Monday, 2 April 2007

Tag your there

I have been out tagging train places. I am using a new HUD that lets people tag SL sites and put tags on the web. The website is

Anyone can go to that page and search on rail or train. Try that and see the SL locations you find. The locations work like slurls. If you are in SL, you get the map, location marked, with an offer of TP. If you are not in SL, the system will open your browser and take you to the place.

You can get the HUD to make these tags at Hobo Village in Calleta. If you want your places visible on the web, with google search working on them, you want this HUD. You want to tag. I believe this will become the predominant way to search for place in SL. No doubt the fans of Linden search technology will disagree... both of them.

Rail Graphics 3.2

I have done some refinements on the graphic I made to mark rail stations on the SL map. I put a white background behind it. That would not add a prim if you put it on a white roof, as might be reasonable for a rail station. If you put it directly on a roof, it will be visible to flyers as well as from the map.

You can see the graphic by looking at Thinkerer Quest on the map. You can take a copy from that location. Or IM me and I will send you one. I hope this will serve as common indicator of rail service.

Friday, 23 March 2007

SLFlyer Update

I have a useable (for stills) version of the SLFlyer. Prims: 10. The tradi drive uses only 1 prim. I am still working on the images it lofts. I have put in a few images of the flyer in the air over places in Calleta. I don't see them yet, but that may be a DB problem. I have given a copy of the the SLFlyer to Paddy.

Rail graphics 3.1

Objective: Develop common mark to identify railroad and rail stations on the SL map.

I have not been able to find any recognizable graphic for rail lines. Textures aren't captured on the SL map, so all we have to work with is color and prim shape.

I have found what I think is a good graphic to mark train statons. It is derived (thanks to Zimmy Zuhal) from the symbol on the Monopoly card. I made one and tested it on Thinkerer Quests. It is small, but clearly recognizable on the map (I think). Only 6 prims. To use it, you could put it on the roof or put it out of the way at 200 meters. I have sent one to Paddy for testing.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Update from Grand Calleta

I have bought more land from Zimmy Zuhal.
This gives Grand Calleta a wide frontage on the GSLR and opens possibilities for a second connected rail line.
Zimmy knows I am constantly on the lookout for land, so perhaps we will have more news later.
We should arrange for a regular Train service on GSLR to call at Grand Calleta.
Perhaps Qu Qi could coordinate with Athos since she has the technical experience and personal contact?
I do feel that movement is of course the essence of rail travel. It would be attractive to visitors to witness moving trains.
I need to speak to Aserion Coen about Train designs for the rail museum.
People are interested in the Sirkeci building and the big poster teases the imagination.
We need retailers / hoster posters in the Rail Mall building as well as 'operating' SLFlyers.
I will be getting 'camping' chairs in the Station Bar, which I understand encourages visitors.
Thinkerer has challenged me to make the business case for the direct involvement of Linden Labs in developing a more coordianted rail strategy for SL. This I will be doing in the coming weeks as RL allows (we all have busy RL lives!); the task is now easier than it was some weeks ago since I have learnt more about SL.
Comments welcomed!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

NEWS from Grand Calleta

NEWS from Grand Calleta

Asterion Coen has agreed to help in the development of the SL Rail Museum at Grand Calleta Terminal.
Asty specialises in loco and rail car construction, and has recently completed the British Castle Class steam engine, Olton Hall. This locomotive is used in the Harry Potter films.
His current project is an ICE3 high speed Train as operated by German railways Deutsche Bahn.
Olton Hall is currently beside the Rail Mall.
Rail Museum developments to follow on this blog!

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

SLFlyer upgrade

I have been working on the drive for the SLFlyer. I think I will use a Transdimensional (tradi) drive, though I may call it the slipstream drive for cover. Most people won't notice the difference.

I reworked my protype for the new drive. Took off the undercarriage and replaced it with a test version of the tradi drive. That is over Thinkerer Studio. I put image floater inside, so you can see the prototype as dreaming of itself. Later, I will get several pix of the Flyer in the air as if taking off. Then I will put all the pix in the Flyer with an image floater. Then the Flyer will constantly send off promotional images.

I think the drives look good. They take 6 prims now, but I will try out bigger drives with smaller prim counts. I am also working on proper sound for transdimensional drives in ready state. I think i will also prepare an audio checklist -- "infinite improbability generator on... phase modulators operating...inertial dampers online...Shroedinger's catalyst on and off... Quantum tunnel open..."

I am still planning on the special effects for flying the Flyer. This is not your father's old rocket ship.

