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Thread: Milestones in MSTS History

  1. #1

    Default Milestones in MSTS History

    It's hard to believe it, but this year our beloved MSTS turns 20 years old this year.

    I'm contemplating creating a video essay looking at the history of the sim, especially with how the community made it what it is today (along with OR). My question is, what would you consider to be notable milestones in the development of the sim? This could include:

    * Important development packs (XTracks, Newroads, etc)
    * Routes that raised the bar
    * Third party programs (Route Riter, Activity Generator)

    If possible, include the date of release or development. I'm curious to see your thoughts.
    Nick - Creator of the Virtual Railroading Review Show

  2. #2
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    Mixed feelings. Like a video tribute to an ex-wife, a good 10+ years after most have found a new beloved.

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    As far as routes go, I'd suggest Cascades Crossing by MLT. From what I can tell, it was released in July 2004. I've ran this route plenty myself, and it was done phenomenally for the time - over 200 miles of farmland, mountainous forest, and semi-arid, desert-like terrain. This one never seemed to be super popular, but I'd say it was crafted very well for 2004.

    You could also consider NS Pocahontas District by Austin Yoder. It was released in December 2005, and while I never ran it much, it seemed to be a huge hit with the community. This seems to have been one of the most-downloaded freeware routes.

    Lastly, the CN Blackfoot Subdivision by Rory Rice might be worth a look. The original was released in June 2003, and the most recent version was released in September 2017 for ORTS. I'd consider the latest version to be the gold standard in terms of prairie/flatland routes. Payware-tier freeware, in my opinion.
    Last edited by SlackAction; 01-02-2021 at 11:24 PM.

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    For me the Bin Patch. ConBuilder and then Jim Ward's (Sniper) invisocars come to mind....
    Dell desktop. Intel i5 3.3 CPU. 8GB RAM. Nvidia GT710 2GB graphics. Windows Pro 64bit. RailDriver.

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    For my money, Steve Davis' Activity Generator and Activity Master are close to, if not at the top of the list. I've used both for years; without them I probably would have abandoned MSTS long before ORTS came along.

    Uncle E
    Whatever's cold in my fridge is the Official Beer of Open Rails.

  6. #6

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    There are other threads that have gone down the same rabbit hole....

    I'd stick to "firsts" and unique contributions.

    Who did the best route or model is going to be like picking the best movie of all time. Nobody will ever agree on that, but there's no arguing who invented Panavision or Dolby/THX.

    Michael Vone for writing the first substantive guide to route building.

    Mike Simpson for RouteRiter. I'm forgetting names on the fly here for the shape exporter to Sketchup, TSUtils, ShapeViewer, Shape File Master, Archibald, Horace, Catmaster, etc.

    Track systems are tricky. XTracks pushed the original envelope and were a huge upgrade to the Kuju components. UK Finescale and Scalerail were new geometry. Unique at the time. DBTracks when it showed up was not unique or a first.

    Hopefully that gives a little direction...

    Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

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    Well IMO THE most obvious has to be the BIN patch.
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
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    The advent of newer versions of Windows which effectively stopped many people from using it (esp. if you had an ATI graphics card)…

    Which ties nicely into what Geepster was intimating regarding Open Rails.

    Other than that and thinking back to my own involvement with MSTS, can't put dates on some of this but the following comes to mind.

    Pre-release - the full unveiling of the product at MS Fanstock (sometime Spring 2001) to which myself and a couple of people from the then fledgling train sim sites were invited.

    The release date and the discovery of such nasties as the Cutbank syndrome, trains derailing well under line speed on sharp curves and the hastily put together half finished editors all of which told us Kuju/MS hadn't quite hit the spot.

    The creation of Abacus Train Sim Modeller - aka 3D modelling for dummies.

    The demise of Trainsimfiles and the dawn of UKTS, much as we all alternately love and hate it.

    TS Tools so we could burn our eyes out tracing contours off scanned maps, to get real terrain in there before we got...

    Demex.

    Route wise, I'll deliberately disregard my involvement with 3DTS and the Cambrian Line but the first UK routes to probably turn heads were Blue Arrow's Severn Valley Railway (though it looks really dated now) and EuropeanBahn (I think) who pushed out London to Brighton. It was flawed but it gave us a real main line to play with.

    The pinnacle of UK freeware and donationware have to be the Thames Trent route(s) and the North Wales Coast II respectively. (IMHO which is where it gets a bit subjective).
    Last edited by NorthernWarrior; 01-03-2021 at 01:51 PM.
    Vern.

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    With my "Statler And Waldorf" hat on again, two other key events - well I suppose four actually - are MS' announcements about the inception of MSTS2, only to be followed a little while later by the cancellation.
    Vern.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernWarrior View Post
    With my "Statler And Waldorf" hat on again, two other key events - well I suppose four actually - are MS' announcements about the inception of MSTS2, only to be followed a little while later by the cancellation.
    LOL! Indeed. It's like one of those "dark family secrets" that everyone "knows" about but accepts that we don't talk about that. Like curious younger relations any attempt to find out what happened seems to have been carefully erased or at least well hidden.

    I for one would dearly love to know what stage MSTS2 (take 2) had reached? I always figured that after two attempts there had to be some basic flaw in the second attempt for it to be dropped so (allegedly) close to release. Was it "World of Rails"? Was that "a bridge too far"?

    When you look at the new MSFS you have to ask were the goals of the ace's studio just too advanced for the available hardware at that time? Of course the "bean counters" must have been running round like headless chickens that Autumn with M$ showing a 1st ever loss?

    Are the NDA's of those "in" on development still in force? It's so long ago now that it seems little but idle curiosity from those of us who've been around since the beginning.

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT...
    One thing MSTS can do that "World of Rails" or the "REAL WORLD" scenery of the latest MSFS can't do is allow creation of historic routes and scenarios?

    Railways all over the world have changed their traffic, traction, trackage and infra structure so much that a check on Google Earth will show that the sites of massively important yards, stations etc. are often now overgrown, developed or just severely thinned down. Satellites are brilliant but they can't see into the past. The tools (flawed as they may have been) in MSTS has allowed enthusiasts to create virtually what only exists in photographs or old film stock now.

    How many of the newer Sims are constantly criticised for lack of such Tools?
    Last edited by lateagain; 01-05-2021 at 05:29 AM. Reason: Addition.
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

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