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2010 Route Building Competition Finalists

Volume 1, Number 4

May, 2010


Trainz Community News - Volume 1 No. 4 May, 2010

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Contents 3 Community Comment 4

2010 Route Building Competition Finalists

9

Tools for Asset Repair - PM2IM

13 Contributors Wanted 14

How long we can keep this up for is anyone’s guess. I’m already starting to feel the strain, probably because I’m 3,055 km (1,898 miles) from home in a much colder climate and using friends computers.

Red Alerts

16 Are We There Yet

I get the feeling that Ian Woodmore is also feeling the strain as we work towards opening the new Community new web site and getting the TARM project on the rails. So once again we’re putting out a call for helpers. One person contacted me today about helping with the Joomla web site, but one of the many things we need at present , is people who can submit articles and tutorials on any Trainz related subject.

19 Targ Overview 20 Experiments in Automating Config File Repairs and Updates - Part 1 24 Manual Repair Procedures 34 TrainzLaw 36 Letters to the Editor 37 Update 10 Mesh-Table Container - Part 1 52

Software of the Month - Photobie

55 Adding a Graphic Signature to your Forum Posts

Editors:

John King Ian Woodmore

Subscriptions Click here to subscribe

When we first published the Trainz Community News back in February, we honestly thought that at 24 pages, it would be the largest edition ever. Well this issue has topped the 60 page mark, which is a monumental effort, considering that there isn’t a single advertisement to be found anywhere.

Writing a tutorial isn’t all that difficult. You just set up a screen capture program such as IrfanView, snap everything you do, and jot down a few notes. When PEV does his tutorials for instance, he sends me a text file and a few screenshots. I do all the layout and Ian does the proof reading. If you you’d like to give it a go, just write about something you think you know a little about. If you’d like to do something more interesting, we’d love to run a series of tutorials on Blender and Surveyor. Even if you have a tutorial or two on your web site and you’d like to share them, please let me know and I’ll convert them to PDF format for you. It’s a great way to publicise your site and an even better way of getting your tutorials out to a wider audience. Our email address is at the bottom of the beige box on the left. Why not drop us a line and become part of the team. We’d love to have you on board for as long as you want to remain interested.

trainzcommunity@gmail.com

The 2010 Route Building competition Finalsts. Top Row: JadeBullet, IamKJVonly2 Bottom Row: Skidmark22, NiartCar More of the finalists screenshots are featured throughout this issue.

© Copyright 2010 Trainz Community News and contributing authors


Trainz Community News

Community Comment by Ian Woodmore Community Comment is primarily intended to recognize major contributors who:

Â&#x; resolve problems in Trainz. Â&#x; develop new and innovative techniques for authors. Â&#x; Develop new tools to enhance repairability. There are also a group of unsung heroes who slog away for many hours day after day who have to remain nameless for NDA reasons, and that's the beta testers. They put their machines at risk to assist Auran programmers and quality assurance staff in an endeavour to improve the Trainz game, and to enhance the robustness of the processes that govern its playability. To these guys, you are doing a fine job. We know you can't always resolve issues as fast as we would like, but we are grateful nevertheless for what you do achieve. If there was an award for a tall poppy amongst Trainzers, my vote would go to Peter Villaume (PEV). We have quite deservedly recognized his extraordinary skill and inventiveness in developing not one but a whole suite of convertors, editors and viewers by calling him Mr Toolman. In this issue he continues the Toolman series of

Page 3 articles to ensure you have a better understanding of their capabilities. The Oscar for new inventions must surely go to his newest utility the ATTACHMENT MAKER. It is already getting accolades from international authors even though it is in early beta testing. This cunning device will enable the more skilled Users to make attachments to meshes without the need for the source files or gmax or 3DS max. Authors will also find this a fast and surer way to fix those missing attachment problems that occur in developing meshes. As a repairer I don't have those skills, but I'm aware of a whole class of failures from missing loco parts through to misbehaving smoke that will now be able to be fixed rather than deleted. Project TARM employs PEV's tools quite extensively and a whole raft of repair schemes are in the works based on their use. One wonders what next Peter has in mind to make a Trainzer happy. Community Comment also works in the opposite direction. That is, you the reader can contribute ideas, or bring to our attention a person who has done much for the Trainz Community. In this vein I am seeking your input into determining how useful the Auran builtin editor CCP is. I have next to no knowledge concerning its capabilities, but it would seem to me that it is uniquely placed to be the holy grail of config template makers. Is this possible? Tell us about its strengths and weaknesses. Speculate on what enhancements could make CCP more useful and robust.

NiartCar


Trainz Community News

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2010 Route Building Competition By John King The contestants were asked to design a route of between 3 and 8 baseboards. The central theme was to be a busy port used to transport passengers, freight or seafood products. The port could be on a bay, river, or a lake. There was a twist. The port was to be serviced by a branchline or railway of a different type to the mainline. For those of you who have been following the competition, In other words, if the branchline trains were the same you will know that it hasn’t been smooth travelling for gauge as the mainline, there had to be a yard where cars anyone. could be handed over to mainline locomotives. Many of the contestants found it to difficult to keep up the pace, and we suffered our last casualty occured just before This yard was to be another important part of the layout because it gave modellers a chance to use different the final round of screenshots were requested. gauges, or even different styles of railway including I’ve struck another problem, so I won’t be able to announce Maglev or Monorails on the the mainline or branchline. the winners until the June edition of the TCN. Everyone involved has been kept up to date, so please bear with us as To view the competition theme and read the rules in we sort out our problems and hand some lucky people their more detail, please visit the competition’s official web prizes. site: On the following pages you will find some of the http://digital-junction.com/2010/ screenshots each contestant has submitted for judging. I’ve also posted additional shots on the front cover and Our four finalists all used different approaches. Some throughout the magazine, however you can see everything used the branchline principal, whilst one used a Maglev a lot better by visiting the 2010 Route Building and the other a Monorail. Competition gallery at: I hope you enjoy the screenshots and I look forward to http://digital-junction.com/2010/gallery/ presenting the winners next month.

IamKJVonly2


Trainz Community News

Quite possibly the smallest big city in the world, the city of San Andrews evolved from the Quintessential Suburbia into the current modern semi-half-grown metropolis of today. At the beginning of it's development, the Metro-rail Monorail company stepped up to provide a flexible metro system designed to meet minimal space clearance issues. Designed as a administrator system, the Metro-rail system is built to be flexible to the needs of an expanding city and soon will be extended to meet the ever-growing needs of San Andrews. The city itself is focused around the pier front along the harbour. The port area sees a large amount of ferry traffic from its' neighbouring developments, but rarely sees anything other than recreational boating with the occasional freighters that skim the shores of the city.

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Trainz Community News

RedBay is a port somewhere on the coast on New England that started out as a fishing port in the 1800's. But in the early 1900's RedBay fell on hard times when most of the fishing moved north taking the local industry with it. However during World War 2 White's Trucking moved into RedBay. So now in the late 1940's; RedBay has a new life.

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Trainz Community News

Sogo docks is a fictional 6 board route with docks, refinerys, warehouses, a cement plant, many factories and a refuel/maintenance area. There is even a house of prostitution along the dock for the sailors. I will not point that out as all the sailors know its location. It has a maglev line with 4 stations around the route to move passengers (mainly workers) around the area. The Sogo mainline will be on another route which I hope to build later. There are no mountains in Sogo Docks. I felt that 6 boards were a little to small to put a busy dock and mountains on, so I concentrated on a lot of businesses, factories etc.

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Trainz Community News

Page 8 I set the route in the 1950s in the late fall, early spring time period. It is just a personal preference of mine. I also decided to make the branch stub ended, rather than a Bangor and Aroostok interchange line like I was originally planning. It just made things more interesting that way.

Whiteshore is a Boston and Maine Branchline switching route, set along the coast of Maine. The route models the B&M mainline, the branchline that heads to the harbour, and small town, as well as the yard, and engine facilities in at Whiteshore junction. The route is entirely fictional, but I was influenced heavily by Paul Dolkos's HO scale B&M New Hampshire division. I decided to focus on a Maine fishing town, rather than a large harbour. This allowed me to incorporate some of my favourite parts of Maine, such as rocky cliffs, fishing trawlers, fisheries, lighthouses, and, of course, dairy farms. I included a small shipping dock area, as well as a car float to the coastal town, but that is far from all of the route, operationally. Aside from servicing the harbour, fishery, and cannery, there are several other small industries to service, such as a team track, and a power plant. I also included street running, as it is prototypical for the time period, and adds some operational fun to the route.


Trainz Community News

T

his is the second in a series of articles where I describe the use of the tools I have written to bring assets up to date for TS2009/10. This month: PM2IM.

Introduction Reiterating the background, Trainz uses a render engine called Auran Jet to display and move objects within the simulator. Auran Jet supports a suite of proprietary file formats that define 3d objects, surfaces, animations, sounds and so on. Any 3d object or surface can be modelled as a series of triangular facets, on to which surface colouring (textures) are added. All of this information is gathered together in a "mesh". The mesh contains all of the 3d geometrical data needed to define the shape of the object as well as the texture specifications to select surface colouring, and the texture mapping details to correctly place the texture images on to the various portions of the surfaces. The Auran Jet mesh type is now the "Indexed Mesh"('IM') which has superseded the "Progressive Mesh" ('PM'). The progressive mesh was the same as the indexed mesh but with the addition of data that could simplify the mesh for distant viewing. (lower the Level Of Detail). Auran later chose to use multiple 'IM' meshes instead of a single 'PM' for their LOD method. The PM method of collapsing the mesh is a bit hit or miss as some of the content on the DLS shows. PM meshes were obsoleted in TRS2006, though they still work in the game. In TS2009, PM meshes cannot be committed into the game by the Content Manager; so any one doing reskins of assets with PMs will not be able to commit them. So a way of changing PMs to IMs seemed to be important. I created my first PM to IM converter for TRS2006. That program took the PM mesh and stripped out those portions of it which performed the LOD functions. This method, though successful, was not acceptable to Auran, who require that all Trainz meshes be created with programs written by themselves. When they released TrainzMeshImporter (TMI), a method to comply with their policy became available, so PM2IM was born.

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The TMI takes data from a common file format (XML) and makes IMs and animations in TS2009 acceptable format. Please note that meshes with animations created with TMI do not fully render correctly in versions before TS2009. (Reflection rendering is handled differently). Static meshes used for scenery work fine. PM2IM was developed with the help of the Trainz community, and additional features were added as the users found more meshes with properties that were unacceptable in TS2009.

What Can PM2IM Do? 1. Convert one PM mesh to IM format, from the File Open menu or by double clicking on a PM in windows explorer. 2. Trawl (or search) for PMs and convert any it finds to IM format. 3. Strip out unsupported texture types. 4. Change specular lighting to remove an unwanted shine on object surfaces. 5. Remove non-english characters from material and texture names. Also converts European number formats localised by Windows, so that all number formats are the same in the XML file.

Using PM2IM Installation If you don't have this program, please download its installer program (PEV_PM2IM_setup.exe) from my PEVSoft Download page. http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/~villaump/pevsoft.htm

Run the installer and the program will be loaded on to the Program Files area of your C: drive, along with a desktop icon and an entry in the PEVSoft folder of your All Programs menu.


Trainz Community News TrainzMeshImporter.exe is included in the setup program. It may require a further download from MicroSoft (See below)

Page 10 The program will confirm your PM choice and check the validity of the file.

If you have TS2009 or later, you should create an 'OpenWith' (one word) macro in Content Manager to allow you to run PM2IM directly from the Content Manager. If you have installed Trainz 2009/10 in the default folder then you should have a folder named: ‘C:\Program Files\Auran\TS2009\bin\CMPData\tools' In this folder create a new folder named 'OpenWith' (one word). Use NotePad to create a DOS batch file with the name "PM2IM.bat" (or similar) with the following commands: @echo off "C:\Program Files\PEVSoft\PM2IM\PM2IM.exe" -trawl %1

To use the program select one or more items in Content Manager, then right click to bring up the menu. Select Open With, then click on PM2IM.bat.

Press the Convert to IM button and conversion will proceed. When completed the program will tell you that the IM file has been created.

The selected items will open for edit and the PM to IM conversion will be done as they are opened. I recommend, also, that you you make PM2IM.exe the program that opens *.pm files when you double click them in Windows Explorer.

Opening a File The program can open .pm files only. (or .im files for texture stripping). To Open a File, start the program and click on the File menu. Click on Open and the open file dialogue box will be displayed. The file extensions are filtered so only the correct type can be opened. Files can also be opened by double clicking in Windows Explorer. You must add the .pm file extension to the list in Windows explorer and point it to this program before this will work. The Exit option closes the program.

Convert to IM When opened from a short cut, the program will await a file open instruction from the user. Click on the File menu. Click on Open and the open file dialogue box will be displayed. The file extensions are filtered so only PM will be visible. Select a PM to convert.

Files opened by double clicking in Windows Explorer can be automatically converted if the Auto Convert option is checked. The program will close automatically after a short pause if the Close on Done option is checked. (See Options below)


Trainz Community News Many PM's have incorrect values (usually 1.00,1.00,1.00) for Specular lighting in the texture settings. With later versions of Trainz these settings cause an unnatural shiny look on object surfaces. To prevent this enable the Zero Speculars option.

