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Thread: Decision Point - HW and S/W

  1. #1
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    Default Decision Point - HW and S/W


    I am at a point in my TRAINZ life where I need to make a couple of decisions, and I am looking for some direction. When I first got into TRAINZ my goal was to recreate the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Maine Two Foot railroad. I have a large library of research material on this and all the Maine Two Footers. I have also had the pleasure of riding on the refurbished rolling stock at the various museums in Maine.

    My intent has always been to recreate these roads as close as possible: using Maps, photos, and research materials from my library. I used the built-in TRAINZ capability to create the base layout of track, elevations, streams, lakes, rivers, roads, towns, etc, etc. I used gmax and Blender to create the unique and iconic rolling stock, structures, and industries that resulted in a very accurate route. For example, my SR&RL has every siding, branch, industry, trackside building, town, and main line as the original. My route represents over 100 miles of main line track, and takes an hour to run between the most distant towns.

    Blender has allowed me to create the locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, and work cars – some with Interiors that allow internal control and viewing. I have also incorporated many of the functions such as passenger and freight processing that TRAINZ provides. Once I finished the routes, I found as much pleasure in using the GIMP and BLENDER creation processes. In fact this aspect is currently my main focus. I have no desire to run any of the built-in routes that come with TRAINZ.

    Now for the decision. I currently have TRS2010 running on an old AMD laptop, which is reaching the end of its useful life. My internet access is via dial-up. Note that the route creation was done on a more powerful PC that died a premature death. I want to update to a newer boxed version of TRAINZ --- BUT I do not want to learn a new Bender process to create content to be exported to the newest game. I have read the posts that define these new processes but at my age I am not motivated to go there.

    So my friends, what is the newest TRAINZ version that will allow me to retain my existing routes and retain the creation processes that I am familiar with? Or should I just go with a newer PC and stay with what I know? After reading many of the posts, I think that TS12 might be the answer, but will leave it to the more experienced members. I have looked at the various posts on H/W , but there seems to be a wide range of options.

    Since I will be buying a new computer -- what is a recommended hardware platform? I don’t think I need an in-depth discussion of the whys and wherefores. Just a recommended list that I can take to a computer supplier and walk out with a machine that will satisfy my goals. Maybe I am over simplifying this – if so – what are your thoughts and recommendations?

    Looking forward to any suggestions!
    Regards
    BobbyT

  2. #2
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    I'd say TS19, although migrating your existing routes from TS10 might be taxing. Your mention of dial up Internet might be a concern since I'm sure TS19 wants to phone home on starting. There was a version of TANE that is supposed to run on a disconnected PC but I don't know if N3V still sell it. I haven't seen that option for TS19.

    For content creation such as traincars, buildings, etc, you can stay with IM meshes and the older Trainz materials but you will need to stay with Blender 2.79b or earlier. GMax will still work. Some of the older Trainz materials look very good in TS19 and better than TANE in my opinion. In short, IM meshes will be around for a while.

    If you want to try FBX and the newer PBR materials then there are some who can help, including me. But it really isn't essential. Some of the tools creators are using for PBR texture creation are quite expensive but the good news is that Blender 2.8 may offer a cheap, i.e. free, solution. You might still need to use GIMP.

    I'll let others talk about PC specs. Recently, I upgraded to a much higher power PC including an expensive graphics card but I wanted to run some software that is way more taxing than Trainz.

    Paul


  3. #3
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    TANE boxed edition still has the option to run off line I believe.

    Hardware dellrefurbished workstation T3610 tower case with 16 gigs of memory and a 6 core xeon CPU. https://www.dellrefurbished.com/comp...el=1769%2C1761 cost about $850. You'll need an adapter since the GPU wants 8 connectors and the power supply is six.

    Add in an ASUS RTX 2070 single fan video card. Watch the height 10.54" x 4.45" works. The single fan variant exhausts the heat out the back. cost around $550 from newegg.com

    Have fun.

    Cheerio John

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    Pretty sure the boxed version of TANE Deluxe was DRM free so internet not needed, not sure if it still is though.

    Boxed TRS19 should have the basic install plus the other stuff on a separate disk, it does need to phone home every 30 days or so, dialup according to Tony H is fine for that.
    Digital TANE and TRS19 require a lot of downloading, not good on dialup or slow ADSL or where one has a data limit.
    As a thought if you have a decent cell network you could use a data sim and router which might solve download issues, not sure what the US is like on pricing.

