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Thread: Best Practices For A New MSTS Beginning

  1. #1

    Default Best Practices For A New MSTS Beginning

    Hello,

    I would like to know if there is a resource for a "best practices" pathway a new MSTS trainsim fan? I only have the stock Kuju MSTS install and would like to avoid as many pitfalls as possible. Here are my primary interests...

    • Complex Interactive Scenarios - Although I am just getting started, I expect to mature. It would also be nice to have "smart" A.I. trains if possible.
    • Long Routes - The longest routes possible or routes which can be joined. If it isn't possible to actually join one route to another I don't mind arriving at a station, closing the scenario and restarting next route at the same depot.
    • Rail Era - I am interested in all eras of rail development, but I prefer "trains" versus "commuters." I hope this make sense?
    • Re-installation? - If necessary, I can reinstall my MSTS if there is a better structure than the default install.
    • Must-Have Addons - Those downloads or resources which provide an improved experience as well as a solid foundation to use MSTS.
    • Route Building - I have a gimpy noodle at 61, but if this isn't too complicated I would enjoy creating routes in Texas where I live. I would be delighted to add any of my work to the resources here at Trainsim.com.
    • Scenario Creation - Maybe, if not too complicated.
    • Model Building - No interest at this time, but would be willing to assist any model builders with any mundane, non-design tasks to help. Research is one thing I am good at.
    • ???? - Feel free to add anything to this list or please provide links if there is already a resource list and methodology for a ne enthusiast.


    I have been introduced to Open Rails. So, I am curious as to whether I should focus on OR or focus on MSTS? I would appreciate any commentary.

    Lastly, I would also interested in the favorites of the MSTS/OR community members here.

    Thanks in advance for the boost!

    [EDIT] - When I previewed this post I discovered I must have been involved here before. I do not remember being here, but I apologize for any inconvenience. It is my bedtime for now, but I will try and reread any previous posts I might have made before.
    ~ Calvin

    "Some say, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." Hmm... maybe so, but you will have to put up with my stupid questions until I learn to ask intelligent ones." ~ C.J.W.

    A word to the wise... I recently lost 10 yrs of data because both my PC and my ext. backup hard drive failed at roughly the same time. I will be mirroring three or more storage drives going forward. It will cost a fraction of the almost $2K for professional clean room recovery.

    [Disclaimer]
    I realize there must be voluminous tomes of information on this and other trainsim websites. I am not being lazy and will do what research I can when able. Short-Term Memory Loss and getting confused presents a difficult challenge. I can follow "checklists" okay, but I get very confused very quickly when trying to amass multi-matrix information like multiple posts in multiple threads on multiple websites. I hope this makes sense? I am very grateful for all guidance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    SW MO
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    Default

    One of the first things to do is install MSTS in it's own folder away from the "Programs/Programs (x86)" folders.
    I put all of my train stuff on a dedicated SSD mounted as (D, I don't have a DVD/CD drive.
    Going forward OR is the way to go, the only thing you really need MSTS for is the file structure and assets needed for the older routes that use some of he default content.
    You'll also want to download Goku's TSRE. Even if you don't plan on building routes it's way fun to play with.

    Randy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Brockville, ON, CA
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    "Best Practices" and doing whatever works for you. When I changed to Windows 7 I had to reinstall everything. I first went to Steam4me and followed their instructions for reinstalling the game in Windows 7, twice. Neither time could I get MSTS to open. Someone on the forum here PMed me with instructions to load it into Programs (x86) and that's where it's been for what, ten years now. Some people on this forum even claimed that if I shared files with others who had there copy of MSTS installed "properly" I would be causing damage to their computer or even causing a fire!

    Do whatever works for you.

    Paul :-)

  4. #4

    Default Best Practices For A New MSTS Beginning (USA)

    ATTENTION - This should have been in my OP, but I am presently only interested in USA. At 61 my mind just gets confused with the Metric system.

    @Randy, I already installed MSTS out of Program Files and I will take a look at TSRE. I assume "TSRE" = Train Simulator Route Editor (best guess)? I am looking into OR.

    @Paul - Thanks for the heads-up on Steam4Me, especially since I have a soft spot for black iron. <3
    As far as the potential damage to a system in sharing files, you left out causing hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, holes in the ozone layer, global warming, catastrophic tectonic plate shifts, magnetic poles displacement and degradation of the Earth's orbit. Oh! How could I forget... Black Holes!
    On the other hand, M$ is not known for inherent stability in their range of versions of their O/S, eh? Like you said, do what's best for my system.

