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Dovetail Games begins work on Next-Generation Train Simulator

Dovetail Games today announced Dovetail Games Fishing, its first companion product line to sit alongside Train Simulator. However, many in the community will be wondering what this means for Train Simulator and Dovetail Games’ role in the train simulation world. Matt Peddlesden, Next-Gen Technical Designer for Train Simulator, tells us more.

Matt, the announcement of Dovetail Games Fishing will come as a surprise to many Train Simulator users, both new and long-standing. What does this announcement mean for the worldwide Train Simulator community?

It is absolutely business as usual for the Train Simulator team, and we remain as committed as ever to the product and the hobby. We formed a new team to look after the Dovetail Games Fishing product and while we'll certainly be sharing expertise and some resources, Train Simulator still has the same dedicated development team looking after both the core technology and content to go with it. In fact, the Train Simulator team is continuing to grow as we expand the hobby with a wider range of trains and routes. If anyone is interested in joining that team, take a look at our opportunities page - http://www.dovetailgames.com/vacancies

Matt is leading production of the next generation of Train Simulator. 

What about the press release which said Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) will also be used as the basis for a new generation of Train Simulator?

I am very excited indeed about this. If you read up on UE4 you'll learn that it's a tremendous platform for developing stunning and exciting games and I'm really looking forward to us moving Train Simulator massively forwards with it. We have gained valuable experience from producing Dovetail Games Fishing using Unreal Engine 4, and all of this experience and technical know-how is helping us develop the next generation of Train Simulator using UE4. Even though fishing and trains might seem a world apart, there are a lot of common areas - including visual things like the skies, water, trees and people - which we can carry over to Train Simulator. There are numerous other reasons why UE4 will enable us to take Train Simulator to a new and very exciting standard.

Will there be a UE4-powered Train Simulator released this year?

Not this year I'm afraid, it's a big job! But work on the next generation UE4-powered Train Simulator is well under way. It's way too early yet to show screenshots or discuss technical features in any detail but I am very excited by what this means for train simulation and really looking forward to bringing out a totally up-to-date, more realistic and better looking Train Simulator rebuilt from scratch using Unreal Engine 4.

Experience gained in the development of Dovetail Games Fishing is the foundation for a UE4-powered Train Simulator. 

So, what is the timescale for the next-generation Train Simulator? And what will happen this year?

We are not quite ready to share the target dates just yet for the next generation Train Simulator. This year we are continuing to develop and expand the existing generation of Train Simulator and you can look forward to an official announcement on those plans later this month. You can keep up with all the latest information from us by "liking" us on Facebook and signing up for our email newsletter.

When the UE4-based Train Simulator becomes a reality, what will happen to existing users’ older versions of Train Simulator? And what about the DLC they have purchased?

We are mindful that a lot of people in the community have built up some fantastic collections of locomotives and routes over the last few years and we're absolutely going to continue to support those products, and indeed create new content, for the current generation Train Simulator. I can say that we are looking at making the next generation Train Simulator an optional upgrade so you can continue to use the current generation product with all of your current add-ons, whether or not you choose to upgrade to the next generation. So, if you are concerned that your machine might not be up to handling Unreal Engine 4, don't worry.

What about user-created content? User-generated and third-party content has been a staple of Train Simulator since the beginning.

Unreal Engine 4 comes with some absolutely top-of-the-line tools that offer features and capabilities that we are keen to leverage in the next generation Train Simulator. At this point it's still too early to say exactly how we will package these tools for use by our content creators, but we very keen to ensure that significantly improved developer tools are available to the community and to third party developers.