Hints & Tips
compiled by Yuri Sos

Overview

A miscellaneous / motley collection of snippets of useful bits of information - usually incomplete, but enough to cast light into some of MSTS' murkier corners.

See my Tutorials  page for full-blown articles on modifying many aspects of MSTS.

Questions

  1. Whenever I pause MSTS with the ESC key and resume it, the process freezes within 5 seconds of resumption.
  2. When I start loading an activity, I get a message "Failed to initialize car <200nnn> Rigidbody. How can I fix this?
  3. I've created a reskin of a wagon and get this error when testing the new wagon in a consist"Can't add car xxxxx (uid:200003) to world". How can I fix this?
  4. Suddenly, for no apparent reason I'm getting a "Failed To Initialize Activity Manager" error on every route. How can I fix this?
  5. I loaded a new activity and now I get "Region load error - parent PointsIndicator does not exist" error? How can I fix this?
  6. When starting any route with any train, I get "failed to load material palette" error? How can I fix this?
  7. I have MSTS installed on a Vista machine: the sim runs fine, but when I go into the Route Editor, the The editing window moves through the route like a stop-frame slide show, no smooth movement at all. How can I fix this?
  8. Why do I get a "Failed to load gui_font<IDS_FONT_2/>" error when starting MSTS?
  9. I get a "Shape Failed To Load" when running some routes. Route Riter says the route is ok. What can I do to fix this?
  10. How can I fix the aggaravating tendency of custom made TSM objects to disappear at certain angles in the sim? (Updated information)
  11. How do I make an Introductory Train Ride?
  12. I have level crossings thatare only protected by signs, not bells nor lights nor arms. Is there any way to silence the crossing sounds for that particular crossing?
  13. How do you increase the rate of refuelling? Gets kinda boring sitting there for 15 minutes with your finger on the T Key.
  14. How can I change distance units from miles to kilometers?
  15. Can I enlarge the Placement window in RE to show more than the last five files used?
  16. I moved the Start Tile on my Route using Route Geometry Extractor. Now when I tried to go load it in RE MSTS indicated "failed to find sms file file : " No file is specified. Why?
  17. Why do the wheels on my AI steam loco spin?
  18. How do you increase the volume of external horn for the default SD40-2? The horn sound while in the cab view is great but outside it's almost zero.
  19. How do I get the cars to stop on the correct side of the barrier at a railway crossing if the road crosses the tracks at an acute angle?
  20. I've installed MS AntiSpyware. What are the implications for MSTS users?
  21. Shouldn't the diesel engines on new type refrigerator cars keep running even when the train is stationary? They stop and start rather annoyingly. Any fixes?
  22. Any tips for making signals in TSM?
  23. I have a tank loco - how do I make it take water and coal?
  24. Why do I have to insert CD before I can run MSTS? How can I fix this?
  25. How do I setup MSTS so that the setting of a non-animated control is shown in the cabview?
  26. Isthere a list of keyboard shortcuts?
  27. How do I setup MSTS so that the time compression feature works?
  28. Various tips on ENG files for steam locomotives.
  29. How do I make radiator and other fans rotate?
  30. How do I make a non-bogie locomotive or wagon follow the track curvature?
  31. If I have got double tracks and place a speed limit on one side of them, it goes over both tracks, but I want it to go over only one. How may I do this?
  32. In Route Editor, why does a "track database rebuild" result in "vector no end end" type error?
  33. What's the difference between compressed and uncompressed?  Any benefit either way?
  34. Why does the brake van passenger view no longer function when you "drop off" some wagons from a consist?
  35. Is it possible to modify the properties of the no. 4 external (Random) view?
  36. How high is the terrain in my route?
  37. What's with the "Failed to open Package" message when I try to open a packaged activity?
  38. Is it possible to amend .ENG and .WAG  files on stock so that it's recognised as passenger stock?
  39. I've created an activity for a route and I get an "Unable to save Path" error.  What's happening?
  40. Some "unwritten" rules of model-building for MSTS
  41. How do I get rid of the problem where the terrain jumps and jiggles near my track?
  42. XP:  Batch files don't work in some installations don't run
  43. Activities: Moving Start- and End-Points may help
  44. If a 2cylinder engine gives 4 beats per revolution of its driving wheels and a 3cyl gives 6, how many beats per rev does a 4cyl loco give - more importantly WHY?
  45. Is it possible to put a .WAV sound in place of the wipers so I can use the wiper key to control the .WAV?
  46. Why do my AI and helper locos sound like they're at idle even when they're powering? How can I fix this?
  47. FreightAnim ( <shapefile> <val1> <val2> )
  48. I have AI traffic coming into a terminal station.  How do I make it just stop and stay put?
  49. How do you stop smoke passing through bridges?
  50. MSTS Bug-fix alert  - The problem with Night Textures and MSTS Error Messages.
  51. MSTS Bug-fix alert  - how to reduce consists breaking apart.
  52. MSTS Bug-fix alert: How do I make flashing water stop?
  53. Is it possible to change the American accented voices in MSTS?
  54. I built a small test wagon in TSM   The red light flashes far back away from the wagon.  Fix?
  55. I can get the car to show up in the sim in the right spot and follow the loco down the tracks, but the wheels just stay static. What do I need to do/not do to get the wheels to turn?
  56. Why do I get "Train World Initialization Failed"?
  57. How do you make a loco a static piece of scenery?
  58. Does anyone know if there is a way to make a little bit of smoke come out of the stovepipe on a caboose?
  59. Dynamic Track Construction - Calculating Radians from A Curve presented in Degrees of Curvature
  60. The "Default Speed Limit" in Route Properties is actually the "Maximum speed limit".
  61. Is it possible to have the crossing bell sounds inside your cab & passenger views?
  62. I am making my own model of a level crossing - how do I make them open and close when I approach them?    I have already animated them.

Enough of the Questions! On to the.................

Answers

Whenever I pause MSTS with the ESC key and resume it, the process freezes within 5 seconds of resumption. For the other windows that pause the game (F11, F2, etc.), if you don't resume quickly, it will freeze as well. The only way to handle the frozen game is to open task manager, kill train.exe and restart. How can I fix this?

