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Content Foundry

By Tony_Hilliam, February 28 2019

One of the projects we're working on is a new content creation utility called Content Foundry. This replaces the old "Content Creator Program" (CCP) and will provide content creators with an improved workflow which provides simplified creation, editing, and debugging of Trainz assets.

The following images show the current (early prototype) layout, and obviously things will change as we add bells and whistles, and new features and functionality are added.

Accessing the Editor

Editor Main Window

Proposed Features

The following information provides an insight into our current plans to expand functionality beyond the current prototype behaviour.

Viewing Assets

Existing assets can be accessed directly from Content Manager, with top level tags showing. Sub-tags can be revealed by clicking on the disclosure triangle.

The default view for most tags is a simple text string, however supported tag types are displayed with custom editors. This includes facilities such as:

  • script source
  • mesh files with preview window
  • image files and texture files offering an in-window preview which can be opened to a dedicated image viewer window with display of texture type, dimensions, and ability to display alpha channel.
  • popup menu buttons or combo boxes for items with a limited list of possible values.
  • color pickers, for colors.
  • asset picker, for KUID fields, with the ability to perform the usual functions on the selected asset.
  • etc.

Editing Tags

The user may type directly into text fields, or interact with other editor types in the usual manner. Tags may be selected, inserted, deleted, or reordered by clicking/dragging an icon to the left of each tag name.

Cut/Copy/Paste

Tags may be cut or copied using the Edit menu or Tag Icon Contextual Menu.

Undo

Undo support may be provided to allow changes to be rolled-back step-by-step, including file addition/removal, etc. Alternatively, the simpler approach of only allowing "revert" may be adopted initially.

Validation

Normal validation is performed on the asset as a background operation when it is first loaded, and is repeated whenever a change takes effect.

The user can either correct the tag, if the problem is obvious, or can mouseover or click the icon to display the detailed diagnostic.

Asset Templates

When creating a new asset the user is prompted to select an asset template and provide some initial details such as the name and KUID (autofilled) of the asset. Many common asset kinds will offer templates; the most common kinds will offer multiple templates.

Release Plans

Since this utility is specifically aimed at content creators, a "prototype" version will initially be released to a small group of content creators for testing and their feedback. Once we have completed most of the listed functionality above we will expand the beta testing to ensure we get a wide range of content creators checking everything is working as expected.

When complete, this feature will assist our content creator community in developing more content more easily, which will benefit the whole of the Trainz community. Therefore, Content Foundry will be released as both part of a future Trainz Plus update, as well as part of a TRS19 Service Pack update.