Page 11 The graphic below shows an example of a faulty bogey in TS2009, caused by the presence of a PM. In the screen shot, if you click on PM2IM.bat as shown the PM2IM program will open in trawl mode and an IM

The program also checks for non english characters in material names and texture names. It will automatically replace any nonenglish characters with an underscore. If this occurs a message is displayed showing the new name. The name of the texture or texture.txt file will need to be altered to match the new name if a texture name is changed. All messages are included in the log if you are using trawling. The log can be viewed by selecting View Log from the File menu. The Exit option in the File menu closes the program.

Trawling Trawling is the process where the program searches a folder and ALL of its sub folders for Progressive Mesh files to convert to Indexed Meshes. It is similar to the search function in Windows explorer, except that when it finds a file it processes it without asking any questions. Trawling can save many hours of work by automatically converting PM's to IM's. TS2009 at present does not allow .PM files to be committed into the game without flagging an error. So if you have faulty content caused by the presence of PM files (as flagged by CM) you can use the CM search filter for faulty content and open it all for editing, then apply the trawling process to the editing folder. To use Trawling you must launch this program from the command line with the -trawl switch, or launch from the Open With menu (right click) in Content Manager .

mesh will be made for every PM found in the search. In this case only one IM is made. Please note the config.txt file will require alteration to get the IM mesh to show up in the game. I do not include any instructions here for config.txt modification because the config.txt changes depend on Trainz version and the presence or absence of shadow meshes. If launched in normal window mode (not minimised) you can stop trawling at any time by pressing the Stop button... If you press the Resume button the process will continue. The files processed are listed in the main text box as the conversions progress. The program keeps a log (named Trawl_Log.txt) of files found and shows the actions taken on each file. The log is accessed from the File menu and clicking on View Log. The log file accumulates data every time trawl is started. The Log should be deleted after large trawl conversions. A delete option is included in the File Menu.

Command Line The program can be launched from the command line to automatically start trawling for .PM files to make new Ims.


Trainz Community News The command line format requires the switch "-trawl" to enable trawling as in the example below PM2IM.exe -trawl "c:\Documents and Settings\userPEV\ My Documents\PEVContent\Carz" In this case the trawling would start in the ...\Carz folder and scan through all its sub folders looking for PM files to convert. The program keeps a log of files found and shows the action taken on each file. The log is accessed from the File menu and clicking on View Log. The default for this option is to run minimised showing only an entry on the Windows task bar. The program closes on completion of the trawl. If you wish to check the log file or view item by item progress, restore the window from the task bar. In this case the program will remain open on completion.

Remove Unsupported Texture Types Some content creators made assets using additional texture slots in GMax or 3dsMax. Slots such as "ambient, shine, specular, selfilum" were used in an attempt to enhance the appearance. In TS2009, the use of these slots causes an error in Content Manager. Unfortunately the error is poorly flagged as "Cannot load texture 'texturename.texture'in 'meshname.IM'" even though the texture is present in the asset folder. The PM2IM program only reads the "diffuse, bump and reflect" slots, so during conversion it automatically skips the other slots. Hence I was able to add an option to be able to open IM files so that unsupported texture references can be removed from IM meshes as well. To allow opening of IM files the Strip Textures option should be set in the Options menu. You can also over-ride this by manually choosing the file filter in the File Open Dialogue. Any unsupported texture references are automatically removed from PM meshes when they are converted to IM. To remove unsupported texture references from an IM mesh, open the IM file from the File menu and the File Open dialogue. The IM mesh option can be found by changing the file filter in the dialogue. If you open an IM file for texture removal a warning is displayed about using this tool on already converted files. Because of the change in the way animations are handled, this tool will ignore the animation if the file has previously been converted from a PM.

Page 12 If you are happy to proceed press the Convert to IM button and the unsupported texture types will be stripped from the mesh. PLEASE NOTE: the original IM file will be lost (overwritten) if you chose to remove the unsupported texture types. If launched from the command line with an IM file as argument the process will proceed without any prompts. This option to open IM's does not work when launched with the trawl option. Trawling is only for converting PM's to IM's.

Program Options The PM2IM program provides the following options:-

Auto Convert - To make the program convert PM's to IM's when started from the command line, set the "Auto Convert" Option. The option will be ticked (checked) when set.

Close on Done - The program will close on completion of conversion tasks if the "Close on Done" Option is set. Zero Speculars - If converting old PM's it is advisable to set the "Zero Speculars" Option to prevent unwanted shine on converted objects. If you require a shine leave this option un-set and see what sort of result you get. Minimise on Trawl - If you would like to hide the program window while trawling then set the "Minimise on Trawl" Option. Strip Textures - If you wish to open IM files by default for removal of unsupported textures then set the "Strip Textures" Option.

TrainzMeshImporter As part of the conversion process, PM2IM.exe creates a file in XML format which is then converted to IM by Auran's TrainzMeshImporter program. Auran's policy of having their own software make all game content is thus maintained. The PM2IM program will not operate if the TrainzMeshImporter.exe is not in the PM2IM.exe application folder. A notice to this effect is displayed for a few seconds before the program closes. TrainzMeshImporter is now included in the PM2IM installation package and is latest version as of 1 October 2009.


Trainz Community News

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TrainzMeshImporter requires some Microsoft C++ 2005 SP1 runtime files, and if these are not present the TMI will not run, or may freeze.

"DOSWin.bat" in the PM2IM application folder. The file should contain the following two lines:@echo off cmd.exe /k

The files can be downloaded as a package from Microsoft. Click this link or copy the URL below to your browser Address bar. To test that TrainzMeshImporter is working open a DOS window in the PM2IM application folder. To open a DOS window, create a file named

When you run this batch macro a DOS window will be opened. Type "trainzmeshimporter.exe" in the window. The TMI will display its help page if all is working correctly.

Link: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=200B2FD9-AE1A-4A14-984D-389C36F85647&displaylang=en

Contributors Always Wanted! If you enjoy writing, or sharing your Trainz experience with others, why not consider an unpaid part-time career in journalism? We’re looking for people with a reasonable, but not necessarily thorough knowledge of Surveyor, Blender, gMax and skinning to help us bring a range of meaningful tutorials to other Trainz users. Maybe you’ve already written a tutorial and it appears on a web site somewhere. If so, we’d love to publish it here. We’ll do all the hard work, all we require is your permission to reprint the tutorial and publish it. To give you some idea what can be done, please look at JohnK’s Double Slip tutorial on the Trainz Resources Directory: http://trainzresources.com/directory/tutorials/double_slip/ Then compare it with the article on page 12 of the February edition of the Trainz Community News. If you’d like to have your tutorial reprinted in the TCN, we can supply you with a PDF copy of the tutorial so that you can offer it as a download on your web page.

New Subscribers Also Wanted The Trainz Communty News will always be freely accessible as a PDF (Zipped) download. Although you don’t have to register or subscribe, we really do appreciate the people who take a moment to fill out our Subscription Form. By being a subscriber, you are not only showing support for the newsletter, but you’re also encouraging us to continue with the project. If you haven’t already subscribed, could you please take a moment to do so. The subscription form can be found at: http://trainzresources.com/directory/pommo/news/index.html The form allows to subscribe to the Trainz Community Newsletter, Trainz Magazine or both. Trainz Magazine has been a bit irregular lately, but it’s always a good read when it hits the shelves. Earlier copies of Trainz Magazine can be downloaded here: http://trainzmagazine.webs.com/subscribe.htm


Trainz Community News

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a. Logon Problems new servers

f. Main View Tabs

Logon problems and a host of secondary issues should have eased after Auran cutover to the new servers. Unfortunately, this was not the case. If you have any specific issues related to logon raise a ticket at Helpdesk, but also let us know.

You may experience rolling of the TABS in CM Main View and be unable to stabilise the display. The rolling is more likely to occur if you have a large number of TABS loaded in Main View and/or lots of other CPU hogging activities running at the same time as Trainz. Close any other applications. You may also have to use Windows Task Manager or Performance Manager to exit CM and then re-launch immediately. I eventually gave up and did what is a rare event for me. I reinstalled with no problem as long as server is available. I wonder if this problem is related to tab selection where the order is changed to put the selected row at the bottom of the tabs. For me this is counter-productive. I name my tabs in a certain way so that I can group like custom filters for ease of operation. I want my tabs in alphanumerical order permanently. I believe this problem would then disappear.

b. FCT and the 100MB limit problem There is a bug in TS2010 SP2 but it has probably been there since TRS2006. CM sometimes refuses to recognise FCT and limits your download to 100MB. It may, as a consequence, also indicate by red banner that it is unable to contact Planet Auran. Usually can be cleared by exiting CM and immediately re-launching without waiting for TADDAEMON.

c. EDR and Location unknown. After carrying out an Extended Database Repair (EDR) ALWAYS exit CM, wait 60 secs for TADDAEMON to finish housekeeping and then re-launch CM. After a few minutes any assets in location unknown should be resolved and return to correct category (usually DS or Obsolete or Out of Date). This action will only be successful if you are able to logon to Planet Auran. Please note that TS2010 should carry out database repair automatically, and you should not have to do an extended or quick database repair manually except in extreme circumstances.

d. File Access Error File access errors have been prevalent in a number of builds up to and including TS2010 SP2. This results in about 8-10% of downloads staying open after a download of any sort and requires you to go to Open for Edit folder and commit. You may have to repeat this several times for some stubborn assets. This fault occurs randomly and is very difficult to trouble shoot. Auran is aware of the issue and may have found the cause. A hotfix is being thoroughly tested.

g. DLS Dump List not updating After the Auran servers upgrade many people have experienced inability to download assets from the DLS. The date reported varies but this may be due to a misunderstanding. Each time you logon TS2010 TADDAEMON purges the cache/internet folder, then waits for the latest dump list which should start to appear within a minute. Despite the fact that the compressed .gz file has today’s date the .txt file inside, which is the actual dump list or part of it, is the one to check. There may be more than one .gz file. Find the latest .txt file. For many this is showing a date stamp of 7 or 8 March10. This problem affects all Trainz versions. TS2010 is now working OK. TS2009 and earlier builds have a different format dump list and this fault persisted for many weeks after TS2010 wa working correctly. Terry has now corrected some script errors at the server which appear to have cleared the problem for TS2009 and earlier. However, there may still be some lingering issues. This is a bug at the server and re-installing Trainz or any of the other tricks to jolt it into action will not work.

e. View Dependencies

h. WARNING !! Change of purpose for local folder

There has been a change to the coding to correct missing assets data. While one problem was fixed, another involving obsolete and out of date assets remains.

Many of you may backup your ‘local’ folder as insurance in case of loss or corruption or a computer problem, This is where all your downloaded assets are. Right!


Trainz Community News

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Wrong. For TS2010 this is NOT so. I made a terrible mistake thinking that the ‘original’ folder was duplicating my ‘local’ folder and in a mad two hours I deleted 107GB (70,000 assets) from my installation. Now I have to download those again which will take me months. My stupid mistake in not checking thoroughly enough, but with so little information in the documentation ??

For backup purposes you need to backup:

In TS2010 the folder structure was changed as part of preparation to separate the program from the ‘userdata’. A good move. Hence you will find a number of folders that were in the Trainz root folder now grouped under a folder named ‘userdata’.

In a large installation it may be better to mirror these.

So that you are quite clear where your assets are:

Ÿ Builtins are kept in ja files and these are always in the ‘builtin’ folder. If you have add-ons mounted they are also ja files and reside here. Ÿ Original copies of assets downloaded from DLS or imported from .cdp files NOW reside in the ‘original’ folder permanently. Ÿ They will only be duplicated in the ‘local’ folder if you modify them. Which then leaves me in a quandary. When you OFE/commit an asset, a green triangle icon signifies a modified asset. Does that mean I will get a duplication in ‘local’ folder? From my observation the answer is no. Otherwise my 275GB instal would be 550GB. Similarly, the search filter ‘Location local’ still operates the same way as before but includes assets that are builtin, original and local. We can separate Builtins from the rest of the ‘Locals’ using the ‘builtin false’ filter. Does the ‘modified true’ filter now reflect the ‘local’ folder and ‘modified false’ the ‘original’?

Ÿ Local folder Ÿ Original folder Ÿ Asset.tdx from the Trainz root folder, and Ÿ Assets.bku from the bin/cache folder. Ÿ Trainzoptions.txt if you have customised it. Note the ‘Trash’ folder contains a copy of assets that CM could not resolve during validation. The originals still exist elsewhere in TAD, or from wherever you downloaded. You can delete these if you are not using them for fault analysis.

i. Don’t delete assets.tdx and assets.bku files to rebuild database For those of you transitioning from legacy Trainz versions to TS2009 and TS2010 you may have employed the technique of deleting assets.tdx and assets.bku to force TRS2006 or TC3 to rebuild the database, unless of course you had installed that excellent Steve Forget utility called ‘TADMON’. In TS2009 and TS2010 you do not need TADMON. A TS2010 utility called TADDAEMON performs similar functions. TS2009 has a similar function. Nor do you delete the assets files. While the assets.tdx and assets.bku files will be restored and rebuild you will lose your password and User ID. In any case, database repair is now automated and should not require your intervention. You may notice that repair seems to run more often though.

