As We Wait...
Posted 04 March 2004 - 08:19 PM
Admittedly, in many ways the North Arkansas is a huge experiement:
* It's an obscure prototype.
* It's set in an obscure region.
* It's set in an obscure era.
* It's going to push the envelope with some its activity concepts.
At this point, ALL of the above is a huge question mark in regards as to whether it will be financially successul enough to warrant the work and effort it has required.
However, it's already nearing completion, so, for better or for worse, it's on its way.
BUT... what about the "next one"? What will VSC attempt next?
THAT I've really been cogitating this point over the past several weeks (months). Further, as the time spent in RE and AE on the North Arkansas has slowed while the beta testing goes on, I've had even more time to really distill what I want to do. In so doing, I've sort of had a self- discovery.
If you will indulge me, I will endeavor to explain...
Over the past several months, when needing a break from the North Arkansas, I've stolen time and used it to look at many route concepts in many, many locales. In my MSTS Routes folder reside way too many routes that I created in order to explore and get a feel for the DEM terrain as well as try to ascertain their potential.
Given these route explorations, and given my musings, I've now come to these conclusions:
This can't be about "bucks". That is, choosing to build a route simply because it looks "do-able" (i.e. "easy"). Neither can it be choosing a route to build because it "could be popular, hence good sales".
Nope, this is not where it's at for me. If these items were my only criteria, any of dozens of routes would do as a "next one". Pick one and let the slow, forward trudging begin.
Sure, I hope to generate some income through my efforts... but route building has to be much more than that to me. More so, since I'm essentially a lone wolf builder, and basically have to do all the elements of a route myself. Trying to find motivation in the hope of earning some extra dollars is, frankly, insufficient in view of the tremendous amount of time and work to produce a route by yourself, especially in view of the modest sales figures that are a very real possibility. (Doubt this is going to be all that lucrative for me.) So, looking at routes with a "this is do-able" or "this ought to sell" approach has proven to be nowhere for me.
I just can't get excited about it.
Instead, I have to have a "drive" to put forth the sizable effort to build the route I'm tackling, or intend to tackle.
With the North Arkansas, it was the challenge of capturing an era that no one has tried before. Presenting a locale that no one has attempted before. Even the thought of (in a small way) loosely preserving a prototype that I've had an interest in for decades. I've got a feeling there will be a certain amount of satisfaction in knowing that (once released) MSTS enthusiasts will be plying the rails of a route they would have never heard of if it weren't for MY efforts. History and preservation unfolding before their eyes.
I guess I could call this fuel for my drive "passion".
Passion is what gives me the drive to accomplish things in MSTS. Without passion for what I'm doing, it just isn't fun, and I will not have the tenacity to overcome the many, many obstacles you face when you single-handedly build a route.
So where am I going with this? Well, it's a bit too early to state up front what's "next", for I have yet to release the North Arkansas. (And that is priority.)
However, I CAN at least tell where I'm NOT going.
At this point it looks unlikely that I'll go to Colorado, or to the Alleghanies, or to New England, or some other such place.
Instead, I will very likely return to an old friend of a railroad that has captivated my interest for over 35 years. It was a line that was profoundly influential in my tastes in railroading, in my interpretation of railroading, et al.
To recreate it, and thus introduce others to it, and in that way share it with those that didn't have the opportunity to witness it, along with MSTS being a means of preserving it for others to experience it, is indeed part of the motivation to pursue this direction.
BUT... most importantly... I would be bringing back into existance the VERY RAILROAD that holds incredible amounts of personal memories and railroading discoveries that I experienced for the first time. In this way, it would also be a "homecoming" of sorts for me personally to enjoy.
That friend, is where the "passion" comes in: The hope of producing something, not because "I hope it sells", but because of the personal reward of getting to once again be riding in the cab of an old friend, to again see the sights that were oh-so-familiar, but now oh-so-gone. (If I could only smell the diesel exhaust!)
THAT I can have passion for.
It indeed looks like I'm coming home to a place I've always been.
I invite you to stay tuned for more input over the coming weeks.
Posted 04 March 2004 - 09:08 PM
Keep doing what you are doing. Let your heart be your guide and I know you will create a much better route that way.
