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Welcome to the Blog, where I'll be posting progress updates, work-in-progress screenshots, information about the progress I'm making with active projects, as well as anything else I feel is worth mentioning. Hopefully more frequent updates here will make the wait for upcoming releases more bearable! News from 2008, all the way back to 2001, can be found in the News Archive. YouTube ChannelMy openBVE videos and other comments from users and myself can also be found via my YouTube channel.

Blog and Progress Updates

Cross-City South 7-Zip trial

Posted by Anthony Bowden on 19th April 2009 at 7:55 am

In what may or may not prove to be a popular move, I’ve replaced my beloved NSIS executable installer within which the Cross-City South route was previously distributed, with a 7-Zip archive instead (and the other Cross-City add-ons have also been repackaged). I’m doing this as a trial to see how users cope with installing the route using a compressed archive manager instead of an installation program. I’m not willing to package the route using the more popular but less effective .zip format, as the resulting filesize is much larger than the .7z equivalent–the Cross-City South .zip version comes to a massive 32 MiB, while the 7-Zip archive comes in at 13.5 MiB, which is a little smaller than the installer it replaces (which figures, as both were compressed using the same LZMA compression method). All archives by default, have either the ‘Railway’ or ‘Train’ folder as the root folder within the archives, so you can always choose the same destination path when extracting the contents, and so there’s little doubt as to which folder the contents are supposed to be extracted to.

Okay, so I’ll miss using NSIS to package my add-ons as it was a very flexible installer creation tool, but more seriously, openBVE is intended as a cross-platform program, and executable (.exe) installers only work natively on Windows and not on other operating systems, which is unfair to non-Windows users wanting to use the route, or indeed those who have their add-ons installed in a non-default location. openBVE’s developer has also stated that add-ons released in installers aren’t considered to be openBVE content at all (and I can’t be happy if X-City isn’t considered to be openBVE content), so one way or another, distribution via compressed archive is the way of the future for openBVE, and I hope you’ll all be able to adjust to this change. If absolutely necessary I may reintroduce the executable installer alongside the .7z archive, but I’d prefer not to if possible.

There are no changes to the route itself (with v1.4 on it’s way, updating the old version isn’t really a good use of my time), however to prepare yourself for Cross-City South v1.4 and other openBVE add-ons in future, you can head over to the » Cross-City South download page « and try out the compressed archive installation method instead. I’ve also added new content to the » openBVE Help and Information « section of the site, which includes a couple of screenshots of what we can all look forward to with openBVE in the near future, along with step-by-step instructions to help with the downloading and installation of the Cross-City South .7z package for use with openBVE, along with recommended settings, and so-on. I’ve also slightly updated the » BVE 4 Help Section «, and you can also view an updated version of the » Cross-City South/Class 323 Tutorial « tailored for openBVE.

openBVE Help and Information
openBVE Help and Information
BVE Help and Information
BVE Help and Information

Information IconEdit: I’ve made a couple of amendments to the openBVE Help page and the Cross-City South download page, as they contained some unclear instructions and mistakes–sorry! I’ll continue to update them if necessary.

If you have problems installing the Cross-City South via the compressed archive method instead, I’d really like to hear about your installation experiences. Please feel free to add comments to this blog entry if you have any problems (no registration required, just click the ‘x Comments’ link below), or e-mail me. If there’s no feedback, I’ll assume you’re all managing just fine. 🙂

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8 Responses to “Cross-City South 7-Zip trial”

  1. VICTOR says:

    Greetings, Anthony!

    Only one questin: will your next release be for openBVE only or it will be compatible for BVE Transim (2 and 4) as well?

    Thank you very much, regards from Victor

    • Anthony_B says:

      Hi Victor. 🙂

      I haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to do this yet, but I’m not going to abandon BVE Trainsim v2 and 4 users. Here are the options I’m considering…

      Option 1:

      I’ll release two seperate versions of the route. Firstly, the new streamlined openBVE only package, which includes a reorganised file and folder structure and elimination of many duplicated files, PNG versions of textures, animated objects, re-written route files, etc., many of which only openBVE can handle anyway. Then secondly, an updated version of the existing BVE 2/4 route package, which will include a couple of new route files which feature the superelevated track objects and realism improvements, and for other route files, updated textures and maybe some better scenery, provided that BVE’s framerates don’t suffer too much. Not all the BVE 2/4 route files will see all the benefits though… This approach builds on the existing BVE 2 and 4 versions (like my v1.3 update for BVE 4 did), while leaving the openBVE version free from all the bloat, duplicated files, and less than tidy construction of the existing BVE version. The openBVE and BVE versions would be entirely seperate and independent entities. For BVE 2/4 users, this option favours quantity over quality and not losing anything while gaining a few improvements, but the openBVE version would be better maintained in future.

