildings, engines, car types, etc., but that will very largely depends on the success of the initial release and interest from users like yourself.

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