Thursday, December 27, 2007

New at Virtual Railroader

We have two new items for you:

1. "Payware for Trainz" by John D'Angelo reviews some of the great payware websites and items available for Trainz. See the VR Reading Room.

2. Now at the VR Downloads page : Boston To Portland Final is John D'Angelo's update for TRS2006/SP-1 of his earlier Boston To Portland route at the Trainz Download Station for TRS2004. The new version is fully winterized.

Happy Holidays!!!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trouble in River City

Briefly, for those who haven’t yet heard, Auran has voluntarily filed a chapter eleven for its Fury developments segment of the organization. Trainz is a separate branch. However, the umbrella part of Auran employs all the personnel. As a first step, all personnel were fired last week. Some were hired back to continue work on the next delivery of Trainz Classics 3.

See the full article at the VR Reading Room.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Operations at Grand River Junction

There is a new TRS2006 route, session and descriptive article at Virtual Railroader. See the VR Reading Room.

GRAND RIVER JUNCTION was designed to demonstrate the use of Portals and iPortals. It also works as a standalone module that will keep you busy switching cars and monitoring train movements indefinitely.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

"White Mountain Winter, A Holiday Gift" by John D'Angelo

New at the VR Reading Room: "White Mountain Winter, A Holiday Gift" by John D'Angelo. The gift includes a free snowy route and session at the VR Downloads page.

Enjoy, everyone, and have a great holiday season.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shooting the TC Harlem Line - Virtually

"Shooting the TC Harlem Line" by yours truly is at the VR Reading Room. This is about one of my favorite train-sim activities - train-sim photography.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Meet John D'Angelo

New at the VR Reading Room:

Meet John D'Angelo, author of numerous articles at the VR Reading and its predecessors, Virtual Railroader e-zine and Virtual Model Railway Journal. John is also the creator of a number of very popular Trainz routes.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Colorado Narrow Gauge route for TS2006

"Colorado Narrow Gauge: Rebirth of an Old Friend" by Alfred Barten has just been posted to the VR Reading Room.

CNG is an update to John D'Angelo's Black Canyon route for TRS2006, adding Portals and interactive logging, lumbering, mining and passenger service.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

New at the VR Reading Room

New at the VR Reading Room:

A Busy Day at Union Terminal by John D'Angelo. This article
describes John's route that makes use of portals and a signal box (aka
switchtower) to watch all the action at busy Union Terminal and
control the traffic. The route is available for fee download at the
Virtual Railroader downloads page .



Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting And Keeping Their Attention: A Good Use For iPortals

New at the VR Reading Room:

Getting And Keeping Their Attention: A Good Use For iPortals by Alfred Barten.

This article explains the usage of iPortals for Trainz and describes the differences between Portals and iPortals.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Conquering Vista

"Does Trainz work with Vista?" I've been asked a number of times at train shows. Until now I could only cite what I've seen on the forums: "Yes, BUT ....."

Some people seem to have no difficulty; others do. I now am one of the latter. I've read on the forums that you can get around Vista's over protectiveness by installing Trainz using the Run as Administrator command applied to the installation executable. That didn't do it for me.

Chris Cordes, the US Distributor for Trainz, passed on a solution that had been brought up in his programming group: Install Trainz someplace other than in the C:\Program Files directory. In other words, instead of this (which is the default):

C:\Program Files\Auran\Trainz

use this (for example):

C:\Games\Auran\Trainz or C:\Auran\Trainz

It worked. I now have TRS2004 and TRS2006 running without a hitch. I haven't tried Tainz Classics on this new machine yet.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Rail Simulator Release Date Announced

Rail Simulator, the new train simulator from Kuju and Electronic Arts, is scheduled to be released in Europe on Friday, 5 October 2007. A US release date has not been announced.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

New at the VR Reading Room: Jamesport Route

in modular fashion to be added to any route or operated on its own
using portals.

