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Author Topic: Route Building: Scenery hints and tips!  (Read 17459 times)

Roon3808

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Route Building: Scenery hints and tips!
« on: September 11, 2007, 02:58:01 PM »
Ok, just wanted to start a little thing where we list a few suggestions that will help people become better route builders. Feel free to add your own ideas!  :)


General.
- Pick a goal and push your creativity to the limit. Whether you're trying to model a real railroad line or making your own freelance route, keep it interesting. Add little scenes along the way, such as railfans taking pictures, animals along the tracks, a car being stopped by a police vehicle, etc.

Scenery.
- Trainz and most objects in it do not do well with shadows. To get around this, try to simulate shadows with darker ground textures around buildings and under trees.
- Plants that get more sunline (like an open field) are often a much lighter green, while plants that get less sunlight (such as forest undergrowth) are often much darker green. Plan your texturing accordingly  :)
- The acidity of decaying pine needles often retards undergrowth beneath pine trees.
- Use the copy/paste method for covering very large areas in textures and forests.

Track laying.
- Keep your tracks straight whenever possible. Railroads hate curves as they cause more wear and require more maintenance. If you don't know exactly how the track is supposed to be laid out, keep it straight where you can.
- Use the track straightening tool before all turnouts!
- Check your gradients! DEM maps may be accurate, but they're not perfect

Performance.
- Match the level of scenic detail with the amount of time a train will be in the given area. It doesn't do much good to highly detail a 50mph mainline when trains will just fly by in a few seconds. To the same end, spend more time adding details along slow tracks, industries, or yards. Don't want our engineers getting bored looking at bare textures!  ;)

I'll add more as i think of them or other people suggest them.

~Roon
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 06:41:18 PM by KnifeSwitch »

Offline gfisher

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2007, 12:25:40 PM »
Here's a trick that I just used on my Bayonne & Red Bank route that worked quite well for me. I wanted to do a fairly good sized area of New Jersey meadowlands and that meant using Magicland's "reeds" for the winter cattails. The problem is that "reeds" has a very high poly count...2500 compared to the usual grass clump of 20 or 30 polys. I layed out a 20 meter square of them and then took a screenie. From the screenie I made a ground texture to match the reed clump. Using that I could cover large areas without any polys.

I believe the same trick could be used for forest cover in a route. In the past I have made my own forest ground textures, but they never seem to really match all that well. Since I usually use a selected group of five or six trees to make my forests (with a lot more along the right of way for diversity) I think you could do a representative forest clump, make a screenie and then a ground texture to match your selected forest tree species.

"Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy." - Thomas Jefferson

Offline gfisher

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2007, 05:10:49 PM »
I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out, but I'll pass it along since perhaps it might help some others. One of the problems of doing prototype routes in mountainous terrain is dealing with grade crossings which interupt the grade of the track by requiring a short flat bit, resulting in a kind of roller coaster effect when you sight along the tracks. This does not have to happen, since grade crossings and industry track can be tilted using the shift/rotate keys if the creator has placed the correct config file lines in the config and used the correct orientation in gmax. BNSF50 has apparently figured this out, and his crossings...well, at least the one I tested...will tilt in the correct way. I tend to use Rob Shaw's crossings which are built in because they work with my set of roads, so I created a clone in CMP and added the lines

height-range                  -3000,3000
rotate                     1
rotate-yz-range                  -180,180

In the config file. Unfortunately, the protolars industry track tilts the wrong way, and it would take the original creator to rotate his model in gmax by 90 degrees to give us industry tracks which can slope.

Now if we only could have twistable splines......

"Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy." - Thomas Jefferson

Offline PVincent342

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2007, 08:31:24 PM »
This looks very helpful :D ,

Ive got 2 myself:

Use Fixed Track if you are a beginner (or if you are afraid of messing up)

Take it easy , 1 baseboard at a time so that you are not over-whelmed

coming soon...

Offline AceArmand12

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 01:54:38 PM »
 I was wondering something. Is using a DEM for a route an absolute must? My route does not use one.

 -quakers1
They don't think it be like it is, but it do

Offline s-driver

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 03:14:25 PM »
   Using DEM or NED elevation data is not a necessity in route building but if you want your tarrain map to be somewhat accurate and prototypical it will make your job about 10,000 times easier. But even the DEM data isn't 100% accurate. Most of that information is obtained from radar mapping from the air or from space. Most people think that it's totally accurate but it's not. The elevation that is recorded for that location is determaned by GPS location. If the location happens to be right on top of a 160 foot tall tree then the elevation for that spot is 160 feet off because the radar signal will reflect off someplace near the top of the tree. If it's a heavily wooded area then the DEM data will reflect the hight of the tree canopy which usually will be very close to the shape of the ground beneath but will be off in elevation by the hight of the trees. If your using railroad track charts and place your track splines at the right elevation then you'll end up with cuts in places that there shouldn't be. But overall the DEM data is accurate enough. After working in the construction industry as long as I have and seeing so many plans for jobs that use data from aerial surveys I've gotten a good feel for were the elevation bloopers have come from.

