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Thread: What ever happened to good American scenery add-ons?

  1. #1
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    Default What ever happened to good American scenery add-ons?

    Years ago I think one individual did some outstanding models for MSTS gas stations and fast food joints. Since then, it's been slim to none. Has anyone considered doing some NEW additions like Wal-mart supercenters, Kroger grocery stores etc. Things like more chain steak houses or newer commercial buildings would sure be appreciated.

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    Go for it boss. Best way to get what you feel you're missing is to make it yourself. After all, no one knows what you need better than you!
    - Chris N.

    I can only do so much... peons only have so much power.

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    Obviously "Supercentres" (I assume) would be new models? ....but surely in the US, just as in the rest of the world existing buildings change usage? So surely a bit of repainting would achieve some of that. You only have to Google "XYorZ's LOGO" and a large % of the job is done for you?
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  4. #4
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    Vinnie did the gas stations and fast food chains. Great stuff indeed.
    I was happy to see Marc add the "Outback Steakhouse" into Sherman Hill, along with a bunch of other super sweet new objects.
    The chant is the same - not as many people creating anymore, so yes - more members need to have the ambition and/or time to learn, or keep asking with hopes that someone will respond.
    Neil

    Here at home, in the railroad mayhem capital of the world.

  5. #5
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    Cool Lack of Scenery objects

    Quote Originally Posted by qballbandit View Post
    Vinnie did the gas stations and fast food chains. Great stuff indeed.
    I was happy to see Marc add the "Outback Steakhouse" into Sherman Hill, along with a bunch of other super sweet new objects.
    The chant is the same - not as many people creating anymore, so yes - more members need to have the ambition and/or time to learn, or keep asking with hopes that someone will respond.
    A worse problem is the dirth of new routes for MSTS, other than the flood coming out of India. Some of the objects that have been uploaded from there are usable, but most are much too different from American architecture. There is still some good material coming out of NewZealand, Germany, Switzerland, and other foreign locations, but some of the instructions to download etc. are in a foreign language so it is a guess as to how you can download something.

    Routes are another issue. One of the best collections of routes has been the AT&SF routes by Robert Wirth. He is sufficiently disciplined to quit a location before it is buried in eye candy, and move on to the next spot. I would wager that if he were asked, he would allow someone else to "super detail" a route. As for myself, I am probably 3-5 months away from releasing a route started and almost finished by Simon Van de Laak. The part he did is highly detailed, so I had to at least come close in my own completion of it. I also have his Virginian route, and I have added to that all known branches in the coal field as well as the garbage dump branch near Roanoke. Detailing it could take a very long time, so my plan is to complete the roads, tracks are already in, and then detail most, if not all, of the coal loadouts, and then finish his detailing of the area around Mullins, WV. Other areas, I will rough in, then add mileposts and signals, and release it so someone else if so inclined can "super detail" it. Even so, I have to create around a dozen
    large steel viaducts. Simon has done the one at Narrows, VA, as well as Garwood, WV, and did them very well. But there is a
    VERY high one between Clark's Gap and Princeton, and a lesser one over the Interstate Highway east of Princeton, for example.

    I have done the track for all three present and former GN routes over Stevens Pass, and I have digitized two routes out of Brazil and
    extracted terrain. God willing, I plan to retire (again) next year so that I can devote more time to playing. At 77, I have reasonable expectations of being around another 10 years.

    J. H. Sullivan

  6. #6
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    Well I have started into 3D modelling, I have never done a building, though it probably wouldn't be too hard if I didn't have a bunch of stuff on my plate already. It would probably be much easier to photograph the outside of a store than it would be to photograph the underside of a bridge like I have to do, this being an unusually wet (and therefore buggy) summer here

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by landnrailroader View Post
    Routes are another issue. One of the best collections of routes has been the AT&SF routes by Robert Wirth. He is sufficiently disciplined to quit a location before it is buried in eye candy, and move on to the next spot. I would wager that if he were asked, he would allow someone else to "super detail" a route.
    J. H. Sullivan
    Horses for Courses as the saying goes but frankly I find routes without depth of scenery pointless and not worth the time to download. It's quality that counts not quantity.

