openBVE logo
Project Status (21st April 2019)
Welcome to the Blog, where I'll be posting progress updates, work-in-progress screenshots, information about the progress I'm making with active projects, as well as anything else I feel is worth mentioning. Hopefully more frequent updates here will make the wait for upcoming releases more bearable! News from 2008, all the way back to 2001, can be found in the News Archive. YouTube ChannelMy openBVE videos and other comments from users and myself can also be found via my YouTube channel.

Blog and Progress Updates

openBVE v1.0: Are we nearing the end of the journey, or has it only just begun?

Posted by Anthony Bowden on 24th March 2009 at 12:24 am

Question IconWell, that’s partly up to us. michelle has published an in depth article in which she sets out her vision for how openBVE could evolve in future, along with various ideas and plans which could pave the way to v2.0, which you can read here: ยป The potential future of openBVE ยซ. But without our input, discussion about future direction, or sufficient interest expressed in these ideas, some of these developments may never happen… It’s possible to see what an incredibly flexible solution could be created in future, allowing for far more than is currently possible if an extensible, modular design and plugin based architecture is developed; e.g. detailed simulation of any safety system without having to rely on built-in approximations, plugins which can load different file formats, or customisable physics plugins allowing better support for more diverse applications such as maglev or even bus simulation, and much more, while still supporting legacy BVE add-ons.

To summarise, openBVE version 2 could (and remember this is all speculative at the moment) bring some much sought after functionality, such as true support for passing trains, parallel traffic and so-on, enabled by having more than one functional track (although this wouldn’t be a network of tracks which can be switched to and from at runtime, at this stage–this is something for the distant dream of version 3). Driving back and forth along a track could be better than in v1.0 as signalling could be functional in the reverse direction as well. 3D cabs with interactive controls, perhaps manipulated via the mouse, could be implemented. Weather plays an enormously important role on the real railway, and version 2 could bring us rain, snow and thunder, without having to “cheat” with pre-defined sound samples or creating scenery objects to create such effects, as I’ve done thus far. Wind simulation could result in altered performance characteristics of trains as well, making driving more challenging. Better Sun and Moon simulation could be provided as well, with realtime day/night transitions occuring, showing off openBVE’s illuminated object capabilities, especially at twilight. Then there are improvements to how add-ons are obtained and managed; currently this is messy where BVE is concerned and intimidating to the beginner, and all this could change with version 2, where a directory of add-ons and download locations could be referenced from within openBVE, with add-ons perhaps installed automatically via the user interface. A Level of Detail (LOD) system could be implemented, which might be enormously helpful on more geometrically complex routes, like Watford Junction to Rugby, or with more detailed exterior car objects perhaps.

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? However, no feature is guaranteed to be implemented; indeed openBVE version 2 itself is not guaranteed to be developed–it depends on our level of interest, and our willingness to help.

This vision of the future is only likely to materialise with our support, so if we want any of this to happen, we–developers or users–need to make sure that we make known our interest in openBVE’s future direction and talk about it, express our intent to use these new features if we want them, and then experiment with new functionality as it emerges; in other words, take part in the project. This way, michelle knows what the community actually wants, she doesn’t waste her time implementing functionality which isn’t going to be used, and problems and pitfalls can be discussed or resolved before too much work is done. If you have any thoughts about this path to version 2, then you can post your thoughts in ยป this forum thread ยซ; don’t post a wishlist though, consider the options already outlined in the article, and decide which are important and worth pursuing, and then, these can be prioritised and discussed. I’ll add my own thoughts later as well. Drop any comments on this blog too if you like, as I’m also interested in what you think is important or worthwhile.

Lets not miss out on a potentially wonderful opportunity here–we have someone in our midst who not only has a vision which could benefit us all, but also the ability and willingness to implement that vision, and it would be highly regrettable if our community lost this opportunity while it’s available to us. My concern is that if we don’t look to the future now, we may end up settling for what we’ve got in openBVE v1.0 (or even BVE 5 when it’s released), and then in a few years we’ll wish we had something better, only to find that it’s too late and michelle has moved on to other fields where I’ve no doubt her talents would be appreciated, or we may find that mackoy no longer works on BVE Trainsim either, in which case we’ll wish we could have done more to keep michelle motivated. Alternatively, we can actively create and shape the future of our hobby together, and demonstrate that it’s worth michelle’s while in continuing the project onwards towards version 2, or even beyond.

