AnyRail Model Railroad Forum

General Category => New versions => Topic started by: David on May 09, 2019, 02:20:04 pm

Title: Version 6.24
Post by: David on May 09, 2019, 02:20:04 pm
Hello everyone!

In the May release you will find the following new functions:
- Elevate, to elevate (or 'sink') your complete layout, or parts of it, so the heights are correct. Use this function if you started out wrong, or if you decide to add another level to your layout.
- Mass removal of isolators. This only works if no sections are defined on either side of the isolator.
- Mass freeze/unfreeze flex track. Make sure your flex cannot be bent accidentally after this operation.
- H0 Piko track with bedding.
- Showing the current printer in the Print backstage pane.
- The height for rulers can be set now.

We've also updated a few libraries:
- N Kato Unitrack, road crossing added.
- H0 Piko A, codes added, so you can switch between codes (such as G940, G239) and part numbers (such as 55209, 55200).
- H0 RocoLine with roadbed has some new curved turnouts.

Errors and bugs:
- Fixed weird results that sometimes happened when using the Parallel flex function.
- Fixed a crash when entering '0' in the print scale percentage.
- Fixed a drawing issue after importing very old plans containing a ruler.
- Fixed a problem when setting the font for multiple rulers at once.


Have fun!

David.

6.24.1 Solves an issue when the Windows printer configuration is not correct.
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on May 09, 2019, 11:15:56 pm
Thank you, David.

I see myself making use of the elevation adjustment in about 5 minutes. Correcting a BUNCH of mistakes that I made years ago and didn't want to spend days correcting just got easy.

Thank you, again.

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Shadyside Southwestern on May 16, 2019, 02:40:39 am
Wow!! Thanks for elevations! Can 3d structures be next??? - Russ
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on May 16, 2019, 09:46:11 pm
I'll second that desire for 3d structures. Badly needed.

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Hoiiip on June 19, 2019, 06:25:15 pm
Is there a Version 7 in the works?
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on June 19, 2019, 06:30:26 pm
I can't IMAGINE that David isn't working on a version 7. He is MUCH too energetic and far-sighted not to.

Now, the question is, WHEN will it be our next big Christmas present? I hope . . . .

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: David on June 19, 2019, 08:15:33 pm
Sure, we're working on it!
It's not ready for testing yet, though.
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Hoiiip on June 19, 2019, 09:14:44 pm
David, what new features are you planning?
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on June 19, 2019, 10:26:08 pm
Leave the man some breathing room. When he is ready he will announce it.

Even as impatient as I am, and that is a LOT, I'll accord him that and more.
Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Tom Springer on June 20, 2019, 06:40:01 am
Agree on the breathing room.

But ... IF   V7 will support 3D user objects, it would be nice to get some info for planning purposes so the community could get a headstart on deciding what the various skills members might need to develop 3D user objects. And what is their preferred choice to accomplish that.

I'm spending almost all of my hobby time doing (playing with) 3D designs. To develop my 3D skills, I built 4 N-scale items based on 3 Walthers kits and 1 N Scale Architect kit, so I have my own feel for what it might take an average person to build a user object in 3D.  Because I spent my working life in software development and knowing and teaching numerous programming languages, learning the various aspects of CAD software may have been slightly easier, much like learning a new programming language; for anyone who hasn't spent time in software development; most CAD programs probably will have a high learning curve and some real complexities; comments in various 3D and train forums have indicated this happens even for the most experienced users.  Based on my experience, I'm not sure most users would want to learn all about a CAD program just to build AnyRail objects.  Once more is known about 3D user object support, maybe guidance for the community wanting to develop 3D objects can be determined.
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: David on June 20, 2019, 08:48:25 am
The two things we're working on first are a full 64 bit version, and module support.

We plan to add support for modular standards such as T-TRAK, and make it easier to have a baseboard or train table and move it with everything on it as one element.

Concerning 3D, we will not add tools to draw 3D elements. However, we are considering a way to import various 3D formats (Collada, STL, etc) into user objects.
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Keesoldscool on June 20, 2019, 08:57:56 am
Nice, really nice.
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Tom Springer on June 20, 2019, 10:31:04 am
David, thank you.