    I guess another question I should consider...
    • Leaving MSTS Behind? - Has anyone who has switched discovered any problems or niggles?


    Thanks.
    ~ Calvin

    "Some say, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." Hmm... maybe so, but you will have to put up with my stupid questions until I learn to ask intelligent ones." ~ C.J.W.

    A word to the wise... I recently lost 10 yrs of data because both my PC and my ext. backup hard drive failed at roughly the same time. I will be mirroring three or more storage drives going forward. It will cost a fraction of the almost $2K for professional clean room recovery.

    [Disclaimer]
    I realize there must be voluminous tomes of information on this and other trainsim websites. I am not being lazy and will do what research I can when able. Short-Term Memory Loss and getting confused presents a difficult challenge. I can follow "checklists" okay, but I get very confused very quickly when trying to amass multi-matrix information like multiple posts in multiple threads on multiple websites. I hope this makes sense? I am very grateful for all guidance.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    SW MO
    Posts
    142

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    Calvin,

    Train Simulator Route Explorer, I think is what it's called, can be gotten at Goku's site here.
    It's also an excellent consist editor and activity editor.
    Just pick a route and have fun, if you hose it just reinstall the route. Documentation is available if lacking slightly. Still lightyears ahead of MSRE.
    ORTS is free, well documented, and rock solid. It will not alter any MSTS content. Personally I prefer the Mono Game version with ReShade.

    Randy

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Location
    Brockville, ON, CA
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    Hi Calvin,

    I thought the "hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, holes in the ozone layer, global warming, catastrophic tectonic plate shifts, magnetic poles displacement and degradation of the Earth's orbit. Someone blamed one of my files for the last American election.

    You can run Open Rails as a stand alone program, you would need to set up a filing system like MSTS (as in a Route Folder, Trains, folder...) just because the majority if not all routes are set up like that now.

    Like any software in development it might be best to stick with the version that is currently called "stable", otherwise you may end up with an experimental version with some common features broken between versions.

    Paul :-)

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks again, gentlemen.
    Is there any advantage in migrating the MSTS content, etc. to the OR file structure?
    Pursuant to the above I have also had a question about adding new routes, etc. Should they be installed into OR or stick with installing into MSTS for the present?
    ~ Calvin

    "Some say, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." Hmm... maybe so, but you will have to put up with my stupid questions until I learn to ask intelligent ones." ~ C.J.W.

    A word to the wise... I recently lost 10 yrs of data because both my PC and my ext. backup hard drive failed at roughly the same time. I will be mirroring three or more storage drives going forward. It will cost a fraction of the almost $2K for professional clean room recovery.

    [Disclaimer]
    I realize there must be voluminous tomes of information on this and other trainsim websites. I am not being lazy and will do what research I can when able. Short-Term Memory Loss and getting confused presents a difficult challenge. I can follow "checklists" okay, but I get very confused very quickly when trying to amass multi-matrix information like multiple posts in multiple threads on multiple websites. I hope this makes sense? I am very grateful for all guidance.

  8. #8

    Default

    OR can read your existing MSTS file structure. So, what's to upgrade?

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    The only impetus for change (away from the old MSTS structure) is going to come from the commercial side. Some payware developers like TrainSimulations are in a race to shed the past and make ORTS lean and mean without the 'MSTS baggage'. They seem to be on a quest to eliminate MSTS-friendly multi-part (base shape + freight animation) rolling stock by recombining into one shape, as well as eliminate the ACE texture files from all their offerings and go exclusively with the newer DDS format. Which means their new routes and stock, while ideally suited for ORTS, will not play well now or in the future with older ORTS installations containing old MSTS routes or even your previous ORTS installations that relied upon the older ACE formats.
    Last edited by geepster775; 05-27-2019 at 08:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I don't think the newer formats will have problems co-existing with "classic" MSTS+Open Rails installs, particularly since OR can be pointed to run a route and its stock from any arbitrary folder as long as its contents match the defined requirements.

    And as long as OR maintains its backward-compatibility features as they are today, it generally runs legacy content just fine, while having no problems with new OR-specific content. At worst, you may need to make some settings changes in the OR menus before launching a route. (This is a spot where some "Legacy" and "Modern" presets might be helpful.)

    The main necessity I see is with us, the end-users, educating ourselves in the differences and requirements for setting up legacy MSTS-style content versus the latest and greatest OR-only content. Time for all of us to expand our knowledge base!


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