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#1 laming

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 11:10 AM

I had basically gotten all the track/roads done that I can possibly do everywhere but... (gasp ohmy.gif )... Pen Argyl, PA.

Feeling like I was facing a Biblical Armageddon, I'm now tackling Pen Argyl. As Armageddon, it is indeed the Valley of Decision. That is, I'm going to have to decide what is absolutely essential, and what can be done without and still get the effect of Pen Argyl. Ah, the juggling routine that route development forces one into!


Say Andy:

Modeling the eastern roads brings up an interesting side effect that I didn't realize: Roads. At this point, the rdb is twice as large as the tdb!! I expect that to change as the the yard track for Pen Agryl is placed and also expect the rdb to be trimmed back once I start placing scenery and begin to see that some roads cannot be seen from the proximity of the train, thus I will eliminate redunancy. But still... that's a LOT of roads! Hope you guys like using the whistle chord. smile.gif

Unlike my previous effort, this route will be aimed at the mid-upper computers. To wit: Take a look at the RE screen below, and bear in mind that I'm barely started at Pen Argyl! blink.gif

The yard itself will stretch for another mile into the background. The entire town will be spread over about 3-4 tiles.

"Psst... buddy... gotta' good computer?" laugh.gif

Andre

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#2 pnrailway

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 12:20 PM

Andre,

Since I am classing this route as a MUST HAVE, then what strength cornputer should I start saving for? I have had my eye on a Dell Home Office 8400 with a 3.4 GHz processor, 1GB Dual Channel ram and 128MB ATI card. Is that good enough or do I need more? Just need to know what to plan for. wink.gif tongue.gif rolleyes.gif

Paul

#3 laming

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 01:11 PM

The box you're saving for should be more than able to handle the finished LNE.

At this point, I'm still using a 1.3 ghz Celeron, 256 meg of PCX100 RAM, and a GeForce MX 4 440 vid card w/64 Meg. I'm getting good frame rates in all areas during Explore thus far, and acceptable FPS with lots of loose consists/AI traffic in test activities. However, I KNOW what is yet to come... so I know my machine will struggle with it. I've started the process of putting together estimates for my next box, and it is going to be less box than you're going to have, but I will feel like I'm in computing heaven!

I figure something above 2 - 2.5 ghz CPU with a good vid card should handle the LNE okay.

FWIW: I am hoping to develop a technique to populate the back grounds. In fact, this route is going to force me into developing an entirely new way of thinking concerning objects that I'll be using to populate the tiles. I want it to look "full" with more depth than the North Arkansas, but still be acceptible on CPU load. Trick, trick, eh? blink.gif

Andre

#4 pnrailway

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 01:17 PM

Andre,

As you said someplace in one of these posts, you are still a few months away from having this grand route, phase 1, complete and it looks like my finances are going to be such that I will be able to afford the $2499.00 for my dream machine somewhere in the fourth quarter of the year, so they will come out rather close, even comes with a 160GB hard drive, so that should be just about the right size for the route and such. I will then have a second 120GB drive for the more mundane things, like earning a living. laugh.gif wink.gif tongue.gif

Paul

#5 laming

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 01:31 PM

Did I say "months"? Silly me. I meant to say "years". tongue.gif

Seriously: I think you'll be okay on the timing. blink.gif

#6 pnrailway

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 01:37 PM

Andre,

I have already been getting some of Gaetan's ALCO's for other lines in the area and also have the Lehigh Valley route, so between these,, your's, and the Bridge Route I just received, I should be all set for the area I really like. wink.gif tongue.gif

Paul

Oh, and by the way, Armageddon stands for the valley of Megiddo. I think there is a place like that near Shiloh, down on the way from Philadelphia to Wildwood in south Jersey. May not be named that, but it use to seem like that on a hot Saturday morning on the way to the Jersey shore. biggrin.gif tongue.gif wink.gif

#7 laming

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:32 PM

Yup on the Valley of Mediggo. Refered to in prophetic utterance as the "Valley of Decision" too.

