Sunday, 27 October 2013

Edinburgh to Glasgow Extension - Q&A

I've been receiving quite a few feedback enquiries through the website of late, so thought it would be best to try and clear a few things up. It's already quite a confusing process for some, and as I will explain below, this is only going to get worse.

Edinburgh to Glasgow Extension, What is it?

Available free of charge from the Steam Workshop, the Edinburgh to Glasgow Extension is a cloned version of the original payware Edinburgh to Glasgow route which is currently available via the Steam Store. Once subscribed (downloaded), the user will then have an additional version of the Edinburgh to Glasgow route placed in their install with a prefix of [DPS].

The route extension is basically a clone of the original route which has then had several additions added, at the time of writing these are a scenery extension between Larbert and Stirling, a scenery extension around South Gyle and a track and scenery extension from Haymarket to Curriehill Groundframe. The route is being constantly updated, and I plan to expand the route in various directions.

Isn't there a version on your website, is it the same?

Yes, there is a version available from DPSimulation, but this only includes the scenery extension between Larbert and Stirling, no additional track is included unlike the workshop version, there are various reasons for this. One is the restriction on the redistribution of payware content, the files for the original version on my site required me to meticulously pull out only the required tiles that were created by me for distribution. 

So will you update the version on your website?

Probably not. As noted above, the update is now to the stage where trying to distribute files would either be very difficult, or contravene the Train Simulator 2014 EULA. Not only that, trying to install files in this nature can be confusing, especially for the newer user. One advantage of the Steam Workshop is that in theory, this installation step is achieved with just one click.

Custom Route Content?

Some may have noticed that included with the website version of the extension, a base platform model of Stirling was provided and on the workshop version, there is no model with only an invisible passenger loft to allow boarding/unboarding at the station. This sums up a limitation of the workshop, that no custom content can be included with the route. 

One possible way around this would be to utilise the new marketplace feature, and link it to the workshop route by providing an asset pack that would include these items, along with station signage and any other custom items that may be required. One issue here is that as far as I am aware, the marketplace content must be paid for content, and cannot be given away for free. If this was to become an option, rest assured that any charge would be very small depending on the content included. As things currently stand, this isn't an option being considered as I believe I can extend the route utilising only the assets provided with E&G for the time being.

Quick Drive

As I effectively do all development work on another clone of the original cloned route, this seems to be causing problems with Quick Drive functionality after I have copied the relevant folders over ready for publishing to the workshop. I'm looking to address this issue for the next upgrade and eliminate any errors for future upgrades.

Standard Scenarios

This is a question which is cropping up regularly, such as ' Why aren't there any?' or 'Why doesn't the route show in the Standard list?'. The answer is quite simple, and comes from another unfortunate limitation of the workshop. Other than Quick Drive, no scenarios can be provided initially with a workshop route. Although this isn't an issue for many, it does mean that users with less knowledge of the simulator will either be restricted to Quick Drive initially, or have to get to grips with creating their own scenarios, whether it be Free Roam or Standard.

Work In Progress or Final?

When a route is initially uploaded to the workshop, it is classed as a 'Work In Progress' and allows users to download and evaluate the route, think of it as an open beta. During this period, the author can choose to modify their route and provide upgrades. Once the route receives a preset amount of ratings on the workshop, the author then has an option to make the route 'Final'. This then allows scenarios to be created for the route and published on the workshop, but also means that the author can no longer modify their route. The reasoning for this is quite simple, if a route is made final and no updates can be made, every user subscribed to the route is guaranteed to be on an identical version of the route and eliminates any compatibility issues.

So when will Edinburgh to Glasgow be made final?

Very good question, and one that is causing me no end of problems. As of the time of writing, there haven't been enough ratings to allow the route to be made final. However, if I do make the route final, it's locked off completely and I can no longer modify it. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place with it.

I have two basic options. Option 1 is to make the route final, thus allowing scenarios to be published to the workshop for the route. If I then wanted to extend the route further, I simply clone/rename the final route, make the new modifications and upload it as a completely separate route on the workshop. Option 2 is to keep the route in beta for as long as possible and keep extending/modifying it. The disadvantage here is that scenarios cannot be uploaded to the workshop, but there is nothing stopping them being created and uploaded to community sites or at DPSimulation.

This dilemma isn't just confined to Edinburgh to Glasgow, it also affects the City Lines project and will also affect future workshop projects, not just for me but for other authors.

