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Thread: Sadly lacking in documentation.

  1. #1
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    Question Sadly lacking in documentation.

    Having previously dabbled with Trainz's well known competitor rail simulation offering, I am now spending a lot of time getting re-acquainted with Trainz. I like Trainz very much. Interestingly, it says on the box, for TS 2010, that the game is suitable for users at and beyond the age of 3. Man! does that make me feel stupid! Does anybody else feel that a huge amount of time and effort could be saved in the process of learning Trainz, if comprehensive documentation were included in the box or on line? I spend oodles of time searching the forums for information on how to understand all the multitude of functions in the Session Rules, for example, and have realised that I'm in the company of thousands of others who are similarly starved of Trainz knowledge. Couldn't you folks at N3V get your heads together and produce an in-depth manual, online if necessary, covering every aspect of Trainz Driver and Surveyor modes? For example, in Driver Commands, the annotation against most of the options, "No description provided" leaves me with a deep sense of frustration. Where IS it provided? Another example is the path rule; having at last managed to configure it, it doesn't work. Also, "Autodrive past junction, Inner Leave or Leave", and many other examples, what does it all mean? Yes, a couple of knowledgeable folk on the forums have been helpful, but, in general it's the blind leading the blind. Can't we please have a definitive and comprehensive Trainz User Manual, to go along with a very fine train simulator?

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    Yes, you are right. Documentation does not seem to be a software developer's area of expertise.

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    I hear you.......but in the case of path rule the creator has as least put some details here

    http://www.mutton.de/trainz/pathrule/

    The link is from the asset description.
    My work in progress route -
    Chinley and Peak Forest Railway

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Euphod View Post
    Yes, you are right. Documentation does not seem to be a software developer's area of expertise.
    Unfortunately you're right about that. But then it's not necessarily reasonable to expect it to be.

    I did software design for a few years, but I'm much better at writing technical documentation. Sadly I've known a number of software developers in the past who were firmly convinced they wrote great documentation.

  5. #5
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    The documentation sucks. The in-box manual is dead ordinary. Some of the 'Hints and Tips' screencaps while the sim loads are from out-of-date versions and bear little resemblance to the current controls, and most of them are ambiguous anyway. Nope, it isn't their strong point.

    They make a heck of a sim though!

    Given that the Trainz team are a small group working on a shoestring budget I'd much rather their time went into fixing and/or developing in game faults and features than in writing a manual, which as a simple fact would be rushed anyway.

    In a perfect world a 1,000 page on-line manual would be available. In this world it isn't...

    Andy
    checkrail.com...freeware routes for Trainz

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by briefencounter View Post
    Having previously dabbled with Trainz's well known competitor rail simulation offering, I am now spending a lot of time getting re-acquainted with Trainz. I like Trainz very much. Interestingly, it says on the box, for TS 2010, that the game is suitable for users at and beyond the age of 3. Man! does that make me feel stupid! Does anybody else feel that a huge amount of time and effort could be saved in the process of learning Trainz, if comprehensive documentation were included in the box or on line? I spend oodles of time searching the forums for information on how to understand all the multitude of functions in the Session Rules, for example, and have realised that I'm in the company of thousands of others who are similarly starved of Trainz knowledge. Couldn't you folks at N3V get your heads together and produce an in-depth manual, online if necessary, covering every aspect of Trainz Driver and Surveyor modes? For example, in Driver Commands, the annotation against most of the options, "No description provided" leaves me with a deep sense of frustration. Where IS it provided? Another example is the path rule; having at last managed to configure it, it doesn't work. Also, "Autodrive past junction, Inner Leave or Leave", and many other examples, what does it all mean? Yes, a couple of knowledgeable folk on the forums have been helpful, but, in general it's the blind leading the blind. Can't we please have a definitive and comprehensive Trainz User Manual, to go along with a very fine train simulator?
    One source in the wikibook. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Trainz

    This thread mentions things that the community could do to improve things.

    http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?t=71025

    Cheerio John

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    Considering that many of the rules were written by ordinary users who wanted to contribute to their hobby, Auran could hardly be expected to write instructions for those.

    This is not to say that the basic Trainz instructions are wonderful. I think they currently leave a lot to be desired. At one time there were several manuals available, Content Creators Guide, Engineers Manual, Technical Manual, User Activity Creation Guide to name but a few but that was back in the days of TRS2004 when there were people dedicated to this type of activity.