Again thanks for sharing that with us. At least we know what is your driving force. Thank goodness it isn't the money. But then, I knew that from the minute you put your heart and soul into North Arkansas. It was obvious by the way you described each step of the way in its creation. There was a sense of what you were about.
I, for one, applaud that, and it is nice to know that there are builders out there like yourself and Rich G. It makes running the railroads you create that more enjoyable for me.
Am looking forward to this and your next project Andre. Good luck! (And I do hope you make some money with it as well!)
Posted 06 March 2004 - 06:33 PM
Aside from needing the "passion" to pursue a project, some of the more logistical problems I perceived with going elsewhere were:
1. Gathering the information I needed to even have a gist of the target line. (i.e. Spending some very significant dollars on harbound books with the info I would want.)
2. Getting structure information, photo textures (vegetation, terrain, and structural) and such needed for the supporting cast. (No access to the area.)
3. Total lack of familiarity in the locale/etc with whatever non-regional subject I would have chosen, so no real way of knowing if I was doing an accurate job reproducing the grades and such.
Now, having said that, I will say that I think you (it would be great if "many") will like what I have in mind.
It's a prototype route with lots of "character", has an incredible amount of switching opportunities (even different types of switching assigments), wonderful scenery, rugged grades, tall trestles, several moderate sized towns, lots of small towns... in fact, there aren't many negatives except for the size of it at 133 miles total. However, going with incremental releases and biting it off in chunks will keep me feeling like I'm making progress as I finish/release an installment, (and hopefully will help to generate a bit of income along the way) as well it being fun for those interested in being able to enjoy it with me as it grows.
To add frosting to the cake, the groundwork is in place for 3DTrains to supply the custom equipment for the route.
IF I make the final decision to go this direction, it will likely be my project for the entire year.
Posted 07 March 2004 - 05:18 PM
Posted 08 March 2004 - 03:34 PM
Well, wasn't intentionally trying to be "secretive" ... it's more of a case that I'll be in the evaluation process for some time yet (as I get the time), and thus don't want to give the impression that it's a "done deal", only to find that I feel it would be too big/complex/whatever to tackle and thus go a different direction after all. There are technical issues I'll have to address as well. (For example, there's a Great White Void that will require a significant tile and terrain shift.)
If those interested will not hold my feet to the fire, then there wouldn't be any harm in revealing what I'm investigating:
The Frisco's Ft. Smith Subdivision, circa 1970.
If you're not familar with the prototype, then you're in for a real treat learning about it. For example: The first route installment being looked at would contain about 45 or so customers to serve.
Posted 08 March 2004 - 08:34 PM
About 10 years ago, I got back into playing music after a 25 year hiatus, and I think we share a similar attitude toward our creative output. I will definitely find a way to purchase anything you produce, as i admire your dedication to your passion as well as your attention to detail...
As for the Ft Smith subdivision: follow your muse. I can tell you from personal experience that you will not fail, but if you were to 'sell out' in search of material gain, you will just as surely never win...
I'm sure it will be a masterpiece...
Posted 08 March 2004 - 09:09 PM
Still waiting patiently for your current project to get the ok.
Tim (the other one of the many). Train Sim is the only place I know with so many Tim's in one place. I wonder if there is any significance to that..........hmmmmm!
Posted 08 March 2004 - 11:48 PM
and there's more than one 'Baldwin' too - but only one combines the two...
and BTW: there is at least one New England route already in the works. I remember seeing a post on train-sim about 6 months ago. hope reigns eternal....
Posted 09 March 2004 - 08:21 PM
Well, I hadn't heard about that route. Let's hope that comes true.
Yeah, there is more than one Hunter too but the rest are carrying rifles or bow and arrows!
Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:26 PM
Posted 12 March 2004 - 09:27 PM
Posted 12 March 2004 - 11:08 PM
Posted 15 March 2004 - 06:19 PM
Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:53 AM
Hmmm. I would like to see that Conn River line. Do you know who was doing it? Hope he hasn't quit. I just wish someone would go a little further north is all. You know, up in God's country, Maine!
Good luck with the route, I will get it for sure. Freight or no freight.
Posted 17 March 2004 - 12:37 PM