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Train simulator from Japan for the PC. Developed by a man known only as mackoy, this was probably the most advanced cab view train driving sim before Microsoft Train Simulator arrived.

Running only in 640x480, the game managed a high frame-rate by only having a very small 3D display window, the remainder of the screen occupied by gauges and indicators.

Further, the 3D engine itself was very simplistic, display pseudo-3D objects together with a combination of 2D sprites. The blistering pace was further assisted by the virtue of the original routes being very sparse in the scenery department. Sound is very impressive, probably the best of all the currently available sims, with brake compressors coming on and off, and radio chatter adding tons of atmosphere.

Absolutely hordes of routes exist for the game, all set in Japan. However, voracious UK railfans (who up until this point had been raised on text-only sims, and Train Driver on the Amiga), got hold of it, translated it and made it work under non-Japan versions of Windows, and started making their own routes.

The UK routes were all massively graphically detailed (one route creator makes several versions with different levels of detail to accomodate different systems), all prototypical and all 'rivet-perfect'. Almost the entire London Underground has now been mapped, as has part of the West Coast Main Line, the Birmingham Cross City Line, and more

The BVE program itself it very customisable, and allows for features many other, later train sims don't allow, such as multiple horns, and cab movement (such as when it tilts going around corners), which can also measure the smoothness of the ride to the passengers. However, it is also limited in that it only allows a straight-forward internal view, that it does not allow for other moving trains (these are just plonked in as scenery objects, and that you can only drive one way through the route, a la the first Need for Speed's engine.

Overall, BVE is a good train-sim. It's not a huge bloatfest like Train Simulator, nor somewhat buggy like Trainz, and is simple to program for. Best of all it can run on practically any PC!

Did I mention it and all the addon routes are all freeware? ^_^

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