    Documentation has always been an orphan, even in larger and richer organizations. Just look at the huge after market in guide books for things like Windows, Autocad and Photoshop. If they can't do there own properly, imagine how hard it must be for Trainz.

    Luckily we have a forum where questions can be asked and answered, and a wiki where anyone can add to the knowledge tree. Some may not like it but it's what is available.


    70337:
    TRS19 build 100240 and 103369 Win10 Pro 64 bit, i7-7700 3.6GHz 16 GB, GTX 1070 Ti

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    I think that there is no updated documentation for creating splines for TRS2009, TRS2010, and TS12.

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    How many times have I read in these forums that the manual is crap? And they are right. Still, if everything was written down in a manual I doubt you would be able to lift it, let alone carry it On the plus side why bother with a crappy old manual when you have a far better way of obtaining information. I am referring, of course to these forums where I have learned a great deal over the years. I was thinking the other day ut would be great if there was a list of rules and driver commands and a guide as to how they work. A man can dream, lol..

  10. #10
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    TRS2004 has 427 pages of documentation that are divided into 6 documents:
    World Builders Guide with 98 pages
    Technical Manual with 35 pages
    Signaling Guide with 22 pages
    Expanded Manual with 24 pages
    Engineers Handbook with 72 pages
    Content Creators Guide with 176 pages

    TRS2006 has a Manual with 329 pages

    TS2009 has a Manual with about 15 pages

    TS2010 has a Manual with 61 pages

    TRS2004 has the most comprehensive documentation, much of which still applies. Second best is TRS2006 which is still mostly applicable. Since that version we have a Wiki but it is still a 'work in progress'. The most info in the wiki relates to the Content Creation Guide.

    There has been info created by Auran/N3V but much of it is no longer available on Auran's servers. Specifically, the TRS2006 manual would be very helpful for new users but Auran no longer makes it available. I refer to my copy for just about every problem I encounter in TS2010.

    Several users have posted that they have asked Auran for permission to make this manual available online but Auran has not responded to their requests. Shame..

    Bob Weber

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    Quote Originally Posted by nfitzsimmons View Post
    ...

    Sadly I've known a number of software developers in the past who were firmly convinced they wrote great documentation.
    I know what you mean.

    Documentation and manual authoring is a specialist area. It requires knowledge of linguistics and communications as well as and understanding of software production and maintenance.

    Producing documentation is expensive. It entails either employing a specialist in that field or using the time of a software author.

    As you might expect, a software author is better utilised authoring software rather than writing about it - and the results are generally less than of an acceptable standard.

    If Trainz documentation were to be improved to any great extent then it would need to be reflected in the price of the product and, in the price sensitive gaming market, this is a direction that N3V/Auran are unlikely to go in.

  12. #12
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    I am slowly learning a little bit at a time. I have managed to put a couple of consists on the NEC layout that comes with Trainz 12 and even assigned a couple of drivers. I have found out by experimenting how to tell one driver to Navigate to a platform somewhere up the line. Where I get lost is trying to assign the other train to me. I think I can only do that when the train is stationary. I sometimes end up with a sillouette figure and a question mark as a driver and then spend ten minutes trying to make myself the driver. I just see myself at the beginning of a steep learning curve but I am getting there slowly. I think I am long way from going multiplayer. The forums are great and I have received some really good advice like for example how to load various wagons and flatcars. Of course there is not the same speed at getting required info compared with reading it from a manual, on line or printed.
    Peter

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up 2004

    Quote Originally Posted by rweber95 View Post
    TRS2004 has 427 pages of documentation
    Thanks for the tip. I just found a copy on eBay for $9.

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    I'm just wondering, what is wrong with the manual link on the start page? Or there is a full PDF manual available at Path-to-your-installation\Extras\Documentation (or at least for TS2012, have a look for a PDF in the Trainz directory).

  15. #15

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    I suspect the OP is referring to the more technical side of things. I too have scratched my head at some of the rules and wondered why it isn't clearly written down somewhere what they do and how to use the tool. Path rule is a prime example of that. Then there are some which are written in the native tongue of the compiler but not translated into the "common tongue", i.e. English.

    Remember too we're talking default content here, not something obscure found on the DLS. If not the manual then some accompanying technical documents which could be consulted would be a great help.

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