If STL is the choice for 3D objects, then there's a lot more flexibility in choices for creating these objects.

One choice for creating them as STL files is to look at TinkerCad by Autodesk.  It's web-based and free, it works by using 'shapes', similar to AR's 'surfaces' concept, and one doesn't have to learn a CAD programing system/concepts (or be a programmer); they just can "return" to their youth when they built things with "toys" (blocks, shapes, etc.).  TinkerCad is meant for kids to build things and learn 3D, but for creating 3D items I've found it more useful than almost all of the CAD programs I've used because I can do things as individual elements/parts and put them together to forms bigger things, much like building an AR 2D object using AR surfaces.  For example, if one wanted to make a 3D building, one can build each wall as an element, then 'put them together' for the final building.  And adding doors, windows, even roofs, then becomes simple ... because one works in dimensions (sizes), and relative position information, as one would if they were building something out of wood, styrene, or even cardboard/paper.  If one can draw a 2D floorplan for an object in AR, one could also draw each wall the same way.  If one can do that in AR, one can easily do that the same way in TinkerCad.  AR's "surfaces" concept translates directly into TinkerCad's "shapes" concept.

I chose to do things as parts rather than one complete structure because I then could 3D print each on my first small printer (Monoprice) one part at a time ala in "kit form" then assemble the parts to make the final structure.  After doing a few basic structures to learn, I did some Walthers items to improve my development skills, measuring them against the physical kits I already had: the N-scale Walther's Medusa Cement, 3-stall Roundhouse and Water Tower (images attached).  I'm willing to make these available to anyone with a TinkerCad userid as examples of how one could construct 3D objects.  I'd also be willing to volunteer to do TinkerCad writeups, even create a few teaching examples, say a basic building like a simple Station, for the community to learn to build their own 3D objects.  Premised, of course, on the choice of STL as the format for 3D objects.

There are many TinkerCad tutorial videos on YouTube if one wants to see what TinkerCad can do. Some I used in the beginning:

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsz2PNcAcPA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsz2PNcAcPA)    (done for an older TinkerCad version so some of the interfaces have changed)

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syIu4fRLHkk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syIu4fRLHkk)      (current TinkerCad level)

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINsRPATMrY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINsRPATMrY)   (old TinkerCad interface, but still good for concepts)
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on June 20, 2019, 06:49:36 pm
RE: Tom Springer

A big WOW on your creations. Fantastic. Hope you contribute a LOT. I promise to use every one that I can.

However, for now, 99 percent of my planning and designs would work out just fine if we could just have a simple representation of a surface with height set at a distance from the floor. That is, a simple solid that you can set on the table. Make it so it could have any of a few simple colors and/or textures and away we go. Buildings.

Please!

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Tom Springer on June 20, 2019, 09:13:29 pm
Bill, thanks for the comments.

My 3D work is for my personal skill development and challenges to keep the mind from turning to slush in my old age, didn't think when I started that I'd be talking about this in an AR context.  I chose the different items based on kits I had, because each had some "feature" I wanted to learn how to do in a 3D model, very small rivets on the water tank, angled walls on the roundhouse, the complex small piping and things on top of Medusa as well as the 'elevator', etc.  I also did the N Scale Architect "Eagle Mine" because it was a very complex model, and because the actual kit differs from the Tennessee Pass mine it's based on, and that actual mine had an important tipple not in the kit that should be provided to model it correctly.

Most 3D files (for printing) don't have color properties so if AR support is going to be based on 3D files that are created externally, the "OBJ" format might be of interest; however ...

As you want something "simple" ala just a box with height, maybe taking a simple floorplan - current 2D user object - and giving it "height" might be ok, but from the communities perspective, does that suffice for 3D in AR?

When AR's 3D view first arrived, I thought having simple "boxes" for structures in 3D, just 'things' having a height property, might work.  But the more I looked at it, the more I realized what I wanted was beyond that, and the tunnel portal item was what helped change my thinking when I realized I'd want to see the clearance aspect of a portal and not just have it as some solid.

So I started thinking about what I thought a 3D object should have. Do doors and windows in buildings need to be shown?  Is the visual orientation of buildings important?  If an item, like a water tower, is raised above the layout surface, do the legs/supports need to be shown and how important is it that they are done correctly as in the actual model?