Monday, 5 March 2007

SLFlyer, first air

Paddy and I decided to adopt Qu Qi's prototype for the initial version of the SLFlyer. Qu Qi has made copies available. I am working on special effects to be used in stills and later in videos of the SLFlyer

As of now, I simply have it levitated (on antigrav jacks) over my place in Calleta. A little eye catcher there, and the hobos can follow the progress. I will be experimenting with various ways to show its levitation and propulsion.

From Mocha to Purple

GSLR was working well on this route when I tried it. I went to the Mocha station. A rail car came shortly. I rode it all the way to Purple (at the ferry slip). On one trip, I noted a little problem at a sim-crossing. The car coped by backing up and tryng over. Got thru after a few tries.

SLFlyer, Station Road and Place du Train

We have bought more land in Calleta!
We have laid Station Road.
SLFlyer will have its Travel Agency with Hoster Posters next door to Station Bar & SL Orient Express VIP Lounge.
SLFlyer will be on the other side of the road and will rez/de-rez (technology permitted) to creat impression of travel.
Place du Train (or Piazza del Treno / Zugplatz / Train Square) will lie between Station Road and Sirkeci / Grand Calleta Terminal. Needs landscaping.
Rail Mall is now visible from all over Grand Calleta.
Invite friends to view - we will 'formally' open Station Bar & Orient Express VIP Lounge in a couple of weeks with some SL PR pizzazz!

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Station Bar & Orient Express VIP Lounge

We are now decorating and furnishing the Station Bar & Orient Express VIP Lounge in Grand Calleta.
The Station Bar is a PG bar and dance club specially for friends and newbies to hang out close to the trains.
The Orient Express VIP Lounge is a venue for discussing rail business in SL with other rail companies, train owners, developers and corporate sim owners.
We have two managers for the venues.
When all is ready, we will be promoting the venues through SL newspapers and other PR channels.
Footfall is important to Grand Calleta and the subsequent success of ventures such as SLFlyer. Station Bar & Orient Express VIP Lounge will encourage visitors.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

SLFlyer prototype

Qu Qi has built a prototype of a one-car SLFlyer. Here is a link to the picture.

This looks very good and prim-light. I would like to see us develop this. We could use it as is for stills. Could get pix of it on ground waiting and in air ascending. Might use smoke (partcles) instead of wheels. Is now floating w/o wheels. Fyer does not need wheels.

What color smoke? I favor blue. We can talk later about scripting it so it flies. Still a promotion, not transportation. We can't compete with teleport system. But we might later simulate flying to other RR stations if they will host a copy of the flyer. Just use that as the destination of the LM.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Return of rail graphics

I have been exploring ways to make railways show up on the Linden map. (See previous post on this topic.) Textures don't show. Zimmy Zuhal has worked out one scheme with prims. Look at the south side of Calleta for a sign with his name and a train engine.

We might want to borrow that scheme for train stations. I don't think it takes many prims. I will talk to to him about the the details and see if we can propose a standard rail station symbol to be floated over rail stations. Objective: Make it easy for newcomers to find rail stations.


Paddy still thinks the Calleta terminal needs more lighting. Two ways to do that:

Put out more local lights. Street lights, for example. Disadvantage: take more prims. (The changes Qu Qi made so far did not add prims, just features to existing prims.)

Set more things to full bright. I have set my platform segments (Thinkerer Studios) to full bright. Improves things a litttle. Later today, I will put out a piece of track and set it to full bright as a test.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Trainspotting in SL

Summary of our trainspotting in SL, so far:

Big Builds
GSLR. Athos Murphy. In Calleta, Cecropia, Purple, Perriwinkle and points south.
Caledon National Railway. Desmond Shang. In many Caledon sims.
SLRR. Nigel Linden. Find it at Hobo Rail Infohub. Exends both ways from there.

Smaller builds and facilities
Grand Calleta Terminal, Rail Museum, Rail Mall. Paddy Padderborn. In Calleta.
Boomslang Express (I made up the name). Barney Boomslang. In Lummerland.
Intercontinental Ferry. Qu Qi. From Purple to Cecropia, with stop and ANWR.

Toy Trains, for riding
Elf Train. Kitto Flora. About 50 copies in various sims.
PrimWorx. Zomax Delorian. Sold at Orwood.

There is more info on the blog. Probably some of these people will post additional info. Search the blog or contact the people if you need more info.
Trainspotting in SL

Want to post here?

Paddy Padderborn owns this blog. If you want to be authorized as a contibutor, contact him. He is sending out invites to people he knows about. You will need to give him an e-mail address. You can make a new address for your av if you want.

