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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 Channel My openBVE videos and other comments from users and myself can also be found via my YouTube channel.

Blog and Progress Updates

Upgrade to WordPress 2.8

Posted by Anthony Bowden on 20th June 2009 at 12:18 am

I’ve just upgraded from WordPress v2.7.1 to v2.8. Well, actually I backed up the database contents, deleted the previous WordPress installation and MySQL database, and took the opportunity to start again with a fresh installation and then imported the backed up data. As far as I’m aware everything is working fine, but please let me know if you have any problems.

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Jaunty Jackalope and openBVE

Posted by Anthony Bowden on 25th April 2009 at 8:42 am

Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” (which is a Linux distribution for any dear readers who may not be particularly au fait with the wonderful world of operating systems…), has just been released. With this version, it’s possible to install a seperately packaged, unofficial version of openBVE maintained by Paul Sladen (currently at v1.0.2.0; the » official openBVE « release is at v1.0.3.0 at the time of writing) via the ‘Applications’ > ‘Add/Remove…’ menu item (I haven’t used Kubuntu in a while and I’ve forgotten what the equivalent in KDE is). A specially prepared, public domain version of the Cross-City South route (v1.31.03) is also installed automatically when openBVE is installed via this method, along with a reduced functionality (plugin DLLs don’t work on non-Windows operating systems), public domain version of the class 323 which Steve over at » trainsimcentral « also kindly donated.

X-City South v1.31.03 is just a cut-down version of the public release available from this site, with the copyright files removed and alternative backdrops added, and fewer route files; I prepared it so that openBVE could be considered for inclusion in Ubuntu’s list of installable open source applications, as for a game engine to be accepted, it requires some equally permissively licenced game data to be supplied with it. Eventually the Ubuntu X-City South package should be identical to the official X-City South v1.4 package once it’s been released, and I hope to send any updates to Paul so the Ubuntu version is kept up-to-date; by implication, X-City South v1.4 will be entirely copyright free as well. Any copyright material, like the Birmingham New Street announcement audio files, will be available as an optional extra only.

After installing the latest ATi Catalyst drivers (and, at last, my Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card finally works with Ubuntu), it was nice to see openBVE running in Linux myself, and with decent framerates too. The framerate in the first screenshot of XCS v1.31 was 80 fps (90 fps in Win XP), and in the third screenshot, showing XCS v1.4, 17 fps (20 fps in Win XP). The latter screenshot actually includes more animated trees than will feature in the final XCS v1.4 release though, and in-cab, I was seeing up to 30 fps):

openBVE v1.0.2.0 running in Ubuntu 9.04--click to enlarge openBVE v1.0.2.0 running in Ubuntu 9.04--click to enlarge openBVE v1.0.2.0 running in Ubuntu 9.04--click to enlarge

I admit there was also some momentary fascination after I turned on Ubuntu’s “Extra” visual effects option which enables hardware accelerated graphical effects to be applied to windows, and watched my X-City South v1.4 development route carry on running at 25-30 fps while I distorted and bounced the poor helpless openBVE window around the desktop (sorry I wasn’t able to capture a screenshot, just a low quality video still):

openBVE v1.0.2.0 running in Ubuntu 9.04

I may be finding that framerates are just a bit lower than in Windows XP, but they’re still good and I enjoy using openBVE in Ubuntu instead. The application’s forms all rendered nicely although the loading and error dialogs remained visible once the SDL window was created; I’ll carry on testing it and see if I notice any other issues.

Any Windows users who might be considering trying openBVE on Ubuntu, should remember that plugin DLLs don’t work natively on non-windows operating systems, so various functions in BVE 4 trains like TPWS won’t work. For this functionality to be available in Linux, you’ll need to use openBVE with Wine instead, which isn’t quite as easy to set up (I haven’t personally had time to try it yet, but as shown in this » YouTube video of the Northern Line « for example, if you do go to the trouble, it’s well worth it).