Anyrate, another name for Armageddon is "Pen Argyl", a town that appears attainable on the photo maps and topos, but one that becomes satanic when creating it in RE. laugh.gif

As further proof of the diabolical nature of Pen Argyl... I offer another pic from a different angle. smile.gif

(Egad I love this sim! I know, I'm sick, sick, sick...)

Andre

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#8 ChiliLine

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:51 PM

QUOTE(laming @ Aug 3 2004, 02:10 PM)
Say Andy:

Modeling the eastern roads brings up an interesting side effect that I didn't realize: Roads.

Yeah - between Antonito and Durango, it's pretty thin on the road density, even today. And traffic is even lighter!

You may want to use some alternative approaches for the roads, Andre. The only thing you really need the actual, workable roads for is to accomodate carspawners, and I doubt that you'll want to have carspawners on each of the road segments you posted! Have you thought about terrtex "roads" ala Sumpter Valley?

Andy

#9 ChiliLine

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 04:56 PM

Oh, yeah. I was just wondering, Andre. Seeing that your vocation slips into your avocation periodically, does your avocation similarly make appearances in your vocation? laugh.gif

Seems that it would add a bit of uniqueness to the mix, at least from the receiving end where I'm at! tongue.gif

Andy

#10 laming

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 05:22 PM

Andy:

As for terrtex roads: That will be possible for the dirt roads here and there. I hope to do that too. Unfortunately, that won't help a great deal in a location where dirt roads were suitable!

When trying to maintain reasonably sharp edges and good definition (which I think a paved road would need), a 512x512 terrtex get's worked over pretty good getting stretched and laid onto the terrain. What I've seen of such an approach works great for dirt roads, not so hot for paved roads, me thinks. Then there's the caveat of mucho custom terrtex files hitting you in the folder size department. Shouldn't be a problem with a CD delivery, but certainly can be when hoping for a download version as well.

The upside: As mentioned above, not all the roads will survive into the final product. As the scenery gets developed and I see where I can lop off, lopped off it will!

As you know, the main challenge is object count. Whatever you add to a tile drives up the object count, thus static roads aren't that big of a help, either, and slows the placement process significantly. I will be going to extremes to develop scenic subterfuge, chicanery, and downright deception ph34r.gif to give the impression of a full scene yet holding down the object count/CPU resource needs.

So, at this point it's bite the bullet and do the best I can.

As for my avocation/vocation/evocation... yup on all counts. When ministering, over the years my parishoners have heard countless railroading illustrations! laugh.gif

Andre

#11 ChiliLine

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Posted 03 August 2004 - 06:09 PM

I have to agree with all that - unfortunately, there's no easy way out. One of my problems is that I don't know where to "lop off" the stuff that no one is going to notice, and where to make sure there's a tree that seems to fill the scene. One of the reasons I'm not an artist. But I think the approaches you've taken with the NA have been a good compromise - if you can hold to that, the LNE should come out fine as well.

I've decided I'm going to press ahead with my custom terrtex files in any case - it may limit me to strictly CD distribution, but that's one of my goals for my current route. I haven't been brave enough to see what the size is like yet, even without adding all the vegetation!

And on the vocation...etc. - out here in NC, we tend to get a lot of basketball analogies (lotsa Dukies in the pulpit). I think I'd like the railroading stories a bit more!

Andy

#12 zhivago47

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 12:08 AM

You build it your way Andre and let us worry about running it. I think you will do fine. You hit the right chords in NA and I am sure you will in this one. What little I did in the way of route creation was wrong in that I didn't use that approach. I put in much too many roads that no one would even see. I think that is where I got myself into trouble. But I am sure you will do fine with it and I am sure a 2gig machine with a half way decent card will do fine. Paul, you are paying much too much for a machine like that. Mine is almost that good and I didn't pay over 500 bucks for it. Of course I built it myself but I think you are paying way too much for that. Look around and see if you can't get a better price somewhere. If I lived near you, I would build you one for a lot cheaper price. Anyway, good luck with it. It's your money.