Some of the questions I then started to ponder, and I'd be interested in what the community thinks about them ...  If a roundhouse is done, should the doors be open or closed, if even present?  If a freight house is done, does the dock area need to have the stairs area shown as actual stairs?  Is the placement/accuracy of those stairs important?  On some buildings, do the various rooftop structures (tanks, piping, etc) matter?  If a tunnel portal occurs in 3D, what should it look like, correctly drawn/scaled opening for clearances?  How accurate does an object need to be if clearances are important?  For a structure like the Medusa Cement facility, would some simple vertical 'pipes' be enough, or is more needed ... does the shed where the trains deliver the cement have to have actual openings where the track passes through it; would that 3D object work if everything was just a solid box-like structure? If an older water tank for steam locomotives were done in 3D, how should the fill spout/arm look (position, height, etc), and is that important regarding positioning the tank in relation to the track?

I'd be interested in seeing the communities perspective on some of these type of questions.

Perhaps the biggest question for the community might be something like this:  What should a 3D version of an existing kit look like if available as a 3D user object in AR?  Should it look as close as possible to the actual model from all the perspectives or just be some type of rendering as a 'placeholder' for the model?

There currently are 2384 user objects in AR.  I don't know how 3D versions of all/most of them would be done or get done.  I do N-scale only and I "might" be willing to do a few more 3D objects of some N-scale kits, especially if I thought it would challenge me.  But in other scales, that would have to be someone else .. because ...  one thing about the Walthers kits is that their N-scale versions aren't "scaled down" accurately from their HO version, so if I simply wanted to move my N-scale 3D object "up" to HO scale, it wouldn't be an accurate version dimension-wise of the Walthers HO-scale kit; things would have to be re-worked or re-drawn. And without the actual kit to check against, that would be problematic for me.  I won't do anything someone else would see/use unless I have an actual kit to check measurements against, or a very accurate and detailed drawing of a structure; just the anal engineer I am.

So, out of curiosity and at the risk of starting a fire, what does the community want/see/expect in a 3D user object?  And what interest, if any, is there among the members in building 3D user objects themselves?  [If there is, what commitment should I be making to help in that effort?]
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on June 20, 2019, 11:29:08 pm
I hear and understand everything you said about your desire for the finesse of beautiful models for 3d representation.However, as I suspect that that is a LOOONG time coming,


I'd be delighted to have exactly what you said, a floor plan of structures with a height component.


I have been faking it for quite some time now, but they have traits of landscape which are unfortunate. I don't want my buildings to look like rectangular green hills with flat tops and sloping sides. But, since that is all I have, I make them to give them presence and visibility in my layout plan. Se la vie!

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Tom Springer on June 21, 2019, 12:46:26 am
Bill,

If all that is needed is an elementary view of heights for visualization, then I might agree that just adding heights to 2D objects might be ok ... for a start.  But I wouldn't call that 3d objects.  Expanded 2D maybe.

You are right that it may be quite some time for 3D objects; imho that leaves AR severely lacking when it comes to the usefulness of 3D.  It's one thing to "see" a bridge for track over lower track, it's another to see where the bents lie to determine if clearances are sufficient.  My view and any future need for 3D AR relates to clearances more than anything else.  Without that, 3D in AR has almost no value to me.  Same applies when looking at a structure that has "loading chutes", as for a mine loading hoppers, or a water tank for steam engines, or tunnel portals or other such actions.  If I want to place a structure correctly, I'd like to "know" via observation that the alignment is correct; easy when you have a 3D view that shows this in perspective; not quite as easily done with just a 2D floorplan view when heights are the consideration.

I'm willing to spend time to help move in the direction of 3D objects.  Even baby steps if that is what it takes.  If there is a way to ease into 3D objects, fine.

I'm not doing much in new layout design anymore, focused only on a few industry-specific dioramas I still want to do, so for other than 3D objects, my future work (and maybe interest) relating to AR is probably going to be minimal without 3D objects. Just where life is going.

