So summer is fast approaching and at the moment though I have a decent lead heading in the 1st week of June, my future is still uncertain. Despite continuing to look apparently my region ranks as the worst place in Canada to find a job at 100 applicants for every 1 job where as single digit numbers exist in Western Canada. So I continue to look and any change there will make a change to RTS in some way, but I'll let you know. I'm not holding my breath.
On the server side of things I've been back to running 2 nights a week. I was going 3 every other week but found it a little too much. I've also been trying to participate in other sessions. Things have been recovering slightly this past month as I have been getting some of our dedicated memebers switching in single player mode between sessions. I'm going to continue with this strategy to ensure enough people are running mainline trains durring the actual sessions as much as possible.
I'm also starting to get some positive feedback on the RTS software as of late. A few are using it in single player mode, and I know of at least one person who has tried hosting a session using the RTS software for their car forwarding. Now again everything is going to depend on the career status in the next few weeks. But if I can't land something by then I will be spending a great deal of time developing RTS from beta to full version. There are a few minor bugs that I have to fix, and I have some bigger plans in store for operations etc.
I've put the AI projects on the back burner behind RTS development. As much as I want to push for it, the risk vs reward is too much for right now. I figure this may be the best approach as I can focus on something I'm good at while waiting to see what direction Run8 moves into the summer. I don't expect too much other than Needles, but that is going to make a huge impact I believe. One positive I've been noticing is that some of the servers are starting to show signs of getting overloaded at times. If the numbers are as they seem this could become very interesting for various MP sesions and lay the foundation for the fall.
On February 1, 2013 the last upgrade to the RTS software was produced to take it from alpha to beta. This now meant that it was a program I could distribute to others though limited in features I was hoping to get out of a full version. The software does allow you to produce realistic wheeler's lists (yard inventories) which in return can be used to produce switch lists.
The program uses the save train feature in Run 8. Because I recommend saving trains as you are building them this was a natural extension. As delivered it represents the current RTS system waybills in place, however is fully capable of being modifed by the end user. The system includes full documentation that explains how this is achieved. It contains the various files needed to run as well as the base program, a spreadsheet matrix (for randomization of waybill calls), a configuration file, and the actual waybill file. All these files can be modified to fit your own Run8 system specifications.
I have added a button at the bottom of the website here to download this beta. Please check this out and get back to me as soon as you can on your experiences with the software. My time is open until spring where it will become limited. If there is something your looking for in this program feel free to contact me.
Once again major changes this week are begining to take place, and I'm quite excited about it. The Needles Sub has come out and this is something that has actually surprised me a great deal. My original intention was not to run a Needles server, simply because I am not purchasing another computer again and I had put too much work into Mojave. But I must admit it really started growing on me this week. Effective Sunday RTS will be running the first Needles session on this and every other Sunday for the immediate future. Wednesday will be Mojave night at RTS for the immediate future as well.
The way it's going to start taking place is Needles will start things off on Sunday for the overnight trick. I made a slight adjustment to the time to allow both Southwest Chiefs to have their time in the session. The sessions are starting and ending 15 minutes earlier (18:45-02:45 EDT). The sim clock has been set back 3 hours 15 minutes to 21:45 which is exactly when the South West Chief should be ready to go from the Cajon Sub towards it's station stop in Barstow.
As I started last week, I've gone back to a call schedule. This is a necessary procedure to allow me to plan ahead as I'm still in the process of having a spawn/AI matrix in place. What this means is trains are slowly being added to a matrix to allow me to move trains great distances in order to simulate non-player traffic. I will be posting more information to both my RTS members as well as the Run8 Network overnight.
Though this doesn't have to do with the network, I wanted to add something small yet very powerful right on the home page. As you can see that is the all in one schematic that I have developed. At the moment it simply updates automatically based on whatever I'm doing to a spreadsheet. That being said I'm no longer updating the changes durring a session to the status page of the matrix. I will however post any updates with bids etc. and this will be reflected on both the homepage and status section. If your considering joining a session please check the top of the home page first to see what is available. This should eliminate the need to ask me what is available as what you see in green is what you can take. Further details are still available in the Network and Reports sections.
