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So How Far Have You Got??


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#1 laming

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 09:03 AM

How far have you guys worked your way through the activities?

Are you taking your time and working through them slowly... or just exploring and enjoying other things... or trying to rush through the activities like a rabid "gamer"? (I'm trying to better understand the recreational dynamics of a typical "train simmer".)

Some of the activities will have a lot of head' scratchin' when it comes to switchin'.

Soo..... how'ya doin'?

Andre Ming

#2 jbt1024

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 10:20 AM

I think I'm on 15, but I play on the Free-From activity alot, I Add and subtract cars for the fun but The activitys are well done, I done one good one and it took me over a week or two, so the acts are rolleyes.gif

#3 Guest_cyberjim_*

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 11:40 AM

I don't know exactly where I am on the act list. By looking at these screens, you should be able to tell what I've run so far

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and Andre, is this your summer cottage by chance??

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and I don't know whats up with this guy!! He looks at little lost in the pass track at Beaver!!

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#4 Shaa

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 02:14 PM

I'm only starting number 6 but then I'm limiting myself to one per day so I can actually do a few other things wink.gif

Jim

#5 ChiliLine

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 07:25 PM

Andre - I just got my CD this afternoon, and ran through the first activity. I'll probably go through them in order, that being my personality tongue.gif

So far, she looks great. I've been taking it easy and letting Otto run the firebox, but I may get more ambitious as I get more experience. An enjoyable first run with only one instance of overspeed coming out of Pender. I'm really looking forward to the rest. You built a nice story with run number 1. f

Andy

#6 laming

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 08:16 PM

Andy:

You just now received your CD??

Wonder why there's so much inconsistancy with the USPS?

I've checked my records and your CD looks to have gone out on 6/14/04. I've shipped CD's to the UK after yours and they arrived BEFORE yours.

No explanation for the delay in transit.

Just glad you finally got it.

Hope you have a lot of fun with it.

Andre

#7 zhivago47

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 08:30 PM

Well, I am taking a lot of time with the activities Andre, simply because I want to learn to do things the correct way. I have finished number one only, but in between I am doing some freewheelin' just so the next activity I won't be so stupid and speed or anything else. I am not used to running these things without at least the firebox help so I am taking my time and not in any hurry anyway. I am just having too much fun to hurry! This route is the greatest thing since sliced bread!

#8 Mike

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 03:19 AM

I've only run your New Hire #1 (the first activity), but I've run it three times so I could carefully study the HUD and digest how all the numbers interact with speed and braking.

Let me admit that until your route arrived, I had always run with the track monitor and used it's "projected" as a cheat. Without it, I need to pay close attention to track signage, and watch all the numbers on the HUD.

Proper brake handling is something else I need to work on and your excellent documentation helps.

I'm really in no rush to complete all your activities. Routes like your North Arkansas don't appear very often and I'd like to savor the experience rather than crash-bang gobble up all the eye candy in one hurried route-explore sitting.

The last time I ran New Hire #1, I exceeded the limit twice for very short periods because as I get more confident with the HUD and brakes, I seem to want to crowd the limit as I run—something you warn against in the documentation.

But even now I'm cheating 'cause I've got Otto working. I think with a bit more study and practice, and another run or two of New Hire #1, I might get good enough to handle the firebox myself, although I think it's likely prototypical to have some assistance from Otto. Even in Flight Simulator, trying to handle the jobs of two people at once (pilot and co-pilot), is less real than employing available assistance so you can concentrate on what it is you've been hired to do well. wink.gif

My first run of Activity #1 took 1:28. This most recent took 1:14. Even though I stopped as required midway through the route, there's still a report that I missed a station. Any idea?

#9 uli

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 05:18 AM

I have run activities #1 to 5 so far, but I can only run MSTS after work for about 1 hour each day (except weekends biggrin.gif ), and I have to divide my time between the "North Arkansas" and "Canton-Suddenly".

