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.
Jonathan

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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
Attachments
DIY Mini Routes (2017).zip You don't have permission to download attachments.(110 Kb) Downloaded 4 times


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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.


ALEC - Supporter of MSTS and TSSH!

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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

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