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What's Next? 5/13/09


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#1 laming

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 05:23 PM

I DID IT!!!! THE OZARK NORTHERN IS RELEASED!!! (There. Had to shout that out one more time. devil.gif )

As I type, sales are trickling in. I have looked forward to this day for quite some time. My lingering regret is "it should have been done a long time ago". Oh well. sad.gif

The Ozark Northern drove home the fact that I'm not a "good" developer in that I cannot stay "hooked up" and get product finished in a timely manner. Hard to face up to and admit, but guess it helps to face da' facts. sad.gif Thus, I made the announcement some time ago that with the release of the Ozark Northern... I would be stepping back from developing "obligated" content. (By "obligated", I mean a routre project that I have outsourced/commissioned a fellow developer to build equipment for it.)

So, this brings me to the topic of this interactive blog: "What's Next?"

Hmmm.... interesting question. Many possible answers.

Do I want to continue with MSTS? Absolutely! I still very much like the way you can create virtual railroading worlds or recreate history with MSTS. Plus, I still enjoy creating routes. Though MSTS was originally released nearly 8 years ago, the program can still do a very credible job in the right hands. Given the MSTS Bin enhancement (among others), I see no reason to shelve it anytime soon. So, "to sim, or not to sim", is not in question.

The question is: What do I want to do next with MSTS?

Ahhh... I LOVE the sound of that question! That is, I am free to go where my interest and energy leads me. And boy, are things beckoning to me. In fact, I invite you to pull up a chair, and over the coming days/weeks, I'll tell you about some of the projects I'm contemplating. As I do, I encourage you to share your input as mood moves you. Your input is the "Interactive Blog" part. I enjoy reading your input and look forward to a good discussion thread.

So, for now, this thread intro will do. Soon I will share with you some of the things that already exist in some form or another on my hard drive. I'm exploring options and looking at projects. Perhaps I'll hit upon something you'll find interesting too? Well... we shall see!

Later!


#2 laming

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 06:37 PM

Here's one project that is REALLY beckoning me to explore. Below you'll find a quick grab from Route Editor that illustrates some of the terrain that would be traversed (the rail line would be in the floor of the canyon), as well as some terrtex experiments I made tonight...

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#3 laming

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 07:03 PM

And another view...

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#4 august1929

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 08:46 PM

It does look enticing Andre - canyon bottom sounds a lot easier than up that big hill smile.gif

How about one or two mini routes - say an industrial, or commercial area to switch. Over at Elvas, Wayne was thinking about a mini harbour route. Possibly quick to develop (I say possibly - but just consider Tim Muir's PE). Then it depends on the level of detail.

Tim's might be difficult to use on a low end computer, so some compromises might be needed. The main thing though would be in allowing you to complete a whole and immersive project in a relatively small time.

Could be centred in the middle of 4 tiles, allowing for enough scenic development outside the immediate are of interest. There have been a couple of routes built like this for RS, their drawback is that there isn't quite enough to do (enough variety) in the small areas modelled. Even so, they allow for a happy half hour or so, which is all I (and possibly a number of other people) have in terms of concentration laugh.gif

Rod

#5 NorthernElectric

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 11:13 PM

To add on to Rod's suggestion; a 1930's or 40's a small logging shortline somewhere up north or small modern day logging road, for example, the Weyerhaeuser Railroad in Washington state. Just an idea wink.gif

#6 laming

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:02 PM

Hi Rod and Felice:

Good input. Thanks.

In the past, I have considered a small industrial switching line... seriously. (And I still might.) It was to be based on the Kansas City West Bottoms industrial district. What discouraged me at the time was route content creation. On my trips to KC, I shot oodles of textures from that very area, but the majority of them are in raw form. In fact, some of my KC West Bottoms textures have made it into the train sim world via Rich Garber's route efforts, both MSTS and RS. (I gave him permission to use them.) Personally, I have yet to create ONE sim structure using those textures. I would need dozens and dozens. Sooo... that is sort of discouraging. Upside is ONE structure results in a lot of real estate covered and good visual impact because of size. Gotta' remember that with my fixation on TOC railroading, my object library leans heavily in that direction. With the exception of the objects used in the A&O, I would have to build up a modern library almost from scratch.

I have also been VERY tempted to model a port town. In this scenario, I have considered doing so by extending the Ozark Northern south to Ozark, AR to connect with the prototype Iron Mountain & Southern (later Missouri Pacific, later to become the Union Pacific). However, the aspect of "harbor" that intrigues me would be the fun of creating an 1890's river port town, complete with river boats, wharfs, and rail transfer. Also the thought of creating a bustling 1890's town sounds like fun, and make no mistake, Ozark would have offered that opportunity admirably. Along the way, I would have killed two birds with one stone in that I was going to create a logging entitiy that went up one of the more rugged hollows (hollers) on which the Shay and its kin would be completely at home. To accomplish this idea, the existing Ozark Northern would need to be extended some 16-17 miles to reach Ozark. The Ozark Northern extention is a VERY tempting project.

