A lot of very good points made already - some of which I will likely reiterate.
All in all I have certainly enjoyed the Challenge - the day job often works to ridiculous deadlines so, the concept of the all-nighter doesn't really phase me. Hertsbob is right - route building can be all-consuming.
I was going to do a fictional route but then decided that reality might focus the mind better! Constraint can be your friend when time is not (how profound
In my own experience I would say that preparation has been the biggest help in getting a relatively large amount done in the short time.
This was a departure for me, a route from the past with only limited records of how things looked and how they operated; however, as the route concentrated on the area I grew up in I could rely on my own local knowledge, if not memory!. So, having as many maps and pictures as possible scattered around my desk and some handy 35mm archive DVDs on the laptop was a big help.
Decals provide a fantastic base to work from. I haven't had the opportunity to use RWDecal yet but I can see it is going to be the essential tool for real world routes. My other project will certainly benefit greatly from it - so, thanks Jim!!. Unfortunately, there are no decent GE images for SW Scotland, however the ability to turn an OS map into a decal in RW is great.
When it comes to the building itself I have to say I think the majority of the tools work very well.
Track laying is now one of the most enjoyable bits and very satisfying when you get a complex series of junctions all rendered up and working properly.
The only thing I couldn't recreate is a set of catch points! But the tool lets you do pretty much everything else. I agree gradients are tricky but I always work in one direction with gradients set as I go, so no particular dramas on that score.
Lofted objects are much the same, although I agree with Brendan on the floating issue. Having to lower miles of fencing and weeds is time consuming and unnecessary.
Generally with lofts and track the only problem comes when they extend into the terrain and they disappear, so you either do little bits and adjust the terrain or start the dangerous process of adjusting gradients!
Not sure how this could be addressed; maybe if the red/white/yellow highlight was visible through the terrain it would help?
Forming terrain with DEM is a joy. The only gripe is an obvious one - the level of manipulation possible at a small scale ie. at bridge abutments and alike. I spend too long trying to fill in gaps with bits of wall or weeds. Again, not sure what the solution is that won't see a huge frame rate drop.
Object placement is the one area that could see some enhancement. We spend so long doing this that any short cuts would be welcome. A couple of things spring to mind.
Procedural trees - we have textures that include grasses, why not simple trees? They don't need to sway or anything but I dare say they could even do that!
Object groups - it would be great if you could form your own grouped objects. We have a reasonable selection of tree and building groups, however the ability to vary these would be a godsend.
This may be related to a more versatile copy/clip function that can store a number of selections and display then in a small drop down window perhaps. Or, naming a group and having it listed in the asset list under 'groups' would be so handy.
Finally,.... Auto Save!
This would be save me having to have a sticker on my monitor that says 'SAVE' !!!
In all seriousness, I have actually only had one (yes one) crash to blue this week. I imagine that's because I'm not using 3rd party assets - as I have lost many hours on the WCML project and fully expected the same problem this week
So, there we have it!
Thanks Geoff - you were always there when we needed you
Thanks UKTS and the community for keeping us all going
Thanks RS.com for RW and a future for this hobby
OK, I'd better go see the family - they might not recognise me