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Long & Winding Road...

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#21 S. Weaver

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 08:30 AM

Business is slowly picking up. Staying busy. But it's getting too cold, too early this year in the yard. 13F today, plus wind. Makes one set the cab heater to "Deep Fat Fry."

All the best!

#22 CRQ5508



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Posted 09 December 2010 - 09:42 PM

I've been using this simulator since it hit store shelves; I joined the community about five years ago and have slowly learned some of the basics of train-sim editing. While I have no idea about making routes, I've learned how to paint and repaint models. I know I've never released a thing to the community, mostly because what I make is either already available, or is completely fictional and there-fore probably not wanted. In all honesty, I've had trouble myself keeping focus. I normally start on something that interests me at the time. This year alone I've gone from German narrow-gauge, to mountain passes of New Zealand, to coal hauling in the Appalachians, to currently, running the Feather River Route. Those in the community know me for being a nut about creating a fictional railroads. I have a habit of "doing things my way" and creating fictional railroads. At one point I had 9 different fictional versions of actual lines going on. I've since narrowed it down to 4. I know, that still seems like a lot, but it's really keeping me glued to this game. One is a present-day based "Granger" based in the upper mid-west; another is a 70s based Canadian short line serving lumber mills and rickety grain cribs; another is a 90s based coal hauler in the deep south that's trying to stay out of the clutches of Norfolk Southern; lastly is a recent endeavor. Set in the mid 80s, I've essentially taken over the Western Pacific (I have a thing against UP laugh.gif ) and am operating it as a bridge line. The Feather River route is a splendid line, and beautifully done by the people here at 3D Trains. I couldn't convince myself to operate it under the dreaded flag of the Union Pacific, and it was just a bit too, how should I put it? Small... To operate it as the Western Pacific. It may seem crazy (it can be a bit hard for me to keep track of everything sometimes) but I like it. I never really get bored with what's available, as much as I just get bored sitting in front of a computer all the time. I hope you know what I mean by that. wacko.gif Sometimes you just have to put everything down for awhile and take a break. wink.gif

#23 laming


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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:40 AM


Agree 100% on the need to put things aside for a while. I intend to have fun with MSTS until either:

1. It gets left sooo far behind in the tech realm that I can no longer run it on future computer systems.

2. If the time should ever come that I just can't stand the thing anymore!!

My main reason for starting this thread was to articulate what I think I'm wanting to do, namely, my desire to have a "favorite" that I can pursue when I'm in the mood.

Will there be diversions?

Absolutely! However, I MAY let the others do the work on said diversions, and I'll simply personalize them for my own use/tastes!

Case in point: One of my train interest adjuncts (weaknesses) is that I like TOC19ng. (That's Turn of the 19th Century Narrow Gauge). I doubt I'll ever actually FINISH my own route based on such. BUT... there is already a very nice, TOTALLY FUNCTIONAL, Cumbres & Toltec route created by Andy Miller. (I miss his visits to this place.) I am thinking about back-dating it (using my TOC19 objects library) to the TOC19 era... and using Captain Bazza's excellent C class Consols as well as Tom Werb's rolling stock, etc. Presto: TOC19ng to enjoy and I didn't have to do all the route work!


...the idea of this thread is that ol' Andre may want to settle down some on his personal route efforts and distill what he would really like to create. Along that line, it may very well need to be a long-time personal favorite on which I have the most experiences and wonderful memories: A diesel powered Frisco route based out of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

I mean, I may not have been here at the exact moment the photo below was taken... but I arrived on the scene close enough to it that almost ALL of the elements were still in place and contributing to the look and revenue of the Frisco. (BTW, you're looking north at the south end of the main Fort Smith, Yard. You wouldn't believe how this scene has changed "now". I run a switch engine here almost every day of my work week.) Photo was taken by my old friend Mike Condren on 2/62...

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#24 billmoyer



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Posted 11 December 2010 - 12:30 PM

Once you've "tossed the coin" and "chosen your goal", keep your focus on "the ball".

No body plays football on Monday morning!!!!!!


