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Thread: New to Trainz, Jan-Feb 2020

  1. #1
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    Cool New to Trainz, Jan-Feb 2020

    Greetings, this is an introduction, and maybe some other rookies might jump onboard.

    So, I'm new to Trainz, but not to computers or railfan/model railroading. A second-generation model railroader, in fact, as there was a great plywood pike in the basement. And I had my own smaller projects through the years, but nothing for quite some time. Lots of stuff in boxes. As for computers, had a TRS-80 and went up from there. Was active in the wargaming (Atomic/Matrix Close Combat) community, mods and map-making. The experience I had with the original Mic@#$ft train simulator was short and frustrating. Went through a variety of tactical or strategic games, etc.

    The last few weeks have been an eye-opening experience, and kudos to the developers and all the content contributors. I jumped in and got TRS19 Platinum, a 6-month FCT. A little extra downloading and away we go. The good news is that's all you need to really get a great game/simulation. There's lots of tutorial and introductory sessions. If the computer graphic capability is high enough....

    Upgrading has been the plan. My PC is probably 75% there. So TRS19 is great but not the superb immersion it can be. Meanwhile, I (of course) went overboard procuring and downloading routes, content, etc. Spent an enormous amount of time futzing. I now have the "missing dependencies" symbol tattooed on the back of my hand. At some point, I saw that using T:ANE to import and fix things and then re-importing into TRS19 might help..

    And now there's good news: T:ANE SP3 runs great. I think I would advise getting both right from the start, that I would have saved time and treasure. I feel like I jumped into an ongoing development project with TRS19 (NTTATWWT). I plan on stripping down TRS19 to better keep up with any patches, and enjoy both.

    I'm still climbing the learning curve on getting the most out of this. Believe me, there's been a lot of reading. Expect some questions of the rookie variety. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the fun. I'm sure you will find help when you ask. For the most part we are a friendly bunch.

    I had a Trash 80 level II at one time and a similar interest in war games both on the computer and the old fashion kind with cardboard counters.

    William

  3. #3
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    Welcome to the forums and to the very, very addicting world of Trainz. Once here, you'll be thinking forever on how to do things in Trainz as you drive along and see them. I too have been in the computer path as well and I also had a few plywood pikes that sadly would end up being torn down for various reasons before I could do anything big with them. Then I discovered Trainz back in the 2000's after my frustration with MSTS, but couldn't run it due to my awful video card I had at the time which crashed with everything. I finally got TRS2004 in December 2003 from CompUSA and my plywood pike back then ended up as a hotel for spiders. The N-scale equipment is now packed in plastic crates and sits in the back of my closet. There's no someday for that anymore.

    Outside of the built-in routes, there's an extensive library of assets you can download for free from the Download Station, aka the DLS. This is 100% community-made assets and there's well over 500K assets available. The quality varies of course and some is a bit old, but a lot of stuff is great. You'll find routes, buildings, roads, trees, and so much more. Once you play through the tutorials and get yourself settled in, I highly recommend you check out Surveyor. Surveyor is where you build your route of your dreams. I started a route, based on the same theme I had for my model railroad, in late December 2003 or early January 2004. The core of that route still exists in my current version and it's still a work in progress. Like any model railroad a route is never completed, and I've been going back and renovating the old parts and bringing them up to current standards.

    As time goes on, you may find you need help with various aspects of the hobby so feel free to ask for help in the forums. There are many people here with nearly 2 decades of experience that can assist you, and this fountain of knowledge is worth its weight in gold and then some.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 105100

  4. #4
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    Well, definitely not a rookie I have been with Trainz since day 1 (like some others here). Although mine is a different take.

    Welcome to the fun AND the INSANITY! Mainly if you are going to delve into content creation and build your own stuff...extremely large learning curve, even if you have been around for 18 years.

    Have fun and may the powers that be have mercy on your mind...
    Last edited by OverlordNZ; February 17th, 2020 at 05:55 PM.

  5. #5
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    Welcome C_Blabsky!

    I would suggest having a look here for a guide for configuring the performance and detail settings in Trainz for different hardware configurations: http://www.trainzportal.com/blog/vie...e-requirements

    This is a baseline for the built-in routes, so you may sometimes find that some options may need to be lowered, or you might find some may be able to be set higher, depending on the route or session.

    With the Platinum Edition, you can also use the Content Store to install and uninstall DLC packs or content packs as you desire. So if you find that you want to clear up some space, this should be an easy option for that!

    Regards
    Zec Murphy

    Customer Support Rep
    N3V Games (Auran)

    *Please do not use Private Messages for support. Support can only be provided via the helpdesk, or via the forums.

  6. #6
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    Nice of y'all to make me feel welcome. All suggestions gratefully acknowledged.

    I have been Wiki'd, blogged, and form-ed for the last few weeks. I lurked for that time without posting...better to remain quiet and seem a fool than to post wildly and remove all doubt.

    There certainly is a lot to digest, and I've been accumulating questions this whole time. You'll see some (hopefully in the correct forums) from now on.

