Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Where do we go from here?

Well, here we are and a few days have passed since I made my "statement" where I did promise to clarify the situation on the state of my current available downloads and I can confirm that they will not be removed and this comes down to two reasons that I won't disclose!

That brings us to the title of the blog post and indeed, where do we go from here?

Since I made the original post, I have received a lot of support from around the community from both sides of the argument, from guys who I am in regular contact with that understand what I stand for and similarly, from guys that don't always see eye to eye with me yet know that the mutual respect is there.

Over on the UKTS forums, debate has still raged in the very thread that may contain the post which got me banned (I still don't know, nobody will answer emails from me or others that received a holiday) and even Matt made a slip of the tongue on releasing a new set of rules stating the presence of "fanboys". However, he has since clarified what he meant which is fair enough. It must be stated though, that after those rules were in place, discussion still proceeded about the people who were banned, with reference to these new rules. You guys do know these rules were put in place 5 days after the actual "holidays" were given out, pretty hard for anyone to adhere to something that doesn't exist at the time. That said, the rules pretty much cover what was in place already, people should know when they overstep the line, but this needs to cover both sides of the coin.

I think the main gripe from those that were banned is the lack of information forthcoming from those who enforced the ban. My ban referenced rule 3 "despite moderator warnings" but where were those warnings? Do I have to trawl back through threads to find generic warnings that aren't directed specifically to me but have to assume that they are directed at me? I am then given an email address to contact the Board Administrator for more information, saying to me that this is a sure fire way to find the reasons why, however, on trying to contact via this email address, you find it doesn't work and bounces back! This is where the channels of communication do let the site down.

As many will probably know, the amount of time I devote to content creation on the Railworks (2) platform must mean I enjoy doing it and don't wish to give it up that easily. I have always strived to provide as much free content as I can provide within the time I have, whether that be a route, scenario or small scenery object, it all matters to me and gives me great satisfaction to see others using what I create. Whether that content pleases everyone is a matter of personal preference so there are probably equally as many users who don't appreciate my work as it doesn't cover what they require.

Because I have managed to create and release this content, does that put me in the "fanboy" section? I am sure many would like to think so but it really isn't like that at all. I get as frustrated as anyone, possibly even more so as I arguably spend as much, if not more time on the program as anybody else! However, I tend to refrain from posting such ills on any forum and prefer to take the correct channels to report the issues I find. If this means anyone can look through my previous posts and see nothing but happiness and an attempt to put those right who take pride in posting untruths, so be it.

So what now then?

As you will gather from above, I do not want to give up simulation completely as I do enjoy it. However, after repeatedly telling people on various forums that ask about creating content to do it for themselves first and foremost, I have realised that I wasn't even doing that myself! I'll give you an example.

Look at the progress I was making on Cresston V4. I was taking requests for areas to build, I was having object ideas fired at me left right and centre and I was agreeing to everything! I then announced I would make two versions, one that would continue the past formula of requiring little or no external assets and not have a payware requirement. This would help newer users or those who don't download payware to be able to use the route trouble free. I would then create what I called a "deluxe" version which would have a payware requirement, with the route completely gutted from one end to the other, using the available payware assets. That meant I had diverted so far away from my own advice to people that I was prepared to give up vast amounts of time to do what I thought was right for the community. That is what has now changed.

I don't want to give up something like Cresston V4, I have pre-planned it extensively and there are now 60-70 custom assets included with many more to come as the route develops into the final stages. Why should I give up something like that because certain small minded individuals feel the need to hide behind a computer and send me hurtful emails or make remarks about my family that they have never set eyes on? The answer is, I shouldn't, if its something I enjoy, I will continue enjoying it.

So there it is guys, I want to continue creating content but from now on, it comes on my terms only. If I create Cresston V4 and it requires you to have WCML in order for it to run, so be it, thats the way the cookie crumbles. If I create a scenario, I won't think twice about adding another payware requirement because if I feel it makes the scenario more realistic, that is how I will have it. A lot of other creators do exactly the same thing already and make some really enjoyable content, the only choice to make from the end user is whether they want it or not.

Happy simming.

The Quiet Eye

Check out this MySpace page from a mate of mine. Has some pretty good songs up there with influences that I can hear ranging from The Verve, Paul Weller and The Beatles.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Saturday, 23 October 2010

A Statement

On Thursday 21st October 2010 I made a decision to withdraw myself from content creation for the Railworks program. After spending 48 hours pndering over the decision, I have decided that I am indeed following through with it. All freeware creation will stop with immediate effect and I will fulfil my current agreed project(s), after which I plan to stop altogether.

There are many reasons why I have made the decision, the main one being the atmosphere surrounding rail simulation at the moment coupled with the abuse I receive privately via email, private message, youtube etc etc. I have always thought of myself having a thick skin and generally can deal with it, however, when it gets to a point where I am becoming extremely frustrated and the frustration boils over into my home life, thats where the line has to be drawn. Nothing matters more to me than my partner and two young children.

