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admin 30.09.2015

If you ever wanted to build your own 2D top-down view train driving game, here’s … well, the things you need to consider plus a rudimentary source code example. Before I start, let me show you a collection of screenshots of the type of train games that are overdone and not considered in this article. All 20 games are tile-based train games with 90° curves (minus one exception allowing 45° tracks).
I like to mention that Trainyard (top left corner) is by far the most entertaining, most innovative of the bunch. Unfortunately there are only very few iOS games that feature free-form tracks with a natural variation of curves. Build a Train (iPad) (Free Lite Version) – kid game where you drive around the track to collect crates from the stations. Tile-based train games are trivial to make and … why are you raising your fist … hey wait … you aren’t … aaaaah! I mean of course technically trivial: laying the tracks and getting trains to move over them. Build a Train is actually a nice game if it weren’t for the awful rail car animation.
In Build a Train, the cars are centered on the track near the rear end of each car, which means the front end isn’t on the track in tight curves. Train tracks using bezier curves might look good, but technically it is extremely challenging to get a train moving over a bezier curve at a constant speed. It’s also noteworthy that when you use this approach, straight tracks can be treated like a variation of a curved track but with a 0° angle and an infinite radius. You’ll be facing similar issues if you attempted to model a top-down view car racing game like Super Cars with 2D physics. The rail car’s chassis must be placed at the center point between the two axles, and rotated so it is parallel to the vector between the two axles. While crossing from a straight track to a curved track, linear velocity must be translated to angular velocity. Rendering the train track should be done with textured polygons to support arbitrary curves (CCMotionStreak probably won’t do without modifications). Advanced challenges that may or may not be important depending on the game and desired level of realism. Taking car masses into consideration opens up a whole new level of complexity, unless you only use the mass as an additional factor for acceleration and max speed of the train. If rail cars are coupled together at their axles, the above must be solved or the distance between cars may deviate noticeably. Uniform circular motion has trains moving faster over a curve the larger the curve’s radius. Movement in curves should slow train down, more so the tighter the radius but never abruptly. In the rail car driving example project I attempted to solve a few of these issues, and I tried to prove that I’m on the right track (that pun was not intended) regarding the two-axle-per-car simulation. I also wanted to see how much the axle distance deviates if I move both axles individually, instead of placing the rear axle a fixed distance away from the front axle. My understanding is that trains are a rather niche setting for a game, plus making a good one is rather hard to do. I very much enjoy the learning process, the pushing of boundaries (mine and yours and that of technology), having the freedom to pursue whatever is on my mind, to boldly program what no one has programmed before, and to write about what I've learned. Toy train hobby presented by Brainbombers, maker of steam train games, fun train games, easy use train games for kids. The starter kit includes also extension pack 1, 2 and 3, these can be used after registering. These extension packs are included in the starter kit, you don't have to install them separately. You can use these extension packs after registering without additional download and installation.