    Older versions of Blender will work fine in Win10, even Gmax still works, Gimp is fine as are all versions of PSP.

    Re hardware? depends on your budget you have available, TANE and TRS19 are a bit more demanding than TS12, which should have reached end of support last October! so wouldn't like to guess how long it's going to continue to be supported, sounds like that wouldn't actually be an issue though if you are not going to be downloading stuff. With TANE and TRS19 the GPU is more important than the CPU.
    Malc


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    On the internet side satellite and LTE might be available or talk nicely to a neighbour and split the cost of an internet connection by using their wifi. You might want to use something like an ASUS router up high. Technically WiFi has a range of 15 kms by the way with the right pair of aerials so in some remote parts of the world villages have been linked in with WiFi.

    Alternatively a laptop at your public library might work to pull assets in then export them as .cdp and add them to the main system.

    Cheerio John

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    It's almost as if you've all blocked out what he said, he doesn't want to learn lots of new techniques, so he should avoid 2019. I also do think I'd avoid 2012, if only due to the database rebuilds issues.
    Buy Tane, it's the best of the lot if you don't want to learn new stuff, 2019 is just not that great an upgrade if you don't want to involve yourself in a learning a lot of new techniques, over which many appears to be struggling to master and tane is probably good to use for another three to four years .
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

  7. #7
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    TRS19 works perfectly well without PBR and FBX by the way, I'm still making assets with IM's without any issues other than they actually look better in TRS19! In fact it's easier, as with TRS19 you have full control over lod and distances it cuts in, irrespective of whether its IM or FBX. Not at all impressed by PBR to be honest. TurfFx and clutter is handy though once you master how to use it!
    Malc


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    Quote Originally Posted by dangavel View Post
    It's almost as if you've all blocked out what he said, he doesn't want to learn lots of new techniques, so he should avoid 2019. ...
    I thought my post addressed that but I did forget one thing. If you make assets at Trainz Build 4.0 and over, then you will have to add LOD and probably add or change some other config tags. But you can still build assets with TS10 build numbers for TS19 and they will work.

    If you want to upload them to the DLS then they need a minimum build of 3.5 but if you are only making stuff for yourself then it doesn't matter.

    I'll add that although I liked TS12 in its day, the infrequent and unpredictable times it decides to go off and validate 100's, if not 1000's, of assets brings my computer to its knees and completely unusable for almost any task.

    Paul


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by clam1952 View Post
    TRS19 works perfectly well without PBR and FBX by the way, I'm still making assets with IM's without any issues other than they actually look better in TRS19! In fact it's easier, as with TRS19 you have full control over lod and distances it cuts in, irrespective of whether its IM or FBX. Not at all impressed by PBR to be honest. TurfFx and clutter is handy though once you master how to use it!
    As I don't have a nvidia card , as I am on a Mac. I do not see any big improvements. Most particularly , procedural track looks appalling in 2019. Sappers track is a grey blob with two steel lines running through it. I am looking at it from the point of view of somebody who just wants the easiest path of progression as i'm in that category, Tane SP3 seems to work with few real issues , the interface is most like older versions and you don't get all the hassles of them trying to flog items you don't want . Again my point is, the op says he doesn't want to learn new stuff, so hes not going to get the benefit of clutter and turf ....nice tho it is.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcas1986 View Post
    I'll add that although I liked TS12 in its day, the infrequent and unpredictable times it decides to go off and validate 100's, if not 1000's, of assets brings my computer to its knees and completely unusable for almost any task.
    it was a nightmare. took all the fun out of the hobby, it says a lot about our collective patience that NV3 didn't go bust after that release.....:-)
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

  11. #11
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    Thanks Guys for the suggestions. You know what a great group this is when you can post a question from Florida USA and get responses from individuals all over the world via an Australian based router. WOW if only the politicians could work together as well.


    To summarize, it looks like TANE is the better choice as long as I can get a stable BOXED version. As mentioned in the response, “ tane is probably good to use for another three to four years” . At my age (81 tomorrow) that looks like a good enough time frame.


    My concern was the use of .IM mesh, but it looks like that is still a viable export method.


