Lake Michigan West SAM

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slider38
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Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by slider38 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:28 am

This map contains 3 Eras running from 1930 to 2000. It contains a lot of new material - new industries, traincars, engines, etc. The map area runs roughly from Chicago, Illinois north to Sheboygan, Wisconsin and west to the Mississippi River. This is a single player map. This is a SAM (Stand Alone Map). Unzip the LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.001 in a clean Usermaps folder and it will unzip the rest of the files. I have spent about 4 weeks testing to try and get a good playing balance from each starting location. I have completed the victory conditions from each of the starting locations at the investor level. Testing at higher levels has not been tried. There is a Readme file you should take a look at.

This map is about track control. There are no crossover bridges. You must guide your trains to their destinations using switches as necessary. This is a 17x17 map.

I would appreciate it if someone would test this map. Thanks.
LMW_small map.jpg
Attachments
LMW_Readme.7z
(1.71 KiB) Downloaded 279 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.007
(3.27 MiB) Downloaded 534 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.006
(6 MiB) Downloaded 481 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.005
(6 MiB) Downloaded 452 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.004
(6 MiB) Downloaded 441 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.003
(6 MiB) Downloaded 443 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.002
(6 MiB) Downloaded 314 times
LMW Simple Upload Files.7z.001
(6 MiB) Downloaded 433 times

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:20 pm

Its nice to have all the map components in one post! :D I did not find unpacking the seven files straightforward, SMR crashed on start following a plain vanilla unpack. But once I had isolated the scenario files and put them in a separate file, things ran like clockwork.

This is basically a production chain map in the tradition of Jancsika, no story to speak of, just deliver A to B-Town which produces C for delivery in D-Town etc. Rationale for sending goods from one corner of the map to the opposite side? Who knows - only divulged on a need to know basis - the player does as he is told and gets his money, with a bit of spaghetti-routing towards the end. Fair enough, the chains are manageable and the spaghetti can probably be avoided. The success newspapers are very refreshing.

The scenery provides some attractive views, and the stand-alone farmhouses etc are a nice idea. The new loco skins, industries, passenger and goods cars are delightful and very well done. Really impressive! :D

Jancsika always produced an overview sheet detailing the new production chains. This would be welcome here too, not because the chains are onerous to work out, but because the new tiny icons are a bit difficult to distinguish, especially since some chains, say wood-production, differ from the standard sequence.

I just finished everything in Investor difficulty, with 15 trains running simultaneously. Seems impossible to manage the first era on Robber Baron, but if one were to succeed, the whole map should be doable on that level as well.
Attachments
Lake Michigan West Routes.jpg
Passerger delivery.jpg
Dang Plastic Pipes.jpg
Lake Michigan West Win.jpg
Starting from Dodgeville.jpg

slider38
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:35 am

Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by slider38 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:57 pm

Thanks for testing this map Karsten. How should I go about fixing this startup issue? Would it be best to take the map and RRT files and put them in their own folder and create a seperate download of just those files?

I always appreciate the fact that you are willing to take the time to look at these maps as they come along. Thanks

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:17 pm

Thanks for a fun afternoon, Slider - I enjoyed and admired the carefully crafted new content! As I have said before, your maps are always thoroughly tested before posting, not a glitch to be found. 8)

I think Warll will package the files in one downloadable and post them in the database, so you don't need to do anything. :D

TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:38 am

Nice map Slider. I really liked the new industries and rolling stock, especially the plastic pipe plant, coal depot, oil port, grain elevator, and Abcor Industries modern warehouse, although the Abcor industry might look better scaled a bit larger. It looks too small when a train is nearby. I liked the paint jobs on the engines and cars, and especially liked the large box cars. I may reskin one of your box cars to use on my US_Southeast map for the v3 cars on some goods. The old box cars look to short (upward and length) when being pulled with SD40 and AC44 engines. I did not meet many Victory Objectives, but I got off to a slow start. I played the game until I had moved all the goods and viewed all the new cars and locomotives. The relatively flat terrain made track laying pretty simple, but lots of deliveries required that I relay some tracks or cross existing tracks with switches. I tried one time to lay a bridge overpass track and the cost was $15 million, so I tried something else. It seems to me, this map may be the most modern of all that I have played with lots late model engines and cars and more modern looking industries.

