Trainz: The Missing Manual
Welcome to Trainz
In May, 2001 Microsoft released Microsoft Train Simulator (MSTS) as a follow-on to Flight Simulator. Five months later Auran, a small game studio based in Australia, released Trainz. Despite two efforts, Microsoft never released a later version however Auran then N3V have continued to release improved versions the latest of which is Trains: A New Era (T:ANE). The Trainz product line includes versions for Windows, Android, Apple OSX and IOS. There are more than 650,000 registered users world-wide.
The core of Trainz is a railroad simulator engine incorporating physics, display graphics, a database and manager, user interface, and basic route creation tools. The engine is supported by an extensive collection of both commercial and freely downloadable content elements including locomotives, rolling stock, track, trackside elements, and scenery elements. The collection also includes complete routes. Users created and maintain much of the available content.
Trainz users fall into a few categories:
- they may simply run the routes provided with the simulator, usually relying on model railroad Digital Command Control (DCC),
- they may advance to modifying consists and operating trains using modeled in-cab controls much as a real engineer would,
- they may use included and third party tools to create prototype and fictional routes,
- or they may use a variety of tools to create locomotives, rolling stock, track-side elements or scenic elements.
Any given user may fall into any category at various times based on their skills and goals for a session.
About this Book
Creating a comprehensive user manual that addresses all the potential user audiences for a high flexible simulation system is a daunting task, even for the developers. The manual provided with Trainz focuses on introducing the beginning user to sufficient details to get started. Brand new users should start with that manual and work through the provided tutorial sessions. Some users may be satisfied with that level of involvement which is fine.
Moving beyond driving trains is a bit more problematic. N3V makes several resources available for advanced uses, including the Trainz wiki. What's missing is context and workflow. This wikibook serves as the missing manual for the topics not covered in the user manual. It also includes hard learned lessons from master content creators.
This book is ordered from basics to advanced content creation. Later articles rely in concepts presented in earlier articles and the chapters are linked to support a linear read. However, advanced users can treat this book as a reference manual by using the search engine integrated in Wikibooks.
NOTE: With versions spanning more than 16 years, some processes and data has changed over time. Variations between versions, especially breaking changes are noted where known.
Table of Contents
- Hardware Requirements
- Installation Under Microsoft Windows
- Using wide screen monitors
- Installing Service Packs
- Virtual Railroad Magazine
Some Essential Do's And Don'ts
Tips And Tricks
- Tips And Tricks- Tips and Tricks for the new Trainz Users
- TS2010EE - Trainz 2010: Engineer's Edition
- TRS2012WBE - Trainz 2012: World Builder Edition
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.
- Basics - Train operation and the basic model railroad control.
- Driving Steam Engines - Operating steam locomotives from the cab.
- Driving Diesel Engines - Operating Diesel locomotives from the cab.
- Industries and Products - Lars, ProtoLars and Multiple Industries New.
- Driver Mode Keyboard Shortcuts - Useful hotkeys to enhance your Trainz driver experience.
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.
- Fundamentals - Basic elements of world building.
- Advanced - Gradients, radius, junctions and track marks.
- Notional Railways - Creating a believeable fictional railroad.
- Prototype Railways - Modeling real world railroads.
- Surveyor Mode Keyboard Shortcuts - Useful hotkeys to enhance your Trainz surveyor experience.
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
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.
- Before you start Performance and other issues
- When to use lod
- Software Used for Content Creation
- Content Creators Guide
- API and Scripting Guide
- Setting Up Software For Content Creation
- Sources for textures
- Basic Reskinning for beginners
- Tutorials for Content Creation
- Tutorial for Blender
- Tutorial for adding night mode with Blender
- Tutorial for Normal mapping (TRS2009)
- Tutorial for incorporating normalmaps using Blender (TRS2009)
- Creating Normal Maps with Blender
- Transparent Windows using Blender
- Polished metal using Blender
- Recommended Tutorials for GMAX
- Adding a background image to GMAX
- Tutorial for Modifying the reskin mesh in GMAX
- Tutorial for Creating a Three Plank Wagon From the Reskin Mesh in GMAX
- Tutorial for Reskinnng a Locomotive using Paint.Net
- AM&C/config.txt files
- Overview of Attachment Points
- Adding a Second Mesh
- Shape File Viewers
- Using Content Creator Plus (CCP)
- Uploading Assets
- Importing Across Platforms
- Creating Coaches
- Hints and Tips for 3D Modelling Software
- Useful bogeys
- ACS Coupling information
The implementation of scripting in Trainz has added increased flexibility and interactive possibilites with assets, particularly with animated objects. Scripting in trains adopts the TrainzScript language and requires a basic understanding of programming to follow.
- Version And Build Numbers
- Setting run-time Options
- File Types (File Extensions)
- Performance Hints
- External Links (Trainz resources: fansites, groups, organizations and links to tutorials on Trainz How-to articles; Also listed are Trainz Enthusiasts and museum pages, which Trainzers developing a prototype (historic model) railroad utilize.)
- 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.