We mentioned manual routing of the trains in an earlier post. I would like to share some thoughts on this topic.
I implemented visual representation of the switches so it’s now visible how they are connected. A player can also change the connections by clicking the switch. Combined with direct control of displayed signals (turn green / red), we have the simplest manual routing mode complete. I played the level from the released prototype in the manual mode and it’s totally different game play. And I liked it. You can try it yourself as I made a special build for you. Note that we did not implement train crash yet ;). Manual routing will be part of the early game in the career mode before the user “unlocks” (through research) automated routing known from first demo.
In the real world, the routing is seldom as simple as in our implementation. To prevent accidents caused by improper switch configuration there is a system known as interlocking. In short, “an interlocking is designed so that it is impossible to display a signal to proceed unless the route to be used is proven safe (source: wikipedia)”. In terms of our game the player would need to set corresponding switches properly before turning a semaphore green. Then the switches would be locked to prevent any modification until a train passes them. We considered if we wanted to keep our game “railroad accurate” or more like an arcade. We decided to go somewhere in between; to keep the game real as well as entertaining.
There was a question why the player would unlock the interlocking that comes with less flexibility (you can’t change some switch when the train is on the move). So we plan to make routing with manual interlocking more comfortable visually. The player will see the route reserved for the train. I will post an update when the manual interlocking is available.
If you miss our first demo, check it out.
Leave us any feedback you have! We will work hard to deliver awesome rail network simulator ;-).