Posted in The SFC Group on Nov 11, 2017

2017 is soon to draw to a close after next month, but that won't stop us from giving out update after update for late 2017! This month, we have some announcements to make regarding our website, YouTube channel, and our branches in the Everything Trains department! We hope you'll enjoy what we're working hard on as much as we do, but let's not yak for too long, and begin with the first major update...


1. The next generation SFC Site will be released on November 24th!

UPDATE: The SFC Site Release Candidate 1.1 has been released with an updated Chatroom rules section of our live page.

The SFC Site version 3, the next generation SFC website, is getting close to the end of development, but of course we have a couple more features to add and some bugs that we need to fix before we officially declare it final, so starting today, we're bringing The SFC Site 3 into its final development stage: The Release Candidate (RC) stage! We'll be releasing 2 RC releases over the next few days, with RC1 being released today, and RC2 rolling out next week (November 18th), with a final release on November 24th!

And for those wondering about what RC1 has to offer, the changelog says it all:


The SFC Site 3 Release Candidate 1.1 (Released on November 12th, 2017)
Live
- Updated the Chatroom rules

Contact Us
- Removed reCAPTCHA 2.0


The SFC Site 3 Release Candidate 1 (Released on November 11th, 2017)
Series
- Added SFC Reviews to the Gaming section
- Removed SFC Plays Marble Blast from the Gaming section
- Added Shoppers Showcase to the Entertainment & Other section

Downloads
- Added Music Downloads: TCG Music (Illusions, Drifting Off, Return, Demolish, Steam, and Spooked)
- Added 3 new archived videos to The SFC Archives (SFC Plays Minecraft Episodes 7, 8, and 9)

Notify Me (Backstage & Newsletter)
- Revamped Backstage & Newsletter with 4 subscription options (officially launches on November 25th)
- New Main page for Backstage & Newsletter
- Added separate Subscribe page with subscription form
- Enhanced subscription and unsubscription forms

Contact Us
- Enhanced Contact Us page with reCAPTCHA 2.0

About Us
- Updated About Us page with the addition of SFC-Aclevo and its members

More
- Updated Video Requests page and form

Other small improvements and bug fixes


Speaking of Backstage & Newsletter, starting with Release Candidate 1, we are discontinuing B&N Exclusives, as most of our sneak peeks have been moved over to social media and our Vidme channel. We're also adding SFC-Aclevo Blog notifications to B&N, which can be accessed with the SFC News subscription option. Finally, the RRS Beta Programme has been merged with the RRS News subscription option, for simplification reasons.

The new Backstage & Newsletter revamp will be taking effect today for newcomers; any existing subscribers will continue to receive emails from our service until we launch the revamp on November 25th, when we'll have to clear out our mail list to get rid of any emails that are on our block list for no particular reason, or abandoned/deleted entirely. So basically, after November 25th, if you want to continue receiving emails from Backstage & Newsletter, you'll have to re-register. If you have any additional questions, don't be afraid to contact us.

Check out our website today: http://www.sagefun.com/


Now moving onto something that's near and dear to my heart...


2. Our next Train Simulator repaint pack is now out in BETA form!

RoadRailer Simulations is our Train Sim content-creation organization where we develop third-party repaint packs, scenarios, and much more. Well, that's all gonna change, but before we go there, we want to let you know that our next repaint pack, the Canadian National C40-8 Repaint Pack is out available in BETA form, exclusive to the RRS Beta Programme through Backstage & Newsletter!

If you want to know more about this freeware pack, check it out here.

Since this is a BETA, the repaints are somewhat unfinished, and there are no scenarios included. However, we do give you the essential tools, such as the PDF manual containing installation instructions, and a VBscript file that'll do the GEO copy-and-paste process for you! And before you give out constructive criticism, we recommend that you try out the repaint pack first, for genuine critical feedback. The final release will have most of the bugs ironed out, and will contain 3 authentic scenarios for the Canadian Mountain Passes route (developed by our great scenario creator StevenJam). We hope to get the final release out by early-to-mid December, just in time for the holidays. 

So why wait? The CN C40-8 Repaint Pack is waiting to be tested on the rails! Check it out today: http://sagefun.com/RRS/cndash8.html

Now let's move onto the news we are about to give you: We've already stated above that we currently develop repaint packs and scenarios. Well, now we're expanding with BIN mods, sound mods, enhancement mods, and freeware scenario packs EXCLUSIVE to the RRS Site! We're currently in the process of working on our first set of BIN mods for our SD40-2 Leasers Pack Volume 1, and enhancement packs for the CN SD40-2 and ES44DC's from the old AllAboard route add-ons, to be released later in December and later in January respectively.

As for our scenario packs, we're currently planning out our first one for the Chicago Racetrack route, with all of our repaint packs utilized (CN SD75I, SD40-2 Leasers Pack Vol. 1, and CN C40-8), along with some BNSF add-ons. Of course, since BNSF add-ons are only sold in the US (except Chicago Racetrack), this scenario pack will only be available to US customers. Our scenario packs will be available for free, with an option to donate to help further support our content! And speaking of donations, we now have a donate button in the navigation bar of the RRS Site, so go check it out when you have the chance!

