Mini Routes

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Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Sun 03 Apr 2016, 9:33 pm

Hi All,
Everybody knows that to get the best out of MSTS when running large routes, like Dorset Coast and North West England, they should be installed as mini routes.

How do you set yours up?

There is a tutorial on the Steam4Me site which details the procedure, using Route_Riter.  In the past, I have tried a couple of times to build a mini route by following this, but both times, failed and had to create them manually!  There's no doubt that it was my fault in that I missed, or mis-interpreted some instructions.  I know Alec created Part 08 of Helpful Facts and Links to refer to Mini Routes, but, with respect, that only points the user to the Steam4Me webpage.  After my experiences, I thought there must be a different, maybe better, way!

The Mini Routes available from UKTS include a batch file called initsystem.bat which is used to copy all the files, required to run MSTS, into a specified root folder.  Using this makes things a lot more straight-forward.  A few modifications have been made to this file, mainly because I found that, as supplied, it wouldn't work correctly when run independently.  To avoid confusion, I called it initsystem2.bat.

Another batch file, commonly used in freeware routes, is installme.bat, which copies all required default files into the new route's folder/s.  As it stands, this batch file will only run correctly if the route folder where it is located is also within the same root folder as the MSTS default routes, etc.  I have created a very small program which, after backing up the original batch file, will modify it to enable it to run from any route's folder in any MSTS installation.  Its name has not been changed and it will still run successfully if the route is installed in the default MSTS location.  I've called the program BatchMod2 - it only has this one purpose in life!   NOTE : It will only work if there is a valid MSTS Registry entry.

My procedure for setting up the mini route is as follows :
1. Create a root folder for MSTS, preferably, but not essentially, called Train Simulator - this may be anywhere, except C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86)!
2. Copy the initsystem2.bat file into the folder that contains the newly created root folder.  If the latter is in a drive's root folder, then this batch file must also be placed in the drive's root folder.
3. Run the initsystem2.bat file to create a basic MSTS setup in the root folder.
4. Install the new route into the new root folder, following its installation instructions.  If it runs an installme.bat file automatically, let it finish, but it won't have copied all/any of/ the required files!  Don't worry!!
5. If the route folder includes an installme.bat file, it needs modifying before it will run correctly.  Use BatchMod2 (see above) to create a new version of the file, then run it manually.
6. Add any required add-ons, like XTracks, NewRoads, etc., changing the installation folder to point to the new root folder.
7. Download Mike Simpson's MiniLoader, unpack it and place the executable into the new root folder; its name may be changed if required. Create a Desktop shortcut for it, which may be renamed.
8. ...and that's it!  Double-click the Desktop icon, locate the route and confirm it. It will then run in a similar manner to MEP, SCP, etc.

There don't seem to be any copyright notices on either initsystem.bat or installme.bat files (can batch files be copywrited?).

Please let me know if you think this program would be useful.  If anyone would like to try it out, just say, as it looks as if I can attach it to a post!

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  StephenRWells on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 10:24 am

Hi Ged,

I have successfully installed several mini routes using the Steam4Me site and Route_Riter following the instructions to the letter. However the only way I have been able to this is to first install the route into MSTS as a new route as most routes also use some default items. Once the mini route is created I then uninstall the route from MSTS. This seems to me to be an awkward way way of doing thngs. If once you've downloaded the route, unzipped it to a temporary location, start the mini route creation and then have an instalme.bat which will find all the neccessary items from your main MSTS installation this would, I hope, make installing mini routes much easier and possibly quicker.

I hope that this makes sense as I can't always explain things in the best way.

Regards,

Stephen

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 3:05 pm

Hi Stephen,
Yes, I understand what you're saying!
Using the Steam4Me/Route_Riter method, you need to install a route into the default MSTS installation so that the installme.bat file (if one is needed) works correctly, then the route has to be moved to wherever you require it. By using my modified installme.bat file (together with initsystem2.bat) it means you can install the new route directly to where you want it.
I've just got to do some proper instructions, then I'll attempt to attach the zip file to a post!

