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Thread: Transitioning to TSRE

  1. #1

    Default Transitioning to TSRE

    I know I'm not the last holdout making the jump to TSRE, but finally took the plunge about two weeks ago.

    Starting with the CNW Chicago, I replaced all the imagery that I'd loaded with SRT years ago with newer images. I've now also done the UP Gila Sub (Sunset Route), and will be re-doing Packerland eventually. Here's an example of the tearing (e.g. roads not lining up at sub-tile or tile seams) that SRT did:

    It's fixed the tearing, but exposed way too many places where the ROW was placed slightly off from the real world, and it's visually distracting. That's going to force me to move existing track, and that means ripping out existing signals...

    So... let the transitions begin. Rather than work each of the three routes I have in progress from start to finish, I'm going to work them in parallel starting with tracks, signals, and then other interactives like mileposts and crossing.

    I'd already started with textures, and sped things up a bit by creating another of my hack apps to replicate all the mouse clicks needed to create terrain textures from a map:

    (and no, that app is not ready for prime time release just yet... it's customized too much for my desktop...)

    Basically, if I center on the corner of four tiles, it can repeat the sequence four times while I go do something else on my other PC during the two minutes it takes to load four tiles and create the terrtex.

    This past week, I dived into moving track. I used to be able to do this in my sleep with the MSTS-RE, and it will definitely take a while before I'm back to that level of comfort... Starting with the UP Gila, I replaced 25 miles of track between CP Wellton and CP Mohawk. Fortunately that was mostly straight runs with only a few turnouts and slight grade changes. But that was the low hanging fruit... the next week will be a little more challenging as I'll have to deal with more curves on moderate grade changes.

    So far, I've used the following features:

    • Placing new track
    • Moving existing track
    • Milepost placement
    • Terrain maps to terrtex
    • Terrain painting
    • Terrain height adjustments
    • Auto-paint by TDB vector

    As I mentioned to a few others, muscle memory is the hard part. I'm still hitting F keys from the MSTS-RE out of habit, and I'm having to keep a cheat sheet plus Pete Willard's PDF open on my second monitor, but so far I haven't blow anything up beyond repair...

    All in all.... it hasn't slowed me down aside from learning new keystrokes or where a value is displayed on the sidebars.

    Things I miss so far:

    • Shortcut keys for all major functions....

      Example... there's a shortcut to select objects, but not a shortcut to place new objects? (OK, apparently there is and I didn't see it in the book...)
    • Tile re-loading from the W file... it looks like this is loaded once, and never refreshed. Haven't seen a function to force re-load a tile.

      This is a personal difference - I want the ability to go into a World file and make tweaks, e.g. using Tangent to calculate a new QD, or swapping out a shapefile name. With the MSTS-RE, if you moved more than 3 tiles away, it would reload the tile from the source file when it came back into view, so I could force a reload by jumping away and then returning.
    • Ability to change the World but ignore Terrain changes...

      Seems odd that there's an ability to disable changes to the TDB (which I do like), but no such option to isolate changes to the .T files or .W files... MSTS would save .W files by default, but gave you the option of ignoring terrain changes. That would be useful, particularly for people who temporarily raise up terrain to make it easier to place objects...

    Things I find hugely valuable:

    • Transform track rotation...

      I use Google imagery as my terrain textures, so there's not much tolerance to be off by >3m when it comes to track alignment. Being able to skew a straight section of track by 0.1d on the fly has been a life saver.
    • Auto-painting a texture pattern by TDB vector. Especially with Google imagery, it's nice being able to mask some of the transient things that creep into the ROW e.g. shadows or images of a train that managed to be captured in the satellite pass, or a railroad vehicle that was parked near tracks. I still have to figure out a good resolution for my rock textures to match the clarity of my ballast, but that will happen with time. Interestingly, Microtex.ace still looks good after 20 years...
    • Keying in rotation values. No more need for a mouse or keypad... Would be nice to have a shortkey to edit that value box, though. Used to be F4 in the MSTS-RE...

    I'm sure there will be other items as I go.

    If all goes as planned, the changes on the UP Gila will wrap up before the end of the month, and I'll be able to tackle the CNW Chicago, where there are at least 40-50 miles of multi-track mainline that will need to be shifted by about 5-10m to match where the ROW shows up on the Terrtex.
    Last edited by eolesen; 12-13-2020 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #2


    Example... there's a shortcut to select objects, but not a shortcut to place new objects?
    Place New = Q

    Otherwise a good statement!

  3. #3


    Quick example of why I have to shift the track.... Those black lines on the right are the actual track.....

  4. #4


    And.... thanks to somehow messing up and having vectors left without track sections, I got to try the "Hacks... Delete TDB Vector" function.

    What a Godsend.... no more modifying the TDB or having to try and re-insert track sections into the .W file!

  5. #5


    Most of you know I've written helper utilities for my route building, including WorldFileHacker, REJumper, and Tangent. They help do some of the repetitive tasks as well as some scripting to speed things up...

    WFH is unaffected by TSRE, but the latter two were written specifically to manipulate the Route Editor windows, and needed a little work...

    Last night I got ReJumper working, which will definitely speed things up for me. I had originally written it to jump to marker file locations. With marker jumping integrated into TSRE, it's now just to save locations on the fly e.g. where I last left off working.

    Tangent requires a little more effort, but with all the track replacement/adjustments I'm looking at in my routes, it will be essential. For now I can enter values in manually, but ideally it too should be able to read from TSRE.

    Once I've got these available, I'll post new versions on DigitalRails.
    Last edited by eolesen; 12-16-2020 at 12:00 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013


    You can jump to markers, or even platform/siding locations using the Navi window in TSRE

  7. #7


    Yep, I know. Highly useful functions.

    Jumping to the last location I worked is the main driver for a rewrite.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    SW MO


    I just place a station or siding marker, name it something memorable and use them to jump around to different locations.
    Should add, I place a non attached piece of track off to the side and place the marker there if I'm working on the track. Interactives you know.

  9. #9


    Track laying is by far easy with TSRE. Not sure I'd say it is easier, but it does go quickly.

    A few features in the editor that would be nice to have...

    • Indication of which options you've enabled. Am I in stick to terrain mode? Is Z set to up or down for terrain? Am I in Q, E, R, or T mode?....
    • Persisting terrain textures you've loaded.... Get tired of having to re-load the same couple every time I launch a new painting session
    • Separate folder for terrain textures used for painting
    • Remembering recent items from your last editing session and which options were selected e.g. can't it default to SR_?...
    • Camera follow nearest TDB vector... would be nice to be able to fly over a section without having to repeatedly arrow up/down/left/right...
    • Web server interface to give an XML rendition of the object window.... yeah, I know. I'm probably the only person that would use it.
    Last edited by eolesen; 12-18-2020 at 03:06 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Lubec ME USA


    You can determine if terrain height mode is positive or negative by the HeightMap button. It will have a "+" next to it when in positive mode, "-" if negative. I agree the other options would be useful, especially stick to anything vs terrain. Also rotate mode - I am constantly accidentally rotating something that I intend to move. The reset rotation comes in handy here.


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