You will get an invite from Blogspot with instructions. If you don't get it, check your spam folder.

You will need a google account.

Why go to blogging?

Good. We are getting more people on this blog. Time to talk about objectives and how to hunt them.

The main goal in going to a blog is that it is open web and Google searched. Open web means:
you can send anybody a link to it,
you can put a link to it on your website (I did that),
everybody interested in railroads can read it (without joining SL).

Google searched means
people searching on railroads could discover it,
everbody interested in railroads in SL can easily find it,
anybody can easily search this blog for particular subtopics (such as model railroads).

A few things to know:
Better to make an original post as a contributor. Comments tend to get lost.
Use relevant words in the title and text. Easier to find on search.
You can go back and edit your posts at any time. So you don't have to get it right the first time.
Blogspot does not include an editor. A convenient online editor is available from Google. (See Google mail, top.)
There are no threads, just topics gathered by Google search.
It works better to focus on one thing in one post. For several things, use several posts.

Some main topics for now and immediate future:
Trainspotting in SL -- Fnd all the rail-related activities in Sl.
Sim-sim transfer -- How can trains transfer from one sim to another without all those interesting results?
SLFlyer -- Continue to develop and popularize the SLFlyer travel service.
Vidoes -- Make videos of those rail-related activities we have spotted.
Interoperation -- Develop methods to run trains on available tracks.
Promotion -- Promote available and potential SL train facilities to the public.
Lindenology -- Get the attention of the Lindens. Get them to listen to our needs. Maybe even get them beyond the point of explaining why they can't do what we want. (OK, I do think big.)

Train, Rail & Rail Accessory Retailers

I invite all retailers & developers of train or rail products, accessories, clothing etc to IM me to discuss setting up shops / stalls in Rail Mall, Grand Calleta Station or area. I am offering extended rent-free space until further notice if the products / services fit our vision for Grand Calleta.

Model (toy) trains

Greetings! I'm in the SL model-sized train business since about 2 years, my shop is PrimWorx (in Orwood sim). I like open-source, but I need some income to finance my land tiers, and my train business about covers that. My trains use sensors to find the tracks, so you can lay them any way you'd like, no real limits (only prim count). One big limitation is that my train script currently only supports one car attached, this is mostly because the multi-car script is not stable enough, cars wouldn't follow each other precisely, sometimes bump into each other, or wiggle. I've been hoping for a new, faster script engine (Mono for SL) for 2 years, but no such luck yet :-) I also have an experimental shop/stall at the Grand Calleta Terminal (thanks to Paddy), though I'll be still trimming and beautifying it.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Light in the Darkness

Paddy asked about lighting the Grand Calleta Terminal. I tweeked the basic platform that Qu Qi put out free to copy. Put local lighting in the glass door. Sent copies to Qu Qi and Paddy. Looked to me like a good fix.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Forum post by Barney Boomslang about his sim and railway

The sim is named "Lummerland" and thx for the friendly mentioning. My railways work by using the tracks to run the train along - the train itself is fed by some "scouting prim" that checks via listeners for tracks around, builds a point list and feeds that back to the train engine, which moves along and feeds the but-fourth position on to the first wagon, which in turn to the second wagon ... could be made longer as needed, tracks can be - in limits - moved around to adapt the trains running and the possible max. overall length is quite ok. I'd say it can have up to 100 major waypoints, which would be around 50 track segments, each segment taking up two major waypoints (one at each of it's ends). With 30meter segments (or even longer - they don't need to be linked) that gives you quite some way. It can cross sims in theory - it's using global coordinates internally and the movement algorithms take sim borders into account - but I never tested that part.

I often hang out on my sim, so if someone is interested, just drop over and see wether I am on.

bye, Barney

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Skyping the rails

I am looking for a few good Skypers who can help me make videos about SL railroads. And I need a project manager to organize the scenes. Here is the general plan:

We identify a site that will make a good video story. The toy train sold by Kitto Flora is an example. There are several around so we would choose a site. Project manager contacts relevant people to get background info. Here that would be Kitto and the site owner. Project manager and I visit the site (with Skype conference), talk over the content, and plan the scenes.

Project manager gets about 3 people to participate in the video. (Could include the project manager as one of the participants.) Participants need appropriate avs and costumes. For example, I will want children to ride on the toy train. Project manager arranges to have the selected content voiced by somebody. The content would be information relevant to the build. In the toy train: it is available for purchase, how many copies have been sold. The info may be Voice Over (VO) by project manager or done by another paticipant.

