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TrainPlayer / TrackLayer 6.0 Contents

Welcome to Version 6.0! 

Version 6.0 brings major enhancements in two areas. The first, provides a workbench of tools and a complete language for developing scripts to automate layout operation. If you think that sounds technical, you're right, but see the sales pitch below. The second has to do with train appearance -- great new artwork in four new car collections, with new devices for getting more out of the rolling stock. In addition to these projects, a lot of work has gone on under the hood, adding handy features, fixing bugs, streamlining and reworking the basic TrainPlayer machinery.

Breaking with tradition, we are attaching a price tag to this upgrade. If you are a user of any previous version (unless you purchased recently), the price is $19.  There is a free trial period, so help yourself to a download and give it a try.  Details below

New Features in 6.0

Advanced Scripting

Scripting is the activity of directing the computer to run all or part of your railroad.  For years it has been possible to do this in a limited way, by attaching a sequence of commands to a train.  That is still possible -- now using a much richer vocabulary including loops, branches, variables, decision-making, interactive alerts -- and now you can also attach a script to a location on the track, such that an action starts happening whenever a suitable train passes by.

Advanced Scripting introduces several new dialogs and devices, including Script Central, a multi-purpose dialog for creating, editing, and keeping track of scripts, and providing a built-in command reference and language guide.  The package includes a tutorial layout -- the Tremont & Cambridge, with a system for running passenger operation, as shown in this screen shot:

For more information and links to a wealth of reading matter, see the 6.0 Scripting page.

Scripting is not for everyone.  Becoming a script author takes some learning and experimenting, and a bit of do-it-yourself attitude.  If you've ever programmed a VCR or created a macro in Excel or written a DOS batch file (or you even know what those terms mean!), then you will feel right at home with scripting.  There is plenty of help available to get you started.

If not -- if you find idea of programming to be uninteresting or frightening -- then you can still benefit from Advanced Scripting by enjoying what the script authors produce.  Let the programmers write the scripts, you run and enjoy them.  For example, see Puzzles below.

Doubly-detailed car collections

Version 6.0 comes with several great new collections of cars in "50-pixel" format, with side-view images twice the size of the older sets.  Lovingly collected and prepared by our resident content master Bruno Pigozzo, the new sets are balanced arrays of steam and modern, freight and passenger, American, British, and Canadian, with a new set of large-image freight loads to match.  Here is a tiny sample:

Version 6.0 has several features in support of these cars.  When you open a layout using default cars, they are automatically upgraded to the new 50-pixel equivalents.  Trains can mix 50-pixel with old cars and full-size Chris Pedersen cars, all scaled to work together.  Train windows can automatically adjust to show cars in their optimum sizes.

Puzzles

With the release of 6.0, we are launching a collection of scripted layouts you can download and run.  You can find these in the new Puzzles and Scripts folder in the layout chooser. 

One particularly fine example is John Allen's classic Timesaver switching puzzle, created and scripted by Richard Fletcher, shown here:

Richard has cleverly scripted the layout to become a sort of interactive game.  Open it, and you get a window of instructions and rules.  Then operate the layout, deliver the cars according to the rules, the script keeps track of your moves and rewards you when you get correct results.

Plenty more

The list of fixes and improvements in 6.0 relative to the previous version is quite long.  Here are some highlights:

  • Improved choosing of car collections, with enhancements to the car bar
  • Improved handling of freight load images
  • Car panels: dynamic resizing of car images of all size categories
  • Car notes: a script-accessible string of data can be attached to a car to use as needed
  • Revert to Saved: easy way to rewind back to a fixed point
  • Improved car and track id system, especially applies to AnyRail imports
  • Fixes in coupling and uncoupling
  • Read-only flag can be applied to layout to prevent accidental overwrite
  • Flexible new Note Window for providing user instructions and alerts from scripts
  • Crash preventions in many areas

Acknowledgements

Version 6.0 has been in development for well over a year.  During that time we have had a small group of dedicated guys on a special forum helping to plan, design, test, document, and critique the scripting system as it evolved.  The many scripted layouts packaged with this release are the products of this group.  We would like to thank them here: Alan Crookes (aka Wee Alan), Alan Conover, Greg Ritacco, Peter Prunka, Doug Parrish, and especially the main contributor of the group, Richard Fletcher, who has devoted months of his time, thousands of e-mails, and many wonderful British-flavoured cars, layouts, scripts and ideas.

How To Obtain 6.0

Version 6.0 is a free upgrade for new users*, but will require a nominal outlay from older ones.  It's a good deal!  The cost is only $19 to upgrade from any previous version all the way up to the top of the line package, TrackLayer 6.0, with track and scenery tools, ops, scripting, the whole works.

Whether you are upgrading from a previous version or buying for the first time, the recommended procedure is:

1. Click here to download and install the new version ==>
This gets you a demo valid for 30 days.
6.0 Download NA

2. Try the new features, enjoy the new look, run the samples.  Then:

3.  Choose Help > Purchase Upgrade from the main menu.  This brings up a dialog which shows you prices and options, and gives you a one-click route to the shop checkout page.

If you are a new user, the dialog is titled Purchase Product, with prices and options for the new 6.0 products.

If you do not already have them, you can add the Chris Pedersen Car Collections for a special bundle price.  A checkbox in the Purchase dialog gives you this option and shows the price when you check it.

* New user is one who purchased for the first time in 2014.  If you are in this category, send e-mail to request your free upgrade license.  If you are a prospective buyer and find that 30 days is not enough time, send e-mail to request an extension.

Earn a free copy!  Develop a scripted layout we can post for others to download, and we will send you a free 6.0 license.  If interested, ask by e-mail.

Been using an older version?  The 6.0 installer will make some changes to your system.  For details, see the 6.0 Readme.

6.0 Questions & Answers

Q.  What does the 6.0 installer do?

The 6.0 installer delivers the new version alongside any older ones; it does not overwrite older executables, help files, or system files, so you can continue to run your older system while you are evaluating the new one. 

However, there are some changes in your data files.  With 6.0 you get new sets of default cars and a new set of loads.  These are designed to replace your older ones.  The older folders are renamed as Defaults5 and Loads5.  There is more information about this process in the Readme.

Q.  What if I run the 6.0 demo and decide not to buy the upgrade?

A.  That would be a shame!  Even if you are not going to use all the new 6.0 features, we hope you will keep up with the advances and support our continuing development.  But to answer the question: uninstall 6.0 using Control Panel or Start menu, and you should be back where you started, running your older system.  If you have any problems, (a) see the Readme, (b) let us know.

Q.  Can I continue to run my older version and get the bug fixes from 6.0, without the new features?

A.  Sorry, no.  There will not be any further development on 5.3 or earlier versions.

Q.  If I want to try my hand at scripting, do you provide support?

A.  Yes, we are glad to help with scripting questions, and so is our panel of experts on the TP Forum.  Support is free if you have a 6.0 license.

Q.  I just bought TrainPlayer two months ago.  Do I need to pay for the upgrade?

A.  No.  If you purchased for the first time since 1/1/2014, send e-mail and request your free upgrade.  We will verify your order based on your name and e-mail.

 

 


6.0 Features

How To Obtain 6.0

6.0 Q & A

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