I am still using the track monitor because I like to look around at the details of the route even when running an activity, and without the track monitor I might overlook a speed post tongue.gif . Otherwise, I think you don't really need the F4 monitor on this route.

Like Mike, I am using "Otto" for taking care of the fire and steam. It is definitely challenging to "do it all yourself", but aside from me being a little bit lazy sometimes, I also think it is prototypical to have an engineer plus a fireman on a steam locomotive.

I only wish I would not have to rely on the HUD so much, but I need it to see the actual speed of the train and the brake pressure, because the gauges in the cabview are not very precise huh.gif .

Regarding the activities, the only real problem that I had so far was a "cornfield meet" in #2 (EDIT: #3) shortly after I had finished switching at Grandview. I must have been much too slow, and I guess the guy in the other train had given up to wait for me any longer at Freeman blush.gif . Next time I was faster, and everything worked out as planned.

The double reverse points required to back the train a little to work, as Andre has written.

I am enjoying every minute on the route!

@ Mike:

I think the report that you missed a station might be because the TS activity editor by default makes an action event "stop train at last station" for every new activity that is created, although it only makes sense for passenger runs. If that event has not been deleted, you will get the message, even if you have done everything right to complete the activity. Just ignore it, as I do wink.gif .

I hope I made myself clear because my TS (and me) speak German.

Cheers,
uli

#10 Mike

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 07:28 AM

Good comments, Uli. Your English is fine and clear to this reader.

You might remember that the "New Hire 1" activity ends at the coal bin, and when the hog stops, "Activity Complete" pops-up. Nowhere to stop other than that so the "missed" station remains a mystery. huh.gif

Thanks for adding your good remarks.

#11 mquist

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 08:04 AM

I just finished 3 but I ended up running it a four times do to ending the first three in the corn field. I'm still getting used to the brakes and have had trouble getting down to speed limit at the 10MPH section at Junction with out stopping and then getting up the long grade to tunnel is a problem. Looks to me if I dont finish the tie company switching and get going befor the AI train starts it come ahead and we collide. On my fourth try I managed to make decent time up the grade (18MPH eather than 10-12MPH) and I managed the tie switching with out any mistakes so I got out of town 5 minutes before the AI started so everything worked as planned. If you don't make the time about the only thing you can do is back out and take the siding leaving the main for the oncomming train.

#12 laming

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 08:14 AM

So... if the most you guys have is only at #6, all I can say is you got a LOT of railroadin' ahead of 'ya!

Plus, IMHO, you have got a LOT of fun waiting to be experienced. Take your time, enjoy the trip, and LEARN the railroad as you go. That's what railroading is all about: LEARNING the route, LEARNING to handle the equipment.

I was hoping the activities would keep you all busy for quite some time. (Play value.)

Various musings:

Don't regard the "Missed some station stops" in the review. No station stop features were used. I've seen that on many, many activities I've run on other lines by other vendors. Seems to be something we're doing wrong in the activity creation or the way MSTS handles some things. Fret not.

Otto - I use him exclusively. Some really like to fire, I like to run. I feel I have my hands full enough handling the train efficiently and prefer to let Otto do his thing. I always tease Bill Hobbs (who LOVES to hand fire) and tell him I never had to do both when running steam for the ES&NA! The steaming values are set to where you get good performance with Otto. According to Bill, you will also like it when you hand fire.

Cornfield Meets - In some rare cases of timing (if you're running late), if you do a reverse movement once an AI is active and waiting at a distant point, your reverse move may signal to him "all is okay" and away he'll go. This is also apparent with a signaled route. Fortunately, a cornfield meet in MSTS only results in a few electrons displaying a rather embarrassing moment. Hit restart and try again! You'll eventually get proficient enough with all the controls and handling the engines that you'll be like clockwork. When that point is reached: You're a sure'nuf Hoghead (capital "H"!)