I also made a change to the request form. The latest addition allows you to request TeamSpeak. Keep in mind this is something that must be done before the start of a session. Requests durring a session are not looked at. The reason I ask for a request for TeamSpeak is because most of my core users are not interested in it. Where as others it doesn't really matter. But this gives you a chance if you need to hear the sound of voice instead of text. This form also allows anyone to request a train for the next session and/or leave me any comments.
The RTS Mojave Matrix has undergone a few minor changes. This is where you will find the status of the RTS server and details of what is available. Formal announcements and bidding for sessions take place on various community websites as well as Run8Network, and the above mentioned request form. RTS members no longer get automatic updates of upcoming sessions.
The Run 8 Network which I created in mid-March is a communication system for both RTS, and any other servers or systems. Now the concept behind it is somewhat like the alliance concept, however it is something that can be used by multiple servers. At the moment since I created it, I'll maintain it and as time moves on will add other managers to the account. Because it's not officially part of RTS it will require a new membership if your looking to post to it.
This is something that is meant more as a system of keeping everyone in the loop when people decide to join servers. It can also be pasted as custom HTML to multiple websites. The advantage here is if you are using a server that has special rules or procedures you can simply have people check out your website and post directly from it.
I believe users can use their Google ID's directly to gain access to the group if you already use Gmail which is a popular service, though not everyone uses it for their email purposes. Attachments can be sent as well such as entire sessions if your looking to transfer between users and servers. Those that are looking to host a particular session can continue from where another host left off etc.
For more information feel free to check out the postings in the Network tag. If you would like to join the network there is an option here. Keep in mind as a new user the 1st message would have to be approved to prevent spam but after that you should be able to post at will.
Still waiting for some employment news to come through, and of course Needles Sub. Both may impact how much I spend on this in the summer but it looks like the change in the RTS software is definately not a question of if but when now. I have one hurdle to get through and that is some court cases in about a month. Once I'm through that, as far as I'm concerned there are no limits to where I take this thing.
I want to thank the hundreds who have downloaded the RTS beta. It wasn't until about a month ago I finally started getting some feedback, and it seems the momentum is starting to spread now. I have many features that I will be adding to the RTS software over the summer and my goal is to get it released BEFORE the development kit comes out for Run8. August would ideally be the best time frame for me to at least get it to a full version.
Going in a bit further detail, I plan on fixing the bug on certain car types. In fact a new feature will allow you to add car or change car types to your liking. In other words if you want a certain tank carrying a particular comodity then you can create that car type. Originally I was going to keep the waybill selection seperate as it is now, but I believe it's time to get it out of the matrix and into the program. This will also include a random consist generator (though it will only chose the cars you will still need to manually enter them in Run8). Looking to add tonnage totals to the switch lists as well. This will be used primarily to ensure proper power is selected. Waybills will now be expandable to about 1000.
Expansion to other routes will be an interesting journey. I probably wont be focusing too much on Needles at this time, however it will be compatible to any route. The key difference is going to possibly be yard schematics. I want to create better tools for selecting and handling yard operations. Just like a modern yardmaster has the computer systems to see everything on his display, I want to bring that information front and center. I'm also hoping to get over a limitation of some lists being out of order due to block nodes. Currently they are ordered sequentially. I am going to begin undertaking in a catalog of nodes that I will map into the schematic. I have even considered dealing directly with the world file instead of individual train files.
Now I'm not sure if all these things if not more will be added into the first full version. It's important for me to get it out of beta and to do so many of these goals have to be met. If there are certain things you are looking for I'm open to suggestions. Remember waybills are currently and will still be editable. With other editable options you will be able to set up a system to your liking. Contact me there is something you would like to see not mentioned here, and I'll update this as the summer rolls on if it's something I can do for version 1.
Well my YouTube channel has been around for some time and can be reached by clicking onto the YouTube icon at the bottom right hand side of the screen. I am going to go through some of the videos as they haven't been updated since the matrix and run8network has shown up earlier this spring. The goal is in assisting others, and give us more exposure to possibly be an alternative to the status quo.
If you want to see RTS continue, and be that alternative. Please stop by and check out a video or subscribe to my youtube channel. Please give me whatever feedback or questions you have either from YouTube, Twitter, private messages here, you name it. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. I will also continue to create content that you are looking for. If your critical of something, I don't kick you to the curb. Your critical thoughts will only make me better so shoot away.