Filler

Skidmark22


Trainz Community News

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Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet? is a regularly updated diary of achievements, current projects and future plans for a small group of people trying to repair damaged assets in the Download Station and establish a community of supporters for all Trainz versions. You can show your support by subscribing to the Newsletter or joining the community as an active member.

What the Abbreviations Mean CCGTC - Content Creation Guide for Trainz Classics DLS - The Trainz Download Starion TARM - Trainz Asset Repair Managment. This project covers the following: MADE - Missing Assets Directory and Exchange. A list of missing assets that will form the basis for finding Missing Assets. RUMMAGE - is what you do when looking for something you have lost. In this case Missing Assets. TARG - Trainz Asset Repair Guide. The ABC of Trainz repair. TARL - Trainz Asset Repair Library. A repository for repaired config files. TrainzAuthor - Lists all authors that have TS2010 SP1 built-in assets, or that are faulty, obsolete, out of date, have warnings or missing assets. TRD - Trainz Resources Directory web site. Click here or use this URL: http://www.trainzresources.com Wiki - Wiki – Thre Trainz Wikki web site’ change to ‘Wiki – The Trainz Wiki web site’

This month I am revising the format of this article to reduce repetition.

Milestones The major moments in Project TARM development.

Dec 2009 Release of TS2010 SP1 build 41615 heralds the initial validation baseline against which all repairs are judged.

Jan 2010

Ÿ 20,000

reworked config files in final stages of checking prior to uploading to TARL. Ÿ 10,000 Missing Assets named and the start of the RUMMAGE. Ÿ First TARM Tidbits and Red Alert articles published.

Feb 2010

Ÿ Start of TARL and MADE database development. Ÿ Added 11,000+ assets from European external websites.

Ÿ Update to TS2010 SP2 build 42287 in progress. This is the new validation baseline.

Mar 2010

Ÿ Approval by David Drake for repaired config files for all or any of his ~10,000 assets to be hosted on TARL at Trainz Community website.

Ongoing Activities Every Month

Ÿ Progress red flag repairs. Ÿ Progress yellow flag repairs Ÿ Improve compliance with CCGTC and Wiki. Ÿ Categorise defects via keywords. Ÿ Find some missing assets. Ÿ Progress repair procedures. Ÿ Prepare articles for Newsletter. Apr 2010

Ÿ Playing catch up of February and March tasks. Ÿ Progress on database design and development. May 2010 NiartCar

Ÿ Playing catch up of February and March tasks


Trainz Community News

Page 17

Work in Progress

TARG PUBLISHER

Ÿ Downloading a significant quantity of DLS assets for use in CONTROL version of Trainz. CONTROL assets are unmodified and contain the original defects. These are used for comparison with the TARL repaired versions to ensure that repairs are relative to what other Trainzers will see. The unavailability of Auran servers during Mar/Apr slowed this activity as did a number of SP2 patch issues. Ÿ Survey of config file tag license and assess impact on TARM. Ÿ Evaluating impact of Auran Life Cycle Policy on Project TARM. Ÿ Faultfinding server update problems.

Stage 1 Completion Date Jun 2010 Tentative target for TARL, TARG, MADE and TrainzAuthor to go live at TRD. Due to significant delays caused by the server updates and inability to download new assets during March and April, it is likely that this target will have to be revised. There are only so many hours in a day in which to catch up. Be assured we will do our best to bring these milestones to fruition as soon as possible.

TARDIS ODOMETER Marks the monthly progress of Trainz and the elimination of defects shown in my Content Manager. This will be different for each Trainzer. Mine relates mostly to DLS in toto (275GB) but also includes additional assets from European websites.

Tracks the progress in developing and writing the repair procedures and associated tutorials, tips and tricks. Slow progress during Apr 2010 due to higher priority tasks. Repair Schemes:

Required Draft Ready

TBD 40 10

TARL ARCHIVER Note these figures were also affected by the 11,000+ assets added from European websites, but the overall percentage of non-compliant assets has not significantly changed. Progress also slow due to Auran Server updates and some consequential CM instability. Under review. Auran Life Fixes required 31,208 Cycle Policy will increase this. TARL ready

21,554

Total

30% of Total assets non52,762 compliant with CCGTC and wiki Continued

Priority is the reduction of red flags. Reduction of yellow flags and improving compliance are on an opportunity basis.

Total assets shown in TAD Builtins for maxi TS2010 Obsoletes Out of Date

171,887 24,045 19,441 231

Faulty Warning Missing Dependencies Missing Assets

4,388 27,382 4,166 >10,000

IamKJVonly2


Trainz Community News TAUP CHRONICLE As a consequence of the Auran Life Cycle Policy I have decided to utilise some updates as a means of repair, and to achieve convergence with CCGTC/wiki compliance as part of future proofing. Some TAUP procedures are the best solution for repair. Totals opposite are tentative and incomplete as review is still under way. Indicative only. Will be progressively revised.

Page 18 Update initiative Bogey Transition Boolean Correction Category-Class Correction Category-Era Format Update Category-Region Format Update Mesh-table Update Obsolete Tag Removal Opacity Correction PM Conversion Shadows Texture Conversion Third Party Tags Thumbnails

Total Required Total Achieved ~5,000 0 <200 168 Maybe 1,000 35 >50,000 3,417 >50,000 3,417 >30,000 222 Maybe 2,000 Most <100 5 ~5,000 3,802 >1200 442 ~8,000 ~8,000 ~500 0 >50,000 ~10,000

MADE RUMMAGE The increase by 11,000+ assets from European websites was a mixed blessing. So far I have found 268 missing assets, but at the cost of having 1,000 more.

Missing Assets Found

>10,000 268

No work in this area during April 2010.

IamKJVonly2

NiartCar


Trainz Community News

W

hen I was working with Steve Forget on developing TARL Mk 1 back in 2006 I saw a need to supplement the sanatised config files brief instructions with How-To guides and tutorials. I also considered that there could be situations where a detailed repair procedure would assist Trainzers with a wide range of skills and experiences to carry out repairs for themselves. Back in 2008 Peter Villaume (PEV) started making some of his tools available to the Community. As I was pushing forward with the Project TARM concept I saw that these tools could be the foundation on which Trainz repair for the masses could be based. I was privileged to assist Peter in testing his utilities on the huge inventory of defective assets that I have available. And so Trainz Asset Repair Guide (TARG) was born. TARG provides those guidelines and procedures for repairing assets using predominantly PEV's tools. It is envisaged as the repair counterpart to the CCGTC/wiki specifications and often references those documents. Much of the current information on Trainz, including useful tips and tweaks as well as tutorials are buried in the forum, or in wikis that are difficult to navigate. Other information is scattered all over the globe. TARG will be structured to make it as easy as possible to find information you are seeking in a one-stop shop approach. The final format will most likely occur as a result of Community feedback. After all you are the people it is designed to help. Our initial structure will look something like this:

1 2

Policies and Plans governing Trainz Asset Repair Management (TARM) Repair Procedures under the Trainz Asset Repair Program

Page 19

3

Updating Procedures under the Trainz Asset Update Program (TAUP) See TAUP- Overview in Newsletter April 2010

4

How-To Guides and Tutorials a. General articles on repairing meshes and textures. b. Articles explaining in more detail about repairs. c. A series of tutorials that will take you in easy steps through repair. d. Documentation to support use of PEV's tools e. TARL Users Manual f. MADE Users Manual g. Copies of previous Trainz version manuals. h. Perhaps a Comprehensive Manual sort of combined CCGTC/wiki. Depends on how the TrainzDev wiki develops. If it has the information but it is difficult to locate, then this facility becomes a Wiki Navigator that can mine data from other sources.

In other articles in this edition of Newsletter you can sample the type of material that will be available. We will continue publishing in the Newsletter until we can organise the TARG section of the Trainz Community website. Our original target date of June 2010 is probably not attainable but we will get there as fast as is humanly possible.

An Apology

(i) Tags

On the last page of the April 2010 Trainz Community News I said I would supply a three column sample layout for you to consider. Unfortunately I ran out of time to create a mockup, so that project will have to wait until next month or even later.

(ii) Containers

John

a. Config files

(iii) Effects


Trainz Community News

T

he aim of these experiments is to supplement the manual repair procedures by developing procedures applying automated tools to improve productivity. I recently renewed David Drake's approval to repair and update any or all of his ~9,000 assets. This presents a challenge because of the huge number of assets involved. You also have to take into account that most defective config files have multiple errors. On average each asset has five errors although it can range between 1 and 100. Just to put it in perspective, to repair that number manually at a rate of 50 assets a day would take 180 days (6 months). On a good day I can do 100 assets a day before RSI kicks in and my eyes water. It can also be mind numbingly boring doing the same repair over and over again.

Page 20

There's sure to be others. Important aspects of their use: It must be user-friendly. Ÿ You shouldn't need a degree in programming Ÿ to operate them. Another, for our community at least, Ÿ preferably it should be free. It would also be helpful if there was support in Ÿ the way of a forum and a help file or manual. The above utilities have some of these attributes but not one had all. After dabbling for a while I chose to use Search and Replace Master 1.3 for my initial trials.

One of the Project TARM goals is to bring repairs to the Trainz Community so that anyone can do it not just the gurus. Peter Villaume (PEV) has given asset repair and update a tremendous boost with his tools (see Toolman series), but one area has eluded all developers because of its complexity due to variability. That is the config file. Back in 2006 Smileyman was working on a CONFIXER utility. More recently Andi06 was dabbling. And Auran's CCP doesn't really cut it. For whatever reasons, these developments have not joined the ranks of utilities that the Trainz Community can use with ease. My automation trials will help explain some of the difficulties involved in developing a universal config file repair utility. Every now and again one sees a Trainzer has used a Search and Replace text editor, and it was to this small group of utilities that I turned for inspiration or should that be salvation. Here are a few:

Ÿ BK Replacem (now called Replace Text) Ÿ Search and Replace by Funduc Ÿ Useful File Utilities Ÿ Notepad++ Ÿ Search and Replace Master 1.3

Search and Replace Master 1.3 is available at: http://www.knowlesys.com/software/search-andreplace-master/

For

Ÿ Simple to use Ÿ Can run multiple instances of utility


Trainz Community News Against

Â&#x; No manual Â&#x; No forum Â&#x; Lacks some functions Before actually taking the plunge and using a utility of this sort it is important to determine if the tool you want to use will do the job, and whether there will be unwanted sideeffects. When tackling a huge task like this one it is often beneficial to break it down to a number of smaller, more manageable sub-tasks. Here are some tasks that you might want to do: Delete an unnecessary tag or container like an obsolete-table that had no value, but leave one with value untouched. This affects most legacy Trainz versions. It is unnecessary to retain a tag or container without a value. Content Manager treats various tags and containers without values differently depending on the known or suspected impact on performance or failure likeliehood. So tag 'name' is an error (dreaded red flag in CM) whereas another tag may cause a warning (yellow flag), or appear to have no problem. Don't be fooled by the last one as CM may not know it is non-compliant or Auran may have taken steps to suppress it producing a warning because it currently has low impact on game but high nuisance value. My approach is to seek convergence by ensuring all config file entries are compliant with CCGTC or wiki. My test was to look for tag 'thumbnail' and delete. With this utility you look for the pattern 'thumbnail' and replace with a blank space. Replace text with different text without getting partial string replacements occurring. I had a need to replace the word 'fixit' in tag 'categorykeyword with 'tarl'. This tag has multiple entries and I only wanted to replace 'fixit'. My task is simplified by the fact that 'fixit' is a unique word. 'tarl' on the other hand is almost but not quite. 'tarl' is a partial string in the name 'starlight' but this problem only occurs twice in 170,000 assets. I can take care of that by judicious use of CM search filters and keywords. Add a tag or container in a certain place in the config file. In PEV's Toolman series Peter describes the use of PM2IM to convert PM meshes to IM. As part of the update program (TAUP) I need to add a mesh-table. The best place to do this is directly after tag 'asset-filename'. See my article on mesh-tables.

Page 21 To demonstrate this technique where you could place a container before a tag, I have chosen to update all SP3 and UTC assets to include a 'thumbnails' container. This replaces the 'thumbnail' tag but not all legacy config files had this tag. A good place for the 'thumbnails' container is just before the kuid-table as this reference container is usually last in the config file template. You will find instances where an author has added a 'thumbnails' container to a later trainz-build but has forgotten to delete tag 'thumbnail'. From a batch perspective it is better to treat these as separate runs. With this utility I found it easier to add before than after a reference point because of expressions containing brackets. The bracket as a reference point is not unique. Correct a value. In David Drake's ~9,000 assets, many are trees and used aplenty in almost every route and session developed. As you would expect David used his first config file as a template. Unfortunately, there was a typo in the tag 'rgb' which is used by the minimap. This type of problem caused by cloning one of your own config files is a major contributor to defective and non-compliant config files. In this instance probably not a very important problem if set to default value from the game perspective, but every non-compliance can have a potential performance impact when loading route/session parameters. In this trial it serves to demonstrate the technique and achieve compliance with the CCGTC/wiki. Who knows what future impact a non-compliance may have! My test replaced one wrong tag pattern with the corrected tag pattern. eg. rgb with rgb

0,0 0,0,0

However I found another situation where this replacement did not work. There were some tags in Darjeeling and Himalaya Railway assets that had this rgba pattern: rgb

0,0,0,0

Another use would be to update early trainz-build numbers to a minimum of 2.9 in anticipation of transitioning to TS2009 or TS2010. Some of the new techniques that result in significant performance enhancing are applied automatically from TS2009 on. This has not yet been tested to determine any ill side effects.


