Steamnut's Activity Workshop

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Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Sat 11 Oct 2014, 9:58 am

Hi Everyone Very Happy

I have been having a play around with the Activity Editor and presently, I am having a go at making a Goods Activity for the SCP Route.

Multi Drop Pick Up Activity

This activity uses a Fairburn Tank loco, which is rostered at Dunfermline Shed. After leaving the yard, you take the loco in reverse, to Thornton Sidings (approx. 10 miles to the north) where you couple up to some wagons, including brake van. You then take these to Inverkeithing Sidings, travelling back past Dunfermline. Here you drop off the consist and move onto another siding to pick up another load of waiting wagons. You then take these over the Forth Bridge and take the branch after Dalmeny, towards Fouldubs where there are two more different drop off and pick up points. Your last task involves going to Grangemouth Docks, to recover a broken down Dock Tank Loco and take it to Fouldubs Shed for repairs. This completes the activity.
There will be lots of eye candy along the way with plenty of AI Traffic and the whole activity will last about 1 hour twenty minutes. I have already done the base of the activity and tested it. So far so good. The next job is adding loose consists through out at various yards en route and adding AI Traffic.
There is more to making an activity than I thought, but it makes a change from route building and is quite enjoyable, but time consuming.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  StephenRWells on Sat 11 Oct 2014, 2:28 pm

Hi Geoff,

This looks a very interesting activity and will certainly keep us on our toes. One of the points to consider with loose consists is whether to use Static Stock or "Normal". Static stock will keep higher frame rates as they have a much lower poly count and, therefore, less drain on the computer, but they don't look as good especially close up. A way round this is to create an ai service in the siding complete with waiting point so that it is like other ai services, only seen when needed. this works well with MSTS, but currently not as well in OR. I do this a lot and I know that others do as well. If you have any of my SCP activities, have look at them in the AE and you'll see what I mean.

Good luck with the rest of the activity,

Stephen
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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Sat 11 Oct 2014, 6:20 pm

Hi Stephen,

Thank you for your input. Yes it is rather different I suppose. I like activities that involve quite a bit of shunting, rather than point to point activities. Regarding Static Stock, I don't think there are any low poly wagons and coaches, in the SCP Trainset, so I am using made up consists from the stock that is included on the CD. I could download some low poly stuff from other sources, but it means people having to download any additional stock and I just want to use what's available in the SCP trainset. Sorry, yes there is Low Poly Stock in the SCP trainset, it is listed as Static BashHead
As this activity, is rather complicated, regarding the shunting manoeuvres, I am using Messages, that pop up, near each location, explaining the shunts and what needs to be picked up or dropped off and which sidings to enter. The paths are all set, but information as to where the reversing points are, will be made clearer by using messages. So the initial briefing at the start of the activity, more or less, just explains what the activity is about.  Rolling Eyes
I have copied the SCP into my main Train-simulator installation, as I use Train-store. I just can't seem to get the editing tools to work from my SCP Mini Route install. Anyway, I am going to crack on with the activity again tonight, and add some AI traffic, once I have worked out the timings. I think it's going to be a bit of a long slog. Smile


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Mon 13 Oct 2014, 11:24 am

Having a bit of trouble with the AI in certain places in this activity. Mostly to do with timing, but have had a few consists blocking the line at a red signal that has not cleared. It could be that I haven't set the path correct, so I am going to redo the traffic again. Isn't it fun making an activity. I have run it, I don't know how many times, trying to get everything running as I want it to. It seems there is more to the AE than I thought, but I am getting there and learned quite a bit along the way. One thing, it should make doing my next activity a little easier, as I have more idea of what needs to be done now.
I'll keep you informed with progress soon.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  rufuskins on Mon 13 Oct 2014, 11:34 am

Geoff
Pleased to hear that you are enjoying activity creation. It's always interesting to hear what other simmers are doing, especially where they have problems and how they've solved them. Look forward to the end results as well as posts describing your progress.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Mon 13 Oct 2014, 4:20 pm

Cheers Alec, I will keep all of you informed. Not sure how long it will be before I have completed it, but I keep getting a bit more done each evening, especially when there is not much on the goggle box. Smile


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Sun 19 Oct 2014, 12:27 pm

This activity is progressing, but one or two issues I was not sure about, has delayed it a bit. I have asked Stephen to explain a few thing's I was not sure about and he has kindly, pointed me in the right direction. So thank you for that Stephen Very Happy
Hopefully, I can now continue where I left off and get some more AI traffic on the move again.

