What’s next after CTC 3.13

First my apologies. Yes – we promised to have the helper function available for 3.13, and some pieces are already in, and while we got already trains pushed by a helper working, there are still things to do, like when to engage, when to disengage, communication, and some other interaction. The new territories that we placed in our directory (and another coming soon) don’t need helper function, but they make use of the foreign train feature. So we included the foreign train feature, and made some other corrections for 3.13.

The foreign train feature, by the way, works different than TDP3’s version. We don’t have the automatic feature, but our traffic is directional. So you can see from where the train is coming from. Not that important from the function point of view, but we think it is more realistic. When converting TDP’s numbers of train frequency, we split them in half between either directions of a single track crossing. For double track crossing, we assign the whole number of one particular track to one direction, while placing the number of the second track in the opposite direction.

The new territories have foreign trains running in the FULL version of the territory.

But for the next version of CTC we think we will have the helper function completed.

We also have started working of enhancing the signaling and routing function mentioned in my previous post. The first step is to define fixed route sections, which are regular route sections but with additional information to align switches which are not traveled by
the train using that route but rather protecting it. They will be used for train routing – as opposed to switch routing. Switch routing will continue to work as before – creating dynamic route sections as needed, however it will be possible to route into an occupied track, and the signal indication will be a steady yellow signal symbol.

We might throw in a drawbridge track element for the next release. Some territories in our library suggest some drawbridges on the scene, but only as a comment. But we all know, that it takes some time to lower and raise a drawbridge – more so than for street drawbridges. Also, railroad drawbridges are normally open for boat traffic, and lowered only if a train approaches the bridge. And there is ample advance warning for the boat traffic before a bridge is actually lowered.

Once we have the drawbridge feature implemented in CTC, we will modify the territories to make it real.

As always, enjoy the game.

The WebRailRoader Team

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What’s next after CTC 3.12

CTC 3.12 was mostly about adaption for TDP3 territories, e.g. possible multiple start times on a particular weekday – or even non at all, and pick a couple of trains of a regular schedule, and place them where you want. We actually run those trains – and only those – and maneuver them so that they get to the supposed starting blocks. Then we save that game status and incorporate that into the scene data that you can download.

The conversion of TDP3’s train schedule handling turned out to be tricky. There are some conditions where decisions need to be made to fit in our CTC scheduling scheme that are not so obvious. That involved some TDP3 investigations – we almost can open now a TDP support group – except for serial number lookup we probably can answer any TDP question you may have.

Anyway, because of this, we haven’t completed the helper function and the foreign train handling yet – we decided to delay that and do it for 3.13.

But we don’t want to do only what TDP does, we want to do something more.
For instance, we are thinking about expanding the signalling and routing by differentiating between train routing (from station to station) and switch routing (typically within a station) Switch routing allows routing into an occupied block and the train runs under caution – since this is switching. And you have – in a station – far more switching signals than signals for train routing. And while switching only signals have to be clear (or at least neutral) for a train route, the train’s behavior is really governed by the train signals as opposed to the switching signals.

Another thing we want to add is “more comfortable” routing, like pre-progamming a route that would not be possible at this moment, but would be set once it is possible, or automatic routing based on train types, destination etc.

As always, enjoy the game.

The WebRailRoader Team

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What’s next after CTC 3.11

With the changes in CTC 3.11 we have implemented a few things you’ve enjoyed in TDP3, mainly passing a red signal (also requested by our customers) and work areas. There are things in TDP3 we haven’t addressed yet but we will.
Continue reading

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What we are working on for CTC Release 3.11

In CTC Release 3.11 we will add the possibility to give an order to a train to pass a red signal.

It will be possible to do it in two ways: (1) by giving an order while in contact with your virtual train engineer via phone conversation [this is considered to be like a written train order], and (2) by setting a special indicator at the signal to be passed.

In Germany, the special signal indicator is called “Ersatzsignal”. We will implement the functionality in a similar fashion, which is: the permission will be active for about two minutes, after which the permission is withdrawn, and the permission is valid only for the next approaching train – if there this another train behind it, the permission is not valid for the 2nd train, even if the signal still indicates this (in order for the 2nd train to pass a red signal, you need to reactivate the permission again).