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  dforrest on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 3:34 pm

An alternative way is to create a "Common Files" folder using the option to do this in Route Riter.


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DIY Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Mon 11 Apr 2016, 3:22 pm

Hi All,
Attached is what I would call a public test beta version of this system.  Unpack it to wherever you like; details are as I previously posted, except that I've renamed the initsystem2.bat file to SetupMSTSCore.bat as it better describes its function.  This file has also been amended to copy a) all the default Cabview and Sound folders and b) most of the files in the root folder.  The latter because I thought, if the Bin patch is installed in the default installation, it might be desirable to be able to uninstall it from the mini route.

Please feel free to try this procedure out!  I don't need any feedback, but it'd be good to receive some! Using this system won't affect any other MSTS installations you may have.  

If you don't wish to use the Mini Loader, you can always use my TSFE to run a mini route with Train Store.  Also, there's my MSTS_Swap which enables any of several utilities (and even MSTS Sim/Editors) to be run for a mini route.

Cheers,
Ged

EDIT : The attachment has been removed. A minor amendment has been made to the readme and the procedure attached to my post of 9 June 2017.


Last edited by slipperman12 on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 3:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Miniroutes and global files

Post  Jonathan David on Wed 08 Mar 2017, 5:29 pm

I may have missed it, as there is a lot of advice around, but one issue when one produces a mini-route using the Steam4Me method is that the Global folders seem to be copied complete into the mini-route. After so many years of running MSTS and installing and removing routes, my global folders contain all sorts of files added when routes have been installed.
Is there a way, or a utility, which can be used to remove any unnecessary files from the global folder and its subfolderas?
Jonathan

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  dforrest on Wed 08 Mar 2017, 5:37 pm

Thereis an option in Route Riter's Route Utilities tab, to "Compact Global/Shapes".


Last edited by dforrest on Sat 11 Mar 2017, 4:16 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Jonathan David on Thu 09 Mar 2017, 8:38 am

Many thanks. I had looked at the other tabs but had missed it. I suspect it will save a lot of hard disk space.
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Re: Mini Routes

Post  cr-stagg on Sat 11 Mar 2017, 3:55 pm

My solution to that is to "hide" my main MSTS install (change folder name) so that the MSTS installer thinks that it is not installed. Then follow the Steam4Me process, make sure that it works OK then Rename it to "Master Install". Then I unhide my main MSTS install. (return it to original name.) Now when I want to create a Mini, I copy the Master, name it to whatever to distinguish it as a Mini. Next I remove the 6 default routes if they are not needed and any of the rolling stock that would not be needed, such as the Japanese and European for a route set in the USA or all if the Mini is for narrow gage routes. Then I install the routes for the Mini. Your Master does not have to be kept on your HD, it could be stored on a thumb drive.

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 3:14 pm

Hi All,
It appears that the mini route function of Route_Riter doesn't work under Windows 10.

Last year, I attached my procedure for generating a mini route to a post in this thread.  It had more than 20 downloads, but I had very little feedback.  I have made one minor amendment to the readme and attached the procedure to this post, removing the previous version.

Cheers,
Ged

EDIT : The attachment has been removed and an updated version attached to my post dated 7 Aug 2017.


Last edited by slipperman12 on Mon 07 Aug 2017, 6:43 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  rufuskins on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 8:32 pm

I was always happy to follow the Steam4me/Route Riter method for Mini Routes, but I shall look at this as an alternative.


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 9:19 pm

Hi Alec,
If you're not running Windows 10, then there's absolutely no need for you to change your procedures Smile

It was only this week that a member of the trainsim.com MSTS Forum reported the problem with Route_Riter, which brought my procedure back to mind! I have checked, and confirmed, the reported problem. Out of interest, I tested the "newer" version of R_R but that seems to have even greater problems under Win 10; it requires further investigation to be sure.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Wed 02 Aug 2017, 11:44 pm

Hi Ged,

With a couple of exceptions the installers  you provided worked perfectly. My main MSTS installation is on my D:\ storage drive (a spinning drive), and my mini-routes folder resides on my C:\ drive, which is an SSD. The folder that contains these mini-routes is entitled "Mini-Routes." :-)

Within the Mini-Routes folder are subfolders for different countries, e.g., UK, USA, DE, etc. Then, within those country subfolders, are folders for the named mini-route. For the purposes of this test I created a sub-folder within the UK folder called "S&C 1946." Into this folder I unpacked the SetupMSTSCore.bat file. The latter began copying files right where it should have with one exception: it did not create a "ROUTES" folder (which of course should be empty). I don't know whether the fact that it would have to create an empty folder threw a monkey-wrench in the works or not. So (and this really isn't a chore) I simply created an empty ROUTES folder manually.

