TS 2017 ROUTE BUILDING #3 - Railworks File Information

TS 2017 ROUTE BUILDING #3 - Railworks File Information

Let's begin this tutorial with one simple fact that some people just cannot seem to grasp:
"Computers can't think! They just run programs."

Some folks would swear that their computer has gremlins. It just will not do what they want it to do. The one thing that they fail to consider is that computers are "absolute," which means that they cannot figure out what you want of them. They do what they are told, and nothing else! And so, if something isn't working, it's not likely the computer. It would be the file.

Railworks uses a number of files with file extensions unique to the simulation. This is well and good to prevent folks from reverse engineering their product, or from using the files in another application. It does, however, present a challenge to developers because of the enormous amount of file conversions that have to be made to models and textures in order to make them appear in Train Simulator.

It is not enough to copy an asset from one Asset folder and paste it into another. It probably won't work because of the many cross-references pointing to and from the file. Asset files are also written to assign the asset to a particular Provider/Product. As an example, you cannot copy an asset from an RSC product folder and paste it into a DTG product folder and expect it to work.

You've probably heard it a million times before but I'm going to say it again... BACK UP any file that you intend to alter in any way. I cannot overemphasize this enough! Back up every 15 minutes or you may find yourself repeating a lot of previous work.

I might suggest a simple way to back up original files is by adding a .oem extension to the file name, including its original file extension. As an example: "Horse.bin" becomes "Horse.bin.oem". I have found this to be the easiest method of backing up an original file in the original folder just in case I have to put it back. The file has retained its original name. I just simply remove the .oem extension and the original file is back the way it was.

Direct file manipulation is not recommended unless you are very sure of what you are doing. One little spelling error or omission could completely render the file useless. Direct editing of another author's file could also constitute theft, especially if one intends to redistribute the file to anyone else, whether it be in a Freeware or Payware route.

File Clutter is another issue that ought to be kept in check. I have particularly noted this with the distribution of Freeware routes. Since freeware routes typically use assets belonging to others it is necessary that the asset be stored in the Provider/Product folders in which the asset came. Imagine, if you will, using a tree from one provider, an automobile from another, a building from yet another, and so on. In a short while your Asset folder could become very cluttered with hundreds of Provider and Product folders. For this reason (and this is just my preference) I tend to steer clear of Freeware routes.

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