Building The IRTS
Day 1 - An Idea Is Born
By Alfred Barten
Test bed view from the cab.
Some of the things I like most about rapid transit / commuter train modeling are the things that make it difficult. To model it correctly, we need lots of trains in motion, lots of railroad infrastructure and lots of scenery items such as buildings, people, vehicles and the like. All of these spell big monetary expense for the traditional modeler and big demands on computer resources for the virtual modeler.
The Island Rapid Transit System (IRTS) layout for TRS2006 is my latest attempt. It’s based on the idea that spline objects offer a great way to produce lots of scenery without a great expenditure in computational resources. I considered using backdrops, which I often use in my small module layouts and give a maximum amount of scenery for a minimum amount of resource expense, but have never been able to make them work successfully on layouts larger than four baseboards arranged in a square. The reason is that backdrops are visible from great distances (i.e., many baseboards) whereas baseboard topography is visible at most for a distance of two baseboards. When used in larger layouts, the distant backdrops can be seen as apparently floating in space because the related topography hasn't been rendered. So the emphasis on splines is a major departure from my usual approach.
We still have a lot of rail traffic to account for, but I’ll be using portals to provide traffic in limited places rather than have lots of trains running everywhere under AI control. I think that with proper placement and setup of portals I can give the impression of there beong more traffic than there actually is. An added trick here would be to use static rolling stock objects, but there are not many available and none that I'm aware of for the transit cars I intend to use.
I plan to describe the building process in detail as I proceed. Check back often or sign up to be notified every time we add a new article at Virtual Railroader.
Article and screen shots ©2010 Alfred Barten. All rights reserved.
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