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#1 laming

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 01:18 PM

Sittin' here wonderin'...

For grins and giggles, got some questions for you, the MSTS user:



What's YOUR favorite era? Also, what era(s) do you have a passing interest in?

1. Late 19th/Early 20th Century railroading. (Referred to as TOC.)

2. The "Golden Age" of steam: 1920's - 1930's.

3. The Steam/Diesel Transistion Era. (Approximately the 40s into the mid 50s.)

4. First Generation diesel. (Immediately post steam.)

5. The 2nd Generation Diesel Transistion Era. (Begins about the mid 60s, when 2nd generation diesels really begin replacing 1st generation.)

6. The Rationalization Era. (i.e. the 70s and 80s. Mergers, downsizing, bankruptcies.)

7. The Modern Era. (Stuff like you see today, generally from the mid 90s on.)



What's YOUR preference for the mainline length?

1. Up to 30 miles.

2. A Sub Division (about 100 miles).

3. The bigger the better.



What is YOUR preference for it's CONCEPT?

1. One that is as close to prototypical as possible within a given era, including the equipment, enviorn, and operating practices.

2. One that is based on a prototype, but has utilized SOME latitude for enhanced operational opportunities (read: addintional industries/tracks added as well as operational practices), but still includes era-correct enviorn and era-correct prototype equipment.

3. One that is loosely based on a prototype (uses mainline alignments of its prototype), but has been heavily enhanced for increased operational opportunities. Uses equipment based on the prototype it reflects.

4. One that uses a prototype location (may even use mainline alignment), but does not conform to the actual prototype. Would use personalized equipment that reflects typical railroad practice for the era it depicts.

5. One that is plausibly freelanced according to prototype practices (grades, curves, etc), including equipment, but is aimed at being very emersive. (Read: Enjoyable to operate.)

6. One that is total whimsy, including the equipment, with few amenities toward "reality".



Lastly, what do YOU like to do the MOST with MSTS?

1. Operate! The act of run a train, switching, simulating railroading.

2. Run trains of my choice in explore mode and railfan my train.

3. Paint, build, tinker and piddle, I don't actually run trains very often.


Feel free to elaborate!

#2 kevarc

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 01:50 PM

Era - 5 and 6. That is the era I grew up in and really has a lot of verity of stock to use. The modern era diesels are just too easy to use as compared to earlier eras. You also get a chance to run ALCo's, GE's, in a lashup EMD's. Today's major RR's are a bit bland compared to then.

I prefer routes 100-200 miles. Gives you time to get a handle on your train, but not get bored to death or find a week free to run an activity.

I much prefer to prototype. It gives me a chance to research things to see what ran there. I am not a fan of passenger or locals. A trough freight with challenges of handling the train over hill nad dale. Though swapping out cars at sidings for other trains or dropping cars in a yard is ok also.

I very seldom run the sim anymore except after getting a new route to play with. I can't remember the last time I ran anything that was default or came with a route I bought. I like tinkering with the AE and physics.

#3 stresstool

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 02:28 PM

Era: I favor 6 and 7, but not the exclusion of the others.

Length: Short. I like lots of starts and stops and shunting cars around. I tend to loose interest if I'm just sitting in the cab watching gages for more than just a few minutes (the same is true for flying, both as a pilot and in a sim).

Concept: I don't give a hoot whether the trackwork resembles anything real. I do like the serviced industries to match something in real life. Not that they have to mirror any particular plant, but just that there be a plant. I.e. Logging facility->lumber mill->finished goods->warehouses->??? etc.

What I do most with MSTS is run activities written by others. I've never used explore mode nor used any of the free roam activities. I can't seem to get interested in running it if there's no established workorder. I have recently begun to write my own activities and found it somewhat rewarding, although the testing is extraordinarily tedious. I tried reskinning once. I don't think I'll be doing that again anytime soon.


