A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

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A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 7:52 am

In UKTS a thread was started that was meant to give us an opportunity to express our thanks in a more global arena to all those “simmers” who have donated routes, stock, activities, etc. for the benefit of us all.
In all honesty this hobby – or in my case obsession – wouldn’t offer half the value that it does without all this freeware. It must always be remembered that what we download in minutes and run with all the associated excitement represents many months or even years of dedicated work by the donators.
It is absolutely imperative that we do not fall into the trap of taking such generosity for granted, and I have always endeavoured not to.
Once again I offer my thanks to all who have given us new routes, stock, etc., and if it helps I can guarantee that I shall get pleasure from it all for many a year to come.
I have tried in my own way to give a little back with some of my FG DMU repaint uploads, they were not without errors and the positive criticism was received with good grace especially as it generally came in the form of PMs – minimised any embarrassment. I hope to once again upload some of these and if they are of some value to at least one other “simmer” I shall be more than happy.
On the general subject of MSTS we should accept that it is a niche area, with no commercial production of the base programme here in the UK. In addition there is a slow shrinkage in the availability of commercial add-ons; e.g. closure of EB and recently the decision by BRDW not to provide the ELR add-on. It is for this reason that we should value even more highly the available MSTS freeware.
One of the many factors that impinge on the use of MSTS is the continuing evolvement of the computer operating system, as we only need to think of the current problems some are having using Windows 8. I can’t help thinking that Windows 9 and beyond will definitely not be able to support MSTS. We will all need to learn about dual OSs in computers!
I can already hear the comments on Open Rails being the panacea for the continuing use of MSTS, but from a purely personal point of view I am still not convinced as I believe that my low end computer will not be able to cope with the higher demand from OR.
In conclusion I am grateful for the virtual friendship that has developed from my participation in the UKTS forums and now in the TSSH forums, this can be measured by the sadness generated at the passing of some of our well known simming friends. I look forward to a continuing camaraderie here on TSSH.

Alec


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  mikehendle on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 10:26 am

Hi
I agree with Alec and would like to add my appreciation to all the model makers and route makers,for the hours they put into their creations,and then give them to us.
Alec I have a low end laptop and OR works fine on it,in fact I get better frame rates when running OR than I do with MSTS,the only thing is I seem only able to run A2B activities at present
Mike


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 11:32 am

Mike
Thank you for indicating that I could use the existing OR on my low end computer.
My thinking with respect to OR as it will finally be promoted is based on an extract from the mission statement of OR, namely

One major technical objective is to achieve backward compatibility with existing MSTS content, embracing and extending the life of over a decade of community and third party developed content. Despite this backward compatibility, we will not be bound by the limitations of those file formats. We will extend those formats and create new file formats as needed to support the advanced capabilities of current computers and graphics technology.

I have no problem eating humble pie I hasten to add.

Alec



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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  casperdog on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 2:07 pm

Hi Alec, In the words of ' Captain Mainwaring'
Don't panic.
Getting MSTS on W7 was a challenge with some programes i like to use refusing to install.
What I think...... W8 will soon produce W9 ( like W7 being a clone of Vista) with a few more 'pain in the *** M$ tweaks and more problems with certain graphics cards.
What will happen eventually is..................... MSTS, as it stands, can't be run.
I had a FS game where I could play the game and edit missions on Win 98................... Xp................ not supported.
Not happy but ........oh well.
The message..............
Look after your present OP or even look at setting up a dual boot system. MSTS is an old programme that M$ wsill make harder and harder to install.


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 2:23 pm

Clive
I'm certainly not in a state of panic. I'm merely putting down on paper what I currently think about MSTS and its community. When having W7 installed in my current set up I had seriously considered using XP, but allowed myself to be swayed otherwise. Thankfully it works albeit that the on-board graphics needs replacing!
I believe that MSTS users should seriously consider not using W8 and beyond, and staying with W7 or even reverting to XP - even though they will be unsupported.
It's recognised that all software developers will work with the latest technology, and why not as we all benefit from improvements to general technology.
I look forward to many years of MSTS, and this will only be influenced by the need to pay for energy out of a significantly reduced income - again merely a fact of life for pensioners.
Alec


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  slipperman12 on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 4:32 pm

Hi Alec,
Even if you'd stayed with XP, I think you would probably have needed to replace the on-board graphics system. Did your XP PC have a separate graphics card?

I would like to echo your sentiments towards the MSTS Community - may I add, both here and in the USA; I have picked up a lot of information from the trainsim Forums. I am attempting to join the band of contributors, but am finding it a long up hill struggle Crying or Very sad Never mind, it keeps me off the streets!!

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 6:37 pm

slipperman12 wrote:Did your XP PC have a separate graphics card?
Cheers, Ged

Yes, and it's why I now notice the difference.

