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#21 laming

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 08:09 PM

I am thoroughly enjoying reading all of your input. Thanks so much for taking the time to articulate your thoughts.

One of the greatest challenges any commercial route developer faces is creating content that is appealing. (Hence will sell well.)

In the past, with my StLNA idea, I thought I'd take a chance and offer something entirely different than was/is commonly available.

At first, I was pretty much underwhelmed by the sales the StLNA was posting. However, it just keeps on selling. Not impressive numbers, mind you, but it does just trickle along. (I'm sure that my meager sales numbers are no where near the numbers of a heavy hitting route such as Cascades, or Tehachapi, and such like.)

Still, I think I have some ideas as to why the little StLNA continues to sell. Though I may not be correct, I think they are:

* Some of the A&O customers that like the A&O decide to take a chance on the StLNA.

* Some purchases were by those growing a bit bored with the typical "modern rails in the mountains" and thought "why not try something different"?

* The Jon Davis' NA pack.

The A&O Sub was motivated by the need to create content that was suitably different than the StLNA. By being able to at least use the basic "core" of the StLNA, this helped me generate income many, many months earlier (which was sorely needed at the time) than creating another route from the ground up. The A&O matched the StLNA numbers in half the time it took for the StLNA. However, now both routes sell about the same and have roughly the same amount of sales.

My present "route project" picture is very, very foggy. At this point in time I simply do not know what direction our lives are going to take. Of course, not only does such uncertainty have an impact on what I can do with VSC presently, but if the changes take place that MAY take place, it will dramatically affect what I can do with VSC in the future also. This will only be known in time.

IF I felt the freedom to renew (or start) another route project, I honestly don't know what I'd be inclined to pursue. My concerns about trying to replicate long-gone prototypes that are 1000's of miles away is still a very real concern. (i.e. the CM and LNE.)

A short switching route could be a possibility, but I'm struggling determining what would comprise sufficient "play value" in comparison to pricing. Plus, though a switching route can keep me entertained personally for periods of time, I can't help but feel that many purchasers would feel "taken". This feeling alone is enough to cause me to have a tendency to shy away from such an endeavor.

On the other hand, I still like doing something different. (To wit: A 1900's Ozarks route. A 1980's Alco powered shortline based on a defunct prototype... that sort of thing.)

That "chart new waters" part of me wouldn't mind taking a theme not done, and create a route that offers something different yet again. When I conceived the the LNE, no one had released a route in the 50s. Well, now that's been done with Donner... so there's not a new sea to chart in that realm.

Wouldn't mind doing that granger road I mentioned. I saw it in action back in the mid 80's, and even at that late date, there was a very nice "atmosphere" to it. (The yard and engine scene at Enid, OK was ver "railroady". wink.gif )

I thought it would be nice to back date it to its Rock Island days of the early 70's. It then it gets REAL interesting in both power and equipment along with operations. Downside to a granger is the long tangents. I had ideas on how to counteract that, and am still curious to see if I could pull it off... but perhaps now I'll never know?

Ah well... we continue to discuss and learn!

BTW, Austin: What part of the Sunflower State do you live in? (IF you're still there, that is.) How close are you to Caldwell, KS? FWIW, below you'll find another pic of that granger road I reference... this one of the track at Caldwell.

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#22 MILW_E70

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:02 PM

Andre...I'm up on the turnpike in Emporia. Caldwell is about 2 hours southwest from here. It's quite amazing what that old Rock Island line has become now. They are sticking in new rail and ties and really upgrading the trackwork in general for what UP is saying is going to be a dramatic increase in traffic. Last week I saw a couple of those new SD70ACe's sitting in the yard at Wichita getting ready to head south on a FTW bound manifest. Sadly I never got to see what the line was like in the good ol' days, first memories of the old OKT line I have are of chasing the UP E9s and a Operation Lifesaver train back in the early 90s.

I've tossed around doing the modern day version of the Enid Sub as it is named today but its been shoved to the back while I'm doing this KCS thing that'll eventually be finished. Seeing the route as it was in the good days would be great!

Enid itself would be one heck of a switching terminal with all the grain industries there...along with dodging the mainline trains off the Rock, Frisco/BN, and ATSF.

#23 laming

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:39 PM

"Enid itself would be one heck of a switching terminal with all the grain industries there..."

Lands sakes, you can say that again!

I mocked up some stuff on that route to see what type of visual impact those sprawling grain elevators would have. Impressive stuff. I'll post a couple of slob shots I have on hand to illustrate what I'm talking about...

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#24 laming

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 10:41 PM

Here's the same area looking west. Bear in mind the grain elevators in the pictures are only place holders... the models depicting the prototypes would be much larger. Oh, and there would have been more of them in that scene as well!