HUD/Busy/etc - Right you are, Mike. You've got your hands full when running: Watching your steam, paying attention to the grade changes, brake applications, keeping up with speed limits, remembering train orders... that's railroadin'! The North Arkansas takes the simmer many steps closer to a geniune simulated railroad experience. It was WORK, so it comes as little surprise that in the sim you're BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. There ARE some activities that are more "laid back", but SOME will be quite intense. I also know this: Once you get proficient with steam engines, you MAY find running some sim diesels less challenging. (Agh! Did I really say that about my beloved diseasles?)

As for speedometers: Come to think of it, I don't recall there being one in the steamers I ran on the ES&NA... but that's been nearly 20 years ago. Most employee timetables gave "x" telegraph/telephone poles per sec = "x" MPH tables in them for the engineers to use to gauge their speed. Can you say "rudimentary"?

Here's something I'll bet some of you didn't know: Telegraph/telephone poles were evenly spaced on the prototype, with a set number of them per mile. Thus, when slow orders, or whatever were issued, they could read thus: "Restrict speed to 10 MPH MP 23 plus 10 poles until MP 23 plus 15 poles on account of burnt rail". I used to know how many poles-per-mile on the Frisco, but that's been 30 years ago! (I THINK it was 40, but I'm not sure now.)

As you'll see, the North Arkansas takes you closer to the "railroad simulation" goal than anything I've run to date.

Keep on enjoying it!

Andre Ming

#13 ChiliLine

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 06:37 PM

Andre - I was beginning to wonder myself where the CD had ended up, but I was out of sorts for a bit due to some work on the chompers, so it really didn't bother me much. When it finally got here, there was a stamp across the front:

Non-Standard Mail Surcharge
Postage Due

I didn't see any stamp or postmark on it - just the return mailing label. I don't know if you've got a special arrangement with the USPS or not, but it was different than the "regular" mail. That may have had something to do with the longer routing. No one has tried to hit me up for the postage, so I figure the postage was paid somewhere down the line.

Got through most of #2 this evening - I'll try to finish her up tomorrow and move on to #3. I've had lots of fun with it so far - nice job!

Andy

#14 zhilton

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 08:13 PM

Hey Andre, when you talk about running a little late and having a "cornfield meet"...I had one of those tonight on run #3 at Grandview. I guess I got behind when I was rearranging the cars at Eureka Springs before I left town. Needless to say I had a meet waiting for me when I pulled #3 out of the spur and headed back to the train to leave town...THERE HE WAS!!! blink.gif ohmy.gif And talk about a case of rail rage...started pushing my locomotive into my train...and wouldn't stop. I do have one question about the train orders that you'll get in route. Will there always be a pop window to tell you that you need to stop at the next station for new orders? The last couple of runs I haven't been able to tell when the "train order board" is displayed versus not displayed. Thank you for the information...really a great route, just wished I had more time for it. 30-60 minutes ever couple of days isn't enough time dry.gif mad.gif

#15 laming

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 06:49 AM

Zach:

Sure you're talking about switching at Eureka? Offhand, I don't recall having set up any AI to ENTER Eureka.

As for actually "seeing" an Order Board: Ain't gonna' happen. Isn't a modeled feature, don't know how it could be dynamically linked to the activities if it was modeled. This is covered in either one of the tutorial activities or in the documents, or both. Can't remember which off hand.

Fret not, if you're supposed to stop to take orders, you WILL be informed via Pop Up. Just be sure to read each and every pop up that occurs en route!

Can't help you with your short of time issues... but I DID at least produce a fun route to play on when you DO have time? biggrin.gif

Andre

#16 moose49

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 04:46 PM

rolleyes.gif

Andre,

have crashed, bashed, and stalled numerous times finally made it through #1 and #2 this is just the best route.