#4 zhilton

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 03:13 PM

Time Frame
From a photographic stand point, I've always been interested in Era 5 (The 2nd Generation Diesel Transition Era) though in reality I grew up in Era 6 (The Rationalization Era). That has had some advantages because as I learn about what an operation had where. I like to find photos of a particular operation...go see if I can find that particular area...then visualize what it would have been like to be either track side (railfan) or inside the track (employee) in that area.

Size
A small sub or branch around 25-40 miles is quite "do-able" when it comes to making time to run a train. Your not talking about 8-12 hours of service just to handle activity/work. A division sized route is ok, but I look at it this way...someone had to develop it, and the bigger the longer it took them. If I really like the work (cough, A&O, cough, dang cold bugs wink.gif ) a couple of smaller routes are more likely to be created at a reasonable pace verses a large to huge division sized route which could take some serous time...years to develope. Which to me means there is good chance that there could be some new territory to run on by the time I've gotten used to a particular route.

Concept

Now that is a good question. I'd have to say a combination of 2 & 3 fit me best. A wise man I know explained best to me one time....there is a reason some of our favorite fallen flags (North Arkansas and Rock Island just to name two) are no longer around. The tonnage/traffic wasn't there to support the railroad. So going with a prototypical strict route could be boring if your going with a particular time frame for a favorite route. But on the same time I have a hard time enjoying a route I can't go find prototypical photos online. Take the A&O for instance, there are all kinds of photographs online to find pictures of A&M locomotives...and you can find photos of the real Arkansas & Ozarks that was powered by a pair of 70 tonners. Thus I can really enjoy a route like that...there is enough background information available to keep my mind excited about running a train on the A&O.

Likes/dislikes with MSTS
My dislikes would have to be on some of the division sized routes I've got (Marias Pass, Sandpatch, Kicking Horse) I have a hard time wrapping my head around where I'm at when it comes to switching a locations...something I can't say I've ever had when "working" switch jobs on someone else's layout (individual or club sized). Having rode the side of several cars in recent years, the point of view in MSTS is strange and I feel like I've got blinders on...but a wise man told me MSTS was designed as more of a "gamers" sim instead of a historian/hobbiest. My "likes" of MSTS are the points of view you get out of the cab. How ironic I don't like the view from the side of the car but the locomotive is what I like. I also enjoy making the meets at sidings or waiting on someone to leave town before I can go to work on some routes; those are parts that make MSTS seem more like real life than HO scale has to me in the past.

#5 ajwtcb

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 03:56 PM

Era: probably the widest option for me ... anything from 3 to 7, but the emphasis would probably be centered around 6. A lot really depends on the place being rendered, IMHO. Example: trying to model the CSX or CN lines around Flint in the modern area would be bad - nothing much going on. But, if you back that era up a decade or two, and wow, what a difference in terms of operational capability.

Size: 2 - A subdivision is just about right for me. Plenty of variety when it comes to the types of things I can do.

Concept: 1. And I say that because those are the routes I enjoy the most. I'm just a nostalgic type of person I guess - comes from being a photographer for so long. I don't mind the other options, but the more accurate to that region and time frame, the better enjoyment I get from the finished product.

Utilization: Wow. I actually end up rather balanced between 1 and 3. I don't run explore very often, as a matter of fact, unless I'm testing something. When I'm developing, it is mostly repainting, although I'm not hesitant to get my hands dirty in the shape and activity areas either.

#6 wmalder

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 07:49 PM

Favorite Era?:

I like everything a bit but I prefer 1-5 with particular emphasis on 3 and 4

Mainline length?:

It very much depends on the route that's modeled. I love Crawford Hill - mainline driving over a shorter distance/time. Likewise I like the KHP Demo route, same reason.

CONCEPT?:

I prefer prototypical routes. It doesn't have to be an exact snapshot of a given time so some leeway is good but I like the idea that if I go to where the route is I'll be able to see something of what is modeled even if it's just the remnants.

Lastly, what do YOU like to do the MOST with MSTS?