Trainz Community News Update a format. From TRS2006 upwards the tags 'category-region' and 'category-era' changed from multiline to single line multi values. This affects many thousands of assets. A common failure mode is mixing the old and new formats, leaving trailing whitespace, or misspells. In addition, the old format had to be sequential in its entry numbering. It is also a no-no to leave these tags empty but that problem is better dealt with as a delete. I'm still experimenting with finding a way to encompass all the different failure modes into a single update tool. However, there are a considerable number of config files with one line entries, so for the trial I tested this technique and changed the values used for additional runs. My test replaced tag name 'category-region-0' with 'category-region'. Note for 'category-era' you would have to find a technique for combining multiple lines into a single line entry where there are many different combinations of dates. Re-order tags into more sensible groupings for greater recognition of patterns of failures. I don't know about you but I find the mish-mash of config files confusing and frustrating because of a lack of order. Trainz probably doesn't care about the order, but humans like consistent order which enhances recognition by observable patterns. The disorder is often why an illegal tag is missed in a cloning of someone elses config file. Because there are many different config file templates depending on the 'Kind', developing a universal tool is difficult. I'm currently experimenting with optimising the layout of config files for human readability, but this has only reached the stage of manual changes which is even more time consuming than carrying out repairs. Nevertheless, many people prefer to use a template as a starting point in learning how to create an asset. How much better if we could standardize the layouts. Replace a block of corrupted text due to double quotes error with a clean block of text. This affects tag 'description' particularly multiline, likewise for 'license'. Try some of majekear's rolling stock which also gets cloned by others warts and all. I currently fix these by a copy/paste method. It would be nice to automate this repair. But again there are many different combinations of this corruption. Let's look at setting up this Search and Replace utility to do the first five tasks. In my initial trials, and I'm still learning, I was able to achieve all the above except for the last two at my first

Page 22 attempt. That I completed this in one day instead of 180 days demonstrates the huge benefit of automating repetitive tasks. The actual process often took only seconds but OFE/commit many minutes longer per run. I adapted to this problem by setting up an instance of the utility for each of the five tasks and then applying the relevant tasks sequentially. OFE, Click, Click, Click, Commit. Repeat for next batch. However, despite following my own advice and being super-cautious I got one wrong and now I have probably 500 assets that I corrupted out of 10,000. Not the end of the world and easily fixed manually but that reduces my throughput and productivity. Nevertherless the concept is proven and now to search for the best tool to do the job. Search and Replace Master has three tabs: File - where you setup the filepath, filename mask and folders to be operated on. Text – where you specify the text to find and then act upon. Result – where it lists what it found and carried out an action on. When ready you click on execute and a few seconds later it displays a small window indicating the number of files affected. A progress bar is also visible. The File tab is self-explanatory.

Ÿ Point the utility to the editing folder of the Trainz installation you want to amend. Ÿ Set the filename mask to 'config.txt'. Ÿ Select 'includes sub-folders'. Ÿ Now in CM use your search filters to select which assets to operate on and 'Open for Edit'. I suggest you do no more than 1,000 at a time, but trial first on single asset and a small sample. It's easier to recover from that than have to find a way to correct 1,000 wrong results. Select the task you will be carrying out. Enter the details as below. In the text tab Enter Search Pattern. This is the text to replace or use as a reference point for an insert. Select the Operation to be performed. From the Search Pattern drop down box select the number of times. In most cases select '1" . Enter the New Text.


Trainz Community News

Page 23 Was corrupted to:

Check you have entered all information correctly. Initially, trial the setup on a single asset. If correct result achieved then try on a small sample. Finally, if no anomalies appear then do your large batch.

s { 0 { image width height }

Select Execute and pray you got it right. Don't forget to commit the assets that have been modified. Then check a reasonable number to ensure no negative side effects. Where did I fall down in my trials? Well one of the tests was to introduce the 'thumbnails' container to all SP3 and UTC assets. That's ~43,000 assets. I had set a pattern and tried it on one asset then 10 and finally 100 with success. The assets being modified had four possible states: 1. There was no previous tag 'thumbnail'. Most assets. 2. There was a previous tag 'thumbnail'. Quite a few assets. The asset had been previously modified to include a 3. 'thumbnails' container. Not very likely. The asset had been modified but the author left the tag 'thumbnail' in place so there were both states. Very 4. few. CM was flagging these as errors so I could fix these by exception. Murphy's Law struck and as soon as I did a run of several thousand I corrupted some but not all. So back to checking one by one, but the dilemma was which ones. I didn't fancy checking 10,000. CM to the rescue. The induced corruption caused a red flag and while I can't pinpoint only the corruption I've got a more manageable number to check. In the post-mortem analysis I came to the conclusion that my simple pattern addition of the 'thumbnails' container followed by the deletion of the tag 'thumbnail' state had caused a partial deletion in some 'thumbnails' containers. eg.

This is a good example of an unwanted partial string deletion. If I had deleted the tag 'thumbnail' first before adding the 'thumbnails' container, I could have met the requirements for all four states with two passes. I also had another side effect in that where a 'thumbnails' container previously existed but with a different image filename, my pattern did not contain the right logic to ignore this state. The Search and Replace Master utility may well have been able to take care of this situation but I didn't have sufficient knowledge to implement that without more detailed information, and the help file was non-existent. Despite this hiccup I considered my day's work highly productive, albeit I now have some Search and Rescue to do. Oh the joys of being a tester. This has been a fairly cursory look at automating the repair and update process for Trainz assets, mainly because I'm a tyro at this sort of utility use. If there are Trainzers with more skill and experience in this field we would like to hear from you. You might like to contribute to the Newsletter and share your expertise with the rest of the community. I will be continuing my trials but with even greater caution. I hope to bring these results to you in a further article later this year.

Download this ready to print copy of the TRS 2006 Manual, complete with graphics for the cover and spine.

{ 0 {

}

}

Next Month*

thumbnails

image

"$screenshot$.jpg"

width

240

height

180

}

"$screenshot$.jpg" 240 180

Unlike the original Manual supplied on your Trainz disk, this one is designed to print back to back on A5 paper. The background graphics have also been removed to save ink. A tutorial is also supplied.

* Subject to approval by Auran and N3V Games.


Trainz Community News

This article will outline the manual repair procedures adopted by Project TARM. These procedures are a subset of Trainz Asset Repair Guide (TARG). The repair procedures are based on extensive use of PEV's tools (See Toolman series).

Repair by Substitution Errors in Trainz asset config files probably account for 3040% of all defects. The first strategy is for Project TARM to correct faulty elements of config files and produce a sanatised version of the original config file for hosting on the Trainz Community website. An archive (TARL) is being developed in the form of a database that will contain these repaired config files and enable Trainzers to download. Repair by Substitution will be by drag and drop. Config files will still have the original kuid, and retain original author credits and licensing agreements. Repairs will be predominantly by convergence to full compliance with CCGTC/wiki specifications. As a consequence some config files will be modified under the Trainz Asset Update Program (TAUP). This is often the best form of repair and further future proofs the assets as validation becomes more stringent. In any case, as the latest TS2010 validation is used as the baseline for determining repair and update, all repaired config files will enable utilisation of those assets in both compatability and native modes of TS2009 and TS2010. Repair by Substitution requires no additional work on meshes or texture files. Only the sanatised config file is required. This includes some Updates.

Repairs and Updates requiring additional work by the User In addition to the Repair by Substitution method, many assets will require additional work by the User before repair or update is complete. A set of repair procedures is being developed that will enable any tag, container or effect to be repaired by following a simple guideline. These will be supplemented by How-To guides/ tutorials that give you a better understanding of the requirements. Reference is made to the relevant CCGTC/wiki specification so you know and learn what is required. A similar process will be followed for updates. Each process will be shown separately so that multiple defects do not overwhelm the user.

Page 24

Automating Repairs This is a far more complicated subject and requires robust and well-tried utilities that Trainzers can have faith in. For the config file these do not yet exist. However the excellent PEV tools (See Toolman series) go a long way in assisting us with texture and mesh problems. They are also the foundation stone of the TAUP update program. As these procedures and tools mature, the repair procedures will be amended to incorporate automated methods of repair and update.

Keywords and the Key Caddy The Key Caddy is essentially a glossary of keywords used by Project TARM. Keywords have been developed for:

Ÿ Repairs -TARP Ÿ Updates - TAUP Ÿ Copyright and Licensing advice - TRAINZLAW Ÿ Hosting – HOSTING Ÿ Fault Analysis These keywords will appear in tag category-keyword in the config file and are compatible with the Content Manager Search Filter function. Unfortunately, the Surveyor search filter does not have a Saved filter function for the more complex custom filters, but keywords can be used.

The Key Caddy – Work in Progress See Key Caddy table on Page 26.

A Typical Repair Procedure All repair and update procedures whether manual or automated will follow a similar format.

Subject: REPAIR TAG rgb Subject: REPAIR TAG rgb Used in KIND: Scenery;SceneryWithTrack

Compliance: CCGTC extract : To be added


Trainz Community News

Page 25

Wiki extract: To be added

Notes:

Content Manager Keyword: fconfig,frgb

Completing Repair Procedure:

For specific colors refer to xxx

Tools required:

Ÿ Append tag

Netpad++

category-keyword "tarl;fconfig;frgb” Ÿ Alternatively add the appropriate keyword(s) to an existing tag 'category-keyword' (optional but recommended Ÿ Save in Netpad ++ Ÿ RMB Edit Commit

Viewers required: Netpad++ Ÿ tag specified incorrectly Ÿ missing space between tag and value Ÿ caught up in garbage Ÿ used in wrong KIND

CM Fault Message: CM does not display a fault message. CM substitutes default value.

Repair Procedure: Method 1 - Manual Ÿ Prior to carrying out this procedure check TARL for

availability of a repaired config file for this asset. Ÿ Launch CM Ÿ Select asset Ÿ Open for Edit in Explorer Ÿ Open file config.txt Ÿ Ensure that tag 'rgb' is in the format shown in the

example with values between 0 and 255 for each color.

Post Repair Checks: If the value of rgb is other than the default then the asset should be displayed in the minimap in Surveyor and Driver as a color depending on the combination of values you declared.

Compatibility: There are no compatibility issues with this procedure. The amendment to config.txt should be useable in all versions of Trainz from TRS2004 upwards. However any instructions are based on the use of CMP in TRS2006 and TC, or CM in TS2009 and TS2010.

TARL Availability

Xxx

Hopefully TARL will be available in the second half of 2010. Hosting of these sanatised assets is subject to author approval in one form or another. Initial uploads will concentrate on David Drake's Trees available in kuid groups 33404 and 99446. As there is a total of some 9,000 assets in these two groups, this will be progressively implemented under the TallTreez 2 Initiative.

Method 2 – Automated

Conclusion

An automated repair procedure has not yet been designed for use in Project TARM.

Utilising the TARG guidelines and repair procedures will enable almost all Users who have some basic computer skills to successfully repair and update asset config files. Power Users will be able to carry out extensive repairs or updates of config files, textures and meshes for their personal use.

eg. rgb

0,0,0

The default value as specified in KIND TrainzBaseSpec is:

Where the manual procedure is simple and unambiguous it will be possible to provide a basic automated procedure for config file repairs using a text editor with a search and replace function. Project TARM designed scripts would be used in conjunction with the selected utility to provide a safe and user-friendly method of accomplishing specific repairs quickly.

You must abide by the author's wishes with respect to copyright, licensing, hosting and distribution at all times.

The Key Caddy Table is on the next page.


f127

falias

fanim

fattach

fbendy

fbluestar

fbogey

fboolean

fcamera

fcarz fcatclass fchameleon

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP TARP TARP

Keyword

TARM Program TARP

Trainz Community News

Warning Info Warning

Fault

Warning

Fault

Warning

Info

Fault

Info

Warning

Info

Status

Faulty camera tags or container in kind 'interior' or illegally used in wrong kind. Missing a kuid reference for carz f unction. Indicates an asset that contained an incorrect class code. Third party tag that is non -compliant with CCGTC/wiki.

Indicates that a tag has a value other than 0 or 1

Used to show either a faulty or missing bogey.

Indicates an asset where the kuid format has corrupted the kuid number but file is still useable under som e circumstances. Asset is linked to another as an alias. Warning message cannot be eliminated. Indicates that asset has an animation file. Asse t should be checked for correct operation after conversion are done. Mesh or config file has a missing mismatched or incorrect attachment. Generally requires creator to repair. Config file has Tag 'bendy 1'. Sometimes this is invalid. At others may cause performance issu es. Third party tag that is non -compliant with CCGTC/wiki.

Description

"Error: The Tag 'chameleon_entries _per_livery' is not permitted within a container of type 'texture group'. Error: The Tag 'chameleon_liveries' is not permitted within a container of type 'texture -group'.

