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July 9th
TRS2004 - Ready to ride the rails?

Some of you are aware that I am currently at Auran after receiving an invitation from Greg Lane to be involved from a scripting point of view.

Each day I will be posting on what has happened during the day to allow you to see the new features and groundbreaking development that has gone into this remarkable version of Trainz.

Arriving at Auran on Monday, I was immediately into meetings with the different teams working on the project to gain an understanding of the direction that TRS2004 will be taking us. A two hour briefing from the team had my head spinning - this is not an upgrade; it's a whole new product from the Jet engine up!

An interesting chat with Dave in the Jet team and I was gaining an understanding of the new features in Jet 2, the engine under TRS2004. For those of you that have high-end graphics cards, Jet 2 now takes even more advantage of your card delivering increased performance - but more on that later.

A list of scripting issues and feature requests as long as my arm were up for discussion with Chris, and I'm happy to report that many of the annoying script bugs are gone. Most scripters know the ones: Junctions firing prematurely on long trains, deletion of AI's at night causing crashes, and my pet peeve - AI trains stopping two hundred meters away from a red signal. All these issues and more have been overcome. In fact, I sat with Chris while he delved into the Trainz source code and changed the AI-red signal interaction and we repeatedly threw AI's at red signals until it was just right: AI's will now stop a few meters before a red signal in a nice, controlled manner!!

Graphics in TRS2004 are fantastic - especially at night! Signals can be seen clearly and brightly, no more "ground hopping" from the loco headlight - it just smoothly illuminates the track in front of you. It also illuminates trees, buildings and other objects!

Perhaps the most intriguing (and powerful) feature of TRS2004 are the new industries that enable anyone, and I do mean anyone, to create challenging activities on their layouts. This took me a while to fully comprehend, but once I realized what was available and how it worked … jaw dropping!

Different industries that will ship with TRS2004 have built in scripts that create intelligent, fully interactive industries that are dependent on each other. This is hard to describe in words, but here goes! I created a map and placed a coalmine, power station and refinery on it. The coal mine produces coal, that the power station needs to operate. The coal mine however requires diesel to run its' generators. So, by linking these industries up with rail, I can move from industry to industry what each requires. Ok, this sounds simple, but, add in another 10 different industries (Sea port, Airport, Lumber mill etc) and it becomes very challenging keeping it all running. Place 4 or 5 trains out on the line moving loads around and the challenge is to move it all to the right place on time. In fact, Greg Lane came by a while ago to talk to me about something and I, ummm, didn't really have time to talk! "Greg, can't you see I've got a railroad to keep operating here?". He shuffled away and left me to sort out a cross on single track between a lumber train heading to the port before the ship departed and a coal train in a real rush to get to the power station before my little town and industries were plunged into darkness! Don't know how to script? Who cares - you can make your own using all the interactive industries. Hey, even had passengers on the station waiting for the service behind me as I blew through in notch 8 to the port with my load of timber trailing behind me.

Well, I've rambled on enough for today, but will be back again tomorrow for the next installment. Someone has just set some steam locomotive sounds loose in the office and they sound awesome!!

Greg (Shutter)







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