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#1 laming

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 09:10 PM

Well, I reckon I are now a perfeshunul route builder. Least ways, I done been in business fer nearly 3 weeks! blink.gif

Seriously: I want to thank all of you for your willingness to give the North Arkansas a try. Your words of appreciation and reports of the fun you're having with it has truly been a pleasant surprise in all this.

Thought I'd share some thoughts and musings on two fronts. They are...

The North Arkansas:

I've been busy "learning" how do to this payware thing now that it's released, but I think I'm settling in with a routine that is working. "Learning" this aspect has actually been taking much of my "MSTS" time since release.

For the immediate future, the North Arkansas will stand on its own two feet. I am considering another activity pack for it "soon". Plus, eventually, in the future I intend to take a fresh look at the current version and decide what I would like to do with it as a route. Couple of things have run through my mind for it:

A. Extend it and update the era to late steam, keeping it reasonably prototypical.

B. Extend it and update the era to early diesel, allowing it to enter the proto-lanced realm.

Plan A would truly require custom steam engines. Not cheap nor quick to have produced. Plan B could use existing models.

Should I tackle A or B, it would be a stand alone add-on and would not overwrite the existing North Arkansas on your hard drive. Thus, the unique personality of the original would remain in whatever state it evolves to.

The "Next One":

(As in a totally different route.) Well, in between chasing glitches in the initial release of the NA (see the stickies!) and trying to track down bounced/undeliverable online purchases (see the stickies!)... I have been using some MSTS time trying to lay ground work for "The Next One".

Currently I'm still primarily in the "seek and aquire" mode in regards to information and resources, though I have accomplished some exploritory RGE/RE work. I've already spent upwards of $100 in resource materials and many of my available MSTS hours in research on the prospective "Next One". Some more of the resource materials will be in my hands before the week is out, the rest of it should arrive next week. So far, things are looking good for the route being seriously considered. A semi-official announcement may be forth coming before too much longer. However, between now and then, if I perceive I'm not pursuing a good direction, then all bets are off and I'll exercise my right to change directions again! wink.gif

Basically, it won't truly be "official" until I'm convinced I can produce the items (or have some of the items produced) the route will need in order to set it apart and help it to have its own personality. Again, I want it to be like nothing on the market. Guess I started this personal trend with the North Arkansas and will probably try to stick with it again.

In all, lots of work ahead.

Well, all for now!

Have fun!

Andre

#2 mario_puzo

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 09:12 PM

Sounds good! smile.gif If you decide to peruses either option, I would buy.

#3 august1929

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 08:50 AM

Andre,

Don't want to take up your time with unnecessary chit chat, but I just want to give a big "thanks" for the work put into StL & NA. There is an atmosphere to it that is compelling and fun. I have a sense of exploring something new as I gradually move along the route, and each town (or depot with growing town) just cries out to be stopped at and explored on foot.

Sad to say we can't, but till then, the rails draw me on.

Will be early in the queue for the next V Scale creation.



No3. rolling down grade from Freeman on a wet and misty late summer morning in 1901.

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#4 atsf37l

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 10:37 AM

QUOTE
each town (or depot with growing town) just cries out to be stopped at and explored on foot.


Glad to hear I'm not alone in that feeling. Your little towns make you want to stop there and spend some time. Don your hard-topped bowler, twist the points of your handlebar moustache, pick up your carpet bag, step down onto the platform and go check into the local boardin' house. Have some chicken'n'dumplins and then go see if they're biting in the local creek. It is just that inviting.

Having a great time, Andre. biggrin.gif

Herb

#5 Mike

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 11:18 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Jun 29 2004, 11:10 PM)
A. Extend it and update the era to late steam, keeping it reasonably prototypical.

B. Extend it and update the era to early diesel, allowing it to enter the proto-lanced realm.

Most of my replies here and elsewhere are too verbose. I'll attempt something more succinct.

Any of your customers can easily update the steam era with what's already available less, of course, Bill Hobbs' fine physics updates for Jessica. Obviously you have seen, applaud, and are inspired by what Richard Cohen has done with the 2-8-2 loco for Mr. Garber's Canton-Suddenly.

But upgrade to diesel? Please, No. Even if there may be additional "sales," don't try to be all things to all people. Your SL&NA is one of only a very few Steam niches in MSTS and it is my personal opinion you will do fine remaining faithful to your era and period.

