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Thread: Activity Tip

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Charleston, SC, USA.
    Posts
    278

    Default Activity Tip

    I have not been doing this too long but I like to jump right in and start playing/simulating (Is it a game or a simulator?). I think that question has been addressed elsewhere.

    Anyway, I have just completed activity 05 for Canton. (Yeah Sniper, I know, it's about Garber again!) In this activity you have to assemble some cars in the yard at Jefferson for delivery to Interchange.

    It is a nice little activity with just two very important factors. You only have 40 minutes to complete the activity so you have to hustle. Unfortunately, before you can leave Jefferson Yard and begin to hustle the dispatcher advises you that you cannot access the wye in Logan.

    Now I was hustling once before on Canton and came around a curve at the designated 45 mph speed limit and found myself and a consist of cars barreling down the throat of the Canton Yard. I do not blindly hustle any more!

    Using a schematic of the system I noticed that there was quite a bit of distance between my location and the next switch but there did not seem to be any way to tell how far it was to the next switch in Wakula. Or was there?

    I noticed that the switches were all set for the mainline. As a result, they did not show on the track monitor. But if you realigned the next one to a siding the red arrow appeared on the track monitor. Suddenly I had a fairly good idea how far it was to Wakula and I could HUSTLE.

    As I passed all of the switches in Wakula and headed for Logan Aux I did the same thing. Again, when I cleared the Logan Aux yard and headed for the wye a switch change showed the distance to the entry of the wye and allowed me to continue to hustle and slow down just before entry into the wye where I received clearance to continue.

    Maybe others have found this little trick but I do not recall seeing anything on the forum before. I just thought it was worth sharing. Us dummies need all the help and every trick that we can find to survive. It's a cruel world out there!

    Have fun and keep on railroading! ;)

    Rick

    Rick, President/CEO
    Blue Ridge & Allegheny RR
    Locally known as the BRA Line
    Supporting our large & small mountain communities.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Chicago, IL.
    Posts
    387

    Default RE: Activity Tip

    Thanks for the tip Rick.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zuerich, ZH, Switzerland.
    Posts
    4,018

    Default RE: Activity Tip

    Hi Rick,

    good point, especially when new on a route and in either explore mode or an activity with no AI traffic.

    That said, may I add few words of warning:
    - MSTS can not know that you just threw the switch for an indication of its position. Thus throwing a manual switch may interfere with AI paths if AI traffic is there, especially on the projected path of your train over the thrown switch (which you do not intend to take).
    - Throwing the switch back to its pre-set player path might not help a stalled AI train, as once their path has been interupted, it will not be reset by the AI dispatcher.
    - Throwing the switch might also cancel your signals, giving you a red. Depending on the flawlessnes of the signal script, getting the switch back into its correct poisiton might not give you back a green anymore, especially if built-in reversing points lure further down your path. Note the word "may". On the positive side, though, a signal often shows you the (probable) location of where the next siding begins.

    So what can you do otherwise? When AI traffic is present - and that is the fun of running an activity over running explore mode, for me at least - I recommend the use of the F6 key instead (showing platform and siding names) on a route you are not familiar with yet. Names appear once you are at a distance of 1 mile, showing in white font first. The closer you get, the darker the shade of blue the name takes on your screen. You get good at judging the distance by the shade of blue fairly quickly. And a serious route builder names all sidings and platforms. Should do so, at least. Furthermore, platforms show as a dark blue bar on your track monitor, sidings as light blue bars, but only if your path goes through them.

    And after a while, you know your routes like a real engineer does, anyway.

    I hope these additional thoughts help someone, too. Have fun on the high iron...

    Lukas a.k.a Swissie
    Lukas a.k.a. Swissie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Charleston, SC, USA.
    Posts
    278

    Default RE: Activity Tip

    Thank you Lukas.

    I was unaware of most of the things that you brought up. That is part of the learning process. Assuming I am still capable of learning. Sometimes I wonder.

    One of the problems that I have with the F6 key is that the names are usually stacked one on top of the other. If there are a number of sidings close together the names often appear one on top of the other and I have been unable to find an easy way to seperate them.

    I guess I was lucky because Canton is a dark route with very little AI and all manual switches.

    Rick, President/CEO
    Blue Ridge & Allegheny RR
    Locally known as the BRA Line
    Supporting our large & small mountain communities.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Canberra, Australian Capital T, Australia.
    Posts
    777

    Default RE: Activity Tip

    switches.

    If the route-creator has not provided for manual switching along a mainline then the switch cannot be thrown by the player, but is controlled within the Activity by the AI Dispatcher.

    (This caveat does not apply to Explore mode, when all switches can be thrown manually).

    Bruce.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zuerich, ZH, Switzerland.
    Posts
    4,018

    Default RE: Activity Tip

    Hi Rick

    > One of the problems that I have with the F6 key is that the names are usually stacked one on top of the other. If there are a number of sidings close together the names often appear one on top of the other and I have been unable to find an easy way to seperate them.

    Agreed, that often is disturbing when approaching a larger yard or depot. Yet for the "early warning" aspect it still serves you as indication for lots of switches to come.

    > I guess I was lucky because Canton is a dark route with very little AI and all manual switches.

    As it is quite difficult to create an activity with lots of switching, AI traffic and signals / automated switches, you will rarely find an activity of this sort with all of the possible risks of fouling it up present. Luckily, switching activities often mean mainly static consists and maybe an AI or two passing on isolated paths.

    That reminds me of another thing: Some routes use a mix of automatic and manual switches (Whitefish 2 being an example, with most of the switches leading from the mainline onto passing sidings being automatic, and yard / spur switches being manual, IIRC).

    You can only throw the latter in an activity, so the arrow you will see in the track monitor after hitting "G" might not be the location of the next (automatic) switch you expect it to be...

    > I was unaware of most of the things that you brought up. That is part of the learning process.

    Oh yes, it's all about learning. I didn't know many of these little tricky thingies before I started (to try) to set up my own bits and pieces of activities, where I liked to include some interesting AI traffic (as mentioned before, I think). It wasn't too long before I bombed me out of an activity myself when I inadvertedly hit the G key while sitting in the cab of my RDC on a flag stop run, shortly before approaching Essex where I was supposed to switch to the opposing track and then into the wye. Kabonk, signal turns from yellow to red as there was an AI supposed to be approaching from Java, and red it stayed regardless of what I did. Hitting G again wouldn't help, neither would reversing the train a few yards, nor anything else. HAL 9000 obviously thought I had already taken my turn in the wye and had locked me out... That much for learning - no I didn't paint the G key with a yellow and black trim thereafter... ;-)

    Lukas a.k.a Swissie
    Lukas a.k.a. Swissie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Zuerich, ZH, Switzerland.
    Posts
    4,018

    Default RE: Activity Tip

    A nice example of a photofinish:

    Posted by brucek on Aug-02-03 at 06:31 PM
    > (...) There is also the point to remember that switch-throwing only works for manual switches.

    Posted by Swissie on Aug-02-03 at 06:31 PM
    > (...) That reminds me of another thing: Some routes use a mix of automatic and manual switches (...)

    (You bet me by a mere 0<whatever<60 secs) Cheers,

    Lukas a.k.a Swissie
    Lukas a.k.a. Swissie

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