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Thread: Activity Editor Tips for Beginners

  1. #1
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    Default Activity Editor Tips for Beginners

    It is good to see the new members starting to get there feet wet with activities. Here are some tips that might help you.

    1. Make sure that you have a proper configured soundcfg.dat file if you are using Soundblaster sound cards.

    2. Most nvidia graphics cards require a 16 bit monitor setting or any time you try to move the mouse in the AE to set a consist, or create a new activity entry will cause a CRASH!

    3. If you are using Train Store besure to "unstore" everything before trying to enter the Activity Editor through Train Store. Also, only consists that are formed using the AE will be available for use making an activity without having to load the consist into Train Store's files. If you make a consist using Conbuilder, Route Riter or any other program, you must use Train Store to load that consist in to each Route's consist record.

    4. You will soon build numerous consists as you as "loose consists" for your activities. Loose consists are cars and engines that you add to yard tracks, sidings, and spurs. If you plan on reusing a particular consist you should give it a specific name that helps identify what it is that you will recognize for what it is. if you don't plan on using it again or if you want to limit the numbers of consist you may want to make a file called "LOOSE CONSIST." Now in order to find that file real easy I suggest that you place a zero in the front since MSTS looks for files with figures first.

    Thus a file 0-LOOSE CONSIST will always show up first when you go to look for consists to add to your activities. You would then delete cars not wanted and add what you want to the file and save it again and again and again and you only have one consist file regardless of how many times it is used.

    5. When doing a series of activities, try not to make all the names close to one another. If you do, MSTS has a nasty habit of swapping paths from one activity to another.

    6. Learn to make editing the activity file using Wordpad. You can usually find typographical errors much easier and you can make changes to the activity description using Wordpad instead of having to load up the AE . Just don't mess with any of the odd characters!

    I am sure others can add a lot more tips.

    Bob Edwards

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakpalms View Post

    2. Most nvidia graphics cards require a 16 bit monitor setting or any time you try to move the mouse in the AE to set a consist, or create a new activity entry will cause a CRASH!
    Bob,

    Have you tried the "fix" with Nvidia card settings that I suggested in another thread in this forum? I used the fix on 2 systems with Nvidia cards that had the crash problem. It stopped the crash and still let me run with 32bit color.

    It involved changing the antialias setting from application controlled to a number value like 4X.

    Regards,
    Hank

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakpalms View Post
    3. If you are using Train Store besure to "unstore" everything before trying to enter the Activity Editor through Train Store. Also, only consists that are formed using the AE will be available for use making an activity without having to load the consist into Train Store's files. If you make a consist using Conbuilder, Route Riter or any other program, you must use Train Store to load that consist in to each Route's consist record.

    Bob Edwards
    With a few routes and consists this will work, but once you go over the limit AE will not load with everything unstored. I recommend that you read about Maintenance Mode in the Trainstore Manual - you can use this to unstore only the items that you need for your new activity.
    Alan
    See this thread for my railway photos https://www.trainsim.com/vbts/showth...78#post1935978

  4. #4
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    Good advice! I'm sticky this one.
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  5. #5
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    Hank,
    I resolved my sound and graphics card issues a long time ago. I've just seen numerous posts by new members who need to read some basic tips on what things cause problems with MSTS.

    Bob

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    Thanks Alan for your comment. I will check it out, but I've seen many recent posts by new members asking the question why can't they find a particular consist that they just made. If they were working directly through the AE then there would be no problem, but if they happen to be working through Train Store then there is a problem.

    Bob

  7. #7
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    7. Another tip for beginners is to realize that when you place the start of a path that the starting point is always at the back of the train. This is essential to know when starting a short path before it interacts with an AI train or the AI interacts with the player train.

    8. But, when you place a starting point for a "loose consist" the starting point is always at the front of the consist--not the back!! This is very important when placing consists on terminating tracks--sidings. If your consist is too long the cars will be off the track and automatically causes MSTS to crash as soon as the activity is loaded.

