REAL Virtual bus...

The place for swapping info on model buses and bus simulators. Rail/LUAS models and sims are covered here also.
Nigel.garaiste
Full Member
Joined: 18 Feb 2003, 04:27

30 May 2006, 18:18 #1

Here's a little thing that might interest some of our bus gamers, and will probably excite the pants off the younger readers, though older readers might find it a bit insipid.
It's a Virtual Bus game, except you actually DRIVE this bus.
It is a game still under development, and comes from Poland or somewhere in Eastern Europe. The language is foreign, but there IS an English language Readme file.
The graphics are pretty basic, and consist of a green world, with a couple of tower blocks, which gives all the atmosphere of a slightly green Ballymun! There are long straights, curves, dual carriageways, intersections, bus stops, and even a terminus layby.
The dynamics of the bus however, are excellent, with a tight steering lock, taking turns wide, correct outswing dynamics for the front overhang, a FULLY operational driver's cab, individually controlled opening doors (that DO open), working lights, indicators, horn, and the somewhat frustrated presence of an irate controller! However, the bus is very difficult to steer or control using a keyboard. And can take corners at breakneck speed without skidding! But the acceleration and braking dynamics are all correct, and the bus is limited to 85kph. Practice helps.
You can simply drive the bus round in circles, but bus stops are provided, and virtual passengers(!), and the idea is to operate a route and collect as many passengers as possible, while following a timetable, and keeping the controller happy!
The bus is an Ikarus single decker, but unfortunately for our purposes, is a LEFT HAND DRIVE, i.e you have to drive on the wrong side of the road! Other traffic consists of a solitary Scania single decker bus which glides gracefully around oblivious to you. The Scania bus is made up of very simple .BMP files, so it should be possible to substitute it with a KC or something. But remember it will drive on the wrong side.
The simulator is a cab view, and by using the mouse, you can drag that view all over the place, looking up, down, sideways, and zoom in and out. Within the limits of the rather rudimentary graphics.
The design of the game seems to allow for other possibilities that are not present here. Now, if anyone had any game programming experience, they could get into those files, switch the bus to the other side of the road, draw a new road plan, add more scenery and buildings, and even provide something from the Dublin Bus fleet to drive! It should even be possible to model Dublin city! Traffic lights are present in the background files, though have not been utilised in this program.
It is still in the design stages, though seems to have been around for three or four years in slowly updated form. This game is basically like a green plan, with huge capacity for development and addition.
At the moment though, it is the nearest thing you younger guys will get to actually driving your 17A bus round Ballymun! It is freeware, but don't be afraid to fiddle round with the files, and see what else you can make it do, or what you can add to it!
You need to create a new folder on your desktop first. Call it 'vbus' and then open the following link. Click on the current version, which is 'version a4e' and download all the files to your new 'vbus' folder. Then click on the english language 'readme' file for operating instructions, before clicking the little bus icon to open the game! And like I said, go into the other files, too, and see what you can alter or add, but remember to back up the originals first!
vbus.rulez.pl/indexen.html
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Nigel.garaiste
Full Member
Joined: 18 Feb 2003, 04:27

30 May 2006, 18:51 #2

Image
Just the kind of thing somebody designed for this game, a FULLY driving and functioning four door articulated bus...
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wayne2107
Full Member
Joined: 06 Jul 2005, 05:10

30 May 2006, 21:06 #3

cool. can we play?
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Mad Ringo
Full Member
Joined: 15 Sep 2005, 03:46

30 May 2006, 21:14 #4

will have a fiddle over the weekend. i knew photoshop would come in handy Image
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wayne2107
Full Member
Joined: 06 Jul 2005, 05:10

30 May 2006, 21:43 #5

just had a drive nigel! Took me a while to find the 1st gear! lol preety good though i didnt see the other bus going around!
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Nigel.garaiste
Full Member
Joined: 18 Feb 2003, 04:27