  7. #7
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    You mention rail fanning/modeling in your opening post. Are you an active rail fan/modeler?
    TRS19 SP1(Plus), 105100(plus), 106618(+beta)
    ASUS B450M-A/CSM, GTX 1060-6 Windforce


  8. #8
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    Always looking for tracks, signals, etc.? Always been a railfan. The mighty Union Pacific operates this area, there's a local RR interchanges on account of a gravel pit, and the area Metro has a little passenger line from the suburbs.

    All the HO is packed away, although I am eyeing a corner. Last working, somewhat completed 2'x12' switching pike was dismantled about a decade ago. There are a couple shows nearby that I try to attend.

    I'm glad to have found this Trainz thing.

    PS-1611mac: I went a year to UNC-Tweetsie last century!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Blabsky View Post
    Always looking for tracks, signals, etc.? Always been a railfan. The mighty Union Pacific operates this area, there's a local RR interchanges on account of a gravel pit, and the area Metro has a little passenger line from the suburbs.

    All the HO is packed away, although I am eyeing a corner. Last working, somewhat completed 2'x12' switching pike was dismantled about a decade ago. There are a couple shows nearby that I try to attend.

    I'm glad to have found this Trainz thing.

    PS-1611mac: I went a year to UNC-Tweetsie last century!
    You're addicted.

    There's lots and lots of what you're looking for on the DLS and on a highly recommended third-party site who is an N3V partner. If you downloaded locomotives, you got theirs...

    Check out Jointed Rail at www.jointedrail.com

    You need to sign-up, but there's stuff there for free and payware including awesome locomotives, signals and track. Their signals and assets are at the tops in quality. They have beautiful tri-color, Saftran, and search-light signals. Their track is the non-procedural, still, and very American unlike much of the procedural track we have available built-in or on the DLS, except for MSGSAPPER's American-style Pro-track. Some of their track may even be available on the DLS now, but it's been awhile since I've looked. Don't get me wrong, Pro-track looks nice but there are advantages to using both and in some cases interchangeably if needed.

    Other great signals, which are available on the DLS, are from RRS and JMR. RRS made a series of eastern-road style signals such as search-lights and other colored-signals, and JMR has made a nice series of Saftran signals. Like the JR signals, these are all scripted and have capabilities beyond what is available with the older ones available on the DLS. Some of JR's signals are also available on the DLS so you may want to look there as well.

    Roads, roads, and more roads. You'll go crazy looking at roads. Again Jointed Rail comes to the rescue here with some new ones available on their website. There are also a lot available on the DLS from other authors. Look for AASHTO roads from George Fisher (gfisher). There are other authors too that have made roads and many should have matching intersections. My recommendation is to download any that you think look good, try them on a test layout - you should set one of these up anyway as part of your learning curve. With the test layout, you can try different things, and unlike a real layout nothing gets wasted but time here. Even if you put some roads down on a bigger project, they can be replaced in-mass without even as much as a blink of any eye. There are countless times when I've done this with lots of things.

    Grade-crossings come in two flavors. There are fixed-object crossings that are found under the scenery-objects like buildings, and the other are roll your own. For American crossings, in the fixed variety, look for those by BNSF50. They begin with grade xing. For the roll your own, you can use some components from BNSF50 - there are special parts, along with special triggers. There are currently two flavors of these. There's a bit of configuring needed, but they work well. We can discuss this in another thread.

    Grass comes in two flavors these days, not counting grass textures. You have the procedural Turf-FX grass in TRS19, and then there's the old spline grass. The spline grass is okay in small amounts, and like anything in the 3d-world, you need to apply stuff diligently and carefully to avoid stutters. We can get into this in more detail in another thread, but the general rule is apply the grass where it can be seen and use textures for the outlying areas. In many ways, think in model railroad terms except at a bigger scale in many areas when building routes.

    Trees... Look for any tree that's 4.x and above. For Speed Trees, look for RoysTrainz, McGuirel, and RMM. There are some Pofig trees as well, however, not as many due to the author not continuing with his project. For non-Speed Trees, look for clam1952 and Jankvis. The billboard trees have their advantages, but don't look all that well in TRS19 due to graphics changes, pick, try, replace, until you find some that work.

    The same can be said for textures. There are a gazillion textures including the new PBR variety. Try them, test them, and replace them. I find that the simple textures are great for in the distance for coloring the distance and PBR are best in the front. There's a bit of a learning curve with the new PBR textures and we can leave this for another discussion.

    Like you I keep eyeing my crate of trains. There's a special thing about the physical models, but in reality with the costs becoming prohibitive for those of us on a retirement fixed income along with less space to boot, the virtual railroading has many more benefits.

    Anyway, I think this will keep you busy.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 105100

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Blabsky View Post
    Always looking for tracks, signals, etc.? Always been a railfan. -snip-
    PS-1611mac: I went a year to UNC-Tweetsie last century!
    I grew up in southern Indiana (Seymour, site of first peace time train robbery) - Here's an interesting read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reno_Gang - The Milwaukee ran from Seymour to Crane Naval yard with through our bottom farmland. I could watch the trains go by from my living room picture window and I have one or two very interesting stories about trains carrying munitions. One includes a trestle fire. So I have great interests in Indiana railroads and now railroads further south as I now live in the Raleigh, NC area.