    A so called route without scenery is like a track layout for a model railway IMO. To be worthy of the title "Route" it should have full scenery and even more important depth of scenery. That's the point of this thread surely? Even the default routes had scenery so in my book anything less than that is a total waste of time. If anyone wants to drive 300 miles over unsceneried track ....well it's your life

    IF folk want to produce track and signalling basics but don't want to add scenery ......why not team up with someone else who can do that? Producing a decent route of any length is YEARS of work, but the basic trackage and signalling needs to be established to create activities and test those. No scenery equals unfinished in my book. In fact anything less than100% scenery equals unfinished for me.
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  8. #8
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    Geoff:

    You raise some interesting points.

    Not trying to be facetious or provoking, but a serious question: What do you consider adequate "depth of scenery"? From a "cab view" point of view? From an outside cab view? Or, how high on an aerial composition?

    As a route builder that aims toward the final product being enjoyable to operate, I have found there is a definite balancing act when it comes to scenic intensity, yet the route still being usable on a reasonably "typical" computer, especially in view of multiple AI traffic operating, loose consists, and that sort of thing.

    Therefore, I aim to have good density to within what (for me) would be "acceptable" camera elevations. Under operating conditions, my scenic depth density works for me, but perhaps not for those that love to pull the camera waaaay back until the train is not the centerpiece. Interesting issue.

    To illustrate, below are pictures of some of my recent work that, for my tastes, has acceptable depth. However, does such have sufficient depth from your point of view?

    First, within the sim during an activity:




    And here's an overall view of the above location taken in the Route Editor:




    And here's a view taken on up the Winding Stair climb:




    And then we skip up north about hundred miles from the above scenes to an area on the same route that just a few days ago I was still working on basic forestation, but the pics give you an idea of my "depth of scenery" threshold:







    So, how far out from the tracks do you feel "depth of scenery" should extend?

    All fer now.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
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    Hi Andre,
    Quote Originally Posted by Coonskin View Post
    Geoff:

    You raise some interesting points.

    Not trying to be facetious or provoking,
    No need to justify your question Andre ;-) You make a series of good points. FIRST, for those who DO consider discussion provocative, let me repeat “Horses for Courses”. Also let me state right now that I never built ANY route ....BUT I did work as part of a team including contributors and testers from the UK, US and Australasia who helped with aspects of the Mid East Plus Route that was built by Mick Clarke in the UK. This route was a development of an early route by Tim Court which extended it considerably and being developed over a 6 year period pushed the envelope on performance quite a bit. Through that experience I’m well aware of the various constraints that MSTS imposes on route building. To take your reply point by point.....

    ......but a serious question: What do you consider adequate "depth of scenery"? From a "cab view" point of view? From an outside cab view? Or, how high on an aerial composition?
    This is an interesting point. To many Rail Sim users the WHOLE point is to drive the train and to be IN the cab and have the best possible cab view with access to and a view of all controls? Personally I like a realistic view OUT through the cab window and the controls matter little to me as I drive with the keyboard. Purely a matter of choice? However MSTS’s lack of virtual cabs (BLW’s cabs being the exception) means that these fixed 3 position views are rather limiting. Therefore I drive a lot outside the train and set “Cam” views to suitable field of view so that the 2 & 3 Cam give an alternative short telephoto effect on one and a moderate wide angle on the other. As to the third point BIN was “a game changer”. Suddenly your cam could track out WAY beyond the limits imposed in the original? NOW ....obviously the limitations of the Sim don’t allow the completely realistic “filling” of scenery that such an elevated view would give .....but some impression of depth can be obtained by use of low detailed plant objects, tree fringes, hedges etc. ....BUT that brings me to your next point....