I tried your map a second time. It then ran fine for 4-5 hours with no trouble at all. The game did not even slow down much when laying track toward the end of the game. Hopefully your latest revisions will fix the startup problem. Anyway, I completed all VCs starting in Kasbeer. The game ran pretty much as you said it would in your readme file. Money was tight during Era 1 and I completed it only 3 months early. I put on a faster engine and added terminals at the last minute to make sure the final train (hauling cheese) arrived on time. Era 2 was much easier. I finished it 8 years early. Era 3 was completed 11 years early. The last 2 goods to complete were passengers and electronics. I did not build tracks to anything in the northwest 1/4 of the map as all VCs could be completed without those goods or cities. The first time I played the map my start city was Endeavor in the NW sector and it was the most active area in the game. Total track mileage 7000 miles, net worth $50 million. It is a fun map and really like all the new rolling stock. The newspaper event headlines and pics are good too; and I always enjoy a good Frank Sinatra song like "Chicago". Nice Job!

slider38
Posts: 111
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by slider38 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:55 pm

I appreciate you guys testing this. I was not anticipating any problems as I have been testing for a while without any CTDs. Glad the map ran well for you TMiller. You obviously have a more modern PC than this old job I'm using.
I am hoping that Karsten's experience in getting the map started might solve the startup issue. I never ran into that, but I have all the files except the game's scenario files and a few others in subfolders. That became a problem when I had to break the files down to make upload files small enough to work. I hope that when Warll prepares to move this map into the regular maps forum, he will seperate the scenario files once again and perhaps that will eliminate the startup issue. I never could duplicate that problem. We'll see. Thanks again for giving it a try. I spent about a year working on this maps' content.

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:03 pm

slider38 wrote: I spent about a year working on this maps' content.
... and it certainly shows! :D Great stuff.

A few more comments: You have a lot of nice touches, like the lighthouses and farmhouses. Unfortunately, they all disappear when loading a saved map, because they are defined as decorations. If you were to define them as monuments in one-house villages or as fake production facilities, I think they might stay put.

You have some really artistic event art, see glass event below. But the texts are not clear to the player. For example, when you say "Coal production falling", the event actually causes coal prices to fall temporarily. One could make the text clearer.

As expected, I could not succeed in the first era at Robber Baron difficulty. But I did succeed as Tycoon! My second effort resulted in far more elegant routing, which was very satisfying to discover. I am also quite proud of my "four metro population corridor" (see minimap) which gushed cash once in operation (around 1965-70). Finished 17 years early as Tycoon.

I still had the intermittent crash to desktop on loading a saved game. I worked around that by starting a fresh game and then loading the saved game from there. Not sure how to fix the problem, but the work-around is simple to apply.
Attachments
LMW Population corridor.jpg
LMW Artistic Glass.jpg
LMW Last plastic pipes.jpg
LMW done as Tycoon 17 years early.jpg
LMW Tycoon routes.jpg
LMW Savanna start Tycoon routes.jpg

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:19 pm

karsten wrote: If you were to define them as monuments in one-house villages or as fake production facilities, I think they might stay put.
Here is what I mean: first, the permanent landmark, a lighthouse in Chicago (pic1). You have to define it as landmark, otherwise you get overkill (pic2). :shock:
Second, a fake industry. I just replaced the oil terminal with a lighthouse (pic3 and 4). If you didn't know, you would probably not even try to collect oil from a lighthouse. :lol:
By raising the oiltanker, or placing it close to the shore, you could probably make even that permanent. :P
Attachments
LMW Landmark Red Lighthouse Chicago.jpg
LMW Landmark Chicago ^-^.jpg
LMW Permanent Lighthouse2.jpg
LMW Permanent Lighthouse.jpg

slider38
Posts: 111
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by slider38 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:17 am

Hi Karsten, I have done some testing with this lighthouse issue. I tried it as a landmark and placing it in a 1 building Hamlet - sort of a lighthouse keeper's home. I got this:
InGame.jpg

While the lighthouse and building look fine, I really don't care for the hamlet name showing up everytime that someone gets it on screen.

So I tried it as an Industry. The obvious drawback is that I have to create a meaningless good. Anyway, it looks like this:
LH_as_industry.jpg
If someone gets their cursor near a lighthouse they will get a production report. I'm really not crazy about that either, but at least it doesn't show up everytime it's onscreen. What do you think? Is it worth the trouble?

laloha
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by laloha » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:54 am

Thought I would look at the lighthouses in the Decorations folder. Am confused in that the Nif files are in fact light houses but the, diff, emsk, and spec files are a large building, and was wondering if this is correct?

Larry

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:27 am

slider38 wrote: What do you think? Is it worth the trouble?
It seems to me that if one goes to all the trouble of creating a landmark, one probably would prefer not to lose it when the map is saved and loaded.

The landmark hamlet could have an appropriate name, such as "Stormcliffs Lighthouse". For the goods approach, having a letter production would not seem out of place. One letter in, one letter out, for example. No disruption to the map balance.

In the end, every mapmaker decides for himself. But I rather like the idea for my next map ... whenever that is. :roll:

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:50 am

laloha wrote:Thought I would look at the lighthouses in the Decorations folder. Am confused in that the Nif files are in fact light houses but the, diff, emsk, and spec files are a large building, and was wondering if this is correct? Larry
Hi Larry, diff, emsk, and spec files control the appearance of the lighthouse (light diffusion, light emission, specular lighting).

