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Trainz: Virtual Model Railroading and Simulator System
TOC | BeginningsFun | AM&C | Creation | InBook Refs ORP Refs:  • Index • Containers • Kinds • Tags | Appendixes  • Vers

Trainz in Brief[edit | edit source]

TRAINZ is a series, a family of 'virtual reality' Model Railroad Simulators—each full version something of a step up in complexity and capabilities from the previous release and each more complicated and involved than the average computer game since the simulators are user extensible and game software can be used to create new worlds and rules about how things work in the Trainz virtual worlds. Trainz strength is that it can and does allow the user base to further the tools available to all—it has an active user base working to expand the product abilities and user options—as well as the game companies programmers.

Historic Longevity[edit | edit source]

Trainz 1.0 and the Microsoft Train Simulator (MSTS) were released within months of one another in 2001—one released by a small company headed by railfans (and veteran model railroaders), the other by a large corporation with deep pockets—but the well funded one never had a second release, the other grew and progressed into a family of released retail versions and having over a 650,000 registered users (and millions of sales over and above that since old users generally upgrade eventually) serving a true world wide market.

Extensibility[edit | edit source]

The game system is extensible and has a large active user base creating new content and capabilities in true co-operative international effort. Unlike a typical dwelling, want-a-be model railroaders don't need modeling skills, a whole basement and ages of time to satisfy the itch to do model railroading, or drive realistically modeled locomotives. While the game play features of Trainz Driver, which many new and casual users first focus upon provides the first rush of Trainz addiction—taking on the difficult task of taming 3500 metric tons of cargo has its challenges and rewards, after all, the long term habit forming attractive focus of the software is using the software's modules and external applications to create and share things which are new. Therein lies the magic, and addiction—and there is and never has been a railroad simulator which matches the Trainz World building tool kit.

In a Trainz retail version or release, the new Trainz user ('Trainzer') starts with a dozen or so debugged ready-to-run railroads and can quickly learn to drive and operate a wide variety of realistically modeled locomotives from inside those bundled virtual worlds with or without experiencing their real world physics. Many routes are lovingly modeled on actual railroads but Trainz does such prototype model railroading far better and more realistically than the most lavish physically challenged model railroad can ever hope—and Trainz lets the user enter the layout using real world distances, and behaviors (physics models) or step things down in difficulty to a more relaxed arcade mode—a physical model based on familiar dial-type model railroading controllers. If these stock routes get uninteresting, there are now over 2,500 other routes the new Trainz Driver can download as freeware to chase away boredom.

Version Availability[edit | edit source]

Since 2001, the game has been updated and released in several versions — almost annually with major releases about every second year. These run under various operating systems such as MAC OS X and iOS, and various Microsoft Windows versions, each release featuring new extended content and evolved features bundled (as a starting point) with each retail version release. There are even versions that run on tablets computers running the iOS operating system from Apple, and on tablets with Tegra graphics support running on the Android system. Many Trainz releases can be bought online and downloaded — including via Steam online game platform, or by CDROM/DVD in most game software retailers. As of early 2019, the newest retail release (December 2018) TRS19 is reportedly at the center of an effort to port the product onto a Linux system architecture.

For further information on Trainz history, see: Overview of Trainz releases or Trainz Versions and Build numbers.

The Games within the game[edit | edit source]

For those with creative bent, the new user can soon begin to learn how to make their own customized routes by modifying those already available through trial and error and following well written .pdf file manuals, now augmented by a TrainzOnline website with additional how-to there, many third party 'fan-sites', and a forthcoming program here in the Wikibook of step by step learn-by-doing fun things and grow knowledge whilst having fun. Many of these modules will feature video clips to show the dynamic techniques supporting the images and tutorial text.

Since its release, the game has attracted a large fan base due to its compatibility with third party user-created content (Train Cars, Buildings, Locomotives, Track types, trees, bridges, etc.) for which access and support in a huge database called the 'Download Station' is provided for by the developers. This is the true strength of the game system as most regular users are either route builders or dedicated content creators or both.

About this Book[edit | edit source]

Unlike many, if not most Wikibooks, this book is written not by academics but by hobbyists and enthusiastic devotees for the benefit of all Trainz users, but especially for the Trainz new comers. The world of Trainz is also a series of communities in loose association around the Auran forums web boards, but one where many sub-groups have established their own web boards, 3rd party content resource download sites (offering both freeware and payware as it suits themselves), and these communities have their vanities and pet peeves. As of July 2014 there are over 400 fansites or groups of content creators hosting downloadable content, much of which is not carried on the Trainz Download Station.