What will be added to the route in the future?

There isn't currently a set plan for the route. Recently, I've been adding in the early stages of the Edinburgh to Carstairs line and have reached as far as Curriehill Groundframe. However, even today I've also been planning and researching the Bathgate Line. I've also looked at lines in the Glasgow area, the one to Anniesland for instance, I've even weighed up the pros and cons of going south to Craigentinny and beyond.

The main issue is time and motivation, with the need to try and mix things up a little, a reason why I am currently cycling development between this route and City Lines. There are also the issues of the E&G asset base, it isn't that extensive and wasn't designed to be used for these newer areas. Take the catenary for example, the latest extension I have published takes in several miles of electrified track, but every single mast you will pass has had to be painstakingly placed by hand, none of the E&G assets are linked to any catenary tool to make things easier, there isn't even a double track catenary span, I have to place two separate single masts for every span.

For this reason, I'm likely to switch between areas as time moves on. When I have become truly sick of placing catenary piece by piece, for the following update I may well concentrate on an unelectrified section, down past Cumbernauld for instance or north of Stirling. This method would be designed to maximise productivity, keep the route fresh and interesting and most important of all, keep me motivated and interested.

If anyone has any further questions, feel free to comment below. Apologies that this post was rather long winded, but it's better for me to try and make a full explanation here that can be linked to, rather than replying to an endless stream of contact feedback forms.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Edinburgh to Glasgow Extension - V1.2b Released

I have just published the latest version of the Edinburgh to Glasgow scenery extension to the Steam Workshop, this update brings the version to 1.2b.

Included in this upgrade are the following additions to the original route:

Track and scenery extension from Haymarket to Curriehill Groundframe.
Scenery extension from Larbert to Stirling.
Scenery extension at South Gyle.
Quick Drive functionality covering all new locations.

On the new section from Haymarket to Curriehill Groundframe, track is laid with reference to the prototypical gradients and also has correct speed limits, signalling and signal numbering.

One issue from an uploaders perspective is that one released, I've absolutely no way of knowing whether the upload has found it's way to subscribers, or even if the thing has updated properly, the download screen seems to say so anyway. If anyone does happen to read this and gets the update, be as kind as to let me know. Thanks.

The Workshop page can be found by following this link, or by using the in-game workshop page in Train Simulator 2014.

Friday, 25 October 2013

DPSimulation Prize Draw

People will have noticed in the past that I often post to show my appreciation to all of those who donate to DPSimulation. I'd like to go further than that, and try and give something back. Because I do not sell anything on the DPSimulation website, and therefore cannot offer things such as reward points or complimentary content, I've had to think of another way.

I will now hold a bi-monthly prize draw for all of those who donate. The first prize draw will be at the end of December or thereabouts, so anyone who donates between today (25th October) and the end of December will receive an entry into the prize draw for every £5 donated, there is no maximum entry limit. The winner will be picked at random from all entries received during the quaifying period.

The prize will most likely be an item of Steam DLC up to the value of £25, gifted to the winner of the prize draw. If a Steam sale is running at the time of the draw, the winner can choose more than one item of DLC up to the £25 value.

Once the winner is randomly drawn at the end of December, the names will be removed and a new draw will start the following day. The second draw will take place at the end of February or thereabouts, and draws will then continue on a bi-monthly basis.

Thankyou for reading and good luck to anyone who takes part.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

City Lines V1.2

I have just published the latest version of the City Lines route to the Steam Workshop. Subscribers should now see the route updated to V1.2 with the addition of new track and scenery to the North-Eastern section of the route including a new three way graded junction and engineers yard.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

City Lines V1.2 - Progress Screenshots

Just a few shots of the newest section of City Lines. V1.2 should be released within the next couple of days.....

Monday, 14 October 2013

Train Simulator 2014 - Freeware Database

After being contacted various times by users of the sim who have no facility to buy further content, I have decided to try and collate as much information as I can in order to provide a freeware database** both for my own benefit, and for that of others.

One sticking point is that not everyone now has the same 'default' content. For that reason, as the largest number of users would probably have existed before the content was debundled for TS2013, so my initial database collates all information based on freeware content that requires nothing more than the original 'Kuju' default content, GWML, ECML, HST, Class 47 etc.

It's important to note that this initial database does not contain reskins of free stock, nor does it contain routes that require freely available assets. The initial database has a caveat that nothing further is required to run the download, and should work provided this original 'Kuju' stock and assets are present on your system.

