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Thread: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Default How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    I've checked around the site but haven't found any info on how to fix this problem:

    In the Route Start Menu (of MSTS) I keep losing one or two of the route's starting points after a Route Editor crash -

    Conditions:
    Running Windows XP, SP2
    MSTS has the update installed
    Working in the Route Editor and attempting a save (Marias Pass or Tokyo-Hakone)
    Editor crashes leaving the usual ".bk" files, and a 1kb world file (NOT a .bk file)

    Results in -

    Marias Pass - Shelby and Ethridge no longer show up in the Explore Route menu of "Starting At"
    Tokyo-Hakone - Hakone is missing from the menu

    To fix Marias Pass, I completely re-installed MSTS....not a pleaseant task when the editor crashes several times a day!
    I've tried replacing files from the route cabinets (i.e. JAPAN1.CAB), but it doesn't get Hakone back on the menu.

    Anybody seen this before?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Baden, PA, USA
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Before working on any route in the Route Editor, backup that route first. Sometimes after a crash you can copy all the *.bk files back to their original name overwriting the new files, other times you just have to copy your backup into the route folder and start again. Route building can be fun, but at times it can be very frustrating :)

    Take care,
    Rich S.

  3. #3
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Thanx,

    I've just installed Route-Riter to help with the process, but I still wonder where MSTS gets it's entries for the "Starting At" menu. I'd like to add-to/change some of the entries...esp. the Marias Route "Essex Pit" entry!.

    Also, where are the shape files for the "new" track sections in tsection.dat?

    Regards,
    Larry B.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    1,793

    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Starting At and Heading Towards come from the Path, which is setup in the Activity Editor. Lets say you want a new path from WhiteFish to Shelby.

    Open up an activity for that route, any activity. On the right hand side of the Editor, is the Player box. You'll see the Player Service: heading next to a drop down menu.

    The easiest way to create just a path, is click On Edit. It doesn't matter which service is listed. Clicking Edit opens the Service Editor Menu. Looking at it, you'll see: Name:, which is the actual filename, Display Name, which is how it appears on the drop down menu. Expected Player Performance, Start Speed, End Speed, Consist,... some of those are somewhat apparent as to what they do, some aren't. Then you see Path: with a drop down menu.

    Click the New button. The Path Name is the filename, Path Display Name is what shows in the Drop Down Menu's in the Activity Editor. Fill those in.

    Now the Path Editor menu is open. The Path Display Name is filled in, you can change it if you want, but the Starting and Ending Locations are blank. You can put in anything you want, it doesn't necessarily have to be the actual locations.

    Then, just to finish out creating your path, then, scroll around in the window, the left button drags the screen, the right button allows it to zoom. Find the place you want to start. Hold the cursor on the track there, (look for a circle to appear), and right click will bring up a menu. Place Start Point is pretty straight forward. A blue dot, and green line will appear. The dot is where the rear of your train will be, and it will point in the direction of the green line. If you want to begin in the other direction, then right click again, and select Toggle Start Direction. If you want to go through the secondary route through a switch, then put the cursor and circle on the dot for the switch points, right click, select Take Other Exit.

    The End point will automatically be where ever the track runs out. The end point doesn't affect much in the sim. I won't end the activity, or the Explore Mode. It does seem to turn off some of the animations, like swich points, but, it won't crash or exit or otherwise end the game for you.

    If you learn to create a basic path, then you can edit the others. Be carefull changing the default paths, they can mess up the activity's that they are designed for.

    When you go to change the Essex Pit path, (It's name is Noon Mixed Goods (Traffic) ), then bring up that name in the menu, and click Use as Template. This will basically make a duplicate of that path, you just have to provide a new filename. Then you can edit it to your hearts delight, without risking damaging the action of the activity it was designed for.

    When you get through playing with the Paths, then, unless you are creating an entire new activity, then be sure to close everything out. If it asks you if you want to save changes to the activity, then be sure to click No.

    I hope this isn't too rought to understand, and it helps you get what you want.

    James

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Hello Larry,
    You will need to download the latest version of xtracks. You can also download the route developers version of xtracks for updated or new textures for the above shapes. Some shapes are not available as they are reserved.


    Take care,
    Rich S.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Wow!,

    Thanx for the time and effort you put into that response James. It is much appreciated. It uncovered a number of corrupt Activity and Path files.

    Thanks again,
    Larry

  7. #7
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Thanx Rich,

    I had previously downloaded XTRACKS, but not installed it after reading some comments about it not working with certain routes...but it (track definitions) seems to be included in the current tsection.dat (4,375KB).
    I would think the Shape files would have been included in the Zip file for Tsection!?!

    Thanx,
    Regards,
    Larry

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Hi Larry,

    to address your original problem: The crashes you describe are a typical symptom of what happens when you overload a tile with too many objects, so that the actual .w file size becomes too big for the memory buffers. When you try to save your changes, MSTS crashes after renaming the previous version of the .w file into ~w.bk when trying to create the (oversized) new .w file.

    Your solution can be two-fold: Primarily, make sure to keep .w file size lean. A rule-of-thumb is to aim for .w files that are around 300-400KB, and to avoid .w files in excess of 500KB at any cost - yes, I know, some default .w files in Marias Pass are well in excess of 700KB, which is why you crash when trying to save changes on them. To keep a file lean, optimize the object placement, e.g. by replacing 20 or 50 individual trees with one forest region, by replacing 5 individual 10m long straight road or track sections with one 50m section, etc.

    The other work-around is to use the coordinate windows in the camera window of the route editor in order to jump a few tiles away from your route before attempting a safe. Once you are in the "great white void" besides your route, MSTS RE will release all the files from memory that associated with individual scenery objects it displayed before (.s files, .sd files, .ace files, .wav files, .sms files etc.). That frees up more than enough memory to allow for saving oversize .w files without problems.

    However, oversized .w files will still give you problems in the .sim: Stuttering and momentary freezing of the .sim while the .w file and associated objects are loaded into memory upon your approach, and possible out-of-memory crashes in activities when having AI and static consists in the vicinity of the "monster-tile". Which is why trimming a tile to a lean file size is the better solution than the work-around of sacing chanegs while the camera is in the white void.

    Cheers,
    Lukas a.k.a Swissie

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default RE: How do I fix broken "Starting At" menu in Explore Route

    Thanx Lukas,

    I have been trying to figure out where the "stuttering" was coming from.
    I thought the large amount of memory in this machine would eliminate most activity problems, but it takes a finite amount of time to load a 256M graphics card buffer!
    Darn...I was trying to "improve" my route by adding buildings and track sections! I guess I need to get that MSTS "must read" book somebody mentioned and re-start on a smaller scale!

    Regards,
    Larry

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