Andre, build it and they will come. You are doing a great job from what I can see. Build it as you would want it to be if you were running it in the sim yourself and it will be fine. I am sure of it. wink.gif

#13 pnrailway

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 03:42 AM

Tim,

I just said that, that was the machine I was looking for. I want a machine with those features, but it isn't necessarily going to be the Dell. Whatever I can find that has all the same features, or better, for a decent price will be what I get when the time comes. Only thing about the Dell is the convenience, (call up, tell them what you want, pay, and a few days later it is at your door). I have never tried building one myself, so I am not sure about that, and when you price them out down here on the Gulf Coast of Florida at some of the computer stores that will build them for you to your requirements, they actually make Dell look cheap. Seems like down here, with the largest percentage of people over the age of 65 than anywhere else in the country, they are always out to rip someone off, feeling that the people don't know any better. In most cases they don't, and a fool and his money are soon parted.

Now, to the main part of this post.

Andre,

Kevin A. may not like my terminology here, (because I am going to refer to model railroading, but in this case it has a bearing), but in developing Pen Argyl, maybe the "Valley of Decision", (actually the term is Har-Magedon and according to one of my Bible dictionaries it means "Mountain of Meggiddo", which was 56 miles north of Jerusalem and sat on a hill where five trade routes came together, [who says theis forum isn't educational?]), will be that you use some of the processes used over in model railroading, especially pertaining to either shelf layouts or items located back near the backdrop. What you could possibly do with Pen Argyl, now that you have it mostly laid out, is to use some artistic license, (and to be truthful, while I am from that general vicinity, I have never been to Pen Argyl, even though I have passed within a few mile of it from time to time), and add a few small hills not to far back from the tracks that the roads would just sort of disappear over. In more congested areas of town, perhaps the roads could pass between two buildings to a "T" intersection, which wasn't necessarily there in real life, and turn either way to disappear behind the buildings, or simply they could just turn behind some trees to disappear. Whatever way, the area near the track that most pay attention to would be just as it is in real life and when we get away from the track we get the impression of more being there without really showing it, thus keeping the density down, the typical model railroad "just over the hill" philosophy.

The main thing here is that the feel of the area, that it feels correct. The screen shot below is of Cumberland Maryland and the tracks that are part of the B&O yards on the Sandpatch Route. These are the tracks to the top and right in the screen shot. If you notice, there are many more roads in actual Cumberland than Maple Leaf Tracks included in the route, entire areas of town as well, all of which were left out to get acceptable frame and density rates, but with what they did include, they were able to accomplish the proper feel of the yard in Cumberland and the surrounding roads and buildings.

I am not saying that this is what you should do, but it would at least go a long way towards keeping the frame routes acceptable in such a congested area. Make it easier on you as well, allowing you to perhaps finish just this town within your lifetime instead of three lifetimes from now. In V Scale we are after all building a digital model of a real life scene, and in any modeling project, no matter what the type, there are compromises that must be made. As long as what we are trying to accomplish has the proper look and feel, and is as accurate as possible under the given circumstances, even though it may need to be selectively compressed by lopping off a few repetitious objects, it will be "good enough" and give even a person from that area the feeling of being right and recognizable. wink.gif

Andre, the work you have presented from your screen shots is a formidable task, and with the satanic way the RE is, maybe you need to heed Jesus' words to Peter when he said, "Get behind me Satan!" (an no fare pushing either), as you find a better way to accomplish the proper look and feel of the area without sacrificing ti integrity of what you are trying to accomplish. biggrin.gif wink.gif rolleyes.gif blush.gif

Paul

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#14 laming

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 11:27 AM

Paul:

Yup, I will definitely employ tricks I've learned in 30-40 years of model railroading.

Pen Argyl Yard is slowly coming to life. What the attached pics do not indicate is the different "levels" the yard will have. The entire yard and service area was built on the side of a hill, thus the service area will be at least 20 feet or so below the level of the various yards. It's going to be an interesting yard to operate in.

Well, all for now...