I guess that the lack of functionality originally in MSTS somewhat turned me off of doing switching activities and lately I haven't had the time to do long runthroughs so for a variety of reasons I don't run the program much. I'm mostly involved in building things now. I saw that there weren't some of the things that I wanted to use so I decided to try to make them myself. I love it. I've always had a soft spot for modeling things and drawing things. Combined with the kind of interest in how things work that drove me to teach myself CAD years ago and this is just about the most rewarding thing I do these days.

I keep learning how to do things and now I'm trying to widen my tools and hopefully I'll eventually do a couple of projects that I've always wanted to do. All with that great feeling that comes with accomplishing something.

#7 MILW_E70

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 08:44 PM

Era: I prefer 6-7 with more emphasis on 6. As others have said, the modern era is dull, but it is the era that I've been old enough to see and remember things. Considering how there are really only two models of mainline locomotives being made (the ES44 and SD70ACe/M-2), things are going to get worse in the future as the older units are slowly retired. BNSF is getting close to retiring the SD40 fleet after all these years when more ES44ACs and SD70M-2s (yes, they are FINALLY getting the DC variant) come online in the next two years.

Size: Short, but not too short. If I wanted to run the full length of a subdivision (say 200+ miles), I would just go to work. On the other hand, if a route is too short, I tend to loose interest and thus the route just sits on a CD or DVD collecting dust. A route with long stretches of mainline along with a considerable amount of grade crossings, curves, hogbacks, etc are a plus...running a train over flat desert gets boring!

Concept: Prototypical. I leave the fictional stuff to my model railroad in the basement. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to the Route Editor (probably the reason I have yet to actually COMPLETE a route) but I don't mind a few "cheats" if it helps functionality and/or things that just aren't possible in TS.

I spend more time in the Route Editor than anything else in TS. Only problem I have is loosing interest in a project and moving on to something else...

#8 shawnbecher

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 10:13 PM

I like anything 2nd generation to present, but I also like the occasional steamer. I prefer routes that cover an entire subdivision, but can do shorter as well. That really depends on how the activities are put together. I'm kind of a stickler for prototypical stuff, even though I have been known to do some freelancing of my own. I do spend more time running trains that tinkering, but I do like the tinkering too.

#9 atsf37l

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 02:15 AM

Favorite Era 1 through 5. Everything from diamond stacks and link-n-pin to SD45's.

Bigger the better but operable in small chunks.

Concept: #1

Operator but spend a lot of time tweaking things to look and run the way I like.


And you never ever have to clean track! tongue.gif

#10 copperpen

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 09:09 AM

My favourite timeframe for operations covers 1 to 4. I just find modern stuff bland and boring.

The length of a route does not really matter to me. Short routes can be just as demanding on time as long ones when it comes to running on them.

The operational concept of a route for me has to be proto based, but to ask for a route that is absolutely perfect in all aspects is a tall order, so options 2 or 3 will suit me just fine.

What do I do with MSTS. 1 and 3 cover that, when I get the time these days.

Mervyn

#11 mttcrlsn

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 10:43 AM

What's YOUR favorite era?

The Rationalization Era. (i.e. the 70s and 80s. Mergers, downsizing, bankruptcies.) [ More specificly from about ranging 1968 - 1993. ]


What's YOUR preference for the mainline length?

A Sub Division (about 100 miles). [More like about a 200-300 miles or whatever fits the prototype operation.]


What is YOUR preference for it's CONCEPT?

One that is based on a prototype, but has utilized SOME latitude for enhanced operational opportunities (read: addintional industries/tracks added as well as operational practices), but still includes era-correct enviorn and era-correct prototype equipment.


Lastly, what do YOU like to do the MOST with MSTS?

All of the above, but with the understanding that MSTS is too limited in abilities and has crappy editors. Running trains is fun but would be better with things like load in/out, better activity editor, better route editior, etc.

#12 petersde

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 11:14 AM

Favorite Era:
3-5, because that is when I "grew up", within walking and viewing distance (from the home roof) of the SP mainline through La Puente/City of Industry; and 6, because I finally had wheels and a camera, and thus, could record a lot of what I saw.

Size:
The bigger the better. As a user of Steve Davis's activity-generating products, you can tailor any route to be more or less time-consuming. In addition, I know enough about the Activity Editor to be dangerous.