This new article by John D'Angelo is at the VR Reading Room

This Trainz route is at the VR Downloads page


Friday, August 10, 2007

Bearpaw Lumber Company Route for Trainz

THE BEARPAW LUMBER COMPANY ROUTE is a simple switching layout designed to demonstrate the workings of Trainz dynamic industries. You may find it addictive.

The complete article is at the VR Reading Room. The route and sessions are available for free download at the Virtual Railroader Downloads page.



Sunday, July 15, 2007

MN Harlem Line from Trainz

Read about the Metro North Harlem Line just released by Auran in their new Trainz Classics series, here.


Friday, July 13, 2007

The Urge to Create

Every now and then I slow down long enough to think about what I'm doing. It's a human thing. What got me started was a comment by a neighbor made at a recent party. He complained about today's music and how it just doesn't measure up to the classics of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. He could see no redeeming value in today's music and connected it to some cultures other than the one he thought most highly of. I responded, less succinctly than I am here, that just because I don't like a particular artistic effort doesn't mean it's bad or unsuccessful. My impression of many musicians is that they are serious in their efforts and are driven more by their artistic sensibilities than by popular opinion. I also suggested that the artist holds up a mirror to the times he/she is living in. Sometimes we don't like what we see. If that's the case, don't blame the messenger but look more closely at ourselves and begin to make changes to ourselves rather than demand it of others (no matter how much we may object, we are almost certainly more a part of the "condition" than we care to admit). That's one way to end a conversation!!!

The point I wish to examine is the premise that the artist holds a mirror by which the rest of us can see ourselves. I consider myself an artist, not because I was an architect for many years, or because I have sung in choral societies and played in orchestras and now a band, or that I like to write. Under those terms I never considered myself worthy of the mantle. I consider myself an artist because I have an urge to create. This urge is what ties most of us in the model railroading (including virtual modeling) hobby together.

My urge to create goes back as far as I can remember. Whenever I saw or heard something that moved me I responded by imitating it or building a model of it or drawing a picture of it or humming it. As a child I looked out the window of our 9th floor apartment in New York's Manhattan Island and saw buses and trucks. I responded by making a fleet of buses out of colored construction paper, making a template, tracing it onto the paper; and cutting, folding and pasting the cutout to form a bus. Later I made trucks, which were more complex in form. I placed my wooden wheelbarrow on its side on the end of my bed so that the wheel was in a horizontal position. I then sat crosslegged in front of the "driving wheel" and "drove" my imaginary bus up and down Lexington Avenue (it was two-way then).

I also built one-armed bandits out of cardboard. If someone dropped a nickel in the slot I would drop a pack of Chicklets down the chute. I even tried to make a banjo out of a box and rubber band strings.

When I saw my first wet, heavy snow storm I got out my crayons and drew a picture of a tree with snow completely surrounding the trunk and branches, top and bottom. My father was so impressed he took it to the office to show to his friends. When I began music lessons I made some music manuscript paper and began placing notes on the staff. I then asked my father to play it for me so I could hear what it sounded like. Today I woke up thinking about the urge to create and decided to get my thoughts down on "paper" before I did anything else.

My point is that even a 5-year-old boy is holding a mirror to what surrounds him, and as we know from the old Art Linkletter shows, kids can be notoriously accurate. If my childhood mirror was dominated by buses and trucks it's because my childhood world was dominated by buses and trucks. Now that I live in the country, I notice the men and boys collect tractors, real and modeled.

I want to encourage every model/virtual railroader to recognize the artist within. Being an artist is not defined by an ability to draw, paint, write, sing or what have you. It's defined by the urge to create, whether that be trains or treehouses or sculptures or whatever pleases you. When we follow that impulse we are contributing something of value to society, not that many of us were worried about doing so. After all, enjoying our activity is its own reward. But still, if someone asks why you're still playing with trains, don't be caught off guard. You have an answer.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Rail Simulator News

Kuju, in partnership with Electronic Arts has been working (forever, it seems) on Rail Simulator, aimed specifically at the UK and German markets. In a recent announcement, the partnership has added a German arm, Deutshe Bahn.