"Warning: Tag 'bluestar_brake' in the container 'traincar' is obsolete. Warning: Tag 'bluestar_coupler' in the container 'traincar' is obsolete. Error: The asset specified in 'bogey' is not of the correct type. Warning: The Boolean tag 'snapmode' in container 'industry' is not a valid Bo olean value. Error: The Tag 'cameralist' is not permitted within a container of type 'traincar'. Warning: An asset must be specified for tag 'car2'.

Warning: Aliased meshes cannot currently be verified by Trainz. Error: Unable to load animation file 'hash -ea/kuid2 64819 37301 1/intersection x c/anim.kin' (no resource). Error: Attachment point 'a.r.Pony truck01' in 'axle0 -0' must be found in mesh 'ddeleadbog.im'.

No Message

Typical CM Error or Warning Messages

Page 26


fconfig

fconsists

fconvertex

fcoupler fdblblock fdigit

feffects

fespec

fextensions

fgrounded

fgse

fhtml ficon

fimage

fisspeed fixit fjirf

fkuid-table

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP TARP TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TARP TARP TARP

TARP

Trainz Community News

Fault

Fault Info Info

Fault

Fault Info

Fault

Fault

Fault or Info Fault

Fault

Fault Fault Fault

Fault

Fault

Info

An error has occurred in an encrypted script file that can only be repaired by the creator. Reserved for faulty html statements Denotes an asset that contains tag icon0, 1, 2 or 3 that at one stage Auran was flagging. Covers a range of faults associated with texture files such as power of two, compressed, filepath incorrect. Obsolete tag in TS2009/10 An asset awaiting a repair for an error or warning A few meshes have JIRF missing and cannot be converted from PM to IM. An incorrect entry in kuid-table container that may cause a missing asset status

A legacy engine specification that has been repaired or needs updating to work correctly in TS2009/10 Defects specific to incorre ct extensions container. Temporarily used for non -compliant third party tags in config file top level. Probably a tag illegally used in wrong kind.

An error occurs in effects container.

A texture f ile has been corrupted during conversion and needs correction to filename. Faulty coupler An early error to signalling functionality. A specific type of missing or not -required texture associated with digits.

A wide range of config faults caused by incorrect format of tags , misspelt tags, missing tab spaces or brackets or garbage A tag used in Scenarios (Kind Activity) that is obsolete.

Generally associated with red or yellow status icon.

Error: The asset specified in 'icon0' is not of the correct type.

Error: The Tag 'grounded' is not permitted within a container of type 'mocrossing'.

Error: Texture 'warship_maroon_body/digit_5c.texture' is missing or could not be loaded for mesh 'warship_maroon_body \warship_maroon_body.im'. Error: The attachment point 'a.lamp2 ' must belong to the parent mesh of the effect (mesh=mainpole \sm_pole.im).

Error: The Tag 'consists' is not permitted within a container of type 'activity'.

Page 27


flicense

flm

fmesh

fmode0

fmode1

fniu

fnotches fnumber

fopacity

fpaintshed fpanto

fpm

fpmconvert

fproduct

fqueues

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

Trainz Community News

Info

Warning

Warning Info

Warning

Warning Fault

Optional

Fault

Fault

Fault, Warning

Warning

Fault

Config files has been amended to reflect a conversion from PM to IM. Requires use of PM2IM on any PM meshes. A range of defects caused by misunderstanding of difference between product and category. An error has occurred in 'queues' container

Obsolete kind. Kind Pantograph assets that have been converted from PM to IM using PEV Tools PM2IM. Requires upgrading to IM using PEV PM2IM utility. Config file has not been amended.

This tag is boolean only in TS201 0.

A kind mojunction asset that needs upgrading to mesh format. User defined Faulty asset that is not in use in any route or session. A fault in engine specification. Third party tag that is non -compliant with CCGTC/wiki.

A kind mocrossing asset that needs upgrading to mesh format.

A range of mesh errors associated with incorrect or invalid filename or filepath.

Reserved for tag 'license' that has been corrupted by garbage. Currently covered by fconfig. Uses LM meshes that may cause performance issues.

Warning: Progressive meshes are no longer supported by Trainz. Though these meshes may work in Trainz it is recommended t hat you switch to a LOD mesh

Error: The Tag 'number_low' is not permitted within a container of type 'traincar'. Warning: The Boolean tag 'opacity' in container 'windows' is not a valid Boolean value. Warning: KIND 'paintshed -skin' is obsolete. No Message

Error: The Tag 'mode1' is not permitted within a container of type 'mojunction'. No Message

Warning: The file 'Emory -Oak.lm' is provided in LM format despite having no attachment points and no animation support. This may have a negative impact on performance. Warning: The file 'Emory -Oak.lm' is provided in LM format, however the high -detail mesh is comprised of less than 300 polygons. This may have a negative impact on performance. Error: Unable to load mesh file: 'Nortons Plant #5.im' Warning: This as set does not have a mesh that is visible by default." Error: The tag 'mode0' is not permitted within this container. (Container type 'mojunction')

Page 28


fscript

fscriptclass fshadow fshadowpm fsignals fsmoke

fstring

ftexdelete

ftexgenerate

ftexname ftexstrip

ftexture

ftmi

ftpr

ftrack

ftrackside ftrainzbuild

fturntable funcached

fupright

fusername fwater

TARP

TARP TARP TARP TARP TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

Trainz Community News

Fault Warning

Fault

Fault Info

Fault

Fault

Fault

Fault

Warning

Warning

Fault Fault

Fault

tag 'username' is missing. Tag is mandatory. Tag value is obsolete and needs upgrading.

Reserved The tag 'trainz -build' is corrupt or incorrectly formatted in config file. Faulty turntable. Config file contains tag 'uncached alpha 1' that may be rsponsible for performance issues. Probably a tag illegally used in wrong kind.

Faulty track.

A texture.txt file exists but texture file not needed by mesh. A texture file is required by mesh but is not available. Need to generate a proxy. Texture name is incorrect Texture has been specified for a TS2009/TS2010 unsupported slot. Use strip function in PEV PM2IM. Texture files are in *.texture form and need converting to tga using PEV Texture2TGA or Images 2TGA utilities. TrainzMeshImporter fault. Occurs for a few assets when using PEVTools. Third party script by Trainzproroutes that has an error.

A tag used in Scenarios (Kind Activity) that is obsolete. There is a fault in the shadow mesh. Creator did not provide a shadow mesh for an PM mesh Reserved A range of smoke container defects some of which have no warning. Rem statements using ';' Incomplete, invalid or empty value in tag 'string'

An error has occurred in the script.

Warning: KIND 'water' is obsolete.

Error: The Tag 'upright' is not permitted within a container of type 'scenery'.

No Message

Error: The Tag 'attached -track' is not permitted within a container of type 'scenery'.

Error: Attachment point attachment (a.unload_left_pfx3) in 'smoke3' was not found. Warning: The tag ';' in container 'string -table' is empty

Error: waitformessageandclearschedulecommand.gs(22) : parse error, line 22 Error: Script class does not match asset kind (signa l).

Page 29


fwave

mscript mtexture

mtrainzbuild

noshade quickshadows

selfshadow

tarl wniu

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TARP TARP

TARP

TA RP TARP

Trainz Community News

Info Optional

Info

Warning Info

Info

Fault Fault

Defects associated with soundscript where *.wave file is faulty. The config file specifies a script file that does not exist. "Covers a range of faults where texture is missing, filepath is wrong not really needed or in unsupported slot The tag 'trainz -build' is missing from the config file and may cause incorrect validation. Creator did not provide a shadow mesh for an IM mesh. Indicates that PEV Quickshadows utility has been used to produce a missing shadow. Indicates an example of producing shadows from main mesh. Not recommended due to high polycount. An asset that has been repaired for an error or warning. User defined Warning asset that is not in use in any route or session. No Message No Message

No Message

does not contain one.but the mesh ta ble No Message

CM does not provide error or warning message.

Error: The script file 'texturereplace' does not exist

Page 30


taup

u_bogies

u_boolean

u_cat_class u_cat_era

u_cat_region

u_obsolete

u_kuidtable

u_meshtable

u_profile

u_texture u_thumbnails

u_trainzbuild

u_water

TAUP

TAUP

TAUP

TA UP TAUP

TAUP

TAUP

TAUP

TAUP

TAUP

TAUP TAUP

TAUP

TAUP

Trainz Community News

update

update

update update

update

update

update

update

update

update update

update

update

Info

Indicates that the asset has been updated to meet CCGTC/wiki specification or to best repair a fault. Indicates an asset where the tag 'bogey' needs updating to a 'bogies' container. Indicates an asset that contained an incorrect boolean value in config file. Indicates an asset that contained an incorrect class code. Indicates an asset that required an update to format or contained an incorrect era code. Indicates an asset that required an update to format or contained an incorrect region code. Indicates an asset where obsolete -table container has been corrupted and has been updated. Indicates an asset where kuid -table container has been corrupted and has been updated. Indicates an asset where mesh -table container has been corrupted or has wrong filepath and has been updated. Indicates profile/personal details deleted in favour of updated pro file at Planet Auran. (future) Reserved for updated texture. An asset needs an update to provide a thumbnail image and 'thumbnails' container or corrects an error. Indicates tha t the trainz-build of this asset has been modified to a later version to benefit from improved functionality. Indicates an asset where an obsolete water kuid has been specified and should be updated.

Page 31


authorapproved

hosted_tarl_mk1

hosting_approve

hosting_deny

hosting_license

hosting_notrespond

hosting_pending

hosting_unknown

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

Trainz Community News

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

License category that indicates author has approved hosting at Trainz Community website. Indicates author did not object to hosting at TARL Mk 1 and thus precedent set for hosting at Trainz Community website. License category that indicates author has approved hosting at Trainz Community website. License category that indicates author has approved hosting at Trainz Community website. License category that indicates author has approved hosting at Trainz Community website. License category that indicates author has not responded to a request to host at Trainz Community website. License category that indicates request made to author to approve hosting at Trainz Community website and await reply. License category that indicates hosting requirement is unknown. Probably in non -English language requiring translation. No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

Page 32


law_auran

law_copyright

law_credit

law_notstated

law_freeware

law_nopay

law_payware

law_restricted

law_unknown

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

TRAINZLAW

Trainz Community News

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

Info

License category that indicates asset is a builtin and Auran EULA and distribution policy over -rides author licensing. License category reminds all Users and would be authors that intellectual property rights remain with original author. License category that reminds all would be authors that credit must be given to the original author for use of his creations. License category indicates that tag license is missing or does not contain useful information pertaining to licensing. License category indicates term 'freeware' used in tag 'license'. Note though author probably means 'free of charge'. License category that covers all variations of license that indicate asset cannot be use d to gain remuneration. License category indicates asset is payware and cannot be used except for personal use without author's permission. License category indicates that you should read license statement carefully and seek clarification from author. License category that license statement is probably in non -English language and needs translation. No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

No Message

Page 33


Trainz Community News

The relationship between repair, licensing and copyright Disclaimer I am not an expert in copyright, trademarks, licensing or Free Trade Agreements. The views expressed by me in this and subsequent articles are based on limited research. I would rather not discuss a subject for which I am poorly equipped to make definitive statements. Yet I am compelled to do so because the law says I must abide by the provisions and I don't properly understand them. Every asset in Trainz is affected by these provisions in some measure.

Limitations This article looks at the subject matter primarily from an asset repair viewpoint, and the ability to sensibly apply the rules to the advantage of the Trainz Community as a whole without prejudice of author's rights. A subsequent article will look at copyright and licensing in more detail, albeit still from the confused perspective of a Trainz User.

Introduction The intention of TARM is to provide a service to the Trainz Community, whether they are Auran, Authors or Users, whereby a means of repairing an asset can be achieved either by substituting a repaired config file and/or by providing a repair procedure and guidance on the use of repair tools. Many assets are red or yellow flagged. Many need repair because they are non-compliant. If assets are built in accordance with CCGTC/wiki then it is quite likely that they will work in most Trainz versions within the limits of functionality.

Definition of Repair Repair of a Trainz asset is defined as enabling an asset to be used in the game regardless of its trainz-build, and free of errors and warnings in Content Manager.

Page 34

Repair by Substitution With a wide range of age, skills and experience in the Trainz Community a mechanism is required that is userfriendly and minimises induced errors that occur when people manually amend an item such as the config file. Repair by Substitution provides a drag and drop method of replacing the original config file with a sanatised version correcting any defects or non-compliance with CCGTC/wiki. Copyright, license, hosting, credit provisons of the original are retained.

Repair by Update Updating to meet compliance is often the best course of action to achieve a repair. The original asset was released in a non-compliant state. With more stringent validation occurring in the latest Trainz builds, defects that were not apparent in earlier Content Managers are now visible and indeed can impact on the ability to place an asset in Surveyor and use it in Driver.

CM validation baseline for repair TS2010 SP2 or its successors.

