Train Simulator 2012 Performance Review Part 1

Product Version 5.9d

by Erik “EinsteinEP” Pierce

 

As a newcomer to the train simulation genre, I was quite excited to see that my gateway sim, Railworks 2, was getting a major upgrade to Train Simulator 2012, and it is going to be free! I was already very pleased with theRW2 product and had spent many hours happily shunting cars between sidings or chuffing along scenic European routes maintaining speed and timetables. Improving the visuals is just adding icing on the already very delicious cake.

Railworks gave SimHQ an advance copy of Train Simulator 2012, which “adlabs6″ reviews here. I took a quick peek at it to see what it looks like on my shiny and relatively new i7 950 PC.

I was a bit let down to see that controller axes inputs for reverser, throttle, and brakes still aren’t supported and that a 3rd party hack is still required to get TrackIR working, but the major thrust of this update was graphics, so let’s take a look at those.

In short, the visual improvements are great. Railworks did a great job improving the visuals of the game without removing any of the joy of driving locomotives. Many of the flaws I had noted with RW2 — short draw distances, harsh shading — reinforced the feeling that you were really in a simulation bubble with the “real world” generated as you drove up to it, killing immersion. In Train Simulator 2012, these issues are directly addressed, although not without some hit to performance, which I’ll talk about later.

Train Simulator 2012

Gentle rolling hills and gorgeous clouds.

The new graphics made it a treat to revisit old routes. One of my favorite short routes is the Meat Market stint and I really enjoyed hauling livestock down the line in my 5-4-6-0 with all the graphic options turned high at 1920×1200.

Train Simulator 2012

Taking these piggies to market.

Train Simulator 2012

That’s one beefy car.