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Thread: Customize your own track - It's easy!

  1. #1
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    Default Customize your own track - It's easy!

    We have a gazillion kinds of track with a gazillion styles of ballast, and surfaces, but for some reason we can't always find what we're looking for. Over the years I have customized various track splines made by others including Wearsprada, Simulatortrain, Jointed Rail, lielestobrat, and others. The changes range from simply creating very bad or bad condition track to outright modifying the ballast.

    In addition to track, I have also created a bunch of track on retaining walls, embankments, bridges, and other tracks to suit my needs. While these are great for my use, and are used on my routes, I have no plans for uploading or sharing. If someone were to do this and then share a route, the track dependency would need to be uploaded to the DLS and of course permission would be essential for this even for this one asset.

    2018-10-21 000908.jpg

    These are all some of my cloned tracks shown here. The crisscrossed tracks are Pro-tracks by lielestobrat while the tracks towards the front are those by Wearsprada and Simulatortrain.

    The changes are simple. For the Wearsprada rusty US 132# track, I cloned and modified the config.txt to create an old bumpy yard track. This change came about when I wanted bumpy rocky, rolling, sidings and old branch lines and I was tired of updating the track condition on each and every segment.

    I call this track JR US track #1-132 rust ---- Very bad condition.

    After cloning, I opened the config.txt file and added the following tag:

    This is an example with the condition set to 10%:
    track-condition "0.10"

    The track-condition tag works in percentages so a 0.01, or 1% would really be bad. I go down as low as 5% or 0.05 and my freight wagons roll and tip all over when running anything over 15 mph, and use the 1% for old rickety sidings and coal branch lines. It's way cool to watch.

    Track textures are a bit more complex, and won't go into full detail here. For that I find another track I like, such as the rusty spur one, and then clone the texture from that, and replace an existing track and tie texture with something else as I did with the JR US track #1-132 Rusty Spur ---- Very bad condition ---- 1% shown in the yard.
    2018-10-21 001451.jpg
    This too was Wearsprada's rusty 132# track that I cloned. I took the spur texture from the Jointed Rail Spur 1, and substituted that for the existing ballast. It took a little bit of work in Paint.net to remove the tie shadow hard-painted into the dirt, but nonetheless the effect is pretty good. I use this track on various less than well used routes and sidings. I know the view needs grass, but as always routes are WIP forever.

    The Pro-Tracks series are a bit more complex, in structure, but are essentially the same as all other tracks we use. The advantage to them is their libraries. The textures and track parts are in two separate libraries so that one can modify rails but keep the ballast the same, or as I have done removed the rails, but kept the ties and placed that on my clone of the ballast. Here I used a bit of Jointed Rails dirt ind tex as the grade and replaced the existing ballast. That took a bit of fiddling with and what I have are empty old ties sitting on the ground. This is great for those long lost sidings and spurs. The tracks also can use the track-condition tag so there are some bad and very bad condition tracks available in my collection.

    The Pro-Tracks shown have the ballast acquired from ST 100# Jointed Rail Track [B/Rust/Old] and applied to the Pro Track texture library. There are two textures in the particular library for the LRW tracks and what was the dark texture became the coal texture while the light ballast became the sandy dirt. The dark coal track I've used, with the rusty rails, on some coal branches. That particular track also has a 1% track-condition and seeing the those coal wagons nearly tip over is quite awesome. I actually saw sidings like that in eastern PA a few years ago with trains on them!

    2018-10-21 001027.jpg

    As seen on the right, is a concrete bridge. This is Concrete Bridge 01 without Catenary with the track substituted with JR NS5 tracks. I did a series of these with different tracks to suit the line I was building. In this case I manually placed the BDW cat back on for my tram line.

    To substitute tracks in bridges, embankments, and other similar assets, you need to modify the config.txt. After cloning the asset, I replaced the Kuid for the existing track with one that I found suitable. When doing changes like this, remember to also update the kuid-table as well.

    Substituting the track with an invisible track can create an abandoned line, or make it easier to place track on a different center. Taking an Embankment 2track, I created various ones with rusty old track, and various other tracks I've used. I also replaced the track completely with BNSF50 invisible tracks. Shown here I put some rusty track in place on top of the embankment, with the invisible track underneath, and put the mill at the end of the spur. This can also be done with a single track by replacing one of the tracks with an invisible track, when two different tracks are used, however, this asset uses a single track asset making this impossible so both are invisible and I placed my own track on top.