   Anyway DEM for your map topography is not necessary but it can make your project easier and more realistice looking.

Bill

MDDE608

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 09:11:48 PM »
I have a DEM map i like to use for trainz, and i followed the tutorial on rrmodels forums and got the setup my map and exchanged the gnd textures but the map will not show up in trainz 06 sp1. Can anybody help me figure out what i am doing wrong?

Offline mjolnir

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 10:59:19 PM »
For some reason, I just reviewed the first post in the thread from Roon3808, and would add a couple of comments:

Quote

General.
- Pick a goal and push your creativity to the limit. Whether you're trying to model a real railroad line or making your own freelance route, keep it interesting. Add little scenes along the way, such as railfans taking pictures, animals along the tracks, a car being stopped by a police vehicle, etc.



Unless you've made a lot of routes, start with a small and simple goal. You are likely to be more satisfied with a small, two or three board prairie based route that you finish, than with a thirty or forty board mountainous route that you do not. And if you get something in a route that you like, save it; you can always copy it into another route, or build onto it later.

Quote

Track laying.
- Keep your tracks straight whenever possible. Railroads hate curves as they cause more wear and require more maintenance. If you don't know exactly how the track is supposed to be laid out, keep it straight where you can. ...<snippage>... - Check your gradients!

The longest stretch of completely straight track in the U.S. is in Kansas, where the one-time Rock Island (later SSW, now UP) has a stretch of tangent track a bit more than sixty miles long. And while straight is important, an even more important imperative for railroads, especially if on old, historic lines, is to keep the track as level as possible. This is the reason that most of the rail lines in the U.S., seen from the air, are broad curves (which sometimes from the air do not appear to make much sense) separated by relatively short stretches of straight trackage.


Finally, if you think of an idea and you don't know how well it will work, create a "test bed", a route with just enough boards, and just enough detail to see if the idea is going to work the way you want it. Save the ones that do, and the ones that don't, well, do what you want with them.

ns
M.U.T.O.T.T.

Offline KingOoblec

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 07:40:27 PM »
How do you import a map from Google Earth? I have no clue how to do this. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks :)
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Offline Conrail88

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 09:11:48 PM »
 I'm not trying to be Grogstop here but I'd like your guys opinions on this shot.  The route has the same amount of detail everwhere through it and I just want to know if it's over doing it ???



God Bless,

Ryan :D
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 09:13:56 PM by Conrail88 »

Offline KingOoblec

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 10:06:59 PM »
Maybe a little bit, but it's still SWEET! :)
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Offline Conrail88

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 10:09:46 PM »
Maybe a little bit, but it's still SWEET! :)

Thanks, I like to add detail to my route wherever possible and the grass and plants is, to me, a big part of it.  Especially where noticable.

God Bless

Ryan :D

Offline KingOoblec

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 10:51:02 PM »
Me too. I'm going to start a route of the local railroad, and I'm going to put on pretty much every detail, except for the ones I absolutely have to. But first, I have to figure out how to put maps from Google Earth into surveyor.
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Offline dylanviey

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2009, 11:11:16 PM »
Me too. I'm going to start a route of the local railroad, and I'm going to put on pretty much every detail, except for the ones I absolutely have to. But first, I have to figure out how to put maps from Google Earth into surveyor.

I'm doing that also lol i already sunk about $3,000 in to sound equipment, photo equipment, and computer Equipment. I also got permission and the railroad they are fully aware that i'm working on a modern day and 1950's era 3d simulator route for trainz railroad simulator.

your probably not going to go to the extreme that I'm going to make a highly detailed route lol  ::) (i have to think WTF am i doing sometimes lol)

the last time i was there i was riding in their caboose with microphones hanging out the windows. i got some great sound recordings of the clickey clack of the track.

                                                           ^ i play trainz a little to much. lol

Offline KingOoblec

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Re: Route building hints and tips!
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2009, 11:35:34 PM »
I was albe to ride along three times until the company got sold to the Genesee & Wyoming. They don't allow ride-alongs, so now i'm gonna have to use my dads videos of the route. They'll still be a good source of info, but not like being there in person. Oh well. :-\
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