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Thread: Question to route builders related to inside and outside views.

  1. #1
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    Question Question to route builders related to inside and outside views.

    Good morning or night to all route builder enthusiasts. I guess my question is, Do you build your routes to only look real by looking out the cab windows? Or do you take outside views into consideration? I started a route from scratch about a year ago, and it's 286 miles long from end to end. I would just like some
    thoughts about the best way you design a route. I didn't use transdem or anything when i started building the route. Every single hill i have hand created. I look at alot of your talented work in surveyor to get ideas for myself. I have all my terrain shaped and finishing up signaling right now. I am having a heck of
    a time with texturing, What might look real to me, may look terrible to other user's. I am starting to feel like texturing, you either have it or you don't. I spend way too much time thinking i guess, because i want the route to look perfect from inside and out. I know with really long route's it's very difficult for me
    to make sure scenery is not so repetitive. If somone could explain to me how to post a photo in the forums, i could explain much easier. I have been using trainz since 2001, but never really took route building to be quality enough to share with the community. Anyway sorry for the ramble and thanks for any
    reply's .
    Windows 10 Pro,Intel 10850k at 5.2ghz, MSI Rtx 3080,
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  2. #2
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    It'll never look 'perfect' to everyone, and - don't laugh - it will often look 'better' to others than it does to you, because as the builder you are aware of every area you didn't get quite the way you wanted it, and you spot your own self-defined 'flaws'. Most other users will only glance at 90% of the route in a 'casual' fashion, and to them it looks just fine.

    As to 'inside view' or 'outside view', I'm a railfan, not a driver, so if I think about it at all, my scenes are built around tracking camera view, but for the most part I just compose pleasing scenes in surveyor, which for the most part seem to translate into Driver without too much compromise irrespective of how the scene is viewed.....

  3. #3
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    It's a bit 'Catch 22' but you need to include sufficient to make those using the route believe it is the route they are meant to be navigating. The view from the majority of UK trains as a driver or passenger is actually quite limited and in reality you need to be quick to spot detail. However should you follow a train or watch one pass the detail you can see is considerable. I personally prefer building to driving but don't particularly create specific routes. I tend to opt for valley style routes because already the bounds of your image are defined by the hills resulting in in the majority of my current route which is about 100 miles long and takes in excess of 3 hours to navigate (UK railways, very realistic!) seldom being more than two baseboards wide. As a railways ex-modeller I like my detail much of which to be honest is not necessary.

    I would suggest that now you have created to route is to perhaps place your cameras and start driving it, and as you do start to fill in what you can actually see slowly working outwards from the track. At stations, goods yards etc. you go slower and see more, across country probably faster and less. However with around 300 miles to go you may need another 20 years to complete it. One tip; find another small route to play with or something else away from Trainz, scenery can be frustrating and boring, have your breaks. Good luck, Peter
    Last edited by wilts747; May 17th, 2022 at 03:43 AM.

  4. #4
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    I concur with what Andy and Peter have said here. You are your biggest critic and will see the nitty picky faults you've made. You'll spend the next gazillion months and years fiddling with them and fixing them. The thing is what do YOU want for yourself?
    The there's no right or wrong way to do things here. You can make a route that's barren of foliage with a few lollipop trees here and there like an old Lionel model railroad, or you can build a natural landscape.

    I build my routes based on operations and texture and landscape to suit, yet at the same time I attempt to put everything into a plausible environment. Since I model mostly the area where I live, being New England, I make my scenery as it is where I live with small towns dotting a landscape that's smothered in foliage with larger commercial and industrial cities spread throughout. The trains in many areas operate in tree tunnels as they do in much of the Northeast. The cities are based on those found in the Merrimack Valley where I live with their huge factory blocks, the American Woolen Company complex comes to mind here, with power canals and tracks running alongside them similar to Lawrence and Lowell.

    My landscaping is sometimes completed ahead of time, and then the tracks and rail infrastructure placed afterwards. My landscaping will include the city or town and now the railroad has to work within the constraints of the geography and the surrounding town. This has a bit more of a challenge, but it makes things more interesting to work on. This came about as I merged in routes belonging to others such as George Fisher from way back. I wanted to preserve what he had but integrate what he had done without modifying his route too much yet at the same time blend his design into mine, so the differences weren't so obvious. This also occurred because I used the old HOG-generated, and later TransDEM-generated routes as a basis and then put my own railroad in where no railroad ever was but could be. I kept the roads and existing areas intact the best I could and integrated my railroad line within that.

    Keeping things focused really helps to ensure there's a continuous theme throughout the route if you are building a semi-realistic route. This goes for physical model railroads as well, and this is where those pick lists come into play. My pick lists are not permanent and are based on the current project at the time. If I'm working on a quarry for instance, I'll setup a pick list with quarry and mining assets as well as textures as needed. When that project is done, I'll go back and remove that pick list since those assets are no longer needed. This isn't perfect by any means, and this has bitten me a few times in the backside, but we can go back and select those areas and add the selected assets to a pick list if needed.