Project manager works with the site owner, participants, and me, to set a time for the shoot. (I am Chicago time, SL time + 2. Available day and evenings.) The participants need to be able to Skype and to speak understandable English. I would like to get world-wide accent variation. (Special voices and imitation would also be appropriate if you can be consistent and understandable.)

We shoot by scenes. Scene length: 20 to 60 seconds. We talk over each scene and probably rehearse it. (I may capture video on rehearsal but we probably go thru the same scene 2 or three times.) Time for the whole collection: 60-90 minutes.

During a scene I capture both audio and video at the same time. Participants are on a Skype conference with me. Planning and rehearsal will treat both actions and speech. We will not write dialog, but will have in mind what the participant will talk about. In general the talk will be about interesting things visible in the scene or about future possibilites. We are not doing a news story, so we won't talk about the dangers and potential disasters this stuff portends. (Ok, I may bring in Senator Phogbog or Famous News Anchor Ben Bother. But we will leave disasters to the experts.)

I have tested this method of collection and demonstrated that it works. See this video

There are occasional audio problems. That may force us to shoot a scene over.

Up to now, I have been doing the project manager job on most of my videos. But if I can get someone else to do it for the railroad series, I can shoot more railroad videos. Project manager gets screen credit and a published portfolio of experience at organizing videos in SL. Everybody gets the satisfaction of promoting railroads in SL. That is good for SL, and also a service to the many railroad fans who do not (YET) know about SL.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

SLFlyer announces poster prep service.

Wellington Barham is going to offer turnkey poster prep for the SLFlyer posters. For a start he will make posters for some non-profits at no charge. The process is at follows:
1. Wellington confers with owner/operator client about what things should be pictured and what the text should be on each picture.
2. Wellington makes picture/ text, uploads, sets perms, installs in hoster.
3. Wellington sets floating text, object name. Installs notecard (which should carry landmarks) and sound files as supplied by the client with copy perms.
4. Wellington give SLFlyer a copy of the poster (to be posted) and sends a copy to the client.
5. For at least some non-profits (like the International Spaceflight Museum), Wellington will provide the first version free. This version will include a poster identifying him as producer and announcing his availability for future work of this kind.
6. Wellington will probably offer a standard version at low cost to all clients, with a higher charge for special and custom work.

Client actions in bold above.

SLFlyer makes nothing on this service. It is offered to help clients too busy to make their own posters. There is no need to use this service if you can make your own poster. If you are interested in Wellingtom's services, contact him directly.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Trains for Caledon

Comments by Desmond Shang.
Lastly - you BET I want to have rolling stock of all kinds running! Hobo rail is more than welcome, in fact I'd love it and so would others. What I do is rez a train at one end and de-rez it at the far end, which allows me to have entirely different trains every 10 minutes or so, if I want. Caledon is a whimsical place, and if every 100th train happened to be a modern bullet-train with a powerful airhorn, it would be worth the laugh! However, I still need to find and document the 'magic recipe' such that makes for good sim transitions. I've gotten some incredible multi-hundred prim train 'shapes' - but sadly I have no good way of getting these across a sim border in any reasonable fashion.

Comments by Thinkerer Melville
Interesting idea. The Hobo Rail cars are not in rolling condition now. And we don't have a locomotive for them. And the SLFlyer is not build yet. But running them in Caledon could be a good reason for that building and scripting.

Another rail fan

Post by Noland Brokken
Greetings, as a once avid rail modeller/operator, I'd love to get involved here - I've been to Caledon looking for Desmond's open-source, and not found it (is it still in Central Park somewhere? I'll look again when the grid isn't so crowded) although the train itself was running nicely. I very strongly support open-source projects, and might be able to contribute somehow. Every since seeing the beautiful decripit boxcars at the Hobo RR, I've wanted to get something "rolling".

(random thought warning) I wonder if a "hobo excursion" train featuring boxcars instead of passenger cars (and appropriate appointments) might not be as popular a ride as a high-class trip. Different destinations, of course - one could see some of the seamy "underside" of SL, the various industrial-looking areas, the various "seaports".... It's probably not feasible, but I'd ride it.

Has the train already left the station, or is there something a perfectionist builder/scripter/railfan might yet "play" with? I'd say my greatest strength lies in debugging/optimizing code that already proves the concept -- once I get my own ideas to that stage, I tend to lose interest and be looking for another challenge.

Comments by Thinkerer Melville
Lots of things to play with. We have an active rail fan group. I will post the name next time I can log into SL. As Paddy noted, the historical Rocket is on display at the train museum in Grand Calleta Station. He could probably use more historical stuff (low prim, I hope). I wish somebody would put notecards in things like that with historical info and weblinks. Or you could check with Paddy. He probably has additional suggestions.