Try turning-off the hardware acceleration for the sound card? Crashes with sounds looping mid-game into a run or after resuming from a paused run plagued me alot until I finally learned about this absolutely essential necessity.
{Lukas A Lusser}

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When I start loading an activity, I get a message "Failed to initialize car <200nnn> Rigidbody. How can I fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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I've created a reskin of a wagon and get this error when testing the new wagon in a consist"Can't add car xxxxx (uid:200003) to world". How can I fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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Suddenly, for no apparent reason I'm getting a "Failed To Initialize Activity Manager" error on every route. How can I fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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I loaded a new activity and now I get "Region load error - parent PointsIndicator does not exist" error? How can I fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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When starting any route with any train, I get "failed to load material palette" error? How can I fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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I have MSTS installed on a Vista machine: the sim runs fine, but when I go into the Route Editor, the The editing window moves through the route like a stop-frame slide show, no smooth movement at all. How can I fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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Why do I get a "Failed to load gui_font<IDS_FONT_2/>" error when starting MSTS?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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I get a "Shape Failed To Load" when running some routes. Route Riter says the route is ok. What can I do to fix this?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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How do I make an Introductory Train Ride?

Just create an activity then open the .ACT file using Wordpad or ConTEXT and change the mode from 2 to 0, save and you'll have an introductory train ride.
{Source: Richard Shirey}

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I have level crossings that are only protected by signs, not bells, nor lights nor arms. Is there any way to silence the crossing sounds for that particular crossing?

There is a way to remove the sounds for any individual level crossing, while allowing the other crossings to still have sounds. This requires you to go to the World Tile where the level crossing is placed and change one number. Look for the LevelCr data, and find the 4th line down: LevelCrData, and change the 8th "0" to a "6" thus
from
(00000000 2)
to
(00000006 2).

This will turn off all sounds for just this particular level crossing.
{Source: unknown}

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How do you increase the rate of refuelling? Gets kinda boring sitting there for 15 minutes with your finger on the T Key.

Answer Part #1:  You don't need to hold down the key for 15 minutes!!!

  1. Depress T key and hold.
  2. Depress Shift key & hold;
  3. Release T key;
  4. Release Shift key;
  5. Go get a cup of coffee!

(John Hopkins)

Answer Part #2:  Reset the filling rate of the diesel fuel pump: in Route Editor, after placing the fuel point, right-click on the purple box and select "Pickup Object Properties" and change the fill-rate (it's 2 units/sec by default).

Answer Part #3: Look at the line IntakePoint ( value1 value2 FuelDiesel ) where
value1 is the off-set of the filling point in metres from the center of the engine (positive is forward, negative is back); and
value2 is the diameter of the intake point in metres. Increase this value to reduce the precision required to position the locomotive for refuelling.
(Lukas Lusser)

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How can I change distance units from miles to kilometers?

  1. Routes; to set the route in kilometres, there must be a line
    MilepostUnitsKilometers ( )
    in the route's .trk file near the end: if this is omitted then mileposts are in Miles.

  2. Cabviews: to change Locomotive speedometers, then you need to open the .CVF file in the CabView folder for the loco in a Unicode text editor and search for SPEEDOMETER DIAL under this: change
    Units ( MILES_PER_HOUR ) to
    Units ( KM_PER_HOUR )

    This will fix your on-screen readouts. You may also need to edit the .ace file for your cab which has a picture of a speedometer on it to change MPH to KPH in a paint program for better authenticity.


(Mike Simpson)

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Can I enlarge the Placement window in RE to show more than the last five files used?

Short answer, no. The list box definition is in the EXE's resource fork and the supporting code is in the EXE as an overlay (transient code). The reason it was restrained is memory. Each item in the list is using more RAM than you may realize. A ten item list would require about 32 MB system RAM to maintain.
(Jim Steven)

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I moved the Start Tile on my Route using Route Geometry Extractor. Now when I tried to go load it in RE MSTS indicated "failed to find sms file file : " No file is specified. Why?

Every time you change a route's Start Tile with the ROUTE GEOMETRY EXTRACTOR it adds Default .SMS lines from the EUROPE1 steam route to the bottom of the route's .TRK file and unless the route has the specified by these lines .sms files in its or the MSTS SOUND folders then you see this error messsage.
(Otto Wipfel)

See this link for changing your route start tile.

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Why do the wheels on my AI steam loco spin?

There's a bug in MSTS coding - apparently Kuju used the wheel radius as the wheel perimeter when they were calculating the AI wheel rotation speed from the traveling speed.

You can fix this in AI locos (eg Pendennis, Royal Scotsman) by opening the .ENG file in a Unicode-aware editor such as Wordpad or ConTEXT and multiplying the WheelRadius in the ENGINE section by 2 pi (ie 6.284). This will work for a standard AI file where the engine does not form part of the player consist. If this is used on an AI engine in the player consist, the driver rotation is too slow.

Basically, you should plan on having three versions of a steam locomotive (three different ENG files):

  1. Driveable (player) loco - the lead loco in a train you control.
  2. Helper locomotive - A 'helper' in the player train will need the cab, headout and cab sound lines removed from the file. Wheel size remains the same.
  3. AI (non-player) locomotive - An AI engine needs the wheel size altered (see above) to remove the visual slipping and also does not need the cab etc.
(Paul Gausden, Stuart Williamson, Mervyn Burse)

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How do you increase the volume of the external horn for the default SD40-2? The horn sound while in the cab view is great but outside it's almost zero.

General answer for all .wav files: if you have Windows XP, go to
Start | All Programs | Accessories | Entertainment | Sound Recorder.
File | Open then find the horn.wav file under the engine you wish to adjust.
Click on Effects | Increase Volume 25%. You can do it a few times without distorting the sound too much. Save and try it.
(Bob Staples)

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How do I get the cars to stop on the correct side of the barrier at a railway crossing if the road crosses the tracks at an acute angle?

Click here for solution

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I've installed MS AntiSpyware. What are the implications for MSTS users?

MS have recently released a program called AntiSpyware Beta1 which is quite a good anti-spyware program along the lines of Ad-Aware etc.

Unfortunately it has a bug with implications to MSTS users. If you have it running on your system and your MSTS installation is on a different hard drive. When you try to run an InstallMe.bat file to install a route, you will get a pop-up window telling you that .bat files can be used for bad purposes etc. and asking if you really mean to run it.

Answer Yes, (and tick the box which says Remember This) and the batch file runs, but if you carefully watch the DOS window, you will see it says '0 Files copied' after each line.

I think what is happening is that when the pop-up window appears, it changes the drive to the drive on which the Antispyware program is installed, accepts your response OK, but does not change the drive back again, so that the batch file is looking in the wrong drive for files to copy.

To get around this, close the DOS window and click on InstallMe.bat again, then everything works OK.
(Mike Simpson)

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Shouldn't the diesel engines on new type refrigerator cars keep running even when the train is stationary? They stop and start rather annoyingly. Any fixes?