Alec


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  35005CP on Tue 12 Mar 2013, 9:56 pm

Hey all,
I have contributed 1 Activity so far and close to reaching towards the second activity. I know this isn't on the same scale as everyone else, but I truly belive that if everyone contributes, it keeps MSTS alive and kicking?
I am gradually reinstalling everything on my laptop and I hope that shortly I can start by doing a repaint and then possibly work towards doing a route? How successful this will be, I have no idea as of yet as still trying to get to grips with DEM etc....
Andy
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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  casperdog on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 10:37 am

Hi Alec,
I didn't mean 'don't panic' in a derogatory term, but getting MSTS to run will get harder and harder.

The M$ silliness of protecting us all from breaking our computers with permissions, started on Vista, extended on W7, and probably extended again on W8 and makes installing anything M$ regards as not ' bog standard' as a challenge.

Then there is the graphic card problems. Nvidea will still run MSTS, but apparently the other main manufacture (i forget the name) won't run MSTS on W8.

How long before Nvidea brings out new drivers that aren't compatible with MSTS?

We all play and enjoy an old game that will eventually not be allowed to run on 'modern' operating systems.

Waffle over Smile
Cheers
Clive





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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  gswindale on Wed 13 Mar 2013, 8:41 pm

As long as technology does not change so much that W7 becomes obsolete before OpenRails becomes a full sim in it's own right; I'm not too worried.

My advice would be that if you are at all concerned about the future; try & get hold of a copy of Windows 7. I'm going to recommend this over XP as I seem to recall that installing XP on modern machines can be tricky due to it not having support for SATA drives (the standard these days) built in.


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  steamnut44 on Thu 21 Mar 2013, 3:38 pm

As well as MSTS, I am also into the Silent Hunter games produced by Ubisoft. As an ex submariner, I can really gel to being aboard a submarine again as captain of a German Uboat during WW2. The latest game in the series although coming up to 3 years since its release, SH5 is very much more immersive than the earlier series as these were developed when Windows 98 was king. To be able to play SH5 you need a fast processor and quite a decent graphics card for it to play without any stuttering or frame rate drop, especially when it is modded to play more realistically than the stock game. I cannot play this on my Sony VIO dual core XP computer, so I just use this solely for MSTS. It will play Silent Hunter 3 no problem, but SH5 no way. (SH4 by the way is similar to SH3 but based on the American Pacific War with the Japanese, which I have but don't play)
So I have decided to splash out on a new Laptop Windows 8 with four core processor and Readeon 7600 internal graphics card which runs SH5 like a dream. I can run SH3 on this laptop as well, but I don't intend to try MSTS (which I doubt will run) because I am quite happy with the set up on my XP machine.
I find Windows 8 to be pretty easy to handle and, now I can run SH5 properly, I think I can say with that & MSTS I can enjoy what's left of my life, running games I enjoy.
As we get older and technology improves, we have to make do with what we can afford and thank you to the tax man who sent me a nice little tax rebate that I was not expecting ( seems they overtaxed me on a small private pension I receive for the year 2011/2012) So I took the opportunity to get a decent laptop which I might not be able to afford again in the future. But as long as I can still run MSTS as well, I am a happy bunny!




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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Thu 17 Oct 2013, 11:16 pm

Nothing like adding a post to a thread that has lain fallow for over six months, but here goes:-

It hardly seems like yesterday since the launch of TSSH, but in fact it’s just about 9 months old. When I wrote my first perspective back in March I was somewhat unclear as to where MSTS was heading, bearing in mind the demise of EB. Following the recent post from Dave Babb of Making Tracks it would appear that commercial development of MSTS is effectively finished here in the UK. Across the pond of course there is still a commercial market for MSTS.

It’s a reminder that we who still support MSTS should take the opportunity to express our gratitude for donated routes, stock, activities, etc. I can only repeat what I said back in March.

In all honesty this hobby wouldn’t offer half the value that it does without all this freeware. It must always be remembered that what we download in minutes and run with all the associated excitement represents many months or even years of dedicated work by the donators.
It is absolutely imperative that we do not fall into the trap of taking such generosity for granted, and I have always endeavoured not to.
Once again I offer my thanks to all who have given us new routes, stock, etc., and if it helps I can guarantee that I shall get pleasure from it all for many a year to come.


The relationship between MSTS and current Windows Operating Systems is well documented, and whilst I watch with interest the progress of Open Rails I don’t necessarily expect to make use of it, but you never know . . . . . .

I’m still hopeful that TSSH can provide a database for MSTS, and even if I say it myself I’m proud of our Route Directory. The Helpful Facts and Links(HFL) thread has the potential to be as successful especially now that others are making positive and valuable contributions.

Of course we should not forget Niall Gray’s superlative idea about “June is MSTS Month”, and it was absolutely amazing to see the flood of MSTS items. His follow-up idea about Actober was equally exciting and I note that there is a steady upload of new activities.

I very much hope that more people will get involved in the development of the HFL, in order to provide an understanding of MSTS, maintain the interest and provide a valuable source of information and solutions to those tantalising quirks that make MSTS what it is.

