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Thread: How To Deal With Creative Burnout

  1. #16

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    Can sympathise with the predicament being described as currently going through a bit of it myself. Started various projects in TANE/TRS19 and the other two sims but keep binning them. Just can't find anything that holds my interest - even the virtual railway modelling side has lost its edge. Part of the fatigue comes from having done it all before and as I posted in another thread, the tedium of route building can be insurmountable compared to loading up the new Flight Simulator with its whole detailed world there to explore.

    In the case of Trainz, a lot of it is just so old... One of the route projects I started was a fictional tube or LUL route but (no offence to the original creators) the only tube and sub surface stock we have is very aged, exterior model okay but cabs and sounds don't really do it justice. Ditto trams. I could build a Russian or Chinese route where the rolling stock and loco resources are a bit more up to date, but then you hit the brick wall of trying to understand the Cyrillic etc.

    At the moment I've got TANE and TRS19 reinstalling after a rage delete of the whole lot. Can only try and see if I find inspiration somewhere.
    TRS 2019 Coach Class (Former Customer)

  2. #17
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    Having vary little experience in creating . I can't really relate to how you feel . But burnout dose happen to me as well . I just jump to one project to another . Running Trainz , or seeing how other have done things peeks interest . Which is usually gets me out of my slump . But I often find if you creating is turned into a job that your own expectation of the project falls . Then burnout will set in quick . It's why I like these forums . I often come away with more ideas , then I'd ever be able to do . Taking time off to the real world is always good too

    Matt
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  3. #18
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    A couple of ideas:

    Spend time in you-tube. Search for "cab rides" Great videos from many places. My favorites are from Germany, Austria, Japan, Norway among others. See how the railways are different from what you are used to. In Japan, many on-board station announcements are in 3 languages: Japanese, English, and Chinese on important lines, Japanese only on less important ones. Why do the drivers wear white gloves? Are train tunes a good idea? In large stations, often each platform has its own tune.

    Spend time in Google Maps. Use street view as needed to get close up views. Recently I have been spending time exploring in Northern Chile. Did you know a railway runs from Antofagasta, up a steep canyon, then towards Bolivia. That must have been difficult to build.

    If you use TrainzDEM, explore the world in Google Maps to find interesting terrain to use, not just for prototypical routes, but for imaginary but realistic ones, as well as for background. I created a route just for the Cleveland Volcano (Alaska), then merged it into a route I was working amount. I now have a realistic volcano for background visible from the railway.

  4. #19
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    Listening to everybody's own take on burning out, I oddly feel more relatable to the Trainz community then I ever did before.

    For the last week or so I have been on YouTube watching videos of different US railroads in the 1940's through 60's just to see if anything catches my interest and I pretty much find it all interesting. Many of these railroad company back then where huge and employed thousands of people. There was no out sourcing, the railroad company did it all.

    Still however when I think of railroading I think of the anthracite region. That is where my real interest lies. I try to imaging the time when anthracite mining and the railroading activity surrounding it was the normal part of everyday life in the area. However, to model that in any detail means lots of burnout inducing research...it's almost a no win situation. How can one make that fun?

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond1964 View Post
    Listening to everybody's own take on burning out, I oddly feel more relatable to the Trainz community then I ever did before.

    For the last week or so I have been on YouTube watching videos of different US railroads in the 1940's through 60's just to see if anything catches my interest and I pretty much find it all interesting. Many of these railroad company back then where huge and employed thousands of people. There was no out sourcing, the railroad company did it all.

    Still however when I think of railroading I think of the anthracite region. That is where my real interest lies. I try to imaging the time when anthracite mining and the railroading activity surrounding it was the normal part of everyday life in the area. However, to model that in any detail means lots of burnout inducing research...it's almost a no win situation. How can one make that fun?
    I've seen a lot of those videos myself. The safety ones are really amazing and seeing the old classic road names in their paint schemes is heartwarming and nostalgic. The fact that the railroads hired their own people, did their own designs and building is both fascinating and truly amazing compared to what we have today with so much off-shored and outsourced.