Matt Doti and Byce Reynolds collaborated to upgrade the default xrefrige.sms sound file so that the reefer sounds are present all the time, including while parked and audible from the cab of a passing train. Click here to download a 1.77 KB (1,821 bytes) ZIP file that contains the improved sms file (place it in your MSTS/SOUNDS folder).
(Matt Doti and Bryce Reynolds)

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Any tips for making signals in TSM?

You must set the object up as a complex object.
Name the mast, ladder, and such SIGNAL, with parent NONE. Give the heads the required names, with parent SIGNAL.
Each head must have a frame of animation... hit F2, click "Add Motion", and add one frame with all zeros.
If you don't do this, the signals won't light.
(Bruce Bridges)

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How can I fix the aggaravating tendency of custom made TSM objects to disappear at certain angles in the sim? (Updated information)

The problem is in the vol_spheres at the top of the shape file. Uncompress the .S file and examine it in a Unicode-aware editor such as ConTEXT or Wordpad.

A typical VOLUMES section looks like this

volumes ( 2
		vol_sphere (
		vector ( X Y Z ) R
		)
		vol_sphere (
		vector ( -0.000935316 2.40258 0.132743 ) 10.7127
		)
)

Note that a shape file may have more than one VOL_SPHERE.

The VOL_SPHEREs are simply spheres (balls) located in space that tell MSTS where a shape is located. Each VOL_SPHERE is defined by a vector and a radius. The vector is simply a point given by X, Y and Z and locates the center of the sphere. R defines the radius of the sphere. MSTS decides whether or not to display a shape by calculating whether or not the appropriate VOL_SPHERE is in the "field-of-view". If it is MSTS will display the shape. If not - not. MSTS does NOT worry about whether the VOL_SPHEREs were correctly defined. Note that the center of the shape, the center of the VOL_SPHERE and the origin (0,0,0) DO NOT need to coincide.

The problem of vanishing shapes occurs when part of a shape file extends beyond the appropriate VOL_SPHERE definition. When the VOL_SPHERE is outside of the "field-of-view", the shape vanishes.

The fix is to increase the radius of the VOL_SPHERE. Sometimes, increasing it by 10% is enough, but sometimes it needs to be 500%. TSM seems to have problems with tall skinny objects. It is possible to calculate exactly the radius needed but it is usually good enough to guess-timate. If the orignal vectors are near the center of the model (they usually are for "regular" objects - but not for track and road shapes).

  1. Open the shape in Shape Viewer (SView)
  2. Select "View/Show Bounding Info"
  3. Take the largest number of "Width", "Height" or "Length"
  4. Divide by 2.
  5. Multiply by 1.5
  6. Use the result as the new radius for the VOL_SPHEREs

Remember to change each VOL_SPHERE if there is more than one. The only negative that I am aware of in setting the VOL_SPHERE radii larger than necessary is that MSTS will have to calculate some extra polys for shapes just out of the "field-of-view".

Shape Viewer (SView) is an excellent test for shapes since it uses the first VOL_SPHERE to set the initial viewing location and distance. If when you open a shape in SView you can easily see ALL of the object, then the VOL_SPHEREs are usually OK. If the shape completely fills the frame or part of the shape is missing it usually means there is a problem with the VOL_SPHEREs.
(Rich Evarts)

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I have a tank loco - how do I make it take water and coal?

Edit the IsTenderRequired parameter in your .ENG file: it should read
IsTenderRequired( -1 )

You also need to have intake points in the ENG file, usually just above the Lighting Section.

Format to look like this
IntakePoint ( z d Type )
where
z = intake point relative to the origin of the model along the "z" axis (ie fore or aft);
d = diameter of the opening; and
Type = FuelCoal or FuelWater.

For example
IntakePoint ( -4.50 2.50 FuelCoal )
indicates a coaling point 2.5m in diameter, 4.5m behind the centre of the model.
{Yuri Sos}

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Why do I have to insert CD before I can run MSTS? How can I fix this?

Visit No CD in Drive and MSTS Updates
(Yuri Sos)

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How do I setup MSTS so that the setting of a non-animated control is shown in the cabview?

One of the issues with cabs with brake handles that are not in the cabview is that you have no idea where your brake setting is unless you press F5: no little white window at the bottom of the screen saying "Full Service" or "Running" or whatever. The same issue exists with tram that are foot-controlled: no animated controls therefore no idea of what the tram controls are doing (without having the HUD on all the time).

You can have the window at the bottom of the screen show brake (Independent, Dynamic or Train) and even throttle settings where there's no animation.

Insert the following code (or modify - it's only an example) and increment the Cabview Controls by the number of controls you add:

Lever (
		Type ( TRAIN_BRAKE LEVER )
		Position ( 600 450 40 40 )
		Style ( NOT_SPRUNG )
		MouseControl ( 1 )
		Orientation ( 1 )
		DirIncrease ( 1 )

Lever (
		Type ( ENGINE_BRAKE LEVER )
		POsition ( 600 200 40 40 )
		Style ( NOT_SPRUNG )
		MouseControl ( 1 )
		Orientation ( 1 )
		DirIncrease ( 1 )
)

Now when you adjust the brake, the window at the bottom of the screen says "Train Brake Released" or whatever is appropriate for the control setting. A bonus is that if you mouse over the correct area on the screen as laid down by the co-ordinates in Position(), you can adjust the brake with the mouse.


(Yuri Sos)

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How do I setup MSTS so that the time compression feature works?

Add timeacceleration to the target path on the shortcut. So, assuming a default install, it would be

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\train.exe" /timeacceleration

Then in the sim ,press CTRL-T to speed up, CTRL-SHIFT-T to slow down. Doubles/halves each time you press Ctrl-T/Shift-T.
(Steve Miller)

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Tips on eng.files and clarification on a couple of points and the fact that Kuju were not so daft after all.

