This has been a fun thread. Here's a few quotes & comments:
> I would love to see a Chicago terminal area route similar to the freeware version of
> the New Jersey area.
I'll probably have to leave that theme for some other route builder to tackle.
> There is lots of switching and you would have to take a lot of liberty with the level of
> details so the darn thing doesn't become a slide show.
And THAT is one of the the "gotcha's" about modeling a sizeable area with lots of track and industries. During my experimentation with that Enid module above, I'm discovering that FPS is always an issue. Grain elevators (with their poly/texture-heavy mulitiple cylindrical shapes) consumes more CPU resource than I expected. One would HAVE to regain the resources elsewhere, likely by holding down object count with multi-object items as well as foregoing lots of small detail tidbits.
Another "gotcha" that I've just learned is that MSTS doesn't seem to handle tall objects as effeciently as it does those of lesser height. Regardless of my maximum 2000 meter LOD settings on my elevator structures (set thusly so they will be visible at maximum distance) there is a noticeable "pop" when they are drawn in the sim. It seems very tall objects will not "come in" until less than 2000 meters. (Which is SUPPOSED to be the maximum drawing distance.) There's always surprises when working with this (or other) software!
> That being said I do prefer switching routes. The more the merrier..... those Enid shots
> in another thread have me drooling.
As it develops in RE, I'm realizing the Enid scene is far more complex than I first estimated. Still to come would be all the urban-type structures, more track (the Frisco yard) and such. Me fears a slide-show could be in the making.
> with a little steam mixed in....which is your fault by the way after I picked up your first route
HA! I gotcha!
Speaking with candor: A decent turn of the 19th century shortline has a LOT to commend it for this sim.
* Towns were smaller, yet afforded many opportunities for smaller rail customers.
* Trains were shorter. (Engines couldn't pull as much, limiting train length.)
* Trains were more plentiful, even on shortlines. (Good AI potential.)
* Rails were being extended to EVERYWHERE, increasing opportunity for finding an interesting prototype to model and/or pattern a plausible proto-lanced route after.
All of the above factors mean a route creator can emphasize maximum movement (i.e. "play value) per CPU investment.
Often has been the temptation to model such a line again... only further back in time than the StLNA. (1890's seems about right.)
IMHO, most simmers want exactly what this sim struggles with most as it tries to present the route/equipment graphically and operationally:
* Long trains of high-poly rollingstock w/multiple high-poly diesels.
* Big textures on all the equipment.
* Major industries.
* Dense scenery.
* Much AI traffic, each consisting of long trains of high-poly rollingstock w/multiple high-poly diesels.
* Lots of loose consists.
* Lots of auto/vehicle traffic on the roadways with large varieties of autos/trucks.
Every item in the above list adds drastically to the taxation of the sim and the computer system running it.
Somewhat a paradox, me thinks.
Ah well... the challenges of creating content!
Okie doakie... who's next?