Although Marc is aware, it's not generally known in these forums I had worked nearly 6-months on Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad from Miami to Key West set in the early 1930's. I had even created a website for that route which I have uploaded expressly for this post HERE for readers of this V-Scale Forum.

I am re-visiting this project, which I hope to complete entirely with Marc's Scale Rail but with no promises. I have all available (purchased) reference materials including books, photos, and track maps but this route is some ‡160 miles of flatland swamp, much of which is unavailable bridges.

. . . and I need to talk to Marc about adding the FEC logo as an Avatar.

And so, you are not the only one interested in "period" and "prototypical" MSTS railroading. To read you are considering compromising your period skills prompts this note.

Keep the faith. Let the diesels run on the tens of thousands of miles of rail made for them, and let steam have its virtual 15-minutes of fame. wink.gif

#6 SCL

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 11:23 AM

Hi Andre

The last two posts echo exactly how I feel with this route. The St&NA has managed to capture, along with Canton IMHO, what many routes totally lack and try to make up with distance. A route can boast its x miles long in length, but if it hasn't got atmosphere, then it just makes it x much more boring!

The old HO Rivarossi 4-4-0 woodburners are what got me into American railroading in the first place about 25 years ago, just because of that ol' pioneering atmos. And now, thanks to you, these qualities are now available on MSTS!

I'll certainly be keen to see what you have up your sleeve next laugh.gif

Cheers
Ken

#7 Mike

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 11:33 AM

Hey Ken! How the heck are you!

I miss the old Jason A-Line days. His route was looking SO nice! Now it seems he's traded his steel rails for 18 wheels. sad.gif

Wonderful to see you're still at it. . .

#8 SCL

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 12:32 PM

Hi Mike - you too! I didn't realise who this "Mike" was until your post mentioning the FEC - didn't think you'd remember me anyway! LOL

Really like your repaints - this route is just getting better and better! Please keep up the great work.

Cheers
Ken

#9 laming

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 01:05 PM

My, my, such excellent feedback! Thanks for taking the time to pen your words, fella's.

And fret not, I enjoy chit-chatting with those that have like interests. In fact, if I'm not careful, I can enjoy it too much and type too much! (See Mike? You needn't feel alone!)

I consider input from customers very valuable.

I will freely admit that the thought of updating to an early diesel version of the North Arkansas was to broaden appeal of the route. However, any such serious thought would be waaaaay down the road.

Should the feedback continue to echo the sentiments already expressed, perhaps when I return to the NA, I'll be more inclined to consider extention, yet retaining the era/flavor of the road. Or... possibly cast an eye toward the Rockies for such experiences to explore? wink.gif

The greatest detriment to this era for a developer is the lack of equipment. With the addition of the passenger equipment recently, you're essentially using all the equipment that is currently available for such an era, regardless of paint. (Wait, happen to think: There is an excellent 36' boxcar that was created by Master Modeler Wayne Campbell that could be appropriate as well.)

For my next project, I will very likely tackle a diesel route. However, like the North Arkansas, I envision it being done differently than about any MSTS route I've had the pleasure to operate on to date.

(You must remember that I also love "diseasals." wink.gif In fact, that's one thing I LOVE about this MSTS "thing". Namely, point/click: Different experiences can be had.)

So, should I pursue the direction for the next one that is looking promising: It will be very different in operation than any diesel route to date. I fully hope to create another "world" to indulge into and enjoy, complete with anecdotal experiences, operational practices, or other things personal to the route that I unearth along the way that I can incorporate into it... only this time set in the mid 50's.

Well, I've typed another novel blush.gif ... got to close for now.

Andre

#10 Mike

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE(SCL @ Jun 30 2004, 02:32 PM)
Hi Mike - you too! I didn't realise who this "Mike" was until your post mentioning the FEC - didn't think you'd remember me anyway! LOL

Really like your repaints - this route is just getting better and better! Please keep up the great work.

Thanks, Ken! Yep, it's me. All is good here and I hope also with you. Thanks for your weathering/painting compliments and yes, Andre's route is lots of fun for me and I see others, too.

QUOTE(Andre @ Jun 30 2004, 03:05 PM)
You must remember that I also love "diesels."  In fact, that's one thing I LOVE about this MSTS "thing". Namely, point/click: Different experiences can be had.

And I like that also. You are of course free to do whatever you wish with your next route for my part of it. I'm sure whatever you do will be great!