I spent a few hours last night, reading through all the posts on UKTrainsim, about the SCP Route, during the period Don & I were building it. There were a lot more people still running MSTS back then, and now there are only a few of us left, still using the old sim.  Two people that were around back then were Laurie Dickerson & Doug Lee, sadly no longer with us, but it was nice to go through all the posts again and read all the nice comments, whilst the route was still in progress. It is now over two years since the SCP was finished and I was so glad when Stephen decided to do some more activities for it, to add to the ones that came with the DVD.

I have always had a soft spot for this route, not because I helped to create it, but because it includes three of the best structures ever built for MSTS, Edinburgh Waverley Station, The Tay Bridge and best of all, the magnificent Forth Bridge.
It was for this reason, that I approached Kerr Mckintosh (Cobos) to see if I could take it on and at least finish off all the terraforming, landscaping and scenery, if nothing else. But as you all know, once I got Don on board, it grew into what we have today, a route of over four hundred route miles for everyone to enjoy. I am glad I took it on and it is now completed, otherwise it may still have remained amongst the unfinished routes that were started and for some reason abandoned like so many have.
Now that my route building days are over, I thought I would try my hand at Activity Creation for a change, as it is less time consuming and quite enjoyable, once you get into how everything works.


Last edited by steamnut44 on Sun 19 Oct 2014, 1:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling errors)


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  StephenRWells on Sun 19 Oct 2014, 9:58 pm

Hi Geoff,
In my S - Activities Topic Ian wrote
"You can add the line.....

PassengerCapacity ( 1.0 )

to any vehicle."

This is fine but remember if you add this line to a wagon it ONLY affects your copy of the wagon. Some people can easily edit files but others don't or can't. This is why all my activities only use stock as originally supplied on the cd or download.

Regards,

Stephen
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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  slipperman12 on Sun 19 Oct 2014, 11:10 pm

Hi Stephen,
.... but you could supply, with the author's permission, a modified (and preferably renamed) wag file with instructions regarding which folder it should be added to. A similar approach has been taken by at least one other activity author that I know about, when a modified eng file is required.

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  StephenRWells on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 9:13 am

Hi Ged,

True, especially if using an installer like I do with my SCP activities - also makes it usable for those who can't/don't like modifying files.

Regards,

Stephen
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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 2:12 pm

StephenRWells wrote:Hi Geoff,
In my S - Activities Topic Ian wrote
"You can add the line.....

PassengerCapacity ( 1.0 )

to any vehicle."

This is fine but remember if you add this line to a wagon it ONLY affects your copy of the wagon. Some people can easily edit files but others don't or can't. This is why all my activities only use stock as originally supplied on the cd or download.

Regards,

Stephen
Hi Stephen,

Regarding the PassengerCapacity (1.0) mentioned by Ian. I have found an Ex LMS Brake Van set in the UKTrainsim download library that includes the PassengerCapacity (1.0) line already included in the wag files for these vehicles. As the SCP Route, only contains two brake vans in the stock pack, which is pretty limited, I was thinking of adding this extra pack to my copy of the SCP Trainset. This would eliminate having to add the extra line to the wag file, for anyone not familiar of altering files.
These brakevans could then be used in activities to get round the problem I mentioned. The file ID is 31167
I take on board your reason for only creating activities from the stock that comes with the route, but by adding this pack of brakevans to the SCP would not be too much bother for anyone, as long it is mentioned in the readme file for the activity when it is uploaded.
What is your view on this?


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  StephenRWells on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 2:58 pm

Hi Geoff,

I've only just found that in the SCP Trainset folder in BD_Brakevans there is BD_exsr_brakevan which contains the relevant line PassengerCapacity ( 1.0 )
UKTS 31167 will certainly give you extra choice.
If using an installer for the activity you could ( with the right permissions ) incorporate this extra folder. If I'm wrong then I'm sure others will correct me.

Regards,

Stephen
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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  ianmacmillan on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 8:56 pm

I wouldn't use the exSR brakevan on SCP.