A second note of importance is that this is a mammoth project, and this initial publication only scratches the surface of what is available out there. For instance, many do not realise that much of the freeware content is still listed on many sites under 'Rail Simulator' or 'Railworks', both previous guises of Train Simulator, when in reality, that content should still run on the newest guise without issue. Despite only scratching the surface, it's already obvious to me that there is much more content out there, for free, than I and probably everyone ever thought existed. And this list is only going to get bigger.

Feel free to take a look, you might even be surprised to find something listed that you never even knew was available, and for free!

Routes - Link

There are initially over 30 routes listed and all, according to their respective download locations appear to require nothing more than Kuju content with the possible exception of the solitary APStation Pack, a link to which is provided on the database page.

Scenarios - Link

There are initially over 30 scenarios listed and again, all seem to require nothing more than this original default content.

Rolling Stock - Link

The rolling stock list is the most expansive of this initial release of the database and includes over 20 items of diesel & electric rolling stock/multiple units. There are also in excess of 30 steam locomotives and in excess of 40 items of passenger and freight stock.

** I have tried to provide the latest version for each item of stock. However, fragmentation is rife on certain download sites, and multiple versions of several items exist.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Freeware Community - What Happened?

Forgive me if this seems like a rant, but then again, it probably is, but what is wrong with the train simulation community these days? It's worth pointing out from the outset that there are some very genuine members of the community that will go out of their way to help and provide feedback, so this isn't in any way aimed at them, these people know who they are and I salute them.

For years, I was always the first one to reply on a forum if a freeware developer felt a bit down if they received no recognition or feedback for their work. I always maintained that they should do whatever they do for themselves and not expect anything in return, any expectation of recognition would leave them disappointed.

However, I'm starting to see their point more and more now, many developers I am contact with are either very near to, or have already given up. Why? Because the vast majority don't really seem to care any more. It's really apparent now that in order to gain some praise, recognition or feedback, you have to be selling something. The sense I now get is that unless something is payware, then it must be of inferior quality.

Take a forum such as UKTS, apparently such a 'community' focused forum, a 'pillar of freeware' some would call it. Yet all I see these days are thread after thread of payware related discussion. You have someone that will announce an obscure foreign locomotive which will spawn page after page of discussion. You have payware companies actually using the forums as a means of advertising, threads full of 'look at my new company website' or 'vote here for the next thing you want me to sell' or even 'look at my 25% off deal that ends today, but actually will end tomorrow as I am desperate to take your cash', shouldn't these guys be actually paying for their advertising by way of banners or similar?

If you do happen to see a freeware related thread, don't expect to see it for long. It will be get pushed down the front page of a forum so quick by payware threads that it will receive hardly a reply, and most will never even know it existed.

So what actually happened? It's not for the lack of effort by many. Personally, I have tried as much as I can to promote freeware, both from myself and others. I opened a website to try and promote freeware as much as possible, but even that is becoming a struggle to maintain. Although I still receive the odd donation, these are generally repeat donations by some very kind folk who truly do want to see resources such as this remain. If things continue as they are, at the current rate, I cannot really see me being able to continue providing content in the way I do on the website, it will bleed me dry and for what?

This brings me back to recognition. I don't necessarily need everyone who downloads something from me to tell me 'it was great' or even to tell me if it was crap. But let's be honest here, although I create what I want and what I like to see, the end result is that I also want to release something to benefit the community. Take the recently expanded Steam Workshop. I have released two routes on there, making clear a commitment that I want to continue to update them. Now, they may not be to everyones liking, I may even be kidding myself into think they are any good! But I have to look at facts and figures, so far they have received over 1600 subscriptions but how many ratings? 20, and even one of those was negative, for a completely free route! That kind of ratio doesn't exactly fill me with any drive to keep going.

Let's go further, take the recent Class 90 scenario pack I released, it actually reached 1200 downloads yesterday. But I would never have known it unless I looked at my own website statistics, I only know two people that have downloaded it as they were the only two to have bothered saying so! I even had one person contacting me after I did make a post asking people if they had downloaded my recent content, and they said that they weren't going to bother, they were going to wait and pay for a future scenario pack instead!