Also, there would be oil refining in the area and lots of tanker traffic moving over the line.

It could have been cool route.

Andre

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#25 chripsch

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:15 AM

Hi Andre!

Rock Island sounds interesting as I like its locos Paint-shemes.
Especially the black-red-white and the red-white one.
Single-Track-operations would be fine and the seventies ok :-)
Could you paste somer more Info about it?
More Screenies of the Rock?
Best regards,

Christian

#26 chripsch

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:30 AM

Aristo`s RS3

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#27 chripsch

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:42 AM

And USA-Trains GP7

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#28 laming

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 07:44 AM

Hi Christian:

First I want to tell you that I very much appreciate your support and encouragement.

Remember that at this point in my life, I am in somewhat of a "holding pattern" in regards to tackling a significant VSC project.

Guess this would be a good time to make sure I'm clear on one thing: I do not want any of you to think I'm "dangling carrots" in front of you. ("Dangling carrots" = placing teaser shots with the hope of creating product interest.)

My reason for this thread was to just hear your ideas, and perhaps inject my own philosophies along the way. (And I'm enjoying these aspects of it quite a bit!)

As mentioned earlier, any route project for me at this point is not truly practical. (I have had about 1-2 actual "days off" since sometime in April.)

The Rock Island was considered waaay back prior to the LNE. One of the main reasons I discarded it at the time was because of concerns about its granger theme (which means it doesn't have mountains). Seems there is still quite a demand for more mountains at this point.

Plus, had I decided to tackle it, there would not have been engines in the early Rock Island paint scheme you pictured above. That paint scheme was pretty much gone by the mid 60's. Instead, there would have been a lot of maroon, maroon and yellow, and hopefully some red and yellow paint schemes. (With variations, of course.)

However, all is on hold right now... I wait with bated breath to see what I'll be doing! blink.gif

Andre

#29 chripsch

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 09:45 AM

Hi Andre!

Don`t worry that I am thinking that you are an danfling carot. I can understand your situation very well as myself I am involved by the time in builing an German narrow gauge RR which had to close down in 1988 as the last one operating in the former western-germany:
http://www.jagsttalbahn.de/317.html
http://www.jagsttalbahn.de/319.html
http://www.jagsttalbahn.de/341.html
Its lots of work creating a route itself and its getting even unpossible to do such a work if you`re heavily involved in other jobs. As you`re working in Marble City I had the last 10 months to work for my master thesis and for my final exams in history of which the last I passad with success only two weeks ago...
I also didn`t find time for some months to support my friends with creating objects for the route.
So, don`t worry, I can very well understand your situation and you`re motivated to creata a new VSC-route but you don`t have just the time necassary for it.
And every human beeing needs some sparetime to recreate!
So, don`t worry. After chanceling the LNE I was surely a bit sad, because I like this wonderful route very well. Its theme is wonderful but you don`t have just the time build it...
A hanging carot are digital-rails who are anouncing a route since two years and we never here again what`s up...
So don`t worry! Just let time come! ;-)
Live isn`t for hurrying! Live is for living it!

Best regards,

Christian

P.S.: Yesterday I had to de- and reinstall MSTS. Unfortunally I didn`t make a notice of the Password of North Arkansas & St. Louis Route. So I can`t reinstall it... Is there a possibilty to get it???

#30 ChiliLine

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 09:51 AM

QUOTE(laming @ Jul 6 2005, 11:09 PM)
At this point in time I simply do not know what direction our lives are going to take.

(snip)

My concerns about trying to replicate long-gone prototypes that are 1000's of miles away is still a very real concern.  (i.e. the CM and LNE.) 

laugh.gif

When you get that first one figured out, let me know how you did it!! tongue.gif 'Course, you've got some particulars you're sweating out, but still - if you do figure out how to tell what tomorrow's going to bring, I don't think you'll have to worry about retirement income!

Relative to the 2nd point, I've been working away (more or less) on the Rio Grande NG whilst sitting in North Carolina. And Charlie's Silverton route was created from the east coast as well, so you don't need to be in the backyard to end up with a decent result. Granted, there are a lot of photos and books on those lines, but that's still not the same as being nearby.

Good discussions! And remember, the next project's always the best one!

#31 laming

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 03:31 PM

Hi Andy:

I'll be sure to write a book and make a million once I can figure out futures. biggrin.gif

Speaking of your D&RGW project: Did you ever get that tree placed correctly? laugh.gif

Christian:

Looks like you're doing a fine job on your narrow gauge route.

Previously you asked for some screens of the Rock Island route on my hard drive... here's a few more. Unfortuntately, I am afraid they do not show much other than helping me get an idea of the visual impact the large grain elevators would have made. (The elevators are temporary mock-ups.)

