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WWII Battle Tanks T34 vs. Tiger
2nd February 2009

A unique tank simulation game and is the first in a series of simulations focusing on the gritty realism of battle as well as authentic historical representation of environments and vehicles... more.





Pre-Order to join the Trainz 2009 Beta Test Program
4th November 2008

Pre-Order Trainz Simulator 2009: World Builder Edition and you automatically receive an invitation to the Trainz 2009 Beta Testing Program. You\'ll receive access to download the full 2.6GB Beta version of Trainz which will have a 30 day expiry date.

Pre-Order Now...





2nd June 2005

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 Announced!
Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 (TRS2006) is the next in the series of award winning railroad simulators developed by Auran.

Previously known as Engineers Edition, TRS2006 is being released as a full product later this year and sets new standards of realism and immersion in operating a virtual railroad.

TRS2006 ships with fully realized routes that include a wide range of activities users can immediately enjoy. Run long haul freight services, high-speed passenger runs or challenging yard operations as you service a huge variety of interactive stations and industries.

TRS2006 significantly enhances the driving experience with improvements to the physics engine, adding to the challenge of keeping your train performing efficiently.

TRS2006 includes a new asset management utility, making it easier for users to access and organize their content, download new content from the Download Station, and even edit existing content.

The Trainz tools and rules systems have also been greatly improved to give you more flexibility than ever before in creating your own railroad experience.

Over the coming weeks more and more information will be shared with the community via the Trainz Discussion Forms.

TRS2006 is the most complete railroad simulator ever developed!


TRS 2006! Testers Speak Out!
Auran caught up with some of the community members who have graciously volunteered their free time to help test TRS2006:

Auran: How long have you been using / playing Trainz.

DH2K3: I've been using TRS2004 since December 31, 2003. Since a certain other company is not planning on releasing a sequel to their Train Simulation product I thought I'd try something new. Since then I haven't looked back.

Peter8: I can't remember when I started watching the development of the Trainz project on the web site, but I know it was well before I ordered Trainz 1.0 on 17 October 2001. It took a little time to arrive. I was a bit stingy, I only paid for "Standard Mail" shipping, but once it was here I remember being immediately impressed by it, especially Surveyor. I was a fan, and have bought each Trainz product since then.

AJ_Fox: I've been a Trainzer for about ten months now. Having always been a rail fan and after hearing good things about TRS 2004, I decided it was the one for me. The thing that impressed me the most about TRS were the many different features built into it and the ability to make your own layouts without going through a bunch of contortions and gyrations.

Auran: How has the testing experience been so far?

DH2K3: The testing experience has been a blast so far. I am actually learning things that I thought I'd never learn before.

Peter8: Beta testing for Auran has always been good (I started just after TRS2004 was released), but I have to say that I have been very impressed with the testing process for TRS2006. The current development team at Auran is really working together well, and I think Proby is making much more effective use of his external testing team than I have experienced in the past.

AJ_Fox: Beta testing is a new experience for me and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's really cool to see the metamorphosis of the next version of Trainz and feel like you're a part of it. It does require a certain amount of perseverance but that's part of the challenge of being a beta tester.

Auran: What feature most excites you about TRS2006?

DH2K3: Content Manager Plus. The reason I like this is because not only does it replace TDH, but it also has similar features to TrainzObjectz in it as well.

Peter8: Well, there are a lot of enhancements to the existing platform (which shows yet again that Auran do listen to their Community). One in particular that I noticed in the initial feature list is an interesting extension to the Portal. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but it will go a lot further towards making a route feel like a region of a larger network, and it will give the Trainzer fresh management challenges. I'm looking forward to seeing what our talented creators can do with it.

AJ_Fox: At this point in time, I'd have to say the new Content Manager Plus has me impressed the most. It completely rewrites the book on how content is downloaded and maintained. This is going to be a big hit.

We'll have more information available for you in the coming weeks, along with more interviews with our beta testers.


"Make Us A Movie" Trainz Competition - Winners Announced!
The latest Trainz competition "Make Us A Movie" has been judged and the winning entries have been selected :-

First Place - DaveW. His winning entry is titled "Steam Age Britain" It was filmed on a map made especially for this competition.
Second Place - chuffchuff The Auranshire County Railway layout for TRS2004 was the setting for this entry.
Third Place - jmorty used his Pichi Richi Railway to give us an insight to a working railway set in 20th century South Australia.

Congratulations to our winners and thanks go to everyone who entered. The Make Us a Movie competition entries will be available for download soon. Stay tuned for more information on where to get them.


New Faces on the Brew Crew!
The Brew Crew area expanded recently to accommodate the arrival of Francois Coulombe. "Franky_c" joins the team as a Junior Programmer after spending 3 months working at Auran as part of his course at QANTM College. Franky's first job involves coding a new utility to help content creators make better, error-free content for TRS2006.

Joining our Quality Assurance team is Scott Cameron and Adair Bricknell. As testing for TRS2006 gets down to serious business you may see them lurking in the chat or making strange posts to the forum.

Join us in welcoming them all aboard.


Euro / U.K Service Pack 4 Now On Auran's Server!
Service Pack 4 for TRS2004 Euro / UK Edition is now available to download from the Auran website, then visit the Service Packs page.

If you require one of these patches but don't want to download it they are now available on CD and you can order it through the Auran Shop for the cost of postage and handling.


Forum Thread Spotlight!
TRS2006 in PC PowerPlay Magazine! This thread says it all.
http://forums.auran.com/TRS2004/forum/showthread.php?threadid=87285


"Quote" of the week!
What happened at Trainz Exchange?
http://forums.auran.com/TRS2004/forum/showthread.php?threadid=86925
It may pay you to check back there at least once a week.





15th December 2004

TRS2004 December Christmas Giveaway Extended!
TRS2004 December Christmas Giveaway has been extended until December 20th, 2004!

Due to popular demand, we have extended our special Christmas offers for 1 extra week. Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) is now AUD59.95. Just in time for Christmas come two very special offers for all Trainz fans.
  • Offer #1 - TRS2004 "2 for 1 Pack"!*
    Order the special Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) "2 for 1 Pack" for the same price as a single copy. That's right! For AUD59.95 plus P&H you will receive not 1 but 2 copies of TRS2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) - one copy for you and one for a friend! Of course, if you are one of the many thousands of Deluxe owners already, then what could be a better value Christmas gift for your rail buddy friends?

    *The 2 for 1 Deal cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.

    OR


  • Offer #2 - 25% Off Deal!*
    Purchase one copy of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) and receive 25% off the new reduced price of AUD59.95 plus P&H. That's just AUD44.96 plus P&H.

    In addition to the special pricing on TRS2004 DE, when you register your TRS2004 Deluxe Edition serial number in your Planet Auran profile we'll give you a 3 month First Class Ticket for free!

    *The 25% Off Deal cannot be used in conjunction with the 2 for 1 Pack offer, or any other offer or promotion.
These offers are only available for purchases made at the Auran online store between December 1st, 2004 and December 20th, 2004.

So hurry to the online store. These offers wont last!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To You All!
Auran will be closing for the Christmas holiday period from Thursday December 23rd, 2004 until Monday, January 10th, 2005. During this time there will be no custom content approved for uploading to the Download Station, and Helpdesk will be closed.

On our return in January we will be approving all custom content uploaded during this period, and then be working hard to clear the backlog of Helpdesk inquiries. Please be patient with your requests. If you need to contact Helpdesk during this time please note that once your message has been auto acknowledged, you do not need to resend the request.

During the break we will be monitoring the Forum and Chat and our Community Moderators will be around to help out.

We would like to express our thanks to you all for a great Trainz Year. We thank you for your support, your challenges, and above all your participation as a part of this community. We wish you and your families a safe and happy time, and a prosperous new year and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.


Toronto Trainz and Tom Rawlinson Announce Virtua!
This just in from the team at TorontoTrainz...

"Tom Rawlinson is the man behind Toronto Trainz. In 2002 Tom asked 3rd party content creators to help him create some special content. When everything started coming together VTPR was born. It proved not to be an easy job as Tom wanted to build something special for all Trainz Users.

In 2003 Tom encouraged content creators from all over the world to participate on his LH4T project. Tom worked very hard to realize all different versions of LH4T. He had a live radio broadcast show to announce his route/layout and it is all done for the Trainz Community for free. Like many Trainz Community members, Tom does not charge for the packages he creates or for his fast support.

In 2004 TT's project's included Century City and Dry Gulch. Tom has his own visions of what Trainz can be and his newest is The Virtua Series, a 1280 baseboard route package. Tom once again joined content creators from all over the world to realize this next masterpiece for Trainz. He and all members of the TT gang are working extremely hard for the Trainz Community to get the best package out to you, and once again all is for free. Tom is proud that he can work together with so many Content Creators who helped him the last 2 1/2 Years. Now enjoy The Virtua Series and have fun with the gift from Tom Rawlinson, and Toronto Trainz."

Check out the TorontoTrainz website.


Content Creation Guide (CCG) Updated!
With the release of a number of updates that added many new features to the original TRS2004, we decided it was time to revise the CCG with the new capabilities available to content creators in Service Pack 4.

We put out a call for feedback, suggestions and criticisms 6 weeks ago and received many email responses. Thanks to those that took time out to contribute their constructive feedback. Your comments and examples greatly assisted us in making sure that the update is comprehensive. Thanks also to the wider Trainz community for your forum posts on content creation issues and suggestions.

The project took nearly 6 weeks and the man that took on the task was Ian Manion (aka Vulcan). Ian worked tirelessly through the feedback emails, forum posts and the original CCG. After checking the technical issues with the relevant team members here at Auran and adding Ian’s own expertise to the project, we can now bring you the updated CCG. Great job Ian!

You can get the new Content Creation Guide (Zipped PDF file, file size: 5mb) here.

We hope you have plenty of fun using the new CCG to make all that wonderful Trainz content, and we look forward to you sharing it with us on the Download Station.


Forum Thread Spotlight!
CONGRATULATIONS! to all who have kept their posts below 365 posts a year! This anti-waffle post turned out to be the best waffle thread of the year! Why not add your favourite topping to all the waffle in there, too.


"Quote" of the week!
This thread by cwhitedog says it all: Best Quotes of 2004!


The Year That Was!
WOW! What a great year 2004 has turned out to be. Lance_Jago, Proby and Cafe joined the team, GardenGnome took a well earned extended leave of absence, and we saw the Content Creation Art Source CD and service packs galore for TRS2004. Let's take a quick look back at the Trainz year of 2004.
  • January sees the Trainz community reach in excess of 80,000 members. Greg Lane starts the "18 Days" mystery thread, and the "Driver - Me" utility is released. Driver Me helps you import your own photo into TRS2004 so that you can see yourself in the cab as you thunder along the rails.

  • The 9th of February is the 2nd anniversary of the retail release of Trainz, Lance_Jago joins the Trainz Team as Helpdesk Coordinator, and Drucifer solves the "18 Days" mystery thread that turns out to be the forerunner to Greg Lane's announcement of The Future of Trainz.

  • March sees the idea for Deluxe Edition born. It proves to be so successful that currently there are 6 DE's in production, with more to come in 2005.

  • April is the month to "Come and meet the Brew Crew". It is a huge success, with visitors from 3 states (Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria) and a couple of travelers from overseas (Bribie Island ;)). Service Pack 2: Passenger Pack is released as Auran's first ever public beta, and RobinS leaves the Trainz Team to move on to new projects at Auran.

  • News breaks in May that Microsoft Train Simulator 2 is officially cancelled. We are saddened by this announcement, contrary to popular belief, and we renew our commitment to continue to improve Trainz. The Content Creation Art Source CD's starts shipping and heralds the arrival of lots of new content to the Download Station.

  • In June we welcome Proby aboard as Trainz Producer and Trainz welcomes its 100,000th registered member. Quite an achievement if we may say so.

  • July sees the helpdesk email address targeted to be closed down and replaced with a new web based form system. Cafe, a.k.a. Henk Plaggemars, our Trainz on the Road Coordinator comes in from the cold and finds a permanent desk in the Trainz Team area.

  • August is for Barney, CeeBee and Mr D to celebrate 4 years activity on the Trainz forums. All 3 joined in the first week it opened back in 2000. SP3 is finalised and prepared for release in September.

  • September is a special month for Trainz. We celebrate the life of a very special Trainz friend, grahamedgar, who sadly succumbed to cancer on September 13th, 2003. Graham was a huge advocate and worked very closely with the Trainz Team, even though he lived out of state. Vale Graham Edgar.

  • October belongs to casey38 and his 8000 posts to the Trainz forum over a period of 3 years. It is also the month that Service Pack 4, the final SP for TRS will be released.

  • November is the 3rd anniversary of the release of Trainz Community Edition, the program that started it all. The new Helpdesk form system is implemented and the new address for Helpdesk is now www.auran.com/helpdesk

  • December sees registered users top 120,000. (Dec. 2003 - 74,000), the Download Station celebrates receiving its first layout 3 years ago - Sagatukett, by Diego Gallina, and production of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004: Engineer's Edition is well underway.

We hope you have enjoyed 2004 as much as we have. We are looking forward to sharing the journey that lies ahead of us in 2005 with you.





3rd December 2004

TRS2004 Price Drop and December Christmas Giveaway!
Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) is now just AUD 59.95 and just in time for Christmas come two very special offers for all Trainz fans.
  • Offer #1 - TRS2004 "2 for 1 Pack"!*
    Order the special Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) "2 for 1 Pack" for the same price as a single copy. That's right! For AUD59.95 plus P&H you will receive not 1 but 2 copies of TRS2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) - one copy for you and one for a friend! Of course, if you are one of the many thousands of Deluxe owners already, then what could be a better value Christmas gift for your rail buddy friends?

    OR


  • Offer #2 - 25% Off Deal!*
    Purchase one copy of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) and receive 25% off the new reduced price of AUD59.95 plus P&H. That's just AUD 44.96 plus P&H.

    In addition to the special pricing on TRS2004 DE, when you register your TRS2004 Deluxe Edition serial number in your Planet Auran profile we'll give you a 3 month First Class Ticket for free!

    These offers are only available for purchases made at the Auran online store between December 1st, 2004 and December 15th, 2004, so hurry.

    *The 25% Off Deal cannot be used in conjunction with the 2 for 1 Pack offer.

Make Us a Movie Competition Winners Announced!
We are pleased to announce the winners of stage 1 of the Make Us a Movie competition! The 10 finalists are:
  • AJ_Fox
  • alby6
  • chuffchuff
  • DaveW
  • dh2k3
  • jfweaver
  • jmorty
  • LtBorgOps
  • psycho_aussie
  • vulcan
While the number of entries we received was less than anticipated, the judges did have a difficult time selecting the final 10. The 10 finalists will now receive the full registered version of Fraps courtesy of www.fraps.com and prepare a new Trainz movie or an extended version of their winning entry to compete for the main prizes.

Congratulations again to the winners. We will keep you posted on stage 2 of the competition progress here.


Content Creation Guide Being Updated!
We are in the process of updating the Content Creation Guide by revising, editing and adding sections to bring it up to date with all the latest features introduced since TRS2004 was originally released. The CCG is being updated with the help of the community and our aim is to release it before Xmas. If you would like to check out the progress so far and perhaps give us some constructive feedback on errors, omissions, typos or comments then get the CCG document here.

We'd welcome your feedback at this email address: ccg@auran.com


Community Member Profile!
David "dmdrake" Drake, User ID (KUID) 33404, was born in Virginia, last century ;) David is known to many as "The Tree Guy" having made many, many trees for Trainz. He started out making trees for his own use, later sharing them via the Download Station with the Trainz community and that's how the "World Tree Project" started. His idea was to produce specific trees just as there were specific rail cars and engines. Modelers David admires have honored him by asking him for specific trees, which has encouraged him to learn more, and produce better content. David has moved on to creating detailed structures now under his Tall Treez banner. At this point there are over 3500 dmdrake and TallTreez models available at the Download Station and the number of downloads is somewhere near 2 million. In November David's talents were rewarded when Auran asked him to include a selection of his content in the United States release of TRS2004 Deluxe Edition. David recently joined Trainz Pro Routes and his Tall Trees and Boardwalk RR has become a TPR project. David is a disabled Vietnam war veteran and lives in the beach community of Santa Cruz on the north edge of the Monterey Bay, 75 miles south of San Francisco. He is married and the proud father of 2 children and 3 grandchildren.


Forum Thread Spotlight!
In the thread "Your First Layout" netvideo tells us, "I remember my first layout was set in the desert and was only 1 baseboard." Tell us about the first layout or route you made with Trainz by posting to this thread.

Share your story with the community. We' d love to hear all about it!


"Quote" of the week!
Get in now on the Christmas Trainz sale! Only until December 15th.





3rd November 2004

Service Pack 4 Announced!
The extensive public testing of Service Pack 4 for TRS2004 (also known as SP4) has now concluded. The Brew Crew has been working to resolve outstanding issues for TRS2004. The open beta testing uncovered some minor issues that the Brew Crew has addressed. A huge thanks goes out to all the beta testers and those who have been involved in publicly testing Service Pack 4.

We would also like to thank the following community members for their behind the scenes involvement working on SP4: Coerni, dh2k3, Hentis, Lars_LLJ, Lost_Soul, Magicland, Martinvk, MrMom, Natvander, Robin.Hoods, SirGibby, Wolf22 and Wulf_9.

SP4 for TRS2004 is a recommended service pack update. If you are experiencing any technical difficulties with earlier Trainz builds we strongly encourage you to update to SP4.

A complete set of patches will be made available over the coming weeks to cover all TRS2004 builds and the Brew Crew have now turned their attention to building patches required for various other international and language packs. For further details about Service Pack 4s, please see the following topics:


Helpdesk Upgrade!
Due to the incredible amount of spam email received at our official technical support address we are closing down the helpdesk@auran.com email address as from 5.00 PM Wednesday November 3rd 2004 AEST. We have been testing the new Auran support system built around web-based forms, and the trials have been deemed a success. From now on should you need to contact Helpdesk, please do so at www.auran.com/helpdesk. Over time we will be changing all references to the helpdesk email address across our website and redirecting any new email received to the new web form.


Discount Voucher Extended to Deluxe Edition!
The 20% discount applicable to TRS2004 for registered owners of previous Trainz products has been extended to include the new Deluxe Edition (Australia). Simply apply the voucher when placing your order at the online store. If you cannot access your voucher during this procedure please contact us at www.auran.com/helpdesk for assistance.

In addition to your discount, register your TRS2004 Deluxe Edition serial number in your Planet Auran profile and we'll give you a 3 month First Class Ticket for free!


Community Member Profile!
Yojimbo, one of our hardworking community moderators, announced he is the proud owner of some outstanding new content.

Specifications:
  • Type - baby girl
  • Name - Clara
  • Weight - 3580 g
  • Overall length - 51 cm
  • Release date 041004 - 03:24 AM
Mother, daughter and Dad are all well.
Congratulations to you and your family, yojimbo.


Forum Thread Spotlight!
The possibility of Auran attending a European symposium was highlighted in this thread by Trainz Designer Henk "Café" Plaggemars.

Henk points out the need to collect expressions of interest so necessary planning can be arranged. Without your input, it will be difficult to proceed. Thanks to those of you who have already replied with your feedback. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts and suggestions to this thread.


"Quote" of the week!
"How about that, Huh? 115,000 registered members."
Indeed AJ-Fox, how about that! The Trainz registered community is now over 115,000 and growing. If you aren't sure of something or want to pass on information to others, please feel free to use the Trainz forum. It is great to see the community is still actively sharing support and offering advice to fellow members in a friendly and helpful way.


Commissioner's Report!
Welcome to the first ever edition of the Commissioner's Report!

This Report will update you on the progress of the Brew Crew and the many projects they're working on. We hope to make this a regular addition in the Trainz Gazette.


TRS Service Pack 4
After a 2 week beta release which saw the release of 3 different versions we can finally declare build 2365 as the final SP4. Any problems reported on SP4 (Build 2365) will be logged and will be addressed during the development of Engineers Edition.

SP4 is currently available for the US (International), UK, French, German and Spanish editions of TRS.

I would like to thank the community and the following members for their efforts in helping us release a very solid update: Hentis, Magicland, Martinvk, Lost_Soul, MrMom, dh2k3, Wolf22, Robin.Hoods, SirGibby, Wulf_9, Lars_LLJ, Coerni, and Natvander.


Recent Releases
The TRS2004 Deluxe Edition collection is growing! In addition to the Australian and German Editions, October 14th saw the release of the French Edition. Coming soon are the Swiss, US, Spanish, and Chinese editions. The UK edition is in development and will be released through Just Trains later in the year.

What is the Deluxe Edition I hear you ask...the Deluxe Edition contains TRS2004, Paint Shed and a CD containing a selection of region specific content from the Download Station. It contains nothing that an existing TRS2004 owner doesn't already have access to in the Download Station. A complete list of assets contained in the various Deluxe Editions can be found at the Auran Announcements forum.


Beta Tester Recruitment
The deadline for receiving applications for Beta Testers has now passed. A lot of applications have been received and successful applicants will be notified in late October / early November.


GardenGnome departs the station
It's a sad day that sees the departure of GardenGnome (aka David Walsh) who has decided to take some time off from the Brew Crew. David has been instrumental in the areas of Trainz Script, Scenarios, Rule Creation and Installation Art, mainly around JB's desk, taking any opportunity he can to display those V cans. We wish him good luck and safe travels.


Brew Crew Job openings
The Brew Crew is looking for a Senior Software Engineer and a Web Programmer to join the group. If you're looking for a new challenge and you're willing to relocate to sunny Brisbane, check out the careers section at www.auran.com








7th October 2004

Service Pack 4 Public Beta Announced!
This week it was announced that a round of Public Beta testing of Service Pack 4 for TRS2004 (also known as SP4) was underway. The Brew Crew has been working to resolve outstanding issues for TRS2004. This open beta testing has uncovered some minor issues that the Brew Crew are addressing. Thanks to all those who have been involved in testing so far. For further details about Service Pack 4, please see this forum post here.


Discount Voucher Extended to Deluxe Edition!
The 20% discount applicable to TRS2004 for registered owners of previous Trainz products has been extended to include the new Deluxe Edition (Australia). Simply apply the voucher when placing your order at the online store. In addition, register your TRS2004 serial number in your Planet Auran profile and receieve a 3 month First Class Ticket free.


Helpdesk Upgrade!
Due to the incredible amount of spam received at our official technical support address we will be closing down the helpdesk@auran.com email address very soon. We are now about to commence a new Auran support system built around web-based forms, and will be trialing it over the coming weeks. Should you need to contact Helpdesk, you can now go to www.auran.com/helpdesk During the trial period, we will be changing all references to the email address across our website. The helpdesk email address will still be active while we phase in the new form-based system.


Call for Beta Testers!
With the Engineers Edition Expansion Pack well underway, the call for beta testers has been announced. Do you have what it takes? Find out about it here.


"Make Us A Movie" Trainz Competition!
The latest Trainz competition, "Make Us A Movie", is now underway with plenty of time left to submit entries for the first round of judging, so get filming with Fraps now: available from http://www.fraps.com. Checkout the details at http://www.auran.com/TRS2004/competition.htm for your chance to win some great prizes, including: 1 of ten fully registered copies of FRAPS valued at USD39.95 each from http://www.fraps.com; Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) Software; a RailDriver Desktop Train Cab Controller from http://www.raildriver.com; and more!


Community Member Profile!
Yojimbo, one of our hardworking community moderators, announced he is the proud owner of some outstanding new content.

Specifications:
  • Type - baby girl
  • Name - Clara
  • Weight - 3580 g
  • Overall length - 51 cm
  • Release date 041004 - 03:24 AM

Mother, daughter and Dad are all well.
Congratulations to you and your family, yojimbo.


Forum Thread Spotlight!
The possibility of Auran attending a European symposium was highlighted in this thread by Trainz Designer Henk "Café" Plaggemars. Henk points out the need to collect expressions of interest so necessary planning can be arranged. Without your input, it will be difficult to proceed. Thanks to those of you who have already replied with your feedback. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts and suggestions to this thread.


"Quote" of the week!
"An Enigma - Only Trainz seems to provide my areas of Maritime Interest."
From Barry, our resident maritime lobbyist This just goes to show how flexible and configurable Trainz is, as it appeals to many various hobbyists that the team never envisaged when it all began.








23rd September 2004

U.K and International Demos Released!
The long awaited Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Demos are now available for download. You can get them here: Both Demos' contain the same Trainz functionality; however the U.K. edition is directed at its specific marketplace.

For those of you with limited download ability, we will have the International Version available on CD in the coming weeks. You will be able to order it through the online store for the cost of postage and handling as soon as it becomes available.


Hot Off the Press!
The latest news from RAZORBACK RAILWAYS is the release of their Version 6 Route….

RAZORBACK RAILWAY RELEASES V6 ROUTE
The latest version of the route has seen a massive expansion!
An extra 75 km of track is now available for you to explore and test your driving skills with our new v6 scenarios for The Living Railway. The Razorback now covers over 230km!

Mainline electric traction on the 43km long Port Hunter Line will see you running inter-urban electric services with plenty of passenger action! High-speed sections where you can really open the throttle will have the scenery blur as you try and keep to challenging timetables!

For a more sedate experience, you can head into dairy and cattle country on the 32km long Norris Green Branchline. Rural passenger operations, dairy facilities, forestry and logging operations will keep you busy for hours on end.

Razorback 6 has taken nearly a year of work, and we hope you enjoy many hours of driving pleasure as you traverse the route.

Available now at www.razorbackrailway.com

The Razorback Team


The RAZORBACK Routes are very popular and showcase some of the outstanding talent we have in the Trainz Community. You can find out more at http://www.razorbackrailway.com


"Make Us A Movie" Trainz Competition!
The latest Trainz competition "Make Us A Movie" is now underway with plenty of time left to submit entries for the first round of judging, so get filming with Fraps now, available from http://www.fraps.com.
Checkout the details at http://www.auran.com/TRS2004/competition.htm
for your chance to win some great prizes, including 1 of ten fully registered copies of FRAPS valued at USD39.95 each from http://www.fraps.com, Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) Software, a RailDriver Desktop Train Cab Controller from http://www.raildriver.com, and more!


Auran Post Modern Art Installation!
When the legendary John_Banks took a short leave of absence to put the finishing touches on his PhD, the Trainz Crew donated the remains of the rocket fuel that keeps them programming through the late nights. "V" is the energy drink of choice at Auran, and comes from New Zealand, Just like JB. As you can see, we drink a lot of it. There is a lot of programming going on.




Community Member Profile!
Vulcan.
Ian "vulcan" Manion is a high quality model builder, host to the SEQ Trainzers, and general all around nice guy.
Apart from Ian's excellent models, his contributions to the community include a great tutorial outlining how to post screenshots, that now resides permanently at the top of the Screenshots forum. He entertains a motley crew of Trainz fans in his own home twice a month, and still keeps inviting them back :) Ian was recently invited to submit a selection of his content to the newly released Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Australian Deluxe Edition, something he did in his usual selfless way.

Over 300 items of custom content made by Ian are available on the Download Station and he is still going strong. Some of his latest work carries a nautical theme and includes a working Ship Lock , a set of 12 River Backdrops and The Holger Danske, a drivable car ferry, that transports rolling stock (entire trains, in fact) across a river or waterway

Ian is a semi retired structural engineer from Queensland Main Roads where he designed bridges. He lives in the Brisbane suburb of Graceville, on the Brisbane - Ipswich line, with his wife Ann. They have two grown children, 3 cats, and an HO scale model railroad that has not been used often since Trainz arrived.


Forum Thread Spotlight!
What is the Trainz Community about? It means many different things to many people from all walks of life and from many varied backgrounds. Here at Auran, we like to read about the experiences put forward by the community, and in this thread, Geoff_McDougall enlightens us with his positive perspective on the Trainz community. You can read Geoff's thread here.


"Quote" of the week!
"Deluxe Edition What a Lame idea"
Deluxe Edition sold in 20,000 units in the first 2 weeks, and that was before the official announcement. It's been suggested we have a few more ideas just like it ;)


Until next time,


The Trainz Team.





9th September 2004

Trainz Newsletter 9th September 2004.


Trainz Newsletter - Back on track.
Welcome back to the Trainz Gazette. It has been a long time between drinks, as they say, but we are back on track with lots of news and a great new competition to celebrate the release of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Editions. We have more details on these items later on.

Goodbye Tim Carter - Welcome Paul Olsen!
Our resident newsletter writer and marketing assistant Tim (yeoland) Carter has departed and headed off to Canada to follow his heart. While Tim is irreplaceable, or so he tells us, Paul (Paulie_O) Olsen has stepped up to the challenge and is fitting in quite nicely. Please join us in welcoming Paul to the Trainz Team.

Proby Joins the Brew Crew.
We also welcome to the Trainz Team Scott (Proby) Probin, who joins us in the role of Trainz Producer. Scott's experience and enthusiasm have already made a positive impact on the future direction of Trainz, and you will get to meet him when he publishes his "Commissioners Report" a little further down the track.

Service Pack 2: Passenger Pack and Service Pack 3 for TRS2004.
The long awaited Service Pack 2: Passenger Pack was released in May which added extra functionality to the operation of Trainz and introduced Passenger's and Industries along with the Portal. Visit Trainz Exchange Online from within TRS2004 or go to http://forums.auran.com/TRS2004/forum/showthread.php?threadid=61059 and SP2 release notes for more details. A small percentage of TRS2004 owners reported that SP2 created a stuttering effect on their PC's so in conjunction with community members this issue was addressed with SP3 for TRS2004. If you are happy with the performance of SP2 you do not need to install SP3 for TRS2004.

