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Age of Trains - for Android, iOS, Mac and PC

Discussion in 'Made With Unity' started by ChezDoodles, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Posts:
    98
    Hi Guys!

    I just wanted to share a couple of screenshots for my upcoming game Age of Trains. I have been working on this game for 2 1/2 year now and it is nearing completion.

    Personally, I used to love playing with model trains when I was a kid - but I tend to find most railroad games to be quite boring. So I decided to make a railroad game "for the rest of us". It is part a sandbox-type open railroad simulator with focus on creativity and fun. But it is also very much a lighthearted strategy game, where you unlock stuff and open territories on the map by completing historical campaigns, you research and develop technology, you chart uncharted territories (the entire 1860 version of the United States is included), you interact and play with great leaders and historic characters. Oh ... and it is paced as a casual game on the go.
    Yeah... that is quite a lot... kind of like a mix between some of my favorite games: Age of Empires, Civilization, Sid Meier's Railroads ... and the casual title Oasis!

    Will post more info later - for instance - to be able to freely roam the entire United States on a handheld device, I had to write a new terrain system which builds blocks of bezier-patches (using dynamic tessellation based upon patch curvature) on the fly from compressed terrain data. I will get back with more details later...

    Not quite sure about what the final target platform mix will be - but I test it regularly on various Android devices, iPad, iPhone4, iPhone3GS (require OGLES2, so no iPhone3G), Mac and PC. I would love to release Age of Trains for some Android devices, like the Galaxy Tab - but not quite sure if I can handle support for ALL the devices available...

    For this post, I included screenshots for Android (Galaxy Tab), because I wanted to highlight the fact that it is an awesome gaming device! Compared to my iPad (1024x768 vs 1024x600), it gives more than 50% higher framerate, and the shader system seems to use a slightly higher internal precision, since it seems to produce slightly higher quality result with low-precision floating point values.

    Regards,
    Sven

    $AoT Roundhouse GalaxyTab 1.jpg $AoT Roundhouse GalaxyTab 2.jpg $AoT Roundhouse GalaxyTab 3.jpg
     
    JamesArndt likes this.
  2. dreamhead

    dreamhead

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    wow looks very nice man,great work can't wat to try it out ;)
     
  3. ColossalDuck

    ColossalDuck

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    Lookin good!
     
  4. DigitalShock

    DigitalShock

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    Looks great!
     
  5. lochlainn1066

    lochlainn1066

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    Nov 22, 2010
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    Looks amazing and my 6 yr old son and I (both train geeks) will be interested in the end product!
     
  6. bgivenb

    bgivenb

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    Sep 15, 2010
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    Wow, this looks like something I might actually buy. And that's saying a LOT.
     
  7. StephenL

    StephenL

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    Oct 18, 2010
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    Very nice! I love trains. :D
     
  8. MrSmive

    MrSmive

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    looks sick mate, love the colors and over all feel, reminds me a lot of old final fantasy 7 and stuff.
     
  9. DocSWAB

    DocSWAB

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    Wow, that looks great and sounds like a lot of fun.
     
  10. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

    Joined:
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    Thanks for your kind words :)
    There is coming more pics later this week, but right now I would like to say a few words about one of the game modes, the...

    SANDBOX TRAIN SIMULATOR

    Your playground is a 1860 version of the United States. You start out with some of the east-coast States unlocked and ready to play. Additional States will be unlocked as you complete missions and campaigns in the STRATEGY MODE. These new States will bring add new features and opportunities, like terrain (deserts, rivers, mountains, valleys, etc), cities, etc.

    You are free to build new railroads pretty much any way and anywhere you want - sort of like in Sid Meier's Railroads! But unlike Sid Meier's Railroads!, the gameplay in Age of Trains is not focused on building an economic empire. Instead, it is about building the best, the coolest and the most fun railroad network you can imagine. There are almost no constrains on economics. You can build expensive bridges and tunnels and there are no economics holding you back. As soon as a locomotive or a piece of technology is made available to you, you can use it as much and as often as you like.

    Instead, you are ranked against other players in a range of other metrics - like having the longest bridge, climbing the highest mountain, connecting the most cities, transporting the highest number of passengers and goods, having the fastest route between various destinations, etc.

    So, if you want to grab and hold on to the speed record coast-to-coast between New York and San Francisco, you better do some real planning to find the most efficient route on the map - since we are talking about a semi-realistic portrait of the real terrain features and these locomotives have parameters like top speed, acceleration, number of cars attached, climb-rates, etc. Should you favor a locomotive which can pull strong through the Rocky Mountains, or should you use a locomotive with high top speed on flat terrain? If you connect a large number of cities, the train will have to stop often - but you will transport more passengers and goods. If you add a bunch of locomotives to a line, it looks cool and your transportation metrics will soar, but safety will require the locomotives to stop and wait more often - not cool if you are chasing a speed record...

