• The Train-Sim Community

    The Train-Sim Community

    By Robert Murphy

    As I was reading the forums today, sifting through the incredible amounts of useful information, I ran across a series of posts which I feel threaten the very concept of 'Community'. A certain individual was offering constructive criticism of a model regarding some small corrections which would increase the quality and make it easier to re-skin. The painter included screen shots and offered specific suggestion on how he felt the model could be improved. This was after the developer posted that he would like to see his model skinned by this particular artist. The developer, after seeing the screen shots, AGREED with him, and promised to update the model as soon as he had time. To which the painter replied he would be glad to skin the model in several road names.

    Then came the part that I found to be the most upsetting. Several individuals, not involved in the original posts, decided to attack the painter for his 'complaining'. The rest of this seemed to be just 'stirring the pot' and 'piling on'. There is a significant difference between criticizing someone's WORK and PERSONAL ATTACKS (flaming). I have worked with others who have gracefully assisted me in items for the Moffat Tunnel Route, and yes, I have had to send them very polite e-mails pointing out what works and what doesn't, simply because everyone wants the best product possible. Imagine if the folks at TrainArtisan spent this much time squabbling among themselves! In other words: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. In flightsimming there are a large number of excellent to great artists who quit and left freeware production simply because they were sick and tired of the criticism and nasty e-mails when some greeny with his first computer can't figure out which folder to put a certain file in and can't make something work. We may have already lost one individual here who was a Microsoft programmer that supplied excellent insight and information, who has quit posting completely, possibly because of the criticisms of MS and Kuju and, yes, even personal attacks on him. I can't speak for him, he simply stopped posting, but that has been speculated on my others.

    Another subject which hearkens to mind are the individuals who post and ask that a certain locomotive be built, or a car be skinned in their favorite road's colors, or a favorite route be built. That's fine, most people build what interests them, but some, through their generosity, enjoy building things for other's enjoyment. Every developer, painter, or artist wants to see their product at the top of "Yesterday's Hot Files" list. But some of these posts have been, well, a little 'insistent', and I have even seen posts which criticize the final results of their 'request' which don't live up to the standards they feel they should!

    What about Train-Sim.Com itself? I haven't spent a penny here. Honestly. I use the file downloads, usually late at night, and I pretty much download whatever is available. I have done the same thing for two years on FlightSim.Com. It has occurred to me that the owners of this site spend a lot of time and money with very little return on their investment, yet when the download library was moved to another server, there were some posts which were less than friendly about when it would be back up. Think about the layout of the site, someone wrote all that HTML. Not to mention the fully searchable forums. I might add here, something that other more well funded forums don't have! It's not an entitlement, it's a privilege.

    TrainArtisan.com produces freeware work which is actually higher in quality than the trains that came with the game, and I believe, among the best out there. Yet when they released the F7's a week late, people actually posted criticism and complaints about them being late! I wonder how many e-mails they received, and wasted their time on, when they could have been using their spare time more productively. Remember, for the vast majority of the folks out there providing freeware, it is just a hobby on the side. Which they could keep to themselves. Is this what you want? I don't.

    As some of you may know, I am working on a freeware route, The Moffat Road, and I have corresponded and worked with others who have assisted, or are developing their own routes. And I have discussed with them the 'quality' of the routes, I have seen some of the criticisms of the Marias Pass route, and I don't know if I would want to release a prototype based route into such an environment. There are compromises, the game doesn't provide the tools to exactly reproduce everything in the route. It would take years. Do you want the route to play with, or would you rather wait until perfection comes down the road?

    I have actually downloaded some files I didn't like. Maybe it was the quality, or the subject. Mostly I download it and then just end up not using it. I remember one freeware locomotive I downloaded which didn't work. It took me a half an hour to fix the mistakes in the files just to get it to load into the game. I still use it and like it, and I did send a note to the developer offering to send him my fixes. He politely replied he had already discovered the problems and had uploaded a fixed file, but thanked me politely for my offer to help. One developer sent me the source file of a very well known and quality locomotive, just because I asked if I could have it. I have posted questions on the forums, and I have tried to answer questions helpfully and honestly, and I will always give an honest opinion...if asked.

    Am I being unusually harsh? I don't think so, considering some of the things I have read in the forums. I think that the fact these posts aren't deleted and the posters banned speaks volumes for the people at Train-Sim.Com.

    I guess you can tell by now where I stand on this: I sold Four THOUSAND dollars worth of model railroad equipment to buy a computer which will give me the frame rates and performance I want with Train-sim and Flightsim, not to mention other games. We have some excellent artists who produce some excellent trains for me to play with for FREE! Or in the words of my gray-haired 78 year old grandma: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

    Now: Go post a compliment...

    Robert Murphy
    rdamurphy@hotmail.com

    Discuss this in our message forums.

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