The other exception I found is that the TRAINS folder was populated with ACELA, HHP, GP38, DASH9, SCOTSMAN, etc. etc. folders, but only the files that were in a sub-folder got copied. For example, the DASH9 folder had the appropriate CABVIEW and SOUND folder, and all of the CABVIEW files were copied to CABVIEW and all of the SOUND files were copied over to the SOUND subdir. But none of the main files, the ace files, the shape files, the engine or wag files got copied. This was true for all of the engines that were copied. I note, also, that it only copied engine folders, not wag folders. Further, only some of the engine folders were copied, so, for example, the CLASS50 didn't get copied. And none of the US2FREIGHT wags got copied. Finally, the CONSISTS folder was not copied. I don't know if this is a bug or a feature ;-) See attached screenshot.

I then used your BatchMod2.exe file and it worked absolutely perfectly. Please let me know if you desire further information.

Cheers,

David
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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Thu 03 Aug 2017, 9:05 am

Hi David,
Welcome to the Forum Smile
Many thanks for your report.

I'll look into the problem of the ROUTES folder not being created.  The only reason I can suggest for the Class50 folder being missing is that it wasn't in the MSTS installation being used to create the mini route. ...but your screenshot shows the Class50 folder being created at the same time as the others!

Would you expect an empty CONSISTS folder to be created?  If so, I'll deal with it with the ROUTES folder; if not, what should be in it?

Regarding the default locos' folders - I deliberately only copied the CABVIEW and SOUND folders because, in many cases, only these parts of the default stock are required, particularly for freeware cabs and sounds.  The actual locos are rarely required. The omission of the remaining default .wag files was also deliberate, but may be restored if the general feeling is that they should be included.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Sat 05 Aug 2017, 10:07 pm

Hi Ged,

Thanks, it's nice to be here (I've noticed the very civilized demeanor of the participants) and please pardon the tardiness of my response. I actually started a response the day you posted your message, but it got out of hand and I decided to write up a pdf file that explains how I utilize mini-routes.

I'm probably a bit unusual amongst the MSTS user base in that literally all of my hundreds of routes are set up as mini-routes. By happenstance one of the first messages I read when I discovered both MSTS and Trainsim and Uktrainsim was a posting by the late Otto Wipfel on mini-routes and his concept of a "mini-master." I was so impressed by the logic of it that I immediately began moving my routes, with the exception of the 6 default routes, into mini-route installs.

Your beta utility works really well. With the exception of the lack of an empty Routes folder not being created, I think it works perfectly just as it is now. And your BatchMod2 file is ingenious and works a treat. There are a couple of further aspects of Route Riter's mini-route functionality that I'd like to see replicated (if possible), and those were RR's ability to cull just those GLOBAL/SHAPES files necessary to that route, and its concomitant ability to do the same from the CONSISTS and TRAINSET folders.

That said, and because I have so many mini-routes with so much needless duplication, I've ended up using Junction Links to point to single GLOBAL  and TRAINSET folders so that I no longer need to have those files culled in the mini-route installation routine.

How I go about doing so I've outlined in the attached, illustrated pdf file. I hope the members here find it useful.

Cheers,

David
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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Sat 05 Aug 2017, 11:15 pm

Hi David,
Thanks for your reply.

I was just about to turn in for the night, when I spotted your post!

