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Enjoy Trainz Online

By Tony_Hilliam, September 03 2020

Now Enjoy Trainz With Friends! 

Update to Trainz Plus
and discover our newest Trainz feature. 

Collaborate with your Trainz friends online. 
Build, drive and operate your railroad together.

Our latest Trainz Plus update includes “Early Access” to the latest major Trainz feature - Multiplayer Surveyor. This update delivers Stage 1 of a multi-stage implementation that will ultimately change the way many Trainz routes and sessions are created and operated. 

This Early Access feature will be available to all our Trainz Plus and Gold Class members.

What is Multiplayer Surveyor (MPS)?

In short, MPS is “Trainz in the cloud” where you can build, edit, drive and collaborate with people from around the world in a persistent multiplayer environment.

Instead of editing and driving alone on routes that reside on your hard drive (and uploading to the Download Station to share with others), MPS routes reside on our servers and are accessible to everyone*.

With the Unified Driver Surveyor feature, players can switch modes instantly to drive and operate trains throughout each route, and jump back into Surveyor (Editor) mode to tweak or extend the world*.

MPS routes are persistent and will constantly expand and evolve. While you are driving, others can be editing, or vice versa.

Come back tomorrow, check out the edits your fellow route creators have made while you’ve been gone, then continue expanding the network or operating from where you left off.

*subject to user configured permissions

What is MPS Early Access?

As the name indicates, this initial release is an early look at the new online systems. The system has been through extensive testing over the past few months and is now sufficiently feature complete and stable to provide access to more users.

The MPS servers will be running 24/7 for you to enjoy, and we don’t expect downtime other than our regular maintenance periods (currently Wed 2pm AEST). 

The routes you build online will be saved to our servers and, as with the standard Trainz offline mode, you will be able to choose from an ever growing list of routes created by others.  We encourage everyone to explore the routes already being created and find a route to help edit and expand.

We’ve also included a couple of N3V routes and encourage you to tweak and modify them to your heart’s content.

For Early Access the content set is limited to several thousand quality built-in items with more to be added over time. We've included these in a couple of "content sample pallettes" to view. 

The majority of Surveyor tools are available although the larger operation tools such as bulk-replace or copy/paste are still being developed.

Throughout this first phase we will be monitoring the systems and asking for feedback as we continue working on future updates.  The feedback we get from users will help us greatly in shaping the future of MPS and we encourage everyone with Trainz Plus access to check it out (even if it is only to watch).

What can I do in MPS Early Access?

You’re free to do as much or as little as you like during the Early Access stage. In a nutshell you can:

  • Create and edit your own “MPS” routes online
  • Share your route with guests or invite your friends only
  • Explore other routes online, by yourself or with others
  • Edit other routes (subject to permissions issued to you)
  • Import offline routes*
  • As owner, decide who gets permissions to edit, view or drive on your route
  • Switch modes instantly between Driver and Surveyor
  • Drive trains in Simple or Realistic mode
  • Work with a limited but expanding content set
*Limitations apply. See "How do I import my own routes?" section below for more information.

What isn’t included in MPS Early Access?

The following systems are the main features not available in this release:

  • Some editing tools including bulk updates, merge, copy/paste, random scenery
  • Road traffic
  • Importing routes that contain non-MPS content
  • Exporting or editing your MPS routes offline
  • User-facing backup or snapshot systems

This list is not complete as there will be additional features added over time. As explained elsewhere, additional content will also be added over time.

How can I check out MPS Early Access?

Early Access is available to all Trainz Plus and Gold Class members. Initially this update will be available using the Trainz Plus Beta patch stream.

Once we’re confident the systems are ready for larger numbers, we will make the build available through the official Trainz Plus update.

Note: There is currently a Trainz Plus Free Trial available to first time members.*

If you would like to check out the Early Access version, then sign up for a trial. (A credit card is required, but you can cancel at any time during your free month without charge.)

* If you’ve previously had a membership the free trial option is not visible. Please contact helpdesk for assistance.

What are some of the improvements being worked on?

We are continuing to work on adding more features and functionality to MPS. Areas we know need additional work includes:

  • Improvements to feedback and handling of unsupported content during Route sharing/upload
  • Improvements to replace unsupported content with supported content
  • The best ways to source and add additional content (either global or route-specific)
  • Better ways to request permission to join and edit routes
  • Gathering user feedback to ensure the best possible experience for the most people possible.

What content is included in Early Access?