Of course I know that there aren’t many of us developers around, but surely between the relatively few of us (along with an increasingly enthusiastic user base), we can contribute enough to enable openBVE development to continue and evolve into a free trainsim we could only have dreamt of a few years ago, and as the program gains functionality, hopefully pick up new developers and programmers along the way?


8 Responses to “openBVE v1.0: Are we nearing the end of the journey, or has it only just begun?”

  1. Lezzloco says:

    Love the new look to blog / update, I think this is the start of the journey, and I just can’t wait !, openBVE is an amazing piece of work, we are all very lucky to have it, it will be interesting to see what developers do in the future, and a more “open”, no pun intended, view by them would help alot, the centralized add on system, for routes / traction would benefit from that, as in no need for endless permissions, sought to distribute same.

    • Anthony_B says:

      Thanks for posting, and I’m glad you like the new blog layout–I spent ages fiddling with it, trying to get it looking right. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree completely though, we’re incredibly lucky; pity not all of us seem to realise it, though. I hope at least some of these ideas are implemented, although I see value in all of them and would gladly take advantage of them in my add-ons. Based on comments I’ve seen elsewhere, I’m pretty sure that users would appreciate these features as well–it’s whether there are enough developers able to produce add-ons which make the most of the new functionality provided which concerns me; I’m just hoping that over time, more existing developers will gradually pick up the new code and concepts (and this is happening slowly I think), and that we’ll pick up some new talent as openBVE’s potential is increasingly revealed. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Developers and simulation features aside, I would like to see the add-on directory idea implemented though, it would be considerably better for the end user. Having said that, I do find that half the fun in being a *BVE developer comes from being a webmaster as well; but I don’t think getting add-ons via the game interface instead needs to threaten this particular interest, if the add-on metadata offered up by the directory lookup simply includes a homepage URL so the user can optionally visit (in all honestly, perhaps many users wouldn’t care about visiting the author’s website anyway though, they just want to play). Using a directory would be optional anyway, but worth it in my view because it solves one of the biggest problems faced by newcomers to *BVE in particular, especially as dependencies would be handled as well.

      I’m planning on releasing Cross-City South v1.4 into the public domain (minus all copyright material, which will be available separately if at all), and natually anyone will be free to modify the route package or host it elsewhere; I’ll not be providing technical support for those versions without agreement with the other party though. However, by hosting my own downloads I do have the advantange of being able to see roughly how many people are using my add-ons, and this, along with just looking after my site, can be about the only fun or motivation I get out of the hobby during times when I’ve little enjoyable developing to do, or nobody is giving me feedback or commenting on my work. I enjoy providing a service to people who use my routes by maintaining this site, and it’d be nice if my personal site continued to have an important role to play; hosting my own “official” download packages on my own site which are pointed to via the directories (still downloadable and installable through the in-game interface of course) would work well for me, but perhaps this could be merely a primary download source, and if my site is unavailable when a download request is made via the directory, or heaven forbid I leave and shut my site down, an alternate download location could be polled instead (arranged by me or someone else), so users are less likely to be inconvenienced by outages or such problems. I’ll discuss this kind of stuff with michelle shortly anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • SP says:

        First a big thanks to Anthony for the blog (and for a very user friendly and intuitive website but I suspect he already knows that). As a big fan of all your BVE projects (I remember stumbling across your WFJ to MK route for BVE2 a long time ago now – been hooked on BVE ever since) it is great to follow the progress of your work and your thoughts on issues regarding our (growing) BVE community.

        From a purely personal point of view, having followed the whole discussion surrounding OpenBVE since its conception I think you have summed it up quite accurately in your post above. I must admit I was a great sceptic to this “new kid on the block” at first, and I didn’t pay much attention to it at all until fairly recently. Change is by nature difficult for humans to adapt to, and OpenBVE was a giant leap for us – both end users and developers alike – in all sorts of different directions depending on how we percieved the appearance of this BVE lookalike.

        And this is where my apology to Michelle comes in.

        And to yourself.
        And to the NWM team and every developer that saw the potential of this extremely powerful piece of kit so early on. Having played around with it for a few months I am extremely excited by what Michelle has given us, and I join you in your belief that it will attract new developers and more users to the BVE community, albeit slowly. Slowly because of the radical changes in code and the wide array of new concepts, introduced to a maybe slightly complacent community having been used to the forgiving ways of how BVE4 code works.

        There are vast opportunities here, and the uncertainty of how it all works and ties in together breeds confusion, this is human nature again. I am however confident that when you and other developers start releasing your as always excellent work, and we get to have a look and poke around at it, sceptics might see the “light” with regards to OpenBVE.

