Hello to you all
It is nearly time again for all route builders, both experienced and aspiring, to get themselves ready for the second great UKTS Route building Challenge. Challenge No 1 inspired the creation of a magnificent selection of routes, all built within a week, with several of them receiving upgrades after the Challenge to become firm favourites.
Challenge No 2 has a different format and we hope that this will encourage more members to take part, especially less experienced route builders as there will be many knowlegable Challengers and Observers available to help out with any problems.
The theme of Challenge No 2 is to create routes that are compact and detailed with lots of activity areas and places of interest. Challengers will only be allowed to use defaut RailWorks assets that everyone will have so that the routes can be downloaded from the library and run straight off without the need to gather assets from elsewhere. One concession, however, is that a pack of assets will be made available to all Challengers and these assets can be packaged up and distributed with the routes. Derek Siddle (RSDerek) has offered to make some assets for the pack and I hope to gather some more models from other contributors before the Challenge so that the pack is available when the Challenge starts. For the Challenge routes you cannot use any assets other than default assets, the Challenge Asset Pack and your own route template and loading screen. If you want to create your own assets then keep those back until the Challenge judging has finished and then offer them as an add on.
Talking about starting the Challenge, there is no need to panic. With the holiday season in full swing at the moment (in the UK at least) we thought it best to delay the Challenge until a little later in the year so the actual start date will be the 1st October and the building time will be four weeks.
As with the first Challenge, the routes will be required to have their own route templates and preferably their own loading screens. My tutorial on creating a route template has been used by quite a number of members now so I think it is fairly successful and even inexperienced members should be able to follow it. As with the first Challenge, the route can be created and checked out before the Challenge starts so that it is ready to use but key information about the Challenge will not be made available until a week before the start so that enthusiastic Challengers cannot get going too early.
In general the route will have to be built on a specified number of route tiles, each of which is 1024 metres x 1024 metres in RailWorks. The tiles can be made visible in your route using the toggle switch in the World Editor and they are also represented in the 2D map. When you are given details of the maximum number of tiles that you can use, you can lay them out in any configuration you like to accommodate your ideas. All track and scenery must stay within the specified number of tiles, although for effect you can raise terrain and use just foliage outside of the Challenge area, but no track or scenery can be placed.
The route can be fictional or perhaps a representation of a real area. With some imagination you can include lots of interesting areas such as industrial areas, valleys and hills, villages and towns, railway yards and depots and even perhaps a seaside town. The choice is wide open and unlike the first Challenge, you are not required to include certain assets (such as a turntable) in the route.
The emphasis will be on detail so although I cannot yet tell you the number of tiles you have to play with, I can tell you that the route area will be compact enough to encourage liberal use of smaller assets, characters, trackside & station clutter and near to track scenery. We are aiming to give the drivers and passengers on your route as realistic an experience as possible as on this occasion they are not expecting to travel long distances.
Attention to good signalling is also important. This is quite a difficult subject so inexperienced builders might like to bear this in mind when designing their routes. If you create reasonably complex sidings and yards in your route it is probably best to have signals just at the entrance and exit to these areas and by generally keeping the track layout simple, the signalling should not be too difficult. There is always help to hand from other members if you have any problems though.
You will also be required to include at least one scenario lasting about 30 minutes using just default stock, although more scenarios can be included if you wish.
The last Challenge took some time to judge, mainly due to the high standard of the entries, but this time as there are likely to be more routes to judge, the idea is to receive the finished routes, check them all to see that they load correctly and then put them in the Library approx a week after the Challenge finishes and then you, the UKTS members, will try them out and vote for the ones you like best in a poll.
The judging will simply be based on which ones you like best and there will be four weeks to test them out before the poll is taken.
This will bring us into early December so that (we hope) there will be plenty of routes to play with over the Christmas period.
The prizes will be from UKTS with 2 months premium subscription to all entrants who upload a route, a 2 year premium subscription for the overall winner, two 1 year premium subscriptions for the two runners up and two 6 months subscriptions for the next two. (Thanks to Matt)
I have a detailed list of the points outlined above and general rules which I will put up on the Route Building Challenge 2 section of the forum soon together with some other appropriate threads to cover topics such as the Asset Pack, Help and Advice, Questions and Answers.
The way to enter is simply to open a new thread in the Route Building Challenge 2 Forum, name the thread Challenge - followed by your route name. I may have already given some of you enough information to spur you into action now so please declare your entry as soon as you feel like it. You may also be able to put together some ideas about what you are going to do but please refrain from creating your route or starting on it before the Challenge starts, particularly as you do not know all the details as yet.
Also note that with the editing restrictions on posts, you only have 60 minutes to change details of any posts you make so please make sure that what you say is what you mean.
If you do declare that you are taking part then please remember that you are under no obligation to carry it through if for some reason you change your mind or cannot finish your project but if you do declare your participation, then let us know in your Challenge thread as much as you dare reveal about what you are going to do so that we can all follow your progress. If you have not yet posted any screenshots on UKTS then now would be a good time to try this out as shots of your progressing route throughout the Challenge will keep the interest of Non-Challengers.
Judging by the superb routes created in just one week in the first Challenge, Challenge 2 promises to create many more really interesting routes that anyone with the basic installation RailWorks can use straight-out-of-the-box and I hope we all have terrific fun taking part or just watching what is going on.
Now working on my Bluebell Railway route for TS2017