April 6, 2009 | Comments Off on Mixed Traffic at BT

I decided to temporarily call my Trainz 2009 layout “BT” or short for branch terminus. Could not think of a better name yet. Your suggestions are welcome.

I developed this short video clip showing the route as we follow a branch local dropping / picking passenger and freight. Enjoy!

March 30, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Building a route in Trainz is as easy or hard as you want it to be. Unlike model railroading where you are held back by space and money, in the virtual world as in Trainz, there are no such restrictions so one tends to go all out. But, soon boredom creeps in and you never get to finish it.

Virtually, you are also restricted by your PC specifications, I have done this many times. I load up on all sort of objects like trees, grasses and structures and when I run trains, the abysmal frame rate makes it unusable. You do have to find a balance and try to hold yourself from overloading the route.

My inspirational trainz route builder is darkdan. I have downloaded all of his routes and they all are a visual treat! Though some of his bigger routes push my old PC to the limits. Here are some screen shots of his creations: (Warning: Links lead to lotsa pictures) B-Project2, NG-Eurpoe1, BG-Europe2, B-Winter, NG-Europe3.

So with the above inspiration and the new version of Trainz, i decided to build and for once, finish a route.

I wanted to keep my route within 3 baseboards. I call this the Boredom-Factor! More than 3 baseboards would mean more structures to place, more ground to texture. I will get bored! I wanted a terminal passenger station/industry siding switching layout. I tried a few layout design but nothing caught my interest until i saw lancashire_fusilier’s Melbourne Layout Rev A. It had everything i wanted, so started to create this using 2 baseboards.

I did finish it this weekend and clicking on the picture below will take you to more screens from the layout. I don’t yet have a good name for the route and i need to add interactive industries. I did learn from some mistakes and found out some good ways to detail without losing frame rate. I will share these with you over the coming weeks.

Click on picture for the route pictures:

March 23, 2009 | 1 Comments »

Trainz 2009 has a neat little tool in Surveyor to replace assets easily. I had downloaded a wonderful narrow gauge layout called NG Europe 2 that was created by my favorite route creator “darkdan”. However, since i did not have good NG rolling stock, i wanted to change it to broad gauge. I was able to do this very easily with the new Replace Assets tool.

Click on picture for a step-by-step tutorial:


Using the Replace Asset in Trainz 2009
March 18, 2009 | Comments Off on First Class Ticket pricing woes

First Class Tickets (FCT) are a sort of premium subscription to the vast Trainz Download Station (DLS). What you get are a faster download speed and unlimited downloads. Without it, the speeds are restricted to about 4 Kbps and a limit of 100 mb per day.

It kind of makes sense as bandwidth costs money but the pricing structure is where i am having a real issue with. Initially when you bought the previous versions of Trainz, you got a 6 month free subscription. The 2009 version came with only a 3 month subscription. The previous prices for a years subscription was a do-able $10. I had renewed it every year for three years. Last week when i decided to renew my subscription, found that the years subscription had doubled to $20. Even the 6 month was up to $14.

The strength of the Trainz brand is access to the free user created content at the DLS. $20 is a big roadblock for most of us. I would ask Auran to re-evaluate the pricing structure and give Trainz fans some break. Going to the original $10 structure would be great. There is no way i am going to spend $20 on this.

So, in the meantime this is my plan to get third-party content for Trainz:

Scenery like trees, grasses and structures
Before going to bed, select only the items you want and start the download. At 4kpbs, it would be done by morning.

Routes
These are not doable. Routes may contain custom content and the Download Station will them go to look for them and then download each one. So, in a complex/detailed route you might hit the download limit. One to two baseboard layouts should be fine though.

Rolling Stock
I prefer to look for sites that host content externally. I will be updating my list as i find some good ones. For a start, here are a few of them:
US Locomotive Works: Great collection of US diesels and boxcars.
RRMods: Some are donation ware/payware they also have free diesels/boxcars.
iBer Trainz: You will find items under “Categorías” on the right side.

Note: If you do download from them, please backup your downloaded files or burn it to a CD. These sites are up now but we dont know if they will still be around in a couple of years.

So, between these sites and selectivley downloading smaller/better stuff from DLS, i can get by not paying $20. Another way to look at it is you wont be filling your hard drive with thousands of trainz content that you think you might use one day.

January 2, 2009 | Comments Off on Trainz 2009 Easter Eggs

Here are some of the Easter Eggs/Fun Codes for Trainz 2009. These codes worked in older Trainz versions but then they dropped it for Trainz 2006. Well, now they are back again. Note: These codes only work in Surveyor.

Make me a Map: Press ALT + CTRL + SHIFT + P together, ESC to stop

Smite: Press ALT + CTRL + A together, then Left-Mouse click to smite

Carz: Press ALT + CTRL + SHIFT + Z together, then Left-Mouse click on any moving car to ride. Note: When you create a new map in Surveyor, do select a region. If you leave it as Default the cars don’t appear on the road splines.

Walk: Press ALT and then the keys F L Y, use arrow keys and mouse to move around at ground level.

Here is a short clip showing the effects.