As you know, almost anything is possible in the programming world - as long as the programmer has, or can obtain, the necessary knowledge!  Due to my lack of that last element, I am unable to interrogate the MSTS files in order to determine which GLOBAL\SHAPES should be retained or discarded.  As far as CONSISTS and TRAINSET entries are concerned, that's a little easier.  It means that all the activities must be checked to determine which should be kept, although I'm not sure that would be such a good idea!  The reason being that many stock downloads result in several separate folders being placed in TRAINSET, but not all will necessarily be currently used.  If the user installed a new activity which required some of those previously unused stock items, and if the folder had already been culled, a re-installation of that stock would be necessary.  The same could apply to CONSISTS, although to a lesser degree.

Sorry, but I haven't had chance to read your document yet; I'll do so tomorrow. Smile

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  rufuskins on Sun 06 Aug 2017, 12:35 pm

I too haven't read this PDF but shall look at it this evening. What I would say is that when trying to assess what TRAINS assets are required it shouldn't be forgotten that a number of locomotives are aliased to others that may not be directly relevant to activities for a specific route for both SOUND and CABVIEW. This was pointed out in HFL No 8 (Mini Routes).


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Sun 06 Aug 2017, 7:10 pm

Good points, gentlemen, and all of them valid if the Trainset folder you are culling from is the only Trainset folder you have. However, as the pdf file explains, I have two environments for my Trains/Trainset folders

The first such folder is a "Library" folder on a spinning drive where all such files, once they've been tweaked, are stored. (This folder also gets backed-up to the cloud.) The other folder, where the mini-routes are installed and which would receive the proposed culling treatments, resides in runtime folders on my SSD. Only those files would be culled. Anything lost accidentally because I'd forgotten about aliasing to a different locomotive or wagon can be easily replaced from the Library drive.

Cheers,

David

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Sun 06 Aug 2017, 8:06 pm

Hi David,
Thanks for your document, and the link to the "junction links" tutorial - I've read them both!

It's good to know that these "links" are transparent to the likes of Mini Loader and Train Store. I can see that, without using one of those programs, MSTS would be swamped!!  I noted that your Dorset Coast route is set up to run under Open Rails and only the TRAINSET folder was "linked".  Is OR able to run with a very large TRAINSET folder without any help?

Although I don't think I'll be setting my MSTS system up like that, it is very interesting and I'll most probably be doing some experiments soon (after I've completed my current project!).

One worrying point I have is regarding the use of your SSD.  It is said that they have a limited number of write cycles and it's concerning that you appear to be carrying out many delete and rewriting operations on it.  I know you said that, as per recommendations, you leave a fair amount of unused capacity, to allow the system to replace cells as they deteriorate, but the time could come when it's all used!  

Apologies for not following up on the missing ROUTES folder from my routine - I'll post here when the corrected version is uploaded.  I haven't released it officially yet because I'm still waiting to see if I need permission to use a good part of the UKTS initsystem.bat routine for my SetupMSTSCore.bat ... it's been a long time and I've sent 3 PMs (which have all been picked up!!), but have not received any pertinent response.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Sun 06 Aug 2017, 11:12 pm

Hi Ged,

slipperman12 wrote:

It's good to know that these "links" are transparent to the likes of Mini Loader and Train Store. I can see that, without using one of those programs, MSTS would be swamped!!  I noted that your Dorset Coast route is set up to run under Open Rails and only the TRAINSET folder was "linked".  Is OR able to run with a very large TRAINSET folder without any help?

The links are transparent because they are just standard Windows links, just like the shortcuts you create to single files like executables. I've found them to be completely reliable, but, and this is a very big but, you have to actually remember where you put those links and what they are linked to. Just like forgetting to un-store your Trainstore files, it's all too easy to delete a folder only to realize that you've deleted the "linked-to" folder as well and now it's gone for good! So I get in the habit of checking with Junction Link Magic's interface before I do so, as it will list every junction link I have on the computer ... not just the ones I've created for use with MSTS.

As for Dorset, actually the GLOBAL and SOUND folders were also linked to their UK versions one level up from the Dorset route. All of the links work perfectly fine and, as you noted, are completely transparent to not just Mini-Loader and ORTS, but to any Windows file whatsoever. It's as if the UK GLOBAL folder actually was in the Dorset GLOBAL folder ... if that makes sense.