#25 TheGrindre



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Posted 12 December 2010 - 08:30 AM

OK, it's now time to get 'nasty'.
Mr. Ming, get it together! Quit lollygagging! Learn to say no! Pick something you love and do it! Stay focused! Stop this childish behavior!
Pretty 'nasty', huh?
Well, maybe you need a break. Take some time off and go do some real life things for awhile. I quit MSTS for 3 years or so. I'm not suggesting you take that long but, a few weeks or months might be what the doctor ordered.
You obviously have far too many number one favorites. You have to fine tune your interests. Narrow 'em down and start knocking 'em off the top of the list until you have only one up there and the others actually have their own number.

I actually know the real problem. You've turned this hobby of yours into a business. You're facing deadlines, requests, and demands from others but, more importantly, from yourself.
It is said that if you really want to ruin a great hobby, go commercial with it.
Do you want to have fun and play or go after the almighty dollar? It happens to be the real issue so, don't try to justify it with me, it is the problem in a nutshell.
Didn't you have tons of fun with this hobby before you went commercial? You don't have to answer, I know you did! Your mind is stressed out from the internal pressures you've put on yourself.
You're torn between commercialism and enjoyment. It may be subconscious but, that's it.
The Good Book will enlighten you to this.

Pick something you love and do it. Don't offer it for sale up front, just have fun doing it again. Maybe it'll become salable later on down the road but, for now, enjoy doing it.

That's about as nasty as I can get, Andre. Go out there and have some fun again...

#26 laming


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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:30 PM

Hi Rick:

Perhaps something you didn't know about my little VSC endeavor was that when it was launched, we had just suffered a terrible financial loss due (in part) to the events of September 11, 2001. For the first two or more years of VSC's existance, almost ALL proceeds went toward trying to retire a sizable debt we were left with after the collapse of the post-9/11 travel industry. I received essentially nothing from VSC during that time as any money I could raise was used to pay on the debts left by the failed luggage business.

Seeing as we lost our retirement in those losses, those same events eventually led me to make the decision to step back from full time pastoral work and try to earn a retirement for my wife and I via the railroad before I was too old to find employment.

So, yes, the "almighty dollar" as you called it was a deciding factor in attempting to utilize my MSTS abilities in some type of commercial endeavor. (That and liquidating what I could from any other hobby interests I owned that could be converted to cash, as well as working any 2nd odd job that came along.)

In the process of time, seeing the freeware licensing issues that so many freeware route creators face, I determined I would avoid that by creating my own content. A stance I still intend to hold to this day.

Even now, I must generate money to continue supporting my VSC web space and domain. At this point sales are barely enough to manage that. I intend to keep the doors open at VSC as long as practical and in that way continue to support past customers. Even to this day, I often help retrieve sales receipts and forward links/passwords to customers that purchased product a long time ago, yet for reasons of computer crash, upgrade, etc, have lost their copy. In addition, I help customers that contact me via my VSC web site that need assistance with VSC product. As well, I help any new MSTS entrant that has contacted me via my VSC web site that needs help in general.

In short: There are no free lunches. Route sales keep the door open here at the VSC forum, as well as at the VSC web site, and even in recent times has helped my family as well as personal needs (such as computer failures, etc.) However, for what it is worth, the meager VSC funds are almost depleted.


Andre Ming

#27 atsf37l


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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:40 AM

I've been hiding over at ET and busy working on projects so I didn't notice this thread until you popped over there and invited chat, so here I am.

Trains. It's all about trains. The medium doesn't matter, the trains do. I have been over-the-top ga-ga crazy about trains since I first heard a steam whistle in me widdle crib. Nothing can stop my pursuit of railroading! 'Cept my eyes - dang it. I never could realize the dream, like you, and go to work on the rails.

Ah but modeling. If I can't do it 1:1 I'll do it in scale. And I'll use whatever medium best satisfies my needs. Those needs are to capture the essence of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad and its contributary D&RGW narrow gauge lines and to do the same with the late great Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe (the world as we knew it ended in 1993 with the invasion of the Burlington). There are other twin railed pursuits as well (PRR, NWP, D&RGW Standard Gauge, C&S, SP, Ma&Pa, Maine's 2-footers, just to name a few), but those are the principals.

At the moment, and for the forseeable future, MSTS provides the best platform for me to realize these dreams. I can have what I want through my own work and that of some people whom I have come to think of as very good friends, yourself included. I never have to clean track. I don't have to turn around at the end of the room. I don't have to climb under the railroad to wire switch machines - no more hot solder dropped on my face or burning holes in my shirts! And did I mention I never have to clean track?