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition hit the shelves!
Over the next few months some countries will be seeing a Deluxe Edition of TRS2004. We asked Henk (café) Plaggemars what "Deluxe Edition" is all about?

What is the Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition?
Well it's the latest patched version of TRS2004, with some extra goodies including Paintshed, Trainz Fan pack and a Content CD containing a sampler from the Download Station relevant to the country or region it is being sold in. It comes on 4 CDs and is displayed in new packaging.

What's on the Content CD?
The models contained on the CD are local assets, country specific to the area of release, and usually made by local content creators who have generously allowed us to include them in the Deluxe Editions. These assets are freely available to all registered users of TRS2004 from the Download Station and some fan sites.

I already have TRS, should I get the Deluxe Edition?
No, unless you are a Trainz collector, and we know some of our customers are like that ;). As an existing TRS2004 owner there is nothing in the Deluxe Edition content-wise that you can't download for free from the Internet.

Will it cost more?
No! The Deluxe Edition costs no more than the original TRS2004.

Why did you release a Deluxe Edition?
It was mainly on the request of our publishers. Some of them approached us about localizing TRS2004 even more for their markets and we thought it was a great idea. It fits in well with our research - people like to see their own trains, and with the recent Service Packs it seemed prudent to bundle it all into a "Deluxe" version.

Will every country be getting its own Deluxe Edition?
No, we are limited to those countries where the publisher is prepared to accept, or has requested a Deluxe Edition. Currently we will be releasing Deluxe Editions for the Australian, German, French, English and Spanish markets.

What about countries that don't have a Deluxe Edition planned?
These countries will be getting the standard TRS2004 as released last year. Of course as stated above these users will be able to update their TRS2004 to the equivalent of the deluxe version.

What version will we be getting if we order through Auran's website shop?
You will receive the Australian Deluxe Edition. If you take away the content CD the remaining 3 CD's represent the core of the TRS2004 version, including Trainz Paint Shed, and the Fan pack goodies.

So there it is. If you have any more questions in relation to Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition, please contact Auran at helpdesk@auran.com

New Trainz Competition Announced!
The latest Trainz competition "Make Us A Movie" has been announced on the Competitions Page. Check out the details for your chance to win great prizes, including 1 of 10 fully registered copies of FRAPS, Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe Edition (Australia) Software, a RailDriver Desktop Train Cab Controller and more!

Welcome to the newest Trainz fan.
Long time Trainz Community member, and all around funny guy, Euphod and his wife, Mrs Euphod, welcomes their second child, McKenna Marie Euphod. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Euphod and his family on the wonderful new addition to their family. Mother and baby are doing well and you can congratulate her Dad and welcome her to the Trainz world here....


The Trainz Team.





20th August 2004

Service Pack 3 for TRS2004 arrives at the Station!

This is the latest upgrade to TRS2004 and is principally an optimization pack. Read more about SP3 for TRS2004 here.

Service Pack 3 for TRS2004 contains optimizations that were implemented to reduce the amount of stuttering being experienced when a large amount of scenery objects are being loaded at one time whilst moving around the map.

The large number of features that were added in SP2 is continued within SP3. For more information on the features contained within SP2, please read the SP2 Release Notes here.







4th May 2004

Service Pack 2 has arrived at the Station
Brisbane, Australia. April 30 , 2004. Service Pack 2 - Passenger Pack, the latest update to the long running Trainz franchise, has been released and is now available for download from the official Auran website, plus many mirror sites around the world. SP2, which is the second free update to Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, brings a huge number of new features and a host of improvements and bug fixes.

Read the full press release here...

Here are some of the comments posted by our fans to the Trainz forums about SP2:
  • I love all the new features.
    Driver is sensational now !
    This SP makes a huge difference to this already fine software. cfinn

  • SP2 just plain rocks! Stefanwolfe

  • You can add me to the list of happy customers. Everything works as it should. No install problems. A fine addition to a great piece of software. RichOhio

  • I am also VERY happy with SP2. I downloaded SP2 from a mirror site here in the U.S. in about 5 minutes. The installation went smoothly and I've been enjoying the new features ever since. I have been playing with Surveyor so much that I have yet to try any of the other areas!!

    Keep up the good work Auran!! Long live Trainz Railroad Simulator. Gary722

What are your favourite new features?
Make sure you vote in the latest Poll to let us know which of the new features in SP2 is your favourite. Currently the new train "portal" has 21% of the votes which is just behind "Loading and unloading Passengers" with 24%.


Content Creation CD now available
Auran have released a two CD set that contains all the original artwork (Studio Max files, texture files, etc.) for every model created since the beginning of the Trainz project. This includes models never released to the public such as the Budd Railcar and German VT11, as well as all your favourites from in-game. These CDs are designed for content creators and require either Gmax or 3D Studio Max to open the files. The majority of the content is created in 3DSM and therefore these files are not compatible with Gmax (since Discreet would rather that you purchased a license to their 3DSM software).

Content Creators should also stay tuned to upcoming announcements regarding how to become involved in helping create future Expansion Packs for TRS2004.

Order your copy of the Content Creators CD from the Auran online shop.


Fansites:
One of the strengths of Trainz is the amazing online community that supports this product in a variety of ways. As we near 100,000 registered members, the huge number of fansites listed on our website also keeps on growing. There are now 140 sites listed, many with their own unique flavour. For example, we have content creation sites such as Trainzluvr, country specific sites such as TrainzItalia, sites about a specific route or collection of routes such as TrainProRoutes, and even magazine type sites such as vmrj. If you haven't visited many of these fan sites, you're missing out on one of the best aspects of Trainz - namely seeing what other people are doing with their hobby. If you have a website and want to have it listed on the fansites page, please send us info and a link to helpdesk@auran.com.





30th April 2004

Service Pack 2 has arrived at the Station
Brisbane, Australia. April 30 , 2004. Service Pack 2 - Passenger Pack, the latest update to the long running Trainz franchise, has been released as in now available for download from the official Auran website plus many mirror sites around the world. SP2, which is the second free update to Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, brings a huge number of new features and a host of improvements and bug fixes.

"With SP2 our fans can now really experience some of the many challenges in operating a real railroad", said Greg Lane, Auran CEO and creator of the original concept of Trainz. "Users can set up a variety of trains, each with their own set of orders, and watch as their railroad springs to life," continued Lane. "Of course they can also take over control of any one of the locos and experience first hand life behind the throttle of one of the many diesel, electric or steam locos."

SP2 delivers new animated passenger stations, timetables, new flexibility with issuing and saving Driver Commands, and an overhaul of the minimap. The Drivers have been given extra training by way of tweaking their "artificial intelligence" and the signalling systems have been improved to more closely mimic real world systems. There are also several new assets such as "portals" that can spawn or consume trains and a new "multi-industry" which lets users create their own interactive industry quickly and simply.

With the continued success of the Trainz various products throughout the world and the recently announced end to the Microsoft Train Simulator product line, Auran hope that their latest offering will see an increase in the number of 3rd party content creators coming on board.

"We're putting together a new team to focus our support efforts on helping content creators get the most out of Trainz Railroad Simulator," said Tony Hilliam, Executive Producer of Trainz. 'We've learnt that our audience has an insatiable appetite for new content and the only way we are going to service those needs is by developing and nurturing a network of creative talent. This commitment begins with support, but extends to helping market and sell new products to our rapidly growing customer base. We've been going just over 3 years and have almost 100,000 registered users. This number is steadily increasing and we can only see the pace increasing in the future."





16th April 2004

TRS2004 Service Pack 2 - Passenger Pack update (SP2)
We have put an enormous amount of work into SP2 and we can confirm that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. (That would be a portal tunnel of course :) ). Our progress over the past few weeks has been very good indeed and we are releasing Release Candidate 3 (RC3) to our beta testers tonight. That should give you a good idea as to just how close we are to release. The testers are even saying we're very close to release - so that's always a good sign!

At this moment in time it's looking like SP2 will be a 50mb patch if you're updating from SP1 and a 100mb patch if you're updating from the retail edition of TRS. We will have a number of sites mirror the download and you can also pre-order the CD from our online Shop.


SP2 public beta
Since SP2 is such a significant upgrade it is our belief that one final round of testing using a much larger test group would be a very worthwhile exercise.

As such we will make our final release candidate available as a public download. The timing on this release will depend upon the outcome of this weekends testing with SP2 RC3. As soon as we have a Release Candidate that we are happy with it will be made available.

Our intention with a public RC is to catch any showstopper problems that may not have surfaced during our beta testing phase. It is likely that this test will last only a couple of days, but will ensure that the final build does not have any flaws that will reduce your enjoyment of the product.


SP2 Language editions
SP2 when released will initially be available as an English patch. This patch can be applied to any version of TRS, including retail, SP1 or any one of the languages released to date. If you install this patch you will end up with an English version of TRS.

Once SP2 is released we will send the build to our overseas publishers for local translations. Once translated we will produce a language specific version of SP2 for Trainz users in Germany, France, Italy and Spain followed by Poland, Czech Republic and Russia.


Auran Content CD's
Well, at long last the Auran content CD's are ready to go. The disks will be available to order from our Online Shop next week. Given that these disks are only useful for people with 3D Studio Max, we expect the production run to be quite low. Therefore we are charging just A$19.95 plus postage and packing of A$9.95 for the 2 Cd's.

These disks contain every model (locos, rolling stock, scenery, etc...) that has ever been produced at Auran. This includes both released and unreleased content. The content totals a little over 5gb. However, after some hefty compression, we've got that down to about 1gb .

There are three primary legal requirements for the use of these CD's. The first is that content produced using the models can only be made available for Trainz. The second is that content can only be available from the download station. Finally should you choose to update one of the objects that shipped with either TRS, TRS/SP1 or TRS/SP2 Auran may, at it's discretion, choose to repackage the said content under an Auran kuid. If Auran chooses to do this it will because we are so impressed with the quality of your creation that we would like to obsolete the older Auran object with your new version. In this instance Auran would make sure that all credit for the object remained with yourself and would be happy for the new CDP file to carry your website info or any other Trainz related information that you feel appropriate. We do not wish to take credit for your updates but rather make them available for all Trainz users to enjoy.

The content on the disks is in various versions of 3DS Max or gMax and will need work. Let us be very clear that unless you are a creator you will find little use for these disks. Although they will make great Trainz drink coasters :)





8th April 2004

Meet the Brew Crew Evening
On Wednesday 7th April, Auran opened their doors to the Trainz community for an exclusive "Meet the Brew Crew" evening. It was a fabulous turnout as 80 guests packed the entertainment room. Greg Lane did the introductions, followed by Tony Hilliam's preview of the upcoming Service Pack 2 on the big screen. Next we opened it up to the Trainz community locals with a Q&A session. The visitors then went on a tour of the Auran studios led by members of the Brew Crew and got to see what goes on inside a game development company. Finally, everyone got together for a little socializing in what turned out to be a great night. Below are some of the comments the Trainz community had to say about the preview of SP2.
  • "Looking awesome, looking forward to it!"

  • "Service pack 2 is great, I must admit, there is a lot in there, thumbs up and I mean thumbs up"

  • "The interface is a lot more efficient and user-friendly, easier to handle"

  • "The AI has come a long way"

  • "It brings a new dimension to the whole game"

Check the website for photos from the event.


SP2 Beta Testers
Beta testers play a very important role in the development of Trainz. With Service Pack 2 about to be released the whole beta testing crew have been working overtime. We would like to send a big thanks to everyone who has helped make Trainz and SP2 possible. A few members of the beta testers have made these comments:
  • I think once users get to see just how many tweaks, additions and improvements they are getting in SP2 it will feel like they've been given a whole new game rather than a service pack - Chuffchuff

  • I personally think the Portal is the best idea yet. It's like having an internet connection to someone elses' copy of Trainz and their Trainz are coming over to my computer. I get to interact with these Trainz if I choose, or let them be on their merry way to the exit portal, like sending them onto someone else! Bobo88

Visit the SP2 page for more comments from the beta testers.





2nd April 2004


Service Pack 2 - Passenger Pack Update
The Trainz team have been working hard to finalize the upcoming Service Pack 2 - Passenger Pack and the good news is that it is now getting very close with just a few minor issues remaining. To keep you going until we release SP2, please check out the updated details page at http://www.auran.com/TRS2004/sp2.htm. Once you have read the updated list, please vote in our latest poll to let us know which feature you are waiting for most.

In anticipation of the rush to order SP2 on CD, from today you can pre-order from the Auran online shop for the cost of P&H. We will also be making SP2 available for download - the file size looks like being less than 100mb. As you can imagine, our servers will be very busy for a few days whilst people download this pack, so please be patient and if unsuccessful try again later. If you would like to mirror this upload on your site please contact helpdesk@auran.com over the course of the next few days and we'll get you a copy of SP2 a little ahead of the release date.

Some of the many features you can expect include the addition of timetables and passenger loading and unloading, plus improvements to AI/signalling, Driver HUD, Mini-Map, Driver Orders, Rules, loading optimizations, new interfaces + more. Don't forget to vote in the new Poll.


Major improvement to Download Station
Many members of the Trainz community have experienced slow connection speeds to the Trainz Download Station. Over the past 3 months Auran has been undertaking a significant upgrade to the Download Station systems in order to address a variety of problems that have been reported.

Here's some background information on the upgrade. We've selected a server that is 5 times faster than our previous server, it is on an entirely new site and we've increased the available bandwidth from 11 meg per second to 100 meg per second. In addition, we've rewritten the entire permissions system for the download station and have installed the latest ftp and server management software.

We are currently publicly testing the new systems and if you would like to participate please visit this forum post for further information.

The results from the beta testing have been extremely positive as connection speeds are really reving up.

Happy downloading days are ahead!


Come and meet the Brew Crew!
We have had a great response to our invitation to attend the "Meet the Brew Crew" evening to be held next Wednesday, 7th April at the Auran offices. Currently over 50 Trainz community members have secured their place for this highly anticipated event but there is plenty more room available. We will be demonstrating the latest SP2 features and giving tips on how to get the most out of your Trainz experience.

If you would like to attend please send your RSVP email though to helpdesk@auran.com by April 6th.







25th March 2004

Come and meet the Brew Crew!
We would like to extend an invitation to members of the Trainz Community to attend an evening with Auran to be held at our Brisbane headquarters.

    When:
    Wednesday, April 7th, 2004 from 6.30PM


    Where:
    Auran headquarters
    Tilbrook Street
    NEW FARM QLD 4005
    Australia


The evening will be hosted by Greg Lane and attended by Tony Hilliam, John Banks, Lance Jago, Tim Carter, Henk Plaggemars and the Brew Crew. Come along and enjoy a special presentation by the creators of Trainz, Ultimate Trainz Collection and Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004. You will be able to hear about the future direction of Trainz and discuss any ideas you may have.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided, (International visitors will be given free orange juice, compliments of Greg Lane)and a specially signed copy of TRS2004 and a TRS2004 polo shirt will be given away as a lucky door prize.

Please register your interest by emailing helpdesk@auran.com prior to the 6th of April, 2004. We look forward to your company on the night.

As much as we would like to see all the members of the Trainz community at this event we realize that Brisbane is a fair distance to travel. Through the efforts of Henk "Cafe" Plaggemars our Trainz on the Road Global Coordinator, we are collaborating with the Trainz community through initiatives such as model train shows and hobby nights. If you are interested in getting involved in a Trainz event in your area please contact Henk. cafe@auran.com

With nearly 90,000 registered members there are enough of us to fill a large stadium. What an event that would be! Things are really taking off as we're currently averaging just over 1000 new members each week joining the community. So a big welcome to all of the Trainz new comers. We hope to see you on the forums. http://forums.auran.com/TRS2004/forum/default.htm Feel free to introduce yourself and join in the discussions.


SP2 Update
The Brew Crew are hard at work on the upcoming free update for Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, Service pack 2 (Passenger Pack).

Work is progressing well on SP2 and it will be well worth the wait. Some of the many features you can expect include the addition of timetables and passenger loading and unloading, plus improvements to AI/signaling, Driver HUD, Mini-Map, Driver Orders, Rules, loading optimizations, new interfaces + more. Keep an eye on the forum for further information. We will confirm release date details at the appropriate stage of development.

For the full list of features visit the SP2 page: http://www.auran.com/TRS2004/sp2.htm


Screenshot Tutorial
There have been a number of questions on how to manage screenshots and how to post them on the forum. Vulcan has kindly provided a great tutorial that may be of assistance to members of the Trainz community interested in making screenshots. The tutorial covers:
  1. setting up a scene for a screen shot;
  2. taking the shot in Trainz Surveyor or Driver;
  3. adjusting the screenshot size and type;
  4. posting in the forum; or
  5. using the screenshot in a model upload cdp package.
Check it out in the screenshots section of the forum.





3rd March 2004

Beta Testers Working on the Rails
Its been a busy time for our beta testers with the rigorous testing of Service Pack 2. Here are just some of the great things the beta testers have to say about the upcoming free release:

"Seems like there's lots of stuff added and tweaked - a lot of big improvements" SimUK

"I was also a bit overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of "new commands" that I noticed, GOOD JOB". Rik81

"This gets a great big initial thumps up!" Blehman


Details on Service Pack 2
Service Pack 2 (Passenger Pack) is a free update for Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004. Some of the many features you can expect include the addition of timetables and passenger loading and unloading, plus improvements to AI/signaling, Driver HUD, Mini-Map, Driver Orders, Rules, loading optimizations, new interfaces + more.

For the full list of features visit the SP2 page: http://www.auran.com/TRS2004/sp2.htm

Service Pack 2 is currently scheduled for release later this month.


New Learning Centre tutorials
There are a number of new tutorials available now from the Trainz learning center. We have received a great response to the tutorials available on the Learning Centre.

The learning Centre is your source for gaining a wide variety of information about getting the most out of Trainz. Be sure to check back often for new updates. If you have a tutorial you would like to share with the Trainz community please contact helpdesk@auran.com with the details. A huge thanks to the contributors of the current tutorials.


What's coming up!
Following the release of Service Pack 2, the Trainz team will be hard at work on the TRS2004 Demo. We hope to have this demo circulating the web shortly after the release of SP2.

The long awaited Content Creator CDs will be also be released after SP2. These CDs feature working files from Auran's internal art department allowing creators to bring to the Trainz community even more great content.


Busy Railyard needs more Drivers
Trainz is growing and we need more drivers to help expand. If you would like the chance to feature as a driver in TRS2004 simply submit a digital portrait picture of yourself in your smartest driving uniform. The picture should be a minimum resolution of 640 x 480 and from the waist up on a white background. Please send applications to helpdesk@auran.com.





9th February 2004

The Track Plan for the Future:
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the first retail release of Trainz but more importantly it is time to lay out the track plan for the future direction of the whole Trainz franchise. Before we explain our plans, let's look back at some of the highlights of where we've come from.

Trainz Milestones:
Some time in 1995 - Greg Lane has an idea to make a model railroad simulator when PC graphics become good enough
November 1999 - Design & Research Phase begins
Mar 2000 - Coding and artwork commences
Aug 2000 - First Online Community Registration. Vern, Barney, CeeBee and Mr D all joined in the first week

November 2001 - 10,000 Registered Members
Trainz Community Edition - "model railroading on your PC". First release of Trainz to the online community. Introduced Surveyor, the user friendly world and track building editor, and "drive wherever you like" freedom.
December 2001 - Download Station receives first layout - Sagatukett, by Diego Gallina
February-Sept 2002 - 16,000 Registered Members
Trainz V1.0 - "virtual railroading on your PC". Retail release throughout the world.

July 2002 - 28,000 Registered Members
Trainz V1.3 - Service Pack 3 released. A free upgrade which introduced the concept of scripted scenarios, added many new features and the first release of 3rd party content on the Trainz CD.

November 2002 - 37,000 Registered Members
Ultimate Trainz Collection. Released online to the world and in retail stores in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Added new scenarios, loads of new Surveyor and Driver features, and was bundled with the Paint Shed utility and more 3rd party content

November 2003 - 68,000 Registered Members
Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 - "the most complete railroad experience ever created". Introduced steam engines, interactive industries, Rules and Driver Commands. Much of the new content and 5 new routes created by 3rd party contributors.

December 2003 - 74,000 Registered Members
TRS2004 Steam Pack - Service Pack 1 released. Added hotkeys for driving steam engines, new steam engine physics, encryption support for scripts.

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 - present day.
This snapshot of the history of Trainz shows how the product has evolved over time and at each stage we have added features and functionality to broaden the railroad experience. Each product has improved upon the previous version and TRS2004 is the fastest selling Trainz product ever thanks to a wider audience awareness, more concentrated launch schedule and greater retail presence.

Our immediate plans going forward involve the release of Passenger Pack - Service Pack 2, scheduled for March 2004. SP2 adds interactive passenger stations, driver timetables, improvements to the rules, commodities and commands systems, mini-map display toggle, tweaks to AI and many more features. Taking on board customer feedback, we won't be releasing SP2 until is complete and thoroughly tested, even if this means slight delays. This will be the last free upgrade for TRS2004.

So, the big question remains, what do we plan to do next?


Trainz - Down the Track...
Our goal going forward is to continue to expand the product and enhance those areas that we believe will appeal most to our customers. In order to achieve this goal we also are presented with the challenge to generate sufficient revenue along the way to ensure we have an appropriate budget and market appeal for each of the products. The path ahead is therefore a careful balance between design and commercial realities.

To leverage the solid foundations of TRS2004 and to build upon the platform already laid, the next product we have designed for release will be an "Engineers Edition - Expansion Pack" (EE).

The aim of EE is to add to the overall realism of the simulation for budding (or retired) engineers. EE will include new prototypical routes, new locos, new cabs and a number of new features focussed on cabs, tracks, and the overall driving experience. The Expansion Pack will require a full version of TRS2004 and will be totally backwards compatible (with TRS). Pricing, full feature sets and release dates will be announced during the year.

We also plan to release a TRS2004 "Gold Edition" which is effectively a stand-alone version of TRS2004 and EE combined. This product is targeted at new purchasers and will include an upgrade pricing model for owners of older versions of Trainz. We are also examining plans for other expansion packs for TRS2004 along the lines of our original plans for Brachline, Commuter and Network Packs.

The most important decision we have had to make is what to do looking longer term. The decision we have made is to split the product and follow two diverging paths - one heading down the prototypical route, titled "Railroad Simulator Professional Edition", and the other down the management simulation path, titled "Tranzportation". Greg Lane, Auran CEO and original Trainz visionary, has prepared a detailed article explaining the direction of RSP. You will notice that the word Trainz has been dropped from the title indicating that this product will not be an updated version of Trainz, but rather a totally new project designed from the ground up.

Tranzportation is aimed more at the casual gamer. Whilst still focussed on railroads, Tranzportation will introduce other elements of freight and passenger transport such as planes, ships and trucks. The gameplay is more about managing transport fleets and expanding your fleets to meet the needs of industry, towns and cities, and not driving vehicles. You will be able to zoom right in to see your reflection in the paint work, and also hop inside the cab or cockpit of the vehicles. We are in discussions with several leading publishers regarding plans for the Tranzportation product and will keep you informed regarding that project as more information comes to hand.


3rd Party Content
One of the key aspects that has characterized Trainz has been the willingness of 3rd party content creators to donate their time and energies into proving additional content for our recent releases. Without their support, we simply could not afford to continue developing the product line. However, this process has not been without its pitfalls. Having almost 100 people in the 3rd party content group fording development of TRS meant that we were unable to provide each of these people with the level of support they deserved. We also simply couldn't provide sufficient time with a stable code base for the creators to work on, meaning that it was always difficult to meet deadlines.

Learning from our past experiences, we are making a few changes for the upcoming future releases. We will be appointing a full-time 3rd party liaison officer whose primary role will be to co-ordinate 3rd party content efforts and help them in every way possible. This person will help to hand select several small teams to work on various mini-projects that fit into the overall design of the particular product. Volunteers will be invited to apply for positions on the various teams. We will also ensure that there is ample time in the development cycle for content to be designed, created and tested.

This collaboration will ensure the highest possible quality of content ever produced for Trainz and will be a highlight of our upcoming products. Full details regarding the formation of the new groups will be published after we release Service Pack 2.


Trainz Community
We know that we already have a fantastic community and it is currently the fastest growing rail sim community in the world. The future success of Trainz and the other products we have outlined here is very much in your hands. The product is getting better and better, and we have created a new hobby for many thousands of train fans. We know that given the right development budget we can continue to improve and expand our product range to meet the wide range of tastes from all types of train fan.

The challenge, however, is that our fan base needs to continue to grow, and even accelerate. Each of you, as a member of the Trainz community or as a new reader of this paper, can help to ensure the success of these new products by helping us to grow our customer base today. How? By simply employing the power of "word of mouth" testimonials to help spread the word about your favourite hobby.

Here are some things you can to help make Trainz even better:
  1. Show the product to your friends to get them hooked
  2. Buy a copy online and give it (or sell it) to your friend
  3. Join the Trainz on the Road team (TotR) and earn commission selling Trainz at hobby shows
  4. visit your local hobby store or model railroad club and arrange a demo day.
  5. you may already know someone who has a "borrowed" copy of Trainz - ask them to buy it
  6. You may have an older version of Trainz - upgrade to the latest version now.
  7. Send the new Trainz JigSaw Puzzle to all your friends
  8. Create your own fansite and support the other great Trainz community fansites.
With your support, Trainz will continue to grow and evolve for many years to come.


Forums
To see what everyone is saying about these announcements, please visit our online forums and have your say too.





2nd February 2004

Countdown to what?
For those of you who don't visit our busy online forums regularly, you've been missing out on a bit of fun and excitement being created by our CEO, Greg Lane. Over the past week or so, a countdown has begun. We can't say what it is all about yet, but something big is happening in 7 days time. There are pieces of a puzzle appearing each day to help you figure out what might be happening, so visit this thread for an update.

TRS2004 Compatible Paint Shed Now Available

The long awaited release of the TRS2004 compatible version of Paint Shed has arrived. Paint Shed is now available for free download or for the cost of P&H on CD. Please be warned in advance that our servers will be extremely busy for a few days, so be patient or try again later.

This great little utility lets you repaint a large number of the various locos and rolling stock items using an intuitive 5 step process that takes just minutes to learn. For our new TRS users this will also make many more of the Download Station items compatible for your use. We apologize for the delay in releasing Paint Shed but we had to ensure all the items would be compatible with TRS2004. All items will function in TRS2004, but the loading animation won't be visible until we release Service Pack 2.


Learning Centre up and running!
The new learning Centre is your source for gaining a wide variety of information about getting the most out of Trainz. There are a number of tutorials available now. As we build up this resource we aim to cover a diverse range of topics covering the needs of beginners through to expert users. The Learning Centre currently includes Trainz scripting tutorials and utilities, folder and file name tutorials and content creation tutorials. Thanks to Phil_C, gstafleu, GaryP and slugsmasher for their contributions. If you have a tutorial you would like to share with the Trainz community please email helpdesk@auran.com. Be sure to check back regularly for new additions.

Discount Offer
Discounts are still on offer until February 28 so get in quick before they expire. Prior to the release of TRS2004, all registered Trainz users were allocated a 20% discount voucher. These vouchers expired on December 31st. We have renewed this offer and also issued 20% discount vouchers to all our TRS2004 customers as well. This offer includes a 3 Month First Class Ticket for FREE. There are also specials on purchasing both TRS2004 and Railroad Tycoon 3 so check out our online store for more details.

New Poll
This weeks poll asks: "As Trainz continues to evolve, which of these features or modules would you like to see most? For the choices make your way to the Trainz website and have your vote.

Raildriver
Working closely with PI Engineering we have been extensively testing the latest Raildriver Drivers and adding support for new functions. There have been lots of improvements and even more features will be unlocked with the upcoming release of Service Pack 2.

Service Pack 2 Update
Work is progressing well on SP2 with many of your favorite feature requests being added. The mini-map now has lots of new options you can turn on and off (such as signals, object names or trackmarks) and there are some major improvements to both the Driver Commands and Rules systems. Beta testing commences shortly, so keep on the look-out for further announcements.

Service Pack 1
The Service Pack 1: International edition is now available on CD for the cost of P&H. You can order this from our online store. Check out the Service Pack 1 page for more details.







9th January 2004

The Fastest Trainz Ever!
It's official. With more than 5,000 new registrations in the month of December, Trainz is the fastest growing rail sim community in the world. With almost 80,000 total registrations, 50,000 on our mailing list and more than 100 new members every day, we should top the 100,000 mark sometime late this year. Welcome aboard to all our new members - we trust you will enjoy the ride.

By country, USA edged out Germany for the number one slot in December, with UK, Australia and Canada rounding out the top 5. With Italian, Spanish, Polish and Czech versions to come early in 2004, our community is truly international. You may also be interested to know that whilst TRS2004 is the major product this month, the original Trainz version still generates more than 100 new members per week with Poland coming in at number 3 by country!


Discount Offer Extended
Prior to the release of TRS2004, all registered Trainz users were allocated a 20% discount voucher. These vouchers expired on December 31st. Today we are renewing this offer until February 28 and also issuing 20% discount vouchers to all our TRS2004 customers as well. This offer also includes a 3 Month First Class Ticket for FREE. There are also specials on purchasing both TRS2004 and Railroad Tycoon 3 so check out our online store for more details.

Paint Shed - Free Download
Speaking of FREE, we've got great news for all new TRS owners: next week we will be making the handy Paint Shed utility program available as a FREE download (or for the cost of P&H on CD). This great little utility lets you repaint a huge number of the various locos and rolling stock items using an intuitive 5 step process that takes just minutes to learn. For our new TRS users this will also make many more of the Download Station items available and compatible for your use. Check back next week to download your copy.

