YZ's Roadmap to Content Creation


So, you would like to know how to create you own fabulous content for Trainz Railroad Simulator. Here, I will give you the places to look and the steps you need to begin finding your way. 

First of all you need the trainz Content Creation Guide. Its a little out of date, but most of the information in there is still useful up to TS2010.

Second, you need a program to make 3D models. There are numerous ones out there, but only two that I am aware of that are both free and have trainz exporters. 

 (Logos are links to the respective webpages)

I don't know too much about how to use Blender, so I don't have much to comment about it. I know it is open source, and a pretty powerful modeling program, it has the ability to render and bake textures (GMax does not), and is more stable (in my experience) than Gmax, but the controls aren't as easy to understand than GMax. I know many creators like it alot, but I just have never learned how to use it yet. It seems to me a pretty good program though.

So far all my creations have been made with GMax.

GMax is a free water downed version of 3ds Max. (3ds Max is the supported modeling program for Auran.) GMax is an old program and not supported anymore, so it can be a little buggy. But I found it easier to learn than Blender. But anyhow, the price is right, Free! Also if you learn Gmax, there isn't as much as a learning curve if you feel you want to upgrade yourself to 3DS Max, since the controls are pretty much the same. 3ds Max isn't free however, the license is very expensive. Anyhow, GMax has been around alot longer than Blender so therefore there are more tutorials out there that have been written for it, which also makes it easier to learn.

After downloading and installing whichever modeling program you wish to use, you need to download and install to the program (GMax or Blender) the exporter files. These files allow you to export your model into the ".im" mesh format that trainz uses.

GMax Exporters http://www.auran.com/trainz/contentcreation.htm

Blender Exporters http://sourceforge.net/projects/blenderextrainz/

Now that you have a modeling program don't expect to be turning out fabulous content overnight. These programs have a very steep learning curve. Don't get discouraged! It will take you alot of trial and error to get the hang of the different tools. First teach yourself how to get your model into trainz. Make a box or a sphere or something, texture it and export it into a trainz asset. This for one will make sure you have all the right tools. It can be frustrating to make a complex model and then try to figure out how to get it into trainz. After that, my advice is to start small and simple, like a house or something, and work your way up to more complex things.

There are lots of tutorials out there to help you on your way. These two uber creators offer some really great tutorials for GMax.

Phil Campbell (phil_c) http://www.worldoftrainz.com/Pages/Tutorials.htm

Ian Manion (vulcan) http://www.ianztrainz.com.au/tutorial.htm

You can pretty much learn almost everything you need to know from their tutorials. If you get stuck, you can reference the Trainz Forums under "Content Creation Support".

http://forums.auran.com/trainz/index.php

This is like the encyclopedia of problems and solutions other people have had regarding content creation. It might take a little digging and searching, but at one time or another, someone, somewhere probably had the same problem, and posted a thread. If you can't find an answer, then you can make your own thread. Many seasoned creators often monitor this section of the forums and are very helpful.

For Blender tutorials I can't help too much. I know there are a few out there but you will have to search them out.

Thats about all I have to say for now. If your serious about content creation I look forward to seeing your stuff up on the DLS. Good luck and happy creating!

 

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