Concept:
2 or 3. Prototypical + some latitude. I've rail-fanned and ridden the rails to many places, so prototype rendition is more captivating. The routes that follow the "way it was" are compelling, and can be researched further.

What do you like to do:
All of the above. Since the advent of MSTSBin, operating has opened up like a bright spring day. Not only do routes perform, but features such as the "yard cam" add the entire route to one's visibility--buildings, geography and cars/trucks. The work of numerous developers makes the possibilities endless and fulfilling. Also like to dig into the Activity Editor and Route Editor to create variety and enhancements. Finally, fair to good "skinner" (using Adobe Photoshop) and a novice 3D modeler, working from TSM. The bonus in all of this is that the sim never gets stale or boring--there is always something to "do".

I look forward to MSTS2, but I'm not holding my breath (and I'm definitely holding my wallet--its not the sim, but the hardware requirements that may be daunting). MSTS still has a lot of life in it. biggrin.gif

#13 BLW_1946

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 12:38 PM

Favorite eras: 5 and 6, though I have some interest in all...

My interest in railfanning and model railroading was rekindled in the mid-1970s, and remained strong for about 20 years. Through a change in life circumstances, it had lain dormant for a number of years until I happened upon MSTS...

Size: generally 100 miles or less

Concept: based on a prototype, but with enhanced operational possibilities

What do I do most?

Tweak and modify scenery, activities, locos and rolling stock. Operationally, I prefer switching activities and local freights or transfer runs to mainline running...

#14 n8yp

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 04:15 PM

QUOTE(laming @ Jan 12 2008, 2:59 PM) View Post

Sittin' here wonderin'...

For grins and giggles, got some questions for you, the MSTS user:
What's YOUR favorite era? Also, what era(s) do you have a passing interest in?

3. The Steam/Diesel Transistion Era. (Approximately the 40s into the mid 50s.)
Up to
7. The Modern Era. (Stuff like you see today, generally from the mid 90s on.)

I am a mix of these eras. I was born in 1980, so I am down to 6 and seven that I have seen in my lifetime, but I do like the earlier times with stations and power and shorter trains. I don't like the modern routes that mainly are jump on a train and run for four or five hours without much activity.


What's YOUR preference for the mainline length?

1. Up to 30 miles.
2. A Sub Division (about 100 miles).

Again, I don't like the long haul ones, but if there is activity on it. My preference is running locals, and switching out customers. There are a few subs here in Upper Michigan I would like to see modeled which would be 70 to 125 miles long, but a lot of operations.

What is YOUR preference for it's CONCEPT?

1. One that is as close to prototypical as possible within a given era, including the equipment, enviorn, and operating practices.

2. One that is based on a prototype, but has utilized SOME latitude for enhanced operational opportunities (read: addintional industries/tracks added as well as operational practices), but still includes era-correct enviorn and era-correct prototype equipment.

I do like the A&M route, but I do like prototypical routes. I was elated when MLT did the LS&I route, which I have railfanned and ridden the jobs. To run an ore train into the mines and then down the hill and on the dock, to see the prototype modeled without hardly any licenses was increadible. But I do like operations, and so some leeway can be beneficial in keeping with the original.

Lastly, what do YOU like to do the MOST with MSTS?

1. Operate! The act of run a train, switching, simulating railroading.
I mainly run activites, and do a lot of prototype work. I check the train when I run to the quarry by using view 3 and going car to car like a conductor walking up the train. I stop before the switch to throw it and then pull into the siding. Little things, but add a bit of realism to the game.



#15 nbeveridge

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:37 AM

[/quote]

What's YOUR favorite era? Also, what era(s) do you have a passing interest in?

4. First Generation diesel. (Immediately post steam.)

5. The 2nd Generation Diesel Transistion Era. (Begins about the mid 60s, when 2nd generation diesels really begin replacing 1st generation.)


What's YOUR preference for the mainline length?

2. A Sub Division (about 100 miles).


What is YOUR preference for it's CONCEPT?