  • Steam engines don't use any steam with everything shut off, but what they do use is water; they can, depending on their size and class, use in an hour up to half a glass.  This is what BasicSteamUsage was all about:  not steam but ďWaterĒ.  Follow the advice below where applicable and manual users will be able to control the engines blowing off at the safety valves.
  • Donít overpower you engine remember this fact:  Coal 3000lbs/per/hr multiplied by 13000BtUs coal quality (average figure) divided by 2545 divide by 100 multiplied by 8 ( a figure for a good engine) will equal 1226 horse power;  this of course all needs adjusting according to grate size, engine class.  This is all O.S.Nock info and itís good and is freely available at any library.
  • BoilerEffectivity ( 1.2 ) - boilers produce steam just standing quietly in the shed no blower on or blast applied so this is a good figure.
  • DraftingEffect ( 1.2 ) - Use this figure if you want to stop blowing off at the safety valves when regulator is closed, enables the injectors and blower to control steam production;
  • BoilerResponsiveness ( 1.2 ): Nothing wrong with this figure up to user if they feel they would like it lower how the engine responds to coal being added to firebox;
  • CylinderVolume ( 12.8 ) ....No longer any need to double this figure but you can if you want it that way, the figure in the CylinderEffectivity takes care of it, if you do double you should use a lower figure needs careful planning and testing.
  • CylinderEffectivity ( 5.6 )....this is the parameter to get the Sim to use the correct amount of water i.e. gallons per mile it was always shown as 1 and was wrong as you will see as loads behind the engine are made larger the more water and coal will be used per mile ( we are talking heavy realistic figures with this change. You will also notice that it is harder to keep time as the work being done has to be won.)
  • BlastExponent ( 0.5 ): You will need to lower this do not be afraid to. Will compensate for the draft figure being higher needs playing around with to get correct effect with different kinds of engines (will need to take into account number of cylinders i.e. 2 or 3 or 4).
  • MaxWaterMass ( 2640lb ): this divided by 2 and used results in basic steam usage........
  • BasicSteamUsage ( 1320lb/h ) .....combined with the amount the small vacuum ejector uses this will slow down steam production when the regulator is shut and if steam heating is on.  But of course you must apply the correct amount for the type of boiler you are simulating just don't go sticking in the figures you have just read.   The small vacuum ejector uses around 7lbs of steam a minute and a large one is 3 times more 420lbs small large something like I usually use 1270lbs per hour.
  • Below the start parameters should read as it is in the 1st not as in the 2nd smoke:  quantity and tender coal mass are round the wrong way:

  • Correct
    comment(fire temp, fire mass, water mass, boiler pressure, water level, tender_water_mass, smoke_quantity, tender_coal_mass,  fire_condition, coal quality )
    Incorrect
    comment(fire temp, fire mass, water mass, boiler pressure, water level, tender_water_mass, tender_coal_mass, smoke_quantity, fire_condition, coal quality )
  • Coal consumed using this parameter: CoalBurnage ( 6.0lb/hp/h ) needs to be doubled; itís an average you need 2 sets of figures to come up with an average the engine will then use coal as it should as well, but you need the correct figures again refers to Nock, Cox and others, who have produced performance figures.
  • You would also be advised to use the notches for such things as cut-offs on lever reversers, injectors, dampers although dampers in the Sim should always be fully opened.
Rick (1crick14a on uktrainsim.com)

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How to add animated fans to diesel locomotives

Some diesel locomotives have radiator and dynamic braking cooling fans. Depending on the model of the locomotive, the fans can be located in the hood/nose unit, or in the motor compartment body,  or on the roof, or a combination of both.   Due to a strange quirk of train sim's hardcoding, you can add animated fans to MSTS diesel locomotives by utilising the wheels object labels normally assigned to steam locomotives.

The object labels wheels1 through to wheels5 are available for fans.  The downside is the fans only operate when the locomotive is moving. The animation frame sequence* can be over 0-4, 0-8, 0-16 frames. (* See warning below.)

Fan objects can be animated to spin around either a vertical or horizontal axis, with the pivot point set in the usual manner. Fans with their axis offset from either the vertical or horizontal plane are trickier to setup and animate; I know this from sad experience. The fan objects (labelled as wheels#) can linked to the main, or any object of the hierachy except bogie#.

Although I have not experimented with this idea, it may also be possible to use one of the wiper object labels as a fan, assigning a rotation instead of 'position' animated motion. In which case the object (fan) would be controlled by the wiper switch key.

:::Warning:::  this tip may affect the animation of other wiper** objects, so do the usual thing ~ experiment.
(** Wiper objects are the only official animated parts assigned to a diesel, according to Kuju's scheme.)
(Barry "Captain Bazza" Munro.) I am not the originator of this idea, it was discussed in early threads at train-sim.com's MSTS forums, I am reiterating it for those who may not know the tip.

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How to make a non-bogie locomotive or wagon follow the track curvature.

Non-bogie wagons, or locomotives without leading and trailing bogies, do not track correctly over curved sections of track or through points (switches).

To fix this problem a 'false' bogie is added to the model's heirarachy. The wagon's wheels are parented to the false bogie, which is labelled bogie1, and the wheelsets are labelled wheels11 and wheels12, respectively. The false bogie is parented to the model's main heirarachy object.

A 0-4-0T (tank) locomotive also requires a 'false' bogie, labelled bogie1, with the two driver wheel sets labelled wheels1 and wheels2, respectively. Use the same technique for an 0-6-0 locomotive, whether it is a tank or tender type.  In this case the extra driver set is wheels3, a child of bogie1.

The 'false' bogie must be textured, of course, and it can be placed out of sight between the frames and its pivot centered as per a normal bogie. The pivot should be centered in relation to the axis of the main parent of the heirarachy. The lateral movement of the 'false' bogie about its pivot is minute and in most cases the wheels' lateral movement in relation to the center axis of the main parent, is also undetectable.

(Barry "Captain Bazza" Munro)
04 January 2004. (Re-edited 5 Jan 04)
Note: I don't claim to be the originator of the idea. I believe it may have been discussed on one of the early train-sim.com posts, but I am reiterating it for those who don't know about the tracking fix.

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If I have got double tracks and place a speed limit on one side of them, it goes over both tracks, but I want it to go over only one. How may I do this?

Drag the speedpost off at an angle to the side and down the tracks from the marker. Right at the extent of its radius you should see the red bar going from the marker to the adjacent track dissapear.  Obviously this won't work if placing the speedpost between the two tracks however.


(John Stanford)

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In Route Editor, why does a "track database rebuild" result in "vector no end end" type error?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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What's the difference between compressed and uncompressed?  Any benefit either way?

This goes for ALL the compressed type files in MSTS):  all these files are processed in memory in their tokenised uncompressed format for loading into the memory resident database. That format is 'halfway' between what most folks refer to as compressed vs uncompressed.

Uncompressed: - text format (unicode). Easily  read by humans, requires equivilent of a compilation to be used by MSTS. Occupies the most space (on any medium).
Tokenized - binary equivilent of the text files. Akin to the object code created when a source program is compiled. Takes up less space due to its structured format, and is what MSTS really wants internally.
Compressed- the result of taking a tokenized file and and applying a zlib compression to the module. It also is binary, but cannot be directly processed and occupies even less space. Same compression as found in zipped files, that is why they don't compress any further when loaded with a route in a zip file. MSTS can decompress them fairly fast and on the fly as they are being read.

FFEDITC can move between uncompressed to compressed and visa versa, but does not leave an option for selecting just the tokenized format.