    What you experience with the anthracite region plays out throughout the whole Northeast in general. We have a lot of equipment here that's never modeled due to it being less popular. I mean really, who cares for the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington, or the Boston and Maine. Sure we've got some, but not like the other more famous roads. This plays out with the Maine Central and other short lines in the area as well. This means it's all reskinning and custom building for us. Buildings too fall into this category. We can spend months investigating historical societies, talking to old-timers who are getting more and more difficult to find, and doing on-site investigating. Then when it comes down to it, we find that it's impossible to find anything that represents anything close because as a whole up here, we had a lot of proprietary buildings, rolling stock and locomotives and even in some cases prototypes. Look at some of the equipment found on the very small New Haven for example. They had an array of electrics that in my opinion rivaled those on their connecting Pennsylvania Railroad.

    The Anthracite region though, is I think the best as well. Look at the D&H, Susie-Q, Erie, Lackawanna, CNJ, Lehigh Valley, LH&R, and so many others that competed just in and around the Lehigh Gorge and up through Weatherly, Wilkes Barre, Hazelton, McAdoo, Lansford, and Nesquehoning alone. It sure was a crazy compact area of railroads, road names, and equipment all going about their business.

    Where I used to live, my house once burned coal and definitely burned anthracite. I found a bunch of it still in piles in my backyard when the previous owner, yes the previous owner, converted to oil back in the early 1960s. Recently, I was out metal detecting with my brother and in and around the old house and church we were allowed to investigate were piles of anthracite buried in the ground and on the surface in the backyard. Being a rockhound, I gathered clumps of it for my collection. When I gathered up these clumps, I thought of where they came from and where they were delivered from. In Lawrence, the dealer was located a short distance away on Andover Street at the long gone coal and oil company. The siding is still there in the weeds and the branch has been terminated a short distance away. This is definitely not what it was like during the time when the coal was delivered originally.
    John
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  6. #21
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    I know I would of love to have seen a working coal breaker in action. It must of been something to see. Not so much for the men working inside, but for us nostalgic rail fans it would be like heaven. I'd also like to of seen a working rail yard of the same time period, especially one with a busy hump yard. I would probably sit there all day watching that. To me that is real railroading!

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    Switching between content creation, working on prototypical parts of a route (I have four large, detailed routes that I don't think I'll ever finish. Columbus, Oh, a winter route based on rural ohio, a Pacific Northeastern route based on Tacoma and my current project, a route based around Kentucky and Madison, Indiana)and working on "fantasy" parts of the routes (my favorite and I almost always draw inspiration from another area I like). I find different seasons inspire me to work on the different routes and create different content though I am trying to force myself to stick to one route and maybe get to the point when I can actually, ya know, "play" the game.
    Check out my grungy electric piano based band, "Small Movies" at http://wearesmallmovies.com/

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinroth View Post
    Switching between content creation, working on prototypical parts of a route (I have four large, detailed routes that I don't think I'll ever finish. Columbus, Oh, a winter route based on rural ohio, a Pacific Northeastern route based on Tacoma and my current project, a route based around Kentucky and Madison, Indiana)and working on "fantasy" parts of the routes (my favorite and I almost always draw inspiration from another area I like). I find different seasons inspire me to work on the different routes and create different content though I am trying to force myself to stick to one route and maybe get to the point when I can actually, ya know, "play" the game.
    I'm curious, what generally gets you interested in a certain project? Also didn't you release some finished routes or am I thinking of somebody else?

  9. #24
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    I too am a sufferer of creative burnout. I've had projects go on for years with nothing to show for them because I hit that brick wall and spend hours in surveyor doing nothing.

    I usually load up an existing route, usually one by someone else, and run some trains with no particular goal in mind, just to have some fun. Lately I've been revisiting TRS2006 and playing on the classic Marias Pass (and some Marias Pass X in TRS19), and that's given me quite a bit of inspiration. Maybe a branch line, like the Kalispell branch? Maybe an industrial module based off CFAC? Maybe a large scale intermodal facility based off that intermodal hub in Shelby? Sometimes, I find myself creating custom sessions in Marias Pass that helps me come up ideas for routes of my own.