    My interest was dormant for a long time but I did own and operate a hobby store from '97 to 2002 and I've had my share of layouts in various scales. About 8 years ago I lived further east and my property was adjacent to trackage that the Carolina Coastal Railway (CLNA) runs on. Sadly, my rail interests were overshadowed by other life events and I didn't pay as much attention to the daily trains going by as I wish I had. What a great opportunity to railfan wasted.

    I wish I had seriously learned more about railroads and railroading years ago. My interest was re-ignited about a year and a half ago and so I'm busy now learning about railfanning in my area, reading a lot about railroads and railroad history, and, of course, enjoying TRS-19/Trainz and all that it has to offer.

    Welcome! My tip? Read the forums daily and actually bookmark (or save url links in a doc) that might be useful to you in the future. It's hard to find them later. Another tip: Don't overlook learning about the Content Manager and all that it can tell you. It can tell you things that are not obvious at first glance. I've learned much from experienced users and their posts in the forums.
    TRS19 SP1(Plus), 105100(plus), 106618(+beta)
    ASUS B450M-A/CSM, GTX 1060-6 Windforce


  11. #11
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    A little update, since it is still February. Any other rookies, please share your experiences this week. Thanks to the veterans who have posted.

    The planned computer upgrade is still in the research stage. Trainz time has been spent reading, experimenting, reading some more, but thankfully the operating percentage has increased considerably to much enjoyment. I continue to be in awe of this stuff. But because of current graphic limitations, both TRS19 and T:ANE are run with varying levels on the sliders. So the compromised performance has me concentrating more on the learning curve of the program rather than growing any skills re: creating, multiplayer, etc.

    It's not the first time in the past 25 years that I've got software I can't really run. Although I had planned on upgrading previously, it wouldn't be the first time that some new shiny thing precipitated a new computer!

    At this point, I'm glad to have started on this, I'm glad to have both versions, and I'm glad to be able to learn from the many railheads involved. I'm in pretty deep. If I would offer an opinion or two to anybody considering TRS19, it would be that, first, the computer requirements are real and hedging much from a good machine will not bring very good results. Two, if the GPU is up to it, getting TRS19 and sticking to judiciously acquiring routes and rolling stock that fit the new high standards will bring hours of operating joy. Just like physical modelling, everyone has different reasons for this kind of hobby: prototype or fictitious.
    current or past
    , near or far, and Trainz is really amazing for the variety and scale possible.

  12. #12
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    Default I'm also a rookie, so we're in it together.

    I'm also a rookie, so we're in it together. Like you, I just purchased the Platinum Edition and will be looking to get started with Trainz. I'm giving up my 18' x 18' HO scale layout as I am getting ready to retire and the place we are moving to does not have the space. A relative knew I was really upset at giving up my hobby and sent me a link to the Trainz site with a note, "hey bro, look at what I found...".

    I jump on it and will be selling all my HO scale stuff on ebay and buying the most powerful laptop I can afford that supports multiple monitors and has kicking sound!

  13. #13
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    Laptop? You can get a much more powerful desktop (with solid state drive, high end processor, graphics card with multiple monitor support) for as fraction of the price.

  14. #14

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    I disagree. My laptop only cost me about $500, is a mobile desktop, and basically runs as well as a mid grade gaming rig. It's not top tier stuff, but definitely less expensive and worth the $500. It's got a 2.7 giga heurtz processer, but it runs very fast for how old it is. But yeah, if you've got money to blow, then go for a desktop.
    Last edited by ministerfarrigut; February 27th, 2020 at 09:23 PM.
    I play Trainz with a laptop

    HP Z Book 17, Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA Quadro K5100M, Mobile Intel QM87.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ministerfarrigut View Post
    I disagree. My laptop only cost me about $500, is a mobile desktop, and basically runs as well as a mid grade gaming rig. It's not top tier stuff, but definitely less expensive and worth the $500. It's got a 2.7 giga heurtz processer, but it runs very fast for how old it is. But yeah, if you've got money to blow, then go for a desktop.
    The problem with laptops is heat dissipation. A laptop will eventually burn out from constant abuse, meaning a lot of hard work with graphics intensive applications unless it's made for it. A workstation-class or gaming-class laptop will do well, but a regular desktop-replacement such as a standard Dell Latitude, or perhaps the Lenovo T-series machines will burn out quite easily. I know because I supported an office full of these machines with various kinds of users including mobile engineers that demonstrated high-end database applications which required tons of RAM and very high-end XEON CPUs.

    The difference here is a gaming-class or workstation-class laptop will have adequate ventilation and GPU that's capable of handling this kind of a abuse. In the overall scope of things, a desktop is a better investment for this kind of application. A desktop is usually built with plenty of fans, cooling vents, and all the components that will do the work are cooled as well either by air, or by liquid which is impossible to do on a laptop. Imagine carrying the coolant tank with you while you mosey around with your laptop!
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 105100

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