Do I get bored with it and ready to quit? Yep. We've had this discussion before, but there are so many things to do in equipment work, route work, activity building and just plain operation that I seldom get burned out on the whole thing. This is not to say that I don't get burned out on certain elements.

I think this leads to a discussion of human nature. It seems, at least for me, that if someone else wants me to do something it gets harder for me to do it. Back when I was building models and layouts in Sn3 a friend of mine, whom I still consider my best friend in the hobby world, convinced me to build some kits for him to sell commercially. He paid me a reasonable price to construct each car and I went to work. Meeting deadlines - having to do the work for someone else instead of working on my own projects - nearly drove me out of the hobby. After a dozen or so cars I had to quit.

Here not too long ago, as I was working on the RGS, some folks persuaded me to release the route for public consumption. Once again, I nearly quit the project. For the past three or four months I have done little or nothing on the RGS. I've been off running and working on everything but the Rio Grande Southern. Only this month, when I started looking at bridge replacement on the route and then helped Bill Pratt with a great new RGS 0404 caboose, did I get stoked again.

Now I'm on a roll. I want to release the route on Nov. 19, 2011 - 120 years after the real McCoy was completed. But now this is MY goal and not someone elses and I am enthused again to "complete" the project. Not for those who would download it necessarily but for my own satisfaction.

And when you get right down to it, isn't that what a hobby is supposed to be? Personal satisfaction and achievement? That and fellowship with other hobbyists? And that is right where I am with the hobby.

I will never go commercial again because it makes what should be fun into work. For this reason I will always be glad I couldn't get into commercial railroading. I think it would have spoiled the hobby for me.

All of us get burned out on what we are doing, particularly when we, or worse someone else, puts deadlines on the work. We all need diversions to keep our minds active and our interests up. Andre you, on the other hand, have way too many diversions. laugh.gif Let's see: Harley Davidsons; Cornbinder bobtails; preachin' for our Lord; workin' on the RR; and then there are all those routes!

Settle, focus, selectively compress, and keep it simple, ol' friend.

#28 pnrailway



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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:16 AM


Like you, my main interest is in trains. Raised in Baltimore there were many railroads around and from an early age trains fascinated me. For me the most important then, as now is the Ma&Pa, a railroad I had family members working on. But then there was also the BTC Trolley line that my grandfather worked for. There is also the Best & Only, (B&O), the Wild Mary, (Western Maryland), and the Northern Central, (PRR). All of these prototype roads interest me along with others like the Hagerstown & Frederick interurban line, the L&HR, the L&NE that Andre started way back and was forced to later abandon, and other railroads of the Lehigh Valley region where family lived.

I never seem to tire of trains and growing up built several model railroads in O, HO & N scales. When I moved south to Florida I was faced with a large problem, there was no room for a model railroad and I am more of a loaner when it comes to the hobby and so a club was pretty much out of the question for me, my interests were more towards operation than is typical on most clubs.

That was when I discovered MSTS and found that I saw things I liked, one being like you - you don't have to clean the track, which can be an un-ending chore in the humid and warm Florida climate. There were also all the other things you mentioned as well.

Being in a graphic intensive profession - an architect - where long hours are spent drawing, be it by hand or by computer, it is easy to get burned out. That is where VScale comes in, it helps to recharge me, but I try and not concentrate on one facet for to long of a time, just as I did in physical model railroading, so that I do whatever interests me at the time, maybe some scenery one time, operating trains another, rail fanning another and so on. That way I get refreshed and not burned out.

I have also through the hobby become acquainted with many fine and creative individuals, yourself, Tim Muir, Andre, Rich G., Rich S., Jim, and many, many others that I am pleased to have come to know. All of these things help the hobby of V Scale to recharge my batteries to go out and face the world again and provide the best I can for my clients while trying to earn a living.


#29 laming


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Posted 15 December 2010 - 04:44 PM

Hi Herb and Paul:

Thanks for your notes. Obviously, it looks like essentially all of us have to come up for air every now and then when it comes to MSTS, or rail simming in general!