I only traveled in an SR van once in a 30 year career and that was on it's way to Perth for parts recovery and scraping.
Like locos, brakevans stuck to their own company and were soon sent back if they strayed.

The BD L&Y tin can brake would also never make it to Scotland and don't ever present a non GW guard with a GW van - it'll have an accidental broken window and be labeled "Home depot for repair".

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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 11:19 pm

There are just three brake vans in the SCP trainset, The ex SR, the ex L&Y and a LMS. How the ex SR van and exLY van ended up in the trainset, I don't know. Mickrick compiled the trainset for this route as he and Dave Robinson, built most of the locos for it. Danny built some Coronation & Royal Scot locos and some were taken from Don's Burton Derby route, hence the BD prefix. I have never used the ex SR van, just the other two, for my own use, but I think both of these brake vans  have been used in most of the goods activities that were included on the DVD.

So I am tempted to add Ian's LMS Brake Vans. There are three LNER Brake Vans in a separate down load File ID 30925. These don't have the PassengerCapacity (1.0) line in their wag files. But as half of the route mileage is on LNER territory, these would serve a purpose. These latter vans are lacking in the present trainset.

If Ian was willing to add the PassengerCapacity (1.0) line to the wag files and re-upload them, they would have that facility included for everyone who needs to download them. They would certainly give more choice, for making future activities. What do you say Ian?

Mick Young (mickrick) did quite a few Goods activities for the DVD, and used only those Brake Vans that were part of the trainset. These could easily be changed by editing the consist in each activity that uses them, as well as any loose consist that has a brake van attached, by substituting the brake vans for either one of the, LMS or LNER brake vans, depending on the region that the activity is covering. This would only affect each persons own personal copy of the route, but it is an option for anyone who would prefer changing the brake van for the right one, just to get rid of the L&Y and ex SR van, which most goods consists use.
Those two brake vans, could then be taken out of ones own SCP Mini Route trainset. Anyone downloading an activity that uses the new brake vans, would have to download them and add them to the SCP trainset, which could be mentioned in a readme file included in the uploaded activity.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  ianmacmillan on Tue 21 Oct 2014, 12:48 am

Feel free to add the PassengerCapacity line to the LNER brake vans and include the .wag file with the activity download.

You should also consider the LNER short brakevans file 30925.
There are also some NBR brakes file 29117 but go easy on them as they were all gone by the mid 50s.
You could even get away with the GNSR van file 21052.

I even saw an SR dancehall van at Mossend but you'll have to wait for Danny's route for that. Very Happy

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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  rufuskins on Tue 21 Oct 2014, 8:57 am

The BD ex LYR Brake Van appears to be the 4 wheel Diagram 61 of which a few are believed to have lasted into BR days although no photos of these BR numbered vans have been found. The latter observations are based on Noel Coates' LYR Wagon books. Whilst perhaps a little off piste I thought I would add these comments anyway.


Last edited by rufuskins on Tue 21 Oct 2014, 6:34 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Tue 21 Oct 2014, 4:28 pm

Hi Ian,

I have downloaded the LMS Brake Van set and placed them in my SCP Trainset folder. I also downloaded the three LNER Brake Vans, and two of these do have the PassengerCapacity ( 1.0 ) entry already in the wag file, so I have added these too in my SCP Trainset folder. I think that there should now be sufficient brake vans, as a choice for goods activities. I have decided to leave the existing Brake Vans ( ex SR, L&Y & LMS ) in MY SCP Trainset folder for now, as to delete them, would mean changing all the consists for each activity that has used them, which would take quite a while to go through and change everything. The LNER Brake Van that didn't have the PassengerCapacity ( 1.0 ) line in the wag file, I have now added the line to the wag file.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Wed 12 Nov 2014, 4:35 pm

Hi Everyone,

It seems making decent activities, is more difficult than I thought it would be. I have spent hours and hours running through everything to try and get everything working in sync with each other, but getting nowhere fast. So other than making simple activities for my own use, I will step down from making activities, which involve lots of various manoeuvres and stick with what I know I can do.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  slipperman12 on Wed 12 Nov 2014, 4:55 pm

Hi Geoff,
You're right! I've only written a very few activities but they can take a long time.
All I can suggest is to start it simple! Get the Player and one AI train working how you want first, then add one more AI, test, ... and so on, until you've got all the traffic you'd planned for.
It's a great feeling of achievement when it all hangs together - but the real problems can start when you submit it to someone to test for you!!