    As a route builder that aims toward the final product being enjoyable to operate, I have found there is a definite balancing act when it comes to scenic intensity, yet the route still being usable on a reasonably "typical" computer, especially in view of multiple AI traffic operating, loose consists, and that sort of thing.
    Indeed you hit several issues squarely on the head here. Firstly as the oldest surviving Simulator the creators could not have dreamed of today’s hardware capabilities, or even as is important to MSTS CPU specifications. Also as an old hobby many in the community are themselves “getting on a bit” and many without the money to upgrade to the latest hardware. Apart from that there is of course MSTS’s imposed limits of object per tile, the issue of populating yards with stock and AI traffic movement. The dilemma therefore is, does the route builder push the envelope? Or do they play safe to make the route run better on lower spec machines? Obviously the builders choice and not for anyone else to dictate? However, and I don’t want to pick on Bob Wirth here ...but Mr Sullivan held him up as an example in his post, there is a world of difference between that and what from screenshots featuring Bob’s routes I can only describe as “Minimalist” scenery. I repeat that IF that’s what you like that’s fine with me .....but it has no point for me

    Therefore, I aim to have good density to within what (for me) would be "acceptable" camera elevations. Under operating conditions, my scenic depth density works for me, but perhaps not for those that love to pull the camera waaaay back until the train is not the centerpiece. Interesting issue.
    This raises another issue about routes that I think is worth considering? Sometimes a route can be really “immersive” from close up. Trackside detail such as debris, grasses, wayside shacks etc. can create a great “feel” to a route? The terrain also plays a big part. Routes over flatter terrain are perhaps easier to give an illusion of depth to? Rolling hills as in your screenshots are perhaps the most difficult? Although Donner Pass and Feather River both achieve good effects IMO. Taking the concept of “depth” to another perspective, depth can be achieved in a small area. To illustrate what I mean lets consider two vastly different US scenery types. Desert and Plains. Simplistically (and unfortunately that’s the only way MSTS can easily portray these) neither have much in the way of distance variety? BUT look closely at photographs of the GN taken in Montana or the Rio Grande or SF passing through scrubland or Desert and the reality is that these apparently featureless landscapes are incredibly complex at a close up level. I’m no fan of TS20XX but one of the things these sort of routes have achieved in that sim is a far better ground cover for these areas. So for MSTS it has to be “smoke and mirrors” together with some artfully placed lineside distractions?

    To illustrate, below are pictures of some of my recent work that, for my tastes, has acceptable depth. However, does such have sufficient depth from your point of view?
    So, how far out from the tracks do you feel "depth of scenery" should extend?
    To answer the first question I’d like to see some kind of coverage on the distant hills. Obviously that can’t be done to the same density as trackside but enough to make an aerial shot look less like the scenery is a corridor through which the track passes.
    To answer the second question I personally would like to see as much as possible ....BUT, and it is a BIG but, that has to be tempered by the ability to run trains and AI through the tile without crashing the sim. ....and that brings us back to the other debate on who will be able to run it?

    There is of course a world of difference between freeware routes and those for which the author wants their $ ?
    If you sell a route I guess you have to consider the wider audience. If it’s freeware you can push the envelope and state in the download “Requires a High Spec Machine to run” OR you can take Bob’s path and concentrate on the trackage.

    It’s a matter of choice, but personally having invested in a Sim Only machine and worked on a really highly detailed route project the more immersive the scenery the better the route for me.
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  10. #10
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    For me, I think a lot still can be achieved with creative depth control. Buildings and objects close to mainlines and sidings, yes - detail them as best as possible, and with seasonal and night textures. Buildings and vegetation towards the distance can be less intense, For me, I like the realism of scenery close by the train and freight cars being dropped and pulled. Occasionally I may go to a 4 view to see the 'big picture'. Sometimes it's impressive, sometimes it cheapens the illusion from a far perspective. And too, some of the simmers here are true rail fans, and are good at setting up postcard shots of towns and trains. Me, I like driving them more and recognizing a landmark detailed or not off in the distance. But too, once many of us get at doing scenery - it's hard to know where to draw the line?
    Days on end for one small area, right down to a cat sitting on the station platform. And the majority of the route is unscenic'ed. Or, go at the entire route with forest regions, gantries, and building groups and backdrops to give the sense of density, but without a lot of detail?

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