So what can be done about it? I'm not even sure any more, if payware is taking over the scene completely and freeware takes on a label of inferior quality, I'm not sure what else can actually be done. Far too many people are climbing on board, seeing the opportunity of making a quick buck for some really poor quality stuff and I feel it is detracting from the freeware scene and putting people off.

All I can really suggest is that if you do download freeware, from anywhere, then at least appreciate the time these people take to provide it, at no cost to you. Give them a bit of feedback, if it is from somewhere that provides a ratings system then take a few seconds of your time to provide a rating. If you feel that the product can be improved, then give constructive feedback. Encouragement can be everything.

If the current trend continues, I can honestly see that freeware will dry up completely Of course, as times moves on and if no new blood arrives, then the freeware would naturally dry up anyway, but I can see there being a premature end. What will be ironic if this happens, is that the same people that couldn't be bothered to spare a bit of time originally will then flood forums with posts asking why it is dried up, blaming anyone but the people that caused it, themselves.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Edinburgh to Glasgow - V1.1b Update Released

I have just published a new Steam Workshop update to the Edinburgh to Glasgow scenery extension which now includes the line too Slateford, including the yard and surrounding lines.

Subscribers to the route should receive the update automatically. If the route doesn't update, please follow the troubleshooting steps I posted to this blog recently. My Steam Workshop page can be found by clicking here.

The following are the changes made to the route....

Track added as far as Kingsknowe, with platforms at both Kingsknowe and Slateford.
Scenery added as far as Slateford Viaduct.
Full speed limits as per the real life prototype.
Prototypically signalled, with correct signal numbers.
Added Quick Drive functionality to cover the new areas.

Please note, if you are are a user that was competent enough to transfer standard scenarios from the original route to this version, these should still work ok. As the tracks.bin has now been modified, any career scenarios will probably cease to work on this new version.

Screenshot Of The Day - 12th October

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Edinburgh to Glasgow Extension: Slateford - Video

A short video showing the upcoming Slateford extension for the Edinburgh to Glasgow extension......

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Screenshot Of The Day - 09th October

Edinburgh to Glasgow Extension - Slateford

Some may have gathered what was happening if they saw my 'Screenshot Of The Day' yesterday, some correctly did guess it was of Slateford.

Still work in progress, here are a few screenshots of the work completed so far.....

TS2014 - Steam Workshop - Tags & Requirements

I'd noticed a lot of confusing posts about Steam Workshop tags and requirements in the near two weeks or so since Train Simulator 2014 was released, so I thought I would try and help clear it up a little.

Firstly, the system has been improved as of today, so rather than just having a mix of tags and requirements, they are now listed separately for easier navigation, this can be seen in the red highlighted portions of the screenshots below which represent both a route and scenario.

Also, I have noticed some posts on forums claiming that the tags were actually hidden requirements for the download which had to be deciphered, RSC were taking a lot of stick for this. Actually, the jumbled tags were not requirements whatsoever, only DLC that was listed in plain English was actually required.

To highlight this, look at the second screenshot for the Edinburgh to Glasgow Scenery Extension. Below the official DLC requirement, there are tags that are a basis of jumbled numbers and letters, these can be ignored by the subscriber as they only denote the GUID number of the route in question, along with two scenario template folders which are included with the route package.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Workshop Routes - Receiving Updates

After releasing recent updates to both City Lines and Edinburgh to Glasgow on the Steam Workshop, it seems that some people are receiving the updates automatically, and some are having to perform a manual step in order to force the program into displaying the latest version.

Although it seems that when I release an update, this will automatically download to subscribers when Steam is launched, or someone exits TS2014, any changes made are not apparent in terms of what is displayed in the route, and in some cases it is still showing the old version.

From what I can gather so far, there are probably two or three ways to force the changes should your route not update automatically after the update has downloaded......

1,  From within TS2014, head to the Collection screen and then click on Workshop Subscriptions. Let the program refresh your list of subscribed items, exit the workshop, go back to the game and next time you enter the route, it should be updated.

2,  Within the Steam Browser whilst in TS2014, go the workshop page of the route you have received the update for, click unsubscribe then subscribe. Exit TS2014 then reload TS2014 and it should be updated.

3,  I also have noticed that when subscribing to a route myself, despite Steam downloading all files, the route was not shown anywhere on my TS2014 install. Clearing cache made the route appear.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Class 90 Scenario Pack 01 - Released!

As per the previous blog post earlier today, I am pleased to announce that the scenario pack has now been released. It can be downloaded by clicking this link.