The SLFlyer and ESL

Originally Posted by Fire Centaur
Hi there,your business sounds like a really cool idea... my question is.. how would it work? You'd have a station on each sim, and passengers would get on for free? Or for a fee? Then, the train would take them from sim to sim? Please let me know...I have an Island - English Village - its an Educational island... id be interested in having rail pass through my land... currently I have a private trainset already set up that takes my residents around my island...

Comments by Thinkerer Melville:
You are talking about the SLFlyer, I think. We will not try to compete with the teleport system. The entrepreneurial move is to find an unmet need. Here, the need is in finding destinations. People come into SL and wonder what to do, where to explore. There is no adequate service to meet that need.

The SLFlyer is a travel service. It presents destinations and invites people (via notecards and LMs) to visit them. It is now doing that in my poster hosters being put out around the Grand Calleta Terminal. Later, we will have lots of posters and a low prim scheme to present them. Then we will be looking for other places to host them.

The flying train concept is a marketing tool. I made a train lofter (particle system) to attract people to SLFlyer locations. The lofter simply sends up an image of our modernistic train. Zander (of Hobo RR fame), is building a (non-operating) train car to be displayed at Grand Calleta Terminal.

The way you might use the SLFlyer is to makes posters showing interesting places on your island. Since you are focused on English as a second language for Koreans, you would add text in Korean. You would also make short audio tapes with greetings in Korean. Your poster would then catch the attention of Koreans and people interested in Korea. On click, the poster would give them a notecard with a landmark to your island. The notecard would probably be in both Korean and English, with some explanation of why a person might want to visit your island.

This same pattern could be applied to other ESL islands, if there are any. I would like to know of such places for Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and Italian. I frequently meet speakers of those languages as i wander around Hobo Village.

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Found 2 more rail builds

Found 2 more rail builds -- with a little help from our friends.

Drop one to Lewis Nerd to put up at the Stratics HQ in Rosieri. We have a miniature "sit and ride" railroad (by Kitto Flora) round our land.
-- Broccoli Curry

Barney Boomslang has narrow gauge rail (and very well done, too!) in his sim - I forget how to spell the name of it but do look him up!
- Desmond Shang

Zander is developing the Hobo Railroad posters by calling on help from the Hobo group. Various people will get pix and prep them. Might be a good idea for other places, too.

Friday, 9 February 2007

FAQ2 for the Poster Hosters: Sounds

How many sounds can I put in the hoster? Whatever is the limit for object contents. About 4 sounds will be played in a minute. That is in the script. In future operations, your poster will probably live for a limited amount of time, say 10 minutes. So you would not bother with anything over 35 or 40 sounds.

How do I get sounds for the poster? If you want sound effects, you may find some that suit you in my sound stash. Thats a black woofer in Thinkerer Studios (upper level) between Hobo Railroad Info Hub and the Grand Calleta Terminal. If you want to make your own sounds, you can find instructions for recording with Audacity here:
Audacity is a free download (open source).

Can I include voice files? Sure. Anything you can upload into SL, you can put in the hoster. (If there is foul language, we will probably treat the poster as X-rated.) You can even control the order of the sounds by giving the files names that map the order you want into alphabetical order.

Are there volume controls? Yes, but we will turn them down if therare too loud.

There is a sound looper in the contents; can I change that sound? Sure. If you know how.

Can I change the sounds? Sure. When you want to change, contact Geo Meek. He will send you the current hoster for revision.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Railroads wanted

Can you name all the railroad builds in SL? I can't. But I need to name them for Geo Meek because I want him to send Poster Hosters to all the rail-related places. Here are the places I know so far:

Hobo Railroad. A hoster to Orhalla Zander.
GSLR - we will get hoster to Athos and Qu Qi. Probably can use several from this extensive build.
Ferry by Qu Qi. - deserves a hoster of its own.
Periwinkle Info Hub (on the GLSR) -- Another hoster for Qu Q, who has connections there.
Grand Calleta Terminal. A hoster fo Paddy Padenborn.
Caledon National Railway. Probably can use several from this extensive build. Will send a hoster to Desmond Shang.
SLRR -- I think Nigel Linden is still in charge on this. They probably have enough content for several posters, but I will be happy with at least one.

I think I know of some more rail-related places, but don't know the person to send things to. I hope this post will get more information. Post in comments or send info inworld to Thinkerer Melville.