      Option 2:

      I might wipe the slate clean and start again as far as the BVE 2 and 4 routes are concerned; i.e. create an entirely new but smaller number of BVE 2/4 route files which are derived from the re-written openBVE route files, and then simply edit out the openBVE only features from the BVE 2/4 versions, include a set of less detailed scenery objects for the BVE versions, and I might retain the use of BMP format textures which both BVE and openBVE can share. The advantage of this approach is that it would be much easier to maintain future route updates for BVE 2 and BVE 4 after the openBVE version has been updated, but the downside is that users of only one simulator might end up with files they don’t need or in a non-optimal format, and some of the route variations I’ve created over the years for BVE 2/4 would be lost, and I wouldn’t recreate so many in future. The end result would be easier to manage if I’m to continue releasing X-City updates for BVE Trainsim as well as openBVE, and updates to the openBVE version could more easily be transferred to the BVE versions, but there would be less choice of activities for BVE 2/4 users. With this option, I could end up making BVE 2/4 support an optional extra, but a higher quality optional extra, albeit less extensive than that which is currently available.

      Option 1 is easier and also quicker, however in future, the BVE 2/4 versions will likely get left even further behind as I make improvements to the openBVE version. Option 2 will mean the BVE 2/4 versions will more likely benefit from updates in future, but it involves more work overall, will likely delay the release of v1.4, and if more people are unable to use BVE 2 and 4 in future as they move from Windows XP and DirectX 9 era graphics cards, it could prove to be not very worthwhile in the long run. Of course it also depends on BVE 5 and whether it will support existing BVE formats or not.

      Any thoughts or preferences?

      Kind regards,

  2. VICTOR says:

    Thank you very much for such detailed and quick answer.

    Well, the new situation is challenge for route developers because now you have adjust add-ons for BVE2 , BVE4 and openBVE. I am watching what is going on with BVE5 and I doubt there will be any quick release of this BVE version. My first personal choice is BVE2, so my wish is to have routes compatible with that vesrion (especially Watford – Rugby, because even now I can say that this is/will be the best BVE route ever). I am still quite reserved with openBVE, simply I don’t find openBVE cab-view good enough. However, my wish is not to destimulate producing for openBVE, but to stimulate further production for BVE2/4 as well, although I know it will be harder to developers. OpenBVE does give new life to simulation, after all, flashing signals (which I desired in BVE), are feature available in openBVE.

    I know that BVE2/4 will vanish in not so far future, but I would like those versions to live as long as possible.

    Best regards from Victor and thank you very much.

    • Anthony_B says:

      Hi Victor,

      It’s not my intention to actively hasten the demise of BVE 2 or 4. 🙂 Hence I’ll still support those versions for as long as I’m able to, but at the same time I’ve wanted to help openBVE get off to as good a start as possible as well, so it’s just a question of whether openBVE or BVE Trainsim is the higher priority for me. I’ve given openBVE priority, not just because it works better with today’s operating systems and hardware, but because we’ve had the opportunity to have a say in it’s direction, it’s open source, and the overall freedom message ties in well with my own worldview today. I’ll just have to wait and see where BVE 5 is concerned, although it’s likely that openBVE will remain the priority, as it may in future be able to handle content from BVE 2, 4 and 5 (and beyond) as well, whereas BVE 5 might only support it’s own new formats.

      The good news is that BVE 2 is more capable of running Watford to Rugby than BVE 4 is (incidentally, BVE 2.9 was more suitable than v4 as well), although I’m going to have to cut out quite a lot of objects to make it usable. If BVE 2 is run with it’s original resolution then the lower object density really doesn’t matter though. I’m sure I’ll be able to make it work eventually. 🙂

      Where openBVE’s in-cab experience is concerned, I actually understand why you’re not so keen on it, and it’s true there are differences compared to BVE. I think it’s important to bear in mind that openBVE has been designed to utilise fully 3D cabs though, hence the 2D panels are, perhaps, more of an accomodated legacy feature. If I’ve understood correctly, the way michelle has implemented it, means the same underlying systems can handle both the 2D panels and 3D cabs, but that consequently there’s a bias towards the best display of 3D cabs rather than 2D. As such, compared to BVE there are observable differences when the camera is panned, and perhaps also the perspective projection which michelle mentioned on the TSC forum a while ago is connected as well (the straight vs. gay objects thing–sorry, that one’s permanently stuck in my mind now). I’m guessing that when 3D cab functionality is exposed and the first 3D cabs appear, the benefits of openBVE’s in-cab implementation will truly reveal themselves in a more tangible way. If michelle reads this I hope she’ll correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

      Kind regards,

  3. hello
    me is hong kong people
    me to think you open download cl323
    because i alway play openbve!!!

  4. Ashish Nargundkar says:

    Greetings, Mr. Anthony!

    While suggesting to concentrate developing for one particular sim would sound biased, I ‘d happy to see developments in that direction which will render the best possible visual appeal. 😀 In the current scenario, openBVE is the ruler and whole and sole development for the same would make more people happy!

    Just my take!


    • Anthony_B says:

      Thanks for posting! openBVE is my priority now, because of it’s capabilities, and also for ideological reasons, but I still want to cater for BVE 2 and BVE 4 users as well. Whatever happens, I’ll try to find a good balance, such that eveyone benefits from the latest advances while nobody ends up missing out unnecessarily either. 🙂

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