        That’s my rant over ๐Ÿ™‚
        This is however something I am really passionate about, and with regards to the question you raise in your blog entry I would like to share this part quote, which I hope sums it up nicely.

        “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”

        • Anthony_B says:

          “First a big thanks to Anthony for the blog (and for a very user friendly and intuitive website but I suspect he already knows that)”

          Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually I’ve never been entirely sure how good the site design is from a usability standpoint; I’ve tried to organise it better, simplify it and clean it up over time, but it may depend on who is viewing and what is being looked for… I’m happier with it now than I ever have been though. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Indeed, there are certainly plenty of people who are wary of change (or attached to what they know and are familiar with), and this has been demonstrated rather clearly lately. If openBVE had happened a few years ago instead, I’m not sure if I’d have been so eager to embrace some of the attitudinal changes in particular either, sadly. Certainly radical changes will be resisted the most, but I had hoped that through gradual change along with a tangible demonstration of the benefits such changes bring, these beneficial changes would be easier for people to adapt to and see the value of. When I first became involved in the openBVE project I did foresee that there might be some friction resulting from differences in attitudes and approach, and the prevailing norms being challenged (I wasn’t entirely wrong either); indeed it’s been one of the motivations behind my more active development seen in Cross-City South v1.4, namely trying to demonstrate the benefits of new ideas, alternative approaches and features in a way which people can see and appreciate.

          I suspect that the prospect of having to adapt to new circumstances or relearn something after having achieved a high level of skill might worry some as well, although new features in openBVE from a coding point of view are optional anyway, and the learning acquired during BVE development will continue to be valuable for openBVE too. I guess I’ve been rather more eager for change in the last couple of years than most though, because I had little left to lose as what I was producing was exceeding BVE 4’s capacity to handle it, and this isn’t a situation most BVE developers have found themselves in (they’ve probably got more sense than me, but then again the detail and visual richness of Watford to Rugby wouldn’t exist if I’d applied common sense to what I was doing. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

          Love the quote too (Churchill I think). “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” is pretty suitable too. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Thanks for posting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lezzloco says:

    Your Blog looks, and works fine in Puppy Linux with SeaMonkey browser (and fast!), I also get a spell checker from SeaMonkey which seems to “plug into it the blog”, your whole site is very nice.

    I have said it before, but surely now is the best time to be into “BVE”, people have talked of a lack of interest from developers, but your own X-City, Trainsimcentrals NWM, eezypeazy’s ECML, are all open ready, and I think there are more than that, must be 12 ish (UK alone) trains already available, with either ext views or some form of tweaking, and the route and traction just mentioned where available before openBVE V1.0 !, which I think is amazing, and a great effort from alot of people in a very short time, it can only get better.

    Speaking for myself I love being able to “have a look outside”, and I think all “newbies”, are going to expect an external view in any Train sim, nowadays.

    I keep wondering if anyone is going to do any work with the source code, as in a modified version, or patches, for this that or the other.

    I am looking forward to X-City 1.4 and WJ Rugby, they do look so good in the vids ! Thanks

    • Anthony_B says:

      It’s great to know it’s all working, thanks for testing. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m also aware of openBVE adapted add-ons being produced in Japan, Hong Kong, mainland Europe, and North and South America as well, which is good to see.

      Someone has been busy working on the source code for Linux/Ubuntu compatibility fixes (I’m sure you’ve seen him mentioned on michelle’s forum); I’ve already donated a public domain version of the Cross-City South for inclusion with the Ubuntu version of the program as well. I’ve done just a little bit of source code editing myself (adding an additional variable to the debug output, and changing the window size of the Route/ObjectViewer tools), but nothing more advanced yet. I’m currently wondering if it’s worth my while beginning to learn C# or not (I only know some Delphi/Object Pascal); haven’t made my mind up yet though–should perhaps finish my routes first! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Alex Farlie says:

    Any chance of considering one of the following after the X City and new WJ MK are done?

    i) A Canal trip – (Technical : Physics model for Boats, Moving water ; Senic : Realistic waves; FX; Splashes…)
    ii) Leighton Buzzard Light Railway – (Techncial: Steam system ; Senic : Narrow Gauge 2ft Finescale track, FX: Option for B/W historical route)
    iii) Birdgnorth Cliff Railway – ( Technical: Cable haulage, Gravity ; Senic : Finescale , FX : Option for ‘Remote’ console operation…


Leave a Reply