Long time no release!
Indeed, it has been a very long time since a release! Since Christmas/New Years actually. I hope to change that soon, but unfortunately I haven't got a ton of stuff up for release. I'll shortly discuss each major route project and when to expect them to be potentially released, and give you updates into each one. For now, let's talk other content!
So, in the locomotive/rollingstock/scenery/etc department (everything BUT routes), what are we seeing next up?
Unfortunately, not much. I do have an F-unit set that is about done that I'll release, I need to weather it up more first. Speaking of F-units, I do plan on doing up a quick modification and release of the other MILW paint scheme, so expect that as well. Another thing to look for is a probable Milwaukee SD7 unit, as that's on the list of things to do.
Scenery wise, we have at least 1 SLRR-themed building but that won't be released for now. I do have some sky assets I'll release, however, so look forward to storms!
Let's talk routes.
Silver Lines - Original
Known now as Silver Lines V2, it's been rebuilt completely from scratch. However, the route shares a similar aesthetic of mostly green and grassy fields with trees in the distance, and rivers still play a part. Though in order to better optimize performance and make the route really look better, it uses far fewer grass splines, but contains more trees and bushes in these fields. In the picture above, you can see a stormcloud asset like previously mentioned - don't worry about the mirroring, that's been fixed up to be significantly better now. Old picture!
This route is planned to have a few more operable industries and a total of 3 towns of varying size. Currently, we have one town still being built and a large yard to go with it. The other two have not been built yet.
Estimated ~40-50% complete in grand total.
Soonest the route could be finished and released: Christmas/New Years (2017)
Silver Lines Midwest
This route has been off-and-on worked on for a few years, and while parts of it are in a good spot, the majority of directly trackside scenery is outdated compared to the Silver Lines V2 and my general newer standards. It hasn't been worked on significantly enough to report on this year.
Estimated 30-40% complete.
Soonest the route could be finished and released: Late 2018, early 2019
Silver Lines Electric
Silver Lines Electric is an old route, dating itself to be a little over two and half years old by now. One would expect this route to be a disaster and require a full rebuild.
I'm surprised to say... not really. Fascinatingly, the route is actually in a pretty good state. The biggest concerns are some terrain in the mountains is notably bad, the trackside grass is lackluster (and performance draining, easily fixed but hugely time consuming), and there's no bushes. It's time consuming to fix, but actually easier to fix rather than rebuild. There are some areas that do need fresh starts, and that is reasonable and is being done actually. It's receiving fresh textures - and from what I can tell a performance boost in that department - and updated trackside scenery. Another thing that has been missing the entire time was the lack of gradient. This is still being worked on, but a few inclines have been added here and there. In the areas that have not been built at all yet, we may see some very long grades, which is definitely exciting!
Now, before anyone gets their hopes up for this route coming out soon, don't expect it soon. Lots of work to be done, and 2-3 towns to be built and industries to operate in them and inbetween.
Estimated 40% complete
Soonest the route could be finished and released: Mid to late 2018
This leads me to my next point.
The Electric Project
I'm happy to actually announce the electric project. Some viewers of my personal YouTube channel will know that I've uploaded one or two videos under this title, showing a speedbuild of upgrading some old areas of the Silver Lines Electric route. This is just one route under the title.
Now, I've put some dates in the three routes discussed above. That's assuming I work on them a whole lot, and that's not realistic. Take that date and add 6 months to it, and in some cases add 12. However, many of these routes will shortly be put on the backburner. Coming up soon is the beginning of a huge route. Currently, we're still looking into how long we could reasonably make this one, but we know one thing - it's time to build the Milwaukee Road's electrified main! As of now, we're examining the best towns to work towards, and from what I can find, we're going to be running from Harlowton, MT to Butte, MT. Including all the towns and industry inbetween, within reason. As of now, some of the resources required are still being looked into, but not too long from now we'll have a DEM of the area and trackwork will begin. The era being modeled is likely to be between late 1960s through the 1970s till the decline and fall in the 1980s.
It's a big undertaking of course, but one I'm actually interested in working on. Expect a lot of time and effort to go into this route and not just the old Silver Lines routes. But wait, there's more!
There actually is. If it's possible, I'll probably be making more routes for the Milwaukee Road's lines. As to where? Well, that remains to be seen. I know one route will have to feature Deer Lodge, MT - big stopping point for locomotives. But all I know is that The Electric Project currently contains a Milwaukee Road electrified mainline, Silver Lines Electric, and modules to go with both. Yes, modules. Very possible we'll see modules of individual towns along parts of the Pacific Extension that maybe aren't on the mainline, but are a part of the network anyways. Lots of planning and work to go for this all, but you can expect a slew of content to go with it all.
The Future - Trainz 12 vs Trainz: A New Era
This is a common question I'm asked, "will it work in T:ANE?"
Fair question. The short answer? Maybe.
Long answer? Fine. Ideally, yes these routes will work in both versions. In reality? Hard to say. At this point in time, all routes mentioned above I plan to build in TS12, and so theoretically they can be 'upgraded' to work within TANE without too many issues. Biggest issue becomes the greenery thanks to the poor choice of N3V to change Speedtree versions. Regardless, I have a PC capable of running TANE now (more on that below), so I can actually properly test out the game. Long story short, I'm not impressed. However, I do want to make these routes function properly in TANE, but we will have to see how possible that is. Currently, SP2 is not at all as stable as N3V claims it to be - I can personally attest to this after freshly downloaded content from their servers breaks and the game crashes still. Performance is the only thing it has over TS12 for myself personally, and I don't care enough about performance to bother upgrading. My experience with SP2 has been generally negative, so until a Hotfix is released that is actually stable, don't expect TANE compatibility right away.
By the way, before you ask: No, my old routes are not going to be upgraded to function within TANE. No.
Let's wrap this up.
Finale - The Boring Part: Real Life
I'll make this quick, I promise. In the recent months I've been working to fix up some real life stuff, not just limited to Trainz and computers. However, while working on some of these, I have acquired a pretty high end PC that can run, well, anything on it. This does mean it's more likely for some better, well, everything to appear - now I can run programs I haven't been able to before. That does include other video games, so I definitely put a lot of time into those! If you want PC specs, enjoy this Link.
The last thing to mention is that, while yes the last post here I made I was in school still, my summer has just ended and I am going back to school. While I'm taking very few classes that are noticeably difficult and potentially time consuming, this does reduce my time to work on Trainz drastically, due both in it actually taking time to do work and whatnot, but also from pure exhaustion. So, we'll see how that goes.
Long post, but it's been a long time since the last one! This might be a record, actually. Expect some stuff up for download in the near future - maybe next month? Oh, and enjoy that solar eclipse on the 21st! I know I will!
'Till next release!
Hello, my name is SM, and this is where I write.
This little blogspace is where my thoughts go - whether it's talking about a photography trip or a DJ mix, this is where it all ends up.
SMWorks isn't free to run! Consider sending a little support our way if you can.