Andre

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#32 laming

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 03:32 PM

another...

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#33 laming

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 03:33 PM

Below is the last one for a while.

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#34 jbt1024

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 03:48 PM

This is what i wanna see tongue.gif Taken right infront of ma house wink.gif

Thanks,
Jonathan

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#35 MILW_E70

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 09:40 PM

Ah, its so nice to see those grain elevators dominating the scene, Andre. Was looking over the aerials of Enid and was quite surprised to see the shear size and number of elevators there, gives Hutchinson a run at its money. I just hope one day people in general will stop overlooking what breathtaking railroad operations we have here in the great plains and take a deeper interest in railroading around here...

Nice to see those B23-7s still earning their keep, they have 4 of those suckers running shuttle trains between here and KC everyday. Still an amazing site to see those things still running like new.

#36 laming

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 10:05 PM

Bear in mind, Austin, that in the early 70's there were even MORE elevators than appear now on photomaps. There was also a very active oil industry.

Yup, a well done granger road would be cool.

In regards to my hobby of railroading, my problem has always been that I like SO much about railroading, I can get excited about all sorts of themes/eras/locales. MSTS only adds to the dilemma. As I've lamented so many times: It's a shame it takes so long to create a route!!!

Case in point: Tonight I have been testing some of Jon Davis' steam creations that are soon to be heading toward Consumerville. Wow! I would LOVE to create the route needed to do these beauties justice!! Like I say... I can get excited about all different kinds of railroading. rolleyes.gif

Andre Ming

#37 MILW_E70

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 10:30 PM

I was born two decades too late to enjoy those good days of railroading you have been telling us about Andre...its really great to hear stories on how railroading was and should still be.

There also seems to be a carbon plant of some kind further north, though I don't know if that would of been around in the early 70s. There's still (or at least was a few years ago) a Koch gas refinery around Medford right next to US-81.

But back to the subject at hand...I guess?

I've started a number of the old ATSF branchlines we had up here in Kansas but, as noted in other posts of mine, I just don't have the patience to get things done. Once the trackwork and roadwork is complete, I just seem to loose interest when I realize all the scenery that is needed to be done...and I'm the same way in the model railroading world. I probably have a hundred or so of these "bare routes" sitting around on CDs, or some that just got deleted all together, waiting for my interest to regenerate with them. If I were talented enough, I'd design "scenery blocks" so it would take less time and lower the tile object counts to complete things. Perhaps in TMTS, things like this will be more streamlined.

I'm still amazed at the number of developers out there, freeware and payware, that keep enough interest and motivation into one project in order to complete it and release it. I know I wish I could be one of them...but the time and motivation just aren't there for me.

Enough from me.

#38 chripsch

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 12:41 AM

Hi Andre!

Thanks for your compliments about the JTB-project! Track-lying and landscape recreating has been done by the friend who convinced me to join the project. Just the stations, the churches and the grey small goodswagons are stuff delivered by me.
My last project have been a big monastery and a gravel-plant.
Looks like we all are infected with the railroad-virus.
Means we have so much plans in our heads, but we can only realize a little part of it!
I just know it to good: Master thesis, working on an H0-Scale RR, a LGB in the garden at home in the mountains and the MSTS... biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

Have a nice running day on your GP! :-)

Best regards from Munich,
Bavaria,

Christian

#39 laming

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 05:11 PM

Ah yes, how well I know the feeling of blitzing through a route placing track... only to run out of oompah when it came time to fill all that space in with "stuff".

A bit of a confession: I've also used VSC as an impetus to actuall FINISH stuff. Of course, with that comes the downside of it becoming WORK.

Given my state of limbo I'm currently in (resulting in placing all route projects on hiatus) I haven't been in RE (or AE or TSM or PSP) every free moment for several weeks now. The net result is that a desire to piddle with MSTS is returning. However (again owing to the circumstances) it's more of a hobby-like "piddle-diddling" instead of commercial-oriented "nose to the grindstone" need to crank out productivity. Much more relaxing this way.

That so, the chit-chat about the Rock Island idea in this thread sort of gave me a hankerin' to see how the engine service area could appear. So, I went into TSM and created a bit of content, then slapped together a hasty engine house scene. Using freeware engines... the pic below gave me an idea how the engine area would look. Though nowhere near a "finished scene"... I kind of think it looks "cool", and already is beginning to feel "railroady". wink.gif

Have fun!

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#40 MILW_E70

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 05:57 PM

Ah yes, what a wonderful scene you got going there. I like the attempt at making the engine facility look drenched in oil and everything else that would make the EPA go bazerk over. I've heard stories of whats left at the old Rock Island facility in El Reno still being an "oil-drenched dump" and it being too hazardous to go exploring through.