    I have not used gmax in a number of years. I am using BLENDER 2.69 and I think I am reasonably proficient with it. Although I still do not understand Rendering or Bump Mapping or Ambient lighting – but so what, I do not intend to upload it to theDLS.


    Dial-up is a choice because as my wife says I am cheap - I like to think of it as being frugal. I do use the public library to download stuff. I also keep a book near-by to occupy me when waiting for dial-up. Lately the wait times have grown due to the increase in streaming. It’s a wonder the net works as well as it does.


    I am not sure as to how to order boxed content. My previous purchases were all at Best Buy or Circuit City. Are there any US stores that carry TRAINZ product?

    Regards

    BobbyT

  12. #12
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    > Dial-up is a choice because as my wife says I am cheap - I like to think of it as being frugal.

    You may find an internet connection and using Skype or Brik to dial out is cheaper than a conventional phone line plus dial up internet.

    Cheerio John

  13. #13
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    If anyone has been following this tale of woe, here’s what I have done.First I decided to stick with TS2010 and not go to a newer TRAINZ, at least for the time being. However, when I do go it will be at the least TANE. I arrived at this decision based upon: TS12 is not available as a boxed set. My lack of high speed internet connection. Comments on the forums about TR19. My reluctance to learn new BLENDER export techniques – at least for the foreseeable future. Desire to have a powerful game machine that hopefully will last. Previously all my computers have been HP desktops purchased from SAMs Club that typically lasted about five years. In fact I was looking at one that would have cost $1150 plus tax. Complete agreement of my wife to upgrade. I bought a custom PC from an Orlando supplier – Computer Warehouse. I used a spec taken from these forums that was recommended to be good enough to run TR19, if/when I do upgrade. Main items are: ASUS LGA1151 DDR4 A/HDMI/D PRIME H370M-PL MOTHER BOARD i7-9700 3.2 GHZSOCKET 1151 12 CPU EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 BlackGamming graphic card EVGA 750 WATT BRONZE POWER SUPPLY ASUS 24 IN FLAT PANEL monitor WSTERN DIGITAL 500GB INTERNAL NVME SSD Microsoft Windows 10 Home COOL MASTER MID TOWER PS Total cost $1471 plus tax.I have to believe that this is a bit of overkill for TS2010, but it’s fun to run with all the sliders all the way to the right. Of course any defects in any of the content that I created show up all too well. Virtually all of the content that I use in game is of my own creation. I use very little of the built-in Buildings, Track, and Train Vehicles content. I have also decided to keep this unit devoted exclusively to TRAINZ, BLENDER and GIMP, and completely divorced from the internet – something that the sales guy said was impossible, and he had never heard of anyone doing it. Maybe so but I do not want Microsoft poking around in my machine, and besides I do not have any programs that they would be interested in. All other computer programs and internet activity takes place on my Laptop running on Windows 8, or at least for as long as the old girl lasts. As noted earlier my internet connection is dial-up, which costs me about $200 a year. The cost of the land-line is something that would be even without the internet, as we live in hurricane prone Florida, and the land line has never gone out. That’s my story and I thank all who provided sage advice.RegardsBobbyT

  14. #14
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    Your purchase will easily run TANE and TRS19 but the internet access might be a problem. TANE, as I recall, needs to "phone home" once a month but TRS19 seems to do it every time you start up. You might need to ask N3V about that.

    Blender 2.69 up to 2.79 will work with Torsten's Trainz XML exporter (i.e. IM files) but that exporter is broken for Blender 2.80. Perhaps it can be fixed, but Blender 2.8 dropped Blender Render and I'm not sure you can associate materials and textures as we did before. Anyway, whatever you are using now to make assets for TS10 should work for TANE and TRS19 although you may have to use LOD unless you use a TS12 Trainz build - i.e. 3.5 or 3.7.

    Paul


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    Reading your first post gives me the impression that you have created the SR&RL stock yourself. Why? I made everything for which details were available, almost the full inventory of the stock and they have all been on the DLS for several years. Is there a reason why you didn't use these. I'm not grumbling that you made your own, it just seems to have been wasted time and I'm very interested to know why.

    Peter <Narrowgauge>.
    I5-6 Core CPU. 1070-Ti video card, 16GB memory

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