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State of the Site -- January 2024


  • State of the Site -- January 2024

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500363.png Views:	0 Size:	162.8 KB ID:	2294169 I'd say we are off to a very good start to the year...

    The last few years, I've been out of meaningful NFL football to watch by the first week of January, and able to spend more time doing other things. This year, my Packers shocked the world and knocked out the #2 Dallas Cowboys, making it to the Divisional Round officially as the youngest average age team in NFL history and the first #7 seed to advance to the Divisional Round... Unfortunately, this past weekend they lost a close game to the #1 seeded 49'ers.

    ​While losing is never fun, it was a great season, and this team shows lots of promise when they return in August.

    Besides football, there's definitely a lot going on to talk about. Let's start with a couple projects underway which are seeing some promising results.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500270.jpg Views:	0 Size:	88.7 KB ID:	2294170 ​​ Last month, Bundles were rolled out in the Library search results, and the last pieces of functionality were loaded last week.

    The most visible result: First Class and FastPass Members will see a One-Click download option. Clicking on this creates a single zip with all of the associated files, which should make it easier to get all of the files needed.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500266.jpg Views:	0 Size:	21.3 KB ID:	2294171 Once downloaded, simply open the Bundle zip, and you'll see all of the zips inside it.

    There are limits to this - combined file sizes over 1Gb are too much for the system to handle, and may timeout depending on server resources. For most cases, that won't be an issue.

    File Owners... you now have the ability to create bundles for your uploads, and they can include files authored by others.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500366.jpg Views:	0 Size:	12.9 KB ID:	2294173 Within the Update panel, near the bottom you'll see "Manage Bundles" which will bring up a new page. Here, you can list the file numbers for your bundle as numbers only, separated by spaces.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500365.jpg Views:	0 Size:	13.1 KB ID:	2294172 If you need to remove a file, put a minus sign in front of the file number to be removed.

    This should be a time saver for multi-part route downloads. I've been adding a few of these each week manually, but the new form above should make it a lot easier.

    For those who aren't file owners or can't access the self-managed page for file owners... feel free to suggest a bundle by using the "Report File" feature and providing the list of file numbers.

    With close to 50,000 files in the library, it won't all happen overnight, but they say many hands make light work, so please, feel free to dive in yourself if you're a file uploader, and to use the Report File channel if you're just really motivated to link things together for others.

    Default Tracks

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500255.jpg Views:	0 Size:	172.9 KB ID:	2294174 A couple weeks back, a set of default replacement tracks for Kuju/XTracks showed up in the library. This is what I'd call an accidental project...

    In August, I'd been working on one of my own routes, looking to update the turnouts to have frogs and guards and a few missing Scalerail pieces. My licensed copy of Dynatrax was no longer working, and with Tim Booth's passing, there's no more support for that program. Doug Jones (active over on Elvas) had created a script for Blender to generate track pieces for one of his projects, and invited me to try it, and after some trial and error, and a few tweaks by Doug, it worked. Exceedingly well, I might add.

    As often happens, someone (in this case, Erick Cantu) comes up and says, if it can do this, why not that?...

    Doug's script requires a formatted file to work correctly, which wasn't a problem for the five or six pieces I was recreating. All of the information needed was in the TSection.dat file, so it was some copy/paste with mild reformatting.

    That's where the idea light went off, and into the rabbit hole I jumped. Three days later, I emerged with a way to generate the formatted files from the TSection's data.

    What started with generating a half dozen pieces for Scalerail turned into generating over 1650 pieces of A1T thru A10T track, essentially replacements for all of the original 250 pieces delivered with MSTS, and the 1400 envisioned and created by others for the XTracks family.

    The result is taking 20 year old "flat track" and replacing it with the dimensions also used by US Tracks, which is a more realistic rail shape and sculpted berms, plus crossings/turnouts with guards and frogs. Otto Wipfel would definitely approve of the latter.

    There will be two sets in the final output - one that uses the default track textures that came with MSTS (also known as acleantrack), and a more detailed set that reuses US Tracks textures.

    The Blender source and the script files used will also be available for those who might want to improve things. Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500249.png Views:	0 Size:	113.6 KB ID:	2294175

    If you've got ancient routes that could use a facelift, these tracks are more or less a drop-in replacement with minimal action needed by the end-user.

