Excellent! We will start the first tut in 3-4 weeks. I have prior commitments (Slug, NS-AND Route, and a dog pen) that I have to complete first. Also, I want to be able to complete the first set of trucks before putting the first tut online. That will take some time as I have to build and process the steps into a webpage.
Experience helps, but it is not required to follow this tutorial. We will go from setting up a template to building the first wheel flange, and then everything in between up to releasing the unit to the public. I don't think there will be much of a chance of bogging down as there will be at least a couple of weeks between each tutorial release.
Between now and the first posting online, there are a few things you need to do.
1. Gather information. Get all the facts you can about the locomotive you are modeling. If possible, get measurements ( wheel diameters, wheel base, unit height, cab height, overall length, etc ) so that you can be as accurate as possible. If you can get photos of the unit, and even sounds (respect all railroad property and safety rules) these will help immensely. You will also be able to get a lot of information off of the internet.
Trainiax.net is a good place to get the template drawings that you will need to compare your loco to in 3DC. TheDieselShop.us is a good place to get basic information about the locomotive you are modeling.
Also, a little, no, a lot of reading is in order. I would recommend every post in the "building rolling stock" section of the UKTS forum.
2. Gather your tools:
- 3DCrafter Pro. I'm using v8.2, which is different from earlier and later versions, but not so much that you meed a major retranslation.
- Decapod's plug-ins for 3DC.
- A texture manipulation program that can handle layers and transparencies. I use Photoshop 7, as RSC makes an Ace conversion plug-in for it, but a cheaper alternative such as Paint Shop Pro should do.
- An RSC recommended Ace conversion tool, either plug-in or stand-alone.
- Nvidia normal map filter for photoshop. I think there is also one for older versions of PSP floating around the net.
- RW_Tools. Powerful and inexpensive tool for manipulating Railworks file formats. It will be required as some files will need to be changed after export to the game.
3. Practice. A good place to start will be the RailSimulator tutorial "Getting a locomotive in the game", available in the RSC dev docs. It takes you step by step on how to do this. Its not much more than building simple shapes and exporting them, but it will apply to our scaled up and filled out versions.
Well, there it is for now. All who want to follow along are welcome, as the more information we can share, the better the outcome will be.