A little background
When I started in November 2011 to revise the MBC 2010 route for Trains
Simulator 12 (TS 12), I wanted to make the route appear as close to prototypical
as my knowledge, ability and TS 12 would allow. As of this writing (October 3,
2012) I wish I had had available the cab ride “Canadian Pacific train 177 cab ride
- Field to Revelstoke”, part of which was posted to YouTube in May and June of
this year. It shows I got some things right, missed others.
The main challenge in the revision was to select vegetation suitable for the
route and compatible with TS12. After looking at what was available I settle on
JVC assets. The downside of this decision is that they are payware. The upside is
that I think they represent more closely the vegetation in the mountains of
southern British Columbia. I particularly like the ST-6 3D SPRUCE SET of assets.
This came to form the bulk of the vegetation making up the dense forest so
typical of the Kicking Horse and Rogers Passes. The trees are shorter than
prototypical but I find that to have an advantage. If you have ever driven along
the Trans Canada Highway in these parts, particularly through Rogers Pass, you
will know it is like driving down a tunnel. Because one is passing through
national parks tree pruning is minimal. In most places the trees are so high on
both sides of the highway that one can see little of the spectacular mountain
views. A quick glance at the Canadian Pacific train 177 cab ride shows that the
same is true of the railway right of way. Having a shorter tree asset allows for
better viewing of the mountains with out having to unduly raise the camera
I placed more detail next to the track selecting JVC#(ST-2 Grass) K dry,
(kuid:328583:100222) as the main grass type. Shrubs are space, as they appear
to be along the railway right of way. The coniferous bush grows so dense that
deciduous trees are, for the most part, only present around open spaces,
e.g, around bodies of water and along the railway.
Pushing the limits of TS 12
I worked to revise the route concentrating on appearance and with little concern
for operating. When I was done the file was 342 MB. I tried to enhance my
computers performance as have others. Like them, found that changing Trainz
settings, disconnecting the internet, putting the anti-virus software on game
mode, even using Game Booster had little effect. The only change I've made to
my computer is to increase virtual RAM from the default of 4570 MB
recommended to 10,000 MB.
With some experimenting I did find that reducing file size helped. Accordingly, I
have divided the route into three sections: Field to Golden, Golden to Revestoke
and the Golden coal yard. On my computer I can run the length of the route in
chase camera mode (I like to position the camera a car length or two behind the
lead locomotives and slightly to the right side just high enough to clear the top
of the train on a curve).
I found that redrawing the route can take up to 5 minutes. So it is best not to
teleport yourself around the route any more that absolutely necessary. Going
from Chase Camera View to Cab Interior View does not take long but returning to
Chase View can be painful, as is changing to and from Lineside View. So, when
passing through tunnels I prefer to switch to the Free Roaming View to prevent
the camera angle shifting to overhead. The Map View can be used to determine
when you have exited the tunnel, then you can switch back to Chase View.
Switching from Chase View to Free Roaming View and back does not change the
draw distance thus allowing for rapid switching.
The mountains of British Columbia are often hazy, and sometime quite foggy. So I
like to operate with Good Weather Fog and Bad Weather Fog set to 0.2. This also
removes the “staring” of the snow capped mountain peaks, an apparent
idiosyncrasy of Trainz even when scenery detail is set to the maximum. Setting
Good Weather Fog and Bad Weather Fog set to 0.4 will remove most redrawing in
the distance but does remove, perhaps, too much detail. It does have a nice
effect with the WestJet flight, simulating flying through the clouds at the higher
altitude. Otherwise I set the other optional setting to the maximum, e.g.,
Maximum Draw Distance 5000, and Anisotrophhy at 1 (lowest) and Gamma at
Portals and iPortals
Portals have been incorporated to add the ability to generate oncoming traffic
during operation and to providing destinations. Have a look at the Westbound
and Eastbound Sessions to see how they work.
Iportals have been added to connect the segments of the overall route. They are
intended to work in pairs. The convention adopted is to name the “eastern most
end” with an E and the “western most end” on the next section with a W. Where
two iportals are side by side they are additionally labelled to show which is the
east and west or north and south, respectively. For example the two pairs of
iportals at Golden are labelled iPortal Golden – E end (N), and iPortal Golden – W
end (N) and iPortal Golden – E end (S) and iPortal Golden – W end (S). Sounds
confusing but you will get the hang of it.
Dividing the route into sections has the additional advantage of making the
Golden coal yard much more functional, i.e., you can added more trains, rolling
stock, and locomotives in the service area. However, keep in mind that the
selection of locomotives and rolling stock also puts pressure on fuctionality.