Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Bulleid Q1: Show me more

It was rather remiss of me to post an update the other day of the tender and not add any pictures of the loco with it, so let me rectify that immediately..

I also just had the pleasure of watching a video from MeshTools featuring some rather nice wheel slip on icy rails from their upcoming dock tank. I'm not sure if they've completely rewritten the physics like myself and Mike Rennie (Smokebox) have but it looked really nice. It's exciting times for Train Simulator steam locos and the ongoing quest for realism.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Bulleid Q1: Love me tender

Bit of a delay on this one due to half term and various birthdays but the tender is now complete. As with the rest of the rebuild it's a lot more accurate than before - the storage lockers create a nice curve along the top of the roof panel rather than being simple boxes - and all of the controls are created to be working.

There's also a rather nice concertina cloth roof between the cab and tender. These were to help hide the firebox glow from planes during WW2 but due to their flimsy nature were broken quite quickly and never replaced after the war so will only be on the Southern liveried version.

So on to the next part, the cab...

Friday, 14 February 2014

Bulleid Q1: First shades of grey

Here is the first render of the new Bulleid Q1 build showing all of the modifications that were added throughout it's life. Almost nothing remains of the original model - everything has either been rebuilt from scratch or in a very few cases the basic shape kept and much more detail added. There are also many new parts including boiler, firebox, AWS gear, cab deflector and separated steam reverser parts so it can be fully animated.

Now it's time to move on to the tender, and then the cab - of which there will also be multiple options to reflect the diversity of the original class, in both it's Southern and British Rail guises.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Bulleid Q1: Details, details

They say that the devil is in the detail, and when it comes to train fanatics the details need to be right - and to be there to start with.
We've come a long way since the early Rail Simulator models with their low poly counts but with the changes made to the graphics engine and with people having more powerful computers these days it allows modellers to get busy with their rivet guns and as long as good use is made of LOD levels then it shouldn't bring users computers to a grinding halt.

Explanation for those who are not 3D model litterate:
Poly - Short for polygon, and simply used to show the number of flat faces used in creating a model. Early RS loco models were about 15-20,000 polys. Now it's possible to exceed 100,000 if done in the right way, which brings us to..
LOD levels - This is simply a way to tell the graphics engine to stop showing something when it's X distance away. So for example you might make the rivets on a loco stop showing at 30m from the users camera - they aren't visible to the eye at that range anyway and telling the graphics engine to ignore them saves it from wasting resources. Sometimes you might also replace an object with something simpler, so for example a goods shed that looks detailed close up can be shown as a simple elongated cube with a rough texture on the side once the user is 500m away. The key to getting it right is testing at a high resolution to make sure you don't get pop-up, which is when the change/appearance/disappearance is too close to the user and you can see the LOD change happening.

So in light of these advances and my working knowledge of optimising the LOD's it's inevitable that the Q1 was going to get detailed, and detailed good!
Here is a work in progress picture showing the old model and the new model alongside, which really speaks for itself...

Next time I'll hopefully have a completed loco model to show and can then turn my attention to the tender.

GWR Steam Railmotor: It's out!

Available now on Steam

I have been honestly overwhelmed by the response to it's release, so thank you very much to everyone who's bought it and commented and I hope you'll have many happy hours driving it.

Some of the comments from Facebook and various train sim forums:
  • I just can't express how amazing your work is for the Railmotor, simply stunning! Thank you once again for bringing something totally different to TS2014! 
  • It's worth every penny mate, one of the few DLC's I would happily pay full price for!
  • Well done the railmotor is amazing, 10/10 love it
  • A piece of beauty, amazing work again Pete! The detail is incredible!
  • Driving backwards is hard because all you got is a bell to tell your fireman when to start, stop and brakes release. It's a crazy system I leave it at that. In terms of operation hands down its the best one yet. Pete deserves a medal for this
  • Bought it and gave it a run from New Holland Station to Barrow Haven Halt. Ran it on simple mode, it's lovely

There is also a very nice video that someone has made driving in Advanced Mode

For those who don't want anything so taxing and would rather relax when driving their trains - and lets be honest to get a good screenshot you need to be able to move away from the loco without anything horrible happening! - it also works in Simple mode and Expert Mode without the need to worry about the advanced controls and functions.

I'd love to hear from anyone driving it in hardcore mode - F3 HUD (or no HUD!), Advanced Mode on, auto-fireman off, only using cab controls with the mouse - no keyboard (other than view changes, etc).

Again thank you to all who've commented around the web, it's really great to have something you've made and poured so much attention into be so well received.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Bulleid Q1: Setting things in motion

Just a quick post today as I'm recovering from a late night (early morning!) from watching the Super Bowl.

Major task on the Q1 rebuild was to create working Stephenson's gear, which was initially created just using simple shapes - rectangles and circles. Once the motion was animated and checked then it was time to fully build all of the separate parts from plans and photographs.
It's an important part of the Q1 as the gear is very visible through the gaps in the frame, but so you can see it fully I've created an animated image of it with the boiler and panelling removed.

Enjoy - and don't get too hypnotised  :-)

Note: If you view this in an old version of Internet Explorer it may not be animated - I would advise you upgrade to a later version or use a different browser, not least for security reasons.

Those with a keen eye may have spotted the 2 mechanical lubricators rocking back and forth in the top right corner and be thinking, "Hey I've only seen 1 lubricator on C1/33001 at the NRM." In fact during their lives some Q1's had hydrostatic lubricators, some had single mechanical lubricators and a few had dual mechanical as seen above. All of these variations will be included for all 40 locomotives, in both Southern and BR liveries, providing the modifications that each number carried.