As for ORTS and large trainset files, it does not have the limitations that MSTS does ... you can throw basically any sized folder at it and it won't blink. Now, that's not to say that OR is a magic bullet that runs at 200 FPS all the time simply because it uses your GPU unlike MSTS which only uses the CPU; you can most definitely max it out and get low framerates if you populate your route with very high poly shapes. But in general, you have to have a ton of that high-poly stuff to do that kind of damage. So I still use some early wagon and engine files, like David Ball's BR and LMS carriages, as if they were Low-Poly cars. They of course have a lot more polys than the typical low-poly MSTS car, but 70 kujus in ORTS is the equivalent of 10 Kujus in MSTS.

Although I don't think I'll be setting my MSTS system up like that, it is very interesting and I'll most probably be doing some experiments soon (after I've completed my current project!).

If  you have any questions please just ask; I'd be delighted to help. A small re-pay for the utility I've received from your little utilities. In fact, the reason that Dorset's GLOBAL is linked to the UK GLOBAL folder is that I used your UKTS fix utility on that folder so that I don't have to use it over and over again with all 53 of my UK mini's!

One worrying point I have is regarding the use of your SSD.  It is said that they have a limited number of write cycles and it's concerning that you appear to be carrying out many delete and rewriting operations on it.  I know you said that, as per recommendations, you leave a fair amount of unused capacity, to allow the system to replace cells as they deteriorate, but the time could come when it's all used!

To reach the end prematurely (all drives, spinning or flash typically die within 5-10 years of purchase), you'd have to write 5 gigs a day for 5 straight years to reach the limitation before the computer you are using becomes completely outdated. And leaving a large cushion (I never use more than 75% of its 500 GB capacity) also helps. And it is such a pleasure to use!  Say goodbye to tile-load stuttering!

Apologies for not following up on the missing ROUTES folder from my routine - I'll post here when the corrected version is uploaded.  I haven't released it officially yet because I'm still waiting to see if I need permission to use a good part of the UKTS initsystem.bat routine for my SetupMSTSCore.bat ... it's been a long time and I've sent 3 PMs (which have all been picked up!!), but have not received any pertinent response.

No apologies necessary! Thank you for all the highly useful utilities and advice you freely give to the community!  OK

Cheers,

David

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Mon 07 Aug 2017, 6:40 pm

Hi All,
Thanks, David Smile
You mentioned in a previous post that you didn't call the MSTS root folder "Train Simulator".  This got me thinking about how I could add the facility for the user to specify whatever name they required.  As batch files are very "clunky", and that I'm not entirely happy about their use, I am considering replacing it with a C# program which will use an associated control file to specify which files are copied from an MSTS installation.  Such will be a text file, which the user can edit.  However, please don't expect it soon, but it will obviate any copyright problem!!

Attached here-to is the updated DIY_Mini_Routes procedure which includes the creation of an empty ROUTES folder.

The attachment to my earlier post has been deleted.

Cheers,
Ged

EDIT : The attachment has been deleted - a new version is attached to my post of 12 August


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Tue 08 Aug 2017, 8:59 pm

Hi Ged,

Worked perfectly this time: there's an empty ROUTES folder as well as CABVIEW and SOUND subfolders in each of the default stock folders in the TRAINS/TRAINSET folder.

Bravo!

David

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 08 Aug 2017, 10:36 pm

Hi David,
I'm pleased it worked OK Smile

I've used the bad weather today (it's been tippling down all day!) to develop a C# version of SetupMSTSCore.bat and I'm very happy with the results - it's much quicker than the batch file. It'll take a couple of days to make it suitable for uploading, but I'm aiming for the weekend, although a readme could take a while.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Sat 12 Aug 2017, 10:58 pm

Hi All,
I have attached a new version of my DIY Mini Routes "Suite".  The programs within it are not entirely compatible with previous versions, but shouldn't cause any crashes!  I recommend that, if you intend to test/run this new version, you delete all old versions of BatchMod and SetupMSTSCore.  Any installations created by previous versions will not be affected.   The .zip file includes a complete readme and, because there are several changes, I suggest it is read thoroughly.

