Add-on routes and global TSection versions

General MSTS related discussion that doesn't really fit into any of the other specific forums.

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lather
Getting the hang of things now
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:45 pm

Add-on routes and global TSection versions

Post by lather »

One of the things I've been doing to keep myself occupied and amused during the various lockdowns has been to finally get a computer with a really decent graphics card and set up various different installs of MSTS on it, each tailored to different regions or time periods. Doing this has made me think some more about one problem I'm sure we've all encountered at some point with MSTS over the years.

You've got MSTS set up and running perfectly, and you decide to add a new route. You install it, and it runs really well, but for some reason all of your other routes have stopped working. Why? Because, without telling you, the new route replaced your existing version of the global TSection file with it's own version, which none of your other routes can use. The only way around this is to delete the new route, restore the original TSection file, and then reinstall the new route in a dedicated installation of MSTS where it isn't going to mess up any of your other routes.

Sound familiar? I'm sure it does to most of us...

Sometimes, the creator of a new route warns us that it requires a specific TSection version, but very often they don't say anything about TSection versions. As for the commercial releases, while some like IE North do warn during the installation process (but not before) that they will be installing a different global TSection file, others, such as London and South East, don't say anything. As a result, the first you often know of a problem is when something stops working and you have to spend ages trying to figure out what.

So this has set me thinking that it would be very useful if we had some sort of reference file (or thread here) that told you which TSection versions do or don't work for each route - and which automatically installed their own versions as part of the installation process. That way, people could check and see if a certain route was suitable for installing alongside others they already have, or if they need to create a new MSTS installation specially for it.

What I'm imagining is something like a spreadsheet, where it lists the routes in one column, and then other columns for each TSection version, with a "yes", "no" or "unknown" for each route. Each time a new route is added, the creator can say which it needs, or people can provide inputs to say "I've got TSection version xx installed and it works OK for me" or "I tried installing it and it didn't work with version xx, but worked when I tried xx". That information can then be added to the list to keep it up to date.

So what do folks think - is this something you'd find useful?
slipperman12
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Re: Add-on routes and global TSection versions

Post by slipperman12 »

Hi lather,
If a route's instructions specify that it MUST be installed as a mini-route then it's most likely because it uses a specially adapted tsection.dat file.

For all other routes, since the tsection.dat files are backwards compatible, any version after that specified for the route should work properly. If a version is not specified. most of the old (and not-so-old!) UK routes will be quite happy with #38. Any later one, except #41 and maybe #42, will also be OK. I believe #41 was only available for a short time, and #42 was replaced by #42UK.

In essence, there's no need for a spreadsheet! Those available from UKTS are :
 Click to view more informationGlobal TSection Issue 38 [310842 bytes] - tsection38.zip
File ID: 27747 Date: 30 Nov 2011 - 314 Downloads

 Click to view more informationMSTS Standardized global tsection.dat file Build 00042UK [325489 bytes] - Tsection42UK.zip
File ID: 13758 Date: 05 Jan 2012 - 24956 Downloads


Later versions are available from trainsim.com

If you install XTracks or NewRoads, #38 will be installed, UNLESS a later version is already installed.

Cheers,
Ged
Intel i5-4690K (3.5Ghz), Gigabyte GA-Z97P-D3 m/b, 12GB DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GTX 750ti (2GB) graphics card, Asus Xonar DS sound card. Win 10 Pro 64-bit.
lather
Getting the hang of things now
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:45 pm

Re: Add-on routes and global TSection versions

Post by lather »

Maybe the backwards compatibility needs pointing out a little more clearly, for the benefit of those of us who don't do things like building routes and so aren't quite as well up on the finer technical points involved?

And this doesn't help either, as this was one of the main reasons I thought that specific versions were needed for certain routes. This is what it says on the download pages for BrisCard V6 (https://members.uktrainsim.com/filelib- ... leid=30305):

"You will need to have previously installed platform kits (UKTrainSim files 1186, 1211), tsection.dat build 33 or later (not 39 through 43), XTracks 3.20 (UKTrainSim file14093 which includes tsection.dat #38) and MSTS Newroads (UKTrainSim file 6254)."

So, reading that, it looks like the route creator is saying that it will only work with versions 33 to 38, and won't work with versions such as 42UK, doesn't it? So that's why the MSTS installation I've got that route in uses Tsection version 38, while most other installations use 42UK.

Well, I've just tried it with 42UK and, despite what it seems to say on the website info, it DOES seem to work OK. So, really, the download pages are giving people incorrect information about the requirements for running the route, and maybe that needs correcting or pointing out.
slipperman12
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Re: Add-on routes and global TSection versions

Post by slipperman12 »

Hi lather,
The instructions on the download screen are, strictly speaking, correct. If a user followed them, then the route should work correctly. At that time, tsection.dat #38 was the one which guaranteed that any UK route would work, unless specified otherwise.

The route was uploaded more than 8 years ago! If the uploader sees this post, he may modify the text on the download screen, but I wouldn't hold your breath!! I think most users will have read the remainder of the instructions where it's stated that tsection #38 is installed with XTracks.

The recommended procedure is to follow the instructions! If any add-on doesn't work then, that's the time to complain. If it works correctly, the user can then experiment as much as they like, but at their own risk!

If you obtain some old payware routes, such as those published by Europeanbahn and Making Tracks, they will often use old versions of tsection.dat which COULD overwrite your existing version. That situation is likely to cause your pre-existing routes to fail. It is something to be aware of and I recommend that you have a backup of tsection.dat #38 (or #42UK) so that you can restore that version to your installation.

Cheers,
Ged
Intel i5-4690K (3.5Ghz), Gigabyte GA-Z97P-D3 m/b, 12GB DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GTX 750ti (2GB) graphics card, Asus Xonar DS sound card. Win 10 Pro 64-bit.
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gswindale
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Re: Add-on routes and global TSection versions

Post by gswindale »

It's been a while since I've had time, but I seem to recall that Trainstore has the facility to utilise route specific tsection.dat files, so you can specify which version to use without having to have multiple installations.
Geoffrey Swindale.
Truth is rarely pure, and never simple.
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