QUOTE(Andre @ Jun 30 2004, 03:05 PM)
There is an excellent 36' boxcar that was created by Master Modeler Wayne Campbell that could be appropriate as well.

I'll have a hunt for it and have a look. wink.gif

#11 laming

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 02:09 PM

Mike: I read the narrative (via link) you wrote on the Key West line. Amazing that there was actually a railroad that tackled such an undertaking!

Your project is going to introduce several challenges to overcome... keep the faith and pursue! When finished, the gratification that you FINISHED ONE, will be immense.

Andre

#12 ChiliLine

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 02:47 PM

QUOTE(laming @ Jun 30 2004, 12:05 PM)
Well, I've typed another novel

I think that's known as "preacher's disease," Andre. laugh.gif

I'll add my vote to not turning the NA into a diesel route. You'd have to redo the major bridges and maybe even change some of the steeper grades. Then it'd just be another route like we've already got. Your comment about point/click - new experience really says it all. I like the ability to look into different times and locations and learn a bit about what it was like. You've done a great job of capturing that with the NA, especially with the "conversations" that fill the activities. It makes it a lot more enjoyable, and a lot more personal, when there's something beyond just the work order to complete. I think that, to a large extent, the "personal" feel is what really distinguishes the NA from the other routes I've run. It would be very nice if there were a means to have those little comments pop up without halting the activity. But I'd rather have them and deal with the momentary freeze than not to have them at all.

As far as whether I've picked up anything from your activities - definitely. I've only peeked into a couple in the AE, but I think I can see how they were constructed. One of the things I need to deal with is the relatively long distances between sidings along the Rio Grande. Trying to time how well people are going to get through a section is really tough. As you said, by the time you complete a route, you know a lot about it, much more than someone seeing it for the first time. What the AE really needs is the ability to create AI trains based on the performance of the player, but I haven't figured out how to do that, if it can be done at all. I'd really like to see some randomness come into play, but again, that seems to be outside the capacity of the game.

It looks like your malady is a bit contagious - I've tossed quite a bit into this post myself!

Andy

#13 Mike

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 02:48 PM

QUOTE(laming @ Jun 30 2004, 04:09 PM)
Mike:  I read the narrative (via link) you wrote on the Key West line.  Amazing that there was actually a railroad that tackled such an undertaking! 

Your project is going to introduce several challenges to overcome... keep the faith and pursue!  When finished, the gratification that you FINISHED ONE, will be immense. 

Andre

Yes, I have read what pleasure completing the SL&NA gave you. I'm jealous!

The route is entirely DEM'd. I have designed a prototypical Trumbo yard at Key West (track only) and laid about 30 miles of track toward Miami with the default and x-track bridges. I had also laid the track from my northern terminus down through Miami and south to Homestead. I think I used about six pieces of dynamic track.

Now, I'm ripping all that up and replacing it with Marc's Scale Rail. I have what I think is a complete collection of Ron Picardi bridges but like you, the buildings are all period buildings and most need to be made and textured. Also, some islands in the keys are narrow, and the track has to follow the markers closely.

The prototype route used semaphores.

I had no idea what a huge project I was undertaking and I'm afraid it's a long flat and probably sleep-inducing run. It has already been created for Trainz, but I've run it and it's not at all what I envisioned for MSTS.

At the moment, I'm replacing track but the landscape is virgin and there's lots of it because I have also removed all my many miles of forest objects as unsatisfactory. And so it goes . . .

#14 Mike

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 05:50 PM

In a speedy exchange, I've just obtained permissions from Wayne Campbell to paint his 36' boxcar and host it as I have done with my other StL&NA rolling stock, with a link to my site here in the forum. He also provided an updated model to work with, so this should be a gem.

If you can think of appropriate prototypical Heralds not yet used on your route, please speak up. I hesitate to provide a consist insofar as some who download this repaint may not own the St&NA although I can create a consist for old #3 and post it here separately.

I am also I have re-packaged and uploaded my StL&NA rolling stock series to Train-Sim, to be followed by the coaches and my Jessica grunge. When ready, I will also upload Wayne's 36-footer in whatever liveries you or others suggest for the period.

Both the Train-Sim upload and my link here in these forums to the rolling stock has been updated and includes 5% injected noise in the dust layer, which reduced the banding caused by the 8-bit alpha. By the time you read this, my link in this forum will point to the revised file as well.