We will also be updating Paint Shed later in the year and making this update available at a very special price to all TRS2004 users. The update will include more items including new locos, interactive rolling stock, new paint templates, a new 3D preview window and much more.



Download Station upgrade
As many of you have noted in the past month or so, not all content on the Download Station works with TRS2004. Whilst many of the problems have been related to Paint Shed incompatibility, missing or incorrect passwords or perhaps even errors in the 3rd party content, we're working on ways of improving our systems and error reporting to make this process painless. For those of you who have discovered the joys of the Trainz Download Helper in full swing, I'm sure you will agree that it is a fantastic system. We're now serving up around 10,000 items per day from our servers, plus those items people download from elsewhere. With the future enhancements and increase in availability of new items, this figure will continue to grow tremendously.


Passenger Pack - Service Pack 2
As promised, we're working hard on the next major improvement to TRS2004 - the Passenger Pack upgrade (also called Service Pack 2). The goal of this update is to add the new passenger station features allowing for running to a timetable and to enhance a number of other systems such as driver orders, AI behaviour, 2D map view, sounds and more. One of the key new features will be the ability to issue commands to Drivers in Surveyor and save these within a session. You will also be able to issue orders to as many Drivers as you wish, and scroll through the list of orders, inserting or deleting orders as you go. A full feature set and time frame will announced in the next few weeks which will also include an announcement about a TRS2004 demo (which is due soon after the SP2 release).


RailDriver Update
The popular RailDriver controller is now fully compatible with TRS2004 (as well as UTC and MSTS). The new software drivers have just completed beta testing and the final install should be ready this weekend. Auran has received new stock of RailDrivers so if you live in Australia or New Zealand you can order yours from the Auran shop online. For North America customers please visit the PI Engineering website at http://www.raildriver.com/ and European customers visit http://www.aerosoft.com/. RailDriver is a 2.5kg (5 1/2lb) custom built controller with brake and throttle levers, digital speed readout, various switches for headlights and horns etc, 8 programmable cab keys and 28 programmable hotkeys for all your favorite keys.


3rd Party Content
The final note for this news is about our legion of 3rd party content creators. If you haven't visited the Content Creation forum lately, or the Download Station, please do so. The amount and quality of content that is being released or is about to be released is staggering. Some of the new Rules begin to unlock the power and flexibility of the Trainz Script code that hides behind the scenes. There really is a huge amount of development going on right now and this aspect of Trainz will ensure that this hobby continues to grow for many years to come.


Become a content creator yourself!
We've made available a small download that helps you import your own photo into TRS2004 so that you can see yourself in the cab as you thunder along the rails. If you have any troubles following the guidelines (Driver - Me), visit our forums for some friendly community assistance.





10th December 2003

Service Pack 1
Well, the definitive date for the eagerly awaited Service Pack 1 update can now be announced. It will be available on Tuesday, 16th December. You will be able to download SP1 from the Auran website or order a CD online for the cost of P&H. If you have a mirror site then please feel free to mirror this upload. As you can imagine, our servers will be very busy for a few days whilst people download this pack, so please be patient and if unsuccessful try again later.

The main improvements in this Service Pack are to the steam physics. We have had several engineers helping us test all our engines and a special thanks must go out to Eric Whitmore who has been tireless in his efforts to help. There are now hot keys which let you drive without using your mouse and we've even tweaked the DCC controls to give you a better ride as well. We've given our AI drivers some more time in the training room and they no longer prefer the left route under the Drive Command.

For further details on Service Pack 1 click here.


TrainzObjectz
As part of our commitment to showcasing Trainz 3rd Party Applications we are pleased to bring to you "TrainzObjectz", developed by TaFWeb. TrainzObjectz assists you with managing TRS2004 content in an easy and efficient manner. It is an ideal application for all Trainz users, from the casual Trainz user through to Content Creators. A big thanks to TaFWeb for developing this awesome application! You can read about TrainzObjectz features and download it here.


Language Versions of Trainz Now Available in a Store near you
The perfect gift for friends has arrived. The international versions of TRS2004 will be available throughout Europe in time for Christmas. These versions include German, Spanish, French and Italian. For further details on the publisher in your region visit our products page.

If you are in the UK, you can now get your localised "Trainz Railway Simulator 2004" from Just Trains or Game store.

USA and Canadian residents can visit EB or GameStop


20,000 unused discount vouchers
Over the past 2 years, many thousands of people have registered their copies of Trainz or UTC. All these people were awarded a 20% discount voucher for being loyal customers, and there are still 20,000 of them who haven't taken advantage of their discount. Are you one of those people? Check your Planet Auran profile to see if you have a voucher. By buying online, you are supporting the developer directly, which means that we can make bigger and better editions of Trainz in the future.

SPECIAL OFFER
For the next few weeks, we are also offering FREE SHIPPING. So, if you order today, you may even get TRS in time for Christmas (orders are currently taking around 10 days to arrive). Remember, you can also choose to fax or mail your order to us.


International Websites
You may have already noticed the new regions menu on the top of the TRS2004 website. With the help of members of the Trainz community we aim to focus on region specific content and localized language support for TRS. Currently these include:
Please check back regularly at these sites as they will be frequently updated.

To get the ball rolling with this localized content, registered German users can now download the German manual here.


Screenshot Competition Winners
A big congratulations to Magicentro the winner of the TRS2004 screenshot competition. Magicentro wins a stylish new TRS2004 Polo shirt and a copy of TRS2004.

Congratulations to the 10 runners up for their great entries. Grogstop65, Naikrd, Gasdoctor, Maxtac, Prowler901, Lightrail, Speedstream, Rox , Big_Boy4000UP & Zatovisualworks will all receive a cool Trainz t-shirt. You can check out the winning entries here.





28th October 2003

How hot is Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004?

Copies are being installed, the user comments are beginning to flood in...and the news is good. Here's a few of the first comments on the TRS forums:
  • I installed TRS yesterday afternoon and got to bed at 1:00am this morning! Sunfrog
  • I have had more fun playing....uh testing....TRS than I have with any other version of Trainz or other Rail software. Smooz (beta tester)
  • Setting up consists in Surveyor. Brilliant!! Forest_Runner
  • Just brilliant, I was gob-smacked. To everybody in Auran and all those outside who helped, TRS2004 is everything promised. Tell
  • I received my copy of TRS2004 today and after about one hour all I can say is WOW....If you haven't purchased your copy of TRS2004 run don't walk to do it now. RichOhio
For more first hand feedback from Trainz fans, please visit our online forums.


HOT new movie

To celebrate the launch of TRS2004, a HOT new movie has been released showing the inside of one of the new steam cabs...and shows a hot and sweaty fireman shoveling coal.




Railroad Tycoon 3

It really must be getting close to Christmas, with not one, but two railroad products being released in October. We've managed to get hold of some of the very first copies of the critically acclaimed Railroad Tycoon 3 and these are now available for purchase from our online store. Orders will be shipped out on October 29th. Pricing is AUD$89.95 (US$49.99, €49.99 and £29.99).

If you have a registered copy of Trainz (any version) you receive a 15% discount.


Double your Railroad Fun.

We have also created a special double pack - Railroad Tycoon 3 & Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 for the special price of AUD$159.99 - Save $20. (US$79.99, €89.99, £59.99).



TRS2004 Download Station - Grand Opening.

We've been hard at work behind the scenes improving the Download Station to make things even easier to download. The biggest change is the new Trainz Download Helper which finds all dependant items and automatically downloads them for you - so no more missing bogeys. This application can also be placed as a link on other websites, allowing seamless downloading without even visiting our website. As long as the content is listed on the Trainz Download Station, TDH will find it.

We've also added a new staging area for content creators to allow them to pre-test their content before making it "live". There's a new simplified interface and we've reduced the categories to 9 areas to make searching for content easier.




TRS2004 Screenshot competition
So you have received your copy of TRS2004 and want to show the world what you have been up to? This is your chance to take your favorite screenshot and enter it into the TRS2004 screenshot competition. 1st place will receive a TRS2004 polo shirt and copy of TRS2004, there will also be prizes for 10 runner ups. Please email entries to screenshots@auran.com. For further details and requirements please refer to the competition page.





17th October 2003

17th October 2003


TRS2004 Ships
Great news for all those who have ordered from the Auran Online Shop - your orders began shipping today! For US and UK residents, normal shipping times are around 5 days. For Europe, generally you need to add a few more days. For some early feedback and first impressions of TRS2004, please visit the online forums.

Not only is ordering online safe and easy, you also get a free First Class Ticket and, if you are a registered customer, a 20% discount.

We also offer a fax or mail order option from the online shop page.

Retail Dates confirmed
For those of you who are still waiting for retail release, here are the dates that have been confirmed:
  • Australia - October 18-25
    Best place to buy - EB, Harvey Norman

  • USA/Canada - October 31
    Best place to buy - Best Buy, EB

  • UK - October 29
    Best place to buy - Game

  • New Zealand - early November
    Best place to buy - EB

  • Europe - planned for November for most countries. Dates are still to be confirmed and will be announced as soon as localisation details are completed.
Happy TRS'ing.





14th October 2003


14th October 2003



Only one week to go until shipping begins! If you haven't placed your order as yet time is running out. Discounts are available to all registered Trainz users and you'll get your copy of Trainz before the retail stores get theirs. Place your order for TRS2004 here at our online shop.



Last Friday Auran had a visit from one of Australia's most respected games reviewers, Anthony Fordham of PC PowerPlay. Here is what he had to say..."I've only been playing 5 minutes and I can already see there is a hundred times more to this version of Trainz. The fans are going to go wild, especially with the new steam engines."



It's time to decorate your desktop with a collection of new Trainz wallpapers. Check out the wallpapers page on the TRS2004 website for some great new art.



Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 will be released on October 15th. What are your plans regarding purchasing TRS2004?



Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004
www.railroadsimulator.com

Auran
www.auran.com


**To subscribe or unsubscribe, please change your preferences at Planet Auran.








26th September 2003

26th September 2003

Welcome to the new Trainz Railroad Gazette, your source for the latest Trainz news, updates and more...

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Ordering Begins

The announcement you've all been waiting for - the Auran Online Store is now open for business and you can pre-order your copy of TRS2004. The Gold Master date (this is when the master disk goes off for replication) has been set for Sept 29th and shipping will begin shortly after.

When you purchase TRS2004 online, you will receive the same version as for the retail stores PLUS we're also throwing in a FREE First Class Ticket for 3 months (normally worth US$8.95).





50+ locomotives
10+ Routes
10+ Scenarios
New Interactive Industries


New Driver Commands
New Rules System for creating your own activities
3 Month First Class Ticket
Unlimited enjoyment

Plus, if you have a Registered Trainz or Ultimate Trainz Serial Number you will also receive a 20% Discount Voucher which can be used to purchase one or more copies of TRS2004.

Online Pricing for TRS2004 + 3mth FCT:
USD$49.99 (USD$39.99 for registered Trainz serial numbers)
€49.99 (€39.99)
£29.99 (£23.99)
AUD$89.99 (AUD$71.99) includes GST

Shipping commences Mid-October.




For a limited time we have reduced the price of the 12 month First Class Ticket to just US$10, normally worth US$24.95. This means that with the 3 months free FCT received when purchasing TRS2004 you can enjoy a total of 15 months fast and unlimited access to the Trainz Download Station for less than $1 a month.



Steam, interactive industries, Drivers to carry out your work orders and much more!

TRS2004 is a stand alone version of Trainz and is the third in the Trainz series. We've improved upon all the original Trainz features and introduced a whole new set of dynamic, interactive railroad operations.


What you get on the 2 CD's is just the beginning. Download more content, more routes and more scenarios to expand your enjoyment. For a full description of what's new, please visit our TRS2004 website

First Class Ticket and Download Station Improvements: With the release of TRS2004, we will also be upgrading our online services. Our free Download Station service will offer faster access (up to 10kb/sec) and up to 100MB of downloads free per month. The First Class Ticket service offers superior bandwidth, unlimited downloads and no limit to the number of concurrent users. In addition the new Trainz Download Helper (TDH) utility actually locates and automatically downloads any dependent items found on the Download Station. This means that you can download a route, TDH will then check to see if there are any objects that aren't installed on your PC, find them and install them all in one simple step.

By supporting the First Class Ticket service you not only improve your own access capabilities, but you're also helping Auran provide better service to all customers. Thank you for your support.





A stunning, beautiful world awaits as you take on the challenge of bridging the chasm. Can you solve the puzzles and avert disaster?

Bridge It is a co-operative development between graphics card manufacturer Nvidia and Auran. Designed to showcase the latest Nvidia hardware, Bridge It is a fun filled and challenging puzzle game where your task is to create a bridge across the chasm within your allocated budget. You then get to run cars and even trains across the bridge to see if your creation will stand up to the test!

Download the demo or purchase online now!



Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004
www.railroadsimulator.com


Auran
www.auran.com



**To subscribe or unsubscribe, please change your preferences at Planet Auran.







12th September 2003

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 - Latest Release News
Everybody has been asking for an update, so as we get close to the release of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 (TRS2004), the time has come for the news on what's going to be inside the box. This release is without doubt the biggest update in the history of Trainz. We're bringing you a whole new level of game play where you can operate your own working railroad. We've also added steam, with amazing smoke effects and realistic physics and a huge variety of new features and improvements.

TRS2004 ships as a stand-alone product and therefore doesn't require previous versions of Trainz to work. You can even keep previous versions of Trainz installed if you wish (although we're not sure why you would :-).

As TRS2004 is backwards compatible with other versions, we have decided to include all the original Trainz content plus all the UTC content including scenery, locos and scenarios. Almost all your custom content can be copied straight into the new TRS2004 directories and will be up and running immediately.

New content in TRS2004 includes:
  • 10 new steam engines including the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy and
    the LNER A4 4-6-2 Mallard
  • 6 new diesels including the UP DD40X and the NSWGR 442
  • 6 new electrics including the DB180 and the Hondekop train car

This is in addition, of course, to the original 13 locos from Trainz V1.0 plus the16 locos added with UTC making more than 50 locos in total. Special thanks must go to the gifted content creators who have provided much of this content for your enjoyment. A full list of locos and rolling stock will be posted in the next couple of weeks.

As well as these locos, there are new freight cars, passenger cars and tank cars, and dozens of new scenery items, trackside objects and stations. There are several new routes based on a mix of real world locations and prototypical operations created by some of the leading route creators in the community. These routes are undergoing final tweaking and testing and full details will be released soon(tm).

TRS2004 Feature overview:
The major new addition for TRS2004 is the concept of Driver Sessions. Features include waybills, interactive industries with visible loading and unloading of goods, supplying industries with goods and resources, and managing a staff of drivers. You can also operate passenger runs or a combination of freight and passenger. These "Driver Sessions", or interactive activities, are created in Surveyor where you set various industry production levels, place your consists directly onto the track, allocate drivers to each loco and set up rules to govern each Session. You can even bring up html documents to describe the operations involved in your Session. After creating and saving your Session, you can jump from Surveyor straight into Driver where you can issue driver orders, carry out tasks yourself and effectively control every aspect of the railroad. Each time you run a Driver Session, the experience will be different depending on the sequence that you give! orders and the efficiency with which you and your friendly Drivers carry them out. Each Session is also totally customizable by the end-user so that they can replace locos with their favorites or adjust industry outputs and so on.

This is only one new aspect of TRS2004. Steam lovers will be pleased to know that we've included steam support with animated firemen inside the full 3D cabs and the standard Trainz choice of simple DCC speed controls or a full realistic physics model.

The extended feature list for TRS2004 includes:

  • Interactive Industries
    • Industry resource model with commodities produced and consumed
    • Adjustable industry rates of production and consumption
    • Industries that automatically generate waybills when goods and resources are required
    • Animated loading and unloading
    • Cars get heavier when loaded
    • Set limits on which cars can pick up which goods


  • AI Drivers
    • Allocate drivers to specific loco
    • Give them orders to load, unload, decouple etc
    • Queue orders and repeat
    • Name your drivers and even use your own photograph
    • Run multiple trains simultaneously with AI trains path
    • finding their way to destinations


  • Create your own Activities
    • Rules system brings the power of scripting to the average user
    • Add new rules to expand functionality
    • Create Html web pages to introduce your driver sessions to others
    • Create and save different driver sessions for each route with different locos, start times and industry parameters
    • Hotkey to jump straight from Surveyor to Driver
    • Driver Sessions can be exported with your route


  • Integration of locos and rolling stock into Surveyor
    • Place locos and rolling stock in Surveyor
    • Name and save favorite consists for quick placement
    • Test overpass heights and signals, track lengths and more
    • Favorites listing from Railyard (My Collection) carried over to Surveyor


  • Steam
    • Full support for steam engines including real world physics
    • Synchronized steam engine sounds
    • New smoke and steam effects
    • In cab animations including fireman


  • Other features
    • Multiple save game slots
    • Free roaming camera in Driver
    • Per axle track sounds
    • Scripted signaling for advanced functionality
    • Semaphore signals introduced
    • Fixed track
    • Long horn blasts
    • Wind affects smoke
    • New adjustable water system (color, wave height, reflection)
    • Gamma slider to adjust game brightness
    • New Trainz Helper downloading utility finds and installs all dependent items (no more missing pieces)

In addition to all the new features, there are a host of improvements including:
  • Improved graphics such as bump mapping and specular highlights
  • Improved headlights
  • Overall lighting model improved
  • Improved particle effects
  • Performance on like-for-like routes improved by 10-50% (depending on your system)
  • 2D Map View - labels, switches and signals easier to see
  • Online systems improved for searching and uploading
  • Content Dispatcher allows which version to install into for custom content
  • AI stops closer to red lights
  • Wider field of view in cab
  • Fluid animation support

We've also worked hard on providing hundreds of pages of documentation including:
  • Printed User Manual and PDF version for viewing with larger font size
  • Engineers Handbook
  • World Builders Guide
  • Content Creators Guide
  • User Activity Creators Guide
  • Technical Manual

And if you have Trainz V1, don't forget that with UTC we introduced features like dual cabs, multiple in-cab cameras, and numerous hotkeys to make everything quicker and easier to operate. Check out all the full list of UTC additions here.

Make sure you visit the new forums to give us your feedback, and await the surprises we have in store. Also, there are some great new movies that are on the way but to keep you going, we've posted some new screenshots showing the Big Boy, the Mallard and the DD40X in action.

There's more than what's in the Box!

This edition of Trainz introduces many features that give content creators even more flexibility in making new and exciting content. With increased documentation and online support, along with the growing experience of content creators, we are sure that TRS2004 will continue to expand beyond anything we could have imagined. The underlying scriptlet systems give content creators the power to invent new systems and new ways of doing things. Game objects can be given behaviours that are triggered by certain events and feedback given to the user. Scripts are also used to create Rules which can then be used by end-users to customize their Sessions. This type of open architecture ensures that there will always be new things to download to expand your experience. Make sure you visit the forums to talk about the types of things you would like to see introduced.

When will it be ready and when can I pre-order?

If everything goes to plan, pre-ordering will begin next week, and online copies will begin shipping mid-October. Retail stores will follow in the weeks after that and localized versions for Europe will be in November.

Full pricing details and discounts for existing customers will be announced when we begin pre-ordering.





28th August 2003

New Trainz website
To celebrate the upcoming release of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, we invite you to check out the fresh new look of the website here. Visit the site and view exclusive TRS2004 screenshots. Exciting preview content will be added to the site over the coming weeks as we ramp up towards the official launch, so come back often. Preview updates will include a series of movies, details on new features and functionality and information about the content that is included in the TRS2004 package. The website will also feature profiles about the outstanding content, from steam locomotives to routes, that have been created for TRS2004 by members of the Trainz third-party content creator community.

New Forum
We have redesigned the Trainz forum with a fresh look and feel that reflects the style of the new Web site. Join us here and find out more about TRS2004, ask questions or discuss anything Trainz and rail related. You can also access a wealth of information built up over the past few years.

Exclusive New screenshots at Gamespot
Head over to Gamespot for even more exclusive screenshots from the upcoming TRS2004. Check them out now!

We've got lots of exciting plans for the period leading up to the retail release, so keep an eye out for special chat sessions with the Trainz team! Visit the site often as you never know what sneak peeks you may get of the forthcoming TRS2004.





25th July 2003

Beta Testing underway!
Beta testing of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 is now well underway and we've incorporated over 400mb of new high quality 3rd party content into the lastest build. The highly committed and passionate team of train fans and computer wizards got a feel for TRS2004 as they put the beta code through its paces as part of the testing procedures that go into the final stages of development. Over the coming weeks we'll be recruiting a few more people into the beta team, so if you feel you have the necessary skills please send a single paragraph email to helpdesk@auran.com explaining what special talents you bring to the role. Please be sure to include your PC specifications.

Ultimate Trainz Collection makes the top 100 games list!
"After weeks of boozing, fighting, weeping and the occasional bribe, Anthony Fordham is left to pick up the pieces and present PC PowerPlay's guide to the 100 games you should definitely own, ...."

Ultimate Trainz Collection ranked number 64 ahead of titles such as Flight Simulator 2002 Pro, Max Payne, Doom and Need for Speed. What a great achievement! Look out for the September 2003 edition of PC Powerplay to get the full list.

The Adrenaline Vault Interview
For a sneak peak at what’s coming your way in Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, check out the Adrenaline Vault interview with one of Auran's head honcho's Tony Hilliam. You will also be able to grab a glimpse of some exclusive new screenshots. "We're broadening our audience with Trainz 2004 by introducing interactive industries backed by a new resource model. This means that - in addition to hardcore simulation fans – we're also targeting strategy gamers. It's a bit like Trainz meets Railroad Tycoon - although the focus is more on goods and resources rather than money and share prices." Read the full interview here.

The Junkyard Interview
Robin Smith lets loose some of the secrets of TRS2004 with the Junkyard interview. You can also find some more exclusive screenshots. "The biggest selling point in the past has been our world builder tool "Surveyor". It is just so easy to use and it's really addictive. You start out laying track and moving mountains, and next thing you know you've missed dinner! This time around we've added a lot more tools for creating your own railroad experience so now instead of just building a static world, you can take advantage of all the interactive industries and actually develop your own storylines." Read the full interview here.





10th July 2003

USA News - Heavy Metal
What weighs in at over 545,000lbs, is almost 100 feet in length and outputs the power of 6,600 horses? - it's the Union Pacific DD40X ! - the largest and most powerful locomotive ever built. We're pleased to announce that you'll be seeing a lot more of this loco as Auran have just signed a licensing agreement with
Union Pacific to use the brand and likeness of UP locos in Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004. Read the offical press release here. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements of partnerships with other railroads and railways around the world.

UK News - Trains and Planes
We are pleased to announce that Just Trains, part of the world’s favourite dedicated simulation publisher Just Flight, has signed up to publish Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 in the United Kingdom, where it will be titled ‘Railway Simulator 2004’. The deal, which also includes The Netherlands, will ensure that fans will receive 100% commitment to customer care from every member of Just Trains staff and localised edtions in a wide variety of retail stores.

"We're very excited to have the opportunity of working with Just Trains to bring the latest version of Trainz to one of the key markets in the world," said Tony Hilliam, Auran's Marketing Director. "This is tremendous news for fans who are now assured of great service and support and much broader availability than in the past."

"In what will be a pivotal year for the train simulators, we see this partnership with Auran and Trainz as cementing our position as the number one publisher in this genre," said Mungo Amyatt-Leir, Managing Director of Just Trains. "We've been watching Trainz evolve and improve over each successive release and we're sure that the increased level of realism and interactivity in this latest release will be just what many fans have been looking for."

Just Trains and Auran will be working to ensure that plenty of British and Dutch content will make Trainz Railway Simulator the number one choice for train simmers this autumn!

Release is penciled in for early October, with a retail price to be confirmed.

European News - More Local Content
Publishers for most European countries for TRS2004 are now being finalised and announcements will be made in the coming weeks. Together with our publishers we are looking to sign license agreements with several railroad companies and we will be aiming to release translated versions within 4 weeks of the English language edition. Thanks to the fantastic support from our 3rd party content creators we will be able to offer localised content including country specific signals and locos.

Price Drop on Ultimate Trainz Collection
With still a few more months to wait until the release of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, we've dropped the price of the Ultimate Trainz Collection to just US$24.99. With a 30% discount voucher if you have registered your copy of Trainz you can save a further $7.50.

Inside Track - Ready to ride the rails?
Greg (Shutter) , a member of the Trainz content creator community, has joined the Trainz Development team for a few weeks to provide his valuable input from a scripting point of view. We can say that working and collaborating closely with members of the Trainz community is contributing significantly to the quality of the forthcoming release. Over the next few days Greg will be sharing his experiences with the Trainz community. "Arriving at Auran on Monday, I was immediately into meetings with the different teams working on the project to gain an understanding of the direction that TRS2004 will be taking us. A two hour briefing from the team had my head spinning - this is not an upgrade; it's a whole new product from the Jet engine up!" To check out Greg's daily diaries visit the TRS2004 Inside Track feature.







26th June 2003


Web site update
Check out the latest updates to the TRS2004 website.

"Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 is the most complete railroad experience ever created.

As Engineer, immerse yourself in a totally interactive, realistic world. Choose from high-speed passenger runs, shunting cars in a busy industrial yard, or carefully navigating a 200 ton logging train down a steep mountain range.

As Yardmaster, manage your Drivers as they carry out their daily tasks. Ensure your trains are in the right place at the right time to keep pace with supply and demand of the interactive industries.

As Route Builder, create your own stunning routes and worlds. Set industry production levels, commodity requirements and passenger schedules and create multiple task lists for your Drivers in a few simple steps." Read more...

Box Art - Get on the Cover of TRS2004!
Do you have an award-winning photograph hiding away? Think you have the skills to take a great rail photo? Then this is your chance to have your work featured as the cover art of the Trainz retail box in your region. We are looking for a great photograph similar to the concept box art which can be viewed at www.railroadsimulator.com. If your photograph is chosen, you will receive a signed copy of TRS2004 (and worldwide fame of course)

Trainz Community
John Banks, the originator of the Trainz community, is back for the release of TRS2004 and the expected massive growth in the Trainz community. Part of his role includes the co-ordination of the 3rd party content creation community. At this stage we can report you are in for a treat with the outstanding quality of content that has been submitted for inclusion. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated content creators who have made this possible - keep up the great work guys.

Join John in the forums and chat. With a number of special events on the agenda things are really starting to heat up for TRS2004.

TRS2004 development
The TRS2004 team are putting in a huge effort as we get closer to beta. We'll have some great new screenshots and movies coming up over the next few weeks. So keep your drool mops(TM) handy!

Greg Lane Interview
Auran CEO, Greg Lane talks with HomeLan in an exclusive interview about the upcoming Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004. "TRS2004 introduces the concept of working industries featuring visible loading and unloading of goods and passengers. This system is backed by a resource model whereby resources are consumed and goods are created. This means your in-game actions have consequences to the world around you".
Read Full Interview.





23rd May 2003

Microsoft Train Simulator 2 and Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 reviewed
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the largest game show in the world, is over for another year. 1300 new games have been announced to the world's press and publishers but the two titles most readers of this newsletter are interested in of course are Microsoft Train Simulator 2 and Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004. As a community service to our legion of train fans, we have asked Tony Hilliam, one of the Head Honchos here at Auran, to give us a "totally unbiased" report of his findings from the demos on display at E3. Here's what he reported back.


Microsoft Train Simulator 2

After setting up our stand at E3 on the Wednesday night, I popped over to Microsoft to see what sort of presence Train Sim had this year. I met up with Rick Selby, who heads Business Development for Train Simulator, and John Monsun, MSTS2 Product Manager, and they gave me a quick tour of their product.

The first thing Rick pointed out was the 20,000 poly monster that no doubt you have all seen in the screenshots circulating. Great detail in the texturing with "burnt in" shadows for all the detailed pipework although the rolling stock looked a lot lower resolution. Next he talked about the greater density of scenery objects on display - the towns looked very nice, although the road traffic wasn't working in this build. As the passenger train pulled into the station, people started hopping off the train and then the people on the platform climbed aboard. Rick said that there was a lot more work to be done on improving the pathfinding and of course they would make sure the door would open before people got off the train ;)

As we drove off, an animated work crew dug a hole near the track. I asked about industry and they said that at this stage there were no loading and unloading animations planned.

We jumped inside the cab to see the 3D interior, with a single fixed camera point, but totally zoomable and pannable range. The firebox was a nice video effect, although the smoke and steam effects outside were unfinished. The lighting in the cab changed colour when you opened the firebox and there was an orange flicker - cool effect. The sound was very loud and when it was working well, it sounded really good. However, it seemed to have a problem with timing as it would get slower and then suddenly speed up as if to catch up.

Rick took the train to the turntable and showed me a great shot from inside a huge roundhouse as the train pulled in. I quipped that it was good to see so many of our original Trainz features had made it in to MSTS2 :p

Next we exited that activity and started a new activity on the Deutsch Bahn route. I asked about the ability for users to create their own activities like this and they said it would be a lot easier than the first time around. I also asked about the route editor and Rick said they have done a huge amount of work on it but still have more work to go. Neither of the editors were ready for public display and so we'll have to wait to find more about that.

I spent about 20 minutes with them in total and they also spoke about increased community support, better tutorials and an emphasis on a living, breathing world. I felt that the guys had listened to the feedback from their customers and were working on putting those features into the game (even if most of these features are already available in Trainz). It will be interesting to see how much improvement there will by the time the game ships, which they say will be Fall 2003.


Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004

Background
Before I tell you about the TRS2004 we showed at E3, here's a bit of background. We have been working on our new Auran Jet V2.0 engine for the past 2 years and on a demo in conjunction with Nvidia for 3 months. The Jet team have had great fun experimenting with the latest pixel and vertex shaders and all the other cool things you can do with their latest graphics hardware. Post E3, many of these effects are now being incorporated into the latest Trainz build, so, whilst the version on show looked similar to our previous version of Trainz, there will be lots more eye candy to come. You can check out some of these new graphics effects at www.auranjet.com/bridgeit

What we primarily demonstrated at E3 was the new industry and resource model that we have been developing over the past 12 months. These interactive industries (and stations) are the basis for creating and operating your own activities in TRS2004. "Activities" (or "scenarios" as we prefer to call them) can be totally "open-ended", which provides a free-form experience, or "pre-scripted" which gives you a more linear driving mode. The E3 demo is an open-ended scenario which we made 2 days before E3. We used part of a user created map (immense thanks to CeeBee) that we had spent a couple of hours modifying. Of course we had to create the assets first, which took a little longer.

The E3 Demo
I would generally start our demo by jumping into the Driver mode and choosing our E3 Demo Scenario. Clicking on a Driver (or actually his photograph) I could specify a task for him to perform such as "Go to Coal Mine". (The concept of Drivers is new for TRS2004 and you can give or change orders at any time during a scenario. This means that everytime you restart a scenario, you can have a totally different outcome based upon the orders you give and the decisions you make - just like in the real world of railroading!) Once the order was given, the AI would then work out the best route to the coal mine and obey signals in order to get there. Whilst this was happening, I would be free to switch to another loco or jump in the cab to replace the allocated Driver. I could even choose the new free roaming camera and "fly" anywhere on the route, or use the high level map view to quickly jump to a new region.

Using this feature I could see where all my trains were and where they were heading. Jumping back to the first train as the driver pulled up at the coal mine (as I had instructed him), I could go inside the 3D cab and operate the controls or simply give the driver an order to "Drive". The train would move forward at the signposted speed, and I could watch the coal dust fly as the coal tipple visibly filled up each of his hopper wagons. With each hopper-load, the train would become heavier, and more importantly, it is not just making coal out of thin air. The new resource model calculates how much coal fits in the hopper and reduces the stockpile of coal at the mine accordingly. As all these parameters are user definable, those people not interested in managing resources can disable this function or simply raise the coal output so that they would never run out.

Once the coal cars were full, I would give the order for the Driver to proceed to the power station. The coal would be unloaded and the power station would began generating power. This in turn would supply power to the lumber mill which would then begin working. Whilst all this was going on, I would jump into the cab of the logging engine and begin heading for the lumber mill, (giving way to any through traffic of course). Upon my arrival the logs would be transfered to the appropriate pile, then transfered onto the conveyor which would then send them into the mill for cutting. Once cut, the timber piles would then appear, ready for reloading onto the next passing train. So you can see that the Driver experience is not only about taking charge of the loco, but also about having a visible purpose and the ability to interact directly with industries. Basically, your driving makes a difference to how the whole world operates.

After the Driver demo, if I had time I would also show people how easy it is to make a similar scenario in Surveyor (my favorite Trainz module). Once I had placed a coal mine and a power station and joined them with track, it was time to show off one of the coolest new features. In TRS2004 the old "Driver Consist" menu has been replaced with a far more flexible 3D approach meaning that you now place your locos and wagons in the 3D world exactly where you want them to start on the track. So placing locos and rolling stock is as simple as placing trees or buildings. You can also allocate drivers and rename the mine and power station so that you are ready to start your scenario and soon as you have saved your new route. Jump back into Driver mode and the loco would be waiting for me to give orders to the driver or I could jump in the cab myself and take charge. I got this basic Surveyor scenario demo down to about 3 minutes!

So there you have some of the good stuff - but what wasn't looking good yet? Well, the dialogue boxes were still placeholder art and the ability of the AI to receive queued orders wasn't ready to show yet. There were some bugs in Surveyor where if you placed more than one loco, each would appear in Driver on top of the others. Still, we're not due out until Q4, so we have time to fix these issues and add a lot more features and graphical effects. Overall we're happy with progress to date, but we know that whatever feature set we end up with, there will always be more things we can add. This project is certainly an ongoing one and our focus now is to ensure that what we deliver in TRS2004 is more than enough to whet the appetite of any type of rail fan.





9th May 2003

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 is announced

Auran are pleased to officially announce the next product in the Trainz series, Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004(TRS2004) will be released in Q4, 2003. TRS2004 is the new name given to the planned Yardmaster module and incorporates a huge number of new features and stunning new graphics from the Auran Jet V2.0 game engine. Read the official press release at our new website at www.railroadsimulator.com.

Greg Lane, Auran CEO, explains the background behind Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004.

"As the development of Yardmaster progressed we began looking for a name that better expressed the much wider scope the project had taken. We wanted to reflect the various aspects of driving, route building and interactive industry types that we would be offering and we feel the new name "Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004" achieves this aim. Of course, in the countries where you find "railways" rather than "railroads", the product will be titled "Trainz Railway Simulator 2004".

"Our major goal with TRS2004 is to provide something for every type of train fan. We have improved the driving physics, made our route editor more powerful, provided lat. and long. support for prototypical routes and really strived to bring the whole world to life. You can now interact not only with the trains and junctions, but with the industries too. Goods are visibly loaded and unloaded and industries require and produce resources and goods. All this leads to a greater sense of purpose as to why you are moving the trains around the world. We have even introduced the concept of drivers so that you get to decide who operates which locomotive (or which loco you get to take charge of yourself)."

"On the development side, we have integrated our new Auran Jet V2.0 graphics engine and really focused on adding as many of the features our fans have requested as possible. We will also be providing more content than we had planned due to the commitment of our devoted 3rd party content creators. In what we believe is a first for a commercial software release, we will be utilizing fan-based content on the retail CD. Given the enormous number of locomotives, rolling stock and geographic regions that people around the world want to see, we realised that we couldn't hope to do all this in-house. We knew that there was already far more content available free on the Trainz Download Station than we had shipped with the game, so we approached our content creators with a request for new content. The response has been fantastic and the result is that there will be at least 2 CD's packed with your favorite locos and scenery items."

"Once again we will also offer a discount to all our registered users who purchase TRS2004 online and we will be releasing several free updates in order to add more features, improve existing features, and make the Trainz experience even more enjoyable. We trust that all our current Trainz fans, as well as many new fans, will become thoroughly immersed in Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004."





2nd May 2003

Latest Developments:
Well, it's been a while since our last news update but there has been plenty of activity going on behind the scenes. The team are feverishly working to get things ready for the big "E3" expo in Los Angeles on May 14th where we will be showing off the latest improvements to Trainz. Look out for a press release with all the details "Real Soon Now"(TM).

Meanwhile, we can let you know that a regular "Designer Diary" will commence in May, keeping everyone informed of the latest progress by the development team. This will include interviews with our staff and we'll also be asking some of the beta testers to let you in on a few secrets.

Trainz Community:
As our community grows and grows, so does the number of posts on our forums. This week we had our 300,000th post - that's a lot of questions, answers and information! Using the Search buttons on these forums is a great way to find out more about Trainz. If you're looking for a particular locomotive or route, or simply help with laying a straight piece of track, the Trainz forums are the place to go. If you've never visited the forums, you'll find a very enthusiastic bunch of guys ready to help you out(and maybe one or two ladies).

Custom Content:
The 3rd party content group are hard at work creating more and more content for your enjoyment and we're working closely with them to improve both the current Download Station and the Content Dispatcher. Stay tuned for more news on when we will have these updates ready for everyone.

There are also well over 10,000 items already available on the Download Station, and installation is as simple as a few clicks of your mouse. All this content is free, and by purchasing a First Class Ticket you can increase your download speeds by at least 10 times, and you are never given a "Busy, please try again" message.

Trainz on the Road:
Henk is at our Brisbane studios this week sorting out improvements to the Trainz on the Road project and also to attend the Brisbane Train Show this weekend. If you haven't yet read about TotR, then make sure you visit this section of the website. The little blue TotR ticket you are awarded for helping out at a show is becoming "hot property". Of course, it is also loads of fun to meet other Trainz fans and spread the word.





28th March 2003

Get paid playing Trainz!
This weeks news focuses on TotR. For those of you new to Trainz or new to our newsletter, TotR stands for Trainz on the Road. This is an ongoing promotion where we help Trainz fans from all around the world to demonstrate their favorite product at train or hobby shows (or even at hobby stores) and generally have a lot of fun spreading the word.

What many people don't know is that we now actually pay you to have fun as well! As one demonstrator put it, "You mean I get to play Trainz all weekend, get paid for it, AND not have my wife hassle me to mow the lawns? I'm in!"

With the success our shows each week, Henk Plaggemars, our Global Co-ordinator, has been steadily expanding the number of locations and number of demonstrators. Henk has now booked another dozen new shows in the USA and we're looking for more people who are keen to participate.

Here are a list of 'em:
  • 12th July USA Richmond, VA
  • 12th July USA Reno, NV
  • 19th July USA Greenville, SC
  • 26th July USA Phoenix, AZ
  • 26th July USA Charlotte, NC
  • 2nd August USA Raleigh, NC
  • 9th August USA Vegas, NV
  • 9th August USA Columbia, SC
  • 16th August USA Orlando, FL
  • 23rd August USA New Orleans, LA
  • 13th September USA Tulsa, OK
  • 27th September USA Omaha, NE

They are all two day shows (Sat/Sun) starting at 10am and finishing at 5pm. You will need a PC capable of running Trainz smoothly. We will send you stock, posters, credit card handling facilities and a t-shirt.

Its a lot of fun, financially rewarding and you get a 3 month First Class Ticket. Oh, and don't forget you also get one of those blue TotR tickets in our Trainz forums.

Interested? Email Henk "Cafe" Plaggemars and he will let you know all the details and help get you set up.

Of course, if you know of a show in your area, email Henk and let him know the details. We also have a TotR forum where you plan shows and discuss how they went.

Enjoy the ride





21st March 2003

Scenario "walkthrough" now available
Due to popular demand by Ultimate Trainz Collection users, we have made available the scenarios walkthrough instructional guide. This guide will help you master the scenarios giving complete instructions, diagrams and pictures on how to achieve a top score. You can download the guide now from the FAQ/Help page.

Scenario high scores
Want to compare your scenarios scores and see how you stack up with other Ultimate Trainz Collection users? See if you have what it takes to get the highest score in each of the 6 new scenarios that ship with UTC. Then simply make a post with your score in the Scenarios section of the Forum.

50,000 members
It's official! The 50,000th Planet Auran member registered with us today. Congratulations to "donaldo" from Canada. We'll be emailing you to offer a special signed edition of Ultimate Trainz as a gift from the Trainz "Brew Crew". A big thanks to all our community members who have helped us reach this great milestone and we look forward to reaching 100,000 before the end of this year!

Trainz on show at the National Rail Museum in York
The York National Railway Museum is holding a 2-day exhibition on railroad simulations over the weekend of the 22/23rd March. As you are probably aware the York NRM is one of the best, if not the best, Rail Museum in the world. Trainz is privileged to have the opportunity to demonstrate at the NRM, and we're sure it's going to be a great weekend! Thanks to ChileanLlama and the rest of the crew who will be showing off the latest UK locos and routes there for us.

Raildriver visit
This week the makers of the RailDriver controller have visited Auran to discuss some exciting new partnerships. If you haven't visited www.raildriver.com to check out this fantastic piece of equipment, do so now. After selling out the initial stocks within days, the new stock has now arrived and so get your order in quickly.

Trainz eXchange
A selection of recent content from the download station are now available though Trainz exchange, the online magazine included in Ultimate Trainz Collection. If you haven't got Ultimate Trainz Collection yet, find out what you are missing.

More great Trainz reviews
Ultimate Trainz Collection was recently reviewed At Manchester Online.

"BRILLIANT REALISM", "The options for customising your locomotive, environment and game playing experience are immense", Check out the full review here.

To read some of our other reviews, visit the Trainz press page.





7th March 2003

1,000,000 Downloads!
An amazing accomplishment for the Trainz Community, with the success of Ultimate Trainz Collection and the ever expanding Trainz Community, we have reached over 1,000,000 downloads on the Trainz Download Station! That is a lot of bandwidth!

A big thank you to all the content creators for their excellent work.

If you are one of the few who have not downloaded content yet, check out what's available on the Download Station, there are now over 7000 items for download!

Trainz on the Road Strikes Gold in Sacramento
Trainz on the Road continues to strike gold in California, this time in the state's capital. Rail fans from all walks of life attended the Great American Train Show at the California Exposition and Fairgrounds. Ultimate Trainz Collection proved so popular that it featured on two television stations' evening broadcast! For more show reports and "Trainz on the Road" upcoming events check out the TotR page.

Trainz in the Press
Ultimate Trainz Collection Wins Game Chronicles Magazine Editors Choice Award with a score of 9.1 /10 "the trains and environments are so realistic you can imagine yourself as a real engineer in a real train", "It is perfectly executed with style and sophistication that I didn't expect and with the huge community support, this is one game that will remain active on your computer for years to come."

Ultimate Trainz Collection was also the highlight of the Wargamer's 2002 Awards achieving a Silver Award for the category "Simulation: Best of the Year."

EMD F7 Release for MSTS Paint Shed
If you are the owner of MSTS Paint Shed you can now download a new Paint Shed Model of the EMD F7 diesel locomotive. This is available now from the Auran MSTS Add-on downloads page.

Tutorials & Tools
From signalling information to 3D modelling and animation, we have compiled a list of websites that offer trainz tutorials, tools and utilities. You can find all the links in the FAQ/help section. Check them out!

How Big is the Trainz Community?
There have been over 250,000 posts on the Trainz forums and are nearing 100,000 posts on the general forum. That's a lot of Trainz talk! In the next week or two we will hit 50,000 registered Planet Auran members. For the latest from the Trainz Community visit the Trainz Forums.





14th February 2003

Rail Museum Simulations
Following the successful Trainz simulation installed at the Ipswich Rail Workshops, we have set up a new page dedicated to showcasing what we have to offer to other museums around the world. If you know of a museum that might like to add a Trainz Railroad Simulation (either full size or even just a PC with a RailDriver Controller), then please contact museums@auran.com with more information.

First Class Ticket
Many of you have already purchased your new First Class Ticket and will be activating them next week when your current Ticket expires. If you're not sure when your current Ticket expires, you can check it by visiting your Planet Auran Profile. It seems that the annual service is by far the most popular option and costs around US$2 per month. The First Class Ticket, which offers faster downloads and no "Unable to Connect" messages, can be ordered from the Trainz Shop.

Hot T-Shirts
What's the hottest fashion accessory this week? It's the HotRod T-Shirt! We still have a few more in stock but we're running out fast.

Even Hotter
With more and more Steam engines being made for Trainz, long time fan Boweavel has posted a great list of links relating to real world steam engines. Using the Forum Search function, the word "Steam" returned 1696 threads and "Steam engine" returned 425 threads, so we know how popular the old iron horses really are! A quick visit to the Download Station showed that there are more than 50 steam engines ready for download for Trainz including the following:
  • BR 44
  • BR 84
  • BR 95
  • BR 96
  • GWR 14xx 0-4-0T
  • GWR 57xx 0-6-0T
  • GWR 94xx 0-6-0T
  • GWR Castle Class
  • Climax (narrow and std gauge)
  • Baltic Tank 4-6-4T
  • SP Class GS-4
  • 4-6-2 Duchess
  • 4-6-0 Royal Scot
  • 4-6-0 N15 King Arthur Class
  • A4 Pacific Mallard
  • ATSF 2900

Full support for Steam will be included with the Yardmaster release later this year, but meanwhile, these beasts look and sound like steam engines so give them a try!

Downloading Assistance
Speaking of downloading, our latest Poll showed that more than 1 in 5 people either don't know how to download things or didn't know that they could download steam engines. If you're not sure how to do this, visit the new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page for all the answers.

Ultimate Fan Pack
Do you have a Trainz Fan site or are you looking to start one? The Ultimate Fan Pack is now available for download from the links page. This pack contains a number of new logos, banners and package shots and will bring your website into line with the Ultimate Trainz "look and feel". We currently have 98 Trainz fan sites listed on our Links page, so who is going to be number 100? Thanks to all our fansite gurus - with your help we look forward to continuing to build our friendly and ever-growing online community.





10th February 2003

New Trainz Discount Structure announced
After a lot of feedback from our customers regarding upgrade paths and discounts, we are pleased to announce our new discount structure for all Trainz fans.

From today, all registered Trainz users (Trainz or UTC) will receive an online discount voucher for each and every software product we develop and release. Each voucher will offer you a percentage discount on a particular product and will not have an expiry date (although, of course, the product may be superseded). This also means that you can take full advantage of the discount by ordering multiple copies at the reduced price.

To get you started, everyone who is currently registered for either Trainz or UTC (or both) has today been awarded a new 30% discount voucher for the Ultimate Trainz Collection. If you haven't upgraded to UTC, now is the time to do it. If you already own UTC, buy a new copy for a friend or relative. (If you don't have any friends, buy 10 copies and you'll make 10 new friends ).

Even Bigger News!
A great online offer. Since we really want everyone to own a copy of UTC, we're also dropping the price by $20! Here's what it all means in various currencies (approximately):

Australia
New Price $69.95
Less 30% Discount - $21.00*
  
You Pay $48.95*


USA Dollars
New Price $39.95
Less 30% Discount - $12.00*
  
You Pay   $27.95*


Great Britain Pound
New Price GBP 24.95
Less 30% Discount - GBP 7.50*
  
You Pay GBP 17.45*


Euro Dollars
New Price Eur 39.95
Less 30% Discount - Eur 12.00*
  
You Pay   Eur 27.95*

* Applicable to registered users of Trainz and UTC.
* Postage and Handling is not included.

To place your order by credit card simply visit the Trainz Shop or use our Mail / Fax Order order system. Make sure you click on the Use Voucher button to apply your discount and enter the quantity of items you wish to purchase.

Pay in your own Currency
Confused by Australian Dollars? You can now set up your Planet Auran Profile to display US Dollars (Euros and GBP will be available in the next week or two) and all transactions will then be made in your selected currency. This not only saves confusion over prices, but also ensures that you know the exact amount that will appear on your credit card statement.

Safe Transactions
Another little known fact about our credit card payment system is that we use the same payment gateway technology as when you visit a retail store and pay by credit card. Since we do not store your credit card details, there is no chance that anyone can hack into our database to steal your details. Of course we still offer our mail or fax order options if you don't own a credit card.

New Shop Offerings:
While you are visiting the Shop, you can order one of the highly sought after Trainz HotRod T-Shirts, available in Large or Extra-Large. If we get sufficient interest in other sizes, we'll do another print run (email helpdesk with your requests). Stocks are limited, so get your order in quickly.

RailDriver Controllers are also available for shipping. The new Trainz RailDriver software is undergoing final testing and the feedback we are getting is great. RailDriver really does a whole new dimension to your Trainz experience.

Last but not least, the First Class Ticket subscriptions can now be ordered as well. Many of you received 3 months free access when you purchased Ultimate Trainz, and your free time is fast running out. Just AUD$40 (approx. USD$25) gets you 12 months access at lightning fast speeds and eliminates the old "Sorry, This Web Page is Currently Unavailable" message. Once you purchase your FCT, visit your Planet Auran profile to activate your Ticket. Activation is immediate, so remember to wait until your current free access has expired before activating your new one.

Great New Simulations
Do you like other sims? Auran is proud to offer two simulations to all our sim fans - Strike Fighters:Project 1 and Sail Simulator 4.2.

  • Strike Fighters is created by Tsuyoshi Kawahito (TK), a legend in the flight sim community. Stike Fighters is a multi-faceted flight-simulation game that features one of the most versatile combat aircraft of all time - the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The latest patch fixes some of the earlier problems people had with the original release.

  • Sail Simulator 4.2 is the latest offering from Stentec and is an unforgettable sailing experience. The software allows you to play online and is the perfect training tool for sailing and navigation regatta sailing, or simply enjoy the breeze and have a great day on the ocean.






31st January 2003

The F7 Hotrod
The February issue of Trainz eXchange is out today for Ultimate Trainz Collection customers. Take a ride down the fast track with the new and improved Brew Crew Special "The F7 Hotrod" which is available for download. There is enough chrome to keep the most ardent of rev-heads happy, just thank your lucky stars that you're not the one that has to polish this beast to a shine.

Trainz T-shirt
For all you Trainz enthusiasts out there, stand out from the crowd and get hold of the awesome new Trainz F7 Hotrod T-Shirt! They will be available from the Auran shop next week.

RailDriver
We are now in the final stages of testing the drivers for the RailDriver desktop cab controller to be used with Trainz. The Drivers are expected to be available for official release next week. A big thank you goes out to all the beta testers.

If you would like to find out more about RailDriver, check out the Auran Shop. We have had an overwhelming response and have just had to order another shipment from the manufacturer. If you would like to get hold of one of these units, get your order in fast.

Trainz on the Road
Henk "Cafe" Plaggemars, the "Trainz on the Road" Global Coordinator is back in Australia after a successful tour of North America. The month long tour saw Henk meeting up with Trainz fans, coordinating shows and sharing in the fun and excitement of Trainz. The fun never stops so check out the Calendar for Trainz on the Road and find out how you can become part of the Trainz on the Road experience.





24th January 2003

RailDriver
Great news for rail sim fans is that our shipment of RailDriver controllers has arrived and is now available from the Auran Shop. The RailDriver desktop cab controller replaces your keyboard and gives you levers, switches and dials for more realistic control. For a recent review of RailDriver check out www.Train-Sim.com

Imagination Competition
Congratulations to the winners of the Trainz imagination competition with the excellent entries from "Paulsid" with "TrainzTris" and "Ccordes" with "Toy Train Set". Both winners recieve a choice of any game from Auran and the new Trainz t-shirt plus a First Class Ticket valid for 6 months!

Congratulations to the runners-up, Monsieurmax, Cyberstorm and Danbulan who all receive the new Trainz t-shirt plus a First Class Ticket valid for 3 months.

And finally a big thank you and congratulations to all those who entered. You can check out all the winning entries on the competition page.





17th January 2003

Imagination Competition
It has been an exciting time searching through the excellent entries we received in the Trainz Imagination competition. We will be compiling and judging the entries during the week. The winning entries will be announced in next weeks newsletter and feature in the next edition of "Trainz eXchange" the official online magazine that is included in Ultimate Trainz Collection.

New content creation files available
Trainz Content Creation Procedures have been updated to Ultimate Trainz Collection specifications and are available for download now. The new files are packaged in an easy to read chapter format. Also available are Trainz Custom and Source files. All files can be found at the content creation page.

Trainz on the Road
Last week saw Trainz on the Road Visit Syracuse, NY, USA. Our show coordinators had a great time; here is what they had to say. "I have to recommend this experience to everyone. It was very positive and rewarding. Railroad folks are just great people." Check out the Calendar for Trainz on the Road next stop and how you can become part of the Trainz on the Road experience.





10th January 2003

Welcome back to the Trainz website for what is destined to be another great year for Trainz Fans. We hope you all have had an enjoyable holiday season.

The Trainz website got a huge boost in publicity when one of the warez sites posted information about our product. To all of you who have purchased Trainz, we thank you for your support. To all the others, please remember that programmers and artists need to be paid or there won't be any future updates or releases!

Trainz on the Road in Anaheim a success
Trainz on the Road reached Anaheim, CA, USA on the 4-5th of January. Our Global Coordinator Henk "Cafe" Plaggemars was there to showcase Trainz alongside Ric and Alex who put in a fabulous effort. The full report of the event can be found on the Trainz on the Road website.

Be sure to check the Trainz on the Road calendar and the Trainz on the Road section of the Forums for all of the upcoming shows. Next stop is Syracuse, NY, USA Jan 11-12th.

If you would like to take part in any of the upcoming shows, or even help co-ordinate a show in your area, please contact Henk.

Imagination competition
The entries are pouring in and the Trainz team are having a great time checking out the great creations in the Trainz imagination competition. We have showcased 3 of the earlier entries to get you inspired if you haven't started already. Though we are not going to show you everything we recieved as we have a few more surprises. So get your creative juices flowing and remember to get all entries in by January 15th for your chance to pick up some great Trainz Prizes.

What can you think of?

UTC Scenarios source code released
Good news for all aspiring scenario creators out there - the source code for the UTC scenarios will be made available to the Trainz Community. This enables users to create their own scenarios using the powerful scripting language. The code is now available for download from the Scenario section of the forum.

For Trainz fans, what does this mean for you? Look out for great new scenarios to come!

Content Creators working hard in the forums
The 3rd party content creation community is really heating up. The Content creation section of the forums is keeping pace with the general discussion section with record posts this week. Trainz fans will be happy to know that there is plently of content coming their way.

The Croc
We hope you enjoyed your present this holiday. The SBB Be 6/8 II Krokodil has recieved some rave reviews from the Trainz Community and beyond. "Ultimate Trainz Collection" owners, If you haven't got your hands on the Croc already, it is now available for free download, just visit Trainz eXchange.





20th December 2002

Final News for 2002.
Welcome to the final "bumper edition" newsletter for 2002. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support throughout the year and to reflect on the year gone by. Our community has grown tremendously since it began in August 2000, and many new friendships have emerged. There have been a few rocky moments but there's little doubt that our community is one of the best on the Internet. Throughout the year we've listened to your feedback and have brought you upgrades and enhancements with the Service Packs and then of course Ultimate Trainz. Next year promises to be bigger and better than ever as we move our focus to the next major release - YardMaster.

Krok around the Clock
As a special treat for our Ultimate Trainz Collection customers, this week we unveil a very special locomotive. As many people have already guessed on the forums, we are proud to present to you the SBB Be 6/8 II Krokodil. The Krok was a classic locomotive early last century and has gained almost a cult status amongst Trainz fans in the new Millenium. Full details are revealed in the Christmas Edition of Trainz eXchange. For our Trainz V1.3 customers, the Krok will be available in the new year, although some of the new in cab features are obviously not available.

Ultimate Trainz Service Pack
The Brew Crew have been toiling away fixing many of the small bugs uncovered in UTC such as the annoyingly elusive "psychedelic rainbow" bug. These bug fixes plus a brand new scenario are now ready for download from the Service Pack page. This Service Pack also adds some new features to Content Manager and fixes some compatibility issues with SP3 scenarios.

Whilst we have dramatically increased our bandwidth, we expect that our servers will be hit hard over the next few days, so please be patient. It may be an idea to wait a week until the peak download has passed.

Ultimate Trainz Demo
Today we have sent off a full Demo Edition of Ultimate Trainz to Strategy First. This demo shows off a single scenario and includes all the new in-cab features, hotkeys, animations and other enhancements found in Ultimate Trainz Collection. You won't be able to save your Surveyor creations or share or download custom content. The demo will be released through the normal games websites, so keep an eye out for the release date.

Raildriver Controller
Auran are also pleased to be taking on the role of distributor for the RailDriver in Australasia. This fantastic piece of equipment adds a whole new dimension to your train driving experience with both MSTS and Trainz. Check out this review for some feedback on an early version. Early next year a Trainz utility will be available that interfaces directly with the Raildriver Controller. We are just adding the finishing touches so that all the buttons can be used to control cameras, switches and even coupling and uncoupling.

Who has the best Imagination?
The new competition we will be running is to discover the most imaginative use of Trainz (or Ultimate Trainz).

Entries can be layouts, objects, screenshots, utilities, locos, whatever you can think of. Judges will be looking for things that no-one else has done before or perhaps done in a better way than ever before. Put your thinking caps on, even team up if necessary and, most of all, have fun!! Full details are on the Competition page. Entries will close January 15th.

Trainz on the Road (TotR)
Due to the overwhelming response from our demonstrations of Trainz at Train shows around the world we recently appointed Henk Plaggemars as our global TotR coordinator. This week Henk has been visiting the Auran studios in preparation for his trip to the USA in January. We know that many of you are big Trainz fans and would love to help spread the word. Not only are these shows a lot of fun, we've also set up ways that they can be financially rewarding. Visit the brand new TotR website to see how you can assist us and to view the list of shows we currently have planned.

New Games Available Now
Whilst not particularly Trainz related, many of you are gamers and we have some great news to pass on. Auran has taken up the rights to publish a number of new titles in Australia and for purchase through our online store. Of most interest to simulator fans is Strike Fighters; Project 1. The report from our own internal flight sim fan and part-time pilot (Greg Lane) the handling of these beasts is very realistic and it is well worth a look. Visit our new Games page for information on all the new products.





12th December 2002

Penultimate Newsletter
As the year draws to a close and the Brew Crew are preparing for a well deserved rest we come to the penultimate Trainz Newsletter for 2002.

It has certainly been an enormous year for Trainz enthusiasts and we have exceeded many of our own expectations. We have seen the product grow from strength to strength throughout the year starting with the release of Paint Shed in March. Service Pack 3 made many dramatic improvements, and Ultimate Trainz is without doubt a far superior product to our first release just over 12 months ago. We are sure that the upcoming release of Yardmaster will simply blow you away! We are very excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to continuing our association with you all for many years to come.

New Members Discount
Last week we mentioned that all recently registered Trainz customers will be receiving a discount when upgrading to Ultimate Trainz. These vouchers have now been credited to your Planet Auran account and you can take advantage of this offer simply by visiting the Shop. Normally Paint Shed on its own would cost $37.50, so with your discount you can upgrade to Trainz v1.5 plus get all the new content included with UTC for just AUD$30.00 more(or USD$17.50 + USD$20.00 for Paint Shed).

