MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  casperdog on Mon 28 Jan 2013, 12:55 pm

Hi Alec,
A very good summary.
I'm off to the UK tomorrow for 5 days of (hopefully) a snow free tourist visit to see my grand-daughter and daughter. So for a few days i will be silent.
If you would like, when i get back, I can give you some links/ideas.
I have just installed MSTS.... as the sim, ...the activity editor and.... the route editor, onto W7 after spending many happy years on XP. All was relatively painless and only a couple of programs refused to work on W7. W8 might be a problem, but not mine luckily.
I have folders split into 'stages' i.e. what to install and when.
If you want that information, let me know.
Cheers
Clive


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Mon 28 Jan 2013, 2:06 pm

Clive
Thanks for the comments. In parallel with my FG DMUs, I am now trying to put together a series of links for what ought to be considered "must haves" for the best operation of MSTS. I would welcome any ideas, etc. from yourself and of course others.
I would like this/these posts to be structured, and where I make mistakes or misleading suggestions I want people to tell me so that they can be corrected and reposted if possible.
It's part of this idea that I have of creating a "centre of excellence" for MSTS usage. UKTS has a vast compendium of information, from a wide range of users, as well as a vast range of MSTS downloads; but I always felt it was difficult to easily access that information. I certainly found it hard at times to find what I wanted, and would often resort to asking the question direct.
As MSTS is a niche area of train simulation, perhaps the need for this idea may not be great. In reading a post on UKTS earlier I realised that even after nearly 5 years, I didn't fully understand the folder/file structure for MSTS!
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  casperdog on Tue 29 Jan 2013, 5:21 am

Hi Alec,
I think its a good idea that you're first post should be the one that is 'the reference' point. A problem with other sites is that all of the information is there but spread over so many topics that questions/information keeps being repeated, or lost.
To that end,(and i hope you don't mind) i've pm'd you my 'battle plan' for getting MSTS up and running, with the sources when i can remember them.
Use, amend, discard as you see fit.
Cheers
Clive


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Tue 29 Jan 2013, 6:57 am

Clive
I have read your PM and copied it into a word document, and intend to put it within this thread. I may add some links. Your statements about the spread and difficulty of finding basic information are my own thoughts, as noted earlier.
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Post  rufuskins on Tue 29 Jan 2013, 8:08 am

Either within this thread or as separate posts, I intend to cover such elements of MSTS as:-

MSTSBin, TrainStore, RouteRiter, NewRoads, XTracks, UKFineScale, TSection, Shape Viewer, ShapeFileManager, MiniRoutes/MiniLoader

The above is not comprehensive. I will give a brief description, unless I can incorporate a link to a better description; e.g. UKTS for MSTSBin, and relevant link(s).
If anyone wants to volunteer to put something together for one or more of the above then let me know by PM.

Alec

PS The other thread I was considering was a basic description for some of the main freeware routes together with their download location, an installation guide and the minimum add-ins. I know that these are included in the "readmes" accompanying the downloads, but that doesn't stop a number of on-line queries about installation. If people think I'm going over the top then please say so?


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MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Tue 29 Jan 2013, 1:05 pm

I wish to give notice that I am attempting to gain TSForum's prestigous award for 2013's "pain in the proverbial"!
I was wondering whether those route builders who have signed up to TSForum might be prepared to provide a simple post outlining what the current state of their projects is, the nature and extent of the route and any other snippets of information that they might consider apposite. An alternative would be to PM me with some information which I would be prepared to post on their behalf.
I would then consider locking the post to avoid the potential stream of when, when, when, etc., and then briefly opening it if you wished to update the status.

Alec

PS You can tell me where to "alight" if you so wish; at my time of life I'm starting to develop a thicker skin!


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  gswindale on Tue 29 Jan 2013, 10:37 pm

Hi Alec & all.

I'm just thinking about this topic and wondering if a forum is the best place for such a set of guides?

You can make them sticky & locked so that nobody can post into the topic with duff information; but that opens up the possibility of the forum header being full of stickies that make finding new topics quite tricky. The other option is to leave them as open posts; but then they can end up buried somewhere & the phpbb search function is not exactly brilliant.

Would it be more useful to have a set of "static" pages that we could link to from here at all? I can set something up if people think it would be useful & give access to limited people to post content?