The announcement we're ALL looking for is the one that says Rail Simulator has gone gold. So far there has been no such announcement. In fact, any prediction of a release date is conspicuously absent in this latest announcement.

Meanwhile, Auran continues to move ahead with Trainz. Their new/evolutionary Trainz Classics has gone gold and is slated for a July 9 release. Now that's news we can do something with!


Monday, June 18, 2007

New at the VR Reading Room

Creating the Virginia & Truckee for Trainz by John D'angelo and Collin Travena.

Collin Trevena describes progress on a Trainzer group project: The Virginia & Truckee Railroad. The Trainz route currently stands at 1000 baseboards. See the VR Reading Room.


Trainz Classics Goes Gold

Auran announced in its Trainz News today that the new Trainz Classics, featuring a prototype rendering of a major portion of the Metro North Harlem Line has gone gold. That means the final version has been set and is on its way to the printer for production of distribution copies. Trainz Classics is slated to ship July 9th. Auran is accepting pre-orders now at the Auran Shop.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Modeling NYCTA Subways in V-Scale

The July issue of Railroad Model Craftsman has my five-page article on Fred Barbieri's New York City's subway modeling in MSTS. This issue is about to hit the newsstand and is probably already in the mail to subscribers. I received my author's issue today.

If you like the article, be sure to let the editors at RMC know. That will encourage them to continue giving coverage to virtual railroading.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Trainz Classics Website

Auran has launched its new Trainz Classics Website in anticipation of its first release - now July 9 - under this new series title. First up is the Metro North (former New York Central) Harlem Line.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

New at the VR Reading Room, 5 May 07

A Great New Idea for Passenger Cars by John D'Angelo is now at the VR Reading Room .

This Download Gold series for Trainz article describes Ben Dorsey's namable and numberable Pullman cars. Now you can have Pullman cars with any road name and number you desire.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New at the VR Reading Room

New at the VR Reading Room : "On the Road to Darjeeling" by John D'Angelo. John brings us up to date on progress with the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway project for Trainz. This article will be featured in the next issue of Trainz News from Auran.

-- Al

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to Run a Virtual Railroad

Have you run out of ideas for ways to use Trainz? Take a look at Brian Eckard's great article on running a virtual railroad. You can find it here at Brian's Stuck Junction Publishing Company web site.


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Locomania from Atari

There's a new train sim from Atari called Locomania. This is a strategy/dispatching game with 3D visuals. Go here for the most information I've been able to find so far. There's even a free demo, which I'm downloading as I write this


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Trainz Routes ready to ship

In case you haven't gotten your copy of the 15 March 07 Trainz News, the first two disks in the new Trainz Routes series are ready to ship. Those who ordered before March 8 will be first on the list.


Northbay County for TRS2006

New at the VR Reading Room:

"Northbay County" by Yours Truly

This is the second in our Straight From The Box series on TRS2006. Northbay County is a feature-packed route based on 2-foot and 3-foot narrow gauge railroading.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

The NEW Hartford & Springfield Street Railway

New at the VR Reading Room :

The NEW Hartford & Springfield Street Railway by Yours Truly.

This is part one in a series describing the building of my next Trainz trolley route.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Automating the M-Line

I've added a new article - Automating the M-Line - to the VR Reading Room .This article describes use of the automated features incorporated into my updated version of the M-Line 2006 released last month. The new route, M-Line PE, is available at the Downloads page on my Virtual Railroader web site.



Friday, February 23, 2007

What's On Tap (We're Waiting ...Tap, Tap Tap!)

2007 could be a banner year for train simmers if all the things in the works come through. Then again, we could drum ourselves to sleep waiting and hoping. Here's what's in the works (and bear in mind I don't have a crystal ball or inside information).