2. One that is based on a prototype, but has utilized SOME latitude for enhanced operational opportunities (read: addintional industries/tracks added as well as operational practices), but still includes era-correct enviorn and era-correct prototype equipment.


Lastly, what do YOU like to do the MOST with MSTS?

1. Operate! The act of run a train, switching, simulating railroading.



#16 charliechan

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 03:57 PM

Good Morning:

The era would be between 4 5 and 6 with a favorite era in the 5 category.

As for length of route, I think 30 miles would be a little short and get old after a while, but I have yet to tire of the A & O. There are parts of the larger routes that I have on my computer that I have still not seen, and there are some of the larger commercial routes that are based on the real world that I have only run once or twice, just not as much fun as switching a good route that is made for switching.

My preference for concept would be somewhere between 3 through 6 with heavier concept with 4 and 5. Like I said above, switching is the thing.

The thing that I like the most is switching, the reason that I havenít run the more prototype routes is they are boring; I donít like to sit and watch scenery go by.

Thanks for your time.

Chandler


#17 steamed

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 07:23 PM

Well, looks like I may be the only one -- I prefer the TOC / Golden age of steam eras!

I also prefer prototypical to freelance -- a route at least trying to capture the historical aspect of the scene.

#18 Surflegg

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:10 PM

Era: Though I'll take any era, my favorite by far is the transition era, for my love of steam, particularly big steam: powerful steamers and classic streamlined diesels, with matching passenger train sets, not to mention it's an era I missed by quite a few years; I've pretty much grown up in the modern era, but I caught the very tail end of the rational era; I'll take anything pre-BNSF merger (Santa Fe All the Way!).

Size: Subdivision

Concept: As prototypical as possible; I'll probably never get the chance to be at the throttle in these prototypical places (and certainly not in the era of steam) so I like to see how it was and how it was done. By far, I most enjoy running trains in MSTS, though I take plenty of pictures (just haven't gotten around to organizing and posting). Maybe after my next semester at Berkeley, I'll be a little more fluent in 3d modeling and may tinker in rolling stock and locos; we could always use more steam locos!

#19 Conrail Tweety

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 12:11 AM

What's YOUR favorite era? Also, what era(s) do you have a passing interest in?

7. The Modern Era. (Stuff like you see today, generally from the mid 90s on.)

I'm a high-tech junkie. Latest gadets and toys. But I'm also a history buff, and I like to experience routes that are long gone.


What's YOUR preference for the mainline length?

3. The bigger the better.

If I don't have time to run it all, then I'll save it and resume again later. When I'm not on a long haul, then I'm usually doing pusher duty on a mountain somewhere.


What is YOUR preference for it's CONCEPT?

2. One that is based on a prototype, but has utilized SOME latitude for enhanced operational opportunities (read: addintional industries/tracks added as well as operational practices), but still includes era-correct enviorn and era-correct prototype equipment.

But I sometimes do something crazy like leave out with steam up front, followed by a diesel, double-stacks, and RoadRailers bringing up the rear. I'll drive the diesel, but watch the steamer in View4. I've often dreamed what it would be like to have extended maintenance steamers in modern times equipped with the latest electronics, emmision controls, air-conditioning, sealed bearings, boilers adjusted by load and GPS inputs, and multi-fuel options including nuclear.


Lastly, what do YOU like to do the MOST with MSTS?

1. Operate! The act of run a train, switching, simulating railroading.

#20 jovet

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:02 AM

Good and well-phrased questions!

Era:
Mostly #6-7. But my moods vary and I can crave any era, and while I prefer North American stuff, I can crave abroad, too.

Area:
#3. The bigger route, the better, as long as it's all done well and consistently. I'd rather have an excellently done shorter route than a half-assed looong route.

Concept:
#1 and #5. If the route is based on a real line somewhere, then let's get the details out and do it and run it that way. If someone invents their own route, and we have many fine invented routes, that's great too (as long as it still comes across as a 'railroad').

Do Most:
#3, #1, #2. In that order. Sometimes the order fluctuates.