Edit the files and see what happens! :D (Easier said than done, I know). :wink:

TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:59 am

Larry and Karsten, I noticed the same thing with Sliders oil tanker which has only 2 files oil_tanker.nif and oil_tanker_diff.dds. When I NifSkoped the oil_tanker.nif file, it references the SMR files: FisheryBoat_NORM.dds, FisheryBoat_SPEC.dds, and FisheryBoat_EMSK.dds. The FisheryBoat is that small shrimpboat/tugboat that everyone is familiar with in the standard fishery. The SPEC and EMSK files are basically black fields with a pattern of small white rectangles that match the windows on the FisheryBoat and are nothing like the windows on the oil_tanker. The files are also a different size than the oil_tanker_diff.dds file. I don't see how the game uses these files, but it does and I have seen the use of odd SPEC and EMSK files before. In any case, the oil tanker looks great in the game. I like it a lot better than the oil tanker I used in my ARABIA map which looked fine in NifSkope (which doesn't use the NORM, SPEC, and EMSK files to display an image, only the DIFF file) but looked like a rust bucket in the SMR game. It is a mystery to me.

But . . . Nice Job on the oil tanker, Slider.

I think the startup problem with this map has something to do with the random choices the game makes at startup. How else can the same map startup OK one time and crash the next on the same system? In my case, it crashed 4 times on 20 startups, but was fine the other 16. All of us are familiar with the Events.xml file and the problems it causes when it randomly selects a good not in the game and crashes. The only things I know of involving random choices at the startup of the game are: start city, city buildings, and the locations of each building, industry, and landmark in each city. I checked all the files and did not find any missing buildings, industries or landmarks. Even though in-city industries have coordinates in the file, usually within plus or minus 10 of the city coordinates, they are not necessarily placed there because of terrain or other conflicts. For example, in Sliders game, Chicago is located so close to the river that the game puts buildings on both sides of the river, but not in the water. SMR must have criteria in the code for randomly selecting a possible location for a building, etc, then testing it against an acceptable criteria such as "not in water". We have all seen how the game relocates buildings when a new railroad track is run through a city. I tried moving Chicago south of the river, but the game still crashed on the fourth try at startup, so Chicago may not be the problem. Maybe someone knows other random decisions the game makes at startup that sometimes sets up a conflict causing it to crash. I think Jancsika said that his India map sometimes crashes on startup, but runs fine once started. In that game Mumbai has a industry and is located on the coast very close to a port also on the coast. Cities located near a shoreline necessarily force the game to locate buildings and industries away from the water. Maybe crowding cities and industries causes a conflict when the game tries to place an industry within the radius of influence of another. Slider never had a problem with crashes, so different PCs must have different capabilities to overcome these conflicts. Who knows? I was recently adding tenders to the Mid_Atlantic_States map and while testing a black box came up on the screen listing 8 animation .kf files that were missing. After clicking "OK" the game continued to run without the missing files. So, even missing files don't always cause the game to crash. I have noticed that errors in the victory conditions (VCs) within the Scenario.xml file don't always cause crashes either. I have had draft maps with VCs involving goods not in the game and it still runs OK, it just can't count the delivery of goods not in the game.
After startup, the game ramdomly selects city songs unless they are designated in the city file, but I don't see how that could explain the startup problems here. I think Slider already deleted some songs he had in an earlier version of the map. Maybe someone will have some ideas here.

slider38
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:35 am

Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by slider38 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:35 pm

I appreciate all the testing you guys have done. I think that Bobby may have found a solution. After hours of work he says he has the game starting without difficulty. He is going to pm me the files this weekend so I can see what he has done. Basically it sounds like he added some event info to the traincars xml and rearranged the upload files. That said, at least in his testing, the game runs fine on his old pc running WindowsXP but on his new pc using Windows7 he has to run it in XP mode. I guess every system is a little different. He can run other maps just using standard Windows7 operations. This game continues to have its mysterious side. Once I get Bobby's files I will work on a new upload. :)

slider38
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:35 am

Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by slider38 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:48 pm

One other thing - I want to give credit where credit is due. The oil tanker is the creation of Rodea. I borrowed this from his Borneo map and repainted it. It does have an issue or 2. The back of the ship has a rather odd looking grill on it and the portside front has some contour issues. I tried fixing those in nifskope but never did get it right to my satisfaction. Thus it is facing the way it is - the port side is unseen as is the back of the ship.

Larry - on the lighthouses. They are made up of their own diff, spec and emsk files. I don't know what you are seeing. The only common file between them all is the Lighthouse normal file. That is the same for each lighthouse. If you are seeing something else in NifSkope then there is a problem.

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