So, as you can see, your input along these lines lends credulity to the thought that great minds think alike... or would that be "demented minds"? laugh.gif

Ah... so many possibilities.

More later!

#7 laming

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 08:48 PM

Well... we had plans today to roll out the Hog and head off for the Ozarks. Unfortunately, Mother Nature conspired against us and it's rained all day. Not our idea of "fun" to ride the scooter in the rain.

Soooo....

I've been tinkering in RE and stuff.

Experimented some more with some terrtex for the above pictured route. Piddled with some track... then off for a look-see in-game. Interesting! Could definitely be enjoyable... but challenging.

Then, this evening, I created the markers and imported them, then added the tiles needed... and created the terrain to extend the Ozark Northern to Ozark, Arkansas so as to reach the Arkansas River. The terrain would be much more tame getting to Ozark... but the reason for the trip would be Ozark itself. As mentioned, I really think it would be fun to create an 1890's riverport town, complete with paddle boats and rail served docks/wharfs and such.

Then there's the OTHER route projects that lurk on my hard drive. But... those are additional stories best told another time.


#8 S. Weaver

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 05:19 PM

What's the canyon? Fictional? You'd get horrible washouts in a downpour! laugh.gif

#9 laming

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 05:38 PM

Nope... not fictional. Prototype. And yes, they got washed out.. often! laugh.gif

#10 Train-a-Mania

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 07:20 PM

I'd definitely vote for an Ozark extension. It could include a port town as you mentioned, and logging camps would be fun for doing log>lumber>goods activities.

Any chance a port town could include a car ferry, or a climax loco?

Of course, whatever project you choose to take on, I'm sure it will be amazing!

#11 bktrains

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 08:12 PM

I vote and I personally told you, you need to do a Modern Real to life A&M Route. Because it has Mountains, it has flat land, it has river bottoms, farm lands, grain elevators, you know you work there. So much possibilities in today's A&M line.

Some people do and still confuse the A&O sub as being the real A&M, which it is not.

Of course Larry Friddle did the A&M line, but in the Frisco era and which is fine but theres so many things wrong with it and the grades need a lot of work on in his route.

But I do support you which ever way you go in route building. I personally enjoy all your work, and I hope to buy the Ozark Northern soon. And I hope and look forward to seeing whatever you decided to "cook" up next.

Thanks.

#12 laming

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:58 PM

Ah, thanks for the input!

Barry: Doubt I'll ever tackle building the A&M in V scale. Doing it every day, day in and day out... I don't want to come home and do it some more. I use MSTS as one of my "escapes" to places and era's I wanted to see or such things.

Nick:

Extending the ON is high on my list.

HOWEVER...

Be reminded that I am NOT a "focused" sort of person in regards to my hobbies. Never was. Aside from life issues that arise, this is THE MAIN reason I am not a prolific commercial developer. I can't stay hooked up for the long term to get a project done as rapidly as practical. I admit this and accept it. Thus, now that the Ozark Northern V1 is released... I want to be free to explore and try my hand at several things. Right now, (in no particular order of priority), I'm wanting to dabble with three or four things as mood moves me:

1. Extending the ON to Ozark, AR and emphasizing its port town nature (as was the case in history) once there.

2. Looking at a prototype Colorado narrow gauge line (see pics above) that is GORGEOUS and incredibly interesting... but has several hurdles to overcome as well as having some significant compromises to accept.

3. A diesel route. Yup, you read right... I would like to take a break every now and then from the TOC era and piddle with diesels, circa 1969 or so... or maybe earlier. This time though, I would prefer prototype to proto-lanced (as is the A&O).

Welp... all for this go-round. More as the spirit moves me! laugh.gif

#13 wmghobbs

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:43 PM

The ON is MSTS at its best. It will be hard for Andre to outdo himself on his next route. Andre: I challenge you!!

Bill Hobbs

#14 laming

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 06:13 PM

Why thank you Bill.

Speaking of the Ozark Northern, it is of interest to note the following stats:

1. Extending the ON to Ozark, AR would require another 17-18 miles of track. I have a good head start on appropriate object/terrtex/scenery libraries. Would need some new structures and other assorted odds and ends. A good locomotive and rolling stock fleet already exists to equip it with.

2. The Colorado route would need a total of about 12 miles or rail laid to a junction, then another 8 or so up one fork, and another 15 or so up another. I have a fair amount of TOC structures/etc that could be re-used in the background... but many new structures would be needed. Terrtex patches would have to be created as well as other needs. Also, a completely new vegetation library would have to be created. (Spruce trees, etc.) However, there is no equipment truly suited to the route.