    So - you have all the toys at your disposal. If you have invented the telegraph, you can run more trains on a railroad line with less safety distance. If you have invented airbrakes, you can more rapidly decent and the trains can slow down closer to the stations, tunnels, curves and bridges. If you have invented the dynamite explosives, you can build long tunnels.

    SO WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK, is what tech is available to you, what States you have unlocked and which locomotives you have unlocked. And to unlock these babies, you have to play the campaigns and the missions ... which brings me over to the STRATEGY GAME MODE...

    Thank you for reading up about this game.
    There is a new post coming about the strategy game mode coming soon, as well as more pics :)
     
  11. orb

    orb

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
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    2,960
    Wow, this looks something I'll just have to buy once it's out. Hurry up and take your time polishing it, as Samuel Goldwyn would say :)

    Determining what Android devices it will work well on should be easy. Was it cheap without a plan? Don't bother. Price correlates pretty closely to hardware speeds for Android stuff.
     
  12. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

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    ok... back for a quick update.

    The other main game mode is the CAMPAIGN MODE (or the STRATEGY MODE).

    I will get back to more details about the CAMPAIGN MODE later - right now I will just touch upon one aspect of the campaign mode - the GREAT LEADERS. The very first choice you have to make when you start a new campaign, is to choose which Great Leader you want to be your boss. There is a selection of historical characters - all of whom played different, but pivotal roles in the development of the railroad in the US in late 1800 century. All of these characters where also involved in the creation of the first transcontinental railroad across the US - which is the primary historic campaign for you to play through.

    $AoT-GreatLeader-AbrahamLincoln.jpg

    All of these Great Leaders are realized and animated in full 3D and will from time to time pop up and give you helpful hints, comment on your performance, give you awards and offer additional sub-goals. Abraham Lincoln was the president who decided to build the first transcontinental railroad to unite California and the west coast with the rest of the nation. He is also a fairly balanced leader. Other leaders will give you an edge in various aspects of the game - economics, inventions, technology and military. For instance, if you chose famous sioux war chief Red Cloud to be your Great Leader, you will automatically have piece with all indian tribes, and lay down railroad track anywhere you want - even close to indian camp, without the risk of starting an indian war.

    ...to be continued...
     
  13. Sollthar

    Sollthar

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    Feb 11, 2010
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    Looks very nice! You say you've been working on it for 2,5 years now... So is it a one man project? Did you create all the models, textures and general art yourself as well as the code? Or are you a complete team?

    I'd be curious to know more about the games history. Certainly something that looks worth buying - especially to support you in your efforts.
     
  14. n0mad

    n0mad

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    Looks insane and differently fun !
    Kudos for such an amount of work.
     
  15. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

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    The Background

    Actually, I started tinkering with this game concept about five years ago, as I was commuting for 3-4 hours every day (in total) back and forth to my daytime job. I had been running Amazing Games (my indie company) since 1996, but after making a couple of games for "emergent platforms" which never really "emerged", I had to take a couple of paid jobs. So for a long time I was just tinkering 3-4 hours every day while on commuting by train, building various prototypes to find the right format. The first and second prototype was built using GarageGames tools. Back then it was really more of a puzzle game. It had a hex layout and it was turn-based. I even made a playable card-box version to quickly test out different rules and strategic approaches.

    The next step was when Microsoft announced the first Dream-Build-Play contest for Xbox-Indie-developers back in 2007 (I think). I made the third prototype using XNA and to better fit with the console experience, I stepped up the pacing and made it so each 5-10 min "level" ended with a 30 second train ride, where a train actually was running through the line you had just constructed. Aside from a helicopter simulator, I had been building various types of racing games for the last decade, so I implemented camera systems similar to what you see in racing games replays - so it looked very good - not like the static and jerky camera movement you see even in modern train simulators. I completed the prototype two weeks too late to enter the contest, but I found that everybody who played the game would love to watch the end-of-level train ride over and over again, and they would start telling found stories about how they used to play with model trains when they were kids and all the good memories they had from doing that. I felt the same way, but had thought it was just me. It turned out pretty much every male who's childhood predates the PlayStation, think of model trains "the coolest toy ever".

    So I decided to start all over again - I had just learned about UNITY (I think it was version 1.6) and decided to use this game as a test case for deciding what game engine to use for much larger MMO project I would be working on.

