To hopefully get things into perspective for nearly everybody, here is a small breakdown of what you get for the 40 EUR, what you don't get, what you get later and - most important - how often you have to pay for the same software.
The current shop package on Steam contains:
- LOTUS-Simulator Kernel and Content
- Module Rails of LOTUS (Trains module)
- Map Editor & Content Tool
The current feature scope of this package is listed here. There you can also learn about which features are not yet implemented to LOTUS. Everything that the LOTUS Kernel, the content or the Rails module should provide until the "real" release of LOTUS will be patched during the EA for free. Among this are explicitly features like the Map of Berlin, the multiplayer, the AI, passengers, train protection, signals and so on. The best is to wait with the purchase until LOTUS provides the features you desire. Currently mostly addon developers are able to experience the full scope of LOTUS (as soon as our tools finally arrive on Steam). We intended to encourage them to provide fastly more than our small testing map and our GT6N. Gameplay, like schedules, AI, passengers and even weather will than be provided a little later.
Everything that you purchase during the EA will be kept forever and even after release. You keep the Rails module, if you purchase it, you keep the Streets module, if you purchase it. Everybody only pays once for a single module - and thus funds up to three simulations in one game, currently 4 years of fulltime development by two persons, multiplayer server, this forum, and so on.
Best regards and many thanks for your exceedingly kind and patient feedback here in the forum!