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Thread: Just "WOW!" - Trainz has never been better!

  1. #1
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    Cool Just "WOW!" - Trainz has never been better!

    Recently I showed TRS19 off to a number of my hardened HO Model Trains group members.
    We meet every Friday night to run model trains over a very large (USA-railroad-themed) layout that has been built-up painstakingly - and at great expense - over the past 30+ years.
    Last Friday we enjoyed some digital-railroading instead.
    I used my most powerful computer gaming rig and data projector/ big screen plus a surround sound system to augment the experience.
    They were all seriously impressed (and I was seriously relieved, as I had taken a big risk doing this 'show & tell' to these oft-highly-opinionated dudes).

    TRS19 has taken the brilliance that was T:ANE and refined and re-crafted the railroad simulator genre to its highest level of performance, functionality and visual splendor.
    The build was the latest beta version, 104480, which is stable and performs well, with very few residual visual artifacts and operational issues.

    So Bravo! N3V take a bow. And my grateful thanks to all those superb asset and route creators out there, whose wonderful creations I proudly showed off, along with a few of my own.
    Trainz has never been better!

  2. #2
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    I am sure you had the latest Nvidia driver installed. And that you had it set to max sharpness. Have to say, on an old T:ane I have it looks much better than ever.

  3. #3
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    I bet the HO trains hobby shops in New Zealand are closing up shop now

    I offered a friend of mine, that I would build him an HO model train platform for free. He turned me down: "I want to build it all myself, and I don't even want to hear about "virtual video game trains".

    Ten years later, he still has no trains at all, his loss
    Last edited by MP242; December 3rd, 2019 at 10:51 PM.
    TS19, I Like It, I Like It A Lot ! (line from Robocop movie)

  4. #4
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    llebrez - Yep - had the latest nVidia drivers installed - but I do not invoke the sharpening, as I find that it exacerbates moiré patterns on track, baseboards, fence-lines and grids/ grills, etc. On my kit the images are clear, crisp and sharp already, so I leave the Control Panel image sharpening setting off/ unchanged.
    MP242 - Nope - there's still a lot of modelers out there who still prefer more tactile, hands-on operations. Some are technophobes and somewhat computer illiterate.
    Based on their comments/ feedback, what really appeared to impress my team about TRS19 was the low entry price for the full package (i.e. less than a single high-quality HO-scale loco from a reputable manufacturer); the particle effects, 3D sounds, signalling systems that worked, AI & working industries/ loading animations; ability to change driver modes/ apply multiple camera and map views; atmospheric lighting and water reflections, etc.
    I wasn't trying to convert anyone - but I won't be at all surprised if a couple or more of these chaps start asking me for home computer upgrade suggestions shortly so they can run their new simulators!

  5. #5
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    Pardon my "story," it does do somewhere (maybe?).

    I owned a Hobby store in a thriving southern city from 1997 to 2002. Focused on RC airplanes and scale trains. I kept a lot of the small detail pieces, specialty items, and higher end power and rolling stock, while other stores carried the better selling entry level stuff. I also tried to keep an ear to the clubs and their needs. I also had G, O, HO, and N sets running in store. The HO was a full 4x8 that I had built up and was quite proud of.

    I was amazed 20 years ago at the costs! When someone would check-out I'd be embarrassed at the costs. When building my in store 4x8 layout I was glad I was able to be using items that I had in store (wholesale cost.)

    Well, I closed the store and did other things, then a year ago I became interested in railroads for myself. I got my 20 year old Kato N track out, snapped a loop together and placed a couple loco's on it (store left overs.)

    The urge came in a MOST STRONG way to build a nice little N scale layout focusing on detail and realism.

    But then reality set in when I began looking at todays prices. The sticker shock of Power and quality rolling stock was something! Being 67 years old and having limited income (I work from home doing websites, eBooks, and such) I realized that there was no way I was willing to invest what it would take to finance a new layout.

    I'm thrilled that I have TRS-19! I'm thrilled to be a Gold member! (Please don't start debate on "programs", that is not the topic!) I purchased TRS-19 outright in Early Access then joined gold and I'm a happy Trainz'er. All that content! Freeware, payware, 3rd party sites, etc!

    Would I like to have a nice little switching N scale layout along my wall here? Yes! But it's just not feasible. So instead, I put together a gaming PC (I'm a Mac guy who still uses Mac for everything else) just for Trainz (and a few PC only apps, no longer do I have to run Windows on a virtual machine on my Mac).