You can also view the previous blog post which outlines the scenarios included along with requirements needed by clicking here.

Class 90 Scenario Pack 01 - Passenger

I am pleased to announce that the first in a series of Class 90 themed scenario packs from DPSimulation later today.

Although the original schedule called for this pack to include a minimum of six scenarios covering operations on both the WCML and GEML routes, this has been scaled back to four scenarios on the WCML only. This is due to the recent announcement of both the AP Class 90 GEML pack along with the AP Class 321 pack, therefore all GEML scenarios are currently on hold.

The following is a scenario overview, along with the requirements needed for the scenario pack.

[DPS90-01] – 'Setting Sun' – Virgin Class 90

Difficulty: Medium
Length: 85 Minutes
Start Time: 20:23


It's a lovely evening in the north-west of England and you are in charge of a Class 90 hauled Virgin Trains service to Glasgow. Traffic is now starting to wind down on the West Coast Main Line, so no problems are anticipated, just enjoy the stunning sunset as you head north.


Starting at Carlisle, please first release the doors to allow passengers to board whilst also remembering to prepare your train for departure. Your scheduled departure time from Carlisle is 20:26 and please also remember to adhere to the white speed signs only.


There is a problem signal after leaving Carlisle which will not show any aspect other than red, this is out of my control. Once you depart from Carlisle and are approaching this signal, press TAB whilst in motion to gain permission from the signaller to pass.

[DPS90-02] – 'Preparing For Readiness' - Virgin Class 90 [CH]

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 15 Minutes
Start Time: 06:42


It's an early start for you at Polmadie as you are preparing to take some empty coaching stock from the depot into Glasgow Central. With the Class 90 operating from a cold start, you will need to spend a little time preparing your train before departing for the station.


Starting at Polmadie Depot, prepare your train from a cold start before departing and heading towards Glasgow Central.


This scenario has a suffix of [CH] which denotes it has been 'chained'. This means that on successful completion of this scenario, Train Simulator will automatically load the next part of this scenario 'DPS90-03' which is a continuation of this scenario.

[DPS90-03] – 'Early Riser' - Virgin Class 82 DVT

Difficulty: Medium
Length: 85 Minutes
Start Time: 07:34

It's a typical foggy autumn morning in Scotland and you are in charge of an early morning service from Glasgow Central to London Euston. Things are running smoothly so far this morning and no issues are anticipated.

Starting at Glasgow Central, please first release the doors to allow passengers to board. Once passenger boarding is complete, you are scheduled to take this service as far as Carlisle, calling at Motherwell en route. Please also remember to adhere to the white speed signs only.

[DPS90-04] – 'Buffet Shuffle' - Virgin Class 90

Difficulty: Medium
Length: 45 Minutes
Start Time: 14:31


Following some remedial work at Craigentinny depot, you are conveying a small rake of Mk3 buffet coaches to Polmadie. Although traffic isn't particularly heavy, you are not classed as priority traffic and can be expected to be held to allow passenger services to maintain their timetable.


You are currently being held at a signal east of Carstairs. Once cleared to proceed, head towards Polmadie depot but be prepared to make way for other services.


The payware used has been chosen to try and replicate the correct workings from the real world, where possible. Although the list of required payware is quite extensive, a large proportion of users generally have many of the popular items listed below and I make no apology for the use of these items in order to be as realistic as possible. Always remember that RWTools offers a facility to 'swap out' any items that you don't have meaning that these scenario packs should be accessible to all in some form.

WCML North – Steam
Oovee Buffered HST Pack - Steam (Included with WCML North)
AP Class 90/DVT Pack –
Class 325 EMU - Steam
RSC Class 86 Pack - Steam
RSC Freightliner Class 66 V2 Pack - Steam
Settle to Carlisle Pack - Steam
Oovee Class 156 Pack - Steam
AP HHA Wagon Pack -
RSC Class 67 Pack - Steam

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

City Lines - V1.1 Update

City Lines has just been updated to V1.1. In theory, if you are subscribed to the route on the Steam Workshop, it should just download and install automatically when you either run Steam, or quit TS2014 whilst Steam is running.

V1.1 Changelog

Fixed directionality problems, pathing should be available on all routes.
Track properties modified for main line.
Extension added at Eastern end of the route with the addition of a new station.
Quick Drive functionality expanded with several start and end points added.

Here are a few screenshots of the newest extension........