    My texturing is an ongoing process. I have tried various techniques, but I have found creating a small patch of lots of textures and then repeating this pattern all over an area such as a forest. When it comes to open fields, I'll put in some more consistent solid colors such as green with highlights of yellow. Farms are a bit easier with the furrowed fields and they are a good space waster if you don't have an inkling of what you want to put in an area. I'm not kidding when I say that. My texturing process is still WIP and has a lot to be desired IMO, but it works for now.

    Like you, I have an ongoing project. A project that I started a few years after yours in TRS2004 in January 2004. The route is about 200 miles long plus branches and is being updated. Recently, I imported a portion of the original January 2004 route and a larger portion of the TRS2006 update. After l got over my what was I thinking moments, I started the reworking and rebuilding project. Some parts have required a total baseboard replacement while others are a simple track relaying, landscaping/smoothing, and retexturing.

    And finally, take a ride on your route. Seriously. Route building is a tough, and sometimes unrewarding part of the route creation process. There are many hours spent laying track and doing the rest to make it what it is, and in the process, we forget what this is all about. Periodically plop a consist down and take it for a run. You might even want to setup a small session and test it out. This will give you that driver's view of your route, help you spot those places where things are too close or look weird, kinked track, or some that just plain look awesome.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    Trainz-PLUS: 117669

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nugget2225 View Post
    Good morning or night to all route builder enthusiasts. I guess my question is, Do you build your routes to only look real by looking out the cab windows? Or do you take outside views into consideration? I started a route from scratch about a year ago, and it's 286 miles long from end to end. I would just like some
    thoughts about the best way you design a route. I didn't use transdem or anything when i started building the route. Every single hill i have hand created. I look at alot of your talented work in surveyor to get ideas for myself. I have all my terrain shaped and finishing up signaling right now. I am having a heck of
    a time with texturing, What might look real to me, may look terrible to other user's. I am starting to feel like texturing, you either have it or you don't. I spend way too much time thinking i guess, because i want the route to look perfect from inside and out. I know with really long route's it's very difficult for me
    to make sure scenery is not so repetitive. If somone could explain to me how to post a photo in the forums, i could explain much easier. I have been using trainz since 2001, but never really took route building to be quality enough to share with the community. Anyway sorry for the ramble and thanks for any
    reply's .
    "Every single hill i have hand created."

    I did that and I wish I hadn't ! My main route is 20 miles long and set around about 1950, 9 years before I was born so I have no direct experience of what things looked like in 1950. For the stations and signals I mostly have good photos and signalling plans but I base the villages on Google Earth and cross reference them with the 1948 Ordnance Survey maps on the National Library of Scotland website so that I don't build unnecessary areas of housing which didn't exist then. Now, as for accuracy I know that very few people have studied the area in depth so for instance I have a large airfield (Driffield Airfield) and I knew nothing whatsoever about airfields but then nor do most people so I know that if its good enough for me it'll be good enough for everybody except an expert. I'm currently modelling the tiny village of Fimber even though it can hardly be seen from the train but it's kind of therapeutic and fun to search out appropriate buildings. As for the extent of modeeling I have modelled generally half a mile either side of the track but a mile at each end.
    Last edited by lewisner; May 17th, 2022 at 08:53 AM.
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  6. #6
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    I started a 30-mile branch line in 2009, just before Christmas. It has been essentially complete since 2018. Like you, I have built all my terrain by hand and wish I had spent the money and time learning to use Transdem. I started in Trainz 2009 and have advanced to 12 and then to T:ANE.

    I am a cab runner and care mainly about the view from the cab; much of my route is one board wide. That's a problem in some areas because the route runs along the top of a series of watersheds; because much of it is Midwest prairie this works for most of it, with the land just fading off over slight rises. There are spots I am now starting to go back and fill in where that is not the case.

    When I started, my PC was on the weak side so a major concern was keeping the route within the hardware's capacity. I managed to finish out in 105 boards, which included a metropolitan area where most switching happens. There I spread out a bit so the brakeman view didn't see much world edge at all, thanks to intervening buildings and some well-placed panos. With a better PC expansion will not be a problem. I have a bunch of portals hanging off the world edge and those I will tackle first.

    :B~)

    Together in Trainzing!

  7. #7
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    Hi nugget --

    "Do you build your routes to only look real by looking out the cab windows? Or do you take outside views into consideration?"

    The latter. Exclusively. It's the view that I always use when driving, even though I drive in Cab (now Advanced?) Mode. So I strive to get this effect:



    Phil

  8. #8
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    I'm building a medium lenght route of fantasy but I used trainzdem to do it as to give it a better natural look. I use to be very detailed within 100 meters from the track, a little less from 101 to abt 200mt and just with little to no details over that limit. It works well whether you look at it closely or if you look at it from a distance. Another thing I using is to standardize the blend of textures I use and, when possible, use copy and paste on large section of the land so as not to be too repetitive but at the same time not to have to continually invent something new. Scrapebook in suveyor S20 it's very helpful in that.
    Roberto (sister)

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