Two week ago we released Rail Route 0.6.0 on itch.io indie game platform, mainly to test reception of the community and to receive broader feedback. We are really pleased by 500+ downloads so far and the passion people talk about the game – both about what they like and dislike.
Some players really surprised us how elaborate their railroad network was! Behold, the admirable work of Diverge above!
So we have quite a long backlog now:
- Contracts seem to appear too magically in the game. For the player to understand what happens, we introduce Contracts research item that enables the Contracts panel and starts contract generation. It also provides the opportunity to explain how reusing contracts work, making the learning curve less steep.
- Many told us they wish to have better control over the schedule, so we create two new research items: Basic Schedule Mgmt enables player to change the platform for the train (functionality already in the game) and to shift arrival and departure times (most wanted by the community).
Advanced Schedule Mgmt brings possibility to define own contracts and to rework conversion (Com1011 converts to Com1021); it unlocks generation of reusing contracts also from stations where there is no train waiting to reuse – so the player will have to move these trains between stations to be used for such contracts.
Update 2019-09-09: I even consider moving these conversion contracts to mid/later game to appear together with the tools to manage them.
- Train direction can be reversed only if train does not move, what sounds realistic – but the player has to wait for the train to stop. The community asked us to change the button to Reverse once stopped so that the player can “schedule” reversing of the train, set up the route for it and move to other tasks. This also helps to fix a minor bug with the automation of train reversal.
- When a train visits some station multiple times (e. g. Docks–Bubny–Docks freights), it is difficult to set up the automation so that Docks–Bubny route is not left allocated after the train passes Docks for the second time and exists the game. In fact, for some time between 0.5.1 and 0.6.1 we had the option to specify which visit of the station shall trigger the event (the first visit, the second visit…), but we have dropped it for simplicity – and now it back-fires!
- Automation does not work well for creating routes to auto-blocks (dashed sections), so we create a new automation event to be triggered just when the first auto-block segment becomes free. Maybe we will just amend the signal passed event, because that is exactly what happens inside the auto-block.
- Some players also suggest a simple signal automation: signal infinitely re-creates given route as soon as it is possible. We like this idea (also present in Brno simulator) – it can be used for instance to easily automate sequence of signals that split a long one-directional track to several parts, so that multiple trains can go in the same direction one after another. (Meanwhile, it is exactly what the auto-block represents in compact form.)
- User experience is an important topic for us. We have added the shortcuts and tweaks we found usable but we understand that others play the game differently. So there are hotkeys, tooltips, explanation texts, sounds and other improvements we are going to add for everybody to enjoy the controls of our game.
Beside this, we are working on level editor for you to create and share own content: a hard-to-solve puzzle or your home city’s railroads, it is up to you! Editor should be the main improvement in next alpha release. Stay tuned for it, it’s already hard work in the progress!
While waiting for the next update, join our Discord and have a pleasant chat with us!