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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:19 pm 
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wow its looking great! That video was pretty interesting not too many people show up close to those certain parts of a steam loco. Cant wait for this to be fully released.

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:57 pm 
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Miscellaneous little details: you can select the gauge face type (small or bolded) and whether to show the calibration stickers or not. So you can make four combinations of gauges... or something.

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:49 am 
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Work on the sim is on going but slow... the Disneyland layout is a whole lot more work than I expected and having a new baby boy sure takes up a lot of time :roll: (in this household we are currently not a fan of the 4 month sleep regression... oh my goodness... :oops: )

Here are some new "proof of life" pictures... :shock:

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This is only a rendering... it will get imported into the sim. Note the lack of "FRONTIERLAND" station signage still!

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:15 pm 
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Preston wrote:
Work on the sim is on going but slow... the Disneyland layout is a whole lot more work than I expected and having a new baby boy sure takes up a lot of time :roll: (in this household we are currently not a fan of the 4 month sleep regression... oh my goodness... :oops: )


Congratulations on the new addition! :)

Don't worry because you'll get through the sleep deprivation - all us parents somehow managed to survive it. That's what babies do - torture their parents and look so darned cute while doing it!

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One of the best things that my wife and I did was we established good sleeping habits for my son from the day that he was born. We kept him on a routine sleeping schedule and he always slept on his own in his own room. It worked and by the time that he was one month old, he slept eight hours a night. Whenever he woke up, he would just look around for a little bit and then go back to sleep again.

He just turned four and he still sleeps anywhere from eleven to twelve hours a night and he takes about a three hour nap every afternoon. We get a lot of work done around the house when he's sleeping.

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:21 pm 
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Thanks for the encouragement :lol:

We must have drew the lucky regression lottery. He was such a good sleeper at 2-3 month, giving us a very welcomed 9-11 hours a night. Now we're back on the newborn schedule---waking up every 90-120 minutes like clockwork. :cry:

We also recently stopped swaddling him since he's rolling over. I'm sure that must still feel weird to him!

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:33 pm 
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Location: Wake Forest, NC
I have been lucky enough to be given access to the sim, to help work out any bugs and to test it for accuracy. Preston also has a couple other folks doing this: a current DRR engineer and one of the N&W J 611 crew members. With this group, I think you can be pretty much assured that the sim will be as accurate to the real thing as is possible.

I have been playing with a couple versions of it over the past few days. It is mind-boggling to me how accurate to firing and operating a real steam locomotive this is. You basically have to do *everything* the way you would on a real oil-burning engine. You have to hook up an air compressor if the engine is cold, in order for the blower and atomizer to work. All appropriate valves must be opened. The fire door has to be opened in order to throw in a lit piece of waste, which will go out in about 10 seconds unless you apply atomizer and oil. As the boiler heats, the water in the sight glass goes up: Why? Because water expands when heated!

I initially fired the engine up from a cold start. Took about two hours to get to operating pressure--that's real time, and extremely accurate. If you don't want to do this every time, you can start the sim with the engine fully under steam: However, you will still need to open all the necessary valves, and get a fire going in the firebox.

There's even a padlock on the throttle that needs to be removed! When I initially moved the Johnson Bar into the forward corner, it took quite a lot of "effort." It wasn't until I told Preston about this that he let me know that when cold, all the grease is cold too, and that would be reflected in things being harder to move initially. Of course--Brilliant!

The sim starts out with a random amount of condensate in the cylinders, which has to be drained through the cylinder cocks when starting. If not, bad things can happen. As the engine heats up, the steam won't condense in the cylinders, so it won't be necessary to open the cylinder cocks every time you stop.

For me, the experience of firing this engine and running it is exactly as I would expect from the real thing--I felt quite at home, knowing that when I made an adjustment, say, to the fire, I'd see that adjustment reflected on the steam pressure gauge. When I added water with the injector, the pressure invariably goes down in proportion--you're adding cold water to the boiler and cooling it off, so the pressure goes down.

The graphics are incredible, from the texture of the plaster gauze-wrapped steam pipes to the cab wood grain to the slightly dirty window glass.

