Trainz/Content Creator's Guide

Trainz Annotated References
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The Trainz Content Creator's Guide(s) (CCG) were technical documentation collections professionally written delineating the needful tags, definitions, and parametrics of constructing Trainz compatible digital asset models. They (are alleged to) have been superseded by the TrainzOnline wiki covering most of the same topics, but the presentation, information and tautological information in each article of the CCG is generally more user friendly and detailed with instructional coverage of its topics ranging from the introductory concepts to the detailed when compared to the terse, sometimes overly bare focus of the corresponding article pages of the main Trainz Wiki.

One way to understand it, is the Trainz wiki has been written by geeks writing for those already in the know, being put together and maintained mainly by the N3V programmers — whereas the CCGs impart the same kinds of information plus some introductory, cross-connective or fundamental background knowledge along with the same degree of data reliability.

Another way to appreciate it, the Trainz Wiki was in the main put up by four programmers as a reference in between other duties, whereas the CCGs were written by a Staff of 30 including graphics artists, technical writers, programmers and programmer-managers—and was part of the professional job for many of those working the project. The world owes a great debt to Greg Lane whose oversight and vision put Trainz on such a firm beginning footing up through 2006.

File:Trainz UTC distributed HTM file CCG menu
Trainz UTC distributed HTM file CCG menu

In the early days, the first drafts of the CCG was made available to Auran Developmental partners, interested 3rd-parties sans formal relationships and various hobbyists around the world who were often key active members of large model railroading clubs and associations, all assisting in the design of run-time features, early asset generation, and all accessed through a web page hyperlinking various topics. These were updated even as the code was being written for the Trainz 0.9 Beta release, and once stabilized, released on the installation CDROM with Trainz 1.3 and Trainz UTC retail releases (TBV's 1.3 and 1.5).

Trainz data modelsEdit

main article: data model

As a rule each active line of a config.txt file contains a proscribed specific keyword (a 'Tag') followed by whitespace and a defining value:

  1. Some such values are NULL or NIL, where there is nothing defined. This is a common occurrence in informational tags meant to give information to humans instead of the game. license, origin, company, author, organisation, contact-email, contact-website, website, and internationalization tags such as translated names and comments all might show up in a config as empty tags.
    1. This is in part because many content items are based on a config someone copies parts from by cut and paste.
    2. Over the years, certain tools like TRS2006's CCP provide automatic formatting and tag definitions, with default settings defining such boilerplate data for repetitive tag data.

The CCG's focus was solely on how to make compatible digital models for rendering by the JET 2.0 game engine that Auran leased out to other game companies and powered all the Trainz UTC through TS2009 retail products. Since GMAX was bundled and distributed with each version of Trainz until TRS2006, many data storage practices were implemented the same way in Trainz.