Repair in TARM It is doubtful that the current situation was ever envisaged when the assets were created, with legacy Trainz versions now reaching end of life, the advances in technology that have occurred since Trainz was born enhancing the functionality but requiring more stringent compliance with the specifications, and the ability of the User through various tools to repair assets without recourse to the author. In order to provide the Trainz Community with a service that enables them to leverage their repair requirement from lessons learned by other Trainzers, there is a need to consider a modified approach to copyright and licensing. Hosting approval is an essential criteria for Project TARM, otherwise only a fraction of the repaired assets' config files can be hosted on TARL at the Trainz Community website.


Trainz Community News Project TARM will abide by Authors' wishes where explicitly stated. Note though that Author's intent with regard to licensing may be different as stated in early developed assets from those developed later on as Trainz has progressed. This change in outlook may be as a result of some infringement of author's copyright, although in reality this is probably rare. There is also the situation where an author is no longer active in the Community or is deceased? Getting clearance from an Author under these circumstances can be nigh impossible. Similarly, and certainly in Project TARM's case it would be unrealistic to contact each author individually concerning many thousands of defective assets when nearly 2,500 authors are involved. An alternative is a public notice in each of the Auran forums and languages in lieu. Recently this was attempted in the main forum with requests to dual language trainzers to re-issue in the language forums. The result was a dismal failure. Trainz Community

366,000+

Against

3 authors

For

3

Uncertain

1

No comment

~366,000

This thread like many others in the forums was dead and buried inside of two weeks. However, if one reads between the lines on other forum posts it is obvious that there is a growing support for the Project TARM approach. The Author has the right to prevent TARM hosting any variant of his meshes, texture, or other files under international copyright law, unless he has assigned those rights to another via licensing. Over 500 authors were hosted on the original TARL in 2006 with only one objection. There is also a special case whereby items loaded to DLS or builtin to Trainz versions are probably subject to Auran's EULA and Distribution Policy, rather than the Author's original copyright and licensing. There are over 100,000 assets on the DLS, and the combined builtins in TS2010 with the add-ons is over 25,000. Some of these are available on both DLS and builtin. In addition other assets are either exclusively at external websites or

Page 35 duplicated on DLS. Intellectual property rights are not affected and remain with the author.

TARM Policy Here are some of the factors we have considered, and safeguards we have built into the repairs that are to be hosted at the Trainz Community website as part of TARM policy:

Ÿ We are

only anticipating hosting the sanatised config files. So only people with Trainz can use them. Meshes and textures are not involved. Ÿ The original kuid of the asset is retained. Thus an author can supersede the 'repaired' config file at any time by uploading a later version under normal obsoleting rules. Ÿ The original copyright, license and credit statements are also retained. Ÿ An author can request that a sanatised config file be hidden from Users. Ÿ An author can explicitly state that he does not agree to hosting at this website. Ÿ An added safeguard has been incorporated in the config files by including a keyword to indicate license status. There is some difficulty in simplifying all the variations of licensing stated in config files but we err on the side of constraint. See the Key Caddy for relevant keywords and definitions. These keywords were developed after a very extensive survey of some 25,000 config files. All assets will eventually be surveyed to ensure the fullest coverage. The results of this study will be published later this year in conjunction with the follow on article. Ÿ Updates are a means of achieving repairs while ensuring full compliance with the CCGTC/wiki and future proofing. Ÿ The latest TS2010 validation is always used to determine error or warning status of an asset. Ÿ This approach makes it possible to use assets in other Trainz versions than originally conceived by the author. Ÿ The trainzbuild number as a guide is not a reliable indicator of its current use. An author may have used an earlier version trainbuild number even though he is building in and for the latest version. This has inflated the number of TRS2004 numbers. So the numbers of assets in each version are not necessarily relevant. Be warned that some asset types are not able to take advantage of automatic enhancements that are available unless a later build number is used.


Trainz Community News

Page 36

Ÿ Backwards compatability will be achieved for many assets because of common specifications. However, bearing in mind that many assets have multiple defects and updating may be the best course of action, backwards compatability will not be always achievable. A series of keywords have been developed to warn the user that updates have occurred to the config file, and that the User, in these circumstances, should consider whether they retain the original config file or use the sanatised version.

Conclusions Ÿ The Trainz Community as a whole will benefit from Project TARM.

Ÿ To ensure authors' rights are safeguarded additional measures have been taken through the TRAINZLAW Initiative to enhance Users' awareness of copyright and licensing constraints. Ÿ Cooperation of authors is necessary in order to achieve Project TARM's outcomes by approving hosting at the Trainz Community website. Ÿ Precedent was set by TARL Mark 1. In nearly three years of operation with 500 Authors repairs of 8,000 assets hosted, only one author requested his assets' repairs not be published. His kuid group was locked so that Author's wishes complied with.

Why Can't You Read The Trainz Community News Online? Someone recently asked the question on the Trainz Forum. It's a good question that deserves an answer: As the TCN grows in size, the PDF file is also growing. At present it's around 2 megabytes, but by zipping it, we can reduce the size by several hundred kilobytes. That saves precious server space and allows people to download the file quickly, even on dialup systems. The TCN isn't the kind of publication you would normally read online. Many of the articles need to be read over and over again, so most people will want to print certain pages for future reference. We also pay for our bandwidth. We encourage people to download the publication once rather than reading in online every few days or so. Finally, we may wish to include additional material in the Zip file. In this month's package for example, we've included TXT files for all the sample Config files.

Edited by John King Last month I wrote: “Each month we receive about a dozen emails or PM’s about the magazine or the TARM project. Until now those letters have often been shared between our volunteers, but that’s it.” Well this month we never received any letters at all, so I guess that means you’re all shy! At least the forums give us some idea as to how things are going, but it would be really great if you could let us know what you think of the Newsletter and the TARM project. I’m not sure about Ian Woodmore, but I’m now devoting a lot of my waking day to Trainz. I’m working on the magazine almost continuously for about ten days leading up to publishing date, and some of those days become very long as the deadline gets closer. If I know Ian, he’ll be working even longer on the TARM project and preparing material for the Newsletter. it’s a lot of hard work for a circulation of under 600 copies each month, so we really do need those letters of critisism, suggestions and support pouring in. Who wants to be first? A link to our email address is on the bottom left of Page 2.

The following sponsors have generously donated prizes for the 2010 Route Building Competition.


Trainz Community News

L

ast month I introduced you to the Trainz Asset Update Program (TAUP). I outlined 16 updates necessary to bring a legacy asset config file into full compliance with the CCGTC and/or wiki. Obviously not all are necessary for every asset as the config file template varies depending on the 'Kind'. This article deals with Update 10 mesh-table container and complements PEV's Toolman â&#x20AC;&#x201C; PM2IM article. The other 15 updates will be discussed in future Newsletter editions and eventually this information will form part of the Trainz Asset Repair Guide (TARG) that will be hosted at the Trainz Community website. Few of the early assets used mesh-tables. They used tag 'asset-filename' in conjunction with progressive meshes (PM). For reasons explained in the wiki, PMs have been obsolete for a number of years. As a matter of policy I have decided to update all PMs and use IMs in conjunction with mesh-tables. This also applies to aliased assets where both the aliased and alias need to be treated. It also affects any asset using PMs that doesn't have a shadow as this will result in a red flag preventing operation of the asset in TS2009/TS2010 native mode. PM2IM is a marvellous tool allowing conversion of PMs to IMs. It also can strip unwanted textures from meshes where they occur in TS2009/TS2010 unsupported slots. Our immediate problem is that while PM2IM can convert the mesh either singly or in their thousands at a single run using the trawl feature, we are still left with the onerous task of individually amending each config file to incorporate the mesh-table. This latter task is not performed by PM2IM. One of the hindrances to automating this part of the task is that there are many variants of mesh-table required because a common folder structure has not been followed. There are also a significant number of instances where authors have not abided by filename and filepath naming conventions as well. This article develops a cheatsheet to enable drag and drop of the numerous mesh-table variants into the config file. Please ensure that your cheatsheet is in a text editor NOT a word processor. Otherwise the dreaded double quotes corruption might occur. You can use Notepad but I have found Notepad ++ to be more flexible. You can download this utility from many sources. The latest version is 5.6.8.

Page 37

The feature that speeds up our PM conversion is the TAB. If you pre-load your textsheet into the first tab and then set Notepad++ as your preferred text editor, whenever you open a Trainz asset config file it will appear in another tab. This enables you to toggle between your mesh-table and the config file improving productivity. The use of the cheatsheet will also reduce errors that inevitably occur when manually typing, particularly where brackets are involved such as in a Trainz container. What if you do make a mistake. All is not lost as you can always try again. If you use a builtin to cut your teeth on you can always use Content Manager RMB 'revert to original'. This will restore the original configuration. Be aware though many builtin assets do not follow the rules concerning naming conventions. Hopefully my cheatsheet covers the majority of 'special' cases that you will be exposed to. There are some pitfalls concerning animation. The requirement for tags anim and animation-loop-speed vary between 'kind' and Trainz version. In the documentation (CCG and/or wiki) the following was stated:

TRS2004 animdist - leave out if not animated. direct-drive - steam drivers only. if left out sound and steam will not work. anim - included in example animation-loop-speed 1 - included in example

TRS2006 as per TRS2004 with the additional statements "The direct-drive tag may also be used on an invisible locomotive bogey to achieve correct sound timing for an asset." "In previous versions of Trainz, the following lines were used in the config.txt file anim anim.kin animation-loop-speed 1.0 These are no longer required.

Trainz automatically


Trainz Community News

Page 38

recognizes the anim.kin file for the bogey. These lines if used in the config.txt will generate an error log message about incorrectly specified animation being ignored.

also applies to paddlewheels on river steamers, stagecoaches and helicopter rotors. If any of the following occur then your settings are wrong for the trainz-build specified in the config file:

Refer to Chapter 7 - Bogeys for modeling guidelines”

1. Animation does not occur. 2. Leading and trailing bogies turn in opposite directions. 3. No bogies visible, only their shadow shows. 4. Continuous wheel rotation when loco or rolling stock are stationary.

Tc3 As per TRS2006

TS2009 CCG - CCGTC issued under extras as an interim measure prior to incorporating it into wiki. Not yet accomplished.

WIKI: Kind Bogey - config file example TBD mesh-table container - The mesh-table is a list of mesh subcontainers with no standalone tags. Each mesh subcontainer uses the following format. Tags are parsed in a standardised format, but not all Content Types support the full range of tags.

Updating config files to include mesh-table container Firstly an example of the process of using PM2IM and then amending the config file.

Ÿ In Content Manager (CM) highlight the asset in Main View. Ÿ Right Mouse Button (RMB) 'Open for edit in explorer'. Ÿ Use PM2IM in accordance with Toolman instructions. There is an extensive help file in the tool as well.

tag animation-loop-speed - This tag must be here if the asset is to animate when placed. If this tag is not here when placed the animation will not play by default, but may play if controlled by script. A different value (e.g. 0.5, 2.0) may be used in the tag to play the animation at

You will see that PM2IM has produced an IM equivalent to the PM in the main folder and another in the shadow folder. The PM file is now redundant. You can either delete it or leave it. Be careful to delete the PM NOT the IM file. As I'm dealing in many thousands of assets I delete. This eventually saves gigabytes of hard drive memory.

Ÿ First observe the asset to be updated to determine

Open config file in a text editor such as Notepad, NOT in a word processor.

what its intended animation is (that’s if it is working. There are non-functioning animations and animation files but no filepath in some config files). Ÿ Carry out the update. Ÿ Trial your update in a test layout made in Surveyor, and observe in Driver that the animation works correctly. Here are a few pointers. I hope I've got them right:

Ÿ Windmills,

draglines, ferris wheels and some cranes have continuous operation. This requires tag animation-loop-speed to be set to 1. Ÿ Pantographs and passenger coach/car doors using kind ‘pantograph’ are toggled, and animation-loopspeed is set to 0. Ÿ Traincar loco bogies and drivers and rolling stock bogies should only operate when in motion. This

You will see that there is no mesh-table, only the tag 'asset-filename' (I've highlighted in blue). Note this example uses the tag 'bogey' format, the dominant format you will come across in legacy assets. In a later TAUP article “Update 1 bogey tag transition to bogies container” we will cover the bogey format used in TS2009 and Ts2010. asset-filename “class25_a_bogey" Config files, particularly legacy ones, do not logically group tags and containers and depending on where they have been cloned from, the tags and containers can occur anywhere. This disorder leads to mistakes and omissions that will get flagged by CM. Trainz doesn't care what order they are in, but humans find it easier to comprehend if associated items are grouped. You will find it easier if you group the following tags and container together:


Trainz Community News Direct-drive Ÿ Animdist Ÿ Asset-filename Ÿ Mesh-table Ÿ

(if animated) (if animated)

Insert the mesh-table just below the asset-filename tag (I've highlighted in red). It must have the same format as

Page 39 the folders in the asset. It can vary quite a bit from one asset to another. Note also whether the bogey is animated by looking for anim.kin and whether a shadow mesh is present. In this case this bogey is non-animated but has a shadow. This mesh-table would normally be indented for ease of troubleshooting.

asset-filename "class25_a_bogey" mesh-table { default { mesh auto-create } shadow { mesh } }

"x.im" 1

"x_shadow/x_shadow.im"

Now copy the text inside the asset-filename quotes and paste in lieu of the 'x's. Your mesh file should now look like this:

asset-filename

"class25_a_bogey"

mesh-table { default { mesh "class25_a_bogey.im" auto-create 1 } shadow { mesh "class25_a_bogey_shadow/class25_a_bogey_shadow.im" } }

Ÿ Save config file and close. Ÿ Commit.


