1 January 2003.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Boso View Express news
Luigi Cartello has come up with a 10-section curve calculator for curves from 50 meters to 200 meters in radius. The calculator is in Italian and English. You can get it at Luigi's site or from the BVE > Tools section of my Downloads page.
John Womersely has updated his article How to download, alter and run Japanese routes. This article provides complete and valuable information about overcoming the Japanese-English language barrier. You can get John's article from the BVE > Guides section of my Downloads page. While you're at it, don't overlook John's other article, Get BVE, at the same location. Get BVE provides complete and clear instruction on how to download and install BVE.
MS Train Simulator news
I've added two new pages, MSTS Works and MSTS Links. Look for more MSTS info in the future.
Boston Type 7 LRV by George L Kenson.
Trolley fans have never had it so good. In case you are unfamiliar with the file library at Train-Sim.com, and especially if you like Toronto and Boston models, you will be happy to find excellent versions of a Boston Type 5 lightweight, a Type 7 Kinki-Sharyu LRV, and several versions of Boston PCCs. You will also find 4 Toronto PCCs.
Some of the other models include a classic Brill semi-convertible, an interurban, snow sweepers, box motors, steeple cab locos, and Brooklyn and Philadelphia PCCs.
UP Big Boy by NALW.
If you don't believe in Santa, you will still have to believe in the folks at North Atlantic Locomotive Works. For Christmas they posted their UP Steam Magapack consisting of three UP 4-8-4 FEF-3s (road numbers 838, 840, 844), three UP 4-6-6-4 Challengers (road numbers 3977, 3979, 3985), and two UP 4-8-8-4 Big Boys (road numbers 4005 and 4012), with 8 sample consists. Also included are a full smoothside passenger car set with 4 coaches, 2 diners, 4 sleepers, 2 domes, 2 baggagec and 1 business car. Visit them at their website (http://nalw.macfall.com/) and download the megapack from the file library at Train-Sim.com. Be aware that this is a big download at 43 MB.
Woodbridge Train Simulation Craftsman Magazine news
The special Holiday issue has just been released. Articles include a first look at the new Trainz Ultimate Collection package, building a complete Trainz layout, building and placing objects in BVE, non-structured activities in MSTS, a continuation of the Erie Railroad's Rochester Division MSTS route project, an introduction to Railroad Tycoon, slide shows, and more.
Why do I keep mentioning this magazine? Mainly because I have hoped for some time now that someone would produce such a magazine. Brian Eckard has taken the initiative and I want to support his effort. Each issue is an improvement over the previous, as the magazine and readership continue to grow. Another reason is that I am involved as a contributor, editor, and member of the editorial board. I hope you will download your free issue from the Train Simulation Modeler site and send us your comments and thoughts, even your criticisms. In any case, you may want to regularly check the Virtual Railway section of the Woodbridge site for free versions of selected articles from the various magazine CDs.
Why do we need a magazine when we already have forums, free add-ons, and tutorials galore? As an avid reader of magazines, this is a question I don’t ask. But others do ask the question, so I’ll attempt an answer.
A magazine lies somewhere between a book and a forum. A book is usually definitive, researched, and stable in content. A forum is spontaneous, usually not researched, and immediate in terms of current relevance. A magazine is researched like a book, but its articles are narrower in scope. Unlike a book, a magazine is ongoing, shifting its coverage to meet contemporary needs. Thus a magazine stands on its own and is neither a substitute nor replacement for a forum or a book.
In some ways a web site can provide what a magazine does. A website, like a forum, is ephemeral in the sense that the owner can pull the plug at any time, making the content and archives suddenly unavailable. A magazine, whether delivered as hardcopy or on CD, is yours indefinitely.
The dynamics of a magazine are ones of codependence. A magazine depends on its content to attract readers. The more readers a magazine has the more advertising it can attract to defray the costs of publication and distribution. But content is as much a function of what contributors (who, especially in the case of a hobby magazine, are themselves readers) submit as it is what editors choose to publish. Thus, readers can have a direct impact on the nature and ultimate success of a magazine.
Why does it cost money to buy a magazine when forums, add-ons, and tutorials are free? Let's recognize the web is not as free as it may appear. The other night I spent 3+ hours downloading a train package. The previous night I spent 2+ hours downloading the same package only to have the connection break before it was completed. In all, I paid for 7 hours of air time to get that package. Since I pay for a minimal service connection and then pay hourly for overruns, that train package cost me about $7. The authors received nothing, but if they had had to host their work, instead of placing it at Train-Sim.com, my guess is they would have much larger monthly ISP bills. I certainly would have. I can handle 20 MB on my site before I have to move up to the next level. The train package I downloaded was more than twice my 20 MB. A magazine has hidden costs, including production and other expenses. These expenses need to be accounted for.
There's also a distinction that needs to be made between what one does as a hobby and what one does a business. For me, a hobby is something I like to do. It's there when I want to do it, and it makes no demands on me that I can't refuse to honor. A business venture is another matter entirely. I may like performing the work, but a business makes demands - schedule, finances, etc. - that I must accept if I want the business to succeed. A magazine, by its very nature of regular publication of content provided by the staff if others don't contribute, is a demanding activity. Of course it has its enjoyable side, otherwise no one would bother to publish magazines. Still, in my mind it is ultimately a business, even if only a small one.
Another consideration in the distinction between hobby and business is magnitude of time required and/or financial cost. Running a magazine, even with help, is no small task. I think the effort involved is such that compensation is justified.
Is there a market for a train sim magazine? Time will tell. Flight simmers had a 20-year head start and now support at least two slick hardcopy magazines that I know of. Train sims are more demanding of hardware than flight sims, thus the time lag. Today hardware capabilities suitable for credible train simulation are within the reach of most. I expect train simming to rapidly gain in popularity. This gain will foster more commercial ventures as continually greater hardware capabilities encourage greater detail and realism in our simulations. Eventually teams of people will create spectacularly detailed models and routes. They will, of course, expect to be paid because of the effort required. When this happens we will have advertisers aplenty to help support ventures such as Woodbridge’s Train Simulation Craftsman Magazine. Meanwhile, you can help us produce the kind of magazine you want by sending us your comments and, if you have the desire, by sending us an article to publish.
Train simulation reaches Model Railroader
The February 2003 issue of Model Railroader, which arrived in my mailbox two days ago, has five full pages devoted to train sims. The spread includes an introduction by MR Editor Terry Thompson and articles on MSTS and Trainz by Frank Musick and Steve Lee, respectively.
Credit MR, who commissioned the MSTS and Trainz articles, with staying abreast of trends in railroad modeling. Too bad the coverage didn't include BVE and some of the other simulations that are currently popular, such as Bahn, Rail3D, and Yard Duty. Also, it would have been helpful if MR had included some resources, such as website addresses for popular forums and freeware add-ons. Still, one can only be pleased that MR has taken notice and devoted so much space to train simulation.
Cheers to all, and to all a Happy New Year!