FAQ1 for the Poster Hosters: Pictures.

How many pictures can I put in the hoster? Whatever is the limit for objects. A picture will be displayed for a set period of time. Maybe 30 Sec. or a minute. That is in the script. You can change the value in your hoster if you want. In future operations, your poster will probably live for a limited amount of time, say 10 minutes. So you might adjust the display time to go thru all the pictures in 10 minutes.

How do I make pictures for the poster? You can use the standard SL camera to save pictures to you hard drive. I use FRAPS, which is more convenient. You can use any good image processing program (Photoshop, The Gimp) to crop and format the pictures for upload. I use The Gimp (open source, a free download) and have a simple instructional page about how to get started with it:

We recommend against transparency here because you (and we) don't know what will be behind the poster. So you would probably use the .jpg format.

Should the images be square? That's up to you. You can adjust the shape of the hoster to fit your pictures. You will want to have all pictures about the same shape.

Should I put text on the pictures? That's also your call. Your place is identified in the notecard you supply. It may (your choice) also be identified by floating text. An id on the picture is not essential. If you have a sim, you may have several interesting locations. You might want show each location with its own name. The notecard might carry a landmark to each named location.

Can I change the pictures? Sure. When you want to change, contact Geo Meek. He will send you the current hoster for revision.

Visit Grand Calleta Terminal & Rail Mall!

As you can read from Selby’s contributions to this blog and edits from the SL forum, there’s plenty happening!
Coming soon:
More building development
Hoster Posters

I've seen ‘Rocket’ – the first loco - at platform; still being built by Letshava Goodnight. She will be adding another historic engine from the Great Western Railway in the future.

Paddy Paderborn

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Oh yes, the Perms versus the SLFlyer

Update 1 on the Poster Hoster: When you put pictures, notecard, and/or sound files into the poster for your place, be sure to reset the perms to full mod. Practically everything you do will put the stuff into the anal retentive stage. No good to anybody but you.

The SLFlyer is now distributing the Poster Hoster

The SLFlyer is now distributing its first product. That is the Poster Hoster. This object will display destinations of interest to newcomers in Sl. We will put up the posters at Grand Calleta Terminal and at nearby rail places with heavy newcomer traffic. (Hobo Info Hub is almost next door and the trains at GCT are attracting visitors.) Later we will seek other locations for displaying the Poster Hosters.

What does a Poster Hoster do? It displays images in its contents. The images tell about a particular destination. In our demo version the images tell about the AKK horse ranch, showing attractve places on the ranch. Click on it and you get a notecard with a description and one or more landmarks. The AKK ranch is a sim wiht several intersting places. So the owners may want to include landmarks to each.

The Poster Hoster also creates sounds. The demo version is now presenting sounds that give the ambiance of a train station. The AKK owners will probably want to replace those sounds with sounds of horses. Then the poster will attract with both sight and sound. Other sim owners will probably want to insert sounds that present the ambiance of their places. Or theme music. Or voiced invitations.

A demo version of the Poster Hoster is now on display (and free-to-copy) at Thinkerer Studios (ground level). That's between the Hobo Info Hub and the Grand Calleta Terminal. Geo Meek also has copies and will be inviting people to load the Poser Hosters with content publicizing their destinations. The Poster Hoster has complete (I hope) instructions on how to mod it and get it into our displays.

I will be posting FAQ items as soon as I can identify the FAQs.

Pland by CoyoteAngel Dimsum

The following plans were posted by CoyoteAngel Dimsum on the SL bb

I'm thinking of working on a rail system, probably using Mr. Shang's system as a basis, and would like to begin a list of features that might be desirable. All my work will be open source. Based on personal preference and the experience in Caledon, it will be the visual equivalent of a 2- or 3-foot narrow gauge, in order to keep the size of the rolling stock as small as possible. And should it need to be said, my parts will be steam and steam-electric, or perhaps pneumatic for subterranean intra-sim travel.

My general thought is to treat a rail system like any other isochronous packetized network, which means the network is stupid but the users (rolling stock, stations) are smart.

Technical Features:Track features
points/switches (with moving parts)
straight sections
straight and curved grades (this is a non-trivial problem)
small/medium/large fixed-radius curves
arbitrary number of rails? E.g. standard two-rail, dual-gauge, central rail with guide rails, overhead track (yes, monorail)

sounds appropriate to place/type of object
particle systems for smoke/steam
costumery for those of you who want to play at running trains (conductors, etc.)