  • There are ~3,000 TRS19 built-in assets included in Early Access
  • We are currently developing a range of new content and will be adding content over time
  • We have included several “Kickstarter County” routes that are available to be edited and modified in any way you like.
  • For a bit of nostalgia we’ve also included the British Midland route from Trainz V1 (Currently we’ve included two versions to provide two different options to expand and update this classic Trainz route).

Of course there are a number of user-created MPS routes currently in development, with many more expected over time.

What are the future content plans?

A prerequisite for Multiplayer content is that every user has the same content installed. This ensures that everything looks and behaves in the same manner.

Therefore to include all the Trainz content available now would mean a 1TB download and install. We have therefore included a limited content set for Early Access.

We will regularly be expanding this content set by including content that meets the following selection criteria:

  • Popular
  • High quality
  • Efficient (performance)

This does mean we will be able to move towards having a far higher overall quality of content to choose from. To help us identify the best content, we will be asking for submissions for items you would like to see added to the MPS content set. 

We’re also aware of the need for regionally specific items, and we’re exploring systems to allow this such as route-specific content sets.

We expect a number of users will import their own existing routes (subject to removing or replacing non-supported content) and the number of MPS routes to enjoy will grow considerably over time.

What are some of the main benefits of MPS?

In simple terms, many hands make light work, and MPS turns your “stand alone” version of Trainz into one big online version where lots of people can work on the same route at one time (or at different times of the day).

Routes no longer need to slowly evolve year after year often only to be discarded as the magnitude of the project really hits home.

MPS allows more rapid route development, and opens up the possibility of specialist roles where one player may have great track laying skills while another is better skilled at texturing or adding scenery.

The social aspects of MPS mean that you’re able to talk in real time to people with a passion for Trainz just like you. Communication can be in-game using text chat in iTrainz, through our Discord chat server with voice or text chat (free download, and highly recommended).

Like on the Trainz forums, you can discuss various aspects of Trainz, but in MPS you can do this while seeing the ideas unfolding right in front of your eyes. Work out with your fellow participants where to go, what to do, how to improve the route and what the long term plans are. Learn tips and tricks, discover new ideas and techniques, and perhaps even simply watch on and admire the work of others.

And of course, MPS isn’t compulsory, so you can still work offline on your own routes or drive alone or with the AI drivers for company.

What happens if I am not interested in MPS?

We certainly don’t expect everyone (or indeed, anyone) to spend all their time in MPS routes. In fact, you can avoid MPS completely (by never clicking on any of the purple titled routes in your menu). 

That said, during our external beta testing we’ve seen a whole new dimension to Trainz developing week by week, along with a whole new set of online friendships.

Of course, we’d certainly love you to check out the fledgling routes that have begun development during our beta period or become involved in collaborating on something bigger and grander than you could ever hope to achieve on your own. 

And even if you’ve never used Surveyor, you’re not left out in MPS. You have the freedom to drive, interact with industries, load, unload, couple, add more trains, remove trains and do pretty much everything you can offline. The big difference is that when you see a meet in MPS, there’s a real driver at the controls and you could chat to see how their day’s going.

How do I access MPS Early Access?

Currently you need to update from a Trainz Plus build using “Trainz Plus Beta” patch stream to the latest beta version. Once we’ve ensured everything is working as expected with larger numbers of users, (soon), members will be able to update using the “Trainz Plus” stream.

Note that all routes and sessions saved in the Trainz Plus 108xxx and higher will be saved as Trainzbuild 4.7 and will not be compatible with older versions of Trainz including TRS19 Platinum or SP1.(MPS routes are saved on the server only at this stage).

When TRS19 SP2 and Platinum updates are released (Soon(TM)) these will also beTrainzbuild 4.7 (so routes and sessions will become compatible between Trainz Plus and non-Trainz Plus users at that time).

Note that 4.7 routes and sessions cannot currently be uploaded to the DLS.

How do I find and access MPS Routes?

MPS routes shared by other users will appear in your routes menu by default. These routes are list to the right of locally installed routes and show with a purple title. These can be searched upon, filtered and selected like a standard route. You can explore as many or as few of these routes as you wish. 

The colour coding is as follows:

  • Green Tick = Joined. You have previously entered the route
  • Grey Trainz Logo = Publicly listed and you haven't joined or abandoned it.
  • Blue Plus = Invited. You have been invited to the route, and you haven't abandoned or joined it.
  • Yellow Key = Owned. You are the owner of this route.