Information Icon Edit (1st May ’09): I have tried and succeeded in getting openBVE v1.4.0.1 running with Wine and Mono 2.4 for Windows in Ubuntu since this entry was published, and it was quite easy after all. See the comments for more. 🙂

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Platform Generator utility released

Posted by Anthony Bowden on 19th April 2009 at 7:45 am

Alan Wheeler’s new Platform Generator (Plat Gen) tool was released recently; head over to » « to download this handy utility. The program creates a variety of photo-realistic customised platform segments, allowing route developers to choose the surface and side textures, create platform ramps, curved platform lengths at various radii, and more. The generated objects are placed via the .Freeobj command rather than the .Form commands. Here’s a screenshot of one of the resulting platforms at University station on the Cross-City South v1.4 route:

openBVE/Cross-City South v1.4 screenshot--click to enlarge
openBVE / Cross-City South v1.4 plus 323 screenshot

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Posted in openBVE | 2 Comments »


Posted by Anthony Bowden on 24th March 2009 at 12:20 am

Hopefully you’ve noticed the different format of my Progress Updates section… I’ve now changed the path from /progress/ to /blog/ and incorporated full blogging functionality by installing » WordPress v2.7.1 « on my website, and thanks to some PHP and CSS editing, I’ve been able to integerate the software into my own site’s design. Hopefully there aren’t any embarassing coding errors which I’ve not noticed. Emoticon Smile I’ve also implemented permenant redirects using a .htaccess file, so any external sites linking to former Progress Updates monthly pages will be redirected to the equivalent monthly list of blog entries. I’ve discontinued my News page, as this blog, together with the reorganised homepage, serve the same purpose; news items from 2008 all the way back to 2001 can now be found in the News Archive.

Anyway, if you prefer, you can now leave comments here rather than e-mailing me, although I have no preference either way, so you can still feel free to contact me via e-mail if you like. Speaking of e-mail, I know I’ve been rather slow in replying lately; I’ll respond to outstanding e-mails shortly–sorry. Emoticon

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Cross-City South v1.4 Update

Posted by Anthony Bowden on 26th November 2008 at 9:00 pm

The Cross-City South v1.4 update has been in progress for the past few days. To start with, I’ve rearranged all the files into a less complicated directory structure, and removed the seasonal variations for the time being, with just Summer remaining for now. I’ve also removed all but two route files from the package, which I’ll work on to create a new foundation on which other route files can be created in future; this makes maintenance much easier and the updated route quicker to check for problems. I’ve also been removing all .X format objects, which I’ll replace with .CSV versions, with surface illumination achieved via openBVE’s new extended commands instead, along with day/night texture transitions achieved using single objects rather than seperate day and night objects, as was the case in Cross-City South v1.3 for BVE4. This helps to save some disk space, along with making the route much easier to maintain.

Along with openBVE’s error reports, I’ve also been using Oskari’s » BRR.NET « utility to check for other issues, to ensure that the new “template” route files are as trouble free as possible. I’ve also been updating the route with new vegetation textures and track objects, taken from the Watford Junction to Rugby route; here’s how it’s looking so far in the openBVE Route Viewer tool (the reported errors are temporary, due to missing textures which I haven’t relocated yet!):

openBVE screenshot openBVE screenshot openBVE screenshot

The shadow effect used for the bullhead rails is based on an idea which Simon Gathercole came up with a while ago. The next time consuming task will be updating all the pointwork, which I’ll start work on soon. I’ll also be exchanging the terrain and grass textures for new versions, making the scenery look better when using the external views, adding backfaces to various objects so the route can be viewed in the opposite direction without needing to hit F11 in openBVE, and adding soft shadows to various objects, which together with the new textures shown above, should improve the appearance of the route considerably. Due to popular demand I’ll be creating a new diagram which starts from the Longbridge reversal siding rather than Redditch, and I’ll also be looking into more animated object possibilities; I have a few ideas already.

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