Work Flow for Sessions Creations.


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I was wondering what most folks have as a work flow when creating sessions on a newly downloaded map? I just downloaded the Sherman Hill route and would like to create a few sessions for it but not sure where to start. By that I mean I don't know the route and its industries or other details that I think is critical for making an interesting session. So, for the session builders out there, would you be so kind as to share what your typical work flow is like for a new map?



Download Extrainz Manager v1 from the DLS and add it as a rule to your session. It will immediately show up in Surveyor (and in Driver) as a series of tabs across the top. This will give you lists of industries, products, consists etc for the route. There are a few problems with very large routes or very long consists - timeouts occur and a red bug appears since it takes too long to finish compiling the lists. I use this all the time now as a first step in creating/running sessions for almost all routes.

Pardon me for butting in, but I just downloaded Extrainz Manager to TS12. I don't see any "tabs" across the top of Surveyor or in Driver. Can you elaborate any more?

Nevermind. I did not "add" the rule to my session ! I did now and there it is !!

Thanks, anyway.
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Once you are in your route, tap in "Main Menu", them in "Edit Session", Add "Ex trainz manager" and Line with the tabs will appear on the top of screen

I use that tool quite a bit and its quite handy.
Actually I use a combination that while may not be completely prototypical, does make for good "game play".

I use the car tagger system, and rolling stock that is CMTM compliant. That allows me to make consists and decisions that inspire me.
I use the Ex trainz manager to allow me to see at a glance where commodities are need etc.
I use JR's multi industry which gives me freedom to load/unload all cars in a way that works better for me. vs a manual one at a time.
I use the library to save routing for repetitive functions and the path rule for guidance where needed.

My current route / session that I have running (saved for later continuation) is many weeks since start and to me never gets old. I usually only have 4 trains running and I "play" god mode/dispatcher/engineer and jump in when the AI gets lost or bored.

Anyway... works a charm for me!
I setup a small consist and drive the route to explore the layout and get a lay of the land. Once that's done, I then use Excel to create a list of stations and industries, towns, and other points of interest. Other times I've used Visio to create divisions, which has also worked very well. With Visio, I created a simple flowchart and this helped to divide a very large route into subsections.

Once I've got this done, I then use the Schedule Library to setup the driver commands, and later use the Copy Commands from to place the schedule.

Because all the sessions I create are an attempt to be as prototypical as possible, all my sessions are CMTM based, (which should come as no surprise). Like John, I drive the route to explore and get familiar with the trackage, towns, industries and portals. Then I make a list of all the industries and portals, and place a track mark at every location where a car will be delivered, including at least one empty car storage (ECS) track on the route.

If the route has interactive indusries, I make sure they are all turned off. Then I analyze each industry, deciding how many carloads of what commodities it will consume or create in a seven day period. Then I decide where the inbound commodities will originate and to where the outbound commodities are destined. One of my choices in each of these decisions is "random". This is my industry analysis data.

I have created an Excel worksheet that helps me create the CMTM movement records from this information. First I enter the industry, portal and ECS names. Then all the commodity names (including kuid numbers). My worksheet is already populated with the various car types that is represented in the cars config file as the Category Class.

Then I enter the industry analysis data and with the click of an onscreen button, all the CMTM records that reflect the car movements to and from industries are created.

The click of another on screen button prints out reports for each Portal and ECS track for each day. These reports help in making up the consists that will arrive on the route via portals.

Once I have all the CMTM work done, then I define what trains will run and when. If I am creating an actual railroad that has published timetables available, I will usually follow them. If it is a fantasy route, then I make up a list of trains that I think would be fun to have running and from that, create a timetable using a string diagram. I even include 'extras" in the string diagram, to make sure there is a hole in the traffic that will accommodate the movement required.

Next, I create the consists that will be emitted from the portals. Then I place cars and consists that will be on the route at start-up. At this point, I go back and add the CMTM records that are required for the "on route" cars and consists.

As this process is underway and I have defined the movements of a specific train, I will place any track marks that are necessary for it to navigate. Then I will test to make sure all works well.

I choose to make most of my player operations working the yards and delivering cars to industries. My through freights are usually programmed with Driver Commands to drop-off and/or pick up cars at various locations on the route.

The largest route I have done to date from a traffic pespective is the SOO line Schiller Park Yard. it starts out on Monday with 720 inbound cars on 18 different trains. It gets busier each passing day.

I've not uploaded any of my CMTM3 or CMTM4 sessions, not because they dont work, but because I tend to use assets which are often payware. I like CMTM alot, but I wish there was a way to make it just a tad more user friendly. I've made several and it always seems to take quite a bit of work, redoing the soup 2 or 3 times till I get it working flawlessly. If I (or anyone else...) could figure out a way to make a way to make it "in game" usable, as apposed to locked in before the game starts, I would get much more use out of it. I understand wanting to be more prototypical, but "in my head" I'd like to be able to make on the fly decisions. maybe use an empty that is nearby and take a load somewhere. Truckers do it all the time, drop a load and search for a load back vs coming back dead headed.
Does that make sense?
Thats why I started using Ex Trains manager and the car tagger. I was able to become more customize-able. I wish we could combine all these great tools (CMTM, Car tagger, Ex Trainz Manager and the hump yard) all wrapped up into one usable tool. Not driving the trainz so much, but more planning routing and troubleshooting.