Verfasst: 6. Juli
All of the Grax steam locomotives portray famous preserved passenger engines in North American excursion service.
Let me start by saying that I like the prototype locomotives and I want to like these DLC packages. Having said that, these DLC packs are older and are starting to show their age (released in summer 2013). These products have their pros and cons. Their textures look simplistic; an example would be rivets shown in two dimensions instead of three. Also, there is a distinct lack of functioning animations such as the compensating levers ( the throttle reach lever on the engineer’s side of the boiler), and the reach rod and radius rod of the valve gear (which should move when the reverse lever is adjusted). The included sounds are good enough; Clanking siderods, exhaust chuffing, steam hissing, and bell and whistle are all working. It would have been nice if a quill-able whistle would have been included (varying pitch, tone, duration, and volume according to how you pull the whistle cord).
All locomotives have working headlights and functioning back-up lights on the tenders. Class lamps are illuminated, however, they only turn on and off with the headlights and you cannot change their color. The GS-4 MARS light illuminates but does not oscillate. Cab interiors are fairly well detailed. All locomotives have working cab lights. When you are stoking the firebox of the Berkshire, a “missing texture” message flashes instead of a fire. While cab windows open from the inside, when you change camera view to the outside, the windows appear to be closed, a strange glitch.
One of the best aspects about these locomotives is that they have a lot of smoke emitters to simulate the various steam and smoke exhausts (a nice touch). Other than the F.E.F. and Consolidation from Smokebox, these are by far the most glorious smoke and steam effects for any of the stock steam locomotives in the game. They are so good, in fact, it makes one wonder why they were not used for any of the other steam locomotive DLC other than the Southern Pacific Cab-Forward. I have only a few small nitpicks about these emitters:
1)The emitters for the injectors and feedwater pumps do not shut off when they should; animations should have been aliased the the HUD so that when you turn off the feedwater system/injectors, the steam exhaust would shut off).
2) The safety valves/pop valves are always on; newer model steam engine DLC (see Pennsy K4, Smokebox Consolidation, Smokebox F.E.F.), feature animated valves that ‘pop off’ when boiler pressure reaches maximum and shut off again when BP falls.
3) When you open the Gtrax locomotive’s cylinder ♥♥♥♥♥, they immediately blow out steam. They shouldn’t do this until you open the throttle (regulator).
3) The S-2 Berkshire has no steam exhaust for the stoker motor; as it is the only coal burning locomotive of the bunch, it should have had an emitter to animate this.
The worst aspect of the Gtrax locomotives is their performance parameters. All of the Gtrax locomotives including the Southern Pacific GS-4, the Nickel Plate Road S-2, and the Spokane, Portland, and Seattle E-1 engine are underpowered; they lack tractive effort and horsepower. None of three engines will cruise at track speed with tonnage. They cannot keep up steam the way their real-world “superpower” counterparts do. This severely limits their “fun factor”. However, there are free physics upgrades for the Gtrax engines available at Railworks America.com.
The best ones are by a fellow who goes by the name DtrainBNSF1. They are in the Files Library under Accessories and Tools. These mods are free and easily installed using the Train Simulator Utilities executable located in your Train Simulator Folder. These mods will improve the handling of the engines to more believable parameters, allowing you to pull trains of prototypical tonnage and lengths.
Also, there is a problem with the locomotive engineers; on all of the engines the they seem to be positioned too low in their seats; this “sinking engineer” problem never should have made it through quality control. Fortunately, there is a third party utilities software package for Train Simulator called Railworks Tools, available at RailworksAmerica.com.
It is donationware and worth it. It will give you the ability to raise the engineers to their proper locations.
The Southern Pacific GS-4 comes in four liveries, a suprising addition that really enhances it’s value: The standard SP “Daylight” passenge scheme, the all black “warbaby” scheme, the “American Freedom Train” red, white, and blue scheme, and the BNSF employee appreciation special scheme.
All of the Gtrax engines are Quick-Drive enabled, however none of them come with scenarios or rolling stock.
Overall, the train simulator community needs more big, North American steam locomotives. These engines are a good start. However, they have some bugs that could easily be solved with a patch from the developer (if he chose to do so). Among these bugs, the worst is the poor performance characteristics which if not solved, render these locomotives nothing more than “eye candy”. The fact that none of the locomotives were bundled with steam-era rolling stock further limits their value. If you want these, you should wait for a sale.
Final Rating: Yellow Block: Caution, hazard ahead. You may want to wait for a sale.http://store.steampowered.com/app/208349/?snr=1_5_1100__1100http://store.steampowered.com/app/208348/?snr=1_5_1100__1100http://store.steampowered.com/app/208352/?snr=1_5_1100__1100