Trainz Community News

Page 40

Note the tag asset-filename is retained for legacy purposes but is redundant in TS2009 and Ts2010. This update will will now work in all versions from TRS2004 through TS2010 native mode even if you don’t change the trainz-build number. That was easy wasn’t it. Now for the likely complications.

Mesh-table Variants In this section are most of the mesh-table variants you will need when updating assets created prior to the introduction of mesh-tables. Note that for aliased assets both the alias asset containing the mesh, and the aliased asset that has textures but no mesh require treatment. So if you PM convert an alias to IM then the mesh-table of both must point to the alias .im The PM file could be left there but the downside of this is

that CM will continue to yellow flag PM. Currently the aliased assets still show the alias yellow flag even after the conversion. IMPORTANT - For aliased assets the pathname is that of the alias not the asset. BEWARE - not all assets use correct foldernames and meshnames. It is preferable to do so. Let’s look at the usual variations first; then we will i n c o r p o r a t e m i s s i n g s h a d o w s u s i n g P E V ’s Quickshadows utility; and finally some special variations. So that you don’t have to fiddle around to adjust between the variants, I have provided a template for each case that I’m aware of. A bit pedantic perhaps, but trust me less hassles for you. Spacing between tags and containers and their values will vary. The important factor is that there must be a space. Don’t use the space bar. Always use a tab. That way you will avoid numerous corruptions.

Please Note If you try to copy and paste these file fragments to your config file, all the indenting will be lost and the Config file won’t work. This issue of the Trainz Community News also contains a TXT file containing all the file fragments or snippets listed here. If you wish to use the snippets, please copy them from the TXT file and paste into your config file. This will ensure that the formatted code will be transferred correctly. The number to the right of each snippet, is the same number in the TXT file. (Ed.)

1. For non animated with no requirement for shadow or animation and no folders mesh-table { default { mesh auto-create } }

"x.im" 1

The shadow part of the mesh-table has been removed shadow { mesh "x_shadow.im" } Observing this example you should be able to adapt other configurations accordingly


Trainz Community News

Page 41

2. For non-animated in the main folder mesh-table { default { Mesh

"x.im"

auto-create

1

} Shadow { Mesh

"x.im"

} }

3. For non-animated when only body folder exists mesh-table { Default { mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh }

}

"x.im"


Trainz Community News

Page 42

4. For non-animated when both body and shadow folders exist mesh-table { Default { mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh

"x_shadow/x_shadow.im"

} }

Ensure you have met the animation variations as required by the specific Trainz version you are using.

5. For animated in the main folder mesh-table { Default { mesh

"x.im"

anim

"anim.kin"

animation-loop-speed

1

auto-create

1

} Shadow { Mesh } }

"x.im"


Trainz Community News

Page 43

6. For animated when only body folder exists mesh-table { Default { mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

anim

"anim.kin"

animation-loop-speed

1

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh

"x_shadow.im"

} }

7. For animated when both folders exist mesh-table { Default { mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

anim

"anim.kin"

animation-loop-speed

1

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh } }

"x_shadow/x_shadow.im"


Trainz Community News

Page 44

QUICKSHADOWS 8. If using PEV Quickshadows utility to add a shadow to an existing mesh-table shadow { mesh }

"shadow.im"

Note this is non-conventional naming for folder and file but simplifies future automation of the updating. This configuration replaces the shadow part of any other mesh-table. I have adopted a policy of keeping the Quickshadows generated shadow mesh in the main folder where the config file is found. This ensures it isn't buried in the body folder and that you are aware that the requirement for a shadow mesh to be generated has been met. PEV's shadow mesh does not need additional textures as per the older type of shadow mesh. It seemed wasteful to have to make a shadow folder for one file. However, as long as you correctly state the filepath in the config file, the shadow mesh can reside anywhere in the asset folder structure.

9. Using PEV Quickshadows utility for non-animated in the main folder mesh-table { Default { Mesh auto-create } Shadow { Mesh } }

"x.im" 1

"shadow.im"

10. Using PEV Quickshadows utility for non-animated when only body folder exists mesh-table { Default { Mesh auto-create } shadow { mesh } }

"x_body/x_body.im" 1

"shadow.im"


Trainz Community News

Page 45

11. Using PEV Quickshadows utility for non-animated when both folders exist mesh-table { Default { mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh

"x_shadow/shadow.im"

} }

12. Using PEV Quickshadows utility for animated in the main folder mesh-table { default { Mesh

"x.im"

anim

"anim.kin"

animation-loop-speed

1

auto-create

1

} Shadow { Mesh } }

"shadow.im"


Trainz Community News

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13. Using PEV Quickshadows utility for animated when only body folder exists mesh-table { Default { Mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

anim

"anim.kin"

animation-loop-speed

1

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh

"shadow.im"

} }

14. Using PEV Quickshadows utility for animated when both folders exist mesh-table { Default { Mesh

"x_body/x_body.im"

Anim

"anim.kin"

animation-loop-speed

1

auto-create

1

} shadow { mesh } }

"x_shadow/shadow.im"


Trainz Community News

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SPECIALS For some bogeys Some bogeys, mostly by majekear, used names instead of kuids for tag bogey. This method is no longer supported. tag bogey for older trainz versions should use kuid. Named bogey

Associated kuid

Aliased to

Named of alias

54ft_covered_hopper_bogey

100008

Realsquash 36x70 inch bogies, brown

kuid:62941 50310

kuid:45681:50000

squash_36inchx70_bogey

Realsquash 36x70 inch bogies, green

kuid:62941:50311

kuid:45681:50000

squash_36inchx70_bogey

Realsquash 36x70 inch bogies, black

kuid:62941:50312

kuid:45681:50000

squash_36inchx70_bogey

Realsquash 33x68 inch bogies, brown

kuid:62941:50300

kuid:45681:50001

squash_33inchX6_bogey

Realsquash 33x68 inch bogies, green

kuid:62941:50301

kuid:45681:50001

squash_33inchX6_bogey

Realsquash 33x68 inch bogies, black

kuid:62941:50302

kuid:45681:50001

squash_33inchX6_bogey

Aliasing The notable difference with aliased assets is that the mesh filepath and name are that of the alias not the aliased asset. ie. X=the alias 'asset-filename' in any of the above configurations. On the next page you will find a table of some of the alias assets kuids and their associated tag 'asset-filename' value.

I've included the number of assets using each asset based on the total DLS plus some additional external websites. As you can see the numbers are significant. If you have a large number of aliased assets to convert I suggest you do not delete the original PM file until you have modified all associated aliased config files. When TARL is operational you will be able to download the modified config files. Continued

JadeBullet


Trainz Community News kuid:-1:100039 kuid:-1:100092 kuid:-1:100138 kuid:-1:100159 kuid:-1:100754 kuid:-1:101221 kuid:-1:101254 kuid:-10:169 kuid:-10:172 kuid:-10:173 kuid:-10:183 kuid:-10:184 kuid:-10:185 kuid:-10:187 kuid:-10:188 kuid:-10:190 kuid:-10:192 kuid:-10:194 kuid:-10:195 kuid:-10:196 kuid:-10:197 kuid:-10:199 kuid:-10:200 kuid:-10:205 kuid:-10:206 kuid:-10:208 kuid:-10:211 kuid:-10:216 kuid:-13:131 kuid:-13:132 kuid:-13:133 kuid:-13:134 kuid:-13:135 kuid:-13:136 kuid:-13:137 kuid:-13:138 kuid:-13:139 kuid:-13:140 kuid:-13:141 kuid:-13:142 kuid:-13:143 kuid:-13:144 kuid:-13:145 kuid:-13:146 kuid;-13:147 kuid;-13:182 kuid;-13:183 kuid:-13:1465 kuid:-13:183001 kuid:-13:1004330 kuid:2512:1371 kuid:66957:11 kuid:79097:1001 kuid:79097:50001

class43_original GATX_pennsalt AlcoFA1_bogey atsf_baggage 2100QR_yel mk3_tgs_br_blue-white Erz3d_full Gen_deltic Gen1960_op1 Gen_RC4 Class_2100 class37 class43 dl500_double dl500_single f7b sd40_2 vrs 3dtcar 40ft_boxcar 50ft_2door_boxcar 54ft_covered_hopper Bay_window_caboose gbs gp38 nohab sw7 gen_tgv ATSF_baggage ATSF_dome ATSF_uni class218 Class34-200 dl531 EF81 eurofima gg1 gm gp38_hi_nodyn gp38_lo_dyn gp38_lo_nodyn Mk2_BR TGV TGV_unit1 TGV_unit2 Mk1_BR Mk3_BR TGV_unit3 Mk3_BR_simple_stripe mining_co2 EE Type 3 73500_TER Frisco_1522_4-8-2_Mountain Frisco 1522 4-8-2 Mountain lead bogey

Page 48 119 73 161 45 57 145 93 55 1212 607 131 56 101 45 23 175 283 37 294 1176 446 714 179 118 316 116 373 216 45 53 213 25 35 108 9 120 37 15 16 45 14 78 61 37 64 147 252 36 3 6 8 17 5


Trainz Community News

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15. For animated using effects mesh-table { default { Mesh auto-create

"x_body/x_body.im" 1

effects { dest1 { Kind Fontsize Fontcolor Att Name

"name" 0.1 242,235,47 "a.name0" "dest1"

} } shadow { Mesh

"x_shadow/x_shadow.im"

} } Continued

skidmark22


Trainz Community News

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17. Generating shadows from vehicles own mesh. Windwalkr reckons this is not a good idea as main mesh will be many more polygons. If you DO want shadows and animation exists, you could use this:

mesh-table { default { Mesh anim animation-loop-speed auto-create } shadow { Mesh } }

"x_body/x_body.im" "anim.kin" 1 1

"x_body/x_body.im"

This will use the vehicle's own mesh as a shadow file (don't put an auto-create entry in the shadow section), not terribly efficient but then these are old assets anyway. You can do the same thing with bogies.

18. Correcting a CM red flag where both shadow and load are missing but queues are present. mesh-table { default { Mesh auto-create } shadow { Mesh } load { Mesh Anim auto-create use-parent-bounds } }

"x_body/x_body.im" 1

"x_body/x_body.im"

"x_body/load/load.im" "x_body/load/load.kin" 1 1


Trainz Community News

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19. Updating a kind 'mojunction' The meshes need to exist for this to be implemented.

mesh-table { mode0 { mesh auto-create } mode1 { mesh } }

"lever1/lever1.im" 1

"lever2/lever2.im

You will find other combination of folder and sub-folder, but the above examples illustrate the dominant formats.

.......

Using these mesh-table configurations will provide you with a safe and easy method to update config files. There are many thousands of assets, mostly SP3 and UTC Trainz versions that require this update. Currently we do not have a foolproof method of automating this process that will take care of the many variations that occur. I am exploring ways of doing this (see Automating Repairs and Updates series) but I'm in over my head lacking the skills and knowledge to produce such a universal tool. If anyone has such a tool or is able to develop one the Trainz Community and especially me would be eternally grateful.

JadeBullet


Trainz Community News

Page 52

Software of the Month

I

t’s probably not the most powerful photo editing software out there, but it’s free and it can use PhotoShop plugins. If that’s not enough, there’s a stack of tutorials to get you up to speed and a nice little community forum where you can ask your questions. Whether Photobie is powerful enough to use for re-skinning is something I have yet to find out, but in the short time I’ve been using it, I’ve managed to turn a few lousy photos from my digital camera into something decent.

This is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere so it’s not easy to photograph at the best of times. if you look closely, you’ll see that the river bank is also curved. Even though it’s a holiday snap, I wouldn’t hang on to something so bad under normal circumstances. The problem is, all my photos look the same. Here’s the same photo with the barrelling and perspective modified. About 1 minute’s work and what a difference that one minute made.

My almost new Olympus FE-370 produces shocking results. The barrelling or rounding is so bad, I really wanted to throw the thing away. I complained to the retailer, but he’d already allowed me to upgrade from a Canon that wasn’t much better. Then I discovered Photobie and became interested in a Photoshop plugin that can modify the perspective in most photos. Initially I thought the plugin would be helpful for Trainzers to modify photos of buildings and the like, but when I downloaded the plugin to test it, the de-barrelling feature blew me away. For anyone who has experience with Photoshop, what I’m about to say probably won’t impress you one little bit. But for those of you who have struggled with other photo editors, please read on. Here’s a photograph I took with the dreaded Olympus. Everything is pulling towards the centre. Not very good for a camera that cost almost $250.


Trainz Community News

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In all fairness, it wasn’t photobie that was responsible for the changes. It was actually the Perspective and DeBarrelling plugin designed to work with PhotoShop.

people interested in having fun with photos. There are heaps of templates for scrap booking, photo framing and all the other things kids and families seem to love.

The same plugin will work with The Gimp, GinpShop and even IrfanView, but I think that Photobie will appeal to those of us who want more features that irfanView has to offer offer and don’t want to learn a powerfull graphics program.

I have yet to prove its worth, for Trainzers, but the Perspective plugin alone is worth its weight in gold.