Herb, make no mistake, I am very, VERY thankful to our Good Lord to have the good job with the A&M that I have. However, you are SO RIGHT in that railroading extracts a lot out of you, physically and/or one's enthusiasm for it. In my case, it is ruining my ears. I still enjoy what I do, but it takes its toll.

I find that my interests in historical railroading (such as via model railroading, and that sort of thing) DOES suffer some due to my involvement with vocational railroading. However, an upside is: The type of railroading that I do in "today's world"... is SOOO far removed from the railroading that captured my imagination and interest as a lad.

THAT interest is still intact, for I find the railroading of my youth years some of the most interesting, as well as the out-growth of my interest in historical railroading: My appreciation of TOC19 railroading. I think those two are givens. Frankly, today's railroading is, well, "boring", compared to what has been lost.

So, to recap this thread: I guess it's normal for me to go gung-ho on a project, only to have the fire die out from under me and I move along to some other project. I shouldn't frustrate myself with it... instead sort of "go with the flow" and have fun. I think it's safe to say that there are some depenable "stays" in my recreational railroading interest... and it could very well be that those "stays" could be where I'll find my best chance of long term interest.

That so... then like the wise ol' Seer once said: "We shall see!"

#30 SAR704



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Posted 15 December 2010 - 08:55 PM

So... this is where I'm at in my "Long & Winding Road" I've traveled in V scale. I'm not completely gutted-out with V scale, for I still have the urge to create routes... I'm just fresh out of ideas as to where to go from here.

How do you V scale long-timers do it? What's your trick to making progress (if slow) and renewing your creative energy to further your project? What criterion do you use to select a project?

Interesting questions. 4 years ago, I restarted a semi-dormant project that evolved from an attempt to recreate a little used former mainline for MSTS for the purpose of seeing it in the sim, and running an occasional freight, recreating the grain trains that would typically run in the middle of the night. At every yard along the line, the tracks are literally coated in weeds, with rusting goods cranes, deserted passenger platforms, and rusty rails in the long out of use sidings, with the decrepit remains of what was the infrastructure of a vibrant rail system many years ago. There would be no crosses, as one train cannot cross itself. It would all; be done under train order working, until the interface with the suburban system.

When I was a kid, there was this one signal near an old railway bridge which would always be red. The tracks behind led to a mystery location which I never discovered until I was reading a railway magazine about 6 years ago. This would be what triggered an otherwise dormant interest in what is now a closed line, with dismantling likely to take place before the end of the decade.

Just before I mothballed my modest first effort, a gradual change of plans came about, with the end users in mind, rather than my own interests. This was the notion of backdating the era to when trains were using the line frequently. At a time when some research complications were beginning to arise, further doubts about diversity of operations came about, which saw me backdate the route's era even further. So I guess that personal interests became a tad secondary to getting the best reception for the project that I could, even if it meant dramatic changes to the initial bottom line.

I suppose my route building habits haven't changed a great deal up to this year, but the last six months have seen me heavily consider what I have been doing, and where it is leading. I guess it is a reflection of other things going on around me to a degree, but still it is a reality check. I still feel as though I am at a crossroads in route building, weighing up my own interests against thinking of those who will be more likely to run the route when it is done. The MSTS vs Trainz has been a debate I have witnessed many times, but the question should really be which caters for your interests the best. Now that RW is on the scene, this is also an option if one is willing to invest the time. But the rewards in the end are those that you create for yourself.

Considering that I spent over 3 years building something I have probably run on for less than 15 hours since it was released nearly 17 months ago, I suppose the journey has been the destination for me. The personal satisfaction has probably outweighed the actual enjoyment I have gained from running it post release.

Theoretically, I could spend another 2000 hours creating a 230 mile portion of long closed narrow gauge, which is scenically spectacular for two thirds of its length, running through the upper Flinders Ranges past long gone ghost towns, wide rivergum-lined creekbeds, whilst riding the banks of steep limestone hills, supporting coal trains with double headed steam up front. But at the end of the day, whilst the satisfaction gained from bringing this scenery to MSTS would be reasonable, what would I do with it once it's done, with something else likely to divert my interest at some stage during development? Even the idea of the replacement standard gauge has occurred to me, but with the same situation likely to arise. If there was an overwhelming fan base for stuff in this part of the world, it may be an added incentive, but there's not. So that's where a degree of building for myself becomes more important.

Anyway, just my 0.02c