Content Creator Story - Daniel Gollery - trainboi1

By admin-n3v, October 21 2022

The thing that got me into content creation was a private model of a Midland 2P, with a comment that said something to the effect of "I learned to make this; if you want it, you can too". So I tried, and it took me three attempts and more than a month before I got anything of value done in Blender. My first model was "done" in April, but I opened my creation thread on 26 June 2013 with a call for help, because I didn't understand how bogies or headlights worked! But once I had what could reasonably be described as working assets, I published them. I've attached a shot of the fourth model I made, which I was most proud of, and which I've since updated. It's a remarkable change.

From that point I built for Trainz more or less by default. I'd say the moment I knew it was "for me" was when I joined Trainz Forge. Their group chat on Skype put me in touch with a larger community of creators, who treated me as someone of value despite the clear ways in which I still needed to learn basic tools. LilB, who made JR's steam era equipment, showed me how to do underframe details and gave me air hose and brake rigging meshes which I only phased out of use in the last year. Timothetoolman, still a member of Trainz Forge, showed me how to use layer styles. The net result was that my quality of work stepped up dramatically, and I started to be proud of what I was making.

It's hard to overlook the progress I'm still making as a creator and find a favorite that isn't "whatever I happen to have done most recently". The logical choice here, I think, is the Washoe Valley Railway. The concept of the WVRR is a story in itself, but in short, I came up with a random name to stick on a locomotive, Andrew Brandon helped draft a history and survey a route, Pencil42 made up DEMs from that survey, and I pressed Theparot67 in to help build the route, which I would never complete on my own. The route is 90% his work at this point, and because of that he's made about as many decisions about how the railroad works as I have. I'm proud to have been a part of it because there are very few representations of the Great Basin Desert that feel lifelike to me, and the WVRR route hits that, while also nailing the state of infrastructure in the early 1930s pretty much to a T. There are still a great many things I need to model custom for it, including the vast majority of the road's roster, but it gets the idea across. I've attached a shot showing a southbound freight climbing out of Sand Springs Valley, taking full advantage of the game's 15km draw distance.

I don't often make routes; so much of my energy is dedicated towards getting details right that the overwhelm of a blank canvas is hard to overcome. But last year I took the time to model the Carson & Tahoe Lumber & Fluming Company, and the most satisfying thing was being able to match scenes to photographs. I've included one such shot, comparing my route with a photograph taken by George D. Oliver in 1892, albeit with a lumber train instead of a cordwood train.

I've tried to do a good job of naming many of the people I look up to most, but there are always more. N3V's own Zec Murphy (S301) has been kind both with helping me learn scripting, and sharing functions wholesale. Ben Neal and Curtis Reid (Pencil42) have both been generous in that regard, as well. Curtis is a good friend and mentor, and I am honored to be able to have worked with him on projects. ANL has been very gracious, both with modeling advice in the early days and now with allowing Trainz Forge to finish and host many of his models. I haven't done a lot of UK work recently, but the whole crew of Trainz Carriage & Wagon Works have been really friendly, good folks, and I would be remiss if I did not give a shout-out to that group as a whole.

Regarding what I would like to see in future versions of Trainz. The quippy answer I will give is "Dampers", but this is a shorthand for a substantial rework of steam physics, particularly to make it so that the player has the ability to control their engine's fire realistically. Safety valve set pressures would be nice too - so that the valves will relieve 5-10 pounds of pressure, and thereby avoid "feathering" constantly once operating pressure is reached.

There are a lot of little things I would like to see changed to help with content creation in Trainz. One thing that comes to mind would be an adjustable "numbering pattern" tag in vehicle-running-numbers to allow a freight car to natively carry only odd numbers, or an F7 to only carry numbers ending in 1 or 4, would be awfully handy. There is a script tag for 'max-fire-temperature' but not one for 'min-fire-temperature' - this and any other inaccessible physics values ought to be added to the script, so that features reliant on them don't need separate entries in the extensions table.

There are two big projects I have in the pipeline currently: V&T Baldwin 4-4-0s and the heavyweight 20th Century Limited. The 4-4-0s are made as 'modular' as possible, so kitbashers can mix and match effectively any combination of parts used on the prototypes. They are nearly finished, pending custom artwork for two more headlight variations and a full custom number set for kitbashers. The TCL has a little farther to go - all the cars are done; I am working on a J1b Hudson to haul them. I've included three screenshots of these. The first is a representative sampler of the 4-4-0s. In total there are 29 distinct locomotives in the pack; I'm only showing 9 so you can see them! Next is a set of the 20th Century Limited cars. The two consists on the right match the Eastbound Advance 20th Century Limited in 1930; the two consists on the left match the Westbound 20th Century Limited in 1938. Finally, there is a shot of the rear of the cars, showing illuminated 'drumhead' and platform curtain options.

What I'll tell any creator, new or old, is this: Do what will keep you creating. If you want to start something bigger than people advise you to, that's fine - as long as you make progress on it. If you can't finish a project right now, it's okay to start something that you can finish, as a way to keep creating. You might be unsatisfied with what you've done - that's part of the process. But as long as you're doing something, that's better for your craft than doing nothing.