About ten years ago my vision started deteriorating, and by about four years ago, I found the work I was doing on various Wikimedia projects (9 I think, e.g. including esp Historical Maps here and loads on Wikipedia) was giving serious headaches and too much eyestrain, so have drawn back online activities so much that I just make the occasional fix it edit, mainly on en.wikipedia. Ironically, back on the fourteenth I joined a educationally oriented user group because of the occasional little browsing I now do, Yesterdayz Trainz, that I've been trying to re-energize into maintaining and updating the somewhat dated Trainz Wikibook and to convince them (over the dissent voiced by a couple of that book's original authors—that it is a proper mission for our group to maintain that and extend it with the suite of How-To tutorials. The dissent comes from some who got fed up with wiki licensing (and wading through wiki-site seemingly endless communications and policy pages—these folks weren't interested in learning wiki-speak/culture, but focused on paying forward to a world wide user base. Doubtless that is not a new story on Wikibooks.) that the 'tutorial fruit' would have a easily found host site which wouldn't vanish some cold winter night. (What makes this doubly amusing to me, my personal irony, is my wiki activity dropped off directly as my eyes developed light sensitivity to working all day on computers, then browsing... Trainz (brown, green, grays, blue) 'pastoral worlds' were by contrast a soothing and comfortable relief from eyestrain computer experience, so as I diminished web activity, I increased 'recreation time' in a Trainz universe. Now Trainz has brought me full circle, for I needed knowledge and began again browsing a bit.)
- Brief background
- The family of TRAINZ Railroad Simulators are not designed for a quick launch 'game' mode. A new product takes quite a bit of learning to get into and find how to start it all working together. A launcher front end can get the user going in the right direction, and the manuals are excellent for the basics. Once a family progresses to a desire to use the simulator outside of 'Play' mode, there are at first, what seems to be a daunting complicated suite of three main run-time environments that together allow a new user to drive a virtual world populated with interactive 'assets' and experience operating a train locomotive—either in a easy 'model train' mode or by a highly realistic (Full dynamic, accurate physics) control means. (Play or Simulator mode)
- Just learning to initially drive the tutorials can be daunting if a user skips reading the excellent .pdf file manual or forgets to print the keyboard guide.
- More advanced Trainzing normally begins when a new owner explores the World Creation model, most likely to modify one of the dozen or so railroad layouts bundled with his particular version of the product. (That content varies by release, the base three run-time software modules have been remarkably stable, and only slowly evolved adding capabilities, virtually not changing in what and how you do things, but incrementally improving, especially graphically. All such content creation/assets allow the user base (over a million) to access the free shared 'assets' created by the world community. (Trainz began multilingual language support in the second release, and first major upgrade, TRS2004. (I've seen: Spanish, French, Polish, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Malay, Farsi,... the facility is extensible, even to English <G>)
- The next step a creative Trainzer makes is to create content (requires a number of software packages, and mastering at least parts of them) and share it with similar licensing to the GNU on the Auran.com Download Station, which interfaces directly with the third run-time module, Content Manager. Thus in any Trainz release, if you want to add a new kind of asset (Steel Mill, Sugar Factory, House, Shrub, Animal... Fence, roadway, sign...) you search the database using various filters, and can with a few simple steps (Shopping cart, select order, synch the Content Manager, start downloading), and continue adding selections to the shopping cart in the browser. It is the endless extensibility and power of the accurate real world simulation that makes Trainz a special kind of 'family software'.
- That's the knowledge gap need inspiring the mission of our organization, to train up new content creators and advance the general Trainz world building skills in a fun and supportive way. Take away the fear of taking the plunge to master a new Software graphics package and put it all together with mentors who've done it, and can help the learners get past stumbling blocks and master the new skills.
- Our organization
We're currently transitioning from organizing and communicating by email to a couple of (semi-suitable) web site threads—but until I finish collating and posting up the historical thread, there's nothing much to look at on the forums at N3V/Auran. I've yet to collate the emails from the 6th founding to the 10th which antedated my membership. The website design is mainly an open forum, does not host imaging (must hotlink) and the so called groups threads are almost useless: limited to 1000 character posts with no facility to quote and reply (unlike the main BB threads). Co-ordination by email has become chaotic, since the thread of the conversations are unorganized and non-linear. Hence, with growing pains... we're transitioning to (currently) two general web board threads.
The current core group (15 original members, ... 17, 22,... now 24) began discussions on April 6th by email and are mainly railroad enthusiasts (The current youngest is 52) shading in age to their 80s, mainly retirees, have international (Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, India and USA) addresses, and I surmise a certain inflexibility and intolerance for 'foolish nonsense' as they perceived it. At least one or two butted heads against copyright issues, disappearing/deleted images, (And, iirc, in that era en.Wikipedia was moving as much as possible to here on the commons) without understanding why fully, the wiki cultures when they helped put up the Wikibook in 2008-2009. Point being, these seniors like myself these days have troubles reading all the overhead and had trouble integrating their older outlook with wiki cultural think and rules. In short the Wikibook got abandoned because of culture clash. Sad. I'm only 58 and I fully understand, the more youthful can zoom out and tolerate a wide page view I can't begin to read. After your forties, vision begins to stiffen and so forth. Also, older community contributors have less energy and likely outside their fields, less flexibility and efficiency. I know, for I'm experiencing the phase.