Note that edit permissions are shown in-game and not in the menu UI, and that there are limits to the number of routes displayed at one time in the menu. You can still search for routes not listed by default.

How do I drive a train on an MPS route?

There are a few options available to drive trains in MPS. To start from the beginning:

  • Select an MPS route (title is shown in purple in the routes menu) and then click Edit Route
  • Click Tools menu > Driver Mode to switch into Driver (or press Ctrl-F2)
  • Find any existing locos by looking around, using Ctrl-F (and filter on vehicles), or clicking on the Driver image bottom left to open the Drivers List.
  • In the Drivers list click on the “eye” icon to view each train and location.
  • Once you have found a train that is not assigned to another player already, click on Multiplayer - Assign Driver to gain control of the train.
  • To add your own train, switch to Surveyor Mode, click the Trains tab.
  • Scroll or search to select your rolling stock and place each train car on the tracks.
  • Note that placing your own train requires Train edit permissions
  • If you do not have any train controls at this point, click on your loco or click the eye icon in the Drivers list.
  • If required, change driving mode by clicking on the 3 dots on the bottom right
  • Important note: You can switch back and forward between editing and driving and your train will continue on without pausing. You can only change the controls in Driver Mode.

How do I import my own routes?

To share your existing Trainz routes to the MPS server, follow this guide (requires an active Trainz Plus account):

  • Select your route in the routes menu and click Edit Route
  • If you’ve made any modifications, ensure you save your route before continuing
  • Click Sharing Menu > Share route 
  • A prompt will inform you session data will not be included in the upload
  • If your route includes assets not available in the current MPS content set, an error will show, and the upload will abort. If this occurs:
  • On the Launcher click Developer > Show logs and you will see a list showing all of the KUIDs that are not currently usable in MPS. 
  • Replace/remove each of these items using the Bulk Update tool or by manually deleting/replacing them.
  • Retry until you’ve replaced all the necessary items
  • Your route will now begin uploading, with progress shown in a modal dialog (a large route may take several hours to upload)
  • Once uploaded, a copy of your original route will exist on the MPS server (but no-one else will see it yet). Your online route will be given a new “MPS-Sever KUID” and will not (currently) be able to be saved offline. 
  • Your original offline route will remain as it was when it was last saved, and is now effectively a different route, independent from the MPS online version.
  • For clarity, any future edits to the offline route will have no effect on the MPS version, and vice versa.

Can I import a Download Station Route that isn't mine?

While it is possible to download and edit DLS routes for your own use, the laws regarding copyright infringement come into play when you start redistributing work you do not have copyright to.

Therefore to upload someone else's route from the DLS you need their permission first, or you need to have made a "new work" by significantly altering their original work (and even this step becomes grey under law).

For this reason, we highly recommend only uploading original creations or getting permission from the original author to upload their work.

How do I make my MPS route visible to others?

Once you have uploaded your route to the MPS Server, you’re ready to determine who else has access. Note that making a route visible does not allow the users to make any edits. this is done through the permissions dialog.

To make your route visible to everyone:

  • Click on Sharing Menu > Open Player List
  • Enable guest access by clicking the lock icon

Alternatively, to make your route visible to only specific users.

Option 1, invite them by username:

  • Click on Sharing Menu > Open Player List 
  • Click on Add New Player
  • Enter the MyTrainz username of the person you wish to invite
  • Once the player is invited the route will show in their Routes menu. 
  • Note that there's a limit on the number of invited routes that will show, but the player can search for all routes by name.

Option 2 you can use a share link:

  • From the  Sharing Menu > Open Player List highlight the link url
  • Use right-click > copy to copy the url to your clipboard
  • Paste this link for people you wish to invite
  • To enter the route, they need to copy & paste the link into Launcher > Developer > "Open URL…" dialog.
  • This will load the Route directly.
  • Note: The "Enable advanced debug tools" option must be enabled in the Launcher settings to see this option.

How do I give permissions to other users?

To allow other players access to the various tools to edit the route, you will need to change the permissions for that player or player group, using the following tips. Note that you must be the Owner or an Administrator to edit permissions.

To issue full edit permissions to anyone:

  • Click Sharing menu > Open Permissions List
  • Select “Guest Access” 
  • Click on "Enable all editing tools”, or the specific set of tools you wish to enable
  • You can also then do the same to enable  Area Locking, Layer Tools and Environment Tools
  • Important Note: Allowing full edit permissions also means that a user can, for example, delete all the baseboards in a route. Be careful when issuing permissions.

