TS2017 ROUTE BUILDING #7 - World Editor Orientation/Preparing Your World

TS2017 ROUTE BUILDING #7 - World Editor Orientation/Preparing Your World

"Are you kidding me? More preparation? When can I start laying track?"

Preparation is the key to a good route, much like the foundation is key to supporting a good house. If the foundation gives way, so will the house. So let us take a little while to familiarize yourself with the Railworks World Editor and some of its features that you will absolutely need to know. Many sub-features exist as well for more complicated, creative work by those who are enormously familiar with the World Editor. I will not delve into that in these tuts.

Take a look at the World Editor Control Panels on the left-hand side of the editor. There are three individual panels stacked one upon the other. The little push-pin in the upper right-hand corner of these panels allows the panel to be pinned to the Editor window, or slide off to the side when not in use. Find which way works best for you. You're the author, after all.

I will explain the cute little panel buttons and their features in subsequent tutorials as the need arises to introduce them. Let us just proceed step-by-step as I promised I would try to keep these Route Building Tutorials simple.

The little panel above the Happy Locomotive in the Golf Course picture is the Navigator Panel. More on that in a subsequent tutorial. As for now, we will not be leaving the starting point for a little while, yet.

Really, the first thing to do now is decide which Providers will be contributing their assets to your route. Your route template will need to know who those contributors are so they will appear in the list of available assets, and so that proper file references can be made during the creation of your route. To select the contributors, look on the left-hand, middle panel for a blue square with a yellow arrow in it.

Clicking on that will reveal a pop-up panel on the right-hand side of your screen where you may chose the Providers and Products that will be used in your route. Use the drop-down menu in the panel to select the Provider, then click the left-hand square next to the product you will be installing into your route. The selection will result in green check marks being applied to all relative squares relating to the product. You are now free to select another Provider/Product, and so on.

Be advised once again that you cannot use another Provider's asset in any intended release without giving due credit to the asset author in a ReadMe file included with the route. Some freeware authors may rquest that you contact them for permission before implementing their assets into your route. Freeware assets cannot be used in any payware release without the express written permission of the asset author. If your route includes DLC from another route, you must mention that your route requires the person installing your route to be in possession of the DLC used to build it. Otherwise, our route won't work for them. Got it? Got it!

Demming the terrain is an expression that stems from the earlier days when we used Digital Elevation Mercators to create the geographical terrain into something other than a golf course. After having selected the Contributors to your route, the next step is to elevate, or DEM, the terrain. It is now presumed that you have downloaded and unzipped the .hgt files applicable to your route location, and that they have been placed into your Assets\YourName\YourRoute\Dem\srtm folder.

In the top, left-hand Control Panel you will find a symbol of a paintbrush. Click on the paintbrush and the panel will change to reveal other features. The paintbrush symbol will now have a square around it, indicating that it is the active feature of the panel.

Click on Import to reveal yet another pop-up window:

This window is where you assign elevation data to your route. Unlike the placement of scenery items, terrain elevation is affected in the World Editor by the positioning of the camera, as center. So, in the options window you will see a choice of the number of tiles (squared) that the demming will affect. As an example, 5x5 will give you a total of 25 tiles coverage, centered around your camera position. Play with it until you get a feel of how much terrain elevation is necessary for proper visualization. Going too large will unnecessarily increase the size of the route file.

It is possible that Demming your terrain will cause the terrain to rise above the elevation of your Route Starting Point gizmo. In that case, you might see something like this:

To raise the gizmo above grade, click on it to select it, then click and hold on the arrowhead pointing upward. With your other hand, hold down the Ctrl+UpArrow keys on your keyboard. Although the gizmo may temporarily disappear from sight, maintain these controls until you rise above grade. The gizmo may still not appear. Don't worry. It will the next time you open your World Editor.

After assigning the terrain elevation to your starting location we will need to move along now to Dem some terrain reaching further than our starting point. Use your cursor arrows on the keyboard to move the camera left, right, forward, and reverse. By holding down the Ctrl button at the same time, the cursor buttons will move your camera left, right, up and down. By holding the Shift key at the same time, you can speed up the movement in the chosen direction.

After assigning the terrain elevation to your starting point it may be necessary to rise to the lay of the land by holding down the Shift+Ctrl+UpArrow keys. Hold these keys until you see the ground texture of your route below the camera. After a little bit of practice you will get the hang of moving the camera in no time.

The easiest way to determine the lay of the land is by rising above it and navigating around by using the keyboard as previously outlined. By holding down the RIGHT mouse button you can rotate the camera as though it were on a gimble (or a pivot point). Ideal for looking in a certain direction without going there.

To determine where you need to go to Dem your terrain accordingly you can raise your camera well above the ground (not too far, though) and use the keyboard buttons to navigate the camera to the next area that needs to be demmed. Activate the Google Maps API by holding the Ctrl key and pressing the"G" key on your keyboard at the same time. This turns on the Google Map overlay. Blue circles will first appear on your terrain while Google downloads the overlays to your computer. In a few moments the circles will disappear and the terrain will appear similar to a Google Earth image. You can now see exactly where you need to go! To turn off the Google Map overlay, press Ctrl+G, again.

You can move your camera past the terrain drop-off by a couple of tiles before demming the next area, as the import will elevate the terrain around your camera position, at center, and therefore rewrite the terrain elevation data for the selected area. My personal preference would be to Dem the entire route before moving on to any kind of object placement. In this way, you can work with the changes in elevation as you lay your track and roads.

By this time, you have likely demmed enough terrain to get you on your way to finally placing some objects into the World Editor. In order to leap great distances in a single bound, you can use the Navigator Panel in the top, center of the World Editor screen. By clicking on the little symbol that looks like a ships wheel, you can access the list of Route Markers that you created earlier in this process.
The list will pop up on the right hand side of the World Editor, allowing you to select your camera destination by name. Conversely, you can enter the latitude and longitudinal coordinates into the applicable boxes and hit Enter.

You can also use your keyboard arrow keys to move your camera (and ultimately, your location on the map). Left and Right Arrow Keys move your camera left and right. The Up Arrow moves the camera forward. The Down Arrow moves the camera backward. You can move the camera Up and Down by holding the Ctrl key while depressing the Up Arrow or Down Arrow. Holding the SHIFT key speeds up the process for all the above key commands.

More in TS2017 ROUTE BUILDING #8 - Placement of Objects
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