    TRS-19 isn't the real thing, it's not even a model (scale layout) of the real thing. But it sure does fill a need, and very well at that. The worlds are vastly different, but each has it's purpose and each brings it's joy.

    And isn't it interesting that many of the Trainz routes are "model routes!?" Not only do we model the real thing (full scale), but we also model the model!

    Thank you N3V and thanks to all content creators!
    TRS19-100240, Plus-103369, Plus Beta-104479
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  6. #6
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    Trainz just doesn't cut it, when it comes to derailment realism, with HO you can have an awful 36 car derailment, and spend 45 minutes re-railing all the cars and locos
    TS19, I Like It, I Like It A Lot ! (line from Robocop movie)

  7. #7
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    1611MAC made an important point, which sadly has defined why many of us have found alternatives to real, physical modeling. That cost, yes that awful cost! Gone are the simple train-sets for under $50 that many families purchased for their young kids. The same train-sets exist, however, at three-times the cost. This is for a cheap Bachmann layout, with typical Bachmann quality that we know is not always the best.

    In the early 1990's, I had the opportunity to buy into a hobby shop. The owner, like 1611MAC, sold RC cars, metal detectors, model trains, and racing car sets. His inventory, however, was old and he didn't care to expand on it. He said, at the time, that the sales of model trains had declined substantially he said because of little interest. With the then current economy heading into a recession, I did not buy the shop and he sold it to someone else who closed it a short time later.

    Were the models not selling because of cost, or was it because of the lack of inventory? I think it was a little of both. In the mid-1980's I attended the Boston NMRA train show. The exhibits were busy and sales were quite brisk. In the 1980's you could still buy an N-scale locomotive, a decent Kato ALCO-RS3 cost me $35, and that wasn't a special sale price.

    Fast forward to 2000, and I started a layout again. We moved to a new house, and I actually had some nice space for a new N-scale layout. I dragged out my old stuff and setup the beginnings of what was to become my last layout. Like any model layout builder, I bought some new models and locomotives. In the 15 intervening years, the same locomotive models now cost $150 and not $35. The cheap buildings, those overly produced, poorly injection-molded Model Power kits were no longer $10 or less, and now cost $35, and the list goes on. My new route cost a lot more than it did back in 1985 and it was 1/3 the size.

    Off and on, I still look at my boxes of layout pieces and take out a locomotive and look at it. The odor of the plastic and metal makes me think of building a layout again, but then we get the MicroMark catalog. They have an extensive section of model railroad parts, bits, and of course models. The prices!!! Yes three exclamation points!!! A simple, cheap Bachmann house. The one with the white porch, that model that cost $5.00, is now $35.00! Those wonderful Woodland Scenics models, jeepers, those are in the hundreds. Making a town? Forget get it unless you're a millionaire. The list goes on.

    Is it because this is such a niche market? In part yes, but there's another element. Instead of making models available to the masses, this has become a specialist market with everything limited edition. A locomotive that was once affordable is now something for a shelf instead. Instead of making enough to sell to everyone, they make a few hundred and kill the mold, which limits the quantity and keeps the price high. The collectors, I mean investors, buy these things and they're not meant for some child to get for Christmas or a birthday present.

    In 2003 due to many reasons, including cost and health, I moved to virtual railroading after discovering MSTS and seeing and advertisement for Trainz TRS2004. December 2003 was my turning point, and i haven't gone back. Like many retirees who have limited budgets and limited space, the V-scale world represents the best of both worlds to some extent. We can build routes (layouts) of our dreams with out taking up the space and with no mess and a very low cost. To be honest, I can't afford the real thing any longer, and like all fake things, it's truly not the same. It's like a home-cooked meal at a local restaurant. It's not home-cooked, but emulates what would be home-cooked! I still look at the catalogs and dream, but the cost is out of my realm.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  8. #8

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    How much did your car cost back in 1980? How much do they cost now? Inflation is the key word. I cut tombstones. A guy came in one day and wanted to add another marker to his family plot. He has one giant 5 foot x 4 foot monument with only his family name. He has 11 24 x 12 x 12 markers with individual names and dates. I showed him the same and the price was $1100. He flipped out saying the others only cost him $65 back in 1960. I asked him the same car questions. He wrote out a check for $1100.
    TRS19 104479 - T:ANE 94812
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  9. #9
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    I was recently at a train show and I was surprised to find a couple of local vendors producing very nice laser cut kits (structures). I thought, hey, if nothing else I can do a little shelf diorama. Then I saw the prices. I see N scale houses (yes, two story houses, not huge structures) going for $120.00. How many of those could a person put on a layout? Even at a typical price of $35 to $85 per kit I'm out, that's for sure.

