Quick Review: Run 8 Train Simulator

What is Run 8 and is it for you?

Run 8 is a realistic prototypical computer simulation of train operations found in the United States (featuring railroads primarily in the Southwest, Florida and the Northeast) The major railroads found in Run 8 are BNSF, UP, SP, NS and CSX. (For complete details of the routes and trainsets available see Run 8 studios)

What’s so great about Run 8

Firstly, this review will be from the standpoint of someone brand new to rail simulators including Run 8 but not necessarily new to computer gaming. As of this post, there is a major train simulator on the market that you may be familiar with called Train Sim World by Dovetail games. I have not played that game but have watched extensive videos and streams of it being played. Now it’s true that my experience within Run 8 has been for only a few hours but as far as I can tell, Run 8 is in a category all it’s own in terms of realistic railroad operations. While Train Sim World boasts pretty photorealistic graphics and controlled scenarios, Run 8 shines in a different yet entirely important way. With its true to life scale routes (hundreds of miles in the base version of the sim alone), magnificent sounds and horns and its giant sandbox, Run 8 train simulator has a unique way of giving the player the true feeling they are and could be a real train engineer or yard master. And if you ever wanted to simulate the air-brake operation of a 100 plus car consist, Run 8 lets you do it. The simulator won’t hold your hand in the process but isn’t learning how to do it all part of the fun?

Multiplayer and Single-player

Run 8, in addition to its realistic sounds, routes and signal operation also features the option to work in a multiplayer setting (on a server) and perform prototypical yard operations with other people who are also running a copy of the simulator. (Note: I would highly recommend learning the basics of the sim and train operations before venturing onto a server.) Of course, yard operations, AI train and player train movement can be performed in single-player mode.

AI trains part of the rail sandbox

Computer controlled trains better known as AI trains can also be enabled in Run 8. This gives the player(s) the option to have AI trains run along side (within the same game world) as you “play” in this grand rail sandbox. If you ever wanted a railroading sandbox than Run 8 is the simulation that gives you the player much freedom in how you run a railroad and a train in Run 8.

Run 8 also includes an in-game switchboard, complete with signals and switches giving you the player the opportunity to manage multiple trains or just one if you so choose. Of course whether you choose to run multiple AI trains, run alone or with others is entirely up to you!

partial screenshot of in-game switchboard

What I like least in Run 8

The overall graphical quality of the scenery found in the sim world look like something out of a game from the 90’s or early 2000’s. The anti-aliasing (or lack thereof) isn’t much better as a moving train can appear in certain light downright distracting with shimmering edges of the distance boxcars, especially in the noon day sun.

GRAPHICS: However, up close those BNSF engines (among the others included) and rail cars look pretty nice. While Run 8 comes with many options for running a train as prototypical as possible, within the constraints of a computer, some components of the simulator simply will not work with a mouse or simply do not function at all. The best example of this I found is within a locomotive’s cab. The horn, braking lever, throttle, reverser and independent brake levers are only controllable via a keyboard or RailDriver. It’s important to note however that not having this complete control with a mouse does not necessarily ruin the overall experience of running a train just something to be aware of. Likewise the sim comes of multiple menu options to either auto start (through a menu) or manually start the train engines.

Conclusion – Is Run 8 worth it?

Because Run 8 features many realistic aspects of real-life rail work, there is a learning curve. Aside from learning how to get a train or even simply an engine moving (if you’ve never done it in a simulator before), this simulator features many keyboard bindings to memorize and learn. Depending on your experience with games and simulators this will prove to be either a non issue or possibly a major challenge in and of itself. And let’s not forget about learning how the industries, tags and symbols work. Thankfully, the current version of Run 8 features some helpful PDF files for getting yourself acquainted with basic sim operations and a handy keybinding cheat sheet. And there are also YouTube videos available for additional help to getting started in Run 8. In addition, all of the sim’s keybindings can be found (and even changed) within the simulator itself for quick reference.

So is Run 8 worth $50? Well, the answer to that is of course a subjective one but to clarify, the $50 is for the base portion of the simulator as found on the Run 8 Studios website (as of this writing). For additional trainsets and routes the sim will cost you more (between $10-$40 for each one). However, if you find that you really enjoy trains (particularly from the U.S.) and are seeking a realistic operational open world train simulation and can overlook some not-so-good graphical renditions, than starting with the Run 8 base sim might just wet your whistle! Just be prepared to have loads of fun and want to buy those addons!


RUN 8 Studios

Train Sim World

Find out what hope looks like

DISCLAIMER: This review if from personal experience with the simulator and not affiliated with Run 8 Studios

image source: images are in-game screenshots

The Legend of the Lone Ranger board game needs a remake

LR_game

1. Remake – this game deserves to be brought back and remade for kids and adults to enjoy once again

2. Video game – this game would be fun as an action-packed video game

3. Nostalgia – this game brings back memories; it was a great piece of the past for many kids like me

4. Family Fun – pure and simple this game is fun

5.  You play as a Hero – Playing as the Lone Ranger and Tanto you are the Hero and this world needs more heroes

5 Awesome points to consider about The Legend of the Lone Ranger board game

LR_game

1. Remake – this game deserves to be brought back and remade for kids and adults to enjoy once again

2. Video game – this game would be fun as an action-packed video game

3. Nostalgia – this game brings back memories; it was a great piece of the past for many kids like me

4. Family Fun – pure and simple this game is fun

5.  You play as a Hero – Playing as the Lone Ranger and Tanto you are the Hero and this world needs more heroes

Linux Tinkering and XP Options

Cirpack_LINUX_tux_2

TinkerXperience wouldn’t be such a great name for a blog if I neglected to talk about some actual tinkering–Linux tinkering that is.  Linux is an alternative operating system to Windows or OS X which is generally free aside from user donations.  I discovered Linux a few years ago with Ubuntu but didn’t realize until recently there is more to Linux than Ubuntu.

What is the difference between the terms Ubuntu and Linux?

Linux is the system (operating system) the computer runs on but there are hundreds of distros or distributions of Linux.  Each distribution features the Linux kernel (the underlying code) as it’s called to operate .  We users see the results, which is what appears on the desktop and that can feature hundreds of variations or flavors of Linux.   These variations are packaged within each distro and are what set a particular distribution of Linux apart from another.

For example, the Ubuntu distribution features what is called the Unity desktop but it is still Linux.  Visually speaking, instead of a task-bar located at the bottom of the desktop as in Windows, the task-bar is permanently fixed to the left side of the screen.   Other features of Ubuntu are top left positioned control buttons (minimize/maximize) on each window opened such as is found on Mac computers.

In up coming posts I hope to discuss some personal Linux tinkering in more detail when I discuss some of my favorite distributions!

Got an old XP Computer you don’t want? Don’t throw it away!

In the meantime, if you have one or know someone who has an old computer or laptop running Windows XP I have created a website addressing the issue of Microsoft’s end to XP support and some options for keeping that old computer running.    An old Windows XP computer (that runs) has a lot of days left even if you don’t run Windows XP on it.  In fact this blog post is coming to you from a former XP laptop computer now running MakuluLinux XFCE.   What’s Makululinux XFCE you ask? Find out next when I discuss MakuluLinux XFCE!

Related:

XP Options website

Windows XP end of support

DistroWatch

 

Image [source]