To issue limited permissions to individual users or a group of users:

  • Click Sharing menu > Open Permissions List
  • Next to Guest Access click the + button to add a new permissions group
  • Name the group (e.g. Friends)
  • Select the group and enable the desired permissions as explained above
  • Click the + button beside the Group Members (on the far right) to add users to the group, and grant them those permissions
  • Note that using this method to a player who is not already registered with the route will do so automatically (and so have them also show in the player list dialog).

You can also allow limited permissions by only issing access to one or more of the various tools. For example, you could issue scenery editing permission only, or scenery + track.

Also, only one person is allowed to edit certain dialogs at one time such as Environment Settings or Edit Route.

What protections are in place for MPS routes?

First off, everything created in MPS is saved to our servers and is backed up regularly. 

As creator of a route, you are also the owner, and you have full control over who has access to the route. You can set permissions on a per feature, per group, or per person basis.

Many hands make light work, but on the other hand, too many cooks can spoil the broth. So while MPS will enable lots of people to work together to create routes far quicker than solo efforts, if everyone is working in different directions, things may get messy quickly.

For this reason we recommend that you allocate edit permissions wisely!

Note that during Early Access there is no user-facing “revert” option in case of needing to restore an earlier version of a route.  In case of a full failure, routes can be restored.

Does MPS support Sessions and Rules?

MPS is based around new streaming technology that loads in only the parts of the route near to your current location.

Since everything is happening in real time without pausing, these systems mean that many session rules and concepts aren’t supported.

This also means that Driver commands (other than “Drive”) are not supported. 

What is Area Locking?

Area locking is a way to define custom permissions for a specific area of the route. These permissions may be restrictive (ie, prevent other users editing an area) or permissive (ie, grant edit access to specific users).

To create an area lock:

  • Click Sharing Menu > Take Temporary Area Lock
  • (Note this option will be disabled if you don't have appropriate edit permissions)
  • Use the mouse to drag-select the area on the map you wish to lock
  • The locked area is marked in green for you (and other group members you add) and will show in red for other players
  • Newly created area locks are temporary, and will prevent other players (except the route owner) from editing within the locked area until you log out.
  • However, area locking is just another way to create custom permissions groups, and these groups can be edited like any other (using the permissions dialog).
  • This includes modifying the edits that are prevented/permitted, modifying which players can edit, etc.
  • anyone with permissions editing access (e.g. "Admin" users, and the route owner) can also edit them.
  • Once an area lock is edited in the permissions dialog it becomes permanent, and must be manually deleted to remove it again (ie, it will remain in the route after you log out).

What’s the best way to coordinate route building in MPS?

To obtain the best results, coordination is the key in route building. If everyone does their own thing, the result will be disjointed. Therefore we recommend a variety of ways to coordinate your activities:

  • Give your route a meaningful name
  • Ensure your route is visible to others (see "How do I make my route visible to others?")
  • Use Edit Menu > Edit Route and add a detailed description of your plans for the route, what you expect from contributors to the route and how they can contact you
  • Make a forum post giving more details about the route and the goals (link: https://forums.auran.com/trainz/forumdisplay.php?71-Trainz-Multiplayer-talk)
  • Make a Discord channel post (join our Discord channel here, it's free)
  • Utilize your other favourite channels to communicate (e.g. Skype, Teamspeak etc)
  • Create your own website and post updates about route progress etc

What are beta testers saying about the current version?

All right.  My train is fully loaded....well, one empty flat.  The lumber mill needs logs and the sawdust bins are full [...]
My shift is almost finished.  I have just enough time to get to Harborview.  Going to tie down in the East Yard for the night.
Well, I am safely back at Harborview.  Got the train tied down on track A-1 in the yard.  Should be good until morning.

I will switch out the lumber yard next time I get on.  Maybe run a sawdust train to the lumber mill as well.  Hopefully they will have some logs by then.
Man, running these way freights and locals is a blast! It was another superb session today! My train ran flawlessly all through the session.

NJP

Local ready to leave Harborview to the Harborview Grain Co[...]
I am almost done at Harborview Grain Co. My brother is making the unbelievable grades with a mega freight.

Wow what fun stress testing session, had a blast with me and my brother playing side-by-side tonight. Ahhh yes can't wait till this goes live.
Bigblue

Was a lot of fun and i am not the most creative when it comes to scenery!
AceMorphios