The scenery is also spectacular, although with my ancient computer I had to turn off most of the lush greenery so the program would run smoother. But that's a menu option. And speaking of menu options, there are a ton of different options available, from time of day, to day of year, to how many cars you can pull, to your choice between the Holliday and the Ripley.

Every function of the cab is replicated. Too hot? slide open the cab window! Ready to move? Grab the whistle lever and pull it. You won't just get an "on/off" whistle--you'll can "quill" it like the real thing!

Sounds are very important in running a steam engine, and I found Preston's use of them to be perfect. The chuff of the engine sounds just like the ones from the DRR. The throttle and Johnson Bar latches sound good, and I know I've left the injector on because of the noise it makes. The engine will also pop the safety valves if the pressure gets too high! My dad's computer has a better sound system, and with the sound up, you'll be immersed in this steam locomotive.

While poking around, I came across the Trainz Big Boy on YouTube. Now, not being much into the sim gaming world, I'm not sure if Trainz is the best out there or what, but what I saw was sad. The "control panel" of the Big Boy consisted literally of a light-rail style control panel, with a little knob/joystick for a throttle and brake, and a green circle that said "285 psi." If the circle changed color, that meant your pressure went down. Seems the only object of the Big Boy sim was just to make the engine go and stop. There was no actual steam locomotive knowledge needed to operate it. If that's what exists out there as far as steam locomotive sims go, then Preston's is simply the best one there is.

On Preston's sim, even the fuel and water in the tender will be depleted over time. On the first night, I left the sim running when I went to have dinner. When I came back, the inevitable had happened--catastrophic failure! I had let the crown sheet get exposed, and I "blew" the engine up!

Almost every contingency you might find on a real steam locomotive is programmed in. The engine can stop on "dead center," meaning that opening the throttle won't do anything. You have to throw the Johnson Bar in reverse to get the valves off dead center, and then you can proceed again in forward. On random occasions, the injector will get clogged with sediment. If you use the injector a lot, it will get hot, and be unable to function properly, until it cools off over time.

I will report back when I can to keep people posted. But I can say that this is as close as you can come to actually operating the real thing. The thought has crossed my mind that Disney themselves might be able to use this as a training tool. If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to fire and run a real DRR-style steam engine, this will be as close as you will be able to get unless you get a job on the DRR.

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:49 pm 
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I am looking forward to when Preston opens this up for everyone to use. What is the current requirement for an operating system and is it Windows or Apple based? Thank you, Steve, for providing a great teaser to Preston's work.


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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:20 pm 
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Earlier I told Steve that the sim is supposed to make you feel like you're at work rather than playing another "game" :lol: So I don't want to hear about you having "fun" around here... :P

The sim's accuracy is also to Steve's credit, of course. We all know that his knowledge of these engines are unmatched. There's been a lot of emails exchange behind the scenes with me asking probably seemingly random questions out of the blue. Steve also has great eye for detail---a bulk of those emails were purely about the appearance of the waterglass and its operation. So I'll take this opportunity to thank him for his patience. I think the first email I sent to him about this was... 3 years ago? Wow.

The sim will be available for both Windows and OSX. I haven't tried it on my Apple laptop yet so I don't even know how well it runs, but on a Windows computer I recommend having a dedicated graphics card that's at least like a GTX 700 series. GTX 600 series might work, but I don't have one to test it. I haven't done any optimization of the program, though. That'll help with the performance too.

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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:32 am 
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"On Preston's sim, even the fuel and water in the tender will be depleted over time. On the first night, I left the sim running when I went to have dinner. When I came back, the inevitable had happened--catastrophic failure! I had let the crown sheet get exposed, and I "blew" the engine up!"

What, no drop plug?! The real thing has that per code


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 Post subject: Re: DRR sim update
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:17 pm 
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8000 post Engineer
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Location: Wake Forest, NC
Bruce R Pier wrote:
"On Preston's sim, even the fuel and water in the tender will be depleted over time. On the first night, I left the sim running when I went to have dinner. When I came back, the inevitable had happened--catastrophic failure! I had let the crown sheet get exposed, and I "blew" the engine up!"

What, no drop plug?! The real thing has that per code

Well, while the tin used in fusible plugs melts at 450 degrees, over time it can transform into oxide of tin, with a melting point of 2,966 degrees... :shock:

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