    Sometimes, if I'm looking for inspiration or ideas, I look at some railfanning videos on the interwebz, especially those that get real deep in the nitty gritty and show little details that are often missed in typical videos, or those that focus on yard or industrial operations. I recommend videos by Danny Harmon (Distant Signal on Youtube). Lately he's been doing a series on CSX in the 90's.

    One of my big projects right now is a recreation of a real world shortline railroad. The Blackwell Northern Gateway from Wellington, Kansas to Blackwell, Oklahoma. Trackwork, roads, and basic textures are done, towns are mostly laid out, but for scenery I've hid a roadblock. I've found inspiration for the route in the past by driving down to that area, be it on it's own research trip or on the way to or from Oklahoma City or Tulsa, and checking out some of the area that is being modeled for features that don't show well (or at all) on Google, and letting me see some of the tracks, roads, and towns from a ground perspective when Street View lets me down on those back roads. I know this method of finding inspiration isn't always possible if the stuff being modeled is too far away or no longer exists, but I've found it helps if possible.

    Hope you get your inspiration back soon, because I'm also here to find more inspiration methods.

    Matt
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  10. #25
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    I think I may be suffering it right now to be honest. I'm too much of a perfectionist so when I have something like real heights to plot, I find it difficult to remain focused. Lots of stuff going around in the real world makes me feel like I'm missing out on something. Never had the real following I had back in the Run8 days. Still I do feel I'm with the right sim and community.

    Instead I spend time with my son on weekends taking videos of the line and trying to see the grades. That is where I'm focused on the most right now and it's not that much fun, but important before I get too far ahead.

    Thanks

    Sean

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seane2c View Post
    I think I may be suffering it right now to be honest. I'm too much of a perfectionist so when I have something like real heights to plot, I find it difficult to remain focused. Lots of stuff going around in the real world makes me feel like I'm missing out on something.
    You would think that this would be a perfect time to work on Trainz but that's not so. There is a lot of people on edge for various reasons. I can sure understand the perfectionist part...I didn't realize it so much when I first started creating, but I sure do now!

    I guess for many out there they need to ask themselves is Trainz or railroad sims a hobby or a causal past time? I always thought of it as a full blown hobby. That is why I spent so much time learning how to make content. Later however, I can't help but question that. I think to myself "am I really doing this for myself or for others? " I also ask "is the effort I put into this really worth it?" I never really get the answers to either question. One thing that I do know that I enjoy is working in Blender and making the models.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond1964 View Post
    You would think that this would be a perfect time to work on Trainz but that's not so. There is a lot of people on edge for various reasons. I can sure understand the perfectionist part...I didn't realize it so much when I first started creating, but I sure do now!

    I guess for many out there they need to ask themselves is Trainz or railroad sims a hobby or a causal past time? I always thought of it as a full blown hobby. That is why I spent so much time learning how to make content. Later however, I can't help but question that. I think to myself "am I really doing this for myself or for others? " I also ask "is the effort I put into this really worth it?" I never really get the answers to either question. One thing that I do know that I enjoy is working in Blender and making the models.
    Its best if you have a collaborator as you have someone else who also has an interest in your route or needs to know about it in order to progress. I've been fortunate to have people who will make stuff for me so far, Ben Dorsey and Paul Gorski. Ben was always up for something to build as that's pretty much all he did , make 3d models, knowing that I had to do the research and draw up plans for him or he might have nothing to do with his time forced me to keep on task.
    I find I get discouraged if i don't get feedback, even if its negative its better than getting no response , I'd like to be able to talk to others about the Uintah, but I realize that is MY unfortunate obsession and very few other people have that level of interest. It probably helps if you work on the more popular routes , ones that have a lot of variety ( this is why fantasy/freelance lines are good as you can put almost anything you want in them within reason) as its familiar to many people and you can use rolling stock from all over the country , even locos from other lines if they share track rights ,whereas a niche subject like an abandoned 1920s narrow gauge is going to get far less feedback than a modern mainline route that hundreds are interested in as the former is highly limited to what stock can be run and assets are hard to find .