Andre

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#15 zhivago47

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 10:32 PM

Ahh, you'll get it all figured out and with fps to spare Andre. I have the faith brother! wink.gif

Paul, I understand where you are coming from. But it happens everywhere. People get taken all the time by these so called local yokels who think they know so much about building computers, but don't really and they take advantage of anyone who knows very little about computers in general, which is probably 90 percent of those who have computers. I can't tell you how many people I have helped get their money back with these, what I call shyster computer dealers. Certainly there are some reputable dealers, I go to one here, but you need to scope them out yourself and check their prices and what you get for them. Now the problem with the Dell's and HP's and Gateways of the world are that you can never get exactly what you want, they use very cheap parts, especially their motherboards (just try to find the maker of the one that comes in one!) and then if something goes wrong with it you have a heck of a time getting service on it. Actually, my daugher has had a Dell and an HP and suprisingly enough, she has had better luck dealing with HP than she did Dell. At least it certainly surprised me. But I usually fix hers anyway if it's something not covered under warranty or will take forever to get fixed. But use your best judgement. I know what you do for a living and therefore need a pretty good machine but that sounds like an awful lot of money for it. Check around at some of the other places. There are some large reputable dealers out there who will put you a good machine together for a cheaper price. Check out PC Mag and those type of mags and see what they to say about certain companies etc. At one time Dell was the best, but I think it is dropping fast from what I have been reading. HP at this time is climbing and Gateway is totally out of it. Don't buy anything from them. Anyway, will discuss this with you more in our emails. I just don't want to see you get taken my friend, is all. I sold computers for many years. So I do know something of that which I speak. Why I built my own too. At least let me give you some of my expertise before you buy it ok my friend! wink.gif

#16 pnrailway

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 04:08 AM

Tim,

My friend, what I usually do is take say for instance the Dell catalog and look at what's available, picking what I want in a computer, and then I will go out and have it built for me with quality parts. The one I am using now started life as a Gateway quite a while back, mainly because I needed one in a hurry and I could pick it out at the local Gateway Store, but now the only thing Gateway left in it is the box and power supply and, oh yes, the 3 1/2 floppy drive, that is it, nothing else at all.

I will have my new one built for me when the time comes, just in time to install this fine new LNE route that our dedicated Andre is laboring over so diligently. wink.gif biggrin.gif tongue.gif tongue.gif rolleyes.gif smile.gif

Paul

#17 zhivago47

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 12:15 AM

Ok Paul, good deal then. Good idea actually, but it should not cost you as much as you quoted earlier. Trust me on this one. I have almost as much as that one and it did not cost me a grand. I had some parts like a 80gb hd and a pretty good video card so the rest didn't cost me 400 or 500 bucks. Would have and should have got me a bigger processor but I will get that later. This one is working pretty good for the time being. Anyway, I am sure you know what you are doing then. Just hate to see people get taken since I sold computers for some time and saw it everyday. I would not do that though. Probably why I couldn't make a lot of money at it. But, I draw the line on bilging people for something they don't need. Just not me. wink.gif

#18 pnrailway

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 04:07 AM

Thanks Tim,

I think we need to get back to the main topic of Andre's post for this thread though, and that isn't on computer systems. Andre is dealing here with some big decisions he has to make about this area of the route and what it is going to do to the size of EVERYTHING!!!

Oh, by the way, Andre, I came across this site last night, don't know if you have been there or not, but it has plenty of info on the LNE, especially the rosters: http://www.northeast...t/lne_rstr.html Like to help where I can, especially since Tim and I seem to have gotten so far off topic here. On one of the links that are attached to the above page it takes you to a copy of a 1947 timetable and special instructions as well.

In my travels I was always over the hill at Scranton and vicinity and never got over to that side of the mountain. By the time I started even in that general direction it was to late. I understand how putting a yard on the side of a hill can be. In the M&PA at it's Baltimore terminal, it shared the narrow Jones Falls valley with both the B&O, which it had interchange with at this point, and also the main yards of what had been the Northern Central, (later PRR), and there wasn't much room at all, tracks filled the entire valley floor except for where the stream was. rolleyes.gif wink.gif

Paul

#19 pnrailway

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 05:25 AM

Here was one of the old pictures I found at that site of Pen Argyle shops.

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#20 pnrailway

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Posted 06 August 2004 - 05:31 AM

And the following are a couple at Hainesburg of the buildings in the plans I sent you.

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