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Using rail vehicles group names in scenarios

By Chacal

Using group names in your scenarios is a finishing touch that will make them more enjoyable to the player.

When playing a scenario, you will often see instructions in the task list that involve a long list of cars. This makes the task list cluttered, as shown in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1 - default instruction display

This is often unnecessary, as the player doesn't usually need the actual car numbers. Most tasks in published scenarios usually involve picking up or dropping off whole cuts of cars on a siding. Wouldn't it be much more useful and easier to read if the instruction above simply said "Couple all cars to the front of Colfax Snapper at Colfax Loop Track 2"?

Fortunately this is possible.

The scenario editor that came with Train Simulator 2013 added a little-known feature for doing just that. It is called "Rail vehicles group names". It is available in the timetable view.

Figure 2 shows the task from the example above, opened in the task editor.


Figure 2 - Task editor

Directly below the list of cars are two data fields. The one of the left is "Rail vehicles group name". It is a text field in which you type a name for the group of cars in the list, as shown on Figure 3. We'll just type "all cars" here.


Figure 3 - adding a group name


After saving and running the scenario, the task list will now show this name "all cars" instead of the list of cars, as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4 - new task list showing the group name

This is much easier to read.
Of course, you should make sure that the instruction is true, clear and not ambiguous. In the above example, both the scenario briefing (as seen in Figure 4) and an earlier popup message (not shown) already make it clear that the player is driving a helper set and has to couple to the rear of a train waiting in Colfax loop track 2. You can also use a more precise group name, such as "the first three empty hoppers" or "the empty hoppers near the coal loader".

You should also make sure to maintain consistency between popup messages and group names. If your popup message says to pick up empty hoppers, use "empty hoppers" as a group name, not "all hoppers".

Should you want the task list to show both the group name and the car numbers, you can check the "Rail vehicles in task list" checkbox as shown in Figure 5. This will just append the list of car numbers to the group name, e.g. "Couple empty hoppers 111345, 111289, 111654 to the rear of player engine". You would do this to prevent confusion, for example if there are other empty hoppers on the same track.



Figure 5 - adding vehicle numbers to the task list

Using finishing touches such as group names and well-written popup messages in your scenarios may seem like unnecessary eye candy, but they will add to the "Wow!" factor and make your scenarios more polished and professional.


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