#17 zhivago47

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 07:47 PM

Sounds familiar Jeff, but that's ok, having fun with it. In some other routes I would be getting mad and just quitting, but this is different, this is learning and it is done in a specific order for a reason, so can't quit. Nor do I really want to. Too much fun! wink.gif

#18 candjfan

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 11:55 AM

Andre,

I got my CD on Monday. If this were ebay I would give you a positive feedback both for the super fast delivery and the fantastic route. I have managed to run the tutorials. I had several problems, all due to my ineptness at running engine #3. I am looking forward to getting back behind the throttle.

I live in Central Arkansas, at the edge of the Ouachitas and very close to the Ozarks. I am very fairly familiar with the terrain that your route models. I have also rode the trains at Eureka Springs a bunch of times. I read a book written by a local man named Hull that had some history on the route. I must say that you have managed to capture a realistic feel and mood of the area you are modeling to a degree that no other route that I own has managed to do, and I have a bunch of them. The rock formations, hills and valleys, trees, rivers, towns, etc. are extremely lifelike.

I am very impressed with your artistic abliity and I thank you for using your talents in this way. The documentation is excellent, also.

Thanks,

Mike Arndt

#19 Ranc0r

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 12:13 PM

Andre,

I ran each of the First Run acts twice, to begin learning the road. I love steam, and haven't even CONSIDERED letting Otto into my cab in so long, I almost forgot there IS an auto fireman. My run times improved each time.


I am currently doing the Southbound Run, #5 I think, from Seligman to Berryville. I, too, had the dreaded cornfield meet on #3, as I crawled up the hill from Junction. My second try at it, I peeked into the ENG file and found the idealfiremass figure, and kept up on the woodpile better. Even firing by hand, I managed 12 mph all the way up to Freeman, instead of 8.

Hey, how come you get a 10 mph limit running from Eureka Springs to Berryville, but it's 20 mph taking the same leg of the wye interchange, when running Berryville to Eureka? Isn't the same bridge just as hazardous going in either direction? Why different speeds depending on direction?

As steam lover, I have to ask: Why did you not use ONE functional re-fueling point anywhere on the route? I know that the great water towers you did use aren't active pick-up objects, but to not leave just one water plug or tower working anywhere? How are we supposed to have marathon free-form runs, with no place to really re-fuel? Fortunately, Ole' #3 is easy on water, and this route doesn't have 10 feet of level tangent track anywhere.

I just love the way the roadbed is cribbed up and balasted near all those little draws. Reminds me of track work on the WVRR. The bridges and trestles are picture-perfect, and the towns look like they sprang up there out of wagon wheel ruts. Great route. My next tricks will be turning off the town and siding markers, then turning off the track monitor, too.

Great work, and money well spent on my part. Have you thought about a VR for the NA?

#20 laming

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 01:13 PM

Hi RancOr and Mike and all the newcomers! Welcome to VSC's forum. Thank you for purchasing The North Arkansas!

Lessee' if I can offer some input to some of the things asked...

"Hey, how come you get a 10 mph limit running from Eureka Springs to Berryville, but it's 20 mph taking the same leg of the wye interchange, when running Berryville to Eureka?"

Ooops. May be an oversight on my part, or it may be a quirk in the way the sim handles speed limits in regards to direction of travel/paths, etc. You can handle it in two ways:

1. Accept the indicated higher speed limit and run accordingly.

2. Hold your speed to the same posted speed as was the other direction until the next speed post allows faster speed.

Technically: The lower speed limit is "correct".

"As steam lover, I have to ask: Why did you not use ONE functional re-fueling point anywhere on the route?"

Well... uh.... okay... the skinny...

The water tank was a consigned object. We never did "get back" to making it a pick up object. Hopefully, it won't detract from your overall enjoyment of the North Arkansas.

"Have you thought of a VR for the NA."

Not really. Been too busy with NA things as well as the groundwork for "the next one". How does a VR work?

Thanks again guys and keep yankin' that Lound Handle!


Andre Ming
aka "Coonskin", the Official Head Hogger of the North Arkansas