    For the version using the existing textures, it's just a matter of copying files into Global Shapes. For those who go with the US Tracks textures, there's an added step of copying textures into the individual routes' Textures folder. You can also install the applicable profile used by OpenRails to handle dynamic track so that it matches the new track profile.

    Regardless of which option you opt for, the results are pretty amazing on 20 year old routes where XTracks and flat square tube rails were the only option available.

    I've also worked up a set for MTracks. If someone would be willing to help out with UKFS replacements, I'd gladly share the inputs.

    It's certainly been an interesting learning experience and a slightly different avenue for getting immersed in Blender.

    If you haven't seen it, the scripting capability within Blender is frighteningly easy, and very addictive. Coming from Sketchup instead of 3DC or TSM, the learning curve for me personally remains a bit steep. There's too much muscle memory and habits from texturing the Sketchup way I've yet to break with. But, being able to script out some of the steps has proven Blender to be a very powerful tool, and one that I'd encourage anyone slightly interested in their own engine or wagon models to give it a try.

    And keep in mind... there's lots of help available here on the forums to get you across the goal line.

    TSRE Lives On

    Click image for larger version  Name:	capture_500320.jpg Views:	0 Size:	35.2 KB ID:	2294176 Well, sort of.

    Thanks to a couple members of the community, we've gotten some new guidance on how to compile new versions of TSRE for those who create and edit routes.

    The good news is that yes, we can make new versions of TSRE and run them.

    I've been able to fix a few things that I wanted in the editor, as well as a few that had been suggested by others, including configurable TDB/Tsection lines, being able to pre-load preferences for the terrain/embankment tools, different colors for showing which items were selected, additional precision for dynamic track, and adding the static detail level to signal objects.

    The bad news.... we've yet to fully figure out how to make the new executables be portable and able able to run on someone else's PC who hasn't installed all the tools needed to build and compile the code...

    Not necessarily the end of the world, but it's like my Packers winning for 58.5 minutes in the game last week -- it's the score at the end of the game that counts. Changes are only helpful if other people can benefit from them.

    Fortunately, we've got Goku's attention, so perhaps he'll help get us across the goal line here.​

    As Jim Steinman (one of my favorite song writers) wrote some 46 years ago, "Two Outta Three Ain't Bad".... maybe next month that last hurdle with TSRE will be addressed.

    For those who are near Groton, CT, the memorial for Dave Edwards is going to be on January 27th at 0930 at Byles-MacDougall on Thames Street.

    If you can't be there in person, please take a moment to remember our departed friend. I just might have to run some Conrail that morning....

    With that... it's time to wrap this up and get back to other work.

    Thanks to everyone who drops in, be it daily for a few minutes or a few hours once a month, and to those who have been contributing to the file library. It's been hard keeping up lately, which is a good problem to have.

    And as always, thanks to those who help keep the lights on. So far, we haven't come up short when the bills come in each month, and it's your FastPass and First Class Memberships which make sure that doesn't happen.

    Until next time, have fun!

    • johnilhan
      johnilhan commented
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      Greetings! I'm John Ilhan, an eLearning Specialist in Human Resources at Brilliant Teams, based in Australia.

      Please Visit Our Website for More Information:

    • apkvvo
      apkvvo commented
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      Hello, I am the administrator of the apkvvo website
      New information
      موقع لتحميل تطبيقات وألعاب الأندرويد مجانا حيث هو متجر تطبيقات والعاب الاندرويد ويمكن تحميل التطبيقات المدفوعة وهو موقع تحميل العاب الاندرويد ويمكنك تحميل التطبيقات المدفوعة مجانا مع تطبيقات مهكرة للاندرويد حيث يعتبر افضل موقع لتحميل برامج الاندرويد مع تواجد تحميل تطبيقات والعاب الاندرويد ولديك تحميل العاب مهكرة، كذلك يمكنك تنزيل افضل الالعاب المجانية للأندرويد برابط مباشر فهو منصة ومتجر تستطيع تحميل وتنزيل الألعاب والبرامج والتطبيقات المدفوعه مجانًا بروابط مباشرة لذا استمتع بتحميل نسخ كاملة من التطبيقات والألعاب الكاملة بشكل مجاني لذا اكتشف كل ما هو جديد في عالم الهواتف الذكية مع توفير لكم مقالات كثيرة لشرح استعمال أي تطبيق اندرويد عبر apkvvo.
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