    2018-10-21 004705.jpg

    I hope you all find this helpful. This is an easy way to create one's own tracks that are suitable for a specific condition or place.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  2. #2
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    Good Morning John,
    Interesting, sir!
    Take Care
    Ish

  3. #3

    Thumbs up

    Ah John, you are fountain of Information, and I think old rusty dilapidated track for my Farm Branch lines, would be awesome........ So I'll save your notes in my One Note Database and play with some of the examples you recommended........And if one of my Trains derails, since I do like to speed sometimes, well? Will know it was your fault for letting me experiment with Metal......LOL

    Thanks John, always can learn something new and interesting from you.....!

    Update:10/22/18........ More great ideas from you, on Roads and Bridges.......I agree on Road Mods, there is that SNAFU with Cars driving thru the RR Xings, in some spots, drives me Mad........!!!!

    Thanks John.
    Last edited by blueodessey; October 22nd, 2018 at 03:07 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks John. I'm going to work on cloning some narrow gauge and dual gauge track today. Your info is much appreciated
    Chuck

  5. #5
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    You mentioned that you first cloned the original in order to add your special sauce. Just a reminder that if anyone does this, get permission and then uplaod the cloned versions too. That way, whoever downloads doesn't get stuck with a bunch of unknown assets. Might want to get those permissions early in the design cycle so that you're not stuck to replace them if needed. Recommend to do this as the work progresses. Too easy to forget when the project is done and you're all excited to share with others.


    70337:
    TRS19 build 98592| Win10 Pro 64 bit, i7-7700 3.6GHz 16 GB, GTX 1070 Ti

  6. #6
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    I'm glad you find this useful.

    The bumping, rattling, and rolling hoppers and boxcars is the best on the not-so-perfect sidings and branch lines. I only wish there was a better blending of the tracks. In addition to tracks, I have applied some of these ideas to roads and retaining walls to match other assets.

    With rail bridges, removing the tracks creates an excellent bridge for an abandoned line, and even one that a road can be put on unless you want the rails sticking through the bridge pavement.

    But before I show the roads, retaining walls, and bridges, here's a better view of some rusty Pro-Track (LRW Track, Wood, Flatbottom, Spur, Rusty - TERRIBLE - Rough Track 1pct). Yes real rock n rolling here! To the left is the same track, cloned, with the rails removed. This was easily done by removing those components from the track-container, Just remember to update the kuid-table too - how would I find that out!

    2018-10-22 131243.jpg 2018-01-23 013703.jpg

    Sadly where I live, there's lots of this kind of track around. Yeah I know I need weeds, but I haven't gotten that far with this route, which is my Cape Anne Regional Transit - an updated and expanded route based on the Gloucester Terminal originally by George Fisher then updated to my electric. This is, however, a brand new route based on a TransDEM import of the Cape Anne region. We're looking at Magnolia and a fictional pier.

    Anyway off to the bridges and retaining walls...

    2018-10-22 132242.jpg

    Here is the Steel Rail Bridge brown (segm 70m) bridge with a piece of YARN road on top. I actually have the rails underneath in this particular version and simply placed the track on top, but I do have a version as well with the road instead of the rails shown on the left. Note the guide rails still sticking through the pavement. I didn't remove them because they're part of the bridge mesh, and besides they look like old trolley tracks sticking through the pavement anyway..

    2018-10-22 132623.jpg

    Retaining Walls:

    I have various ones with grass, ballast, and other surfaces, which are used a fillers where necessary. The one with the ballast is particularly useful for those places where things need to be filled in. Located near Annasquam, is this grassy retaining wall.

    2018-10-22 133041.jpg

    And here with the ballast surface. I used JR NS Ballast surface for the retaining walls and I also modified a no old YARN road by removing the traffic and adding on the same ballast. This acts as fillers to help build the edges along the road and for the under part of the station platform, and in general for those places where no matter how much you modify the terrain, you just can't get it to fill in properly along the edges.

    2018-10-22 133445.jpg

    Abandoned bridges:

    I have various bridges of various types without track. These serve two purposes. 1) So I can place switches on them - I use the wider 2-track version for where I needed a spur off the bridge into a factory on a now moribund route that got scrapped due to its complexity, and the single track version shown here. Sadly where I live there are lots of these around.

    2018-10-22 133742.jpg

    Anyway as I come across more stuff, I'll keep adding it. The changes were simple. Remove the track spline references on the bridges, simply removed the tracks. Replacing the tracks with a road, turned the rail bridge into a road bridge, and finally for retaining walls simply replacing the existing texture with another - remember to keep the same name. This goes for ballast too if you're replacing ballast on the tracks.

