Doubting RTS

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by KCS, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. KCS

    KCS Member

    I'm starting to have some serious doubt's about Atlas' program. The only one I've ever used so far but after waking up getting dressed and going next door I stand there for about 20 minutes looking and really giving the room the eye ball. I look at a hand full of trains on my work desk and note how small they are to the size of the space I have available. My doubt about RTS is it isn't true to scale and meaning that isn't letting me get the full potential out of the space I have in a track plan. What other programs are there that might be more true to scale when drawing track on them?
  2. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    There is XTrkCad

    But I think you'll find that the Atlas softare is telling you more than you give it credit for. I personally have found that I try to cram more trains into too small of a space every time I put something together.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    You might want to try XTrkCAD - there is a link at the top of the Track Planning forum to a free download.

    It is tempting to try and stuff more into a space than the software/planning process says you can. If you really doubt the program, try some templates. The easiest way to do this is to photocopy the parts (turnouts, etc) you intend to use. Then lay them on the floor and see how things look. Beware the tight turns and misaligned track with this process though...!

  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The RTS software is accurate if you don't allow yourself kinks at the joints or other track problems. Using Atlas sectional track and turnouts definitely limits what you can do in a small space because of the fixed geometry (most other sectional track systems have even less flexibility in small spaces than Atlas). The RTS software doesn't do very well with flex track, so you will want to switch to XtrkCad for better planning with flex track.

    You can gain some space, and still have properly laid track by cutting back the Atlas turnouts (can't be done in software) just as you would flex track. Just leave a few ties beyond the frog (where the rails cross) and corresponding guard rails, and/or beyond the throw bar.

    But the reality is that although the train seems small in your hands, they take up a lot more space than you think. A realistic curve radius is at least three times the length of the car or locomotive. A 36" long HO train has a small loco, a caboose, and 4 40ft cars. Not a very long train! Iain Rice recommends train length on a shelf layout be limited to 1/4 to 1/3 of the shelf length, so that 36" train needs a 9ft shelf!

    my thoughts, your choices
  5. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I got the Xtrkcad downloaded and got rid of RTS. Man this program is hard to work with. I can't even get one piece of track to stay on the friggin' screen. I think I'll just wait and hire a professional track designer. I haven't started pulling out my hair yet but I'm close enough that I can say I am. Thank's for the help guy's.
  6. gottaBreal

    gottaBreal Member

    Well look no further Im trying to get a website up and running to be able to save and store layouts which I have planned for many friends and others threw the years.
  7. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Well, having used Adobe programs for years the XTrkCAD software was a bit of a learning curve for me, more in just learning how they do things differently. I strongly recommend going through the tutorials (in the help menu). They taught me a lot, and I thought I had a good hang of them to begin with. Once you have a solid understanding of the different tools in the program you will really start to like it.

    But it's free so you get what you pay for ;)
  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    For some of the things I'm doing lately, I've had to learn AutoCAD. Did I choose a simple "box" building for my "initiation" ???? Hoo Hah! not me! No I decide to do a 38' boat for my first project. Crazy?, yes, like a fox. The project steepened the learning curve, and threw everything at me at once! What a ride!!! I am learning what can, and cannot be done, with this tool, far more quickly than I would have if I'd been "cautious".
    OK, I'll get to the point. I know how to design a boat, at least well enough to make a model of it. The challenge, then, was to learn how to use the software to do what I've done with pencil and ruler, and the basic knowlege of boat design. Designing a layout with planning software, is a double edged sword. You have to learn how to use the software, at the same time you are learning to plan a layout. It's possible, and can be a fun trip, if you like being on the sharp rise of the learning curve. It would be easier, to first learn the skill, and then learn a new tool to perform the skill with. Yes, layout design software is a tool, nothing more. Layout planning is a skill. The two go hand in hand, but still must be learned, each in its own way. The software can only show you where the track will fit, in a given space. You must provide the list of industries, the vision of the terrain, the era of operation, and the prototype railroad (if you are modeling a prototype). In short, You must provide the idea, the software will allow you to put the idea on "paper", and help you fit it into the available space.
    The "Givens and Druthers" form at the top of this forum will help develope the idea.
  9. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Sounds like me and my experience with SketchUp ;)

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