December 3, 2008 | Comments Off on Searching in Trainz 2009

The past few days i have been spending time with the new Trainz 2009. Trying to see whats updated and whats new. I was pleasantly surprised with the new search feature.

Trainz over time gets very cluttered. Because of the tons of great freeware third-party content, you start to collect them all and when it becomes time to build your layout or use your favorite trains, it becomes a pain to look through and find them all.

The previous versions had a search option but was not very intuitive. Trainz 2009, World Builder Edition addressed that issue by revamping the search feature. You can now fine tune your search by categories, names, asset number, author id and many more. Once you get a set of objects you want to work with, you can save it and quickly get back to it every time. No more remembering what the name of the object was. I love this new feature and and currently sorting through and saving my favorite item groups. This works with Train objects, structures, tracks and even paint textures.

I have created two small tutorials showing how you can use these features. The first one shows how you can filter and save your searches. Click on picture for the tutorial:


Searching in Trainz 20009

This one shows how you “pick” or quick save you most frequently used paint textures. The older versions had a similar function but this time they made it much easier and faster to use. Click on picture for the tutorial:


Using the Pick List in Trainz 2009
December 1, 2008 | Comments Off on Trainz 2009 has arrived

This Thanksgiving day Auran, started to send the download version of Train 2009, World Builder Edition to all who had preordered. The file size was around 2.5 GB and the download took me around 25 minutes.

I did not want to upgrade the previous version so i uninstalled Trainz 2006 and did a fresh install of the new version. It took me about 10-15 minutes to install.

The first thing i tried was the Content Manager. I had a lot of problems with the previous version so wanted to see if they fixed it for this version. It did look good. I could connect to the Download station but then i don’t have a lot of third-party content installed so will see if the CMP holds up later. I had purchased some locos for the previous version. Wanted to see how that played in the 2009 version. Imported the 10 CDP files and commited the changes. This whole process seemed to take around 20 minutes. The commiting process was a tad bit on the longer side and i was wondering if something’s wrong here or if my PC is getting old.

So here are my thoughts on the Trainz 2009, World Builder Edition. There seem to be very few visible changes. I believe, they have overhauled the game engine to provide support for higher resolution textures, support for gloss materials and ground details. The included SD40 locomotive and one track show off these new textures and look awesome. I know that the talented Trainz community will rise up to the challenge and provide content to take advantages of the newer features but as of today there aren’t many visible changes.

Regarding content, they have included a ton of content(trains and routes) from previous versions. This is a good thing because it provides backward compatibility for the many payware content, users have already own. All my payware content is working nicely though the sound of some locomotives from SteamLocomotiveWorks has changed.

So should you go for it?
If you are new to the world of virtual trains, Trainz 2009 is a great way to design your world and run trains in it.
If you have Trainz 2004 and older versions, the new content and features might be enticing.
If you own Train 2006, you will not get a “newness” factor when you buy this. You might wait till the free third-party content, using the new features, start appearing.

Click on the picture for the screens in Trainz 2009:

November 20, 2008 | Comments Off on Trainz 2009 Pre-Order

I admit, I have a soft spot for the Trainz Series owning their many previous versions. After much debating i pre-ordered the download version of World Builder Edition for $29.99, which is due to come out end of November. The file size for the download version is 2.5 GB but they are promising us a new download server which will provide downloads at speeds up to 7.5Mb/s.

Some new features that caught my attention were a much needed and better search function to sort through the numerous content. I also liked the clearer details and the smaller texture brush to give us more control in painting the landscape. Though, i admit that some payware models already have a lot of details.

In the past, Auran always promised us the world but when the new version is released and the Trainz community scream about the bugs, they do a good job to listen and release a fix very soon. So, i decided to take the jump to support them and to be the first ones to get the new simulator.

If you want to pre-order which ends on November 25, you will get 20% discount on Trainz Engineers Edition plus 60% off Railroad Lines, Bus Driver or Ship Simulator.

November 4, 2008 | Comments Off on Trainz 2009 Preorder and Beta program

The next version of the Trainz series is now available for preorder for USD $29.99

If you pre-order Trainz Simulator 2009: World Builder Edition you will receive an invitation to the Trainz 2009 Beta Testing Program. You’ll receive access to download the full 2.6GB Beta version of Trainz which will have a 30 day expiry date.

The new screenshots give a pretty good idea of the visual enhancements. The 5m cutting and texture brushes will give route builders greater control in designing their routes. The locomotive and cab may look impressive but you can get that quality in some of the payware locomotives that are available right now for Trainz 2006. In the end, it all depends on the new features which right now, looks great on paper.

I am not getting it right now but will wait and see how the rest of the Trainz community responds to it.

September 25, 2008 | Comments Off on More Trainz content hosted elsewhere

I try to seek out Trainz content hosted on other sites because of the erratic nature of the CMP. I would like to add this find to my previous list.

Neoklai & Lana have created excellent content for trainz. Notable among them are the building/warehouses and animated people/machines.

Video by spikerod shows the various animated people.

To Download, click on the title link above the picture.

You will be taken to item page, where you start the downlaod by clicking on the title above the image.

Note: Since this is a personal site, it may go away. Please save your downloads in a safe place, if you liked them.

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