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.


  1. All sounds great Darren, possibility of the Bathgate line would be fantastic for me since I use it a lot.

  2. Hi Darren im having real problems getting it on my steam any help?