Screenshot Competition
Due to a clerical error, we managed to publish the winners of the screenshot competition a day early. Apologies to those of you who this affected. To rectify this situation we have selected another worthy winner and our congratulations go to "Sirgibby" for his amazing scenic shots. They are well and truly worth a look. Special mention should also go to "Narrowgauge" for the stunning pictures of his Climax logging industry and you can check out all the remaining entries on the screenshots page.

Due to the great response and overwhelming quality of entries, next year we will be running regular screenshot competitions so that you can show off your talents and see what is possible with this program.

Ultimate Trainz - Minor Patch
We have been working on a minor patch for UTC that addresses some backwards compatibility issues and fixes some other small problems (such as the blocky number and rainbow bug). The beta testers are putting this patch through final testing and we will be ready to release it early next week.

Christmas Comes Early.
As a big thank-you to everyone who has purchased Ultimate Trainz, there will be an early Christmas surprise for you all next week - a legendary locomotive will be released through the Trainz eXchange. The cab of this loco is incredible, with greater detail, higher resolution textures and even side windows that slide up and down! As a clue for you, a well known old-timer from the Trainz community will cry tears of joy into his beer when this loco is released. We will make this available for general download early in the New Year.





5th December 2002

Ultimate Trainz Collection hits retail stores
The good news for North American Trainz fans is that they can now grab a copy of Ultimate Trainz from their local Electronics Boutique or Gamestop store. If you can't find a copy at your local store, remember that the more phone calls they get asking about Trainz, the more likely they are to stock more copies. Australian fans can also visit EB, Harvey Norman or Myers to pick up their copies.

For Europeans, we must yet again apologise. Due to our European publishers wishes, you will have to wait until next year for retail stores to be stocking Ultimate Trainz. However, there should be plenty of Trainz copies on shelves if you haven't yet joined the community. Also, Service Pack 4, which upgrades v1.1.1 to v1.4 is undergoing testing and will soon be ready for public release.

Trainz on the Road
One of our major promotions for 2003 will be the Trainz on the Road program. Led by our newly appointed global co-ordinator, Henk Plaggemars, we will be demonstrating Trainz at various shows around the world and will be looking for as much help as possible. As many Trainz fans can already tell you, taking part in one of these shows is both great fun and extremely rewarding. Visit the Trainz on the Road forum for more details.

10 Winners of Ultimate Trainz announced
Entries for the Screenshot Competition have closed and judging has taken place. To assure there was no bias, the judging process was done by the entire Auran staff and results were collated to find the winners. Congratulations to all those who entered! To find out if you are a winner, or to check out the stunning entries we received, please visit the Screenshots page.

Trainz Development CD to be released
If you are a content creator, there is some BIG news this week. We are putting together a Development Disk which will contain samples of each of the various Trainz objects, plus an updated Creation Guidelines manual. We have recently appointed a 3rd Party Content Co-ordinator whose job is to assist the content creation community so that they have all the tools and information necessary to make better content for you all to share.

Part of this initiative is designed to ensure that as soon as Yardmaster is released next year, that new custom content will already be available for download. Our philosophy is that by helping the content creators, everyone benefits. There is more content, we can focus on adding more features and we can release new products more quickly.

40,000 Members
At the time of writing, we are getting very close to reaching 40,000 members on Planet Auran. A quick search showed that we reached 10,000 members in September last year and 28,000 members in June. Any guesses as to when we reach 100,000 members? Will we make it by this time next year?

New Members
If you have only recently joined the Trainz Community chances are you missed out on the recent Ultimate Trainz Collection discounts. As many people have pointed out to us, this seems a little unfair. To make amends, we will be issuing discount vouchers to all newly registered Trainz users so that they also have the opportunity to upgrade to UTC at a cheaper price. Check your Planet Auran profile and make sure your email address is up to date so that we can send you the details of how to take advantage of this offer.

Till next week...





29th November 2002

Ultimate Trainz Collection Ships!

After just a few days, the packages have begun arriving and the reports are flowing in. Ultimate Trainz Collection looks like it is a big hit with Trainz fans around the world.

Here are just a few of the comments so far:

  • Thanks! Just wanted to say thanks to many on this forum for helping us figure out this new product, Trainz. And it's cool, what can be done with this product! Congrats Auran On A Great product.   Godgamer, Canada

  • I have only briefly ran 2 scenarios and from what I have seen, I'm very impressed with this release of Trainz. I'm impressed with everything from the packaging to the interfaces, and the variety of toys to play with.   urslow, Washington, USA

  • I agree with Urslow. UTC is worth every penny.   blehmann, Hemel Hempstead, UK

  • UTC is way more than I expected. I wouldn't mind paying full price for it.    georgi55, Bulgaria via Maryland


Great News for Trainz Owners

Due to the fact that a number of people had trouble understanding the discount voucher system, we have extended the expiry date to December 30, 2002. This gives you a whole month extra to decide whether or not to upgrade to UTC. Simply login, click on the USE button to apply your voucher and complete the checkout process.

Also many people are still not sure what UTC is all about, so we've prepared a list of answers to some of the more common questions we are asked every day.

  • Is UTC a stand alone program?
    Yes. UTC doesn't require Trainz to be installed. In fact, you need to uninstall Trainz before installing UTC.

  • What is included in UTC?
    Ultimate Trainz Collection is the culmination of 12 months of coding and incorporating feedback from Trainz users. It comes as a 2 CD edition that includes Trainz V1.5, plus Trainz Paint Shed and tons of new content. There are a huge number of new features and enhancements such as dual cab support, new multiple in-cab camera views and new hotkeys to make your Trainz experience more enjoyable. Plus of course, new scenarios using the TrainzScript programming language. These scenarios add a new dimension to gameplay by setting you tasks to complete such as a passenger run or a shunting yard exercise.

  • What is the main difference between Trainz and UTC?
    New features, new scenarios, bug fixes, Paint Shed and Trainz eXchange. Plus, more locos, more routes, more scenery, and a brand new 44 page manual.

  • What about Steam?
    Whilst Auran have not yet released any steam engines, there are a number of custom steam engines now available for download. These are drivable under DCC mode and most have realistic sounds, different colour steam and smoke. As they say, if it looks like a duck...

  • Where is my discount voucher, I never received it?
    Your voucher has been credited to your Planet Auran account. Simply log in, click on the Use button to apply your voucher, then follow the simple steps to checkout.

  • When does the First Class Ticket service begin?
    Once you have installed Ultimate Trainz, register your serial number at Planet Auran and you are immediately awarded a First Class Ticket valid for 3 months. This gives you access to the faster server and eliminates the "Currently Unavailable" messages that are frequently found on the free server. Many people are reporting 10x the download speed with their high bandwidth connections.

    Sales of the First Class Ticket service will commence in December.


Screenshot Competition Entries

We have had a great response to the Screenshot Competition and the entries are pouring in. You have one week to go for a chance to win one of 10 copies of Ultimate Trainz that we will be giving away. The standard is high, so make sure you visit the Competition page to discover some tips to making great screenshots.





22nd November 2002

The anxious wait for the new Ultimate Trainz Collection is almost over as the thousands of CD's began shipping this week. Some lucky Australians who ordered the overnight service will be kissing their postman this morning and the majority of you should have your copy in your hands next week.

For those of you who haven't yet made your mind up whether or not to upgrade to Ultimate Trainz, the reviews are sure to start flowing into the forums over the next few days. To help clarify some of the many questions we are still asked, here is a brief explanation of the different Trainz versions that have been released.

  • Trainz Community Edition:
    This was the first release of Trainz almost one year ago. It was available only online and contained 3 layouts, locos from 12 countries and didn't support DirectX.

  • Trainz V1.1 and V1.1.1:
    These versions were the retail versions released around the world. The USA in February, Australia in March, Scandanavia in April, France in May, Germany, Spain and Italy in July, Netherlands in August and the UK in September. (The strange delay for the UK was beyond our control and we apologise to all our British friends).

    These versions introduced DirectX support and a number of new features and improved the overall performance.

  • Service Pack 3:
    This free upgrade added large map support, improved physics and numerous performance enhancements.

  • Ultimate Trainz Collection:
    This is the latest version of Trainz (V1.5) with loads of new features such as dual cabs and multiple in cab camera views plus 6 brand new scenarios. In addition UTC includes a special new Trainz Paint Shed version, now with more than 50 items you can repaint PLUS tons of new content including the TGV, GG1, and new German and Swiss scenery packs.


Remember that if you have a discount voucher, these will expire on November 30th, so don't let them go to waste!

Last week we promised more news on the Trainz on the Road project. This week we are pleased to announce that we have appointed a Global Co-ordinator to head up this new division. Henk Plaggemars, also known as Cafe, will be taking on the responsibility of helping to arrange Trainz demonstrations at rail shows, hobby stores and pretty much any other place where you might find a collection of train fans. Just a quick bit of background, Henk was so impressed by the reception of Trainz at his local model train show that he has now given up his day job and will be working with us full time. Visit the Trainz on the Road forum to discover how much fun you can have showing off Trainz to people who have never even seen or heard of it. The new Train on the Road website will be up and runing in the next few weeks. We would like to congratulate Henk on his appointment and wish him well in his world-wide endeavours.

This week, we're also pleased to announce a new Trainz Screenshot Competition. There will be 10 winners and each will receive a free copy of Ultimate Trainz Collection. The competition will run for 2 weeks until December 6 so that we can send the winners their copy in time to put under the Xmas tree. Visit the Competition page for more details.





15th November 2002

Waiting at the Station for Trainz...

Excitement is mounting in the Trainz community with the anticipation of receiving copies of Ultimate Trainz. The fulfillment team are busy printing invoices and preparing packages for shipping next week - it's like Santa and the Elves leading up to Christmas :) If you want to be surprised when you open up your package, then don't look at the new UTC boxart that we've placed on the Shop page or of course you can check out the full product description on the Ultimate Trainz page.

Over the past few weeks we have shown you screenshots and movies of some of the new features in UTC. This week we want to let you know all about one of the most dramatic changes to how Trainz will operate - making the task of downloading and installing custom content as easy as a few mouse clicks!

Currently, if you download a new map, you may or may not have all the textures and scenery objects installed on your PC. You can search the Download Station for missing items and download each of them, click on the .cdp file to install each one and then restart Trainz only to find you forgot the new ballast texture and so the map looks unfinished. With Ultimate Trainz, this whole process becomes totally automated. Here are the steps you will follow when you load a new map:

1. From within Trainz you click on a link to a new map which you have just read about in the Trainz eXchange in-game magazine. The map is downloaded and installed in one step whilst you are still within Trainz
2. You load the map in Surveyor to have a quick fly-through tour:
  • UTC will search through your world/custom folders to see which new custom items you are missing
  • a list of objects required is compiled
  • UTC then talks to the Download Station to identify which files are available and what size the total download will be
  • you are asked if you wish to download the files now or later
  • each file is downloaded and automatically installed
3. You click on Continue and the new map complete with all the new content is loaded.

To quote an old Trainz favourite saying..."that's all there is to it!"

In other news, testing has begun for the new First Class Ticket download service. We have a brand new 10MB/sec link in the USA to deliver you blindingly fast downloads and provide almost unlimited connections. If you purchase Ultimate Trainz prior to November 30, you will receive 3 months FREE access to this new service. The First Class Tickets will be awarded on December 1st and you can activate them at any time after that by going to your Planet Auran profile. To qualify for the 3 months free service, you must purchase Ultimate Trainz by November 30, 2002. You will also be able to purchase 3, 6 or 12 months subscription starting in early December.

Next week we will let you know some major news about the Trainz on the Road project so stay tuned.





6th November 2002

First up this week, we would like to thank all the "lurkers" out there for voicing themselves on the Trainz fourm over the past week. Congratulations Ipshwii!, you are the lucky Planet Auran member drawn out of almost 100 new people who posted to the "My first ever Trainz post". Ipshwii has won a free copy of the Ultimate Trainz Collection. If YOU haven’t posted yet or are just curious about what goes on in the Trainz forum, don't be shy, pop on in and join in with the community spirit.

And just to keep our veterans happy, we have also randomly choosen another winner...Waltera is the lucky poster! Congratulations!

As part of the new Trainz eXchange, the Official online magazine that is a central part of the new look Ultimate Trainz edition, we will be featuring news and reviews of various happenings in the Trainz world. Until then, here are some community sites that are worth checking out.

Go to Digital Roundhouse to view the efforts of Mark Hoffman and Andy Quaas.

Also check out Trainz Assistance Community, a site from member Ish6 which has some great links to scenario tutroials and utilities. If you've thought you might like to try your hand at making scenarios, this is a good place to start.

Of course there are also the old favorites like TrainzLuvr, Crotrainz and CeeBee's Trainz Site that have been a useful source of Trainz information for more than a year now.

If you have a new (or old for that matter) website that you would like us to link to, please send your details to webmaster@auran.com. We can then update all our links and let the community know about your site.

We also have some more Ultimate Trainz Collection screenshot teasers. This week it is the highly requested “Robe Alco Century M636” locomotive. Here's some background information on this fine loco. The 4 shots are taken from the new Robe River Scenario - see if you can spot one of the new scenario features introduced for UTC. Thanks must go once again to Bruce Kennewell (3801) for contributing this "proto-like" route and Josh 'EDC' Harvey (JoshEH) for the ALCo Century M636 in Robe livery.





31st October 2002

“Trick or Treat” everybody, it's Halloween time. As a special treat we have some nice new screenshots of the “Trick or Treat Express” for you to put in your bag and enjoy.

We also have some more information on Trainz eXchange, our exciting new Official online magazine, which can be viewed inside a mini browser within Ultimate Trainz. The magazine will include regular columns from members of the Trainz community, reviews of new products and custom content releases, community spotlight, favorite downloads and a whole lot more. Issue 1 will be online by the time you begin receiving your UTC disks over the next few weeks.

In other news, new community member Hamtrain noticed that we have reached over 20,000 threads in the forums. That’s an impressive amount of questions, tips, announcements and waffle! So if you haven’t done so already, go visit the forum and see what all the discussion is about.

We'd especially like to hear from the "lurkers" out there. If you have been a Trainz fan for a while but have NEVER posted on the forums, we have a special treat for you. Next Wednesday, we will be selecting one lucky Planet Auran member to win a free copy of the Ultimate Trainz Collection. Simply make your first ever Trainz forum post in the thread we have started titled "My first ever Trainz post" and you will be entered into the draw. (CeeBee, with your 3,845 posts I think you might be ineligible for this competition :)).





23rd October 2002

We're pleased to announce that the Ultimate Trainz Collection "gold master" disks were shipped off today for production. Ultimate Trainz delivers new scenarios, new content, a new look and a host of new features. Of course, it also includes the full edition of Trainz Paint Shed which now boasts almost 400 loco reskins and over 500 rolling stock items available for download from the Trainz Download Station.

UTC also introduces Trainz eXchange, a new mini-browser that sits within Trainz itself and offers a window to new content, news, reviews and more. Utilising an automated search, download and install function, it is now possible to download all the missing custom contents for a route or layout with just a couple of mouse clicks. Ultimate Trainz searches your Trainz directories, identifies which custom objects you already have installed and offers you the option to download the remainder. The items are then downloaded and installed automatically. In a similar fashion, you can download a new loco and place it on the rails without even leaving Trainz.

Other exciting new features include the new in-cab cameras which allow you full freedom to move around the cabin. Check out the latest movie which shows the SW7 switcher in action, with in-game footage from one of the new scenarios "Blue Sky Steel". Also, visit the Screenshotz page for four new UTC shots.

The full list of content has been added to the UTC page, including the full feature set and list of improvements.

All registered Trainz and Paint Shed owners (i.e. people who have added their Trainz or Paint Shed serial numbers to their Planet Auran Profile) will receive their 22.5% or 45% discount vouchers tomorrow. These discount vouchers will be added to your Planet Auran profile and can then be used at any time up until November 30, 2002 when purchasing the Ultimate Trainz Collection. You will also receive 3 months free membership for the new First Class Ticket download service which commences in mid-November. Simply visit the Auran Shop from tomorrow onwards (October 24th, 2002) to make your purchase and apply your discount voucher when checking out. Fax and mail order purchases can also be made using the form available from the Shop page - please read the instructions carefully.

If you don't already own Trainz, the full purchase price for UTC is AUD$89.95 which is approximately USD$49.95. Ask the existing Trainz community, and they'll tell you this equates to about 10cents per hour of enjoyment :) We expect to commence shipping in early November and delivery times to the US and Europe range from a few days to 2-3 weeks, depending on your location.





16th October 2002

This week the Ultimate Trainz Collection heats up - literally (check out the screenshots for the meaning behind this weeks pun).

First up though - the news that many have been waiting for! Starting today you can pre-order your copy of UTC at the Auran Shop. Be quick to register your interest so that you can be sure to receive one of the first copies. Sales will then commence next week and we will begin shipping in mid-November.

To qualify for your UTC discount, anyone who has their Trainz serial number registered online in their Planet Auran profile by October 23, 2002 will receive a 22.5% discount off the full purchase price. This amounts to $20.23 off the price of AUD$89.95 (approx. $11off the USD$49.95 price). Registered Paint Shed owners will qualify for double the discount at 45% and of course there is also the 3 months free First Class Service as well. Full details and the full UTC content list will be posted next week, but for starters you can check out the overall package contents at the Ultimate Trainz page.

Meanwhile, to tempt you a little more, we've posted four new screenshots showing some of the new elements you can expect. The shots show off one of the new scenario interface menus, then two shots of the SW7 switcher hauling a rake of hot slag tippers and, last but not least, the newest addition to the Trainz fleet - the TGV traincar set!

The TGV, or Train a Grande Vitesse, holds the high speed record for rail travel and typically operates at speeds of 300km/h, or 186 mph). The TGV has an impeccable safety record, with 0 casualties reported in over 20 years of constant operation. A word of warning however - there have been several nasty incidents reported by the beta testers on their home-made layouts :)

Another first for Trainz this week is the news from community member and newly crowned "Sectional Track King" Mike 10 that he is developing new track sections as turnouts. Whilst in the beta stages right now, the potential here has the Content Creation forum abuzz with excitement. Check out the thread at "turnouts as sectional track".

This is just one example of the potential Trainz has for the future. As our community continues to grow and the custom content expands into new directions we are seeing a whole new hobby emerging. We're sure that to date we've really only seen the tip of the iceberg! Till next week...





11th October 2002

Just a quick news update today to let you know that next week we will be anouncing Ultimate Trainz details including release dates, a full feature list and pre-order details...stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here is a Community Express from PikkaBird.





4th October 2002

This week, another sneak peek at the Ultimate Trainz progress. Our news focus turns to Europe as we show off the latest addition to the Trainz collection - the Bundesbahn Class 218 diesel locomotive! DB's V164 or Class 218 diesel hydraulic locos were introduced between 1968 and 1979. The 218 became the most ubiquitous diesel locomotive in Germany with over 400 units built by manufacturers Krauss-Maffei, Krupp, Mak & Henschel.

Our screenshots this week feature the red/beige livery. And with winter fast approaching in the northern hemisphere, we thought we would include some more of the new wintery European buildings and scenery in the background. There is also the first look at the new Favorites feature in Driver.

Whilst on the subject of European content, we've been doing a bit of homework in compiling this list of websites you should check out. The standard of work is excellent and worth checking out even if you're not a European rail fan. Check out this week's Community Express for more details.

Following on from the recent release in the UK of Trainz, a new review of the Service Pack 3 has been posted at UKTrainsim.com. Those of you receiving this newsletter who haven't spent much time with Trainz will find this review extremely informative.

Closer to home, the Australian Model Railroad Association 40th Annual Sydney Exhibition is being held this weekend at the Whitlam Leisure Centre in Liverpool. We'll be demonstrating Trainz there and community member Axe1970 has kindly donated his time (and PC) to help the cause. Several other Trainz fans will be popping in from time to time, so if you're in Sydney try and make it down there to join us.

Finally, the poll this week asks "What video card you are currently using".





26th September 2002

The countdown to the release of the Ultimate Trainz Collection has begun and this week we kick things off with some great screenshots of the new GG1 - a pre-war electric workhorse that operated commercially in the USA from the 1930s right up to the 1980s. We've built a totally new cab interior and of course introduced the new in-cab camera positions to go with it. Check out these screenshots. Thanks also to David Dallaston (aka Pikka) who took an hour off from his testing duties to make us a quick GG1 Centennary Edition paint shed skin.

All the beta testers have been busy testing the new features and reporting bugs, and this week we also let them lose on the German and Swiss content. Visit the Screenshotz page for a sneak peek of the sun going down over a small Deutsches Dorf...

The new scenarios are getting tweaked and polished and we're busy preparing lots of new sounds to add some real atmosphere. We'll be serving up a mixture of passenger runs, heavy freight and shunting scenarios in the Ultimate Collection. Check back each week as we report on our progress and give you a taste of more things to come.

Meanwhile, there are still lots of new things happening with Trainz, and this week we will reach 2,500 SP3 items available on the Download Station. Make sure that when you log onto the Download Station page that you customise your search preferences by clicking on the 'Result Settings' link below the login box.

For those of you who have upgraded to Service Pack 3 there are more and more steam engines appearing! We have mentioned a number of these in the past, but now the first official review of the Union Pacific Big Boy by Claes Wikdahl has been posted at UKtrainsim.com. The "Big Boy" received a magnificent 95% score. Congratulations to all those who helped out on that project.

The Paint Shed Competition closed this week, and the 6 winners are listed on the Competition pages and will be notified by email. Please accept that the judges decision is final. I'm sure everyone had fun making their Paint Shed creations and we've put some screenshots up of the winning entries.





20th September 2002

Today, the news that everyone has been waiting for...what happens next with Trainz? The good news is that 2 new releases for Trainz are scheduled!

Coming this November is the "Ultimate Trainz Collection". The team have been toiling away at creating new scenarios, new content, new routes and cool new features and these have been combined into a massive "Ultimate Trainz Collection" pack that will be available in time for Christmas. "UTC" will also ship with Trainz Paint Shed, a host of new paint shed templates, most of the content that was planned for Collection Pack 1 plus a couple of surprises.

The full list of content will be released shortly (TM), but here's a taste of what lies ahead:
  • new locos (GP38-2, GG1, DL531 and more)
  • new passenger car paint shed templates
  • full set of German and Swiss trackside and scenery objects
  • a selection of passenger, freight and shunting scenarios
  • new layouts and routes from around the world
The new features include:
  • dual cab support
  • a host of new camera positions for in-cab driving
  • a 'favorites' selection to display just your favorite locos and wagons
  • further integration with the Download Station for easier uploading and downloading
  • a new browser window for scenarios
  • new scripting functions and improved debugging
  • a new Content Manager utility to help sort custom content
  • plus dozens of those little features and bug fixes requested every day (such as track buffers that stop trains, and the tunnel camera fix ;) )
Ultimate Trainz will ship as a "stand-alone" product, which means that you don't need to own Trainz in order to buy it. However, in recognition of our existing loyal legion of fans, we are offering major discounts for registered Trainz community members. These discounts make UTC better value for money than a standard add-on pack and it will be available for mail order, fax order or online credit card purchase at a price of AUD$89.95 (approx. USD$ 49.95 or GBP 35.00). Retail publishing arrangements and release dates will be announced shortly.

How big are the discounts? Every Trainz serial number registered will earn a $20 discount voucher plus an additional $20 discount voucher for Trainz Paint Shed making the full price just AUD$49.95 + P&H if you own both products already (approx. USD$27.50 or GBP 18.95).

As an added bonus, we will also be offering 3 months free membership to our new "First Class Ticket" Premium Access service, normally worth AUD$15 (US $8.25). For more information regarding "First Class Ticket", please visit the discussion forum. Of course, our existing free service will not change.

The second major release announcement is that Trainz Yardmaster has been scheduled for release in mid 2003. "T.Y." will have even more features than our original concept and will also include a user-friendly scenario editor as well as some major performance optimisations. We'll be updating the website over the next few weeks to reflect all these changes and we're looking forward to the volumes of feedback we're sure to receive :) You may already have noticed that our website navigation has been simplified. If you have any feedback, please let us know in the general forum.

Also, our Paint Shed competition has officially closed and we now have hundreds of locos and rolling stock items on the Download Station. We would love to announce the winners, but there's one problem...hardly anyone has voted for their favorites! In the interests of fairness, we will extend the voting until next Wednesday the 25th of September. If you have downloaded any content, please do the creators the courtesy of returning to vote for their efforts. There are some fantastic creations out there and many are worthy of being framed.

We can now tell you the prizes for the Paint Shed Competition Entrants: Creators of the best 3 locos and the best 3 rolling stock wagons will each receive a free copy of Ultimate Trainz!

Finally, our poll this week asks about the new First Class Ticket Service. Let us know which option you are most likely to be interested in.





12th September 2002

In a departure from our normal Trainz news, today we lead off with the official announcement for the release of the Auran "Microsoft Train Simulator Paint Shed" CD (or MSTSPS as we like to call it). MSTSPS provides easy to use "reskin" templates that make it simple to create your own rail liveries or paint schemes in a matter of minutes. The pack contains 4 locos and 14 items of rolling stock to get you started and is now available for purchase from our online shop for approx. US$20.00 (AUD$37.50 + P&H). We have also included a useful consist editor that helps you make new consists with a simple point and click interface. Whilst "Paint Shed" is designed for "beginner skinners", skilled users can also create templates for their own models and import their creations into MSTS. All the necessary files are created automatically for you making this process a breeze.

Whilst we are talking shop, for those of you who need more encouragement to purchase Trainz, we have reduced the online price for Trainz V1.3 to just AUD$69.95. In "other money", that translates to less than $40 in US Dollars or Euros and less than 25.00 UK Pounds. Shipping times are generally less than a week and you don't have to use a credit card as we also accept fax and postal money orders. Visit the Shop page for more details.

Next week we will be announcing the details of the upcoming releases that everybody has been waiting for. We are sure you won't be disappointed with the news when it finally arrives :).

Some sad news now as there is another departure that we need to mention. Our very good friend and Community Moderator, John Banks is setting off to finalise his PhD but will continue to be a regular part of the community. You can read what John has to say in this week's Community Express. I'm sure a new posting record will be set with tributes to John for his excellent customer service and moderating abilities and we congratulate John on the standards he has set for this special Trainz community that we have. We hope to see John back again next year.

Finally, our UK friends will be pleased to know that they will at last be able to buy Trainz in store from September 20th. This was confirmed when Tony Hilliam met with the distributors, Mindscape, on his recent UK visit. You can pre-order your copy now at EB and a full list of stores will be posted next week.





5th September 2002

Welcome back to another week of Trainz news.

John Banks had the enviable task this week of visiting the Workshops Rail Museum out at Ipswich, just outside of Brisbane. He has written up an account of his visit complete with plenty of pictures from the museum in this week's Community Express.

For those of you in the Brisbane area, there is a show on this weekend to be held at The Gap Uniting Church on Waterworks Road. It is held by the British Railway Modellers of Queensland and will assist The Cystic Fibrosis Association. Make sure you drop by and say g'day to the guys on the Trainz stand. A big thanks to Bruce Bowden (Cho) for organising the demonstration of Trainz at the event.

Finally, we would like to send a big thanks to the Trainz Vikings for demonstrating Trains in Copenhagen at the Annual Danish Model Railroad Union Exhibition. From all reports the show was a huge success for Trainz thanks to community members tom-sa, Condor9, Gregand, ZyryZ, yojimbo and LNH. For a shot of the guys at the show, visit the Trainz Viking style thread in the Trainz on the Road forum area.





21st August 2002

Well, things are certainly starting to heat up in the world of Trainz. This week has seen the largest ever number of contributions to the Download Station and similarly the most downloads ever. We've had over 50,000 downloads in the past 10 days and of course this is creating some bandwidth problems (which may give you a message like 'page not found' when you attempt a download). We ask for you to be patient whilst we sort out these teething problems and organise additional bandwidth.

The web team have been busy adding more features and it is now possible to download packs such as a collection of textures or a car and bogey in one click. Visit the Download Station to check out this new feature.

On the subject of custom content, we've been so impressed with the number and quality of new assets being produced that we would like to put together a special custom content CD that will package up the best of these assets. The compilation disc will then be made available for the cost of postage and handling. If you feel your creation(s) are suitable and would like them to be considered for inclusion, we have set up a special form for you to fill out here.

John will be back next week with another edition of Community Express, he has been a little busy over the past few days finalising details for the new Beta-test and Trainz Third-Party Support groups. He will be in touch with the participants over the course of the next few days.





14th August 2002

If you are finding it hard to keep up with reading all the posts on the Trainz forums this week, we can tell you why. We had almost 5,000 posts for the week which is almost double the level of just a month ago. Much of this increase is due to the new European language forums which are steadily growing each week. To help us cope, we have appointed new moderators to help us as our multi-lingual talents are limited primarily to English and American :) Thanks for your support and translation efforts to monsieurmax, Mikado, Rince, samrec, Atari, 656, tom-sa, Skogen and Rc1166.

This week, John Banks' Community Express focuses on the fantastic effort made by Trainz third party content creators to introduce steam to Trainz. While you are at the Trainz site, make sure you visit the Download Station where you will find a huge amount of new SP3 compatible content.

While you are there, check out the Paint Shed Competition entries. This competition is shaping up to be keenly contested with over 150 items already available on the Download Station and more coming in every day. The winners will be selected based upon ratings given by the users, so make sure after downloading the Paint Shed content that you revisit to cast your vote. I am sure the content creators would also welcome your feedback and support. To be eligible to win a prize, you will also need more than 10 votes. In the event of a tie, the item with the most votes will win, so feel free to drum up support for your entries on the forums.

