Thursday, 21 June 2012

DPSimulation Scenario Enhancement Pack - Coming Soon

I am pleased to announce that I will be shortly releasing the first scenario which will include route enhancements and will be based on the newly updated Oxford to Paddington route. By route enhancements, I am talking about "Scenario Specific Scenery" which some may have heard about and some may not have so I have prepared a hasty FAQ below.

What is the Scenario Enhancement Pack?

Rather than just creating and releasing another scenario, and knowing that the update of Oxford-Paddington was forthcoming, I decided to formulate a new project to take advantage of something I have used before, Scenario Specific Scenery, using the newly updated route as a testbed. This allows me to create certain objects that can be added to the scenario to enhance the experience, whether this be missing landmarks, station clutter or trackside signage etc. The possibilities are actually endless.

What is included in these packs?

The packs are designed to evolve and if well received, can be expanded and added to in the future whether that is on the same route, or to branch out and add to other available routes. Initially only for Oxford - Paddington, the first release will feature several missing landmarks, new trackside, safety and station signage along the route, station furniture such as modern phoneboxes, vending machines and help points along with other items of interest.

What is Scenario Specific Scenery?

These are items that can be placed within any scenario to enhance the experience. Ever since the early days of Rail Simulator, there has been a facility whereby a large selection of items were able to be used within a scenario environment and wouldn't permanently show up in the route itself. The most common uses so far have generally been to place track workers and the associated working materials.

What are the advantages of this scenery?

The advantages are limitless, you can make any scenario completely different from the next by either utilising what is available currently within the editor. To enhance the experience further, the scenery is much like any other and you can create your own objects, that is what is being done for this project.

Another advantage is that all of the scenery only needs to be placed once. When adding the scenery to a scenario, a folder is created within the structure of TS2012 and this can simply be copied over to any other scenario on the route. That means that with a few clicks of a mouse, you can add this scenery to any scenario you already have, including those that are provided with the core program and also any DLC you have purchased.

What are the disadvantages of this scenery?

The only downside is that you are constrained by what already exists on any given route, nothing can be removed and replaced, only added to. What this means is that the primary objective of the pack is to enhance what is already there to provide a more immersive experience. Certain techniques can be employed in order to "mask" existing content, whereby you can replace station signage for instance to replicate a different era by creating new signage that is slightly bigger than what exists, and placing over the current object to hide it. The same can be done for buildings to a certain extent.

Can I include the content in my own scenarios?

Providing they are for your own personal use then yes, you can simply copy the scenery folder over to your scenario. However, initially I will not be providing permission for the scenery to be used within any scenarios that are released and this is for a variety of reasons. The main one is that this is an evolving pack and will be added to. Anyone else creating a scenario that includes the enhancements would then need to edit and re-release further versions of their scenario in order to be up to date. Therefore, the early stages of this project will stay exclusive to scenarios released by DPSimulation.

They do say that pictures speak louder than words, so here is an example. The first shot shows the route as we all have it, viewed as normal from within a free roam scenario. The second shows another free roam scenario from the same location and angle, but with the scenery folder in place.

Shot of Appleford station on the default Oxford - Paddington route.

Shot of Appleford station on the default Oxford - Paddington route. However, this shot is shown as it is within the scenario, with many extras added.

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