    This time, my primary goal was to recreate the good feeling and the found memories most men seemed to have about playing with trains as kids. I knew I didn't want to build a serious train simulator, like TRAINZ or Microsoft / EA Railroad Simulator - because they are boring. Neither would I build an economic/empire game like Sid Meier's Railroads!. I wanted to recreate the feeling of building something, the excitement, the adventures, the "accidents"/derails/crashes we used to stage (when parents where out of sight). And I knew I had to give it a format where you can play for 5 to 10 minutes and still feel you archive something towards your overall goal. I wanted so that even from the very beginning of the game, for every 10 minutes you would play, you would be experiencing some exploration, make a few important strategic decisions, build a few miles of railroad and watch the trains run on your newly created railroad.

    I also wanted to include a sandbox mode where you could just build and build and build for hours and hours - all the cool stuff you dreamed about building as a kid. And I wanted to make it so that you just enjoy watching the trains running about your railroad network, hurling passengers and cargo around - almost like an aquarium. I also like history, so I decided to use an historic background where people could do research outside of the game and actually gain a competitive edge inside the game. I chose to focus on the historic setting around the building of the first transcontinental railroad across the USA in the 1860's. You will find tons of books and movies about the subject, and it would allow me to limit the number game assets to match just one decade of american history. Since I was an lone developer, that was very important. This historic setting would also provide me with a range of historical characters like president Lincoln, war chief Red Cloud, Stanford, general Sherman and many other interesting characters, like famous train robbers like Jessie James and the Dalton brothers. This was also the time period of many important inventions, like the telegraph, dynamite and air brakes, to name just a few.

    So, Age of Trains is all of that combined into one package. You have the historic campaign with exploration, discovery, tech-trees to research and invent, strategic decisions to make and railroads to build. Each sub goal is never more than 10 min away, but the overall main campaign is around 6-8 hours. Then each of the Great Leaders will give you a quite different way of playing the game. Then you have the tech tree which you will not be able to fully develop in just one play-through, so depending on what kind of tech you chose to focus on, will very much change the way you have to play the game. The historic campaign is the major driver of the game, and will open up a steady stream of new territories, new tech and new trains to play with in the open sandbox mode. And on top of that, I am adding a number of other campaigns as well, some historic and some just because the scenery is interesting and a good setting.

    Then, summer 2009, I received a grant from the Norwegian Film Institute, which made it possible to hire external artists to complete all the assets I wanted to include in the game. Up to that point I had been doing everything myself. I do some drawing myself, I am a decent 3D modeler - but I feel more at home as a programmer and a game designer than as an artist, so it was fantastic to reduce much of my artistic involvement to just being sort of an Art Director. So the external group of 3D artists have been building assets for me since - which have enabled me to come pretty close to the original vision I had for the game - enabling me to focus on game design and writing additional tech - like the new terrain system based upon bezier-patches, which was recently completed and integrated into the game.

    The game was supposed to be done early this autumn, but I got seriously ill and had to postpone it. I am recovering now and the game is getting closer to release every day.

    Sorry for this long post - not the quick answer I started out with - but the background for this game is rather long :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  16. Sollthar

    Sollthar

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    Thanks for the detailed answer! I'm looking forward to your game. I never played with toy trains, but reading your thread makes me want to. :)
     
  17. lochlainn1066

    lochlainn1066

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    Nov 22, 2010
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    If this turns out even half as good as the screenshots look and your background sounds, it'll be fantastic! Very much looking forward to this.
     
  18. shadow explorer

    shadow explorer

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    Dec 13, 2010
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    great work there^^ i like trains as well :D
     
  19. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

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    $Pullman City 01.jpg $Pullman City 02.jpg


    These iPad screenshots are taken from the main HISTORIC CAMPAIGN. As you can see from the screenshot, I have decided to make Pullman one of my depots (from where new locomotives are dispatched), and feeder lines can be added. So now Pullman contains a roundhouse, and the city has been upgraded from a small frontier town to a small city with a grand central station.

    Any time I see a ROUNDHOUSE in the game, I can GO INSIDE by tapping on the roundhouse, and there I have the option to BUY a new locomotive using whatever bonus I have been saving up for. Adding another locomotive is a great way to increase traffic in your network - especially if reaching certain levels of passenger and/or goods are part of your winning conditions.

    I am trying to reduce the visual noise by making most options and choices CONTEXT-SENSITIVE rather than having bunch of buttons or a big fat menu. Likewise, adding a FEEDER LINE is one of the options if you tap on a station. Feeder lines are rather expensive, but keep the main line fast and tidy - which is important if you want to think about speed records.