Rail Simulator puts players in control of every aspect of the train's operation and gives players a track editor to create and share their own routes. LEGO DUPLO Train has your two year old (the ideal age of this app) being the conductor of a train as it rides around the colorful Lego world.
This app is being advertised as a great educational tool for children ages 1 to 5 as it helps with shape identification, colors, imagination, spatial skills and more. Because a train following tracks is not as simple as it might seem, unless you restrict curves and switches to 90° angles and allow only very short cars and locomotives. Any stuttering is due to the screen recording software taking a toll on my system combined with the video playback framerate not rendering 60 fps (I assume it’s the standard 24 or 30 fps for Youtube videos). Not the actual gameplay, and artwork, user interfaces, levels, and everything else there is. This inspired me and got me thinking what needs to be done in order to get a relatively long, 2-axle rail car across curves so that the axles stay on the track, not just the center or either end of the car. Read this and if it didn’t make you want to throw up mentally, maybe you are up to the task? That might make a couple things easier, as you could seamlessly bend a straight into a curve and back. You can have gravity pull the train to any side of the screen, but never downwards onto the tracks.
Especially if you want to take it so far as to model the individual tracks and the wheels accelerating the train through torque. From my (only for research of course) experience with Rail Simulators I would say even the big name Railroad Simulators’ physics engines cheat a lot. If the train is moving fast over many tiny track pieces, you may have to carry over the remaining velocity from track piece to track piece multiple times in a frame. You also need to do two passes: render the track bed and ties first, then render the rails on top of that. In all other cases coupling cars in a way that makes sense and looks good will need some tweaking, and it can not be a fixed distance.
If the locomotive starts pulling the train, all the cars follow with a slight delay as the couplings are stretched to their maximum extents one by one.
Calculate the inwards acceleration of each car and then factor this into the overall train speed, so that it slows down as more cars enter the curve.
Although I did expect the car to travel faster in curves the larger the radius, due to uniform circular movement, the car actually goes faster around tighter curves.
It turns out that in my case the deviation is at a maximum of 6 pixels, meaning the initial axle distance of 100 points shrinks to 94 pixels when the car enters a curve.
And then expectations from both developers and users are pretty high because everyone knows trains and model railroads, so how hard can it be to program them?
Ever since Railroad Tycoon I’m fascinated by train games, the challenges they pose and maybe making a good looking, as realistic as can be 2D top-down train simulation once and for all. As much as I like the idea of free form road & track layout, games like OpenTTD show that the constraint of a grid can lead to very interesting gameplay.
However, the game is not tile based and actually does use the freeform technique with 2 axles and you will see the effect is more pronounced for the 2 carriage yellow train in the game. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers.
Everyone did it and loads of people still play with Legos and they are even getting popular in the video gaming world with all the advent of Lego Star Wars, Lego Harry Potter, etc.
They will be able to choose and load train wagons, build bridges, stop at crossings and lay new tracks. At the price of nothing (Yes, LEGO DUPLO Train is free) and with no pesky ads or in-app purchases, LEGO DUPLO Train seems a perfect app you should download if you have little siblings or relatives. The video shows a sequence of three runs with a medium curve radius, a large curve radius and a ridiculously small curve radius. Although this is about modelling a 2D top-down view of a train game, a 2D physics engine is simply missing one crucial dimension.

Everything else concerning mass, like derailing due to speeding in tight corners with a heavy train, should not be considered.
But since one axle enters a curve before the other, the distance may actually deviate if this isn’t accounted for. Couplings require room for movement as rail cars are further apart in curves than they are on straights.
Unless you devise a simpler scheme or restrict yourself to certain radii and track lengths that fit well together.
You might decide to turn your train cars into actual physics objects while keeping each car’s momentum the moment the train derails.
I find those issues interesting and challenging, but understandably they also explain why the tile-based train games are so much more popular, and the freeform track train games often leave a lot to be desired in terms of animation and realism. If you come across any article on the subject worth mentioning, please don’t hesitate to post the link in the comments. I know, because I tried to tackle this a couple years ago and slammed right into all these unexpected and non-trivial issues. It was written in cocos 2d with the track plotted out using a custom created level editor with the actual path plotted out as an array of co-ordinates. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). Well now a game hit Google Play that your kid will love; LEGO DUPLO Train is out brought to you from The Lego Group. Even better is they can do this with the app’s virtual building with Lego and Duplo blocks. The yellow line indicates the track being followed by the axles, the purple line indicates the car chassis position (center point between axles).
In the screenshot of the road test app you can see a bezier track to the left (notice the gap) and to the right is a track that uses a simple circular curve.
That way, you can build a freeform and almost bezier-like track but you still reap the benefit of every curve being a part of a circle’s circumference, thus being able to use the relatively simple algorithms for uniform circular motion. The only thing where a 2D physics engine would work is for connecting the rail cars with joints, and possibly train collisions. You could also use OpenGL primitives for rails and ties, ie lines in various shapes and sizes.
Once the loco has stopped, the rear cars will still be pushing the train together before coming to rest. Admittedly this is a little kids game involving Legos but if you have a little niece of nephew this game could keep them busy over holidays.
LEGO DUPLO Train is a colorful app filled with happy animations that are bright and cheery. Maybe it’s because the 45° angle tracks make it look a lot more believable than the rest. It’s solvable if the bezier curves can only connect at predefined angles but that kind of defies the purpose, doesn’t it? To fix this, you could move the leading axle first, then place the rear axle on the tracks at the exact axle distance. Exemption: modern power trains such the german ICE or french TGV or japanese Shinkansen where most or all axles are motorized. The leading axle may need to keep a list of track pieces it has passed over recently so that only those are considered for placement of the rear axle.
This approach requires a minimum curve radius that is greater than the longest axle distance of any car, otherwise the rear-end axle placement code will fail and the rear end might not actually take the curve but travel backwards on the track.

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