    So my advice is, offer to make stuff for others for a while and accept work that has plans and measurements and are things you want to make, let somebody else do the research for you .
    Lack of feedback is, for me, a big drag, one reason I miss guys like Norm Hart as he always appreciated any effort by anyone , seeing ones work in use by others is a big plus , Dave Snow was very discouraged when he released his Alma Valley line and got virtually no feedback, it feels like one has dropped the work into a void, no way to know whether its being used or not, or what was wrong with it .That's why I try to go round and praise stuff when I can , as I am sure that its disheartening for others to put work up and get nothing back, its of course not to be expected that one has to get any feedback, we all have busy lives, but from my perspective I find it helpful as it makes me feel like its worth continuing with a route.
    WARNING! The Surgeon General has determined that the use of the simulator Trainz is highly addictive,

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangavel View Post
    So my advice is, offer to make stuff for others for a while and accept work that has plans and measurements and are things you want to make, let somebody else do the research for you .
    Lack of feedback is, for me, a big drag, one reason I miss guys like Norm Hart as he always appreciated any effort by anyone , seeing ones work in use by others is a big plus , Dave Snow was very discouraged when he released his Alma Valley line and got virtually no feedback, it feels like one has dropped the work into a void, no way to know whether its being used or not, or what was wrong with it .That's why I try to go round and praise stuff when I can , as I am sure that its disheartening for others to put work up and get nothing back, its of course not to be expected that one has to get any feedback, we all have busy lives, but from my perspective I find it helpful as it makes me feel like its worth continuing with a route.
    What you are saying is 100% correct, however if you go through all my content on the download station you will find many items I created for other people. So that is a path that I have been down already. It kind of got to the point were I was helping everybody else but nobody was never there to help me, so I stopped doing requests... it was becoming a little too overwhelming. I also came up with the idea of working on a more popular route...The Lehigh Valley Snake Path and The D&LW Bloomsburg Branch were two of the ideas I had. Neither got very far due to the research I knew I would have to put into them. Finding others that share an interest is something I would love to find, it just never happened. The very few that did have interest on what I was working on didn't have the skill set necessary to help me out. To find somebody that has interest in what you are doing and is a content creator is like hitting a million dollar jackpot. It very rare indeed.
    Lack of feedback is a super buzzkill! However I'm as much to blame for that as everybody else. I don't often offer my opinions like I should. Maybe that something we should all try a little harder at.

  14. #29
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    1 Have multiple hobbies, interests and pastimes. Cycle through them in a periodic fashion. Include some physically demanding as well as mentally demanding stuff.

    2 Set high but achievable standards; avoid perfectionism for the mental plague that it is. Trying to copy reality in software is bound to fail as only reality can be reality. Its arts & crafts we're doing, not trying to be a small god.

    3 Form creative partnerships as well as obligations to others to make things, to avoid disappearing up your own compulsive obsessions. :-)

    4 Regard errors, dead-ends and other "failures" as valuable lessons. All creation goes via an evolution that tries and discards the unfit as a means to get to the fit (or fitter).

    These have all been said above so that's just a summary of the things I do to avoid the black dog of what you call "burn-out".

    Lataxe

  15. #30
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    You know I wonder if what I consider inspiration in awesome screenshots is actually setting too high of expectations? There was once a time where I said I could run a model railroad on plywood only provided the operation made sense.

    For me elevation in DEM vs the real world has been the stumbling block. I need to simply get the best estimate and go with it. Until I have the track down where I like it, and the roadbed set I won't be able to move on at my own pace. Once I have the track down where I want then I can add the scenery and do other things at my own pace but still have fun operating.

    I have to stop live streaming everything I do as well. That's only putting added pressure on me to do something entertaining.

    Thanks

    Sean

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