Rolling stock
automated and/or manual controls
an ad-rotator car :-)

passenger stations
freight stations
railroad detritus - work equipment, carts, benches, telegraph systems

real-time monitoring (like the SLRR map on the ANWR offshore prim rig)
scheduling capabilities

Standards (with components) for rolling stock
automated sanity checking (for border crossings)
self-tuning for performance
ticket punching system to allow trainspotters and system-riders to compete in coverage games (ride to all stations in X time, see all M-class locomotives, etc.)

Consist assembly and switching yards (yeah...right. Maybe in v2)

Please feel free to add/comment on technical features. I doubt that there's any sustainable infrastructure-based business model in any environment where teleportation and the ability to fly exist, hence my concentration on the gearhead parts

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Comments by Desmond Shang

Here are some posts by Desmond Shang in the BB. They describe the open source Caledon National Rail.

I've been whopping busy but my latest major push is getting the 19th century Caledon National Rail fully operational.Tracks are in 11 sims, split into the Victoria, Caledon On Sea, Cay, and Mayfair lines. With perhaps some special surprises to come.

The code, textures, sounds, shape and everything else about the trains is open-source, in hopes that I'll get improvements from other folk over time.

Once it's fully operational (hopefully a few weeks from now, maybe less?) I can outline what it takes to design a train for our rails, and I'm willing to have other people run trains if they like. It's a tad complicated, with prim limits, size, track curves and a few other things making for nasty requirements, but it's quite possible. I'll have to cook up a document because once I do, the trains that others make and contribute will be far better than my own.The 'big one' is that anything that runs on Caledon's rails must be 100% full mod and open source, and free to anyone who asks for it. Caledon's own current train and rail code is available as a freebie in Central Park, Victoria City.

Caledon National Rail has 'real' rails, solid and stick up from the ground, but not made physical or anything. The gravel bed / ties are a prim.The trains themselves aren't fixed to the rail, but rather are scripted nonphysical objects that move along in a manner that they mathematically mesh with the rails positionally. I use a combination of global grid coordinates, simple messaging and simple timing - the trains don't 'pull' the cars, the cars simply know when to start and stop on their own based upon either say, a 'ten second' stop or a quickie message from the locomotive that it's time to pull away from the station now. Easy easy stuff.

Maybe easy for Desmond. I am going to get a copy of the train script and, after I figure it out, I will put parts of it on the Script Modding section of my website. Meanwhile, I hope Desmond will keep us up to date on those special surprises.

Mall update

Paddy is buying Greg's mall build. The next step on the mall is to develop promotional items for Paddy to give away to promote the Second Life Orient Express, the SLFlyer, and railroading in SL. The mall will also offer opportunities for people to sell train-related objects through vendors.

Paddy is ready to look at (and pay for) possible promotional items. I suppose that might include standard work clothes for a train engineer or conductor, a tool kit or oil can to be worn, and a shovel to be carried over the shoulder. (These are just my ideas, not requests from Paddy. He may post his own ideas later.) I am also suggesting that the items take advantage of capabilities of SL. For example, objects can incorporate particles, images, sounds, landmarks, note cards, animations, etc. Paddy is going to want to have the things include visuals with branding aspects. I will suggest that people look for clever ways to promote general railroading in SL. For example, the SLFlyer project will produce note cards with landmarks and note cards about every railroad we can find in SL. Maybe you can think of a clever way (and non-irritating) way to have an object distribute those.

This is not a competition. Paddy will probably buy several promotional items so as to have a range of offerings. He will probably accept lots of items for vending. I don't know whether he will charge to host your vendor, but I don't think he will charge much.

Paddy is open to items from anyone. I will send a notice the the Hobo's since there a lots of skilled SL artist there.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Plans for SLFlyer

Following is an announcement to be sent to SLFyer associates. Here, associates are destinations to be displayed by the SLFlyer posters. The instructions will accompany the Poster Hoster 3 (object) and are intended to get people to Customize the poster for their site. We will then start displaying the posters in the Grand Calleta Terminal and environs.

Private Air Trains from Grand Calleta Terminal

‘From our place to yours’

The SLFlyer is a travel service from the Second Life Orient Express (SLOE).

The flying train will be used as the brand and the transport for the service.

SLFlyer helps newcomers chose destinations in SL.

SLFlyer organizes the destinations by interest.

On visitor request, SLFlyer presents images, note card descriptions, and landmarks for selected destinations.

Destinations are selected by you, the sim-owners, who provide the images and a note card with landmark.

SLFlyer introduces the interested visitors by PR and other promotional activities I SL and RL.