Auran has announced the imminent release of Trainz Routes, collections of routes from the Trainz Download Station on CD-ROM. Two disks have been announced with five routes apiece. Also in the works are the first Classic Trainz - Metro North's Harlem Line - which is expected to be a prototypical route and rolling stock. Perhaps the biggest anticipated Auran release is a Mac version of Trainz. This was announced as ready for beta testing last spring, if memory serves, and should certainly be ready sometime this year, say spring?

Kuju/EA have been working on their new Rail Simulator for what seems an eternity, though it hasn't been anywhere near that long. They've demonstrated it at game shows as early as last fall. Can we expect a release sometime this year? The big question then will be whether an American version is forthcoming or whether enterprising third-party developers will create enough content to effectively make it an "American" sim. Or will it remain a sim focused on the British and European markets. Kuju, for those who don't recall,. was the actual developer of the original Microsoft Train Simulator, released back in the spring of 2001. EA, of course, is a major player in the game industry. Both have said the new simulator will be new from the ground up.

Microsoft has announced in a rather small way that they are indeed working on an all-new train simulator, MicrosoftTrain Simulator 2. This is being developed on the new Flight Simulator X platform. Very little is known at this time, but you can expect MS will find a way to put their new simulator on an X-box as well as a PC. Come to think of it, they've already suggested that. My guess is this is a couple of years away from release.

PI Engineering has halted work on their Train Master Train Simulator because of mounting pressure on resources for their burgeoning professional simulation work. They are too busy with paying customers like Union Pacific to work on the new TMTS. Before they stopped work last summer they had already demonstrated the ability to convert MSTS rolling stock to TMTS. That's an exciting possibility, but will it be too little too late by the time they're ready to release? That all depends on who gets what done when. Meanwhile ... tap, tap, tap.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trainz Routes CDs Announced

In their 15 February 2007 newsletter, Trainz News, Auran has announced the release of Volume 1 of the new Trainz Routes CD. Volume 2 is to follow shortly.

Each volume consists of five routes created by Trainz users from content almost entirely within the TRS2006 box. That makes it possible for people without Internet access (or Download Station access) to load this new content. The first volume is available at the Auran shop for AUD $14.95 including delivery. If you preorder between now and 28 February 2007 you will receive volume 2 as well for free.

For those familiar with downloading Trainz routes, one can normally expect to have to download a hundred or more additional assets. If all assets are at the Download Station, the process is easy (automatic with Download Helper), though possibly lengthy if one has a dial-up connection or needs a lot of the assets or doesn't have a First Class Ticket.

Auran and I are apparently on the same wavelength here, since the M-Line route I recently introduced on my Downloads page was inspired in part by the same wish to avoid cumbersome downloads. It's also a confirmaton of how much content is already packaged with TRS2006 that so many high quality routes can be built without needing additional or custom content.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Train Sim from Microsoft

See this news item at Microsoft Game Studios. It appears Microsoft is indeed working on a new version of MSTS - not that I ever doubted it would happen someday. Unfortunately, there's very little info here, so we have no idea of when to expect the real thing or how far they are along the way they are or what hurdles have to be overcome to ensure it will ever see the light of day. Still, it's interesting to know something is in the works.



Monday, January 15, 2007

Meet Ben Neal

See the VR Reading Room for John D'Angelo's interview of this talented young steam locomotive builder for Trainz.


M-Line for TRS 2006

See my VR Reading Room for a new article and download: "Boston's M-Line in N Scale and Trainz."

This traction route is inspired by Boston's Mattapan-Ashmont Line. It fits a single Trainz baseboard and requires no assets other than those that come standard with TRS 2006. SP-1 is required.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Ben Neal's Super Subpar Productions

This Download Gold series for Trainz article by John D'Angelo describes Ben Neal's steam locomotives for short line railroads plus a pair of Gorre & Daphetid layouts.

See it at the VR Reading Room.


P-Scale for Prototype Simulation

Doug Johnson builds a 3/4-size working steam locomotive cab simulator for use with MSTS and RailDriver.

Read about it at the VR Reading Room.

Happy New Year!!!