Photobie is probably aimed at the younger generation, or

Here are a few more examples which may appeal to the budding content creator. They are a couple of old pubs in Williamstown Victoria, Australia.

Before

After

The perspective feature won’t give decent results with every photo. You’ll always get the best results if the subject is taken from almost head on. The photos above are a good example. I haven’t tried it on locomotives or cars, nor do I expect the results to be any good if the subject is photographed on too much of an angle.

The Perspective Transformation filter used in this article is available from Mv’s Plugins web site:

Photobie can be downloaded from: http://www.photobie.com/index.php

http://www.vicanek.de/plugins/perspective.htm make sure you read the short tutorial. It will help you understand the filter, which is relatively easy to use. Like everything else, practice makes perfect. Also read the Filter Management tutorials in the Tutorials section on the Photobie web site.


Trainz Community News

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Preparing your Image

Cropping the Image

As mentioned earlier, prepare your image with your favourite graphics software. It doesn’t have to be as small as your final signature, so consider designing it twice as large so that you can move things around more easily. if your final signature will be 800 x 100, you could make the original 1600 x 200 if you have a wide screen monitor. If you have a conventional monitor, make it 1200 x 150 so that the entire image will fit your screen.

2

If your image isn’t proportionately correct, you may need to crop it. Please go to this tutorial at my Web Design Pages web site to learn how to crop:

http://digital-junction.com/webtutorials/cropping1_tut.htm

If you want to use borders or outlined text, make sure that they are proportionately larger or thicker also. There really aren’t any other restrictions, but sometimes a reduced graphic may not look as good as the original. This is because the reduction methods you use may eliminate some detail. Just practice and aim for the best result possible. I’ll be using this old banner from the Trainz Resources Directory as my example.

The original is almost twice as big as the signature graphic I want.

Resizing (Resampling) the Image

1

3

Run IrfanView. Select Open from the File menu and locate the image you wish to use. Most images are stored in: My Computer\My Pictures.

Click Image/Resize/Resample. Other graphics programs have a similar command so you shouldn’t run into any trouble there.


Trainz Community News

Each month we’ll bring you a suggestion or two that should make your visits to the Trainz Forum a little more enjoyable. Some articles may consist of a single paragraph, or some may be detailed tutorials like this one.

This month I’ll be showing you show you how to prepare a graphic signature from existing artwork, add an active (clickable) hyperlink and feature it on your forum posts. Best of all, it will also comply with the Forum Code of Conduct.

Page 55

The maximum permissible size for all graphic signatures is 800 x 100 pixels and 30 kilobytes. Such a signature will fill the width of the screen on older monitors. Despite these standards being set and regularly policed, some members still try to post massive signatures. Fortunately for the rest of us, a group of members nicknamed the Signature Police, report them to the Forum Moderators, who in turn ask the offender to remove the oversize image.

Before we start, there are two things you need to understand:

Please keep in mind that even a small 400x 70 signature can still be many kilobytes larger that the 30kb allowed. Animated GIF signatures are a good example.

Ÿ I won’t be showing you how to design a signature.

When designing your signature, please do the right thing:

That’s something you’ll have to learn from somewhere else. There are too many graphics programs out there and each one is different. If you need help designing a signature, first choose a graphics or paint program and learn how to use it. Ÿ You must have some way of storing your signature on a remote server where the Trainz Forum software can find it every time it has to be displayed. As I said in my Forum Tips article last month, Auran, or the Forum does not store your graphic signature for you. Nor can you store it on your personal computer. Please read last month’s article for more information. For some people, graphic signatures are a lot of fun. For others, they are an absolute pain. Personally, I thinkThe Trainz Forum should restrict graphic signatures to members with Trainz Community web sites, but that’s not the case. Many forums ban graphic signatures altogether and as a result, pages load faster and the forums look less cluttered. Several years back, dozens of forum members began using gigantic signatures. Some were so large, the forum became impossible to read because the posts were so wide. Not only were the signatures physically BIG, they were often several megabytes in size. This lead to Auran establishing standards for signatures and enforcing those standards through its Code Of Conduct.

Ÿ Make it as small as possible Ÿ Do not exceed the Code of Conduct standards and wait to be caught. Ÿ Keep it clean (Kids also visit the forum) Ÿ Make it suit all ages groups. (Adults attend also) Ÿ Make it topical. You may think its funny, but others may not. Ÿ Avoid animated GIF files.

Getting Started We’ll be using IrfanView during this tutorial, but you may prefer to use your favourite graphics software instead. Most of the commands will be similar, but irfanView is really easy to use for small jobs like this one. IrfanView can be downloaded here: http://www.irfanview.com/ I’m not suggesting that you design your Signature with IrfanView because adding nice text with the program isn’t that easy. If you don’t have a graphics program, or if you’d like to try something different, have a look at the Software of the Month section in this issue of TCN.


Trainz Community News

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You will now see the modified image in IrfanView’s main screen:

Sharpening the Image Sometimes when the size of an image is changed, it can appear “washed out” There’s a technical reason for this, but sometimes you can remove this washed out look by sharpening it. Please understand that this is an option you can try. In some instances, Sharpening can make the final result worse. I find that about 50% of all modified images benefit from Sharpening, so by all means give it a try. Here is the locomotive from my reduced image before and after it’s been sharpened. The difference can be impressive, but sharpening can also be overdone.

Saving Your Work One nice feature of IrfanView is that the Save (in original folder) and Save As commands do pretty much the same thing. Because you’re playing with original artwork, the Save command can sometimes be devastating. When you save something with IrfanView however, you’re still given the opportunity to save your modified image with a different file name. I’ve thanked IrfanView a million times for that feature!

9

8

Choose Save (in original folder) or Save As from the File Menu. Either way, the following Save windows will arrear:

Select Sharpen from the Images Menu. (See image top right.) As soon as you select Sharpen, the image is instantly modified. Sometimes it happens so fast, you wonder if anything happened at all. The easiest way to compare the original with the sharpened image is to select Undo from the Edit Menu, then select Sharpen again. If you didn’t see much of a change, you can even click Sharpen for a second time to see if that helps. Please keep in mind that IrfanView only has one Undo level. This is a bit of a pain, but it’s something you get used to very quickly. It doesn’t take much effort to reload the original and resample it again.

There’s a bit happening here, so I’ll take you through each procedure, step by step. 9.1 If you choose Save (in original folder), your modified image will be saved in the same folder as the original. This is sometimes useful, but please give


Trainz Community News This is the Resample dialogue. There’s a lot of information and lot’s of choices here, but most of the things you have to do are very straight forward.

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5

Change the height. In the example below, I’ve changed the height to 100 pixels. This has automatically changed the width to 444 pixels.

Remember, your signature can be any size UP to 800 x 100 pixels, so having a smaller image, or no image at all isn’t a crime. If you must go to the full extremes, then you will just have to design a signature from scratch or crop an existing image as explained in my web tutorial (see step 2 on the previous page.

6 1.

Set the DPI to 96, or leave it at 72 if that’s what it already says. DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. A PC screen displays images at 96 dpi, so that’s the optimal size. Macs use 72 dpi, but increasing the DPI from 72 to 90 won’t improve anything.

2.

If you see a figure higher than 96 DPI, it must be changed, otherwise the resultant image will be huge and most certainly won’t meet the Forum Code of Conduct requirements.

1.

This section displays our old and new settings. As I haven’t changed anything, both settings (sizes) are the same.

2.

This is where we’ll make our changes. You can either set the width or the height. You may need to play with this setting so that the image is under 800 pixels wide and/or under 100 pixels high. Leave the Units: setting set to pixels because the forum requires your image to be no larger than 800 x 100 pixels.

4

Change the width. I changed the width to 800 but as you can see, the new height is 180 and that’s far bigger than the Forum Code of Conduct allows. As your signature doesn’t have to be 800 pixels wide, simply change the height instead.

7

When you’re done, click OK. If the end result isn’t what you want, you can always go back and try something else.


Trainz Community News the modified image a different file name like: “banner - reduced” 9.2 If you choose Save As, IrfanView will try to take you to the last folder where you saved something. Alternatively, you can select a folder and save your modified image there.

Page 58 9.5

Ÿ Enter a unique file name (a) Ÿ Choose JPG from the drop Down List (b) Ÿ Click Save (c)

c.

9.3 Select the compression Ratio of your new image.

a. b.

You do this by moving the slider bar at the top of the box on the right. Watch the value between Low and Good and stop when it changes to 80.

Checking the Image Size

10 11

Go to the folder where you saved your image. (See 9.4 opposite). Hover the cursor over the file name or Icon and a small box will appear. It will tell you the dimensions and size in kb. If the image is less than 30 kb, all is well.

Moving Your Image to a Remote Server On pages 29 and 30 of last month’s Trainz Community News, I explained how to move an image from your personal computer to a remote server such as your web site, Fotobucket or Flickr. Please read that tutorial if you haven’t already done so, because it may also explain some things I may overlook here. If you select 100%, the kilobyte size of your image will be very large and probably won’t meet the Forum Code of Conduct requirements. I save all my images at 80% and it’s very hard to tell the difference. 9.4 Select the folder you wish to save the new image in. If you save Save (in original folder) it will be the same folder as the original image. If you selected Save As, choose a folder from this lst at the top of the Save as screen:

The important thing to remember is that you must have the image hosted somewhere other than your home computer. The Trainz Forum program can’t access your computer and find the image there even if you’re connected to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider. If you have a server at home, and most people don’t, you can leave the image on your PC. However, If you’re in doubt about this, then you don’t have a home server and you must use something like Flikr to host your images.

Adding your Signature on the Forum Once again, many of the things we’ll be doing here were also covered in last month’s article. it’s essential that you read it, so please do so now.

12

Go to the Forum, log on and click the link to your Control Panel. It’s towards the top left. See image next page.


Trainz Community News

Page 59 Please refer to steps 5, 6 and 7 in that article.

14

13

Click this icon: The image below shows where itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s located.

Look for the Control Panel menu on the left and click Edit Signature. The following window will appear:

The next screen you see will look like this. It looks like any other Forum Post screen, but it serves a completely different purpose.

15

Select Paste from the Edit menu, or type Crtl V (Hold down the control key and press V). The Address you copied in Flickr will be pasted in the box. Note: If the word http:// is not highlighted as per the example above, delete it from the box before pasting the new address. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, http:// will appear twice and stop the link from working. You should now see something like this:

Entering the Image location Last month I explained how you needed to locate the image, right click on it and Copy the Image location.


Trainz Community News

16

Click OK. Provided you did everything right, your image should appear in the window thus:

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18

Click this icon: The image below shows where it’s located.

Adding a Hyperlink A hyperlink makes your signature interactive. If someone clicks on the image, you can send them to your web site, Flickr page, or even your YouTube Channel. Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to ruin it for everyone else, and you must make sure you don’t get banned from the Forum by doing the wrong thing.

The following window will appear:

Never use a hyperlink to send people to: Ÿ Porn sites or Adults Only sites Ÿ Gaming sites with no connection to Trainz Ÿ Commercial marketing sites Ÿ Web sites that won’t interest ALL trainzers. Ÿ Personal sites unless it’s about trainz Ÿ Personal galleries with photos of the dog.

19

Enter the URL or address of your web site, Fotobucket, Flicker or YouTube Channel.

If in doubt, ask yourself this question: “Would I like to be sent on a wild goose chase when I click a signature?” If your answer is “No”, does the image on your signature also indicate when you may be sending someone? If still in doubt, don’t hyperlink your signature. In fact, the only people who should hyperlink, are those who run Trainz Community web sites including Flickr, Fotobucket and YouTube pages.

17

Click the signature image. These bounding boxes should appear:

Preview the Signature Before saving your signature, you should preview it and make sure that the Hyperlink actually sends people to where you wan them to go.

20

Click the Preview Signature box:


Trainz Community News The following screen will appear:

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22

Click Save and you’re finished. you will eventually be returned to the Forum main screen.

Making Sure it all Works The last thing you need to do is go to the Forum and see your signature in action. You can either go to a post you made some time in the past or make a new post. Your new signature will appear on all your old posts as well as all your new ones. Here’s the signature I just created for this tutorial on one of my posts:

21

Click the preview image (red box avove). If you entered the correct URL, you should be taken to the correct web site. If you went somewhere or receives a 404 error, you obviously typed in the wrong address. Just go back to step 17 and enter the address again.

Replacing an old Signature

I entered the address of the Trainz Resources Directory and I was sent to that site:

There’s no magic trick. Just create a new signature and replace it.

Use your Browser Back button to return to the Signature page.

When you get to Step 14, click the old image and hit the Delete key. Then continue with Step 14 onwards.

Did it Work for You? The folks who write tutorials and articles for the Newsletter are just normal people like yourself. They can make mistakes just like anyone else, so they need your help. If you follow a tutorial and find something missing, please let us know so that we can fix it for you. We want you to enjoy the experience, not suffer endlessly because something doesn’t seem to work. Please write to us and tell us where you’re stuck. This will give us a chance to work through the article and find out where we went wrong. We promise to correct the mistake and post an errata in the next edition of the TCN. You can find our email address at the bottom left hand side of page 2.


05 (May 2010) Trainz Community News