Compressed is generally better because of less space and they are quicker to read from the disk - no memory benefit.
(Martyn T. Griffin, Paul Gausden)

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Why can't you access a passenger view in a piece of rolling stock (that you know has one) that is not part of your consist at the start of a trip?

That is for example when in an activity you pick up a number of carriages having travelled to a platform where they are waiting. Also why, when you "drop off" some wagons from a consists, does the brake van passenger view no longer function?

The rule is quite simple:  when you start or load an activity, MSTS checks the front engine for a passenger view. If it finds one, that is what you get on view 5, if not it goes to the next wagon, then the next, until it finds one or runs out.   Now, if you don't have a passenger view, you never will have, unless you save and reload after picking up something with one.   Further, if your only passenger view is in a brake van, and you uncouple, you lose this.

Solution: after coupling/uncoupling your relevant rolling stock, save, exitand reload the activity. If the train you are using still has a passenger view available to it , this will restore that view.
(Alan Salmon)

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it possible to modify the properties of the no. 4 external (Random) view?

Find the file camcfg.dat in your Train Simulator\Global folder and open it in a Unicode capable text editor (Wordpad etc).
Search for the section beginning
Camera ( camtypespotter
This is the camera used for View No. 4
Change the FOV setting from its default setting of FOV ( 50 ) to something narrower, e.g. FOV ( 30 ) gives a telephoto type of view. The figure is the Field of View angle in degrees.
As long as you keep a backup of the camcfg.dat file, you can fiddle with all the settings to see what results you get. There are a lot of changes you can make.
(Mike Simpson)

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Does anyone know a simple way to find how high the terrain is in my route so I can place streams and lakes at various places without the trial and error I`m going through?

Click on F9 key (terrain tool):  select a spot (best viewed in the wire frame view, the W key) where you want to know the height, press the F9 key (or click on the tool button, outlined in red, below) right click, select Set Height, and the height of that point will be displayed.
(Fred Huntly)

Press F5 (as if to place an object), so the cursor turns to a + sign, and watch the y value shown in the Placement window; this y value gives the terrain altitude at the position of the cursor (+ sign). As you move the mouse, this y value will continuously show the altitude at the location of the cursor.
(Michael Vone).

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What's with the "Failed to open Package" message when I try to open a packaged activity?

Short answer: Open Explorer. >View | Folder Options | File Types. Scroll down to packaged activity. Click on "Packaged Activity".  Click "Edit". Click "Edit".  Change Application used to perform action to "E:\MSTS\Utils\TSUnpack.exe" "%1"   where MSTS is your MSTS directory:  ie change "|" to "%1".  Click Ok | Close | Close.

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Is it possible to amend .ENG and .WAG  files on stock such as the Doodlebug so that it's recognised as passenger stock by msts and therefore the load/unload messages appear correctly at station stops when running a passenger activity ?

Put this line in near the top of the file - PassengerCapacity ( 40.0 )

Unfortunately the PassengerCapacity line went amiss in a number of older passenger coaches, motors, trolleys etc; most authors have since become aware of its importance for the loading / unloading function to work. Nevertheless, if you notice a file where it is amiss you simply can edit it in yourself, a good location is next to the name line (if available), the shape line, or the sounds line.

Just for clarity: "PassengerCapacity" is not required for the coach to be recognised as passenger carriage with regard to ConBuilder, the Consist Editor in the AE, or the speed posts applying to your train (notice that in a combined passenger/freight consist, freight overrules passenger speed limits).  This distinction is done by the line "Type" way up in the .wag file ("carriage" as oposed to "freight").

 Even with a "PassengerCapacity" line in the file, you may find it difficult to get the loading / unloading to work if the interactive platform area - see the space between the two blue marks that designate the location in the activity editor - is very short. For the loading / unloading to work properly, a coach with PassengerCapacity line should fit fully into the interactive platform area, and not each unit in your consist has such a line.

Let me illustrate that with an example: A passenger train headed by an F7 ABA set will probably have an RPO and a baggage car up front in the consist, so the first unit with PassengerCapacity will be a coach coming in 6th position. Lets assume the following diner, sleepers, lounge and tail cars have no such line, either. If the platform is ultra-short, as some of the purely informative platform markers on Marias Pass (Conkelly, Coram, Summit, Bison, Sundance, and some more come to mind), then the loading and unloading will only become available if you stop your train precisely with coach 6 within the platform markers. If you use F6, that means the blue pole denominating the platform should stick through the center of coach 6 - else the loading will not work.
(Lukas A Lusser aka "Swissie")

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I've created an activity for a route I've just installed and I get an "Unable to save Path" error.  What's happening?

You may be missing one or more of the following folders in your route:  TRAFFIC, PATHS, SERVICES, ACTIVITIES.  If any of these folders are missing create them with the File | New | Folder command in Windows Explorer.
Special note to route-builders creating Clickteam installers for distribution of their route :
When setting up your install files, note that InstallCreator or the older InstallMaker do not copy empty folders. This affects TRAFFIC, PATHS, SERVICES, ACTIVITIES folders in many distributed routes.
The fix is to create a non-empty file called say blank.fil  - note file must have something in it eg "This file required for installer to work correctly - you may now delete it".  The folder will then be copied into the installer.

IMPORTANT NOTE/BUG REPORT: The option in InstallCreator in Files Tab, Misc Tab for "Do not install file, but create directory" is broken in the free version (ok in paid-for versions >patch 17) and won't be fixed till the end of the 2006 year (shame as it would clean up this problem nicely). If you use it, the installer will halt, no doubt throwing the enduser into complete panic <g!> - it will also create a 1413k corrupt file in that folder.  It's so much simpler to let it copy the 1k blank.fil and thus place the folder.
(Yuri Sos)

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Some "unwritten rules" of model building for MSTS

  1. You cannot animate a texture by itself - but you could carefully sequence a series of textures attached to a number of objects, which are animated;
  2. You cannot 'scale' an object between frames of an animation sequence. (that is - change the object's dimensions or shape);
  3. You can only apply one type of animation per object per frame;
  4. You can apply different types animation to different objects in a frame, but must obey the above rule;
  5. You can apply different types of animation over a progression of frames, provided you obey the above rule;
  6. All faces of an object must have a texture;
  7. You can only apply one pivot point per animated object;
  8. You can animate a locomotive over more than 0 - 8 frames, ie 0 - 16 and 0 - 32 frames. You need to make compensating tweaks in the ENG;
  9. You can animate a scenery object over a much greater range of frames, 200+ but there may be a limit;
  10. You can 'scale' the timing of the animation sequence, too. This is very helpful to cut back the speed of the animated object in the sim;
  11. Long objects, with a pivot point at one end may exhibit an unfortunate oscillating effect at the other end in the sim, no matter how good it looks in 3d prog. This is a conversion problem, and is apparently caused by some coding algorithm routine;

Plus a million other rules, some known, some unknown and yet to be discovered.
(Barry "Captain Bazza" Munro)

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How do I get rid of the problem where the terrain jumps and jiggles near my track?