Accordingly, the materials here will at times present by lines, articles written in the first person, and be in general laid back with the occasional pungent or humorous remark that all should find to be easy reading. Having you fall asleep in your chair reading prose is the last thing we want for you, gentle reader, for it is our purpose to help you master the many learning curves of Trainz as fast as possible in a fun and engaging way. There is not much we can do about dry reference material, but provide it against your needs, future or present, so those pages when important find their way here as well.

As of August 2014, this book is entering a third stage of reorganization and of being updated for newer software and newer Trainz technologies.
 • Pardon any detours this might cause in your travels down in information superhighways
 • In particular, our overhaul is going to provide pages especially valuable to new users. Check back or set your browser to notify you of page changes in the various divisions 'table of contents' in the book. One big table of contents here is being divided by subject grouping to make things less confusing and easier to find.
For more about Trainx in general, read the following, otherwise, let's move to a starting point to sprint up those learning curves.

Base TOC[edit | edit source]

A Brief Description Of Trainz[edit | edit source]

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Installation[edit | edit source]

Some Essential Do's And Don'ts[edit | edit source]

Tips And Tricks[edit | edit source]

Driver[edit | edit source]

The Driver aspect of Trainz permits operating virtual trains on modeled railroads. It is the simulation of routes and can be both interactive and automated. All editions of Trainz are supplied with at least one route and driver session for immediate use.

Surveyor[edit | edit source]

The Surveyor aspect of Trainz provides tools for creating the world and the rails for virtual railroads. While in surveyor, the size of the layout, the weather, the landscape and all your assets can be experimented with until your route is ready to drive.

Asset Management[edit | edit source]

If you are just browsing the internet trying to get a glimpse of Trainz, or are a new Trainz user, the link above leads into the first chapter below as a set of linked pages, and should be read first.

Managing your assets becomes essential when your 3rd party and DLS content begins to build up. With more than 100,000 items available from the DLS, and built-in content shipped with every edition, the amount of faulty/missing dependencies or items requiring updates or attention quickly becomes a mammoth task to deal with.

Main Assets TOC: Trainz/AM&C

Asset Creation[edit | edit source]

This HO scale locomotive with its rich authentic detailing took man-months of development, and so do many Trainz assets. One is in plastic made using 3D CAD planning and likely involved CAM to create the molds. A Trainz traincar asset creator uses 3D graphics modeling software that is a sub-genre of a full up engineering CAD package, but with an orientation towards creating visual simulations — so professional packages (which cost thousands; Autodesk's 3dsMax is $3,600 US and up[1]) are oriented for advertising and so an architectural firm can sell its concept; this CAD package variant lends itself to Trainz needs, but the components in both engineering and graphics CAD modeling are much the same, one builds with pieces that can be defined in 3-space (3D).
March 31st, 2014 - On re-organization into multiple divisions...

Most of these 'in-depth' pages about intermediate and advanced Trainz topics will soon be relocated in the new division: Trainz Asset Management & Creation ('Trainz/AM&C, while advanced Content creation will be relocated to the division Content Creation). Other materials will be moved to references and even dated material will be kept in the Appendixes.

Many users of Trainz that take up route building as a pass-time eventually choose to become content creators, even if it is to only customize a class or three of traincars and reskin them to their target railroad world.

This can be seen by the popularity of the DLS and the large number of contributors that bootstrap themselves into a usable level of content manipulation, or creation using 3D modeling software now available as freeware such as Blender. There is a steep learning curve associated with content creation and often many ways to produce the same result. Creating content can be incredibly rewarding but the road to a completed model consisting of many component pieces may be long and frustrating. The harder the fight, the sweeter the victory.
It may surprise many new Trainzer that there is a significant number of veteran Trainzer who rarely drive or operate Surveyor beyond testing a new asset—there is a lot of joy and satisfaction in creative activities and there is always high demand for someone to make this or that special asset for the large route building groups of Trainzers who also Drive very little.

Scripting[edit | edit source]

The implementation of scripting in Trainz has added increased flexibility and interactive possibilities with assets, particularly with animated objects. Scripting in trains adopts the TrainzScript language and requires a basic understanding of programming to follow.

Other Information[edit | edit source]

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

Overview of Trainz releases · Introduction

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Autodesk 3dsMax priced on 2014-0310 at $3,645 from Autodesk for a full package, whilst Amazon.com's 1 year of support license package was $3,800 USD.