    Not shown but I may post later, are my other road modifications. I cloned and modified a bunch of the old YARN roads for various purposes. Due to their thickness, they work perfectly for docks, industrial areas, and other places. But as nice as they are, there's a problem with them that plagues all the roads. We have carz driving through the trains or running along the area and disappearing off into ether. By removing the traffic, and then changing the surface, I now have a bunch of filler roads with cobblestones, ballast, as shown above, and others. The no traffic versions too are great for alleyways and back streets where we don't want semis driving down a neighborhood street.

    One of the advantages of modified track, such as using the same textures on Pro-track as well as spline track, like my really rusty sandy spur track, is there are places where the Pro-track won't work properly due to uneven terrain and flattening out the terrain doesn't cut it. By substituting the Pro-track in those locations with matching splines, this fits the area perfectly and gets around that problem completely.

    As always and as mentioned by Martin as well, if you plan on uploading your routes with your cloned assets, get permission first from the authors of these original assets.

    Have fun!
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  7. #7
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    Well, some things appear to way over my head. I tried swapping the ballast from one track to another and got completely lost. Might be because one on an older track by Elevenor and the other a newer Sam track but I think I'll just live with what I've got on hand.
    Chuck

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CeeBee View Post
    Well, some things appear to way over my head. I tried swapping the ballast from one track to another and got completely lost. Might be because one on an older track by Elevenor and the other a newer Sam track but I think I'll just live with what I've got on hand.
    I have to take a look at assets. Essentially what you need to do is clone both tracks, take the textures from one track. You then take the texture parts you want to use and rename them exactly as they are in the tracks you are copying them into. Old ballast.tga become ballast.tga, for example, if that's what it's called in the track you copied it into. You need to do that for any normal maps if there are any and alpha channels.

    This is the basic process for doing that.

    For the Pro-tracks, you need to find the texture library. In the LRW track, there are two textures a dark ballast and a light ballast. Replace which ever texture you want, but you need to keep the names the same as referenced in the track you are using. It's hard to explain than it is to do. If you want, I'll start a new thread on this since this is getting beyond the scope of the original topic.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    I have to take a look at assets. Essentially what you need to do is clone both tracks, take the textures from one track. You then take the texture parts you want to use and rename them exactly as they are in the tracks you are copying them into. Old ballast.tga become ballast.tga, for example, if that's what it's called in the track you copied it into. You need to do that for any normal maps if there are any and alpha channels.

    This is the basic process for doing that.

    For the Pro-tracks, you need to find the texture library. In the LRW track, there are two textures a dark ballast and a light ballast. Replace which ever texture you want, but you need to keep the names the same as referenced in the track you are using. It's hard to explain than it is to do. If you want, I'll start a new thread on this since this is getting beyond the scope of the original topic.
    What I was aiming to do was take the protrack ballast and use it in Elvenor's dual track. Since the track is dual gauge 3Ft and standard I think that it would be much harder to do the standard gauge part of the track as well. Unfortunately there's next to none dual track for this type of setup where the narrow gauge is centered in the track space.
    Chuck

  10. #10
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    I added tie end shadow, and spike and tie plate details to this one:


    1000m, the equivelent of 0.944m (= @ 36") track on the DLS, by: Joxemai #148561: Via estrecha tm 1000 mm 2 mts <kuid:148561:38004>
    Applied sharpen and added color and details


    Koleje 1 drevo (by ramsay72) is a great low poly (lower detail) track ... but 2 ties in the image, makes your eyes go wacky, as the 2 ties shadows are reversed from the rest of the ties.
    The Right track has been edited so that the tie shadows are all on the same side.


    The Bottom track has been edited, as well as adding a thin black stripe to the base of the rail


    Added details
    Last edited by cascaderailroad; October 22nd, 2018 at 09:11 PM.

  11. #11
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    Yeah it's the stuff like that which can be really helpful. I've seen the wacky shadows! I know what you're talking about.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  12. #12
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    What a superb chunk of information! Thank you!

    --Lamont

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by martinvk View Post
    You mentioned that you first cloned the original in order to add your special sauce. Just a reminder that if anyone does this, get permission and then uplaod the cloned versions too. That way, whoever downloads doesn't get stuck with a bunch of unknown assets. Might want to get those permissions early in the design cycle so that you're not stuck to replace them if needed. Recommend to do this as the work progresses. Too easy to forget when the project is done and you're all excited to share with others.
    I was about to post similar but Martin beat me to it. With the new PBR track types many of the existing bridges or tunnel sections are a poor match. Finding this currently trying to do a rabbit warren style model railway where I need a tunnel with built in walls that flexes without limitation. It's either the CN-NK tunnel (which doesn't have a matching portal), or the old TUME splines where the track base now looks very dated. Actually come to think of it, I did try updating the TUME splines (purely for personal use) but for some reason couldn't see the track type in the config file.
    Digging away in MSTS & TANE...

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