In Route Editor, set the "Terrain Error Bias" to zero.  You will need to do this for every tile.

Important notes:

  • Setting the terrain error bias to zero does not mean it stays there. Sometimes after reshaping terrain, the bias reverts to one;
  • it stays at "0" if you do a save right after you change the value. If you forget and move on to something else, and get over into another tile, then it does not.  Probably related to the way the scenery buffers work;
  • it will also change back to 1 if you change the texture on that tile. And if you don't save after changing the texture and move away, when you come back it will be the same as before;
  • One of of things that irritates me is having to manually set error bias to zero on so many tiles, especially not knowing where it's already done leaving one to hunt through each and every tile. I  solved the latter problem: If you move the camera 300-500m above ground and turn on wireframe mode it becomes visually very obvious where the error bias is zero and where it is not.  It's still a bother setting the value but at least now I click on only those tiles that are still set to 1.

(Dave Nelson, Bill Burnett, John Sullivan, Austin Yoder)

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It seems that .bat files aren't working on my computer. The DOS window (or whatever you want to call it) says "Xcopy is not recognised as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file".

Batch files generally run well inside XP Pro (exceptions: "Choice" for conditional batch files no longer works, needs a "%%" switch instead, among other differences).

Press Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command prompt.
In the Command Prompt window, type Xcopy /? <enter>. It should find Xcopy and list all the parameters.
If it doesn't, your computer path may be corrupted.

In the Command Prompt Window, type path <enter>. It should show your computer path:

path=c:\windows\system32;c:\windows;c:\windows\system32\
(Replace c: with your drive partition if it's not drive C:)

If you need to correct the path, press Start | right-click My Computer | Properties | Advanced | Environment Variables | Path | Edit.. Make your changes as above then exit.
(William Sieffert)

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Activities:  Moving Start- and End-Points may help

One way I found to reduce the number of the never ending red lights, is go in and change the endpoint and start point. I found that you never ever should end a path at the end of the track. Always go in and put the endpoint in a few feet short of the end of track. The same for a start point, never use the end of a track as the start point.
Since I started doing this I have cleared up all kinds of problems with signals not clearing.
(Kevin Arceneaux)
PS.  Kevin has written a few superb tutorials on activity creation which you'll find in the "Important Topics" of his Lone Wolf Activities forum, part of the forums at 3DTrains.  Click here to visit that site.

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If a 2cylinder engine gives 4 beats per revolution of its driving wheels and a 3cyl gives 6, how many beats per rev does a 4cyl loco give - more importantly WHY?

The exhaust beats of a steam loco depend on the 'timing' of the loco. On a two-cylinder loco, the power strokes are arranged to be even, so a loco will have equal intervals between chuffs. The cylinders are at equal height above the rails, the cranks are arranged at 90° to each other (left-side:right-side), and each cylinder is double acting (powers the piston in each direction by turn).

Things get a bit more complicated with extra cylinders. On a Bulleid Pacific, the middle cylinder is mounted higher than the outer cylinders, and the cranks are set at angles to allow for this, so there are six chuffs per rev at even intervals.

On a King, the four cylinders are arranged so that the left outer cylinder and right inner cylinder power strokes occur together, and then the right outer and left inner occur together, so the (big) chuff is from two cylinders at the same time. This makes for four chuffs per revolution.

On a Lord Nelson the cranks were set for even power strokes and it produced eight chuffs evenly spaced per revolution.
(Tony Wood, Webmaster Mid-Hants Railway)

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Is it possible to put a .WAV sound in place of the wipers so I can use the wiper key to control the .WAV?

As long as a .Wav is 16bit 11kHz, you shouldn't have any problems.  If the .sms cab file you want to change the sound in already has a wiper sound listed, just name your .wav the same as the existing wiper sound (rename that one something else of course) and you won't need to make any changes to the .sms file.

If it doesn't have a wiper line, you can place a line like this in your .sms file along with the other cab control sounds like your light switch sound.

Discrete_Trigger ( 19
	PlayOneShot ( 1 File ( "my_sound_file.wav" -1 )
	SelectionMethod ( SequentialSelection )
)

"my_sound_file" would be whatever you decide to name your .Wav). You will also need to change the number of triggers in this section.
(Jeff "jeffed" Isaac)

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Why do my AI and helper locos sound like they're at idle even when they're powering? How can I fix this?

If you want to get changing (ie not just idle) sounds from both AI-locos and Helpers then you need to use a separate .sms file than the one used by a Player loco. The Player loco .sms can be edited to get AI loco's sounding better, but not Helpers.

The reason for this is related to which section (called a ScalabiltyGroup) of the .sms file each loco type uses. Player loco's use SG's 1, 3 and 5, which relate to Low, Medium and Hight sound level setting in the main MSTS sound menu. AI loco's always use SG 0. Helper loco's use SG's 1, 3 and 5 to match the Player loco. But the catch is that AI and Helper loco's only respond to the Speed variable, whereas Player locos need to use Variable1 (wheel rotation), Variable2 (applied power) and Variable3 (coal shovelling rate) if they are going to sound as we are used to to them. So, if a Helper is using a Player SG 5 (say) setup it will only respond to the Initial_Trigger which gets the idling sound started.

If you have AI loco's working OK then here's what to do. Make a copy of the Player .sms and rename it. (I use the convention of putting a # at the beginning of the file name, but you can do as you wish). Then open the file for (unicode) editing. Scroll towards the bottom half of the file and locate the ScalibilityGroup( 0 line. Copy from (including) this line down to the end of the file, except for the last line with a ) in it. Now this copied section needs pasting over the SG 5, 3 and 1 sections above the SG 0 section you have just copied. Be VERY carefully to not loose or gain )'s. You now should have a file which contains only two sections, both labled SG 0. The final edit then is to change the first SG 0 to SG 1. ie ScalibilityGroup( 1

Now save the file and point your AI/Helper loco .eng file at it.
(Stuart "scefhwil" Williamson).

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FreightAnim ( <shapefile> <val1> <val2> )

It only appears if specified.  Most people don't use it, let alone know what it is/what it does.