Most of my hobby time is 3D work.  The part relating to model railroading is making 3D objects to see how well I can do that.  I'm considering looking at the Walthers HO kits that were never made in N scale and seeing if I can do one or two or so in N scale, especially since Walthers seems not only to have zero interest in making N scale versions of them but in N scale for the future for everything else.  If nothing else, I'll have fun seeing what I can accomplish.

I'll keep my offer regarding 3D objects for AR on the table in the hope that effort in this can proceed.
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: The Track Planner on June 21, 2019, 05:38:26 pm
A slightly different perspective.
As someone who gets paid to design track plans for others, from my perspective, 3D has the most value in being able to have a client visualize elevation changes on track work. As a designer, it is easy for me to visualize, but for my clients it is much harder. Some can visualize, while others have a very hard time understanding where tracks begin and end elevation changes. Currently, in AnyRail's 3D viewer, I turn off everything but the track. Including turning off the ground view, it only confuses my clients. I screen capture three to five different views (perspectives) of the track work. The different perspectives seem to help clients visualize elevation changes. AnyRail's 3D is far from perfect, but for now, in its current version, the 3D track views seem to work for my clients.
Instead of concentrating on being able to design 3D structure objects, which would be nice, I would rather see David concentrate on improving the visualization of the track work, in 3D. Very seldom does a client say "I wish I could see that building in 3D, most seem to be able to visualize strucutres".
Question... would it not be easier to improve the software to improve 3D track work visualization, as opposed to designing detailed 3D sturcutres?
Having improved 3D track visualization would be a huge improvement for someone like me.
Bill - The Track Planner
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on June 21, 2019, 11:28:08 pm
Interesting and cogent views, all.

Still, I ask myself, would I rather have my plain shaped boxes or line drawings, simply colored and textured with height, sitting on the table in 3 months, or have nothing for 3 more years while waiting for heaven. Don't see that having SOMETHING now will delay the higher quality later, so why not SOMETHING sooner than later.

I don't know that that is how long it will take, I doubt it, but there is an old saying that goes something like this: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


Having SOMETHING now is better than doing without ANYthing for a long time.

My 2.25 cents, including tax.

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: TrainzLuvr on June 22, 2019, 01:37:47 am
3D right now looks like an afterthought to me - clunky and unusable. I admit I am used to Digital Content Creation packages (Max, Maya) as well as big game engines (UE4, Unity3D), which make visualization in AnyRail look circa 1990 IRIS Inventor. :)

To be honest, I would like to see focus be on 2D, as there are still many areas that could be vastly improved.

Granted I am biased because I put forth a few wishes in myself that I believe would be worth while, but there are many others, too...
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: BadBanana on June 22, 2019, 12:58:15 pm
Quote from: Future-Digital on June 20, 2019, 11:29:08 pm
I'd be delighted to have exactly what you said, a floor plan of structures with a height component.

I have been faking it for quite some time now, but they have traits of landscape which are unfortunate. I don't want my buildings to look like rectangular green hills with flat tops and sloping sides. But, since that is all I have, I make them to give them presence and visibility in my layout plan. Se la vie!

Bill

This.... 
Please. 

If one could then construct a group of such structures, and grouping already exists, then the path is open for the creation of more complex buildings and features.  I would add one other attribute - colour (and maybe texture) - as is already possible for some other elements.

Attached is my simplistic take on Neuschwanstein....

Thanks for the great software too.  Love it.

Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: Future-Digital on June 24, 2019, 05:20:40 pm
I've been doing exactly the same thing you showed with your castle. Interestingly, my castle is Burg Falkenstein in Austria.

Rather crude, but it is the best we have at the time and it effectively acts as a place/spot holder on the layout.

Hope it evolves into something better soon.

Bill
Title: Re: Version 6.24
Post by: poppy2201 on June 26, 2019, 11:12:56 pm
Quote from: David on June 20, 2019, 08:48:25 am
The two things we're working on first are a full 64 bit version, and module support.

We plan to add support for modular standards such as T-TRAK, and make it easier to have a baseboard or train table and move it with everything on it as one element.

Concerning 3D, we will not add tools to draw 3D elements. However, we are considering a way to import various 3D formats (Collada, STL, etc) into user objects.


As a T-TRAK-Z enthusiast I am happy to see that you are considering support for the T-TRAK concept.  Looking forward to this with great anticipation.

Regards,
Charles