The signal symbol will flash in yellow, if the signal has the indicator on.

For hidden signals there is only the option via phone authorization.

Now, as you know, passing a red signal is a dangerous operation. The system will not check if the switches are aligned properly or if the next track section is actually free – that is YOUR job. Of course, allow to enter a block with a train already in it is what you actually want to do, therefore your train engineer will do his part and pass a red signal with restricted speed, prepared to stop at any obstruction.

Part of the enhancements for 3.11 is to deal with the consequences if something goes wrong. In preliminary testing I already caused a head-on collision, which the program does not handle very well – yet. It does detect that, but I tended to terminate the program instead of waiting for hours until the system deletes the involved trains, so that part is not very well tested and has bugs as I found out. But thanks to the save/load feature in introduced 3.10 we can now dig deeper into these scenarios.

As always, enjoy the game.

The WebRailRoader Team

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Upcoming in CTC 3.10

Just to keep you posted what is coming for CTC release 3.10:

The biggest change is the capability to save the current game status in a file, and load this some other time to continue. Since there is no end time in CTC, you just can play forever so to speak.

We got it working with the current set up in the available territories. There is some more things to do like how to integrate it re-load into the existing scheme, and we do some testing to make sure everything works as it it supposed to be.

Since the saved status needs to match with the base data of the territory itself, a special code will be added into the territory data, so that there won’t be any mixup. Because there was some substantial work into implementing this, and to create an incentive to purchase the general registration code, we have decided to add the save option only to the STD and FULL version of the territory files, and maybe in the FREE version of small demo territories.

Other changes include the possibility to zoom in and out using the mouse wheel, a correction affecting customers where the comma is standard to separate integer and fraction in floating point numbers, and some correction handling scheduling when midnight passes.

As always, enjoy the game.

The WebRailRoader Team

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Updates available

Hello –

For those who got into during the Easter Special promotion: congratulations.

In the meantime, we have been busy. We have upgraded CTC to expand the support of switches. which now can be placed in all different ways (TDP allowed only 4 variants), and added the support of slip switches, both single and double slip switches. These slip switches operate like most in reality, having two switch motors (there is a TDP clone out there that support slip switches with just one motor, they do exist in reality also, but are very rare). TDP never supported slip switches.

The latest addition to CTC is the support of what we call “superblocks”. They represent stretches of consecutive smaller blocks, where each of them have their own attribute, like speed limits, but which can be occupied by only one train. We have noticed some TDP territories where there is a stretch of track as a combination of several blocks. Since TDP places automatic signals between those sections, you can send a train into that stretch even though the previous train hasn’t left the last section yet. You usually find a hint saying please don’t do this, but nothing is really stopping you. In CTC you can define such sequence of blocks as a collection for a superblock. The occupancy status shows the status for the whole stretch, and you can begin or terminate a route only on the while thing, while the train will still run through the individual blocks as usual. You can also have several platforms located in whole stretch.

Finally – Toledo Terminal is back. We have done some research, and found that must of the crossings in the TDP version are shown as overpasses, when in fact there area really diamonds. Don’t blame the author of original the territory for it – diamonds were not supported by TDP at that time. We converted all crossing to diamonds (except one, which appears to have been really an overpass). This variant is available in the FULL version. The FREE and STD version still have the overpasses – and less trains in the schedule.

As always, enjoy the game.

The WebRailRoader Team

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Webrailroader announces CTC simulation software

On April 30, 2012, Softrail announced that it would stop selling the simulation program “Train Dispatcher” and any associated territories with that.

TDP, as you may know, is a game that shows the diagram of the tracks of a particular territory, and your job is to route the trains to their proper destination as set per schedule.

Webrailroader’s CTC is our own version of the TDP. While it was certainly inspired by TDP, it is not a clone. The general task is the same – the routing of the trains according the schedule, but we put a different spin to it. For instance, you can communicate with the (virtual) engineers running the trains on you territory.

This project was started quite some time ago, Continue reading

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Model Trains For Beginners Insiders Club

If you want to start a real model train layout, you may want to check out this

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