It's only partly functional as compared with what it's speculated to be intended for. What it allows is to add another shape file to rollingstock.  It supposed to also allow animated loads, but I think that only works on steam tenders. The line gets added to a .eng/.wag file, and the syntax is freightanim(<shapefile> <val1> <val2>) where

  • <shapefile> is the extra shape to be added: the shape file has to have the same pivot as the rollingstock it's attached to, or else it displays in strange places;
  • <val1>: Starting (full) position of the FreightAnim object; and
  • <val2> : Ending (empty) positions of the FreightAnim object when it represents the coal load in a steam locomotive tender. As the coal supply runs down, the FreightAnim object is simply lowered inside the tender, giving the illusion of a depleting coal load (unless of course the empty value is set too low and you end up with a coal load floating around the tender wheels!).

I'm not sure if this animation actually functions for other vehicle types, but if you specify the same starting and ending position, the FreightAnim object will appear as if it were permanently attached to the vehicle. I have been experimenting with using it to attach extra details to a diesel locomotive, and it appears that the FreightAnim object will not display with the values set to 0,0.     1,1 works fine though.
(Scott Miller & Richard Jenkins)

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I have AI traffic coming into a terminal station. Yet, if I sit and watch it, after it's done loading/unloading it continues on and would run into the buffers if it didn't disappear entirely from existence, having reached the end point of its path. How do I make it just stop and stay put?

Method #1:  set the platform to 80,000 passengers and the AI just sits there forever, just like it should!  You can set a passenger value for each platform. You can then tweak departure times on trains to get exactly the results you want.   Just recalculate carefully. (Chris Jantzen)

Method #2:

  1. I made the AI train sit forever:  I created the path for an AI train and then took it onto a signalled siding;
  2. I placed a reversing point on the path right in front of an absolute STOP signal, only a few feet away or so.
  3. Then I ended the path immediately after the reverse point was set up;
  4. Now, as the AI train approaches the signal, it will slow down and stop some two-three car lengths before the signal. It will stay there waiting for a clear signal.

The trick works because:

  1. The path does not pass the signal. The signal will stay red forever. (move forward to item 2.)
  2. The train cannot reach the reverse point becouse the signal is red. (return to item 1).

In fact, the poor old train will sit there and wait -- and wait -- and wait. Of course, forcing a train to wait for 8,000,000 passengers is a heck of a way to stop even the hottest intermodal!
Teemu Vehkaoja)
BTW, the waiting time at a station can be calculated as the number of passengers at the platform marker, multiplied by 10, then divided by the number of coaches in your consist (if the consist is longer than the platform, then it's the number that can fit onto the platform at any one time.).  With multiple units some of the coaches are obviously eng files, so unless the author has added passenger capacity to all of these power cars, MSTS will see them as having fewer carriages than they actually do.
(Simon T)

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How do you stop smoke passing through bridges?

Some points to ponder:

  1. The bridge model does need a bounding box defined in the .sd file. A simple one will suffice, but a complex multipart box would make collisions more realistic, if that is what you want.
  2. Making the bridge a 'terrain' object has no effect on engine smoke.
  3. Making the bridge a 'Collision' object when you select it from the list of all objects in the Route Editor does make your bounding box repell smoke, or at least most of it. Some smoke will still leak through.
  4. There does not seem to be a way to make the bridge a collision object once it is in your 'short list' placement tool window, or once it has been placed in the route.
  5. Road sections have bounding boxes and seem to be automatically collision objects. So if you run a road section across the bridge, it will repel smoke without you having to have a bounding box on the bridge.
(Ian Morgan)

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MSTS Bug-fix alert  - The problem with Night Textures and MSTS Error Messages.

There is a bug in the way MSTS processes the ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 256 ) (in the .SD file) when you make an object that has a night texture but no snow texture.  These errors are starting to show up in routes now, and the silly game is looking for snow textures in the \Global folder, obviously not finding them there, and returning error messages or crashing.

3D object designers should therefore strive to never use ESD 256.  If you want a night texture for your object, make a snow texture too and use ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 257 ) instead.

For route developers using the existing add-on objects, there are two ways to fix objects with the bug:

  1. Edit the .SD file to change the ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 256 ) to ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 0 ) and eliminate the night texture; or
  2. if you like and want to use the night texture, change it to ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 257 ). That will make it look for a snow texture in the proper place instead of looking for it in the \Global folder, but of course then you need a snow texture.  Some objects might look kind of odd walking in a winter wonderland with no snow on them, but the simplest way is to copy the base texture to the \Textures\Snow folder.  Since this bug is pervasive, you pretty much have to think night texture = include snow texture or suffer the errors.

Summary:

  • ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 0 ):
    No alternative texture, single summer texture in top \Textures only;
  • ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 1 ):
    Summer plus snow: ace files in \Textures and \Textures\Snow;
  • ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 252 ):
    All seasons: ace files in \Textures, \Textures\Snow, \Textures\Spring, \Textures\Autumn, \Textures\Springsnow, \Textures\Autumnsnow, \Textures\Winter, \Textures\Wintersnow;
  • ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 256 ): Buggy (as above): do not use;
  • ESD_Alternative_Texture ( 257 ):
    Summer and night texture: ace file in \Textures, \Textures\Snow, Textures\Night

(Jim "Sniper" Ward).

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MSTS Bug-fix alert  - how to reduce consists breaking apart.

Breaking consists has been a problem in MSTS since day one - not the break you get when you gun 4 Dash 9s on the front of a long consist, but rather the unexpected ones that occur even with gentle driving.  Many users resorted to increasing the coupler strength to minimise coupler break, but it's recently been discovered that there's a better way.

The problem appears to be that damping is a decelerative force and therefore needs to be measured in Newtons/metre/second (N/m/s).  Kuju left off the /second (/s) in all their default .wag and .eng files and everyone has slavishly copied them since.

Open your .wag and .wng files in a Unicode-aware editor (eg ConTEXT)
The line to change is marked in blue

Coupling (
	Type ( Automatic )
	Spring (
	Stiffness ( 1e6N/m 5e6N/m )
	Damping ( 1e6N/m 1e6N/m )
	Break ( 3.2e6N 3.2e6N )
	r0 ( 20cm 30cm )
)

Change it to
Damping ( 1e6N/m/s 1e6N/m/s )
and the damping will then work correctly, leading to more prototypic behaviour.

Trainsim Modeler (TSM) users should change the .ENG and .WAG files in their \TS Modeler\Resources page:  this will ensure that all their future models will have the correct damping values.

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MSTS Bug-fix alert: How do I make flashing water stop?

Flashing water has plagued many people since MSTS was released.  The solution was just discovered in the past two months.  Jeff Bush is the one who spent many hours researching this and came up with the solution. Thanks, Jeff for all your hard work.

