Trainz is a series of 3D train simulator computer games developed by Australian game developer N3V Games. First released in 2001, the series has a large online community that creates and shares user-created content. The game has been released in several versions, including localized versions. Trainz Simulator 12 is the latest Windows installment in the franchise, which was released in April 2011.
The game is divided into modules: Surveyor, Driver, and Railyard, and in some versions, Scenarios.
- Surveyor is the route editor. Here, the user can shape and “paint” the landscape with ground textures, lay tracks, and place buildings and other scenery to create a virtual world. Users can create Driver sessions (introduced in Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004) for running trains in the Driver module, both for their own routes, and for routes that were included with the game or downloaded.
- Driver takes the route created in Surveyor and allows the user to operate the trains. There are two methods of manual control: DCC mode, which simulates the simple stop-and-go of a model railway, and Cabin mode, which simulates real-world physics and working cab controls. Alternatively, the trains can be given instructions and driven by the computer (Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 and later only). This is known as “scheduling”. In the Ultimate Trainz Collection and earlier versions of the game, trains (“consists”) are assembled by the user and placed on the route at specific locations on the track marked in Surveyor, called trackmarks, in Driver’s step-by-step setup screens, along with the weather conditions and changeability, time-of-day, train control method, etc. Starting with Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, all of this is instead set up in Driver sessions, which are created and edited for routes in Surveyor, and Driver was changed to simply allow the user to pick a session for running. Sessions can also contain schedules for computer-driven trains, also set up by the user in Surveyor.
- Routes: Since the release of Trainz Simulator 2010, the Surveyor and Driver modes were merged into the Routes section. The list of routes which are locally installed is first shown before the list of sessions which are associated with the selected route.
- Railyard (known as My Collection in the Ultimate Trainz Collection and earlier versions of the game) is a virtual engine shed where the user can view locomotives and rolling stock, use some functions of the locomotives, and view the trains’ descriptions.
- Scenarios are pre-scripted activities in which the user plays through a specific set of challenges, such as transporting passengers to their destinations on schedule, or switching rail cars in a rail yard without damaging the cargo.
- PaintShed is a simple program for recolouring Trainz locomotives and other rolling stock. PaintShed was included with Ultimate Trainz Collection and Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006, and was available as a separate program for Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 and versions of Trainz prior to the Ultimate Trainz Collection.
- Content Manager is a program that allows management of the in-game files, including full descriptions, a photo, the last date modified, and its current state. It also makes downloads easier by placing objects in their proper files. It also made it easier for content creators, by making imports easier. Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 and Trainz Classics included Content Manager Plus, the first version, Trainz Simulator 2009 included Content Manager 2.0, and Trainz Simulator 2010 included Content Manager 3.2, which has proven to be a more stable version than previous versions.