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Thread: Adding USTracks to your route

  1. #21
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    When I mentioned in step 2 above that PowerShell could do the renaming of those files I should have given an example of the cmdlet that would be needed. So below is how you'd use PowerShell to make those changes to the USTracks files:

    1. Extract your US3 files to a temp folder.
    2. Put your cursor on the closed folder and Shift right-click. The resulting menu will have as one of its options "Open PowerShell window here" ... left-click on that option. The PowerShell window will open and it will display the path that it has opened beginning with "PS."

    Example: PS C:\Users\dlric\Desktop\MSTS R&D>

    Obviously the path will vary depending upon where you put your temp folder and what you called it.
    3. The syntax you want to then transcribe at the prompt is as follows; note particularly the difference between regular parens and the "curly" ones:

    get-childitem *.s* | foreach {rename-item $_ $_.name.replace("US3_","")}

    4. Hit the Enter/Return key and voila, the job is done.

    Regards,

    David

  2. #22
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    For those of us exclusively using OR, I just came up with another reason to not make the conversion with DynaTrax, and just let OR do the work instead. As it turns out, dynamic tracks converted to static shapes by DynaTrax will have their ties offset differently. (Based on the textures, it almost looks like DynaTrax is rendering the structure backwards, or rotated 180 degrees.) Normally, this wouldn't be apparent, but with OR super-elevation enabled, the regular ("flat") track may still be partially visible toward the inside of the curve, causing the ties to look staggered like this:

    US3_DynaTrax_Conversion.jpg

    Restoring the world files with regular (unconverted) dynamic track will correct this, with the ties now lining-up properly:

    US3_StdDynamic.jpg

    I think this looks much better and less distracting. Unfortunately, both methods will sometimes show a "double rail" due to showing the super-elevated and level tracks at once, but I don't think there's a way around that (unless we can somehow get OR to hide the level tracks when super-elevated tracks are present in the same place?) Luckily, it's only visible from the side, and not from the engineer's perspective above.

    Because of this, I think I'll now go the easy route and let OR take care of the dynamic track instead. (Another bonus is that it saves space in the route's SHAPES folder without all of the generated "DynaTrax-####.s" files.) Of course, if you still use MSTS, you'll still want to convert with DynaTrax to maintain the consistent look.
    Paul
    Virtual Groundskeeper

  3. #23
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    Oddities with ScaleRail, too, on Sherman, using the latest track profile for SR.

    A solution needs to be found, as "turn off your superelevation" is no longer an option to compensate for or hide route design issues.

    The concept of new routes being designed for use in both MSTS and OR is fading fast. About as practical as the loony idea of one route usable in both TSW and Run8. The MSTS and OR platforms ARE that different now.



    Left track not superelevated, right track is




    Flat




    Banked


  4. #24
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    Hey Geepster,

    Actually, the problem isn't with Open Rails, and it's not exactly ScaleRail's "fault," although that's part of the issue. The issue is that the only ScaleRail track profile that's currently available was originally designed for Feather River, but not all ScaleRail track is created equal. The ScaleRail used for Sherman Hill uses the same texture names, but with different tie spacing. See example below:

    ScaleRail-Texture-Comparison.jpg

    Feather River uses 12 ties per texture on the lower base layer (SR_Track_w1a.ace), and that's what the track profile was designed for. Sherman Hill, on the other hand, only uses 10. The upper base layer (SR_Track_w2b.ace, used for the ties only) uses the same spacing for both, which is why the 2 layers don't line-up in your screenshots.

    There's only 2 solutions I can see:

    1) Manually edit the TrProfile.stf file for Sherman Hill to look at a different lower base texture, one with the same tie spacing as Feather River, but with the same ballast shade as Sherman Hill. Of course, the ties will be spaced differently on super-elevated curves.

    2) Someone (whether Marc or someone else who knows how) will need to modify the TrProfile.stf specifically for Sherman Hill's tie spacing.
    Paul
    Virtual Groundskeeper

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulytechnic View Post
    For those of us exclusively using OR, I just came up with another reason to not make the conversion with DynaTrax, and just let OR do the work instead. As it turns out, dynamic tracks converted to static shapes by DynaTrax will have their ties offset differently. (Based on the textures, it almost looks like DynaTrax is rendering the structure backwards, or rotated 180 degrees.)
    Hi Paul,

    I discovered this DynaTrax anomaly when I starting converting routes to Joe Realmuto's Finerail library of shapes. This was way back before OR's first prototype became available, so DynaTrax-ing was the order of the day.

    What's Finerail, you ask? As far as I can tell, it was the first attempt at producing a library of Kuju-compatible track shapes that more closely resembled reality than the default stuff that came with MSTS. The term "finerail" actually comes from the name of Joe's zip file; he called it a "scale rail track shape fix." I discovered it by accident when I was doing a search for Joe's 3DTrains ScaleRail tutorial. I had already converted a couple of routes to ScaleRail, but it was less of a direct process than simply changing file names in world files, so I thought I'd give it a go. As it turned out, it was more complex than I had thought because of the problem you identify above.

