Trainz/Content Manager/Content Manager Plus

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Content Manager in it's early 'CMP' incarnation.

Introduction To Content Manager Plus


Content Manager Plus was a new module added to Trainz with the November 2005 release of TRS2006, with which users could install new modeling assets, or export a route to share. While CM or ContentManager.exe was also a stand alone EXE file utility in TRS2004 — the 2004 facility was primitive though an improvement on the handful of exe modules, each doing separate maintenance and upkeep functions in Trainz 1.0 through Trainz UTC, combining several functions in that handful of executables. While still a separate module, TRS2004's ContentManager was further evolved, but still primarily only a local database management and access tool and there were separate programs for managing the FTP transactions of uploading and downloading cdp file assets to the newly created cloud service, Auran's Trainz Download Station.

The big change with CMP (Content Manager Plus) was combining almost all data operations except an editor into one package as a feature of TRS2006 and Trainz Classics onwards, and is accessible via the Trainz start-up launch (Trainz launcher) screen, or by directly loading the exe or using a shortcut.
 • CMs purpose is to manage the assets on your hard drive (located in your Trainz/local folder[note 1]) and also manage downloading from the DLS.
 • CMP has a sophisticated search facility and automatically downloads dependencies associated with each asset.

CMP is closely integrated to CCP.exe, another TRS2006 new asset management tool and can also used to open assets for editing and vetting them for proper data structures before submitting them for use in Trainz. Since TS2009, CCP's validation function has been built into the new CM releases, with ever more stringent format testing and faulty asset rejection.

In TRS2006 while CCP can be used as a 'fill-in-the-form-aide', most Content Creators since Trainz UTC and above, manually create assets offline (using a standard text editor and graphics tools) collecting the separate parts in some new assets folder — which are created and crafted by other tools. The assets folders are then submitted into the database via CMP and today's successor CMs by dragging the new assets folder over to CM and dropping it. Alternatively CM/CMPs drop menus have an input mode that allow navigation to and importation of such asset folders. cdp files, Trainz compressed data packet ('zip files' for Trainz assets) files can also be imported by menu or dragged and dropped into these Content Managers, all being Windows based programs.


The parent 'Content Manager' page to this page was overhauled in March 2014, but the 'Blog' section below was so charmingly written and mostly still applicable, (from an experiential point of view, it gives the flavor of using the CMs your first few time really well--provided sounds are enabled!) I thought it worth retaining in some way. Hence this page was moved to be this subpage. While becoming less common, TRS installs, even TRS2004, are still out there and in use, so I'm keeping the Troubleshooting section as was written, with some improvements based on my over seven years experiences with TRS2006s foibles.
  • The troubleshooting sections tips are now somewhat dated; so does not in any way generally apply to the newer CMs which are far less prone to freezing up. TADdaemon is in charge now, and that gates transactions.
  • The modern CMs, save possibly for pre-TS2009-SP3 versions, won't ever respond to deleting the Assets.tdx and assets.bku files, then rebooting, then relaunching procedure because the user data is in assets.tdx now. Consequently, having a backup of that file is highly recommended. See Recommended practices for others and how to manage that easily.
  • But that older measure is the equivalent of doing a Quick Data Base repair (QDR) from the Menu. The Trainz-build v3.2 systems, starting with TS2009-SP3 and TS2010-SP2Ø
  • The page as I found is plain vanilla, I'm adding bullets before those practices below I find to be pertinent and valid today.

—Fabartus, editor

Unfortunately CMP is well known for it's bugs and problems. Crashes, freezes, corruption of assets, malfunction, unpredictability and loss of data are not uncommon for many users. The reliability of CMP varies from user to user and is dependent on the setup of the system and the operating system.

The above comment in all fairness applies mainly to pre-CM 2.0 (TS2009-SP0) CMPs. CMs bugs were tamed along the way, becoming foibles of TADdaemon, and that story seems to have settled down as of May 2014.

The following is a list of some suggested remedies for common problems with CMP. It is based on a posting on the Auran forum by Rob Shaw.

  • If CMP fails to start, press CTRL-ALT-DEL (or SHFT-CTRL-ESC) to invoke Windows Task Manager. In "Processes", check if there is a second copy of ContentManager running and if so then end it.
  • If CMP fails to recognize the user's login or incorrectly reports having no FCT (First Class Ticket) or some similar problem, check that the C:\Program Files\Auran\TRS2006\Settings folder hasn't any content set to read-only. Then ensure that the login details are entered properly via Launcher>Options, and refresh them (change one letter of your username, then change it back).
  • If CMP cannot connect to the server, check for any problems reported by the firewall program. If the problem persists, in CMP Settings > Internet, choose "Use Internet Explorer Settings", which is reported to sometimes help.
  • CMP is reported to be more likely to crash frequently if there is a large amount of DLS content installed. In this case it may help to delete the ..\TRS2006\assets.tdx file and the ..\TRS2006\Cache folder contents.
Dated!, Do not delete these in post-TC3 releases, but use TrainzUtil to instead do an commandline EDR or QDR. In the TRS20006 family, deleting the assets.tdx index files forced it to be rebuilt, which is the same as a full EDR. However, new post-CM 2.0 Trainz now keep user data in this file, so you break things (for 6-8 hours!) by deleting it.