    9. When placing a reverse point ahead of the player train it is important to use the precise distance of the train if a switching move is involved. If the point is less than the total length of the train, then the switch will be thrown and cause a car to "straddle" the switch or be derailed. The best method to determine the exact distance is to place a consist the same as the train on the track where the point is to be placed--this will not show up when you are in the path editor, but the screen and location will be the same. What I do, I place the duplicate consist, locate the spot I want to place the reverse point, then move that location to the bottom left area of the AE screen, then when I go to the path editor, I know immediately and precisely where to place the point--the bottom left corner of the screen!

    If the reverse point is too far out in front of the train, then that can cause the inappropriate working of signals and may lead to a red light that prematurely ends the activity.

    10. Setting a reverse point behind the train is just as complicated, and can cause problems. The reverse point behind the train reverses the path as soon as the last car of the train backs over the point. Here again, you have to set that point so that the new path does not throw a switch over which the train is located.

    11. Never set a reverse point under a "loose consist"! When making a switching move, you may want to couple on to some cars in a yard or siding track. You plan your move so that the path takes you directly on to the track where those cars are located. If you place a revese point under those cars it will cause MSTS to calculate an accident--and crash the program. To avoid this, always set the reverse point at least one car length in front of the first car in the loose consist. If that creates a change of a switch beneath the player train, then set the reverse point behind the loose consist the required distance for the train to clear that switch. The main point is no reverse points under loose consists.

  8. #8
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    Activity Tutorials:

    http://www.3dtrains.com/forums/index.php?showforum=33

    9. When placing a reverse point ahead of the player train it is important to use the precise distance of the train if a switching move is involved. If the point is less than the total length of the train, then the switch will be thrown and cause a car to "straddle" the switch or be derailed. The best method to determine the exact distance is to place a consist the same as the train on the track where the point is to be placed--this will not show up when you are in the path editor, but the screen and location will be the same. What I do, I place the duplicate consist, locate the spot I want to place the reverse point, then move that location to the bottom left area of the AE screen, then when I go to the path editor, I know immediately and precisely where to place the point--the bottom left corner of the screen!

    How to keep track of RP's is covered in one of my tutorials. The straddle switch problem is when you are on the curved part of the switch. It will re-align for the "main" exit. DO NOT FORGET TO DELETE THE LOOSE CONSIST! I have done this many times and my testers really let me know about tit.
    11. Never set a reverse point under a "loose consist"! When making a switching move, you may want to couple on to some cars in a yard or siding track. You plan your move so that the path takes you directly on to the track where those cars are located. If you place a revese point under those cars it will cause MSTS to calculate an accident--and crash the program. To avoid this, always set the reverse point at least one car length in front of the first car in the loose consist. If that creates a change of a switch beneath the player train, then set the reverse point behind the loose consist the required distance for the train to clear that switch. The main point is no reverse points under loose consists.

    You can place a reverse point under a loose consist. I have done that many time without adverse effect when picking up a cut of cars.

    5. When doing a series of activities, try not to make all the names close to one another. If you do, MSTS has a nasty habit of swapping paths from one activity to another.

    Again this is something I do all the time without any adverse effct.
    Last edited by kevarc; 12-05-2008 at 04:24 PM.
    Kevin Arceneaux
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  9. #9
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    I like how the activity builders keep on adding the tips and helps. THis topic will be a favorite of mine, as I really do want to build activities.

    Routebuilders, keep on 'tipping'!
    Bill Worsham

  10. #10
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    Kevin,
    I have done a couple of series of activities where my path from one activity will get carried over to another activity in the series and I did not place it there. I am not sure just what causes it, but it gets very irritating. I've even checked the activity one last time to make sure the right path was selected, then packaged the activity only to find it went up with another path--that is disgusting.

    I appreciate you making corrections on anything that I've screwed up on. I am sure many new guys will appreciate your comments.

    Bob

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