    This problem was exacerbated in the procedure that Joe used to create his turnout shapes, and further convoluted with the Dick Cowen/J.W. Titus updates to those turnouts. See pics below …



    This is an ACleanTrack2.ace file I used on the conversion of the MLT Canadian Rockies routes. Now compare the rail sides with the versions below that I had to create to get the DynaTrax and turnout shapes to display correctly:


    There is, of course, in the normal Kuju realm of things, no such thing as an ACleanTrack2b.ace file, but this ace, and the others below, were necessary for me to get these files to display properly. The above turnout is an a1tpnt2_5dlft.s file.



    I had to invert and then make convex the normal concave image of the rail side to get DynaTrax to look right.

    The end result was pleasing at the time, but neither ScaleRail nor Norbert's range of shapes need worry. And indeed, I think Joe must have come to the same conclusion, because even though he indicated that future shapes would be added to his library, none ever were. And shortly thereafter he came out with his ScaleRail tutorial.

    How did all my work turn out? Not bad for the time period, but I've safely put it away in favor of more pleasing alternatives. There is, however, one area where Finerail might be applicable: lightly used secondary lines or narrow gauge. That's because Joe's profile is the "finest" - if you'll pardon the pun - that I've come across. Below are some pics from some very early conversions …


    At Revelstoke Yard on the MLT Roger's Pass route.


    The view from the cab is actually pretty nice. Using one of Norbert's 1024 ballast textures helped this to no end, however.


    About as plain vanilla a route as you can come by; the default USA1. But here it does display how truly fine Joe's rail does appear. It also shows an achilles heel of this system: Joe based his thinned-down shapes on the only track then available: the default Kuju stuff. The clunky check rails and point blades attest to this.


    Finis.

    I hope that OR's ability to procedurally-generate track is extended, as Goku contends, and what we have now is only the beginning. With properly setup track profile files, all the track will be dynamically-generated and we can, perhaps, kiss track shapes goodbye ...

    Regards,

    David

  6. #26

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    I have a comment on the upgrade to the Hook and Eye route that was posted to this library.

    It seems to me this upgrade to US3Tracks was only accomplished for the mainline portion of the route. The actual branch line seems to be missing the mosaic upgrades and it looks as if those world files that involve the branch line were never modified from a1t prefixes to US3 prefixes. It also looks as if the US3 textures were used to replace the Kuju track textures, so they closely match in roadbed style and color in what was apparently planned to be one US3 to Kuju transition area near the junction where the branch line splits away.

    The problem with this is if you use the preferred method of employing a Trackprofiles sub-directory, now all the dynamic track on the branch displays in US3Tracks and it is heavily intermixed with static Kuju pieces, because those world files appear to be bypassed in the a1t to US3 update process. Instead of the planned one transition between track styles, the transitions between Kuju and US3 profiles along the branch line are now numerous and very noticeable. At the end of the day, it looks like the conversion of the route was half done, went the dynatrax route for the half-done section instead of using a Trackprofile, and if you use the preferred Trackprofile option today over the dynatrax, what you have left looks terrible for the branch portion of the route, with the track constantly changing between US3 and Kuju profiles.

    We really do need to come up with some decent standards for conversions that avoids this kind of mess. As things evolve (i.e. the deployment of trackprofiles over dynatrax), it shouldn't break the route and diminish the enjoyment of experience to this degree. But it also requires seeing things in the development pipeline and avoiding the temptation of shortcuts.

  7. #27
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    My guess - and it's just that, a guess - is that this route conversion was done before the US3 Trackprofile for OR was created, hence the Dynatrax method the author used. Steven Masters didn't post the link to that profile until July of 2016; what is the date of the route's conversion?

    As for why the author chose not to convert the branch line as well as the mainline I can think of two possibilities:

    1.) The branch involved shapes that aren't covered by the US3 library of shapes, and/or
    2.) He wanted the branch to look like it used lighter rail. The rail that Norbert created for the DB/US libraries of shapes looks very tall indeed so it looks best for the heavier rail found on mainline trackage. If one uses the right ACleanTrack2.ace files it is possible to make the Kuju rail look quite a bit smaller from normal viewing distances.

    Regards,
    David

  8. #28

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    Just delete the Trackprofiles sub-directory from this route and you'll have USTracks on the mainline and default tracks on the branch. That's what the author of this conversion intended. This route is a true conversion, with different varieties USTracks in use on the mainline. It has shiny tracks, rusty tracks, berm tracks, etc. A true work of art.

    This thread is discussing how to get USTracks into a route without doing a full conversion. You will find that the two methods work at cross purposes.

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