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Loader V5 Has Now Arrived!

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After nearly 6 months of hard work by a dedicated team of developers, testers, and timetable authors, SimSig is proud to announce that Loader V5 has finally arrived! This major update rolls in a much improved user interface, many new features, and lots of issue fixes.

Major Changes

- The user interface windows have been upgraded to much smoother font. This means the user interface text looks a lot nicer, particularly on high definition monitors.
- The Show Timetable window for a train has had a big makeover. It is now much easier to read and scales dynamically rather than being fixed in width. The window self updates (server or standalone) or can be refreshed (clients in multiplayer). Finally, more than one window can now be opened at a time.
- Checking for updates is now integrated into the Loader, so the Refresher application is no longer required. The update process is also much faster at downloading the files.
- The Control Window (with the clock) has also had a makeover. Timetable and Simplifier buttons have been added. The clock is larger and easier to read. The menu bar has been replaced with a "burger menu" button.
- ARS regulation is much improved in many areas. Just like in real life though, the ARS is an aide, not a replacement for you.
- Signals can now fail without an aspect change, which also limits the chances of signals in rear failing in sympathy.
- Licenses will now, by default, be allocated dynamically. This means no more forgetting to deallocate a license from one machine in order to use it on another. Licenses can still, however, be locked to the machine if you wish - for example, you'll be travelling without an internet connection for a few days.

Upgrade Process

The first time Loader V5 is launched, it will ask you if you wish to upgrade your licenses. This will unlock them from the local machine, upgrade the license to V5, and turn them in to dynamic licenses. This process should be repeated for each machine on which you run SimSig.

This 3-step process is quick and easy and only needs to be run once per machine.

Cost

There is no cost to upgrade to V5. Where simulations have been upgraded as well, existing customers will get the upgrade for free. A couple of simulations will change in price to better fit into our price bands, but again, existing customers won't be affected in any way by the price changes.

Existing Simulations and Timetables

Existing simulations and timetables will, with a couple of exceptions noted below, work without change in V5. However, we've also been upgrading many released simulations with some of the features that V5 offers and these will be released over the coming weeks.

Notable exceptions include:
- Manchester North: extension to include Rochdale and fringe to Preston PSB beyond will be coming soon.
- Manchester Piccadilly: optional ARS has been added to assist in solo play. This means timetables need to be more precise when running in ARS mode.
- Birmingham New Street: major work has been done to correct some track layouts and interlocking in the New Street area. We do not recommend attempting to load previously-made saves because of the extensive track changes.
- Peak District: this has been withdrawn while fixes are made and extensions added. More details will be forthcoming at some point.
- Edinburgh: this has been withdrawn while the finishing touches are made to upgrade it to the Loader format.

Manchester North and Manchester Piccadilly will be released with the new (ish) Ordsall Curve added. This is a hybrid addition as the control areas changed which is too major a change to be supported by SimSig. Loading an older save is not recommended due to the track layout changes.

Existing Saves

While the majority of saves will work from V4 to V5, notable exceptions include major simulation updates like those in the previous section. We've made every effort to be compatible for all the sims but we cannot guarantee older saves will work with V5.

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Credits and Acknowledgements

Many people have voluntarily helped with Loader V5. Countless hours have been spent on timetables, on testing, on fixing, and on advising on a roadmap forward. In vaguely alphabetical order, without repeating names or variations thereof, some of the contributors include:
Alan, Andrew, Ben, Bill, Chris, Clive, Craig, Damien, Daniel, Dave, Gary, Glenn, James, Jan, Joe, John, Karl, Lyn, Mark, Matt, Mike, Nath, Pascal, Paul, Peter, Richard, Steve, and Tom. If I've missed anybody, then apologies - no offence meant.

Thank you to all of the above for the fantastic work they have done, including liberal use of tasering to get me to finish things.

And thank you to you, our users, our customers, our supporters. SimSig has been going for 20 years now, so we must be doing something right! Expect more exciting things in the future.