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Activity Generator Update Release Notes

Activity Generator version 3 has been completed and is now available.  The section below describes differences between Version 1 and Version 2.

Why is there a new version?  And what has changed? 

New to Activity Generator:

 §         Users used to have to start by building their trains in a yard or spur.  Now, you can start with a train already built (provided there is room on the track where the activity starts).

§         Cars to be set out later in the activity had to be picked up from “Yard Tracks” that the Activity Template Designer selected.  Because of that you couldn’t do setouts to any of those yard tracks, wasting a lot of tracks which might otherwise be worked.  NOW you can select any tracks as “Source Tracks” from which your setouts down the line will come – or they can simply come from your original starting consist (train) if you don’t want to do any switching at the beginning.

§         Users can build better locomotive consists for the trains they’ll operate with the ability to include non-driveable locomotives in all but the lead unit position.  So you can use “trailing units”, AI locos, etc.

§         Users can select a car to add at the end of the consist Activity Generator creates, so a caboose or “FRED”, for example, can be added at the end.

§         You can change the activity start time (and all associated AI traffic is also adjusted accordingly).  So you can run activities at night, midday – any time you like.

§         You can generate simpler workorders or workorders more suited to unit commodity shipping like coal and grain, by a new feature that will cause the program to call for pickup of all the cars on a track (up to the maximum limits you set of course) rather than just some of them.

 New Features for Activity Template Designers:

 §         Activity Generator will calculate spur/siding lengths based on the tdb file for you, so you needn’t estimate how many cars will fit on a given siding/spur.

§         A new “Diagnostic Mode” check box creates a file that shows step by step how Activity Generator is processing your template so you can uncover problems and fine tune your template.

Click here for more details.

A new manual for Activity Generator is also available, click here to get it (free whether you have the program or not).

Here's a screen shot of the new main screen:

(Note: the version number shown here is generic.  The actual latest version is found above under "Patches and updates")

New Activity Generation Screen:

Known Issues with Activity Generator v3 Release (for complete listing of issues see Known Issues)

Using "Maximum Cars to Add to Player Consist."  Some activity start points won't have room for a large train.  In a future version we'll allow the template designer to set the maximum starting train length for each possible starting point a user can select.  In the meantime, either use the default,  "0" as the "Maximum Cars to Add to Player Consist" unless the docs supplied with the template tell you otherwise.

Or if you'd like to experiment with this, try some number of cars for this box, generate an activity,  and see if you get an error about objects starting in collision when you load it in MSTS.  If you get this error, it will mean that your train is too long and you'll need to use a smaller number.  Another approach: if you're moderately familiar with the MSTS Activity Editor, open the activity you just generated, look at it and see how long the train is and how long it should be (click "Tools" on the MSTS Activity Editor main menu, then "Verify Starting State".

Problems with Older Templates:  The only remaining issue we're aware of at this time is that activities generated using SLG Version 2 can generate an error in MSTS when used to generate Switchlists using some of the older templates.  Because the new version now fills the "world" with railcars (rather than relying on the railcars already placed via the template), if the template designer wasn't careful with the "siding capacity", or, placed the cars close to the boundary of the track, it's possible that cars might be placed in the siding which run off the edge of the track.  If this happens, when starting the activity in MSTS the user will receive the error message "Objects begin in Collision, which is prohibited." or something similar.

This isn't a bug in the program, but rather, some of the templates will need to be rewritten. 

This is why we've divided all the templates into three categories: templates that have been tested and certified to work with BOTH version 1 AND version 2, templates created especially for version 2 (won't run on version 1), and templates created for version 1 which have not yet been tested for version 2, and thus may or may not work.  See the Templates page for a description and a breakdown.

The simplest fix for this is to simply use the "SwitchList Generator Classic" (version 1.0.6), supplied with the original program and the Activity Generator Upgrade,  on any templates that have not yet been updated or tested and certified for version 2. 

If you notice any other issues or bugs with the new update please report them on our User Forum so they can be fixed.