This is a preview, mostly in screenshots, of a new game due out soon. The version I have played is not the finalised edition, it still has a few wrinkles to iron out, but it plays well enough to give a good idea of what the experience is going to be.
As you can see from the first screen of options you have control over many different aspects of game set-up. Though my choice was limited to the trial run Beta I found that time passed quickly as I struggled (at first) to learn the key and mouse controls for all the elements of driving a double carriage bus. It was intense City driving, at night, and then it started to rain. Nearly everything in reach of the the Driver (in their seat) can be turned on/off by using the cursor, with highlighted text appearing over each control for ease of use and remembrance.
Annoyingly some of the controls are easily recognised for what they are - the Windscreen Wipers for example are seen as the usual symbol on the indicator lever (left side of wheel). Unfortunately when you move the cursor over this it doesn't highlight so I had to pause the game and find the correct key in the options menu, it isn't instinctive or natural for a mouse/keyboard controlled game.
I found that I could use the Arrow keys or the WASD keys for movement, but slightly different than their normal configuration. The W is the accelerator, the A & D are left and right; they are quite sensitive but neither reacted quick enough for the sharp turn I shouldn't have been making. The S key is not Reverse, you have an automatic vehicle so you have a three button choice of Gear; D=Drive, N=Neutral and R=Reverse.
To select Bus controls using the mouse you have to Right click to bring up the cursor. With no cursor on show you have what is generally referred to as 'Camera View' and you can look all around. When you have the view you require you can bring up the cursor and activate the text control you have highlighted. Turning the cursor off returns you to camera view.
I got into the Bus at the Terminal and opened all of its doors but no passengers appeared, thus I set off with an empty double-carriage bus. At first I used the view shown above. You can see the road direction map to the bottom right and the Buses headlights are far reaching into the distance giving a good clear, clean view of the road ahead.
Keeping an eye on the road you see that Traffic Lights generally go against you, meaning you need to keep within the speed limit and be ready to use the S to brake at a Red light (note you may see this above the road before you see the side of the road lighting).
The main roads are well lit as you would expect but once you turn off the A Road into City Residential Streets you are mostly down to your vehicle's lights.
Looking higher up the windscreen you can see the back mirror and the highlighted bus seats. You can turn interior lights on/off as you can Air Conditioning etc.
Even though it's dark you will often see pedestrians moving along the pathways either side of the Road. Your headlights will pick them out most of the time and the occasional street lighting aids you also.
I wasn't looking where I was going and this Road Sign paid the price. Nothing happened though, no damage, no Police, no restarting the game. I just restarted the engine by pressing and holding the 'I' key and pulled back onto the road, away I went without a care in the world.
This young lady was waiting at the destination of my first journey, however all she wanted to do was mess around with her phone. I opened the doors for her and waited for a few minutes, she didn't want to get on and I had no idea if I was to entice her onboard somehow. I continued on my way, once again with an empty Bus.
By manoeuvering the camera view I discovered how to see the rear view mirror. I found it difficult to drive with this view, although in general steering was fairly easy . . . until it wasn't.
'M' brings up the Route Map. The Bus is the Green Arrow the Yellow/Orange line is the route to follow.
Now the rains fall. The general public seem to take no notice of it though as they continue to stroll about unbothered and still wearing summer shorts and tees etc.
Took the turning too fast and came round in the wrong lane. Hit the Taxi head on (he hit me Officer, honestly) and this caused the Bus engine to stop.There was no visible damage to either the Taxi or the Bus or the Taxi driver, or me, the Bus driver, for that matter. The Bus wouldn't start up again. I went to the options menu and Reset the Bus. I had to do this several times, going back along my route, until I found a scene where the Bus engine would again turn on.
My Bus prior to Taxi damage. This view freaked me out as I hadn't realised just how long my vehicle was.
At this point the Bus again stalled and wouldn't restart and I had spent over an hour getting to here from the first original terminal.
From what I have seen I enjoyed this simulation. I figure either Passengers aren't in the Beta as yet or I missed the instructions on how to load them. I used to drive a 7½ tonne lorry in London and driving this bus brought back the memory of how difficult and fun it was.
I figure that once the driver has memorised the controls, Keys and Cursor and Mouse, anyone who ever wanted to, or had dreams of, being able to, drive a large vehicle around City Streets and Highways will find this game simulation an exciting experience.
Keep an eye on Games Gazette News pages for the launch of The BUS