Possibly returning to Trainz: Some questions


Returning Trainz Member
Hi friends,

It's been a very long time since I last did anything involving Trainz, dropped out from the community due to illness (and frustration with where Trainz as a product was going at the time), so missed out on the whole crowd-funding event for T:ANE etc, but recently received an email with a discount offer for T:ANE, it's tempted me to consider getting back in, but have a few questions would appreciate some frank answers to. So with no further ado, here they are:

1. Can routes by exported from TS2009 / imported into T:ANE? I'm thinking where in the TS09 Content Mgr utility, selecting to export a route and all it's dependant assets, then taking that probably large CDP file and import for use in T:ANE, is this possible, how well does it work if can?

2. Is scenario writing again possible? Many years ago, was using TPR's excellent Scenario Creation System (SCS), and their follow up product SCS2006 to write "stories", scenarios for players to experience. I found "driver sessions" lacked the sophistication I wanted, TPR's utilities had the flexiblity I needed to make more realistic and adaptive scenarios.
2.a) Does SCS2006 work in T:ANE?
2.b) Has since TPR released a subsequent upgrade (sorry, I totally lost track of it's develop over the years)
2.c) Failing that, does TrainzScript still exist, is it still supported, what's your experiences with it?

3. What are layers, how do they work? This idea started to be developed with TS2010 from memory, as I recall, the idea was you could use someone else's route, but then apply changes to it via a layer, leaving the original route untouched. How much does this allow for changes? Say, if I wanted to change switch names, or add an extra siding, or wanted to replace the signals the creator used, or heck, I decide I want to plough a tunnel right through one of their lovingly crafted mountains (hehe), can layers support all that?

4. General experiences with T:ANE? Yeah, I know I'm asking a biased crowd, but figure the people posting here are the most engaged with the product on a regular basis, so you know are the most likely ones to know where the 'dirty laundry' is, what you find joyful / aggravating etc. As mentioned above, my personal interest is making scenarios, so specifically that, but just general route editing and things like that would be of interest as well.

Ok, that about wraps it up from me, thanks in advance to those who take the time to read/reply to my post, gods, it's been 7-8 years ago since I last was here, hopefully this forum is still the same friendly helpful community it was back then.

1. No problem. T:ANE *should* also support CDPs larger than 500mb, which was a limitation with earlier versions.

2c. Trainz Scripting is better than ever! Well, there are more things you can do.

3. I don't really use layers but AFAIK they haven't changed much since TS2010. I just merge layers into a final product, but your method certainly seems like it should work ok.

4. General experience is very good. I love having an 8-12km draw distance! On a scenery-dense route no less.
3. Personally I think layers are one best things that has happened to Trainz, but I know there are a few who will disagree. From a route developers point of view they are as indispensable as layers are in Photoshop for a graphic artist. T:ANE adds to this by allowing you to use layers with the bulk replace/update tool to perform all sorts of "neat" replace and delete functions - a real time saver.

N3V have an online video channel, "TwitchTV" which demonstrates this and other features of T:ANE. It is worth looking at before you make the leap.

To answer your question - How do layers work? I can perhaps illustrate that with a few examples.

  • In a scene with a station building and platform you add passenger seats, a luggage trolley or two, some pot plants, perhaps a palette of goods to be picked up etc. All these accessories are placed on the platform which, for arguments sake, is a fixed object not a spline. You then decide to move the pot plants but discover that the surveyor move object tool will only grab the platform so you have to move it out of the way first, then discover that you have to move the station building before you can finally grab and move the pot plant - but where do you move it to since the platform has been moved out of the way to get at the pot plant? In this situation, I would place the station platform and building in the main layer in the Route Layer section (when you see how layers are organised in Surveyor you will understand). I would create a new layer in the Route Layer section (call it "accessories" or something similar) and place all the other objects (seats, pot plants, etc) in that layer. When I wanted to move, delete or replace one of the accessory items I would lock the main route layer, unlock the accessories layer and then I would be able to move or delete any item in that layer without having to deal with the platform or building first.

  • If I wanted to try out a few different trees in a layout to see how they looked, I would create a new layer in the Route Layer section, name it "trees", and place all the new trees throughout the layout in that layer. If I later decided I did not like them, I could simply delete the entire layer. If I decided to keep them then I would merge the "trees" layer into the main route layer. T:ANE, as I have mentioned, adds to this by allowing you to randomly move a specified percentage of assets of a selected type or types into a new layer for mass deleting or mass replacement.

  • When I create multiple different sessions based on the same particular layout, I add the rolling stock items specific to that session to a layer in the Session Layer group. This allows me to create different sessions each using the same Route Layer assets (track, signals, industries, etc) but with different rolling stock and sometimes different scenery assets (e.g. trucks waiting at depots, warehouse docks with cargo waiting,etc) that are specific to that session.

And there are other examples that other users could add.
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If you are looking to get T:ANE, you also need to make sure you meet the minimum requirements as a bare minimum including having a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card and either Windows 7, 8/8.1, or 10 64-bit.

As for the scripting side, T:ANE is somewhat stricter on what it will run so old commands like SCS2006 may not run although there are newer versions of SCS available.

In terms of general experience you are unlikely to get a uniform answer on that although at the moment N3V are still trying to get some bugs ironed out. Be aware though that there are restrictions on the ability to edit built-in routes although it's possible to create and edit sessions for these.

To RRSignal, CDP importing: Awesome to hear, thanks. Trainz Scripting: Ok good, however in doing some more scouting about, I joyfully discovered there is now SCS2013 available. Layers: Yeah, layers are looking to deliver on all they promised to be and then some! Experience: more realistic draw distances definitely will be welcome.

Thanks pware, found that video you mentioned, very enlightening, thanks.

To shaneturner12, PC specs should be no probs: i5-4690K, 16GiB RAM, GTX770, 500GiB SSD. re: SCS2006 / T:ANE more strict: Happily, as mentioned above, have discovered there is now SCS2013, so should cover my needs.

Hey whitepass :wave:, strictly speaking if I recall correctly, the Scenario asset type got killed off with TS2006, which as you probably know, is why Mike and the TPR guys came up with SCS2006 that ran as a rule within sessions. It worked great for small projects but inherited performance issues if tried to do anything moderately complex sadly, and like Shane indicated, is a no-go for T:ANE, but looking like with SCS2013, I'm all set, yay!

Thanks for the replies guys, certainly looking positive.