In conclusion I am grateful for the virtual friendships that have developed from my participation in the TSSH forums, and I look forward to a continuing camaraderie here on TSSH.


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Tue 26 Nov 2013, 8:10 pm

Despite my back problems I am once again mounting my soap box to pontificate on MSTS

I see that once again a simmer has asked on UKTS whether MSTS is dead, and I posted a brief response to the effect that out there the silent majority are driving their trains in the privacy of their own homes.

A variety of other responses indicates that this is true, but I also feel that we shouldn’t gauge the use of MSTS by the number of uploads. In my own case I am relatively busy trying to develop TSM skills, which has led to a reduction in my HFL efforts. However I still like to try my hand at a bit of driving.

I also noted that another simmer suggested that additional tweaks could be developed, which is true of course but unfortunately there aren’t too many Georges – of MSTSBin fame - and Mike Simpsons - of RouteRiter and MiniLoader fame - prepared to put that degree of effort in.

One of the biggest problems that we face is that there is a typical expectation of being able to “plug and play”. In my own case that is OK up to a point but I want to have a varied MSTS experience, as well as develop the opportunity to give something back to those who have given so much to me. I do not want to take for granted the time and effort put into excellent routes and stock, and I very much hope that that sentiment is widespread.

Let me repeat again those two simple words THANK YOU, or to quote Winston Churchill “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.

The effort required to maintain and develop interest in MSTS requires input from everyone in the community, although my requests for input to the HFL area has only been answered by the few. I still believe that this offers a means of helping those who have difficulty starting with MSTS.

Rather than bemoan the current state of MSTS, take the opportunity to contribute to the “12 days of MSTS”!


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  rufuskins on Wed 07 May 2014, 9:30 pm

Well another six months have passed since the last post on this thread, and thankfully MSTS still has its head above water. The contributions to the 12 days of MSTS, For the Love of MSTS and MSTS Easter Eggstravaganza have been welcome and indicative of proving that there’s life in the old dog yet. Hopefully the upcoming June 2014 is MSTS Month will be equally successful.

The release of Mid East Plus has proved a significant fillip to the MSTS community, and Mick Clarke (Systema) is to be congratulated on a “Tour de Force”. Let us hope that North West England V3 is equally successful, and of course there should be no reason to doubt it. In addition South East Steam is looking good, and who knows what else is out there!

Now that support for XP has been officially discontinued Windows 7 is likely to be the main OS for MSTS users, although there’s no reason why XP can’t actually continue to be used – there are comments in the relevant thread to that effect. I also note that a thread has been started on UKTS asking for MSTS users’ reasons for continuing to use and/or love it. I was a little disconcerted that one post included a reference to the effect that Open Rails would soon be the only way of using MSTS content. I acknowledge that Windows 7 has a limited life in terms of official support, but surely this is an opportunity of misquoting Mark Twain’s misquote “The report of MSTS’s death has been greatly exaggerated”.

I had hoped that following retirement I would spend inordinate amounts of time on MSTS, but SWMBO’s list must not, and cannot, be ignored. This is of course no excuse for failing to update the Route Directory to include MEP, and the HFL thread continues to lie fallow. I very much hope that in the months to come I can make the time to address these subjects, mainly for my own benefit!

Let us hope that we can continue to maintain the virtual camaraderie that MSTS has offered us whether it’s through TSSH, UKTS or other simulation forums – I note a new one has been set up by Jim Nobbs. (It is mainly for the other sim, but I understand that MSTS users would be welcome.)

Finally I will reiterate my thanks to all those who have uploaded content for the benefit of both myself and others.


Last edited by rufuskins on Thu 08 May 2014, 8:11 am; edited 1 time in total


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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  slipperman12 on Wed 07 May 2014, 10:28 pm

Hi Alec,
Windows 7 should be with us for almost six more years - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/lifecycle

Some users seem to have converted completely to Open Rails for running MSTS activities, but, for me, it's still has quite a distance to go before I'll be happy with it!

I'd like to echo the sentiments in your last sentence - many thanks to all contributors of things MSTS  Very Happy 

Cheers,
Ged



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Re: A personal perspective on MSTS from Alec

Post  35005CP on Thu 08 May 2014, 12:41 am

Ged & Alec,

I would both echo your comments... I believe OR has someway to go yet!! MSTS is a beast and a half to beat at times, but at least you know where you stand with the ole girl! It's like Modern Traction versus Steam Tration.... Surprised 
Not that I would knock Modern Traction as I knew it in the form of SR Region EMU's and DEMU's of CEPS, CIGS, VEPS etc....
But I too would like to thank everyone for continuing to keep MSTS alive.... We have some really good routes... We are missing a few and if we can keep growing with the routes and preserved lines etc, then I can see (Hopefully) more scope in the way of Activities and stock being put forward...
Cheers
Andy


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