31 May 2006, 04:10 #6

I had another mess with this thing. The vehicle provided is a three door Ikarus 260 single decker bus with a ZF 5 speed automatic transmission, though there is an option on the front menu to specify manual gearchange.
I have altered the drivetrain files to provide a three speed automatic gearbox, altering the ratios accordingly, and replaced the .WAV sound files with my own recordings taken from a KC class Citybus, and the effect is quite astonishing! I also tried a four speed with the KD sound files, and that sounded good too, though I increased the volume on the sample for that one! Getting the gear ratios correct is the hardest part, and perhaps the acceleration would need to be less for older vehicles. With the manual gearchange option, an Atlantean would be another idea.
It would be quite simple to replace the Ikarus bus with a CIE or Dublin Bus vehicle. Here's the catch: While the rendering of the bus is done with simple .BMP files, the dimensions are done on AutoCAD or something similar, and are .3DS files, which are inaccessible to my drawing packages. So unless the replacement vehicle is dimensionally identical to the Ikarus, roughly a 12m single decker, a new 3d frame would have to be constructed in AutoCAD to form a double decker.
I have examined a German version of the same game, but the author has not invested the same attention to the driving dynamics, and the acceleration and handling are appalling. The vehicle in that one is a 14m three axle single decker (no use to us!) with very poor graphics. However, the German bus does have the kneeling suspension facility (!) and also leans hard on the corners, which the Ikarus doesn't do! Obviously the basic parameters of the game are very powerful and open to highly detailed and realistic operation. I have done a google search for the articulated bus, and any other options, but can find absolutely nothing.
I will continue to experiment when I get a chance, and later, I might post some replacement drivetrain files and sound samples here to recreate the KC class driving experience!
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wayne2107
Full Member
Joined: 06 Jul 2005, 05:10

31 May 2006, 07:51 #7

cant wait! a little summerproject for us!
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Nigel.garaiste
Full Member
Joined: 18 Feb 2003, 04:27

05 Jun 2006, 16:21 #8

I have since discovered that the Virtual Bus game is an abandoned project, and is no longer under development. Which means that the version I gave here is the final version available. That is a pity, as it seems to have massive potential. Every characteristic of a bus, from correct acceleration, alternate gearbox types correctly specified, accurate braking, buses swaying as they take corners, fully recreated dashboards, lighting, working doors, and lots more, is faithfully reproduced here. It would be perfectly easy, given some prior experience with the programming language used, to substitute Irish buses for Polish ones, and to create an authentic map of part of Dublin, say, to operate those buses. However, I have no gaming experience. I wonder has anyone else looked at the files, or does anyone recognise the programming language used?
Anyway, here are the changes I made to replicate a KC Class GAC Citybus. First, we need a three speed gearbox to replace the five speed gearbox. Go to the following file:
...\vbus\dtrain\zf5hp500
and replace the following script:
# ZF 5 HP 500
5
-4.84
3.43
2.01
1.42
1.00
0.83
with this new script (changes identified in red):
# ZF 5 HP 500
3
-4.84
3.20
1.80
0.80
Do not change anything else, or the program will not be able to read the script, and will probably not work.
This is a very simple change from a five speed gearbox to a three speed gearbox. However the program allows for much more authentic recreation of the complete engine and drive train characteristics, including the correct acceleration, gear ratios, braking, etc. While I can identify small pieces of the programming language, it would take hours to learn it all, and to substitute a new script. The complete drivetrain script is found in the file:
...\vbus\src\mk_naped
but beware of changing anything without saving the original first.
Now with the three speed gearbox, we need a new sound file for a Cummins L10 engine and Voith gearbox. Open the following file:
...\vbus\model\Ikraus 260 by sliwek v2\
and rename the \engine.wav file as \engine2.wav. Now download the following new .WAV file:
engine.wav
and save it as \engine.wav in place of the original engine sound file.
Now, when you open the game, you will still have an Ikarus 260 bus to drive, but it will sound uncannily like a KC class GAC Citybus with Cummins L10 engine and Voith three speed gearbox! Has anyone else tried to mess around with this thing, or know anything about adapting it?
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djasmith
Full Member
Joined: 15 Oct 2005, 00:50

05 Jun 2006, 17:10 #9

I've managed to get to the read-me file but can;t seem to find a way of opening a game screen - or find out how to.
Also as regards to adapting it, I've been through all the files and found the pictures that the game uses of the buses. It would be very simple just to modify these images to be a KC, and the game will still recoqgnisre them as the originals.
Ill have a mess around with it as soon as I get it running.
dAve.
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Nigel.garaiste
Full Member
Joined: 18 Feb 2003, 04:27

05 Jun 2006, 18:02 #10

The application file is called a4e and should have a little yellow bus icon to be double-clicked. But if you have a different pc to mine, it may operate differently.
Bear in mind, while you can replace the Scania, you cannot replace the Ikarus without altering all the programming script relating to the opening doors, which are in the wrong place for a Dublin bus, and of course the left hand drive cab.
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