It also has to be said that a situation during this past week also contributed to the decision. I was banned from the UKTS forums for making a throwaway comment after someone stated they couldn't see portions of a payware product. It had already been stated earlier that the new payware protection system may cause this to happen so my question was "Have you bought the route", nothing more. This was deemed by a few members to be a straight accusation, which it wasn't. Indeed, these very members are some that have taken issue with me in the last and despite other members responding in a kinder fashion, knowing full well what was meant by my statement, I still received a ban from the moderators along with other members. I was told from my ban message that the ban came into effect "despite moderator warnings", however, to my knowledge, I was not warned directly and certainly received no warning via private message, a course of action I have always presumed would be taken. Although the ban is relatively small at 7 days, the fact that various members who engage in far worse are still happily posting in the forum and indeed are still spouting vitriolic comments to all and sundry, made worse by the fact that certain said members contribute absolutely nothing to the community, their only existence on the forums is to stir up hatred towards fellow members who dare to take a positive stance on Railworks.

If anyone did care to read this, many thanks for doing so and also many thanks for those who have been supportive and have enjoyed the content I have provided, it was always strongly appreciated. As you can see from above, this is not a decision I am making to prove any point or indeed penalise those who enjoy my work, I just need to re-iterate that when the frustration boils over into your personal life, you then realise the importance of that.

I shall make a further announcement regarding my position concerning my existing downloads in the near future.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Look Mum - No Hands!

As you can see from the picture, I may well have achieved un-assisted levitation. A good day had at the NRM in York, plenty of special access to footplates including Green Arrow, Duchess of Hamilton and Gladstone.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Testing LCD Boards

Just testing new LCD boards with a static surround, still not sure about them.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Route Building Challenge - Oldham Loop Update

Have managed to find a little bit of time today to continue development of the Oldham Loop line for the UKTS challenge. Here is another screenshot showing the scenery in between Shaw and New Hey.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Railworks - UK Buildings Model Pack (Volume 1)

FREE this Friday! The UK Buildings Model Pack (Volume 1) includes a wealth of new building assets for RailWorks users who like to build their own routes, or who simply want to add to the routes they already have. With a British theme, this pack provides you with railway buildings and structures suitable for all RailWorks eras, from pre-nationalisation steam to modern image scenarios and everything in between. The pack includes station building assets such as footbridges, canopies and shelters, steam and diesel refuelling facilities and engine sheds, plus signal boxes, crossings and more besides. Whether you are building a route from scratch or simply wish to personalise existing routes, the UK Buildings Model Pack adds considerably to your choice of assets. Free for all RailWorks users, the UK Buildings Model Pack Vol.1 is out this Friday.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Exeter to Tiverton - High Speed

An excellent video from Just Trains featuring the soon to be released Bristol to Exeter route.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Life Is Cruel

Here we are, its Saturday, the rain has finally gone, the sun is out and the head cold seems to have cleared. I should really be out in the garden with the kids but I can't, I have Bristol to Exeter to finish!

I then have another dilemma, I really need to finish this route, there isn't an alternative option, however, I also want to do some work on my challenge route, Cresston needs completely re-arranging due to the big crash, I need to setup a template and arrange plans for my next route and I also want to play Starcraft 2, Football Manager and RFactor!

This brings me to decisions that have to be made when making a route. When the astonishing WCML arrived last week, we found that placing too many assets on a tile can possibly cause problems, especially for those with lower end systems and while they can work around it by lowering the settings, you then arguably reduce the visual quality of the experience. This is where it becomes increasingly difficult for a route builder, especially when you are creating for a publisher that demands the highest of quality and has to provide a product to the audience which will be worth the price paid. In a built up area, what do you do?

1, Do you follow the GARL method, focusing on nearby detail to divert attention from the minimal detail away from the running lines? It's a pretty good method in all honesty, preserving your system and providing the intended driving experience and could be a model to follow for some.

2, Do you just go all out, place all the assets you want and hope for the best? Knowing full well, the route runs fine on your supercomputer, the consumer can either turn their settings down or upgrade their system.

3, Do you provide a mixture? Do a three stage process, keep the track area nice and detailed, have a second layer with more detailed buildings and foliage and then a third background layer, using a variety of large generic assets to fill the area out.

Personally, I would go for number 3, you still get the visual sensation but hopefully maintain the ability to run the route as intended. It would be nice to hear other views on the advantages/pitfalls of route building.

Route Building Challenge - Oldham Loop

In what will prove to be a moment of madness, I did decide to enter the UKTS/Railworks - Route Building Challenge this year. Last year, the challenge spawned some fantastic routes, not least the "Port Road" from Keith Ross which deservedly won the competition. My entry this year is the recently closed "Oldham Loop Line" and an early development shot from last night can be seen below.