3. A diesel route being considered would need to have the track in a medium sized grain center town finished, as well as a few smaller industries that need finished out along the main. Total miles of rail laid thus far (in the dateless past) is about 50 miles. I have a small "modern" era structure/object library that could be used in the background... but many new structures would need to be built. Also would need new terrtex patches... lot's of 'em. Trees/shrubs can be tweaked reused on account of it is the same type of vegetation as I have already modeled. Freeware and payware is available for this road that could be used for equipment.

Lots to look at.

BUT...

This is one of the greatest appeals to me with MSTS: Point/click... work on (or run/enjoy) what you're in the mood for, regardless of era and locale!!! Agreed, jumping back and forth among projects is not the hot ticket for commercial developing... but WOW what a bunch of fun when in the mood to relax and create!

#15 bktrains

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:52 PM

QUOTE(laming @ May 19 2009, 5:39 PM) View Post

Ah, thanks for the input!

Barry: Doubt I'll ever tackle building the A&M in V scale. Doing it every day, day in and day out... I don't want to come home and do it some more. I use MSTS as one of my "escapes" to places and era's I wanted to see or such things.

Welp... all for this go-round. More as the spirit moves me! laugh.gif


Meanie! tongue.gif Just kiddin'. flowers.gif

Well, what about the Union Pacific Van Buren sub from Van Buren to the East (RR South) towards Little Rock? Maybe do it in the Missouri Pacific Era, since I know you do a lot of work in the earlier years of railroading. Just all suggestions, hey its always fun to think of what could come to be.

Either way, lets keep MSTS alive!

#16 Train-a-Mania

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 10:14 AM

QUOTE(laming @ May 19 2009, 7:39 PM) View Post


Extending the ON is high on my list.

HOWEVER...

Be reminded that I am NOT a "focused" sort of person in regards to my hobbies. Never was. Aside from life issues that arise, this is THE MAIN reason I am not a prolific commercial developer. I can't stay hooked up for the long term to get a project done as rapidly as practical. I admit this and accept it. Thus, now that the Ozark Northern V1 is released... I want to be free to explore and try my hand at several things.


Don't worry, Andre. I understand entirely, and I think our best work comes when we care about the project we are working on.

#17 laming

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 04:51 PM

Well... still cogitatin' and thinkin' on what I'd like to tinker with when the mood returns.

Thus far, the least path of resistance (sometimes that is good) is to extend the Ozark Northern south to the river.

The largish diesel route that I've toyed with over the years looks intimidating when I open RE. ALL that vastness that's got to be filled with THINGS.

Still in the running is the narrow gauge line. I'm in conversation with another MSTS narrow gauge enthusiast in regards to "Dual Tracks"... which would be needed at the main terminal.

Now, a question:

IF I extend the ON, what would you think if I converted it to XTracks? I did a tdb rebuild last night on a copy of the ON with all interactives in place and it passed with flying colors. SOOO... I could likely convert it to XTracks. Thoughts?

Anyhoo... as you can see from the pic below... I'm deep in thought about this smile.gif ....

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#18 batt

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 03:17 PM

QUOTE(laming @ May 21 2009, 3:32 PM) View Post


Now, a question:

IF I extend the ON, what would you think if I converted it to XTracks? I did a tdb rebuild last night on a copy of the ON with all interactives in place and it passed with flying colors. SOOO... I could likely convert it to XTracks. Thoughts?




Got a preference for ScaleRail myself, but however you make it, I'll buy it rolleyes.gif .


#19 laming

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 04:01 PM

Hi 'Ya batt!

Converting to ScaleRail would mean I would have to address the dynamic track issue, of which there is quite a bit in this version of the ON.

Likely will stick with the basic MSTS track system, possibly adding XTracks.

However, the more I think about it, in the case of the ON, I doubt the effort to go with XTracks would be worth what I would "gain". Besides, IF I actually finished the extension to the point I could share it with others via distribution... it would pose some complications on the end user.

Of course, those same complications would exist if I chose a narrow gauge subject, too.

Hmmmm.....

#20 batt

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 05:27 PM

Quite a bit of dynamic track? Drat sad.gif Somehow, I knew you were going to say that.

No matter. The present configuration of the ON is quite pleasurable and I look forward to whatever you do with it in the future. Extending the line to a port or river terminal at Ozark would create some really interesting scenarios appropriate to the time period when "the rails met the sails" to form an integrated transportation system. I could see the zinc mined along the ON being carried to Ozark for trans-shipment by barge or steamer to some far away smelter downstream. I could also see miners and equipment disembarking from the sternwheelers and then carried north by passenger and freight trains to their new place of employment.

But what of the AR&N? Will they grant trackage rights to ON between Turner's Bend and Ozark?....Or do they get caught up in a financial squeeze (subprime loans laugh.gif ) and are then forced to divest the line to the ON?

Could turn out to be a very interesting story. Can't wait to see how it all works out smile.gif .

Thanks for all your hard work and that of Mr. Davis as well. Still enjoying ON 1 immensely.