Thanks also to everyone who has applied for the next round of Trainz beta testing. The group has been finalised and new testers will be notified over the course of the next couple of days. We are also in the process of finalising details for the new third party support group. We will be in touch with successful applicants for this group early next week.

Finally, we are just putting the finishing touches to our MSTS Paint Shed edition. If you have an MSTS fan site and you would like to receive a copy to review, please send your details to marketing@auran.com. We will be announcing the release details shortly.





7th August 2002

Yet another busy week in the Auran work sheds as we tidy up some of the loose ends and make a few minor changes.

The process for uploading new content to the Download Station is being fine tuned and we are incorporating some of the excellent feedback we have received to make things even easier to follow. The upload limit has already been raised to 20meg and next week we will add the option to download either complete packs of content or the individual items within the pack. This will allow for packs of textures or rolling stock skins or signals to be downloaded in one simple step.

Also, we have posted a readme.txt for the new Content Dispatcher to give you more detailed instructions how to pack your content. Remember that you MUST download the Trainz 1.3 Content Update Pack in order to unpack the .cdp files that are now available from the Download Station. You can download the readme and the Update Pack from the Content Creation page.

Still on that subject, if you are uploading content, please read the guidelines prior to uploading otherwise your content may end up in the wrong place. This makes it very difficult for people to find what they are looking for (not to mention confusing them as well). You can download the readme and the very useful Content Creation Procedures manual from the Content Creation page as well.

For all our new European members and Trainz fans, a special welcome. La bienvenida, accueil, empfang, il benvenuto, mottakelse or as vindas de boas, depending where you are from. Feel free to comment on our 'welcome' translations or talk about other things Trainz related on the new forums now set up for each country. They are proving very popular and it is great to see the support for all the "newbies" is continuing. If you would like to offer your services to become a community moderator for one of these forums, please contact community@auran.com.

To give you an idea of how quickly the community is growing, we are adding around 2,000 new members per month. The number of posts on our forums last week was the busiest ever, with more than 4,500 posts. The site totalled 76,500 visitors for the month of July and community members downloaded a gigantic 600gig of data!

With Trainz Service Pack 3 now in place we are moving ahead quickly with our plans to support the efforts of the third-party creators. The success of Trainz is very much linked to the quality and availability of third-party content. The new Download Station (with further features still being worked on) provides the infrastructure to support this and provide end-users with an easy and seamless process for finding content and integrating it with Trainz. With this in mind we are commencing a Third-Party support program. For full details on this please see John Banks' post in the Content Creation forum area. We are looking forward to working closely with many of the talented third-party creators out there to bring you even more content that enhances your Trainz experience.

One of the biggest discussion points for the week has been Paint Shed. Since the latest update there has been an explosion of new content as more and more people find out how easy (and fun) it is to create new railroad liveries. There have been so many requests for people to buy Paint Shed in stores that we are now negotiating distribution agreements around the world. We will keep you posted on progress as soon as firm release dates come to hand.

John Banks has provided another summary of what's happening in the Community. This week John highlilghts some remarkable new layouts and scenarios on the Community Express pages. We are also opening up our beta testing applications and a new category of testing for content creators. Check out these forum posts for more information and then email support@auran.com with your expressions of interest.

Our final piece of news for today is that we are running a new competition for the best original or prototypical "skins". Check out the Competition page for more details. If you have never exposed your creative talents to the Trainz community, now is your chance!





1st August 2002

Hang on to your rolling stock! Another big news day has arrived.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • Trainz V1.3 Content Update Pack
  • Custom Content Procedures Manual released
  • New Download Station features added
  • Paint Shed V1.3 update released
  • Service Pack 3 CDs shipping now
As you can see, the world of Trainz is taking some major steps forward. Our primary goal with these changes, and with SP3 in general, is to make the task of creating, sharing, finding, downloading and using custom content as easy as possible. All the tools and support for SP3 content are now available for Download, and we are expecting an explosion of new content to hit the Download Station over the next few days. During these times of change we expect there to be some bumps along the way, so we ask for your support as this transition takes place.

So, on with the details...

Trainz V1.3 Content Update Pack:
This pack can be downloaded from either the Service Packs page or the Content Creation page and includes:
  • Content Dispatcher: This is a dual purpose utility designed to make the process of uploading and downloading content far simpler than in the past. For Content Creators, it will package your custom Trainz content for upload to the new Download Station. During this process it makes various checks such as whether you have entered the appropriate fields in the config file. These fields are then used in helping to search for items, so if they aren't completed correctly, people won't be able to find your content.

    For users, Content Dispatcher lets you unpack your SP3 downloads without worrying about unzipping or finding the right directory. The checks and balances used should ensure that all your new content will install and run without problems. Note that you will need to have Content Dispatcher installed to download new SP3 content.
  • Content Foundry: This utility helps content creators by making all the default files required to add new content.
  • Trainz V1.3 Minor Update: This update patches Trainz V1.3 and addresses a number of issues.
Content Creation Procedures:
To help people understand the new custom content procedure, we have also released a new Content Creation Procedures manual, available here. If you make objects using Gmax or other modelling packages, it is important that you download and read this document (and apply the principles described). You can discuss any issues and find assistance on the Content Creation forum.

If you are a user and just like to download all the wonderful content, then all you need to do is wait for the new content to appear. To get you started with SP3 compatible content, a couple of our Trainz team have made some of their work available on the Download Station, so grab it now.

Download Station:
The major improvements to the Download Station are now completed. Most of the Download Station work has been behind the scenes making the task of uploading and downloading content easier for users. For users, there is a new Download Cart system that lets you grab many different items at one time, plus a versioning control system that lets you know if an item has been updated. The search function has been improved, and (if the content creators have filled in all the correct information in their content) it should be a lot easier to find exactly what you are looking for. You are looking for a 1960s USA cottage - no problem. You need a Belgium electric locomotive - no problem. You can also set your search preferences so that you can display a summarised list, or full details of each item. Check out the help section here for more details.

Paint Shed:
The long and arduous wait for those Paint Shed owners is over. Trainz Paint Shed V1.3 is now available as a free 30 meg download here. We apologise for the delay in getting this upgrade to you, but we trust the wait will have been worth it.

To explain Paint Shed to newcomers, it is a user-friendly program that lets you create your own customised railroad liveries (re-skins, paint jobs, call them what you like). This new version will let you paint all 5 sides (top, left, right, front and back) rather than 3, and also allows for non-mirrored sides. The selection of loco's and rolling stock has expanded from the 14 items that initially came with Paint Shed, and now include templates for each of the original 16 Trainz locomotives. We plan to release more templates, including passenger cars, over the coming months. Of course the content is now installed into the new \World directory and there are new config files to make the loco's run correctly under SP3.

You can purchase the full version of Paint Shed either on CD or by download at the Trainz Shop.

Service Pack 3 CDs now available:
If you have ordered the SP3 CD, your wait is almost over. After a couple of delays due to events beyond our control, we have the shiny new CDs in stock we will be shipping those orders out over the next couple of days. For those of you who have recently purchased the European version of Trainz, we will be announcing shortly when your SP3 upgrade will be available.

Get the low down on all the action from the NMRA show from John Banks in this week's Community Express.

To finish the news for today, a note from Auran's CEO, Greg Lane:

"I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience during this massive upgrade to Trainz. The new features introduced with Service Pack 3 and now the utilities to support new SP3 content distribution, have taken Trainz to a new level. Many of these features are a direct response to requests by the Trainz Community, and whilst Trainz still isn't perfect, we are heading in the right direction. Please keep the feedback and suggestions coming so that we can make future versions of Trainz even better."





31st July 2002

Just a quick news update today as we will have an exciting update tomorrow. Check back then for more details.

For those of you who have been waiting patiently for SP3 discs, they have arrived today and shipping has begun. We are expecting most of these orders to be fulfilled by the end of the week.





24th July 2002

A big welcome to all of you who have joined us after visiting our stand at the National Model Railroad Association Show in Fort Lauderdale. Auranites Tony Hilliam and John Banks along with community members, Badtrash, Mutey, Bitstorm and gumbytrain had a very successful show and received plenty of positive feedback from the crowd. More news on this when John arrives back in the office. In the meantime, check out the report from the community guys on the forum.

For those of you who have ordered the Service Pack and Paint Shed via the online shop, we have heard that we will definitely be receiving the discs early next week, so orders will begin shipping as soon as they arrive.





17th July 2002

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY.
We officially announced the release of Trainz Service Pack 3 one week ago today and our servers are only just starting to recover now! So, this week’s news begins with a very sincere “thank you” to everybody for their patience whilst trying to download SP3 and a special thanks to everyone who helped by either hosting the file, distributing it amongst friends or burning it for other community members. We are very grateful for your efforts. Those that have ordered the CD, they are being replicated now and should be dispatched next week.

The response on our forums to SP3 has overall been a resounding success, with most people finding great performance improvements, and of course finding that the new scenarios are alot of fun.

The Download Station is undergoing an upgrade, and is almost ready to handle the flood of SP3 content that we're expecting once the Content Dispatcher is ready for release. We'll let you know as soon as all the systems are in place.

We got this week rolling with a very lively and entertaining Monday morning chat session with almost one hundred custom content creators dropping in. A number of issues and questions were raised and we received some great feedback. You can find a log of the chat session here.

For those of you who are interested in scripting your own scenarios for Trainz, we have made the scripts for Highland Valley available from the Content Creation page. So to all you prorammers out there, get cracking and let’s see what you can do with TrainzScript (tm).

The beta testers are busy putting the new Content Dispatcher and Paint Shed upgrades through usability testing. Apologies to those of you affected by the short delay. We had the difficult decision of holding SP3 until these ugrades were ready, or giving you a week or two without your reskins. We're sure the wait will be worth it! The new Paint Shed allows full 5 sided painting and non-mirrored textures and our own internal usability tests have shown that practically anyone can create their own railroad liveries. Check out some of the ealier efforts of our team here.

The Auran website continues to be inundated with people seeking more information about Trainz. While you’re looking around, don’t forget to stop into our forum, catch up with Johnno’s Community Express, and have a look at our latest poll. Also, if you’re looking for a place to shoot the breeze or find out the latest Trainz gossip, drop by our Trainz chat room. You may just find one of the Auran team on there letting snippets of information out and answering any questions you have.

We end this week’s news with wishes of bon voyage for Tony Hilliam and Johnno Banks who are off to the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) Show in Fort Lauderdale (USA). The guys fly out today and will be at the show for the rest of the week. If you get the chance and you’re in the area, John and Tony would love to catch up with you. Visit booths 902 and 903 at the Broward County Convention Center July 19 -21, 2002 Ft. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA





10th July 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please…Trainz Service Pack 3 has arrived and is now ready for boarding. This service (pack) will take you to new heights, at greater speeds and allow you to experience Trainz in a whole new way with new content, SCENARIOS and layouts. Droolmopz™ will be supplied on request.

Yes, It’s here. You may download Trainz SP3 right now but beware…We have been completely overwhelmed by the number of people downloading the new Service Pack and are experiencing some server delays. We have a relatively impressive pipeline with great bandwidth but the popularity of SP3 has brought it to its knees. So, we are kindly asking that anybody who is willing to mirror the file or share it with friends (who own a legal and legitimate version of Trainz) please do so. If you have set up a mirror, please post the link to this thread on the forum.

A quick reminder, the SP3 CD includes previous Trainz Service Packs so, even if you do download SP3, it might be a good idea to order the CD to ensure that you have ALL of the Trainz Service Packs in one place (just in case you need to reinstall at some point). In addition to being able to order the Service Pack CD online, those of you who don't yet own a copy of Trainz can now order the latest version of Trainz (version 1.3 - already updated) from our website. GET IT NOW, BEFORE WE RUN OUT!

Whilst we have not yet released the custom content guidelines for SP3, content creators can expect an email from John Banks very soon advising them of some of the new features included with SP3. All content creators are invited to join John, Greg and some other key members of the Trainz Team to launch our Content Creators Chat room on Monday 7:30am (local Auran time). Expect some lively discussion and some great ideas about what we’re working on with custom content for Trainz.

Looking around the website this week you will notice a few new bits and pieces aside from a very popular link in the Service Packs page. Our online discussion forum now features an area for those from the Nordic regions to discuss Trainz in their native tongue. We have added a few great new features to our Download Station and in keeping with our international focus we have added a French Chat area (IRC channel #Trainz_French). Also, don’t forget to have your say in our latest poll. As usual, John Banks has written his weekly Community Express.

The newest versions of Paint Shed and new Custom Content Dispatcher are coming very soon™. Stand by for more news next week. In the meantime, why not see if you can beat Bobo88’s score for the included SP3 SCENARIO. The first to officially register a score on the forum, Bobo88 posted a credible 5170 points here.





1st July 2002

Trainz Delayed

Please note that Trainz July 1st Service (Pack 3) has been delayed due to unfinished track work (identified by our ever-vigilant Beta Testers). The Brew Crew is busy clearing the track and we envisage Service Pack 3 will arrive in a few short days.

We apologise for the disappointment this will cause, but we have made the difficult decision not to release SP3 until we are satisfied that it meets the standards we have set.

We will send a news announcement as soon as we know a definitive date.





26th June 2002

The countdown has begun for the release of Service Pack 3!

The Brew Crew are stamping out the remaining bugs, polishing scenarios, updating artwork and tweaking engine physics files. The beta testers are also doing a great job of reporting problems and giving us feedback to make sure that SP3 will be the ultimate addition to your Trainz experience.

To whet your appetites for SP3, we've posted the list of key features here.

We have included so much new content, additional features and enhancements in SP3 that the file size has grown to approximately 300Mb. For those with dial-up modems or bandwidth limitations, you can order your copy of SP3 from the Auran online shop right now and have it posted as soon as the CDs come back from the replicator (around July 15). This Service Pack CD is free but there will be a small postage and handling fee. If you are going to order the CD, please do so before July 1 so that we know how many copies to print.

In other news, John is back with another edition of Community Express. Click here to find out what’s been going on in the ever-growing Trainz community this week.

Finally, to keep up-to-date with all the Trainz news, feel free to join our online forums or drop by for a friendly chinwag in our chat room.





19th June 2002

Everybody at Auran and all of our fantastic Beta Testers are working madly to make sure Trainz Service Pack 3 will be ready for release. We've fixed some key bugs, and we're trying to squeeze as many new features in as possible. SP3 will definitely make your time spent with Trainz a lot more enjoyable, and provide the platform for us to continue to evolve and shape the product to meet the needs of our Community. As we have often said, Trainz is a long term project and we're committed to making this product a "must-have" for all train enthusiasts.

As part of our marketing efforts, Auran will be displaying Trainz SP3 at the NMRA National Train Show in Fort Lauderdale, July 19-21. If you’re thinking about attending the show make sure you drop by to say hello and get the latest news on Trainz. For more information about how you can become involved with helping to promote Trainz, check out this week’s Community Express. Here you'll also see an announcemnet about our new forum Trainz on the Road.

There’s still a lot to do and July is rapidly approaching…So, we’re back to work. Stay tuned for more news next week. :)





12th June 2002

It’s mid-June already and we're into crunch mode for Service Pack 3. Large map support is functioning very nicely, we’ve seen great performance with multiple consists and our SCENARIOS are looking fantastic! Of course, there’s still a lot to do and the Trainz Team (with plenty of help form our awesome Beta Testers) is working feverishly to make SP3 the ultimate addition to Trainz.

Those of you who haven’t already visited Arxel’s website might be interested to see that Trainz has been prominently displayed in the Virgin Megastore. Excellent work by Arxel, it’s great to see Trainz in the limelight.

Unfortunately the localisation issues have taken longer than expected and this has delayed the release of Trainz throughout Europe. The reason this impacts on those of you in the UK is that the publisher can't release in the UK until the other language versions have been released due to problems with "grey imports".

John Banks has returned with another edition of Community Express.This week, John has some great new screenshots as well as all the news about what’s happening in the Trainz online community.





5th June 2002

After last week’s HUGE SP3 announcement we’re working FULL STEAM AHEAD to make sure that the new Service Pack will be ready for download and delivery on July 1st.

In preparation for the release of SP3 we have created a new area on our forum for discussion about Trainz SCENARIOS where you can talk about the types of scenarios you'd like to see in Trainz. The Trainz Team will also be dropping by the forums from time to time over the next few weeks just to see how things are going.

Collection Pack 1 news is both good and bad. The good news is that whilst there is already a huge number of locos, rolling stock and layouts included in the collection pack, we will be adding more content to take advantage of the upcoming SP3 features. This will include new scenarios and 3rd party content. The bad news is that we will therefore be delaying release of Collection Pack 1 until SP3 is released. We think that you will all be happy with our decision.

John’s Community Express update shows you more about what’s been going on in the Trainz community over the past week. He has scoured the forums for some gems and has some great new screenshots for you to drool over.

Everybody at Auran is very excited about the upcoming release of SP3 and we’re all going to be very busy but we will continue to provide news updates as they come to hand so remember to check the website often.





31st May 2002

As promised, we’re back with a very special and important news announcement.

Today is your chance to find out more about Trainz Service Pack 3 and learn about fantastic new features including;
  • LARGE MAP AND PROTOTYPICAL ROUTE SUPPORT
  • PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENTS
  • TRAFFIC DENSITY
  • ART UPDATES
  • TRANSPARENT LOCO WINDOWS
  • PHYSICS AND AI IMPROVEMENTS
  • SAVE GAME FUNCTION
  • And of course, ACTIVITIES AND SCENARIOS
Auran CEO and Trainz Project Leader, Greg Lane has detailed SP3 and started a discussion post here. BEWARE! Trainz fans will be shocked that SP3 is a FREE download. Please have Drool Mops™ at the ready.

In other news, Ieuan Hyde our marketing guy has finally recovered enough from his time at E3 to knuckle down and write a report about it. You can see what Ieuan has to say here.

Finally, a MASSIVE thanks to everybody who has volunteered their support to help us move Trainz into the model and hobby retail market. Ieuan Hyde and John Banks are working on plans to coordinate this special new initiative and will be in touch soon. To register your interest email John Banks at helpdesk@auran.com.





29th May 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen…the news you have all been waiting for is just around the corner! This Friday (Australian time) Auran CEO and Trainz Project Leader, Greg Lane will fully detail the features and release schedule for Trainz Service Pack 3.

Be prepared for a BIG announcement including things like transparent windows, dual cabs and scenario scripting and of course, some great new screenshots. Of course if you can’t wait until Friday, you could always hassle John Banks in the chat channel.

Auran’s recent presence at E3 was highlighted by the spectacular image of Trainz on a ‘triple head’ display. Thanks to our friends at Matrox and Panoram Technologies, we were lucky enough to have Trainz running across three screens for the duration of the show. Even more impressive was the display at the Matrox stand that saw Trainz running across three projected screens at four foot by six foot per screen.

If that weren’t enough to get you drooling, you might be interested to know that the version we were running was an early pre-release build of SP3 that included scenario support.

Trainz has launched in France and will soon be available all over Europe. Auran is currently finishing the integration of the different language versions and we have been told the following dates for release:
  • Germany: 10.06.02
  • UK: 10.06.02
  • Italy: 20.06.02
  • Spain: 20.06.02
  • Benelux: 15.06.02
  • Other: 15.06.02 - 30.06.02
Everybody who has used Trainz knows that it is not a traditional PC game title. In recognition of this and in line with feedback we have received on our forum, Auran intends to enhance the marketing initiatives of our distribution partners with a concentrated campaign focusing on model and hobby retailers. We will officially launch this new initiative at the upcoming NMRA National Train Show in Fort Lauderdale from July 19th – 21st. Anybody seeking to help place Trainz on shelves in model and hobby retail stores can contact Auran’s resident Marketing guy, Ieuan Hyde by emailing marketing@auran.com.

If you would like to volunteer to help demonstrate Trainz at your local model railroad club or train show, please email John Banks at helpdesk@auran.com. Auran will support your efforts with the appropriate marketing materials and promotional merchandise.

Finally, you can get all the gossip about what’s going on in the Trainz community at John’s Community Express post on the Community page.





22nd May 2002

As Auran staff are attending E3 in LA, Trainz news is on hold this week. If you are going to E3, drop by Auran booth #336 for a special “advance screening” of some of the great features appearing in Service Pack 3. Be assured though that Trainz development is advancing rapidly, with the crew working hard on Service Pack 3.

Don't forget that today is the deadline for getting your Trainzlink competition entry in to Uncle Rob Shaw. Finally, there is another Trainz Community Express for you to check out. The Trainz Community website in the spotlight this week is young Monsieur Max's "Max Trainz". Click here for more Trainz Community Express.

We will have more Trainz news for you next week, including an E3 report.





15th May 2002

We’re already mid-way through May and Trainz is just about to make its debut at E3 (the world’s biggest computer games show) in Los Angeles as well as appearing in stores across Europe.

The Trainz team is divided at the moment. The artists are toiling feverishly to put the finishing touches on Collection Pack 1 while the Programmers plug away at the various bits and pieces of Service Pack 3. The recent need to translate Trainz for the European market and our upcoming E3 commitments have had a small effect on the team but we’re confident that we’ll deliver something fantastic very soon.

We’re learning more about our Trainz community every day and you’re helping us to develop an even greater product. In this week’s poll, we want to know how you first found out about Trainz.

Ieuan and John are still going through all of the great advertising ideas that have been sent through recently and will announce a winner before the end of the month. Anybody who is working on a layout for Ieuan’s secret project had best get cracking as time is running out. Also, you have less than a week to put your entry in for the Trainzlink competition.

TRAINZ AT E3
Anybody who is going to E3 will get a special “advance screening” of some of the great features that will appear in Service Pack 3. You could be amongst the first to see just what can happen in a scripted Trainz Scenario, just drop by and visit us at the Auran booth #336.

TRAINZ IN EUROPE
Trainz will be launched in France this Saturday, UK next week and Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the rest of Europe in early June. If you’re not sure whether your local store will have a copy, contact Arxel Tribe for more information.

Coinciding with the European release of Trainz, we have officially opened our international language forums. Please drop by and have a chat with some of the locals.

TRAINZ COMMUNITY EXPRESS
The Trainz community has been growing rapidly over the past few months in the wake of the Trainz retail release and we anticipate many new visitors with the European release now in full swing. This growth has been accompanied by an outburst of creativity that has resulted in a flood of new content for Trainz made by the many talented members of the Trainz community --- from lots of layouts to new locomotive models, many great skins and numerous other trackside objects, structures and accessories. Check it out for yourself at the Download Station. You are bound to find a few downloads that will liven up your layout :) Click here for more Trainz Community Express.





8th May 2002

Hello again everybody and welcome to all of our new Trainz users.

We’d like to begin this week’s news with a MASSIVE “Thank You” to Fredrik, Kenny and their entourage for their incredible efforts in displaying Trainz to the masses. The guys got together with a gang of folks from PANVision in Stockholm to promote Trainz prior to its European release. For the full story and some great pictures, click here.

They’re not the only ones spreading the news. Some of the gang from Auran recently attended the Brisbane Model Train Show to promote Trainz to the locals. To see what went on at the show, check out John Banks’ forum post here.

Some of you have been asking about creating templates and how to model your custom content for Paint Shed. We have released guidelines for creating templates today and you can get them from the Content Creation page right now.

If you haven't already checked out how easy it is to create your very own railroad liveries, you can view the Trainz Paint Shed movie on the Moviez page. And still more on Paint Shed; community member Cafe has just released "Espresso Nova" - a fantastic utility that helps you create new textures and re-skins. You can download this from the Trainz luvr website here.

Ieuan is still looking for layouts as a part of his special secret™ project. For more information, check out this forum thread. While you’re in the forum, John Banks is also seeking ideas for Trainz advertising. Visit this thread to find out more.

Due to popular demand, we are investigating the potential to sell Trainz T-Shirts (and possibly a whole range of Trainz apparel) through our online shop. We’ll keep you posted.

Finally this week, it is our pleasure to announce some of the contents of the upcoming Trainz Collection Pack 1. We know we’re late, and we’re sorry but sometimes it’s best to take a little while longer so you can offer MORE. We’ll kick off with locomotives from Australia and USA including, ANR 930 class (also used in Spain, Peru, Greece, India and Pakistan), Class 34-200 (similar models used in Africa, Croatia, Israel, Iran, Peru, Argentina, Yugoslavia, Hong Kong and Pakistan), GP38-2 (used in USA and Saudi Arabia), GG1 (rumoured to have also been used in Britain - but just a rumour :), DL531, and the BUDD RDC-1.

Don’t forget, ALL those locos come with Trainz Paint Shed templates so you can paint them in whatever livery you so desire. Perhaps we’ll see some of the liveries from the other nations. :)

But that’s not all…

Trainz Collection Pack 1 will also include new cabs, new textures (from the amazingly talented Ozzie_Dave), more locomotives (to be announced) and a wide variety of third party content. When do you get it? When it’s finished...not long now. :)





1st May 2002

How’s the weather in Scandinavia? Have a good look now because you won’t want to leave the house once Trainz arrives. That’s right; Trainz will hit Scandinavia any day now and should be available in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the rest of Europe within the month. We will be welcoming our international friends shortly with new French and German forums.

Testing of SP3 continues. Here's what one "largely" famous beta tester said about his first look at SP3: "Holy Cow!!! This is absolutely brilliant! I love it. I actually stayed at the office (and I did not have to) just to try the Build 223 out and I am now out of Drool Mops (tm)."

Anybody feel like creating a layout as part of a special Trainz project? Auran’s marketing guy, Ieuan Hyde is currently working on a top-secret project for which he requires a special layout of six baseboards in a 3 x 2 formation. The project will eventually be seen by up to 10,000 people per day so, if it’s fame you’re after, check out this forum post for more information.

While you’re on the forum, have a look at this great new chance to win some more Trainz stuff. Simply get your creative juices flowing and you could find yourself published.

If you haven't started your TrainzLink layout, there's still plenty of time to enter. Go to the competition page to check out the rules and prizes.





24th April 2002

It’s Wednesday (in Australia) and we’re back with still more Trainz news.

First cab off the rank this week is Collection Pack 1. The pack is still in testing but should be ready for release next week. However, we can say that the new pack will have a predominantly Australian and North American flavor with a few little surprises for other parts of the world. :) For more information on the Collection Pack, see John Banks' post on the Trainz forum.

After they have finished with Trainz Collection Pack 1 our Beta Testers will be kept busy with the brand new beta version of MSTS Paint Shed. We will be preparing this little gem for testing very soon.

We have had a very positive response to SP3 and as we continue to test new features, we grow increasingly confident that you will just love what this great new Service Pack can offer. Again, for more information about SP3, visit the forum and read John Banks' post.

On a final note, Auran staff will be on holidays for the next two days but you can be sure that somebody will be lurking around the forum making sure that the waffle is not too free-flowing.





17th April 2002

Hello again everybody and welcome to another week of Trainz news.

Well, you asked for it! Trainz Collection Pack 1 will officially begin in the Beta Testing phase this week and will include new locos, rolling stock, layouts and cabs as well as additional objects and textures. Feel free to ask questions of the Beta Testers but remember they don't yet have ALL the information. We will be posting much more information about Collection Pack 1 - Next week.

Trainzlink - BE A PART OF SOMETHING BIG! With the imminent inclusion of support for larger/prototypical routes, we felt it was time to introduce the first phase in the Trainzlink concept…And the best way to get it started is to have a Competition. Expect more news about Trainzlink very soon.

Finally this week, thank you all very much for your overwhelming support regarding last week’s announcement of Trainz SP3. The Service Pack is on schedule and we should be in a position to offer more details about release dates very soon. Remember, SP3 is major step toward future Trainz modules and will incorporate some brand new features well ahead of time, so please be patient while the Beta Testers do their job.





10th April 2002

NOW FOR THE BIG NEWS!!
Aside from standard enhancements to existing features, we have taken on board your feedback and we're excited to announce that:
Trainz Service Pack 3 will include scenarios!
Trainz Service Pack 3 will include a save function!
Trainz Service Pack 3 will include support for large/prototypical layouts!

The Trainz Team has decided that it's time to fire up the big guns. Trainz Service Pack 3 adds a level of functionality to Trainz that will set a new standard for train simulation software and provides a prelude to the next big step in the Trainz project - Yardmaster. For more information about SP 3 click here.

IN OTHER NEWS
Trainz Paint Shed is now available for download. Visit the Shop page for more details.

The custom creation community is ramping up their efforts to provide Trainz users with a growing amount of content including; boats, buses, tents, trailers and a range of new locos. You can download them all now from the Download Station. If you have created your own custom content, make sure you submit it for inclusion in the Download Station. To submit your content, visit the 'Your Content' page of your Planet Auran profile.





9th April 2002

It is our great pleasure to announce that Trainz Paint Shed is now available for immediate download at the special download only price of AUD$27.50. Visit the Shop page to purchase this 37.8mb download version of Paint Shed.

You can also purchase a full CD copy of Paint Shed (with additional download option) for just AUD$37.50. So, get ready for an explosion of new paint schemes for Trainz locos and rolling stock. To keep up with it all, don’t forget to visit our online forum.

Here's what lonejedi had to say about Paint Shed on the Trainz forum, "I tend to just lurk over here on this forum, but I had to come down from the rafters to announce that I love Paint Shed!!!". Click here to read what others on the forum had to say about this product.

For more information about Trainz Paint Shed, please visit the Paint Shed page.





3rd April 2002

WOW, it’s April already! With every month that passes we get closer to the release of Yardmaster so you can expect things to start hotting up very soon.

