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Something for those newbies

This tutorial was originally written by Enzo1 (a member on the Trainz Discussion Forums). Apart from a few spacing and formatting changes so it hopefully appears correctly, this is as it was originally written on his site. The original tutorial is at

This is something that those newbies might want to check out.


  Welcome to a widely open-world where there are no limits to what you can do. Welcome to the world of train sims, and simulators in general. There are so many things to do and enjoy in this world. However, if you're looking at this, then you maybe new to the world of being creative with these wonderful programs. Always remember, that everything starts as something really small.


The imagination and planning stages of things


   Everything starts somewhere. It doesn't magically just happen, but it sure would be nice if it did. It all starts in that special place that a lot of our brains have called an imagination. Imagination is critical in creating ideas, and later making believable sights out of simulators of any kind. Everything you see here on this website started out as a simple idea. The idea then turned into a vision. The vision went on to become the screenshots and videos you see throughout this website. Here there are practically no limits to what you can do and create. The only limit is your eye, vision and imagination. You can create mountains and canyons at your own desire. You can drive 5 trains at one time. You decide what you want to do with this powerful program.


Getting Familiarized with some basic Surveyor HUD features in Trainz


    If you've read this far, now we're ready to touch the foundations of everything in the world of Trainz. I use Trainz 2012 for everything you see on this website. First thing we need to do to get started is start Trainz, click new route, and go into surveyor. Surveyor is the train-placing and route-building feature of the Trainz series programs. Once you're in Surveyor, you'll see 7 tabs, 5 of which I will be covering here, on the right side of the screen. These are what helped to make some of the best routes and sessions you see for Trainz. I would click each one and take a look at whats inside. In the next few stages of the experimenting of what can be done with each one of the tabs, I will be going over each one's purpose and use. 


The Terrain tab


    The very first tab you're going to see is the terrain tab. This tab allows you to raise mountains from flatland, create mesa's and buttes, sharp cliffs, volcanoes, or whatever you're heart desires. When opening this tab, you'll see 3 big buttons at the top. The first button is what raises the terrain. When you need that hill or mountain, you can use that button to make it happen. The second button is what drops the terrain. It creates valleys, rivers, gorges, gulches, and canyons. This one is somewhat harder to use than the raise terrain button, but we'll be getting to some features that will help make it easier. The third button is to simply adjust terrain height. There's lots of uses that could be found for this button, but I rarely use it. Below the 3 buttons, there are 2 big dial like things. These are significant in what your terrain features will look like. The first dial (One on the left.) is for adjusting the size of the area that terrain altering will be taking place. The second dial (One on the right) is for adjusting how sharp/steep/extreme the terrain adjustment will be. The more lights that are lit up on the dial, the more extreme the adjustment will be. The two buttons at the very bottom are for adding or removing baseboards. Baseboards are those weird square thingys that Trainz calls land. Adding more baseboards makes the route longer.  The next 3 buttons and number-board above these are for adding water, removing water, and adjusting water to meet the height of the terrain you place the water in. The final two buttons and number-board are for flattening land, and grabbing height and using it elsewhere. The button to the right of the number-board is known as the plateau feature. This basically levels land at the specific height of the flat feature is flattening out from.  There are plenty of uses you'll find for this handy-dandy tool. The number-board itself is for showing the specific height of the terrain you'll either be flattening, raising, lowering, or adjusting in any way. The next button is for grabbing the height, and you can use it anywhere on the route. I have yet to find a good use for this tool, but I'm sure that somebody might know the answer. This pretty much covers the terrain features tab and what its basics are.


The textures tab


    This tab is for painting the ground. There's really not a whole lot to this tab. When clicked and opened, it brings out a window at the right side of the screen containing images of the ground textures that there are to choose from. The compass is for showing the direction at which the ground-textures will be painted in. The directional compass can be adjusted by using either the mouse or the [ ] keys on you're keyboard. You'll see 2 dials like the ones found in the terrain tabs. The first centered one is for adjusting the radius of the area to be textured. Again, more lights that are lit up on the dial, is the larger painted area will be. The second dial is for adjusting the resolution of the of the ground textures. More lights that are lit up on it, is the more tiled your textures are going to look. By default, even with less lights, some textures will be naturally tiled, thus the use of [ ] key's to adjust the direction of the textures to kill some of the tiling effect. There is 2 buttons that will make texturing faster, but it won't look as good as that done about by hand. First one looks like a red square with a white outline. That is the Fill Area button/tool. It can fill large areas quickly, but only does uni-directional texturing and can't mix multiple textures together. It can come in handy for building a base texture to mix multiple textures together. To use it, you simply hold the mouse button and drag it, a white square will being to show up and increase in size as you drag the mouse further. Once you have the area selected, you hit the button that looks like a paint bucket. That will completely paint the area selected. The X over something button is for removing textures in a given area based on the area selected of the fill area-button/tool. The final button is for completely texturing baseboards, its similar to the replace assets tool, where you drag a texture you would like to paint over into the selection area. If all the grids are bare, then by default it will replace the grid textures with the selected texture. If you want to replace actual textures, then you'll have to drag that texture over into the replace menu thing, and select replace with a specific texture. You can use the handy dandy get texture button which will bring the texture currently place on the ground is so you can get to it much much easier. Replace textures tool is like fill area tool, it only replaces in the selected direction, and does not mix textures together. 