(The later is routinely deleted as CMP boots itself regardless.) This is because occasionally the database becomes corrupted for unknown reasons. You need to run TRS2006 after deleting those items before launching CMP again, and TRS2006 may take a long time to start the first time after deleting the database.

CMP behaves a bit like a railroad - the blog edition

Contributing authors: nismitunknown

By nismit @ auran trainz forum


Except for some of the crashes descriptions, this gem is still truly indicative of how CM/CMP operates. Error fixing is still much the same. New Trainzer should read twice before running CM!

After my first very hard 2-3 daze of trainz 2006, I have come to terms with CMP, in fact I'm in love, though it was a steep climb. Sure CMP hangs and breaks and sometimes "forgets to leave physical memory, when it crashes, so it must be evicted through the Applications (or Processes) tag within Windows Task Manager; but when it stumbles, it can be picked up from where it left.

The first break through was turning sound on in CMP and listening to the sounds it makes. Then the download part begins to make a little sense:

DO NOT hit the start button immediately after move assets to the Download Helper window! Wait for it! A bell signals when the "train of assets" is ready for download.

WARNING: Failure to adhere to CMPs 'railroad rules and regulations' will increase the risk of wreckage and frustrations.

When departure signal have been given: press 'Start'. A doorman's whistle is blown and CMP begins downloading. (With a FCT download usually maxes out the capacity of the connection, in my case up to 500KB/s.)

Another (undescribed) sound signals, when download helper has done as much as it could. The real fun (as defined by Rimmer of Red Dwarf) begins. Press the 'Missing dependencies' for an initial assessment of the "damage". Hopefully you have 'laptop' icons in the Status column all the way down to the floor.

Do not line up too many assets, unless you are positively asking for trouble. Control your greed and split larger transports into several 'trainz of assets'.

Sometimes CMP cannot find assets, even though they are on DLS. The search them out in DLS and press download there to marshall the next download train. Some are not found on DLS, then you'll be back in this Forum looking for hints.

Some assets come down in tears. Either with 'Missing dependencies' or as faulty. doNT paNIC, most of the problems are rather simple to fix. Begin by opening the Right Mouse Click menu on the misfortunate asset.

If missing dependencies, select View Dependencies, then press 'View in main list' on the popup window. Here the process is a recursive hunt for assets that are faulty or missing dependencies.

Faulty assets can be edited in 3 or 4 ways, but I chose not to install .NET to save precious disk and bug space, so I have only used 'Edit in Explorer' as I'm an old hacker, so I prefer to keep an eye on things without to many buggy tools between me and the real problem.

So, now we're down to a faulty asset. If you cannot fix it, be sure to disable it in the asset RC popup menu. Starting Trainz with faulty assets is a rather bad idea, since the result is unpredictable with inconvenient application crashes as the likely outcome.

Dive into the faulty asset with 'Edit in Explorer' (in the sub-popup menu under Edit in the asset popup menu), this will move the asset files to an editing folder in the trainz root (folder). Then pick 'View errors' on the assets popup menu in CMP, so you know what to fix in the asset folder. Most of the errors are rather silly syntax mistakes in the config.txt file and the *.texture.txt files describing the visual assets components. If you stumble into something you cannot fix, maybe someone has or can, so you'll be back at The Trainz Forum sharing the community fruits or seeding new ones.

With config and texture problems - if you do not know how to fix the assets - it usually suffices to but the word rem on the beginning of the text line CMP complains about. Fx if CMP complains about the word 'surely' in config.txt and a line like: "surely cmp will sour over this line" appears in the file.

Simply add rem as a line prefix to turn it into a "comment", like this:
rem cmp will surely sour over this line (ed. says: Now invalid — Error created in V2.9 and higher!)

To validate you fixes and reinstate the asset: select 'Commit' on aforementioned submenu. If all's well the red exclaimation (!) in the asset's status field will fade and you can proceed to the next trouble item. Otherwise recheck the 'View errors' and repeat the editing part just described.

Now, what we really need is a way to bring the fixed assets back to the DLS without the somewhat disrespect and rather clumsy solution of cloning the fixed asset (with your user ID) and uploading it to DLS under a new KUID. It would be cleaner and more respectful of the producers efforts to put it back with a version increment, so the next one that downloads it (as a dependency) gets the fixed asset instead of being forced to repeat the exercise I have described here.

So much for Trainz'06 and CMP. Vista is another matter, which I would have advised strongly against, if BG&Co (Microsoft) had shown the courtesy of consulting me in advance;-). Unfortunately, the guys in SW (software) engineering still believe users and indeed other developers read manuals. This is at best naive, since it is pretty obvious, that quite few of them do so themselves, leading to various problems very similar in nature to those of the main topic in this reply.

Again: remember to commit all assets and disable what is or can not be fixed - before you start Trainz. Goodbye blue Monday.

NB: It would appear, that you must clone and archive the corrected assets in order to be able to restore your fixes after a cleanup.

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