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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 6:48 am

Geoffrey
You are probably right, and perhaps this needs looking at in reviewing the development of this forum.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  j3801 on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 10:59 am

Hi all,

Just clarifying what has happened with this topic.
It has been raised that if this topic were to remain in this section it could become lost over a period of time, and it would also become confusing if comments and discussions were included so a decision was made to split the guide from it's comment section and to house the guides in their own specific area. Any and all comments and ideas are still welcomend, just post them in here.

Justin


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 1:25 pm

The next three posts will briefly address MSTSBin, TrainStore and Route Riter. They are prepared but need final checking.
I have been given some additional input for MSTSBin, which I have incorporated. If anyone wants to comment on using the last two please PM me asap.
Alec

PS The follow on subjects will be as per an earlier post.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  terrycunliffe on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 3:51 pm

Stephen Dearne (SDTrains) has just uploaded an excellent, concise tutorial over on ukts.
(file 30460)
He should be invited here Smile
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 5:19 pm

How about a simple page with a list of useful links with just brief descriptions of each link? Anyone else with any thoughts on that?

I would be happy to compile one (as long as I'm not stepping on anyone else's toes)


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 6:42 pm

Mark

Please feel free to compile a list of the most useful links, as it always useful to have a different slant on the subject. This could then be transferred into the thread above.

Tonight I shall add at least 4 possibly five additional posts on various subjects, which I have endeavoured to make concise.

Alec



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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 6:44 pm

Terry

I believe Justin may have already issued the invite.

Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 6:49 pm

Thanks Alec, I'll make a start on it later Very Happy


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 10:03 pm

I have made a start on the list, is it OK if I ask for comments (not links) to be posted in this thread? When complete I will ask for any other useful links to be PM'd to me for addition to the list, although I will make it as comprehensive as I can.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  j3801 on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 10:22 pm

Hi guys,

Yes I did invite SDtrains over, but so far I have had no reply.
Perhaps if someone he knows sent him the invite, rather than an unknown perhaps then he may join up.

Justin


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 30 Jan 2013, 10:29 pm

Markh5682 wrote:I have made a start on the list, is it OK if I ask for comments (not links) to be posted in this thread? When complete I will ask for any other useful links to be PM'd to me for addition to the list, although I will make it as comprehensive as I can.

Feel free to ask for any help, as everyone has their own favourite links, etc. The more involvement by others the better.

Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 31 Jan 2013, 7:03 am

Mark

Thanks for that list and it definitely adds to the value of that part of the forum.

Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 31 Jan 2013, 2:38 pm

As I sit here sipping my coffee, and contemplating applying a red pen to a calculation that needs checking the following thought came into my mind.

It is well known that the way MSTS is "formed" means that it's a resource glutton. hence the coming of Train Store and Mini Routes/Mini Loader - the latter will be referenced in an imminent Part for the Help section.

I was wondering whether anybody would like to put together some notes on dealing with this, because even with Train Store some of the recent and forthcoming routes take up a lot of resouces; e.g. Dorset Coast V6, Mid East Plus, etc.. This would presumably include turning sounds down, etc. If you like you could put some bullet points down and send them to me via a PM and I will put it together.

Alec

PS Since I don't drive trains a great deal at the moment such a list would certainly benefit me!


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Mon 11 Feb 2013, 10:44 pm

OK then. Several suggestions have been made over additions to some of the existing posts; e.g. Polymaster and DB Tracks. I will add something over the next few days plus some links/further comments on Driver Aids appearance.
Others may be interested in an indication of the various alternative screens that appear when MSTS starts loading up. On one of my trawling expeditions I was pleasantly surprised at the number and variation including both UK and US as well as other countries.
All ideas for hints and tips and helpful facts and links are welcome and will be treated with the respect they deserve.
Another area of interest - in my opinion - is the available File Editor programmes. I have always used ConText plus the highlighters suggested on Steam4me, but I have recently come across several others. These all have "Lite" versions that are free, and again I may put together a link reference list. (Out of interest ConText is not being developed further as indicated on the relevant website.)
I continue to be amazed at what is available for MSTS, and have always thought that a decent series such as we are trying to put together is a must for all those who still like to try MSTS. It's popularity remains albeit slightly diminished and long may it continue.
Here endeth this evening's sermon from an enthusiastic Alec.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Tue 12 Feb 2013, 8:15 pm