    By the way. I was shocked to have to stand in a rather long line to get into the show. Good crowd, lot's of interest and buying. Show was hosted by a local club. There were lot's of running trains including some very very large modular layout. I was honestly surprised at the interest. When I had my hobby store I did all the shows and ending up toting most of it back to the store. I'd have to say that interest now (this show) was much greater than in '97 to 2002, but then, that's just a single observation without much meaning.

    I'm not saying todays prices are reasonable (inflation and such). I really don't know. Have not actually made the calculations. I just don't have the expendable income, myself.
    Last edited by 1611mac; December 4th, 2019 at 01:53 PM.
    TRS19-100240, Plus-103369, Plus Beta-104479
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJArtim View Post
    How much did your car cost back in 1980? How much do they cost now? Inflation is the key word. I cut tombstones. A guy came in one day and wanted to add another marker to his family plot. He has one giant 5 foot x 4 foot monument with only his family name. He has 11 24 x 12 x 12 markers with individual names and dates. I showed him the same and the price was $1100. He flipped out saying the others only cost him $65 back in 1960. I asked him the same car questions. He wrote out a check for $1100.
    Inflation yes, but at that rate we're seeing for a hobby? The problem is it's a niche market controlled now by limited editions and collectors. Steinway pianos are another example. In the 1970's, yeah we're going back that far, a used Steinway Model D concert grand (9 ft 11-1/2 inches) went for about $4,500 rebuilt. In the mid-1980's the same instrument was $10,000. This was the same right through the 1990's and it inched up to about $25,000 in the 2000's. Just because it's a Steinway and no other reason, today the same piano, used mind you, goes for $48,000 and up. And just because it's a Steinway, a brand new D goes for a whopping $130K and up and that's not even prepped. Steinway doesn't prep their pianos for the showroom and lets the artist "discover the potential" in their instruments which they then finish up.

    Who are they buyers? They're not concert pianists, and rarely a concert venue, by the way. They are doctors and dentists and other rich folks that want them for their living rooms as investments. They don't play them, or rarely do, and the instruments sit unplayed as a house decoration and as a collector's item. Like bottles of wine and baseball cards, Steinway pianos, and now model trains are in the realm of the nouveau riche and not meant for people to enjoy. The problem is these people will pay the price for their investments no matter what, and we pay the price for that because we can't afford to play.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  11. #11
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    John,

    You are kind of right, but that's not the main reason model railroad stuff prices are shooting up. The main reason is the same reason Jointed Rail's and RRMod's locomotives are more expensive than their older counterparts. (Abit on a less severe scale.)

    The modern hobbyist is demanding better details, better mechanisms, better everything. Proper model railroad equipment in the old days, while not truely bad, were rather simple, with few separately applied details and lacking railroad specific details, and sometimes not always the best mechanism either.

    Today's locomotives are designed to appeal to the most demanding hobbyist, with road-name and road-number specific details, mechanisms that run as smooth as butter, and a wide selection of features, such as all sorts of working light effects. (Ground lights, walkway lights, mars lights, etc.)

    Both physical and virtual hobbyist demand the best, and are willing to pay the price. The Prices of Jointed Rail's locomotives have risen from 10$ to 15$, with a dramatic increase in quality, with advanced lighting effects, high-quality engine sounds, and custom cabs, not to mention an overall improvement in the model geometry. A Scaletrains Dash 9 is more expensive than a Athearn Dash 9, sure, but the Scaletrains Dash 9 is far more detailed, has more accurate details, and has a battery of features worthy of the 175$ price tag.

    So that, in a nutshell, is why modern models, both real and virtual, have risen in price.
    Last edited by SD45T-2; December 4th, 2019 at 11:57 PM. Reason: Grammar Miskates
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  12. #12
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    A big part of the original Trainz concept by Greg Lane was one-off digital collectables. i.e. you and only you owned #3801.

    Perhaps we really should charge for track by the meter, and for each scenery item.

    Entry kit = 100m of track, 10 houses, some roads, crossings, trees, a loco and two boxcars $19.99

    Scenery Packs 10 houses or trees = $19.99
    Rolling stock = $5 ea
    Locos = $20

    Current value of TRS19 (at a wild guess) $10,000.

    Ok, back to the real world I go...

    (P.S. This is tongue in cheek and not a serious consideration.)
    Tony Hilliam

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Hilliam View Post
    A big part of the original Trainz concept by Greg Lane was one-off digital collectables. i.e. you and only you owned #3801.