This week Trainz began distribution throughout Australia and New Zealand so you can all expect to hear some brand new accents on the forum. A big G’Day to all the locals, welcome aboard. :)

Congratulations abound this week. First of all to Pikkabird, gregbaker and Walter, winners of our first gmax competition, for their excellent work in creating new stations for Trainz. You can see their work on the Competition page and at the Download Station.

While we’re in the mood for patting people on the back, well done to the Trainz team for another couple of great reviews and thanks to Marshallaw for pointing them out on the forum. You can check out more reviews of Trainz on the Links page.

Paint Shed has been landing on front door steps around the world and we're all looking forward to seeing a wealth of new railroad liveries in those screenshots. If you have screenshots of your favorite layout or latest Paint Shed creation, you can link to them on the screenshotz forum. For those of you who have already purchased Paint Shed, you will be given access to a downloadable version this week and for those of you waiting to order the download only version of Paint Shed, this option is now being thoroughly tested and will be available next week.





27th March 2002

Those of you who have been waiting patiently for Trainz Paint Shed will be pleased to know that we have officially begun distribution. We expect all pre-ordered copies to have left our storeroom by tomorrow and will make the download available next week. Anybody still waiting to purchase a copy of Trainz Paint Shed can do so now at the Auran Online Shop.

There is plenty going on in the ever-expanding Trainz community. Check out some of the new links to other great Trainz websites. While you’re at our links page, take a look at some of the excellent reviews Trainz has recently received.

Australians and New Zealanders will soon have the opportunity to purchase Trainz in retail stores. Distributors, OziSoft have announced that Trainz will be available from the 3rd of April. Europe will be next on the distribution list and we expect to make announcements about dates very soon.





20th March 2002

A big thank you to those of you who have supported the launch of Paint Shed. Make a name for yourself and purchase Paint Shed from the Shop now. We are getting closer to making the download purchase option available, so keep an eye out for this update soon.

Time is running out for the budding artists amongst you! Don't forget that entries for the Trainz Stations competition are due for submission by the 29th of March. So crank up gmax and show us what you can do. For more details, visit the Competition page.

As usual, there is new community created Trainz content available from the Download Station. There are some very talented people out there in the Trainz community so make a stop at the Download Station and load up with some cool items to use on your Trainz layouts. If you have been getting into gmax and creating your own material for Trainz, please submit it for inclusion in the Download Station and let us know about it in the Content Creation area of the Trainz Forum.





13th March 2002

Trainz continues to do well in North America and will be available in Australia and New Zealand before the end of the month. In the meantime, you can download a new version of the Trainz demo from Strategy First.

After a lot of input from the online community and our Beta Testers, the boxed version of Trainz Paint Shed is now available to be ordered from the Auran online Shop. Shipping will begin on the 27th of March. An additional option to download Paint Shed will be available in the near future. Visit the Shop now to get a full description.

Just to prove how easy Trainz Paint Shed is to use, some of the Auranites have had a play with it and taken some screenshots of their work. So, before you visit the shop to order your copy, drop in here to see what Rob, Rachael, John, Greg and Cliff have done with theirs.

We recently floated the idea of providing a special forum area for younger Trainz users and we’re still looking into how we might do that but we’d like to know what sort of demographic we have on our boards at the moment. If you get the chance, we’d be grateful if you could nominate your age at the newest poll.

Finally this week, we’d like to thank everybody in the community who has helped us to spread the word about Trainz. As you all know, Trainz is not your average software product and it relies to an extent on the great support that our community has provided. We recognize that, and we’re very grateful for everything you have done to promote Trainz in your areas.





6th March 2002

Welcome aboard to all of our new members, it’s great to have you along. :)

This week, we’re pulling out all the stops as the Trainz Team goes into overdrive on some very major (but top secret™) projects.

Lights, camera…action! That old staple of the Trainz online community is back. The Auran film crew have been back in the studio to create yet another of our famous Trainz moviez. This time we’re focusing on Trainz Paint Shed. Some people have had a few questions about this new product and we want to make sure that everybody knows just how simple it is to use. Download it now from the Moviez page.

We’ve been watching our online community grow over the past few months and we’ve been delighted at the increasing number of young people who have joined the forums. Perhaps it’s time we started a Junior Trainz club with a special focus for the next generation? Tell us what you think under John Banks’ thread in the forum.

The recent release of the Trainz gmax™ game pack has prompted yet another competition. The “Trainz Stations” competition kicks off today and closes on March the 29th, so best get cracking. For more details visit our Competition page.

While you’re visiting other parts of the site don’t forget to drop by the Download Station. There’s a stack of new stuff there including layouts, rolling stock and track side accessories.





4th March 2002

Woohoo! The Trainz gmax™ game pack is finally ready for download. Get it now from our Content Creation page. The game pack will allow you to import all of your gmax™ creations into Trainz and we’re looking forward to seeing what you can do.

The Trainz Team continues to work away at Yardmaster and on various other add-ons as well as the next Service Pack (SP2). We're real keen to make SP2 something very special. With this in mind we're not going to rush this pack out but in fact hold it back a little to make sure it's just right. We have a number of changes and additions for SP2 that we're sure you're going to enjoy. Stay tuned...





27th February 2002

What a week! Have we got some news for you?!

Yesterday the Auran web team had a small celebration after reaching the milestone 20,000th registered member of Planet Auran. Member number 20,000 - Krusty registered at around 5:30pm (Auran time) and sent the team into a frenzy. Big congratulations to everybody involved. :) …And welcome to all of our new Planet Auran members, great to have you along.

More congratulations. The Trainz team received a much-deserved pat on the back from Gaming Excellence yesterday when Trainz was granted an Editor’s Choice award with a score of 90%.

Not to let the momentum slip, the team continues to work on various additional features and modules including, of course, Yardmaster. In the meantime, here’s a nifty little package that’s currently being tested by the Beta crew.

Trainz Paint Shed offers you the chance to design and create your very own railroad liveries without having to re-skin. Simply use the Paint Shed template, choose a color scheme and design style, add your own custom railroad logo and you’re ready to start competing with the big boys.

Trainz Paint Shed is also the feature of our new poll. Why not have a read of John’s post on the forum then let us know whether you think Paint Shed is for you?

Last week, we encouraged you to start submitting content for our Download Station and this week, we’re pleased to advise that the first few items are starting to become available. Visit the Download Station to see what some of your fellow Trainz community members have been up to.

Of course, not everybody has been creating content, some of you were out Trainz spotting (or at least pretending to be) and we’ve got the photos to prove it.

Time for a bit of desktop decoration? Drop by and check out our new Trainz wallpapers. While you’re in the mood for having a look around, feel free to check out some of the great new fan sites and press reviews that have been added to our links page. We really appreciate all the support we are getting and we hope you will find the time to have a look at some of these awesome sites.

In other news, the engine behind the engines in Trainz, Auran Jet will be on display at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Jose. Anybody who is going to conference should feel free to drop by and have a chat with some of the Auran team.

Last, but not least. The latest word from Discreet is that we can expect to have the download of our Trainz Game Pack available by the end of the week. In the meantime, Discreet have a new version 1.1 of gmax™ available for download on their website. gmax is the 3D application that allows you to create custom content whilst the Trainz Game Pack is a plug-in that converts those models into the in-game format - together they form the "Trainz Asset Creation Studio" which we are sure will add hours more enjoyment to Trainz.





21st February 2002

Hello everybody, we’re back again! :) Just a quick update today to let you know that Rob “That’s All There Is To It” Shaw has kindly consented to letting us release a small sample of his private loco collection. As a true example of a self-confessed Trainz nut, Rob spends his time away from the office creating additional models for Trainz. This week he offers us the BL27 NRC SteelLink, BL32 NRC and the SAR 500 Class. You can find these beauties in the Download Station.

Legendary forum personality, Beta Tester and all around Trainz fan, Bruce 3801 Kennewell has written a great review of Trainz at EBGames.com. If you write your own review, or find one on the web, we’d love to know about it. Let us know on the forum or email helpdesk@auran.com





20th February 2002

Hello again everybody and welcome to all of our new Planet Auran members. It’s great to have you along.

We are happy to advise that our new upload facility for Trainz custom content is now ready. Using this facility, you can submit your custom content for approval and subsequent inclusion in our Download Station. Please only submit one file each at the moment as we are expecting this service to be very popular for the first few weeks. Initially, the approval process will take up to five working days, however, we will speed this up as we go along and tweak the system. To upload your custom content, login to Planet Auran and visit the "Your Content" page in your Profile area. From there, follow the instructions and you will soon be able to share all your goodies with the rest of the Trainz community.

Many of you have made comments in the forums and via email about the new-look Download Station. Based on your feedback, we will be making some adjustments and improvements over the coming weeks.

We remain in contact with Discreet about gmax™ and Trainz and we’re looking forward to being able to provide the game pack very soon.





18th February 2002

Hello again everybody. Well it’s Monday in Australia and whilst our American counterparts enjoy a public holiday, the Trainz team continue to toil away.

Today we have made Trainz SP 1.2 available for download from the 'Upgrades' Category in the Download Station. This patch will fix some of the minor bugs you have reported recently and brings us closer to SP2, which will incorporate some great new features. :)

As you are all aware, Trainz is now available through retail outlets in North America and we have received our first photographic confirmation of a Trainz box in stores. Thanks to John_B for the photo. Congratulations, you are the first to enter the ‘Trainz Spotting’ competition and your t-shirt is on the way.

More news later in the week…





13th February 2002

Ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure to announce that Trainz is now on sale in retail stores across North America. Everybody at Auran would like to thank all of the people who were involved in getting Trainz to this stage, including all of our Planet Auran members.

We all started celebrating today with a very civilized morning tea in typical ‘Brew Crew’ style. The Australian release (March 15) is anticipated to be a much less refined affair. :)

As promised last week, the layouts that achieved the 'Encouragement Award' and ‘Honorable Mention’ status in our recent “Show Us Your Layout” competition are now available for download. While you’re at the Download Station you will notice our new categorizations. Please give us some feedback and let us know what you think in the forums.

Oh, in case you hadn’t noticed, we have a brand new website…Take a look around; we think you’ll find a few new bits and pieces as well as one or two surprises. We will continue to expand and develop this site so be sure and check back regularly.

Don't forget to visit the competition page for all the information on our newest challenge.

Simon “Billy” Connolly the Trainz Team’s resident rev head and creator of the much-loved and often drooled-over Trainz HotRod has finally consented to unleash the awesome power of his finely tuned loco. You can download her from the ‘Locomotives’ section of our new Download Station but be careful - this is an awesome machine!

We are still waiting for the final licensing confirmation from Discreet before we make the Trainz gmax™ game pack available for download. We have been in touch with Discreet about this issue and will advise as soon as we have their final approval.





12th February 2002

One day to go! We are just one day from the retail release of Trainz in North America and what better way to celebrate than by holding a brand new competition? For more details about the “Trainz Spotters” competition please visit our competition page.

As the anticipation mounts over here at Auran, we hope everybody has told their North American friends that Trainz will be available in stores tomorrow morning. If you’re in North America and your local store does not stock Trainz, please let us know and we’ll make sure they’re put on the list for the next distribution run.

Finally, before we are inundated by a wave of newcomers to the Trainz forum, we would like to thank everybody who has supported us in the development of this project thus far. Your input and support has been invaluable and has helped shape the way Trainz will grow into the future.





11th February 2002

This week marks a very special occasion for everybody at Auran. On Tuesday, February 12th (US time), our second PC game, Trainz will be available for retail purchase. We are very proud of our achievements with this product and would like to thank all of the members of Planet Auran for their support and involvement in helping us to reach this very significant milestone.

Whilst many of you already have your copy of Trainz, some of you (particularly in North America) may be waiting to purchase your copy at your local games shop. Due to the pre-release popularity of Trainz, not all North American stores will have stock available on the day of release. We advise and encourage you to check that your local supplier has stock available before you visit the store.

If your local supplier does not have enough copies of Trainz, please feel free to advise us of the store's name and location and we will forward their details to the appropriate distributors to ensure that they are added to future orders.

We thank you for helping us to serve our customers better and for your continued support.





6th February 2002

After weeks of toil, Rob “That’s All There Is To It” Shaw has finally wiped the mad grin from his face and is ready to announce the winners of our ‘Show Us Your Layout’ competition. Congratulations to all the winners and to everybody who took the time to create some of the spectacular layouts, thank you! You can read Rob’s full report on the forums and download the winning entries either from the competition page or the Download Station.

We’re counting down the days until the retail version of Trainz is released in North America. In the meantime, the rest of the world is becoming increasingly interested in stocking Trainz. We already have a date for release in Australia (March 15) and we’re expecting Europe to be sometime in mid-to-late April and today, we learned that agencies in both China and Poland have expressed interest. So, it shouldn't be too long before Trainz is an international best seller :) Of course, if you can’t wait, you can still order the Community Edition online.

The Trainz Team has well and truly begun work on the next phase of the Trainz project and we will soon be able to show you some of the fruits of their labor so be prepared to schedule some movie downloading time in the near future.

Thanks to everybody who has registered interest in helping us to Beta Test our upcoming Trainz add-ons, Service Packs and Modules. We’re still finalizing the arrangements and will make an announcement in the very near future.





1st February 2002

Fellow Aussies, here's a link to the Ozisoft announcement letting you know that Trainz is currently scheduled to be available in retail stores here in Australia on the 15th March 2002. In the meantime, we still have a few copies available from our online shop if you can't wait that long :)





30th January 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen, Trainz (the retail version) has gone GOLD! That’s right, Strategy First has advised the world that Trainz has reached the final stage before retail release. You can read the official announcement here, or here, or here…or here, or here…You get the picture. Look out for Trainz is stores soon and if you don’t see it, demand that your retailer make some calls :)

Rob “That’s All There Is To It” Shaw has been playing Trainz like a man possessed for the past few days. He’s in his own version of utopia racing his favorite locos around all of the fantastic competition layouts he has received. He hasn’t yet chosen a winner (apparently he needs more playing time) but assures us that he will be ready for the big announcement next week.

Rob has kindly taken some screenshots from a few of the competition layouts for your perusal. They appear in no particular order on the Competition page.

We’ve updated our Service Pack! SP1.1 is now available from the Download Station but before you go and grab it, there are a few things you should know. Please read this post on the forums for a full report.

Finally today, those of you seeking more information about using gmax™ with Trainz can visit the Content Creation page to obtain the latest.





25th January 2002

After a busy two days since we last posted some Trainz news, we’re back with still more.

Today is the day that the content creators among you have been waiting for! After some final tweaking and tuning, the beta version of the Official Content Creation Guidelines are ready and waiting. Remember these are the guidelines that will appear in the retail version of Trainz so some references to gmax being packed with Trainz won’t apply to you guys. Of course, that can all be rectified by downloading gmax from Discreet or obtaining it from a cover CD on various PC and game magazines. As usual, anything that goes into the retail version, will be made available for our online community via download.

As an additional note, we have finalized the Trainz gmax plug-in and will make it available as soon as we have been advised by Discreet that everything is ready to go. Obviously we don’t want to jump the gun on this one and we’re just waiting for the go ahead.





23rd January 2002

Okay, I think we’ve waited long enough… Here is the news:

The retail release of Trainz will ship with gmax™. That’s right folks, you asked for it, and we, with the help and support of Discreet, got it sorted. Now there are no more excuses for not creating brand new custom content for Trainz. Those of you who have the Community Edition of Trainz (with SP1) can download gmax™ from the Discreet site and start creating to your heart’s content. The guidelines for custom content creation will be available very soon so if you start practicing your techniques straight away, you’ll be ready as soon as they’re available.

As promised, we are now ready to release the intro moviez for Trainz that some of you will soon receive on the SP1 CD. You can download them now from the Service Packs area of the Download Station.

While you’re in a downloading mood, why not check out some of the great new community websites that have appeared over the past few months? There is a lot of new information and content being created by members of our community and you can access some of these fantastic new sites from our links page.

COMING VERY SOON:
Service Pack 1.1 - That's right, we're still listening to what you have been saying on the forums and we will continue to develop Trainz. SP1.1 fixes some of the problems some of you have been having as well as adding a few new things that didn't quite make it into SP1. It will be a tiny download - to the tune of approximately 1Mb.

Custom Content Creation Guidelines
We know you've been waiting for this for a while but there are a few things we need to tie up before we release. Please be patient, soon you will be able to create the masterpieces you have been dreaming about.

And finally, a big thank you to everyone who submitted a layout to us for the 'Show us your Layout' competition. We will announce the winner on the 6th of February. Good luck!





16th January 2002

Today's the day! Trainz Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now officially ready for download from the Download Station. SP1 incorporates many of the fixes and functions you have asked for on the forums and also includes an additional feature or two. For a full list of what's included in SP1, go to the Download Station. We will be placing the new intro movies on the Download Station in the next couple of days. Don't forget to let us know what you think by posting on the forum.





14th January 2002

Service Pack 1 is undergoing final testing and will be ready for downloading from the Download Station on Wednesday 16 January. For those of you with bandwidth restrictions, you can order SP1 on CD by visiting the Trainz Shop now. The CD will be free, and you will only pay for postage and handling. We will also be including SP1 on the various Trainz Collection packs if you prefer to wait. Additionally, if you order Trainz now or if you order is still "Pending" in your order history, you will receive the Service Pack with your order.

In Service Pack 1 there have been a number of features added, improved functionality in many areas, and of course numerous bug-fixes. Check out the Download Station or the Shop for a complete list of changes and improvements.





9th January 2002

In keeping with our practice of offering more news, more often, we’re back with another update. :)

First and foremost, some good news for budding layout creators. We have decided to extend the deadline for the ‘Show us your Layout’ competition to the 22nd of January. This means that those of you who are waiting to incorporate some of the details that will be made available in SP1 will be able to do so. Of course, it also raises the bar a little…So, get cracking. :)

Speaking of layouts, we have another two great new community masterpieces available from our Download Station. Thanks very much to axe1970 for the ‘Axealpine’ layout and to thegeneral for ‘Portside Gorges’.

Finally, a very special download. It wouldn’t be Wednesday without a Trainz movie now would it? Somebody try to contain Barney while we invite a special guest loco to show you what animated wheels look like in Trainz.

More news soon. Stay tuned.





8th January 2002
Today's news is a letter from our CEO, Greg Lane:

Hi everyone and happy new year!

As CEO of Auran it's my pleasure to welcome everyone to 2002. It's going to be a big year for Auran and an even bigger one for the Trainz community.

Over the past few weeks we've seen an increasing amount of traffic to the Trainz website, tens of thousands of demo downloads, increasing sales forecasts and a stream of new members to Planet Auran. I remember when we first uploaded Planet Auran almost a year ago; back then it took weeks to get a hundred new members, now it happens in a single day! The Trainz community is growing so fast it's hard to keep up and poor old John Banks is getting a case of emailitis. :)

After a well earned Christmas break the team is back and getting through the work required for Service Pack 1. Our deadline for SP1 is this coming Tuesday, the 15th, and we expect to be placing the pack on our servers for download on Wednesday the 16th. Many of you will be wondering just how far we got with the update and how much has been fixed, updated or is new. The simple answer is we got through as much as we could. Does this mean there is more to go? Yes, for sure, but as Trainz is an ongoing project there will always be more to go. For SP1 we have concentrated on getting DirectX support fully functional, fixing any major bugs and adding some new features. Following SP1 we will begin work on SP2 and Yardmaster. I'd also like to send a big thank you to those people who helped us solve a few of the problems by sending in maps; it makes the programming job so much easier when we have a repeatable example of a problem close at hand.

Over the Christmas break Tony Hilliam, Auran's COO, compiled a list of all the reported bugs and requested features and merged this with our own list. What was interesting was that requested features outnumbered bugs by about 5 to 1 (we were pleased to see that) but also of note was the size of the list! It was readily apparent to us going through it yesterday that all of you share our vision for the product and where it's headed. So many of the suggestions showed a great understanding of where we'd like to see Trainz headed and it's going to be great fun implementing many of these suggestions over the coming months. The points I'm wanting to make here are these:
1. There are so many things to do and so little time that we can't get everything in for SP1, please be understanding of that.
2. Together with the community, we share a common goal of making Trainz the best product on the market.

If your suggestion doesn't make it in for SP1, don't worry, it's on the list and we do want to get to it. As part of this effort we are working very closely with the third party community and over the coming months you are going to see an ever increasing amount of new content available for Trainz.

As Trainz is already being played, either as a demo or the Community Edition, in so many places across the globe, we’ve decided to increase the frequency of updates to this website. So, in 2002 you can expect a lot more news a lot more often. Don’t forget to keep checking back.

Regards
Greg Lane


21st December 2001
Trainz Demo Now Online!

For those of you who are yet to discover the joy of Trainz, a playable demo is now available from the Strategy First website. This Demo gives you a taste of how much fun you can have with Trainz and lets you drive around the British layout and discover many of the powerful Surveyor tools. We'd love to hear your feedback on the forum. To experience the full flavor...visit the Auran Shop and get Trainz now!


19th December 2001
As the Christmas season is upon us and you may have some time on your hands to be getting to know your way around Surveyor, we have come up with the Show Us Your Layout! Competition. For more details, check out the Competition page.

As promised, the third of the beer Trainz is now available from the Download Station. Get into the Christmas spirit with some Neverfail Ale! Loads more downloads coming your way in the New Year. Also, check back later in the week to download Service Pack 1 which will be available to those of you who have purchased Trainz Community Edition. To see what it will include, visit the Download Station.

We have a few new additions to the Download Station. New layouts from Chris Lee and Henk Plaggemars are now available to download. Additionally, our very own Rob Shaw has whipped up a couple of sensational stations - get them now and add them to your layouts. Thanks for your contributions guys!

We are pleased to announce that our community friends, Barney, 3801, CeeBee and Nate0125RS have kindly agreed to take on the role of our Trainz community forum moderators. This will be a big help with the rapidly growing Trainz community. Thanks guys! :)

As we near the end of a great year, we've prepared another special Christmas present, this time for your PC! Grab the latest Screensaver and Wallpaper and decorate your desktop.

We have also expanded on our translation service - new Swedish and Danish Overview pages are now available.

Meanwhile we are currently putting the finishing touches to a number of add-on packs named "Trainz Collection Packs". Each "Collection" will feature a huge variety of new and exciting locos, scenery objects, new layouts, 3rd party content, high resolution images and more. We will even be including special assets that you will be able to use in the Yardmaster module when it is released mid-2002. Full details including pricing, methods of ordering, release dates, plus a list of what is on each CD, will be released early in the New Year.

And that's all there is to it :)

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all.


12th December 2001
It was great to see so many of you here for the official public launch of Trainz last week. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ve put together a short movie of the day’s events as narrated by Graham Edelsten, Auran's CFO. You can download it now from the Moviez page.

Since there was no Trainz movie last week we promised something BIG this week. Auran's CEO, Greg Lane has created the "One Hour" layout. Not only can you see highlights of the map being created in this week's movie, but you can also download the layout and check it out for yourself. Visit the Download Station to get your copy.

Looking for more layouts? After just one week, some of the first community created layouts are starting to surface and we thought you might like to take a ride. You can download these from the Download Station as well. Thanks very much to Barney, HeMo and Zagan for letting us distribute their creations.

If you still haven’t ordered Trainz Community Edition from the Shop, there are limited numbers left so best hurry. Here is what ozzie_dave had to say: "WOW!, I don't know where to start except its running beautifully, Surveyor is a class act...". If you’re not sure whether to buy now or wait until February feel free to go and ask some of our friendly Forum members who already have Trainz. While you are there, check out the new Screenshotz section where you can post your favourite scenes.

Finally, for our non-English speaking friends, some of our community members have helped us to translate the Overview page into Deutsch, Español and Français.

Zum schluss, für unsere deutschen Freunde, ist unsere 'Overview page' jetzt auf Deutsch.

Finalmente, para nuestros amigos que no hablan Ingles, miembros de nuestra comunidad nos han ayudado traducir la pagina de descripcion en Español, Aleman y Frances.

Finalement, pour nos amis qui ne parlent pas anglais, les membres de notre communauté nous ont assisté en traduisant la page de sommaire en allemand, espagnol et français!


5th December 2001
Merry Christmas everybody!

Some of you will have already read Greg’s post about the Community Edition of Trainz having already been shipped. If not, you might like to take a quick look in the forums. Of course, you should probably check your mailbox first :)

What better way to wish all of you a happy and safe festive season than to ensure that Trainz is ready and shipping in time for you to spend a few days of solid playing? Everybody at Auran wishes all of our Planet Auran members the happiest of holidays. Don't forget to wish your family and friends a happy festive season with a Trainz Christmas postcard. We’re looking forward to working with you all in 2002…and the rest of 2001 for that matter because the news keeps rolling on…

The Auran offices have been tidied of the debris and shambles that generally accompany game development in preparation for the official public launch of Trainz tomorrow. With Queensland’s State Premier, Mr Peter Beattie acting as guest of honour, everybody is getting an idea of just how big this project is going to be and we’re very excited. We are looking forward to meeting those of you who are able to attend and will make arrangements to ensure that everybody else won’t miss out on all the fun.

While we’re in the mood, check out the new screenshot pack that you can use on your own Trainz fan sites. If you haven’t already visited some of the new Trainz fan sites on the web, you can link to them from the Links page.

News from Barney’s CroTrainz page so far has been that the supply of last week’s Crew Brew is barely enough to meet demand. To help out, we’ve decided to hook up the second of our unique Beer Train downloads which you can find at the Download Station. And if you are looking for somewhere to run your beer train, download Diego Gallina's layout contribution, Sagatukett. Thanks Diego!

As more and more of you start to receive your copies of Trainz, the forum is starting to buzz with first impressions and news. We have updated the site with a Technical FAQ to ensure that help is at hand. You can also email support@auran.com if you experience any difficulties when your copy arrives. We hope you’re enjoying the game and that you won’t forget about Auran and the Trainz forum. There's still heaps of great stuff to come so make sure you come back and check out the latest news.

Don't forget to tell us about your PC specs in the latest poll.

Those of you who have not ordered Trainz yet can still do so but you should probably hurry. Limited numbers of the Community Edition still remain and no more copies will be printed.


3rd December 2001
Trainz Community Edition Announcement from Auran's CEO, Greg Lane
On Friday the 30th of November Auran began shipping the Community Edition of Trainz to customers all over the world. Today, the 3rd of December it's the locals turn with Trainz being dispatched to our Australian customers. This shipment marks the beginning of a long term commitment by Auran to bring model railroading to your PC and the endless hours of enjoyment that comes with it.

Perhaps even more significant is Auran's commitment over the coming months to continued development and enhancement of Trainz with the release of various 'Collection Packs', new modules and 'Service Packs', all slated for release next year.

First off there will be three new 'Collection Packs' available within weeks of release. These packs add to your Trainz experience by bringing new locos, rolling stock and routes as well as new scenery items from a variety of countries from all over the world.

Next up you will see the release of Yardmaster, a new module that adds detailed visual activities to Trainz. Yardmaster allows you to run your railroad just like the real thing by adding a large number of new features and enhancements to the Trainz environment.

Next, our commitment to continued improvement of the product, will see a Service Pack for Trainz available just two weeks after the Community Edition release. Trainz 'Service Packs' are much more than mere bug fixes or patches. Each release will include additional improvements, assets and features. For example SP1 increases Trainz performance by up to 20%, adds DirectX support, includes a new item of rolling stock and adds a user configurable 'sign' that can be used to name a Station or mark the entrance to a town! Why? Because you asked for it!

Finally our support for the 3rd party development community has meant that a number of companies are now developing add on products for Trainz and over the coming months you will see an ever increasing number of locos, rolling stock and scenery becoming available.

Trainz is first and foremost a model railroad for your PC...and just as with a model railroad, you can collect a wide array of new and exciting additions for your layouts. Just like a model railroad, you can join your layouts with other people's. Eventually...just like a model railroad, you'll be able to take your locos and drive them around one huge layout online with all of your friends. Trainz is a hobby that will grow with the support of Auran and the wider Trainz community. We know that the main reason all of this is possible is the development of a very strong and supportive community. This is precisely why we created the Community Edition of Trainz. It's our way of saying thanks to all of the people who have helped to create this great game and who will assist us to continue to improve and mould it into a truly great hobby game. We look forward to seeing all of the exciting activities and content that emerges from the wider Trainz community over the coming months and years. Auran is dedicated to working with the community to make Trainz the most extensive PC railroad imaginable.


28th November 2001
With Trainz just days from shipping and a general feel of celebration in the air, it’s not surprising that thoughts have turned to having one or two quiet drinks. This week’s news reflects our excitement and is officially the second last news report before Trainz ships.

First, a free download of “The Beer Train” rolling stock. That’s right, Barney’s beloved carrier of amber fluid is ready for download from the Download Station and can be imported into Trainz as soon as you have your copy.

Of course, if you don’t visit our online Shop and order soon, you’ll have a long and thirsty wait until you can drive the Rail Ale express. To keep you occupied in the meantime, we’ve supplied a Beer Train movie depicting the beginning of its epic journey in the Moviez section.

A big hello and welcome to all the MSTS users who have dropped by to download our brand new BB15000. We think you’ll find it’s a very nice addition to your stable of locos…and it’s FREE!

Finally today, an invitation:

It is with much pleasure that Auran invites anybody who has already ordered Trainz online to join us in our offices in Brisbane on Thursday the 6th of December for the official public launch of Trainz. Email community@auran.com.


21st November 2001
The countdown has begun! For those of you who have ordered, the wait is almost over. It is now only 15 days before we begin shipping Trainz!

But to help you through the wait, we do have some exciting updates...

We will be screening a Trainz TV commercial here in Australia very shortly, so we thought we would make it available for download so that you could all check it out! You can find it on the Moviez page.