I have now posted Part 10 of MSTS Helpful Facts and Links, which refers to DB Tracks - an addendum to Part 6. In addition I have added a number of links to alternative Driver Aids, the final selection being a matter of personal taste.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Mon 18 Feb 2013, 2:11 pm

I have today posted Part 11 of MSTS Helpful Facts and Links and this comprises a very brief comment on 3D Modelling in MSTS. An addendum will be posted at a later date that briefly looks at the available "plug ins" for the available 3D Modelling programmes.
If anybody would like to write a few lines on their experiences of using any of these, please fell free to PM me with these. I could then either include them as a further addendum or add them to Part 11. I stated in the post that my own personal experience is non-existent and hence the reference to the tutorials within Steam4me, but an indication of their use would be invaluable for those who might be considering this aspect of train simulation.
It is something that is on my long term list, and in particular the creation of a Class 113 FG DMU, and Hawksworth coaches in order to have some suitable models to use with Class 119 FG DMU sets.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 12:41 pm

I have posted a 12th part to this thread that looks at Activity Installation, something that often crops up on UKTS, and is based on the various hints and tips offered there.
I have ideas for another 5 parts, but would welcome any offers and/or ideas for even more.
By offering possible solutions to the many little "foibles" of MSTS we can maintain and stimulate interest in MSTS - I suspect that many a potential simmer has been deterred when MSTS has CTD because a large route overloads it, and all they have needed to do is install and use Train Store.
Let's hear about your experiences and means of overcoming adversity.
I am more than happy to take people's notes/scribbles and generate a suitable part including adding any relevant links.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 3:09 pm

Hi Alec

Another problem that crops up quite often with activity installation which you may want to add is APK files not working due to the tsunpack bug, the tsunpack bug fix is available in the Tweaks, Utils and Improvements download.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 14 Mar 2013, 8:52 am

The HFL thread has been relatively quiet just recently, but I am now looking at some additional posts.
However as an aside during my perusal of the [trainsim] site I came across an alternative consist manager/maker called Yardmaster. I was wondering whether anybody accessing TSSH has downloaded and used this? If so I would welcome comments on your experience with it.I have downloaded and viewed the contents and it at least warrants consideration as another alternative to those that I shall include in an HFL Part.
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Part 17 Screenshots

Post  rufuskins on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 3:00 pm

Please note that I have expanded the screenshot HFL Part 17 to include an alternative approach.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 3:59 pm

Hi Alec.

A .pcx file (MSTS screensave file) can be opened directly by programs such as PSP, Photoshop, and probably most other graphics programs too, (but not windows paint) and saved as a .jpg or whatever format you like.

Just right click on a .pcx file, then select "open with" and select the program you want to open it with.

You can even associate a .pcx file to open automatically with your favourite graphics program, I have my .pcx files set to open with PSP just by double clicking on them.

If I select preview, they open with Photoshop CS, as Windows Picture and Fax viewer does not support .pcx files (at least not on Windows XP)

Hope that helps.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 7:06 pm

Mark
Noted with thanks. I used PSP on my defunct laptop. I haven't taken any screenshots on the new desktop - believe it or not. I added the extra to Part 17 to show that alternatives exist. I did use FRAPS at one time where you could take multiple screenshots whilst driving in MSTS. I shall be looking to see whether anybody would be prepared to put together a few notes on FRAPS for video creation as well as screenshots.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  casperdog on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 8:20 pm

Maybe most commercial graphics programs will open pcx files but not the 'free to use' Paint.net which is my preferred editing program (combined with Gimp). There are several plug ins for paint.net which might make the files readable, but you need to install any plug in for paint.net with caution.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 8:46 pm

IrfanView, is a popular freeware program that can open, view, convert, edit and create most graphics formats including .pcx files. as well as other formats such as video etc.
http://www.irfanview.com


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  casperdog on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 9:17 pm

rufuskins wrote:Mark
.I did use FRAPS at one time where you could take multiple screenshots whilst driving in MSTS. I shall be looking to see whether anybody would be prepared to put together a few notes on FRAPS for video creation as well as screenshots.
Alec
Hi Alec,
I did use Fraps when making a few videos of BTB but it has the limitation of 30 second snapshots unless you buy the full version.
I now use another programme that records videos without a time limit, but I haven't had time to explore it properly. Give me a couple of days and i'll pm you the results.
Cheers
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Mon 18 Mar 2013, 10:37 am