Visit the RRS Site here: http://sagefun.com/RRS/


While we're on the discussion of trains, let's move into real-life territory...


3. The long-awaited Railfan Central website update has come!

This may be a pretty small update judging by the amount of text in this one, but it's a big one in our books: Railfan Central Site 7 has finally come! The biggest changes in this release are the revamped Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Train Stock Galleries, all the fonts on the site now being Raleway, and the removal of the Downloads page (as we want to focus solely on real-life trains; no Train Simulation involved).

Alongside the RFC Site update, we have plenty of RailVids and RailFacts videos coming your way on the SFC Group YouTube channel, but that'll be saved for the final update below.

Check out the RFC Site today: http://sagefun.com/RFC/


And with that said, we're coming onto the final BIG announcement that you'll be really excited for...


4. Our YouTube Channel is getting a MASSIVE upgrade!

The SFC Group YouTube channel is getting its biggest update since it was launched back in February of 2015. There's a lot to go over, so let's go through them:

  1. SFC Plays Marble Blast has merged into SFC Plays Games. We haven't made a Marble Blast let's play since the beginning of 2017, and with that, we've made the decision to merge our Marble Blast let's play series into SFC Plays Games, making the standalone Marble Blast let's play series cancelled. But unlike our now-cancelled SFC Plays Minecraft series (see this post for more info), all of our Marble Blast let's plays will stay up on YouTube, without the episode numbers, and with updated titles and descriptions.
  2. New Gaming review series: SFC Reviews! Alongside the last change in our Gaming videos category, we're introducing a new gaming review series, simply titled, SFC Reviews, where we review games and its DLC, whether it would be Train Simulator or not. As of now, 9 of our Train Simulator DLC reviews (even the old ones), will be going under our new SFC Reviews series. New reviews will come during Train Sim Month 2018 (see update #6 for more on that).
  3. Brand new video series: Shopper's Showcase! Recently, we've seen all these news about the Retail Apocalypse, with stores closing, companies going bankrupt, and online shopping taking over our lives. Because of this, we've decided to jump onto the Dead and Dying Retail community by kicking off a new video series on YouTube and Vidme, called Shoppers Showcase. The pilot will focus on Kmart, a well-known retail giant struggling to stay alive, and its history, and we'll even tour some stores, some that are in the middle of closing, some that are still open, and some that are vacant and abandoned. We also have plans for a second episode, but that'll be up to YOU to decide. Vote for the next Shoppers Showcase episode on the live page of our website: http://www.sagefun.com/live/
  4. RailFacts debuts this December! The first episode for our second video series from Railfan Central, RailFacts, is now in pre-production, and we're hoping to release it in late December! The first RailFacts episode will focus on the most popular Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) locomotive, the SD40-2!
  5. Misadventures of Apple & Tux Episode 2 is now back in production! After several delays, the next MoAT episode is finally back up in terms of production! We hope to get the next MoAT episode out by late December, just in time for the holidays! As we've said in the past, Episode 2 will focus on one of the main characters, Tux D. Penguin. As well as that, the MoAT YouTube playlist has now merged into the Technology Showdown playlist, for consistency.
  6. Train Sim Month: The Third Parties! Last month we announced the third incarnation of Train Simulator Month, set to debut next year. Well, we have more details regarding that. During Train Sim Month:
    • SFC Plays Train Simulator will be solely focusing on DLC developed by third-parties, such as Digital Train Model, Virtual Rail Creations, and G-Trax.
    • Workshop Mania will be happening every weekend on SFC Live, so get your Workshop scenarios sent in! Sent them in through here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=704221953 or here: http://www.sagefun.com/requestvid.html
    • At the end of each week, we'll review third-party DLCs, one of which includes High Iron's Donner Pass Scenario Pack. The other 3 are going to be chosen by YOU. (Yes, YOU!) Vote for what third-party DLC you want us to review for Train Sim Month 2018 on the live page of our website: http://www.sagefun.com/live/
    • Each video we upload to our YouTube channel will be Train Simulator-themed.
    • Union and Friends will return, with a storyline continuing where Train Sim Month: The Revenge left off, and introducing new characters in the process! We won't spoil who they are at the moment, but the teaser image we showed a while back should give a glimpse hint on who's who...
  7. SFC Live: There is NO SFC Live on Veteran's Day (November 11th), but we will resume next week with Workshop Mania, and Bootleg Bonanza the following week on Thanksgiving Weekend. For our next stream, we plan to improve our current live layout, and try to get more guest callers on the live show after the first successful run on our 1 Year Anniversary live show; stay tuned for more updates. ;)


And that's all we've got to offer this weekend. Overall, we're still continuing to improve our work, not only for ourselves, but for our fans as well. And of course, there's more coming on the horizon, and when we mean more, we mean IT. Be sure to check out what we have to offer before 2017 comes to an end; you won't be disappointed. As always, I'll see you in the not-too-distant future.

- Sage (TheRealSFC)