As usual, your comments, suggestions, complaints and error reports are welcome Smile

The version attached to my earlier post has been removed.

This is unlikely to be the final version because I want to get rid of the need to create, and then run, a new batch file in BatchMod3 - it doesn't seem to be too big a jump from where the program's at now!

Cheers,
Ged
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Re: Mini Routes

Post  rufuskins on Mon 14 Aug 2017, 7:17 am

Thanks for this excellent work and I hope to see how it works later as my time is taken up with my wife's current course of treatment.


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Mon 14 Aug 2017, 11:17 pm

Hi Ged,

Well, I tried v.3 of your utility and decided, based on your changes, to create what I call a "midi-route" ... that is, a mini-route with more than one route in the ROUTES folder. So I went into UKTS and looked for some older routes, ones that I figured would have installme.bat files and, just by perchance, noticed a route at the very end of the list of MSTS routes called "[Route] West Anglia Main Line." It turned out to have been made by David Scott, "photons66" on UKTS, and so I created a mini-route called "Photons66" using your new v.3 DiY Mini-Routes. That worked beautifully, no virtual DOS machine with files flashing by, and when it was done if flashed a "Missing source file or folders warning." (See attached jpg file of the same name.)

This presented no problems, as missing source file/folders were items I had previously manually deleted: no need for the MSTSBIN backup folder as I never intend on restoring to the vanilla MSTS (and if I need it for some reason I have a copy backed up on an external drive); ditto for Rail Driver DLLs (I don't own a Rail Driver), etc. etc.

Next thing to do was to run the installme.bat utility; it created the new installme file, which I then executed and it pulled over all of the files perfectly. I did a quick end-to-end activity in the activity editor for this new route, fired up my new Photons66 mini-route, and I was off from Liverpool St. The route loaded perfectly and all ran as desired. When I ran the route, an Xtracks route that had sections missing scenery and no signals, I noticed that the author had done a remarkable job of creating very believable scenery, even though he had used almost exclusively the default scenery items from 2001 MSTS. His use of perspective and ability to create authentic townscapes and town skylines had me wondering if he had done other routes. His WAML was uploaded to UKTS on 1 April 2009.

As it turns out, he did 8 other routes for MSTS, over the course of 2009-2012, when he departed for that other trainsim. Did these have installme.bat files, perchance?

As it turned out, the answer was yes for each one of the other routes! Further, each of these routes was much smaller than the West Anglia route, mostly little branch lines of 5-10 miles in length (some longer). So I downloaded them all and have, so far, installed 4 others besides West Anglia; they are, in chronological order, the Henley Branch, the Abbey Line, the Great Orme Tramway, and Marston Vale Line. There were many areas that lacked scenery whatsoever on the West Anglia route; perhaps that had induced Mr. Scott to do smaller routes for his follow-ups. At any rate, they feature the same excellent ability to replicate real scenery, and have - because of their shorter lengths - much more vegetation than West Anglia did. And as time went on the author incorporated more and more recent items, not just the default stuff, and so, by Marston Vale, the route was looking top-notch! See the attached screenshot of my desktop that explains all.

Of course, that's all icing on the cake; the purpose of creating this midi-route was to test your Mini-Route utility to its max, and I'm happy to say it did everything I asked of it flawlessly. If I can venture a guess I'm going to assume that in your next version (v.4?) you'll have the installme.bat function built right into the SetupMSTScore.exe file!