    In these screenshots you can see I have met a SCOUT (lower left corner) - one of the helpers I occasionally find in new cities. This guy decided to join me for the next 60 days and he makes exploration of new territories so much faster.

    As you can see from the top of the screenshots, I have just 10 days left before I have to complete my next subgoal, which is completing the next few miles of track. This countdown is running in realtime, and make sure I always keep my focus. Whatever time left when I accomplish my subgoal is converted into a bonus I can use to buy or upgrade stuff.

    Making the game accessible for casual gamers is a priority, which is why your next sub-goal is never more than 5 to 10 minutes away.

    Regards,
    Sven
     
  20. ficho

    ficho

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    more pics! more pics! more pics! more pics! MORE PICTURES PLEASE!!!!
     
  21. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

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    Okay, okay ... although I think it is time for a video ... but okay, one more post with (iPad) screenshots...

    STRATEGIC MAP

    This is your primary view to keep track of the progress of your various campaigns as well as your sandbox railroad network (seperate maps).

    When you launch Age of Trains for the very first time, the United States is uncharted territory, and all you have is a simple hand-drawn map on parchment representing the country. (see image below)

    $2010.12-AoT-USA-Uncharted.jpg

    As you complete the historic campaigns, the territories in question will be added to your sandbox. In addition, the Great Leader you chose for the campaign, will unlock additional territories which reflects his historic background. On top of that, it is possible to get in-game-bonuses that will unlock additional territories of your choice. The next screenshot show that the states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada and Utah have all been unlocked. As the parchment is replaced piece by piece by real maps, major cities and your railroad network will appear - so you can keep track of all your railroad networks, your stations, your trains hurling traffic, etc in an efficient strategic overview.

    $2010.12-AoT-USA-PartiallyCharted.jpg

    The strategic map is fully zoomable using regular touch controls, which enables you to focus on anything from the grand picture to smaller details.

    $2010.12-AoT-USA-Zoomed.jpg

    Next image is a fully explored country (although no railroad network is present in this image - I must save some goodies for the upcoming video).

    $2010.12-AoT-USA-Charted.jpg

    Any any time, you can double-tap on any train, railroad line, city - or just anywhere on the strategic map - to zoom way in and enter the super-detailed map where you do the actual gameplay. Tapping on a train will keep the camera focused on that specific train as it runs through the country (until you tell the camera to let go of the train) - using highly dynamic cameras like you're used to see from racing games replays - this is a dream-come-through for anyone remotely interested in trains. Seeing this world come to life like that on your large iPad screen is truly awesome!

    ...so...
    thanks for your time and your interest in following the development of Age of Trains!

    I promise I will get back soon with even more details and way more impressive screenshots and videos.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  22. CraigSnedeker

    CraigSnedeker

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    Dude, this idea is AWESOME! Looks fun, but from the screenshots, you need higher-res textures ;) And maybe some shadows?
     
  23. zideen

    zideen

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    Sep 10, 2010
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    Really Cool :D
    what will be the price for the game on android?

    I could provide support for the android version if you want
    I am only a indie developer so it may not be the best service

    Keep up the the good work ;)
     
  24. MrLegohaloman7

    MrLegohaloman7

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    Why hasn't this thread gotten any new posts or updates? Is there another thread for it or am I missing a page 2 button?
     
  25. JamesArndt

    JamesArndt

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    Anyone know what has happened with this game since its release?
     
  26. dmutt

    dmutt

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    No... what happened?
     
  27. ChezDoodles

    ChezDoodles

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    A lot of stuff happened ... to early to share the full story, but the game is still being worked on and will come out ... but it is totally upgraded since the last post. I think you will agree the wait has been worth while.
     
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  28. JamesArndt

    JamesArndt

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    Haven't heard anything in a while. I was working on a prototype mobile train game as well.
     
  29. DerrickMoore

    DerrickMoore

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    Feb 4, 2018
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    nice, and Great Twist, having the player being able to play their tracks ala' Train table top board games... that's really gonna make it stand out amongst all the other Train Sims.. (I even worked on a Train Sim, back in 2003ish https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Train_Simulator ... I mean, there are ALOT of Train Sims on my android, I'm kinda a train nut... and I think you especially made a good choice with sticking to the classic 1860s era..

    now, will there be competator AI's and can we share tracks (I'm trying to think of the name of the Train board game we play at home, where each person lays tracks to 5 different cities, but players can share tracks)... if we can share, can I send a lone engine down the wrong way on his track and maybe take out his best train with one of my crappy ones?
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    JamesArndt likes this.
  30. Fortitude3D

    Fortitude3D

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    Looks really good man :)
     
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