Cheers,
Ged

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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  StephenRWells on Thu 13 Nov 2014, 9:14 am

Hi Geoff,

I agree with Ged - keep it simple at first and then you can try more complicated ones as your confidence grows. I started with easy passenger activities on the default Settle to Carlisle line before I even had internet so I had no-one to turn to for help. I am more than willing to help you in any way that I can as I know how frustrating it is when things don't work the way you planned. Even now I still get problems which can take ages to solve, but I do get a lot of satisfaction when I finally succeed in getting things to work the way that I want.

Regards,

Stephen
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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Thu 13 Nov 2014, 11:40 am

Hi Ged & Stephen,

I can do simple activities with quite a lot of AI Traffic, no problems with that! .The problem I am having difficulty with is, if I decide to make a shunting set up. Ok I place wagon consists to be picked up from a siding where I want them picked up from. Again no problem with that so far. I think where I am going wrong is adding reversing points in the right place, if I want to drop off wagons on a particular siding.

For instance; I have a train with a consist of say, a dozen wagons, that need to be dropped off on a certain siding; which means reversing the train off the main line onto the chosen siding. It's a matter of, where do I put the reversing point, to allow the points to change, so that I can reverse the train onto the siding; that is confusing me. On several locations, I have passed the reverse point, but the actual point has not changed, so the train just reverses back along the main line again.
Question: Does the whole train length have to pass the reversing point, in order for the actual point to switch to the siding, so that I can reverse the train onto the siding, or does it not matter if only the loco passes the reversing point?
I think this is where I am getting confused, by not allowing the whole train to go past the reversing point, before I reverse the train onto the siding.
I think I have tried to add too many shunting manoeuvres into one activity all at the same time, instead of just adding one at a time; testing it and then adding another. I have found though, by adding messages to appear at certain points, does help to clarify, what the player needs to do, or at which point the player needs to stop and reverse the loco (train) if that is the action needed, especially when the activity is quite a long and has multiple shunting manoeuvres.
Messages I find can also be useful, if the player needs to wait at a certain place, for so long before proceeding, or for any other information to help the player during the actual activity.
Some people do not use these messages, when making activities and it can sometimes be difficult to know where to reverse, or what to do next, after a certain action has been performed.

I do like making activities, of a simple nature, with lots of AI traffic, as it adds to the realism when running on a route, but when it comes to shunting stock about, it's a different ball game. But, I have managed to do some simple shunting activities, without any problems, it's when I want to add several drop off and pick up manoeuvres, when things seem to go ape s--t!

So, it's back to the drawing board! Rolling Eyes

One more thing. I have never uploaded anything before to UKTrainsim, as I always left this task to Don, when we were doing the SCP.
How do you upload anything to UKTrainsim, as there are no upload buttons to click on, like there are for downloading anything? Do I need to create a method for sending anything for uploading?


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  rufuskins on Thu 13 Nov 2014, 2:10 pm

Geoff
Can't help on the activity front, but I can on the upload.
When you sign into UKTS, under options on the main screen is a button labelled "Upload File". Click on that and move to the bottom of the page and you should see all the necessary options. I understand that it is still possible tp upload items even when one is not a premium member.
Hope that helps.


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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  StephenRWells on Thu 13 Nov 2014, 2:45 pm

Hi Geoff,

The reverse point must be positioned so that when the loco passes the reverse point the complete train must have passed the set of points giving access to the siding but before the next set of points and/or signal, so that the whole train is in that section of track. I often find that it is easier to let the train go further down the line than you think is necessary to ensure that the points change. It also gives you more time to stop the train. If the train is longer than when you started a little trick to help you get the reverse point right is to temporarily place a loose consist on that section of track. Then when you run it with the AE you can see if the positioning is right. Don't forget to remove it before actually driving the activity!

Hope this helps,

Stephen
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Re: Steamnut's Activity Workshop

Post  steamnut44 on Fri 14 Nov 2014, 10:50 am

Thank you for that Alec!

Stephen, I think you have solved the problem with the reversing point. It looks like I am not allowing enough room for the whole train length to clear, before placing the reversing point.
Thank you for your help.


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