TS2017 ROUTE BUILDING #5 - The Railworks World Editor

Route Building #5 - The Railworks World Editor

From this point onward, it is highly recommended that you build your route in a windowed mode of Railworks. Full screen mode hides the 'close window' button in the upper right-hand corner of the window. Clicking this button is the only way I know of to close the program without saving.

SUMMARY of Previous Tutorials
By this point in the process:
  1. You ought to have completed the previous tutorials and have devised a plan for Where, When, What, and How. 
  2. You will need to have your start point coordinates written down for when you first create your route template. These coordinates use the Lat/Long format (eg. 55.83625  -115.3392)
  3. You will have chosen the Provider and Product names for your route, being careful to avoid names that may already be in use. A lot of authors will use their forum handle as their Provider folder name in order to avoid naming conflicts with others. The Product folder name is the unique name of the route you are creating. It can (and probably should be) nice and short, as you will be typing it many times if creating your own assets.
  4. You ought to be familiar with the general folder hierarchy of the Railworks Asset folder so you'll know where to look for things. If using any of your own assets you should also have a folder hierarchy structure written down in order to maintain consistency with the base RW program. I have found it best to have a file naming convention written down as well, so that you can keep track of what you have in the way of assets, and where they are. If you are using only assets from other Providers, you need not concern yourself with naming convention, nor folder hierarchy. As I am building my own payware route I have named all my own assets with the prefix, CPR_. That way, I can see in the Route Editor menu which assets are mine, relative to default assets used.
  5. You will have acquired a Google Maps Embed API key (if building a prototypical route).
  6. You will be armed with a good graphics program and hopefully, RW Tools by Mike Simpson.
Creating the Route Template
There are two ways to initially create the files, folders, and template necessary for a new route. One method is manual, the other is semi-automatic. The manual method is done through the Railworks World Editor. There is a limitation with the manual method in that you cannot specify your own Provider/Product folders and would be relying entirely upon the assets installed with the RW program.

The semi-automatic method utilizes RW Tools.

I will illustrate both methods in this tutorial.

The Railworks World Editor
Okay, now we get into examining the main tool we will use in building a route; the Railworks World Editor. The Editor is accessed by clicking on the Build button on the main menu of Train Simulator. The main screen will change to one that looks like this:

As you can see, there are three tabs atop the window; Route, Scenarios, and Publish. Ensure that the Route tab is highlighted. You will see a list of all the routes installed in your Content folder. That is not to say that they are all editable. Many, if not most, will have a no-edit restriction on them because they are in a singular file with an .ap file extension (as explained in Route Building Tutorial #2).

At the bottom of the window are a number of other buttons. To begin, let us click on New Route.

A pop-up appears asking you for some input information. This is where your plan first comes into play. In this window you will be entering the Name of your route (usually the name of the subdivision one is reproducing); the Starting Coordinates (this is where your route will open at whenever you click on the Edit button in the Build menu); and the Ground Texture Set.

"Uh-oh! What did he just say? A ground texture set? That's the first time I've heard of that."
Don't worry, the ground texture set simply tells RW which track, sleeper, and ground images will be used for the route, as well as how they will behave (default speed limits, etc). You do NOT need to create your own track rules or texture set in order to build a route. Take a look at the image below and you will see that you can select any set of ground textures that are already loaded into your RW installation. However, if you choose any set other than Default, you will find that the selection of the blueprint will cause your starting coordinates (if you've already entered them) to change to that of the blueprint set. Default sets your starting coordinates to zero. So make sure that your starting coordinates are correct after selecting the ground texture set.

Very Important Note
If you are planning on building a freeware route, or writing a scenario, for publishing to the community through the Route Editor's Build tab, you must select a set of track rules that is recognized by RW. A track rules blueprint from an unrecognized Provider will result in the prevention of the product being published!

Proceed with entering the route Name, a Ground Texture Set selection (highlight it with your cursor), and the Latitude/Longitude of the starting point. Then click CREATE.

Close the program entirely, and restart it. This will allow your new route to appear in the World Editor list the next time you open the Build Menu/Route tab.

METHOD #2   (The second method does not require that Railworks be running)
RW Tools
If you are NOT using any of your own shapes, sounds, etc., then I suggest using Method #1 to create your route template. Under those conditions, this method I am illustrating now would add a whole lot of unnecessary folders and files to your installation. So, in other words, if you're not using your own stuff you don't need to create your own folders. Simple.

If you are going to be using any of your own assets you will need to create your own Developer folders, those being; Provider, Product, and (if producing your own shapes) a Source folder. RW Tools takes care of the creation of all these files/folders with just a little input from you.

First, be sure that you have RW Tools properly installed on your computer, and that your destination folders within are correctly set. If not certain of this, consult the help file in RW Tools. Now, open it up and click on the Route Building Tools tab. A drop-down menu will appear. Choose Set Up Developer Folder. The following pop-up will appear:

Provider -- That's you.
Product -- That's the short name of your route. This is also the name that your track rules blueprint will become, as found in the Assets/TemplateRoutes folder. (eg. ShortName.bin)

It is wise to use NO SPACES or accentuated characters in the naming of Provider and Product. And I would earnestly suggest keeping those names short, as you will be typing them a lot. I mean... a lot, a lot, especially if you are converting your own shapes. Enter the information requested and click Process. This will set up all the necessary folders in both the Assets folder and the Source folder of your Railworks installation.

The next step is to create your own route template, the one with all the particulars relating to your route. This template contains information on Provider, Product, Route Name (plus the Unique Identifier), Starting Point, Environment, etc.

Go back to RW Tools and in the Route Building Tools drop-down menu, select Direct Route Setup. A new window will appear, as follows:

  1. In the Provider and Product fields, enter the names you assigned just previously to your Developer folders. They must be exactly the same as those of your Developer folders.
  2. Longitude and Latitude denote the starting point of the Route Editor. 
  3. Route Template Name can be anything you want. Again, no spaces or special characters, and keep it reasonably short.
  4. Next, we need to select the four seasonal skies, the weather, and the terrain files from those available in the Railworks installation. Once again, bear in mind your intended outcome and potential distribution of the route you are building. You don't want to use files that don't belong to you, unless of course you don't mind that a hoard of 10,000 locusts will be visited upon you. I'd suggest you use the Kuju default files found in the Assets/Kuju/RailSimulator or RailSimulatorUS folder.

    Oh, what have we got here? An .ap file. Do you remember what to do with that so you can unzip the compressed file and access the TimeOfDay, Environment/Terrain, and Weather folders? If not, please revisit the tutorial on Railworks File Information.

    The four seasonal skies will be found in the TimeOfDay folder, named accordingly. The Weather file is found in the Weather folder (choose Clear). And the Terrain file is found in the Environment/Terrain folder. The file you want is called "texturing.bin." Having completed the previous sections of the form, you can now choose how your route will be categorized within Train Simulator. Choose the Route Location, Era, and Terrain according to your route particulars.
  5. Once you have completed filling out the form, double check it for accuracy and spelling. You will not be able to change this information within Railworks, once the template has been created. That is to say, unless you are knowledgeable in direct file editing in Railworks. If you are satisfied with the information in the form, click on Build Template.

More in TS2017 ROUTE BUILDING #6 - Getting Started (The Golf Course)
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