Editorial: BVE Train Simulator|
Author: David Hanstater
I decided to download Bozo View Express (aka BVE) after reading in Uktrainsim Forum that there were London Underground routes for it.
BVE is free, and as far as I know, all the add-ons are also free.
I should explain at the outset that my only interest in BVE is the availability of routes familiar to me, mainly the London Underground
(from now on 'LU' for short). Several routes are available now, with many others in course of preparation. The ultimate aim seems to be
to cover the whole London Underground network - some undertaking! I have downloaded the Northern Line, Bakerloo Line (which includes as a
bonus route the Network South East between Kensal Green and Harrow and Wealdstone), and part of the Circle Line. This review is limited to
these routes. The routes are a combination of routes and activities. There is no 'Explore the Route' as in MSTS.
Leaving Edgware Station, Northern Line. The tube train is a maintenance set, in yellow livery
Because it is a Japanese program, you will need help to download and install it. I suggest you start at http://www.trainsimcentral.co.uk/
which has everything you need, with links to all the downloads. I found it easy to download and install, following the very clear help
pages on the website. All the files I needed are self-extracting .EXE or ZIP files, and are generally smaller than those for MSTS.
My whole BVE directory is just 53mb (for comparison my MSTS is 6gb). There is a warning that some add-ons are in LZH format, although
I haven't come across any yet. Winzip does not support LZH, but does interface seamlessly with a readily available program which does.
BVE is much smaller and simpler that Microsoft's Train Simulator. It lacks many of the functions. For example, the only view is straight
forward through the cab window. There are no outside views, and the graphics are not as good.
It seems that each route supports only one driven train. When a route is loaded, the train is loaded with it. This is no problem on the
LU, which has standardised trains on each line. There don't appear to be any computer-driven trains, although there are several
authentic-looking static ones on the routes.
Approaching Liverpool Street - Circle Line
The stations are very well drawn, realistic, and very close to the real thing. I can easily recognise them. They come with waiting
passengers, buildings and furniture, as well as adverts and signs. I particularly like the electronic information signs on the Central
London stations. The routes are claimed to be accurate as well.
Waterloo Station - Bakerloo Line
The sound quality is very good. The trains really sound just like the real thing. At stations you can hear (but of course not see)
the doors opening and closing, and every so often those noisy generators cut in. You can hear the brakes being applied, and the
characteristic irregular clicks of the wheels on the tracks. The horns are authentic.
The cab view - the only one available, is similar to MSTS. Driving and controlling the trains is not difficult, but keeping to the
timetable, speed limits, comfort levels and exact stopping points requires a lot of practice and concentration, which is as well, because
the graphics, although authentic, are not that good. The tunnels are rather boring (no pun intended), but you really haven't much time to
admire the scenery anyway. I particularly like the way the trains sway on curves, and rock on braking. MSTS has nothing like this.
Approaching Burnt Oak - Northern Line
Some of the routes have useful notes about features flashed on the screen as you drive along.
If you already have MSTS, I don't think you really need BVE, unless you are particularly interested in its special routes, such as LU.
But it is a good train simulator, with some features not available in MSTS.