Enjoy!

#15 mjs2101

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 01:48 AM

You know Andre, it could be interesting to do a later steam era North Arkansas. Still keeping the steam only theme, but having it a little "older" that when we first visited it. Even being only 30 years or so, a lot can change!

But regardless, I am sure you will find something to do that will keep the masses happy!

Mykel

#16 mquist

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 11:29 AM

I agree with the others - stay away from fictionalized modern era stuff - I expect that you can find a better venue for diesels. Perhaps an expansion to the roads maximum extent in the 30's or 40's which would allow use of transition era stuff with out much of a stretch but still mostly steam. What we really need is some more variety in equipment. In engines we could use an early 2-8-0 for the heavy frieght and some 2-6-0 or 4-4-0 engines could work well. Could certainly use some hoppers for coal and balast transport, gondolas, more flats (different loads) and perhaps stock and horse cars with a drovers cab. The last thnig wee need here are Dash9's, auto racks, double stacks, bethgons, and hi-cubes.

I'm glad to see some passenger coaches and another gerneral use frieght car from Mike is a great start. I downloaded some other stuff from train-sim the other day for posible use but havent looked at them in detail as yet. Looks like a good venue for a mixed train once the North Arkansas gets mail or express contracts. I'll let you guys know if find and other interesting stuff.

As far as interchane traffic is concerned MoPac, Katy, ATSF, SP, GM&O and IC would not be out of line if good artwork for early designs can be found.

#17 Mike

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 11:43 AM

Excellent suggestions, Michael. All of them. I've spent much of yesterday and this morning scouring the web for info on the StL&NA and the later M&NA.

Andre might consider going north to Joplin as is prototypical for the later period, and then later, expanding South to Helena, keeping both those sections period authentic to their time-line of the 30's and 40's. Pre-sales numbers could almost be money in the bank.

I've found a very early herald for the M&NA line but will hold-off on that until we have a "connection."

Hey Andre, what other period railroads might have interchange cars on your present route?

And yes, I think it needs a coal gondola or two, although the John's model .s file is made for wood. Maybe John Fowlis would consider tweaking his model a bit. Only way to find out is to ask, I suppose.

Great input, sir!

#18 SCL

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 12:37 PM

I think the great thing about the route at the mo is that you can run earlier 4-4-0s without them looking totally out of place. And the buildings and tents work well too. The beauty of it is that there are some superb woodburning 4-4-0s out there (the V&T Inyo being my favourite), and some nice rolling stock. I've been waiting a long time for a route where I could run these items without feeling uncomfortable that maybe the Realism Police are about to look over my shoulder and cough, albeit politely! blush.gif laugh.gif

Just wondered if there would be any large interest of a route specifically based on the last quarter of the 1800s? (something like the V&T?????). Failing that a Maglev route...... rolleyes.gif (errrr..... I don't think so!)

Cheers
Ken

#19 mquist

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 01:52 PM

As a mater of fact, Ken, I have considered doing the Minnesota and Pacific in 1870. As Minnesota's first railroad it is pretty well documented in the local historical collections with pretty complete maps and photos. Despite the lofty name and a clear intention to drive steel rails al the way to Seattle they manage to build track all the way from the levy in St. Paul to the flourmills in St. Anthony a distance of eight miles prior to bankruptcy. By the way if you never hear of St. Anthony Minnesota that is because the city was absorbed into Minneapolis in the 1890's. A couple of 4-4-0's and a 0-6-0 for engines and a rather meager set of rolling stock was all they needed. Unfortunately the big river bridge from St. Anthony into Minneapolis Township over the mighty Miss. was too big a barrier and the railroad had no other rail connections, which spelled doom for the company. The limited scope of the project and locally available reference material makes it attractive as a first route.

M&P became part of the St. Paul and Pacific, which became a part of a later Twin City to Winnipeg Manitoba railroad (it's name escapes me) that James Hill bought to start the Great Northern. The original route of the M&P is still occupied by the BNSF.

#20 Mike

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Posted 01 July 2004 - 01:52 PM

QUOTE(SCL @ Jul 1 2004, 02:37 PM)
(the V&T Inyo being my favourite)

Very easy to see why it's a favorite, Ken. Other things aside, both the Inyo and the General are easily the most stunning and highly detailed early steam models designed to run on MSTS standard track I've ever seen or driven.