As more and more new members join our Trainz community (WELCOME ABOARD) we asked Greg Lane, Auran CEO, to help explain the whole idea behind Trainz and his vision for the future. Greg’s great new article can be found at Inside Track.

Plus, vote in the new poll - tell us what aspect of Trainz appeals to you most.


16th November 2001
TRAINZ GOES GOLD!

Congratulations to the whole Trainz team and everyone else who was involved in making sure the project didn't go off the rails :)

For those of you who are setting up your own Trainz sites, we have put together a pack of goodies you can use. The pack, which can be downloaded from the Community page, includes logos, screenshots, desktop icons and banners.

In order to keep up with the demand, Auran has decided to print extra copies of Trainz so that you can still buy it online from the Shop page. Numbers are strictly limited and orders will be filled first in first out.


14th November 2001
As we move ever closer to the imminent release of Trainz, things are starting to heat up and the BIG announcements become more frequent and more exciting.

Today, Auran’s CEO, Greg Lane unveiled the Trainz Custom Content Creation Guidelines for 3rd party content developers. In addition to Greg’s post on the forum, you can find information here.

A little while ago, Channel 10 in Australia ran a national television news story about Trainz. Whilst some of our local Trainz fans may have seen the original on TV, we thought the rest of you might like to take a look. The story is available for download from the Moviez page now. Big thanks to Channel 10.

As if that weren’t enough, we have another surprise on the Moviez page…A sound file! We know it’s not a movie but we didn’t think you’d mind too much as long as you got to hear the low throaty grumbling of a diesel Alco as is starts up. We strongly recommend cranking up the speakers for this one!

If you visit the Shop page, you will find one of the best-kept secrets on the Internet…What’s in the box? Take a look.

Finally, thanks to all the Beta Testers who received Beta 2 last week and continue to do a superb job as we fine tune Trainz for release.


7th November 2001
The ninth Surveyor movie has been released on the Moviez page. This week's movie, narrated by Trainz artist Robin Smith, features the use of Cameras in the Surveyor module. Download it now!

In preparation for the release of Trainz, we have renovated the website. Have a look around!

A new poll has also been posted - we want to know how you found out about Trainz.


2nd November 2001
Alternative payment options have now been added to the Auran shopping facility. Money orders, bank cheques and offline credit card transactions can now be used to pay for our products. Click on the Mail / Fax Order option on the Shop page and follow the instructions.

31st October 2001
The next installment in the Surveyor series of Moviez is now available. This week's movie covers the use of spline objects and is narrated by Auran's Online Manager, Rachael Nixon. A compilation of the Surveyor movies covering Tracks, Bridges and Tunnels can also be downloaded from the Moviez page.

Based on some excellent feedback from our Beta Testers (thanks guys) the Trainz ‘Brew Crew’ has been busy making improvements to the user interface, adding even more really cool features and fixing some minor problems to ensure that Trainz will be the best Christmas present you’ve received in years :)

Of course, to have Trainz in time for Christmas you will need to order online before November 15.

Happy Halloween everybody :)

24th October 2001
Auran is delighted to announce that we have signed a publishing agreement for Trainz with North American publisher, Strategy First.

Strategy First have a wealth of experience in publishing and distributing leading titles across the globe such as Disciples, Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns and the current WWII online. We are very excited to have such an exceptional partner for the distribution of Trainz.

This newly formed alliance that will see Trainz in stores around the world in early 2002 also allows Auran to fulfill online orders for distribution prior to retail store release.

To get your copy of Trainz before 2002, simply order at the Auran Shop now. You must order before November 15 to ensure that your copy of Trainz is one of the first to be distributed.

And now for our regular Wednesday update...

This week, the Driver movie you've all been waiting for, "Engineer's view", can be downloaded from the Moviez page. This new movie was captured and narrated by Bruce '3801' Kennewell last week when he visited the Auran offices. Onya Bruce!

Vote in the new poll - tell us how many train related websites you visited last week.

Speaking of other train websites, make sure you check out the following sites run by some of the Trainz beta testers. These guys have posted some great new screenshots of their own Surveyor creations.

Big Polish Jimmy's Beta-Trainz Page
www.CroTrainz.com
CeeBee's Trainz Site
Train Artisan


17th October 2001
It is Tuesday the 16th in North America and we promised an official announcement regarding the launch of Trainz. However, our publisher is gearing up for a global press release, so you will have to wait a little longer.

To make that waiting a little easier we are pleased to announce that as of today, you can order your copy of Trainz from our online Shop! We will begin shipping in December 2001, so act quickly as Trainz will be shipped on a "first in first out" basis.

We have updated our security certificate to be backwards compatible with browsers not supporting 128bit encryption. This means that browsers with 56bit encryption will now be supported. If you were previously unable to view Planet Auran, please try again now.

Now to our regular Trainz update! A new Surveyor movie showing the construction of a tunnel is available to download from the Moviez page.

Yet another new country is represented on our Visualz page this week! The Italian FS - ETR-401 can now be previewed in Cult3D on the Italian Visualz page. Enjoy, as this will be the last Cult3D preview model for some time while the "Brew Crew" focus on adding the finishing touches to Trainz in the ramp up to release in December.


12th October 2001
We really wanted to let you in on all the exciting developments we have going on at the moment, but we can't give you all of the details today...here is what we can tell you.

Auran is pleased to announce that we have signed a world-wide publishing agreement with an international games publisher. Due to strict confidentiality clauses, we have to wait until Tuesday 16th October to make the "official" press announcement.

What we can tell you is that the agreement allows Auran to commence online sales in the very near future, and that in store sales will commence in Q1, 2002.

Also, we have announced on the forum the feature set for Yardmaster, the next Trainz module. Check it out now!

In further news, progress towards "Gold Master" release of Trainz is on track. We would like to thank everyone in our growing community for their continued support, and no doubt you will be hearing reports from the beta testers really soon.


10th October 2001
Rob "that's all there is to it" Shaw demonstrates how easy building bridges is in Trainz. Check out the latest installment of our Surveyor module Moviez.

Our South American train fans will enjoy the addition of Peru to the Visualz page. Preview the Peruvian ENAFER - DL500 in Cult3d.

Auran's brand new add-on pack of locomotives for Microsoft Train Simulator is now available to purchase via our online shop. Visit the Shop page of our MSTS site for more details. Buy before the 22nd of October and receive a 10% discount!

In this week's poll, we ask how often you visit this site.

And finally, check back here Friday for a special news announcement...


3rd October 2001
There are lotz of Trainz website updates today!

For starters, the Moviez page has been updated with the next Surveyor movie narrated by Rob Shaw. Today Rob demonstrates track gradients and ground deformation..."that's all there is to it!"

Get your Drool Moptm ready to check out some sensational new Screenshotz. The Trainz artists have been hard at work on some new maps using varying terrain types. Here is a sneak peek of their work in progress...

Also, at long last, the French TGV SUD-EST is coming your way - preview it now on the French Visualz page!

The small team selected to beta test Trainz will be receiving their copies shortly and will be keeping you up to date with how things are progressing. You will be able to identify a beta tester's post on the Trainz forum by a new "ticket" icon that will appear with their posts. You can see the full list of testers by clicking on one of these icons.

Finally, please tell us how you would prefer to buy Trainz - Online or instore? Vote in the poll now.

Phew, the Drool Moptm will get quite a work out this week ;) More exciting news coming your way soon...


26th September 2001
The next installment of the Surveyor module series of Moviez is now available to download. The movie has been narrated by our very own train guru, Rob Shaw and covers the laying of Track.

The Visualz section has been updated with a preview of the Deutsche Bundesbahn - Class 212 which can be found on the German Visualz page.

Vote in the new poll - tell us which Italian train from the selection is your favourite.

And on a final exciting note, Trainz has gone Beta. Congratulations to the Trainz team! The beta testers have been selected - you know who you are :) so the external test list is now closed. Thanks to everyone who applied. More exciting news in the near future...


19th September 2001
This week, another country has been added to the Visualz page. The Russkiye Zheleznye Dorogi - M62 from Russia is the locomotive you can view in Cult3D on the Russian Visualz page.

The new poll asks you how much leisure time per week do you spend using the Internet. Let us know.

The following Trainz community members have updated their Planet Auran profiles with images and extra information about themselves. Check them out...



13th September 2001
The Moviez page has been updated this week with an exciting addition to our Driver Module series. This latest release demonstrates weather effects. Come back in a couple of weeks for the next installment in the Surveyor Moviez series.

Our Visualz update this week introduces a new country into the mix with the Austrian OBB - Class 1044. See it now in Cult3D.

Take part in the new poll - we would like to know how many PC games you have in your collections.


12th September 2001
Everybody here at Auran would like to express our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the tragedy that has taken place in the United States.

Like the millions of other people from around the world, we also have been stunned by these developments.

In recognition of this tragedy, we will delay our usual weekly update until tomorrow.


5th September 2001
This week's update to the Visualz section is the EWS - Class 37, which you can see in Cult3D on the UK Visualz page.

We have added a Surveyor Compilation Series to the Moviez page that includes the first three Surveyor movies in one download. Also, check back next week for a new Movie update.

Vote in the new poll - tell us what Trainz merchandise you would like to see made available to puchase. If you have any other suggestions, let us know what they are on the forum.


29th August 2001
New Movie! The next movie showing how Texturing is applied to maps in the Trainz Surveyor module is now available. So as some of our Trainz community members say, grab your "Drool Moptm" and download this next installment from the Moviez page.

The Western Maryland - AlCo FA2 is the loco available to preview in Cult3D this week. Go to the US Visualz page for all the action.

We are interested to know if you have ever bought games software online before. Tell us your answer in the new poll.


22nd August 2001
This week on the Trainz site, we have included a preview of the GNER - Class 43 (HST) from the United Kingdom. Check it out now in Cult3D!

Also, a bunch of Trainz community members have updated their Planet Auran profiles to include more about themselves and their interests. Visit these profiles which also include pictures:

Finally, check back next week for the next installment of the Trainz Surveyor series of Moviez.


15th August 2001
The second installment of the Trainz Surveyor Moviez, "Just Add Water", is now available to download from the Moviez page.

This week, the Illinois Central Gulf GP 38-2 is also available to preview in Cult3D on the United States Visualz page.

The current poll asks what best describes your use of model railroads - let us know!

Finally, we have made a Trainz skin available for the Citizens Online window. Be the coolest cat in town with this latest accessory by changing your Citizens Online settings.


8th August 2001
We would like to thank everyone, both newbies and our regulars, for the huge response to our Trainz site updates over the last couple of weeks. There has been massive numbers of people visiting the site following our regular Friday afternoon updates and we have decided that in order to be more responsive to your feedback, we will change our regular update day to Wednesday. This will allow us to have another two working days following our update, to respond to any issues you are having.

So now for our regular Wednesday update :), the German Visualz page now has a preview of the Deutsche Bundesbahn Class 218. Don't forget to check back next Wednesday for the next installment of the Surveyor series of Moviez.

Additionally, we have re-released the DD40X download for MSTS with a new Install Shield. Visit the MSTS add-on site for more details.

Finally, we have added a new poll. Tell us how many hours do you spend playing PC games per week?


3rd August 2001
Well, another Friday has arrived, and the community that is Trainz are holding their breath in anticipation. What will Auran release today? What gem, what surprise? Well, Trainz-fans, today as a SPECIAL treat you get to hear the voice of Steve Middleton - fearless leader of the "Brew Crew".

Go to the Moviez page and download the first of our "mini-tutorials" showing off Trainz Surveyor. Steve provides the voice-over talent [ahem] and gives you a glimpse of the Topology panel.

Stay tuned for further updates to this series of Surveyor Moviez.

Being Friday, of course, you also get to see the new Canadian Pacific GP38-2 on our Visualz page.

And (trying very hard not to be cheesy this week) there's more to see over at our MSTS pages, where you can download the first Auran model for Microsoft Train Simulator (TM) and also pre-order your copy of the USA and Canada Regional Add-on Pack.

Finally, for those that are new to the Trainz site, please visit our Forums and meet some of our friendly "regulars" and learn more about what lies ahead!


27th July 2001
It's a big day for Trainz. Today, Auran is proud to unveil the first Moviez showing Trainz in action. Two .avi files are available to download from the Moviez page. One shows a range of Trainz models in the Desktop module and the Driver module is shown off in the second.

But that's not all... We also have a series of new screenshotz that give you a glimpse at the much anticipated Surveyor module.

But that's not all... We have launched a new MSTS site ready for the release of our MSTS add-on packs. Come back next week to download a FREE Trainz locomotive for MSTS. MSTS Add-on Packs will be available to purchase from the site in the near future. More on this to come...

But that's not all... our usual Friday update always includes a 3D preview of one of the loco models that will be released for Trainz. This week, the Burlington Route SW7 is the loco featured on the US Visualz page.

But that's not all... we have added a new poll - please let us know which genre you all time favourite game is from.

But that's not all... This is only the beginning of our ramp-up to the release of Trainz. Check back next week and regularly over the coming months for plenty of exciting preview content!

Next week, we will release the first of a multi-part series of movies which will demonstrate how to create a map using Surveyor. Each episode will be a stand alone movie of a particular aspect of creating a layout and will include such things as terrain formation, laying tracks and placing cameras.

As always, we would love to know what you think, so jump on the Forum and tell us.

We apologise for the cheesiness of this message :)

24th July 2001
Fresh back from the NMRA show in St. Louis, Trainz team member, Rob Shaw, has written up his account of the event. Complete with photos, Rob's NMRA Report can be found in the Inside Track section of the site.

20th July 2001
The popular F7 makes another appearance on our Visualz pages, this time with the Canadian Pacific livery. Visit the Canadian Visualz page to see it in Cult3D.

Also, visit the Trainz forum to see photos from the recent NMRA Train Show in St. Louis where we demonstrated Trainz. Take a look at the thread called "News From St. Louis".

13th July 2001
A new Aussie loco has been added to the Visualz page for you to preview. The Australian National GM Class now appears on the Australian Visualz page. See it now in Cult3D!

6th July 2001
Auran will be presenting the first public demonstration of Trainz next week at the NMRA show in St. Louis. If you are attending the show, please drop by our stand to have a look at Trainz in action and meet members of the development team.

The British Rail Class 55 Deltic is the loco that can be previewed this week in Cult3D. Visit the British Visualz page to check it out!

29th June 2001
The fabulous Deutsche Bundesbahn VT11 TEE is the loco that you can preview in Cult3D this week on the German Visualz page. Visit the Visualz page for the extensive list of trains that we have previewed from around the world so far.

22nd June 2001
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe SD40-2 is the new loco to be added to the Visualz page this week. Visit the United States Visualz page to see preview the 3D model of this latest addition to the growing list of trains that will be available for Trainz.

15th June 2001
A new Spanish loco, the RENFE Series 333, has been added to the Spanish Visualz page. We hope you enjoy viewing this latest loco in Cult 3D. Let us know what you think on the forum.

Also, vote in the new poll. Tell us which Trainz module you would like to see released after Trainz Desktop, Trainz Driver and Trainz Surveyor. Have your say now.


8th June 2001
We are pleased to introduce the first loco from Denmark to appear on our Visualz pages. Preview the DSB Mv in the Cult3D viewer. Don't forget to check out the Visualz page for previews of the other locos that will appear in Trainz.

Bruce Kennewell (3801 on the Trainz forum) visited us this week and had a sneak peek of Trainz in action. Read Bruce's report of his visit to Auran on his Austrail website. It was great to meet you Bruce!


1st June 2001
The Canadian National ALCo FPA4 is the loco available to preview in Cult3D. Visit the Canadian Visualz page to see it in 3D.

25th May 2001
Visit the Visualz page this week for a Cult3D preview of the American Norfolk Southern GP 38-2.

Also, visit the forums to check out the new member ranking system using a mixture of USA and English train and rail world terminology. Each rank also has an associated image. We hope you like them!


18th May 2001
Spain has now entered the growing list of countries whose locos have been modelled for Trainz. Check out a 3D preview of the Spanish RENFE Series 340 on the Spanish Visualz page.

Also, don't forget to vote in the new poll!

15th May 2001
And now for something a bit different...

We're often asked if we have any more Trainz models other than those on the Visualz page. The answer is, yes, lots more! Here is a render that Rob created that we thought was cool and we thought you might like it as well. Let us know on the forum what you think. Click on the image to visit the Wallpaper page for high resolution versions.

11th May 2001
The Statens Järnvägar Y1 from Sweden is the new loco available to preview in the Cult3D viewer. Check it out now on the Swedish Visualz page.

4th May 2001
Due to requests from the Trainz community this week the Trainz web site has been updated with new Screenshotz for your viewing pleasure. British Rail's Class 37 and Union Pacific's DD40x are the locos that are represented in this set of screenshots. Also see our first cab interior shot featuring the popular Santa Fe F7. Let us know what you think on the forum.

Additionally, the Visualz page has been updated with the Deutsche Bundesbahn Class 218. Preview it in the Cult3D viewer!

27th April 2001
This week's update previews Boston and Maine's Budd RDC1. Check out this USA railcar in the Cult3D viewer from the Visualz page.

A new poll is also up --- let us know what your favourite kind of locomotive is.

Finally, keep an eye on the Trainz site next Friday for new screenshots!

12th April 2001
This week, the Nederlandse Spoorwegen 1600 is the loco that can be previewed in Cult3D. Don't forget to visit the Visualz page to see the locos available from other countries.

Also, don't forget to vote in the latest poll. Tell us how you connect to the web!

Auran will be closing for holidays from 5.30 pm AEST today and re-opening on Monday 23rd April. The website and forums will be available for use over this period. We will respond to forum posts when we return. More Trainz preview content will be on the way after the break!

6th April 2001
The American Union Pacific DD40X is the loco to preview this week in Cult3D. Check it out!

Also, learn more about your fellow Trainz followers on the Community page. We have highlighted a few interesting facts and figures about the UK Trainz online community this month - keep an eye out for community stats on YOUR country!

30th March 2001
This week, for your viewing pleasure, we have added Belgium's NMBS-SNCB Series 52, which you can preview in Cult3D. Visit the Visualz page to see the 30 locos we have previewed so far. To keep up with everything Trainz, don't forget to sign up for the newsletter via Planet Auran.

We invite you to join us for a Trainz Chat session with Trainz team members on Monday 2nd April at 8.00 am Australian Eastern Standard Time. To join the session either click on the Chat link in the left navigation or join the server: irc.auran.com, port 6667, channel #Trainz using an IRC client such as MIRC.

28th March 2001
We are pleased to announce that it is Auran's intention to provide content support for Microsoft Train Simulator. For the full story, visit our Press page and visit the Trainz forum to join the discussion.

23rd March 2001
The new Loco that can be viewed in Cult3D this week on the Visualz page is an Australian classic, the Victorian Railways' S Class. Check it out!

Don't forget to vote in the new poll - we want to know who your favourite locomotive manufacturer is.

16th March 2001
The Trainz Visualz page this week features the British Rail Class 50 from the United Kingdom for your enjoyment. You can preview it in the Cult 3D viewer.

9th March, 2001
We have two exciting updates for you today. The first is the Cult3D update which this week features the South African Railways Class 34 EMD. Find it by clicking through from the Visualz page.

The second is a downloadable zip of 23 Trainz icons that you can use with the Wallpapers on your desktop. The zip also includes instructions on how to use the icons. You can download the icons from the Wallpapers page. Have fun dressing up your computer!

2nd March, 2001
The moment that you have all been waiting for has arrived! The first Trainz Screenshotz are now available hot off the press. These images are in-game shots from Trainz which is powered by AURAN Jet. You can read the full press release on the Corporate Press page.

You will also notice the new Trainz logo, launched to celebrate our first screenshots.

Additionally, a new Chat facility has been added to the site for your use. Join the channel with your Planet Auran nickname, to chat with other Trainz enthusiasts. You can join this chat either by clicking on the Chat link in the left navigation or by joining server: irc.auran.com, port: 6667, channel: #trainz using an IRC client such as MIRC.

Join us for an official Trainz Chat session with Trainz team members on Monday the 5th of March 2001 at 8am Australian Eastern Standard Time.

And finally, for our usual Cult3D update, you can find the Netherland's "Hondekop" on the Visualz / Netherlands page.

23rd February, 2001
Statens Järnvägar's T44 is this week's Trainz to view in Cult3D. Check it out on the Visualz / Sweden page.

Plus - vote in the new poll. Tell us what your favourite type of coach stock is.

And finally, we have added a new feature to this news page - Train Trivia, which is located under the vote, covers important dates in the world of trains in the current month. Today we celebrate the anniversary of the first standard gauge journey of the Indian Pacific which commenced in Sydney in 1970.

16th February, 2001
This week we preview the locomotive of the four car RAm/DE TEE trainset. As this loco was a joint venture between The Netherlands and Switzerland, you can find the Cult3D link on either of these country's pages.

13th February, 2001
Meet the Trainz development team! Find out more about the guys who are creating your favourite locos and producing the ultimate Trainz experience!

9th February, 2001
View the Cult3D file of the German Class 212 (V100) which is linked to from the Visualz page.

Vote in the new Poll - tell us your favourite type of freight stock!

2nd February, 2001
The Norwegian State Railways' Di3a "EMD-NOHAB" is the train of the week on the Visualz page. Check it out!

25th January, 2001
This week, the Visualz page links to Switzerland's Be6/8 II "Krokodil".

As many of our regular readers will note, we recently announced that we are investigating boxed publishing of Trainz. In light of this, Auran is presenting a playable demo of Trainz over the coming weeks to a number of publishers. As we are focusing all of our efforts on the preparation of this demonstation, we have put the creation of Wallpapers on hold at this time. We will resume the production of Wallpapers as soon as posible. Keep an eye out for news on our meetings with publishers.

We have added a new feature to the Links page. Members of Planet Auran are now able to vote for their favourite Trainz fan site. To make the order of the list dynamic and fresh we have added this voting system. So get in there and let us know what your favourite sites are.

And finally, we would like to extend a big thank you to Paul Templar, Vern Moorehouse and Hugo Leandro for contributing articles to the Trainz Database site.

24th January, 2001
New poll available! Make sure you let us know what your favourite pioneer High Speed Train is? For more information on these trains, Rob suggests the following sites:



19th January, 2001
This week, we have the last of the Series 4 Wallpapers. It features our local, the Queensland Rail - Class 2100. The loco that can be viewed in Cult3D this week is the Swedish Statens Järnvägar - Rc4.

12th January, 2001
Happy New year! The first update of 2001 includes a preview of the Queensland Rail 2100 class EMD. See it in the Cult3D Previewer. The next in the Series 4 Wallpapers, featuring the Alco FA1, is now available to download.

We have provided answers to quite a few questions that have recently been asked about Trainz features. Read our responses on the Trainz forum.

Finally, Rob has updated the Trainz Database.

22nd December, 2000
The new loco for you to preview this week is the Japanese EF81. See it in the Cult3D previewer. The second in the Series 4 Wallpapers, featuring the (SNCF) - 72000CC is available for you to download.

Remember to register your vote in the new poll and let us know what your favourite model railway scene is.

The festive season is upon us! We will be closed as from 22nd December and re-opening on 8th January 2001. We wish you all a Merry Xmas and Happy New year. We look forward to joining you for a fantastic Trainz year in 2001.

18th December, 2000
Greg Lane, Auran's CEO, has just returned from a trip to the USA where he spoke to the NRMA (National Model Railroad Association) and a number of Clubs including The Highland Park Society of Model Railroad Engineers (Highland Pacific), Los Angeles Model Railroad Society and Pasadena Model Railroad Club (Sierra Pacific Lines). A number of train related magazine publishers and model rail companies were also amongst the stop offs. The trip was very successful and Greg received a very warm and positive reception to the Trainz project from everyone he met. Thanks to everyone who took the time out to meet with Greg while he was in the USA. We look forward to meeting up again in 2001.

15th December, 2000
Now you can send a Trainz Postcard to your friends! We have added a new page to the site where you choose from six Trainz images to send with a message to a friend. Send one now!

The first of the Series 4 Wallpapers is available this week. The Pennsylvania Railroad - GG1 is the loco featured. Grab one now!

You can also check out the French SNCF - 72000CC on the French Visualz page.

And finally, Rob has updated the Trainz Database. Don't forget that you can always find the link to the Database on the Links page.

8th December, 2000
A great new feature, Send this page to a friend, has been added to some pages of the Trainz site and other key pages of the Auran web site. Just click on the button at the top of this page, fill in the details and let your friends know about this site!

The last of the Series 3 Wallpapers features the South African Railways 6E1. Check back next week for a brand new Wallpaper Series!

The Canadian Pacific ALCo FA1 is available to view in the Cult3D previewer this week from the Canadian link on the Visualz page.

1st December, 2000
There is an exciting addition to the Trainz Links page today. The Trainz database is a website developed internally as an information resource. The Trainz team use it as a source of background information for developing Trainz. A link to this database site has been added to the Links page, so that you can always find it easily.

And, as is usual on a Friday, a new Wallpaper is available, this week it features the British Rail Class 52. Additionally, the South African Railways - 6E1 can be veiwed in Cult3D from the new look Visualz page.

29th November, 2000
The poll has been updated - this time, we would like to know what you favourite German Deisel is. Rob has selected 5 to choose from.

Check out the results from the last poll after you have submitted your vote.

24th November, 2000
View the British Rail Class 52 in Cult 3D on the Visualz page!
Grab the new wallpaper which features the SNCF 15000BB.


17th November, 2000
The Visualz page has the 15000BB Loco that you can preview this week in Cult 3D.
The first of the Series 3 Wallpapers is now available to download - Get yours now!

Finally, the FAQs have been updated and split into subcategories. You may need to clear the cache on your browsers so that the Flash navigation updates and you can see the new sections.

10th November, 2000
New on the Visualz page today is the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 model that can be viewed in Cult 3D.

The DL531 is the last of the Series 2 Wallpapers that can be downloaded. Make sure you check back this time next week for the first of the Series 3 Wallpapers.

9th November, 2000
It's new poll time again! This time we are asking you to tell us which train type is your favourite. Rob has put together a list of services for you to choose from, so let us know what you think. You can see the final results of the last poll on the results page.

3rd November, 2000
The Santa Fe F7 B unit is the model that can be viewed this week in the Cult3D previewer.

British Rail's Class 37 is featured in the Wallpaper that can be downloaded this week for your desktop enjoyment!

27th October, 2000
Time to be patriotic this week. We have gone all out with the Aussie theme and are featuring the DL500 from New South Wales in both the Wallpaper and the Cult3D previewer. Enjoy!

20th October, 2000
This week Steve has put togther a brand new Wallpaper backdrop featuring Rob's SD40. Grab it now!

The Deutsche Bundesbahn 103.1 is this week's featured model that you can view with Cult3D.

Lastly, catch up with the latest Trainz news and views in Rob's latest Inside Track offering, "Ramble On...".

19th October, 2000
It's time for a new poll! The results from the American Locomotive poll show that the GP38 won fairly convincingly with 36% of the vote. What we would like to know now is which GP38 livery is your favourite. Rob has choosen 15 for you to decide from and has suggested that the following two sites are good places to find pictures of the different liveries.

http://www.dnaco.net/~gelwood/
http://www.northeast.railfan.net/diesel33.html


13th October, 2000
The last of the "tunnel" background series of Wallpapers has been released with Deutsche Bundesbahn - V 200. Next week's wallpaper will be a big surprise!

You can also find a new loco to view in Cult3D on the Visualz page. This week it is the Canadian National - SD40.

Are you looking for the FORUMS? The Trainz forums are now located here The Trainz and the Jet sections of the forums now operate seperately. Make sure you update your bookmarks now.

6th October, 2000
A new wallpaper of the British Rail Class 43 is now available on the Wallpaper page... we also give you a preview of what will be available next week. Another model has been posted for you to preview in Cult3D...check it out on the Visualz page.

Another link for photos of the American locos in the poll has been sent to us by Daniel Costa. The site is
http://archive.trainpix.com/BN/ROSTER.HTM.
Great site Daniel, I'm sure that Rob will enjoy going through this one!


5th October, 2000
Friend of Trainz, 3DRailHound has suggested the following link for photos of some of the American locos listed on the current poll:

http://spcascades.railfan.net/EMDGP38-2.html

Thanks 3DRailHound!

29th September, 2000
A new loco, the British Rail Class 43 (Intercity), has been added to the Visualz page. Additionally, there is another wallpaper available for you to download this week.

22nd September, 2000
We have added a new loco to the Visualz page and in response to great demand, we have added a Wallpaper section to the site. Check it out and download the first of many to come.

21st September, 2000
Meet another one of our Trainz team members, Steve, on the Team page.

We have added a new section called Inside Track that contains articles from members of the Trainz team. Steve and Rob have both made a contribution. Let us know what you think.

20th September, 2000
As you can see, this page now contains a poll allowing you to vote for your favourite British loco. If you are unfamiliar with what these particular choices look like, Mr. D suggested on the Trainz forums that the following site might help you out. Thanks Mr. D :)

http://www.ralph9000.freeserve.co.uk/railways/locolist.htm

15th September, 2000
Welcome to the premiere of the new Trainz website. You will find some of the content from the old site has been transferred across, but you will also find plenty of exciting new things to look at.

We think that what you will find most exciting is the first preview of in-game art from Trainz. As well as the numerous images you can find on the pages throughout the site, you can also view three of our Trainz models with the Cult3D viewer on the Visualz page. You will need to download the Cult3D plugin, but we think that you will agree that it will be worth it.

We hope that you enjoy the new site. Let us know what you think of it on the forum Don't forget to sign up for the new Trainz mailing list before you leave.






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