There are two ways you can handle this problem.  Both accomplish the same end result. All of the environment files (about 15 total) contain a section on water characteristics. There is a function named BlendATexDiff that is reference three times in the water section of each .env file. If this function is changed to BlendATex in each of the three instances, it will solve the problem. This must be done in all of the .env files.

The easy way to modify the .env files is to download the latest version of Route-Riter. This version has a function in the environment section which patches all .env files for the selected route.
(Cal Ramussen).

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Is it possible to change the American accented voices in MSTS?

There are three voice sounds:  "Permission granted", "Permission Denied" "Ok to proceed" arranged in the global \Train Simulator\SOUND folder as x_perm_01.wav , x_perm_02.wavand x_perm_03.wav, respectively: the "x" is replaced by d, e, s presumably referring to regions of the US, but they all sound very similar.

The sounds are referenced in the ingame.sms file located in the \SOUND folder for each route and plays the sounds located in the global SOUNDS folder.  To regionalise your sounds, place your local recordings in the global SOUNDS folder, either by replacing one of the groups above or by adding your own, eg AU_perm_01.wav .  (Your sound files need to be in saved in the correct .wav format. This can easily be done by opening the file using your Sound program and do a Save As, selcting PCM as the format and 11.025 kHz, 16 bit, mono as the attributes). Then edit the ingame.sms file using a Unicode-aware editor (eg Wordpad) and change the links so that your desired file is played at the appropriate time.

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I built a small test wagon in TSM (About the same size as the tutorial wagon). It all works and I put it in a consist. I tried it on a night time run and I turned the headlights on.  As the wagon is at the back the red light flashes.   But it flashes far back away from the wagon. Can anyone tell me how to fix this problem?

This indicates indicates that the light position hasn't been identified in TSM and therefore not passed to the *.WAG file when the project was compiled. The light position you're seeing is probably the default from the template *.WAG file.

To fix this, add a part (it can be a simple flat polygon) and position it where you desire the light to be. When it's in position, rotate the part, if needed, so that the surface normal of the polygon is facing the direction you wish the light to shine. When you're happy with the position and orientation press F2 to bring up the part propeties dialog and put a check mark in 'Reference part only'. Then assign the special reference part name 'light_' to the part. In that part name you may add an extension ID to the end as in 'light_1' or 'light_rear'. It doesn't matter as long as the prefix portion is 'light_ '. With the name assigned and the check mark in you can then create the model , making sure you generate a new *.WAG file, and the light should be ready and working for you.

A small, little known fact on the reference part for light positions...if you assign a specific colour to the reference part, that colour will be assigned to the light in the *.ENG/*.WAG file. You may need to experiment with different colours if you're looking for something specific. Otherwise you may manually edit the file to change the colour yourself.

Alternatively, edit the .WAG file: in the Lights section, change the 3rd value in the Position (x y -z) statement so that z = wagon length/2.

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Model building question:  I can get the car to show up in the sim in the right spot and follow the loco down the tracks, but the wheels just stay static. What do I need to do/not do to get the wheels to turn?

When looking at the side view in TSM, the right hand bogie must be named "Bogie2" and have the "Main" part as its parent. The axis for Bogie2 must be centered at the Bogie2 object, and not the origin. Similarly, the left hand bogie must be named "Bogie1" with the "Main" part as its parent and its axis centered on the object.

The wheels are then named as follows:

  • the right most wheel on Bogie2 must be named Wheels21 with Bogie2 as the parent;  the left wheel on Bogie2 is named Wheels22 with Bogie2 as the parent;
  • the right most wheel on Bogie1 is named Wheels11 with Bogie1 as the parent and the left hand wheel on Bogie1 is named Wheels12 with Bogie1 as the parent.
You must then set the number of "Animation Frames" to 7 in the project properties box.
(James "vrfan" Brook)

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Why do I get "Train World Initialization Failed"?

See Errors and Troubleshooting Page

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I read somewhere that one could place another .ace file on a existing flat-car by entering a line of code in the wagon file. I would like to know how to do this?

FreightAnim( MyShape.s 1 1 )
(Marc Nelson)

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How do you make a loco a static piece of scenery?

Copy the .S and .SD files into the route's Shapes folder and the .ACE files into the route's Texture folder. Make an entry in the route's .ref file similar to this (change the FileName to match your .s file):

Static (
	FileName ( locomotive.s )
	Shadow ( RECT )
	Class ( "Clutter" )
	Align ( None )
	Description ( "Static loco name" )
)

(Todd Stoffer)

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Does anyone know if there is a way to make a little bit of smoke come out of the stovepipe on a caboose?

Yes! all you do is create the caboose as a locomotive with 0% power. Then you can use the smoke effect that comes with locomotives.

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Dynamic Track Construction - Calculating Radians from A Curve presented in Degrees of Curvature?

"Multiplying this magical number ( 0.017444...) by what ever degrees you want will give you the number you need in radians for you to punch in (CPFan on trainsim.com).
Therefore, using track charts, and seeing that a curve is 3 degrees, then the number you would scroll to in the Dynamic Track window would be 3 * 0.01744, or 0.052, since the numbers only go to three decimal places (Smooz).

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The "Default Speed Limit" in Route Properties is actually the "Maximum speed limit". Thus if you set this to 90mph, but decide to have a stretch of track at 110mph, the speed limit shown in the track monitor will still be 90. In this case you would have to set the default speed limit to 110, and then limit most of the track to 90!


(Alan Salmon)

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Is it possible to have the crossing bell sounds inside your cab & passenger views?

You'll need to modify the crossing.sms file, which resides in the Sound folder of the route you'd like to use. If you're OK with editing, open the crossing.sms file in ConTEXT to preserve the Unicode formatting.
Cut and paste the CabCam ( ) and PassengerCam ( ) statements, which are probablyunder the word Deactivation, and paste them under the word Activation.

Below is an example of the crossing sound activated in all views.

ScalabiltyGroup( 3
	Activation (
		CabCam ( )
		ExternalCam ( )
		PassengerCam( )
		Distance ( 100 )
)
Deactivation (
		Distance ( 100 )
)

(Chuck Zeiler)

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I am making my own model of a level crossing - how do I make them open and close when I approach them? I have already animated them.

You must list it in the .ref file as a crossing, the following is the .ref file entry for my UK raising barrier

LevelCr (
	FileName ( crossing16ft.s )
	Class ( "Level Crossings" )
	Description ( "16ft UK Barrier" )
)

Once it is included in the .ref file as a LevelCr object, you should get the proper settings in the objects properties in the Route Editor. You say you have done the animations, you should note that the crossing only has two animation positions, closed and open, MSTS does the rest.
(Mike Simpson).

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