Clearing Trees on Tracks in Open Rails

Beginning with Experimental version  x.3369, it’s possible to clear trees appearing on the tracks in Open Rails. Not every route has this issue, but you’ll know it when you see it — Trees appear too close to the rails, in between the rails, in tunnel openings — anywhere a tree has no business being. If you run the same route in MSTS, the offending trees are nowhere to be found. So what’s going on?

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Correctly-Sized, Configurable Digital Displays Now in Open Rails With New .CVF File Statement

Open Rails now includes a syntax which can be applied to .CVF files which allows you to modify the fonts used in digital cab displays. This is a huge improvement over the previous one-size-fits-all treatment in Open Rails. All it takes is adding and configuring a line in the .CVF file for each digital display in the cab, and it wont affect how MSTS handles it if you run in both sims.

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Open Rails Short Horn Blast Fix – Another  Solution For “Unfixable” Horns

An early problem in Open Rails, and one which hung around for a bit, was an inability to play a short horn blast — something necessary for common horn signals, including the usual North American long-long-short-long pattern for grade crossings. The basic horn behavior was resolved fairly quickly, but there were still a significant number of horns & whistles that didn’t play correctly, instead playing out a full-length blast regardless. The issue was figured out in the community and resolved by editing or adding in cue points (where they were non-existant) in the sound effect .WAV files. That has been the standard fix for a large variety of horns that don’t play correctly in Open Rails. Unfortunately, there have still been a few “unfixable” ones that didn’t improve with editing the cue points in a sound editor.

The solution turns out to be a parameter in the .SMS file that determines how the horn sound is triggered and stopped.

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MSTS Process Priority Improvement with the Prio Utility

Finding a way to get significant performance improvements with MSTS can be somewhat hit-or-miss, but here is one trick that does make a noticeable improvement. Windows has a means of allowing users to change the priority at which various processes are handled; it’s buried in the Task Manager interface but often known only to power users. Here’s how to take advantage of this feature with a free-for-private-use tool called Prio.

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Using Large Address Aware Patcher With MSTS

There are various ways to set attributes in an executable file. The Large Address Aware utility is an easy way to “patch” an executable without having to resort to programmers’ utilities.

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Migrating MSTS to a New Computer or Operating System Upgrade

In the time I spend on the TrainSim.com forums, I’ve noticed a repeating “theme” of forum members and MSTS users — new and old — discussing the (sometimes daunting) task of migrating an MSTS installation to a new computer or through the process of upgrading the operating system on an existing one. Re-installing MSTS doesn’t have to be the only way to do it; in fact, it’s often far simpler to move or backup/restore MSTS to a new location without re-installing everything from scratch. It does take a bit of careful work and attention to detail, but with some preparation it can be done with a minimum of fuss.

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