It’s been a while since the last informational posting, so we have a good bit to share with you. Fasten your seat belt, here goes:

Price Increase

If you have purchased the GP40 Primary Pack, the one with the CSX YN3 units, and have been hesitant to purchase the Add-On packs, now is the time to get them. On Friday, November 28th, the sale that has been going on these products will end and the prices will increase as follows:

– Add-On Pack: 1 Locomotive Livery, 2 freight cars, QD Scenarios – $5 (pack change from two included locomotives to one).

This change affects the add-ons packs only, as the price of the Primary Pack will remain $20 USD. Although we will continue to bundle similar locomotives in the add-on packs at the reduced price of $7.50 (Buy one – get one for 50% off), we will no longer be offering two-for-five dollars.

Now to head off the moaners and groaners and those who say “Semper Money” (didn’t think I was paying attention to that smarmy comment, did you?), the straight dope on the increase is this. One, while the Primary Packs bring in money, there are only so many of them you can sell before the market is saturated. And when they stop selling, the Add-On packs are the ones that pay the bills and keep the lights on. And as low of a price as we have been selling them for, some months we have to skip the Monster and Fritos just to keep the computers running! Two, making two locomotives per pack takes entirely too long between releases. As a reminder, during the service period for our locomotives, we don’t just throw paint on shapes that we already have made up. As you will find with the upcoming releases, we make changes, fix things, and add features. We can put more out and satisfy demand for differing liveries by reducing the number of locomotives we are researching and constructing to one per package.

EULA Change

Consider it a little take and a little give.

We have been very restrictive on what we will allow to be repainted and distributed of our locomotive packs. We will still be saying hands-off to repaints of liveries for the companies that we hold licenses for – BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern (others are pending). But, we will be relaxing the rules on the files that can be redistributed if you repaint a railroad that we currently don’t license. In a nutshell, the changes are as follows:

– You still may not change or distribute the shape files (.GeoPcDx) that make up the “physical locomotives”, or any files outside of any particular locomotive’s Engine folder.

– All of the other files inside of the Engine folder, .TgPcDx (texture), .BIN (blueprint), .OUT(script), .dcsv(numbering), may be modified and redistributed in order to make the repaints work.

WARNING: Even if you have the know-how, it is not recommended that you modify the Script files. These files are interconnected with other locomotives and the Core (Primary Pack) script files, so one wrong move and you could break everything.

An example of this arrangement. Let’s say you are going to make a repaint of a Chessie System locomotive into your favorite short-line railroad, the St. Favre & Lambeau. The steps you would take are:

– Repaint your TgPcDx textures.

– Rename your locomotive in the .BIN files

– Renumber your locomotive in the DCSV files.

– Change the .html and image photo in the LocoInformation folder

– Make a manual or readme for your locomotive installation. That information would include installation instructions, as well as telling the end user that they must own the Chessie Add-On pack, as they will either have to copy the Chessie shape (.GeoPcDx) files to your locomotive repaint Engine folder after it is installed, or you can alias your BIN file to point to the shape files in the Chessie locomotive folder.

If these instructions are followed, it should make things a bit easier for those who like to do repaints. Now remember, we cannot help you with this, and if you get called out by a railroad company for doing those repaints, we don’t know you, so you are on your own. We also will not support the repaints, so you should make yourself available to answer inquiries about them.

Up and Coming

The Burlington Northern GP40 and GP40-2 units are finished and ready for Beta trials. However, they will not be put into testing until after the main update, Service Pack 1, has been tested distributed. The BN units are dependent on some new controls and scripting that are part of the main Update.

Now you may have heard on forums and other social media that due to licensing restrictions, Dovetail Games cannot distribute BNSF-owned liveries outside of the United States. The same licensing restrictions apply to us as well, so we will not be selling the Burlington Northern units outside of the U.S. If or when BNSF policy on this changes, we will be more than happy to sell them wherever we are allowed to sell them.

About the update that we have been talking about, the GP40 Service Pack 1 will contain mostly stuff that is invisible to the casual user. We’ve fine tuned some of the controls and taken advantage of some virtual controls that came with TS2015 that will allow for more prototypical operation of the locomotives. There are a few visual tweaks, such as removing the nuclear glow from night time objects in the cab when passing a street light or another locomotive. And there are a couple of fixes, such as ditch lights that can be turned off after turning them on. The SP1 will be free for everyone who has purchased the GP40 packs up until the date that the Update is released. All locomotives purchased after that date will already have the fixes installed.

After the Update and BN units are released, we will still be working on repaints and Primary Packs having to do with the GP40. We foresee that this will continue as long as there is demand for them. However, after the new year we will also be diverging on a different track. All good things must come to an end, and the time has come to begin weening ourselves from our trusty build tool, 3DCrafter. While it is a  powerful content creation program, it is lacking in a few areas, and unless it is upgraded with shadow baking that actually works and an exporter for the U4 Engine, it will become obsolete for us by the middle of next year. We have already been using Blender for almost six months now, and the results are pretty spectacular. Our next repaint will contain Blender-made parts on them. And a new and completely different locomotive is already under construction in the free program.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and look forward to a Happy New Year!

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