Structures Tab


This is the tab at which towns, forest and etc. are born! There's really not a whole lot to this tab in basic form, but I will eventually be getting into some more advanced stuff that can be done to help to make realistic sights.  At the top, there are 2 separate buttons. The first button is for placing structures such as houses, skyscrapers, trees, grass, bushes and etc... The second button is the Spline button. Splines are different from normal structures in the light they go only one direction and are repetitive in nature. You cannot rotate splines. In the splines section, you can find roads, powerlines, buildings, and even grasses and trees. I prefer spline grasses and trees over the non-spline ones because of the fact that splines look correct on hill-sides. For the structures side of the menu box, there are several basic buttons. The + button is pretty self-explanatory. It simply adds structures to the route. The twisty arrow button is for moving the structures from place to place. The circular arrow button rotates objects around to fit into specific areas based on your needs. The crane picking up a red-dot button is for grabbing an object. This will pull up the object that is placed so you can see what it is a lot easier than just looking through the miles and miles long menu of assets. The red X button again is pretty self-explanatory. It deletes assets from a route in one simple click. The house with 2 red arrows up and down button is for adjusting the height of the structure, tree, or grasses. You never know when that asset you place might be floating, you can use that tool to lower it to the ground. The last button is a question mark. This is for editing the properties of certain buildings and renaming them if possible. Few buildings have properties to edit really, so you probably won't be using this button often. 
  The splines section is considerably different from the structures section of the structures tab. There are a couple things that stand out from the structures tab. The first button is the same as it is in structures mode. Then there is this special button below the + called the split spline button. This perfect for fences, walls and anything that might need to meet at perfectly 90 degree angles. The next two buttons are the same as they are in structures mode, but then there is a button that is like that of a car. This turns the traffic that drives about on the roads off and on. If the button is outlined in green, then traffic is on. The question mark button is the same as it is in structures mode. There is an advanced drop down area, but I won't get into that until further down the line. 


The Track objects tab


   This tab is for laying the track out, and placing signals in the basic stage. We will go over track-marks in upcoming posts. The railroad tracks area of the tracks tab is like that of spline mode in the structures tab, all the buttons are the same except for a handy-dandy button called straighten track. You'll find that this button will be your friend in many cases :).  There is also an advanced drop down tab for it as well, but I will not get into that right now. We are here for learning the basics. You have to know the basics before you get advanced. 
  The next area is the track-objects area. This is where signals, bumpers, speed limit signs and crossing boards, and etc will be placed. All the buttons are the same except for the pitch-fork button, and that is for aligning junctions. When using rotate here, it will simply rotate the sign or object in the opposite direction on the opposite side of the tracks it was placed on. Moving objects simply move the objects down the tracks or to other tracks. This is really pretty simple stuff :)


The Trains tab


   The final tab I will be covering here is for placing trains on the railroad tracks through out the route. There's really not a whole lot to this. This tab is shaped like a wheel things I guess you could say. When opened, it brings a long list of available locomotives and railcars to place throughout the route. All the buttons are the same and really operate in a similar fashion to the trackside objects mode. There is a button in the shape of a coupler, and that will decouple cars from a train if need be, though I don't use that a whole lot in the surveyor mode. The second big button at the top is for placing entire consists on a route. There is a way to save trains you place on your route into the consists section to make placing a particular train you want to run much easier. If you want to do this, you use the grab tool and click on the placed train, and it will pull a pop-up to the screen where you name the consist and hit the check mark, and BAM, the train is now in the consists section to place on any route without having to make the entire train over again!


In closing


   In closing, the best steps you can take now is to experiment with all the information provided here. You can even tackle and play with those 2 other tabs, and tricky advanced sections. Whatever you do, have fun doing it. Remember, this is all about the fun! Let what you envision flow on to the baseboards of the routes. 

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