The next proposed parts for the HFL thread are listed below but do not indicate a specific order of preparation.
1. TSection - WIP based on notes by Mark5682
2. Restore - WIP based on notes by Mickrik
3. Backgrounds - WIP
4. File Editing - WIP
5. Activity Editor - volunteer required to put some notes together, which I would be prepared to post on the volunteer's behalf
6. Track Monitor - not started
7. Consist Management/Editor - information being collated
8. Video - information being collated based on notes by others

Ideas and/or personal experience that would have the potential to help others are always welcome.

Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 28 Mar 2013, 8:05 am

I have to hold my hand up and admit to minimal progress in this area, as I have concentrated on the Route Directory.
But it has not been forgotten, and I hope to restart population early April.
One possible section might address all the tweaks that might be used to enhance the performance of MSTS beyond BIN, TrainStore, etc. I posted in the General Discussions area about an idea from TrainSim that related to the subject of using 2GB + of RAM.
I believe that others are looking at guides, etc., and to some extent what we are trying to achieve within TSSH is a form of "succession" training, which is sometimes adopted at my place of work. In other words how do we ensure that people's experience and knowledge is not lost when they move on or in my case retire!
So let me repeat my request for more input in whatever form, which I would be more than happy to post in the HFL area under their name.

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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 03 Apr 2013, 1:45 pm

Well I’ve managed to post HFL Parts for TSection(18) based on notes by Mark5682 and Restore instead of re-install(19) based on notes by Mickrik.

The following are still WIP; Backgrounds, File Editing, Activity Editor, Track Monitor, Consist Management/Editor and Video

As is usual we need and welcome ideas and/or personal experience that would have the potential to help others.

Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 7:13 pm

Please note that Part 19 of the HFL thread has been withdrawn as it will not possibly work with Vista and W7.
I will make further enquiries and reinstate if OK.
Sorry for nay inconvenience.
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  mendes on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:36 pm

Hi Alec,

Was this the System Restore by MickRik? It did strike me when I read it as being a sledgehammer to crack a nut approach, much the same as the complete reinstallation. My Program Files MSTS installation was put in soon after I purchased my current computer in October 2007 and has NEVER been reinstalled. In late 2009 I devised a method for creating mini routes from scratch and after that my initial Program Files installation just has the Cambrian 2 Route in it despite the fact that I also have the full route as a mini route.

The reason I went down the mini route option was because there are so many different versions of stock arising from routes other than the one that you are doing an act for that it was the only way to guarantee an error free list of stock for an activity, apart from my own stupid mistakes (I would like to say that I never made them!).

It does help having routes set up as mini routes rather than one massive main installation and using Train Store, but I know there are many people that disagree.

If you have RR properly installed then this will sort out the most common problems which relate to stock. I must admit I have been caught out by TSection problems on many occasions.

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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Sun 14 Apr 2013, 4:18 pm

I am proposing to add a members website link section into the links directory, (if any interest is shown) this would be a section of links for members own MSTS/Railway themed websites, youtube channels, photo albums etc.

If you are interested in having your link added to the directory please PM/Email it to me and I'll add it to the directory. Very Happy


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  35005CP on Sun 14 Apr 2013, 4:30 pm

Good idea Mark! Very Happy
You have a PM.
Best Wishes
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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Sun 14 Apr 2013, 4:37 pm

Thanks Andy. Very Happy

Off to set it up now.

