A Steam Loco for Microsoft Train Sim Using 3DCanvas
by Paul "decapod" Gausden


This tutorial to build a steam locomotive from scratch using 3D Canvas by Amabilis was a small project I started in December 2002. I did not want to just sit down and write it from start to end and publish, so I published parts on the UKTrainsim.com user forums to receive feedback as I went to hopefully improve the parts before they were collated and published as a whole

In this text, I have kept in a few of the relevant comments and questions from the forums - many thanks to all those who contributed to the discussion and improvements for this version: Ian, Mike, Daryn, Richard, Gavin, Jason and anyone else I have forgotten.

I am publishing the collated parts in "chapters", though the chapter headings are quite loose descriptions of the parts.

Also, for some of the later parts I have not included the forum comments to save some time with the collation of this text.

April 2003 - Even though the tutorial is not yet complete, the model and source files are now available at the Highworth Project Website


Beginners and reading
Loco Lesson zero - Absolute beginners?

To make sure everyone using the same nomenclature and understanding, the following is all I think you need to read before starting this Tutorial. It is not much and is well worth reading a second time, even if you are experienced - it always reveals something new.
The rest will be introduced as we come to it.

Go to the 3D Canvas Help text: "Getting started with 3D canvas" - read this page, the link to "Navigation Control", "Mouse Navigation", "Edit Control" and "Mouse Editing".

Next read and understand (and do) the "Tutorials":

  1. 3D Canvas Basics
  2. Resizing Objects
  3. Using the Scene Hierarchy (also read the section of the same name)

Finally under "Menus, Toolbars and other Options", read as much as you can, pay particular attention to:

  1. "Component Menu"
  2. "Using alternate keyboard functions"
  3. the "primary toolbar" constraint and orientation modes - then experiment by moving objects with the various orientation modes or constraints switched on.
You should now be able to:

  1. add and manipulate objects within groups in a scene, using the controls, mouse and keyboard.
  2. understand the hierarchy concept and group positioning.
  3. be able to access all menus and toolbar options.

Go To Chapter 1