    Perhaps we really should charge for track by the meter, and for each scenery item.

    Entry kit = 100m of track, 10 houses, some roads, crossings, trees, a loco and two boxcars $19.99

    Scenery Packs 10 houses or trees = $19.99
    Rolling stock = $5 ea
    Locos = $20

    Current value of TRS19 (at a wild guess) $10,000.

    Ok, back to the real world I go...

    (P.S. This is tongue in cheek and not a serious consideration.)


    I remember the early discussions in the forums, albeit, as a lurker back in those days. The collection and puzzle piece idea remained afterwards even though the all-payware aspect never took off. I sure miss those days in some ways...Lots of good discussions and great people too.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  14. #14

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    While I have reservations about the OP's rather OTT assertion, I have to agree that TRS19 or for that matter the other sims are a far more convenient and affordable alternative to real model railways. Last time I looked the cost of UK stuff, even at the discount retailers, was astronomical. Back in the early 80's you could pop into Beatties (who remembers them?!) pick up a Hornby or Lima diesel outline loco for £20 - £25 and a Mark One coach around £5 each, around £50 for a six coach formation. Same consist now would cost around £300 with the loco coming in at £100 (if you're lucky) and the coaches at £25 each.

    Yes I know this is 40 years later but many other hobby or leisure items have not gone up in real terms by quite so much - PC games obviously, not really any more costly now than when I started gaming in 1993 on the Amiga and the price of a reasonable gaming PC is still around the same.
    TRS 2019 Coach Class (Former Customer)

  15. #15
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    Hey Vern,

    I had Amiga computers starting in 1984. Best gaming computer available until game consoles came along.

    I have the Model Railroader DVD archive of issues starting in 1934 to 2009. It is interesting to look at the ads. From the late 30s to the mid 60s prices were pretty steady. Loco kits from Varney or Mantua were around $10 and produced really nice finished locos. The quality improved too. The 30s was the age of tinplate rolling stock. As quality machining equipment became available to small manufacturers the quality improved greatly. Brass locos from the 60s were gorgeous and very detailed including can motors and flywheels in the tender body. I was looking at a Brass Big Boy from Sunset Models which was priced at $100.

    Now to compare buying power, we rented a 3 bedroom house for $65 a month. A new Corvette in 1967 had a sticker price of $7,200 and my sister bought a 1968 Camaro SS for $2800. And when I would go with Mother to the grocery store on Saturday she could get enough food to feed a family of 6 for the week for around $50. Then that wonderful thing known as the wage - price spiral kicked in. The American government started running a budget deficit in 1968 and therefore increased taxes to pay the interest on the borrowed money. Higher taxes drove wages higher to keep a worker's standard of living the same. This caused prices to go up in an endless back and forth. I saw an interesting fact the other day, the American dollar has lost so much value since 1971 that a dollar today would have the same buying power of $0.03 in 1971. I know that to be true from my own experience. As a kid, if I could talk my mother out of a quarter for cutting the grass I could go to the drug store and get a candy bar for a nickle, a comic book for a dime and 8 pieces of penny candy and have the 2 cents for the tax. A smaller candy bar is $1.25 now and the comic book is $3 and penny candy is sold in bags of 15 pieces for $2.49.

    Now John is correct in his thoughts on who is buying model trains these days. It really is a collector's market. Even MR in the December issue was talking about the need to replace the old timers that are passing away. Young kids have no interest in working with their hands and building a railroad. Sure they enjoy seeing them run but the hobby is a lot of work compared to playing on an iPad. I learned wood working in school and built electronic kits from a bag of parts and circuit boards. I learned the pride of seeing something I made with my hands and treasured it even if it was less than perfect.

    Now when I discovered Trainz in an ad in Model Railroader April 2002 issue, I rushed to the software store to get it that very night. It was to me the most perfect piece of software I had ever seen. Sure the loco wheels were more square than round and the graphics were crude when seen up close but it gave me the same feeling that I had enjoyed some 20 years earlier before I sold my Trains and became an armchair railroader. The DLS was like going to the hobby shop and coming home with something new every time. Surveyor allowed me to build the layout of my dreams. Driver was so rewarding to see a line of cars behind the blue and yellow Santa Fe GP38 slowly gain speed as it made its way around the Australia Outback layout which was my favorite of the 3 included layouts. I knew that trackplan well from the 101 Model Railroads plan book. It was one that I had always dreamed of building if I ever had the space.

    William

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