EDIT: Done it, and new links added. Very Happy


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Wed 01 May 2013, 7:22 am

Yesterday I reinstated Part 19 - with some amendments - of the HFL series after satisfying myself that it works for the various OSs. It's not a panacea, but is worth considering as an alternative to a complete re-install of MSTS.
Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Mon 24 Jun 2013, 7:31 am

This area of the forums has been sadly neglected by me, as I have wrestled with Route Directory entries and my FG DMU repaints.
(The RD entries are semi ready but need a lot of tweaking, and my FG DMUs are ready to move forward following their recent stall!)
My own recent experience with lighting suggested a general HFL part including reference to other tutorial plus the typical lines required and what they do plus of course the additional lines introduced with MSTS BIN. I have jotted down a few notes on this and will try and put it together during my lunch breaks at work.
The other HFL part that might be worth considering is couplings and the issues that arise from their use. This idea is brought about by a post today on UKTS that highlighted some coupling issues. Many answers to queries are located in UKTS but are not always easily found, especially if you are not sure of the question you need to ask - well that often applies to me!
In an ideal world I would love somebody to volunteer to prepare some simple notes, and then pass them to me for upload.
There are other ideas floating about in my head, but I am trying to suppress them in order to at least finish something.
I can't believe that as I approach retirement I am like a schoolboy with a new toy even though I have been with MSTS for over 5 years, and long may it stay that way.

Alec


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Thu 25 Jul 2013, 10:49 am

I have just upload a new Part 22 for the HFL thread that gives some very basic facts for my recent UKTS uploads of Swindon IC and Class 126 FG DMU repaints. Obviously it would be of value if there was some feedback:-

a. Is it in the right TSSH location?
b. Should I add the links to their UKTS location?
c. I may add additional information; e.g. timeline for liveries, and any specific routes other than those mentioned?
d. Any other comments or suggestions?
e. Last and by no means least; is it of actual interest to others?

If it is of interest I could do something similar for those that I have recently uploaded, and those that will be uploaded over the next few months.

I now await some response, with no response being a significant response! Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  NiallGray on Thu 25 Jul 2013, 3:39 pm

rufuskins wrote:
I now await some response, with no response being a significant response! Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes  Rolling Eyes

Bear in mind it's July, folk will be on holiday (including me!) and there's a heatwave, which makes for a very quiet time on the forums.

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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Mon 30 Sep 2013, 3:47 pm

I am still working on this area, and as may have been noticed I have taken out my FG DMU notes and they now sit in the Real Railways area. I have added parts on "file editing" and "backgrounds, logos, etc".
I have more or less finished a part on the CabView and it is currently having an independent final review after much rework due to checks by Ged. I am currently working on a part for lighting which is taking a bit longer than I want.
I also have some parts prepared by Ged that I hope to upload before the end of the week.
Part of this exercise is teaching myself more about MSTS and I hope the lessons learned will stand me in good stead in my retirement.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Tue 08 Oct 2013, 7:18 pm

We've now added 3 parts to the HFL area on CabViews (Part 23), Testing Procedures (Part 24) and MSTS "Environments" (Part 25), and I'm currently working on a lighting part for locos, wagons, etc. I am also looking at sounds for locos, etc., although sounds located within the Route will not be addressed in this part. Any other parts that people would like to be addressed please feel free to mention them here, and we'll see what can be done - any volunteers out there?


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Tue 08 Oct 2013, 7:42 pm

Hi Alec

Have you given any thought to the route sorting idea I sent you a while back?

My PM wasn't working for ages so if I have missed a PM regarding it in the meantime, I apologise, Andy has had a fiddle round with my account so the PMs should be working again.


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  rufuskins on Tue 08 Oct 2013, 10:57 pm

Embarassed  Embarassed  Embarassed  Embarassed  Embarassed 

I had copied it into the wrong folder and then forgot about it, so please accept my apologies!

I will put it into HFL format and then send it via email for your review and to make any alterations.

Having effectively retired I am not that well organised - you know what it's like when you have a new full time boss!


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  Markh5682 on Tue 08 Oct 2013, 11:45 pm

No worries Alec, Thanks OK 


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Re: MSTS - Helpful Facts and Links Discussion

Post  slipperman12 on Fri 18 Oct 2013, 3:27 pm

Hi All,
This is just a word of warning regarding Helpful Facts and Links - Part 28 Converting Mini Routes to a normal MSTS setup.

There are a few routes which have been set up as Mini Routes specifically because they use custom versions of some files. One which comes to mind immediately is the freeware BerninaBahn route; this uses a special version of tsection.dat, due to the track used, and will not work if one of the 'normal' tsection.dat files (#38, #42UK, etc.) is used. I believe there is a North American route which uses the Mini Route system for a similar reason, but, unfortunately, I can't recall its name Sad 

Cheers,
Ged

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