Oh, and do notice, on the attached Photons66 routes.jpg file, the shortcut to this mini-route's mini-loader. The icon file that I used on this shortcut? It's a photon torpedo from the starship Enterprise ;-)

Cheers,

David
Attachments
Photons66 routes.jpg You don't have permission to download attachments.(581 Kb) Downloaded 9 times
Missing source file or folders.png You don't have permission to download attachments.(9 Kb) Downloaded 4 times

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Jonathan David on Tue 15 Aug 2017, 9:04 am

Very interesting David, as what you describe is what I have done, rather than use Trainstore (as I had problems re-installing it once I also had a few min-routes installed): a number of MSTS installations each containing a group of related routes - so Australian and New Zealand, American, European, Narrow Gauge, Modern British etc. It seems to work very well and keeps the amount of rolling stock (and the number of consists) one needs to search through when creating activities to a manageable amount. Ged's utility has come too late for me as I have just finished a programme over several months to sort out all my routes in this way.
One warning though. I have found a few routes which will work perfectly as stand-alone mini-routes but foul up as soon as one combines them with anything else (though I can't see why), and there are some such as Mid East Plus where we are warned that aspects of the way the program operates have been changed so they should be kept as stand-alone routes.
The only downside is that including 9 stand-alone routes I now have 23 MSTS icons on my desktop!
I also keep a bare MSTS installation with its six routes and default stock plus any global files I have collected over the years. When I need to run an install file to set up a new route I copy the route minus its activities etc into the routes folder of this installation, run the install file and then recombine it with the activities before moving the whole lot, plus any new stock and consists, to the relevant group of routes. If there is no install file to run I cut out this stage, though if the route proves problematic I usually use the procedure at that stage to try to sort things out.
And or course I run Route Riter to check the installation and its activities, and then run the invaluable MSTS Check to sort out the inevitable problems with cab files, sound files etc.
Alongside the routes, I have a set of master folders of all the stock and consists I have ever installed from which I can pick those needed for the route.
And I have this lot backed up on a separate hard drive!
Jonathan

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 15 Aug 2017, 2:26 pm

Hi David,
I'm very pleased that my "suite" has done everything you wanted without any problems Smile

Regarding v4 - No, batchMod will not be incorporated into SetupMSTSCore for a couple of very good (to me!) reasons :
1. At the time SetupMSTSCore is run, no route information is available - you can't install a route until you've got somewhere to put it!
2. Not all routes utilise a readme batch file
... and, the way I've written the latest version of batchMod, it may be used independently of SetupMSTSCore. This means it can be used when installing a route, which uses an installme batch file, into an Open Rails-only installation. It obviously requires that MSTS is located somewhere on the PC - I think it needs a little more "instruction" in the readme to cover such use.

Regarding the MSTSBIN_BACKUP and associated DLL folders - these are included because the train.exe file may be the Bin-modified version and the Bin uninstall and log files are copied into the new installation, if they are present. As I can't foresee what any user would want to do, I give them the ability to do whatever they want! This includes reverting from Bin-enhanced back to default; if the backup folder was missing, that action wouldn't be possible.

Cheers,
Ged


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Re: Mini Routes

Post  Shawmut on Tue 15 Aug 2017, 5:29 pm

Hello again Jonathan & Ged,

Jonathan, it would appear that you and I are on the same wave length regarding our installations and desire to keep control of the thousands of MSTS files we all have under control. The key, I found (though I was into my MSTS "career" for a decade before it dawned on me) is to have a set of master back-ups on other drives (for me, the D:\ drive on my computer and 3 external hard drives in conjunction with storage space on Google Drive) so that all I have to do is move files over to my runtime libraries on the C:\ drive. If that ever goes "poof" (which of course eventually, alas, it will) I've got those multiple backups with a set of canonical files to restore from.

Ged, you should know that one of my backup folders is called "Utilities," and within same there's another folder called "Ged's utilities" ... worth their combined bytes in gold  Very Happy

David

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Re: Mini Routes

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 15 Aug 2017, 7:03 pm

Hi David,
Many thanks Smile
I really enjoy programming (most of the time!).  I say "most of the time", because I've currently got a problem with a new utility I'm currently working on.  It's not that it doesn't work - it does, without any problems - but with the conditions which may be imposed by users editing files.  It's very true that a large percentage of any program is dealing with error-trapping and invalid combinations of data, especially where users have access to the data and try to bend the "rules"!!

Cheers,
Ged

EDIT : Off-topic subject removed to new thread : http://tsforum.freeclanforum.com/t1271-the-good-old-days


Last edited by slipperman12 on Thu 17 Aug 2017, 9:51 pm; edited 2 times in total


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