The first rail hub for the SLFlyer is alongside the Rail Mall at Grand Calleta Terminal

Grand Calleta Terminal is on the GSLR, the SLRR, and the Hobo Railroad Info hub. It is thus well positioned to attract and serve newcomers to Second Life.

Later SLFlyer will operate out of other SL rail stations and transport facilities such as ferry terminals and airports as well as shopping malls and favored ‘hang-out’ areas.

Cost? Zero to set up, except some effort for the poster.

If you have a public service, SLFlyer will remain free of charge.

For other destinations, we may ask for a small rental until we drive measurable traffic to your site.

For destinations developed by RL businesses for RL advantages, we may ask for RL monies.

All that is in the future. The first objective of SLFlyer is to bring you people!

First stage?
We are sending you an object called "SLFlyer Poster Hoster." Rez it and mod the contents:

>Give the object a new name that identifies your place.

>Edit the Text Floater script to the name of your place. Or remove the current text, leaving nothing but the quotes, if you hate floating text.

>Remove the existing note card and put in a note card describing your place. Include one or more landmarks in your note card. If you place is a whole sim, for example, you may want to offer several destinations.

>Delete the current images (textures) in the poster and load it with images that tell about your place. You will want the images to be consistent in shape, but you can use square, landscape, or portrait ratios. Adjust the shape of the poster to match your images. You may want to put the place name on all the images as we have done in the examples. Or you can use images of objects for sale and put the prices on the pictures.

>You may use X-rated images, but please include XXX in the name of the object. We will present those separately in a special kiosk marked "Plain Brown Wrapper," with appropriate texturing. There will also be clear warnings about the nature of the content. These arrangements will make the XXX kiosk the busiest of our offerings.

>Optional: The poster also plays sound files. It is presently loaded with soft crowd sounds. You can add sounds that present the special ambience of your place. As with the textures, just put them in the object contents and the script will do the rest.

For further information or for help with making poster contents, contact Geo Meek. Geo is usually in world and available for Skype conferences between, 5 and 8 pm SL time.

For additional and updating information about the SLFlyer, follow the Second Life Rail blog at:

The Second Life Orient Express
Paddy Paderborn

Grand Calleta Terminal

Oh my! Buildings come and go so quickly here. Qu Qi has moved the SLOE terminal to the road, adjacent to the SLRR. In its place is a "Really basic train platform, free to rebuild." Actually, it is an attractive platform, open air with glass roofing. (Qu Qi is a well-known open source developer in RL, so an open-souce platform is reasonable,)

The other trains: GSLR, Caledon, Hobo, and one from Kitty Flora toys are on nearby tracks. A great exhibit and a good way to attract new visitors to the rail facilites in Calleta and Cecropia.

This build is adjacent to my land at Thinkerer Studios so I took up the open-source offer and extanded the middle platform over my land (only 5 prims per segment). Makes good visual integration with the other platform. I am using it now to display the trial version of the Poster Poster.

Qu QI news items

I will pick up some things that were posted on the SLbb and post them here with comments. That will give them greater visibility and perhaps open up discussion threads. This is part of Qu Qi's post offers news about recent developements.

I've reworked the ferry that runs between mainlands. It's running most of the time these days.

The GSLR south (ie: mainline) trolley is also running most of the time these days. (thanx Garth!) Ride it to Purple to catch the ferry.

The north GSLR line is not yet running but should be soon. I have extended the track right into Hobo's and Orhalla has been working on a station on the Infohub land there. There will be a bit of a challenge as the GSLR train will have to live on non-GSLR land for a little while, but it should be ok. The ferry lives on non-GSLR land almost all the time.

The Periwinkle Infohub is being reworked at the moment. Garnet has not had the time for it lately and has graciously allowed us to pitch in. Angel and Alex are working on a new build there. It will have all the normal Infohub stuff. Any Infohub helpcards, helpprims, etc appreciated.

I rode the ferry. Pleasant trip. It stops and ANWR and terminates and the GSLR north terminal in Cecropia. When the North GSLR line is done, you could catch a train there and ride to the Hobo Info hub. Zander has probably abandoned the idea of putting a station at the info hub because of the SLOE station being built a short distance away. I think the train will be on GSLR land when it is at the SLOE station.

I hope Qu Qi will contact Paddy to get contributor status on the blog and keep up the news of GLSR and Periwinkle. -- TM

Saturday, 3 February 2007

The SLFlyer and the poster hoster

Here are instructions I am preparing for the SLFlyer associates. A beta version of the poster hoster itself is available at Thinkerer Studios. Ground level. Presenting AKK Horse Ranch.

What do you do? We are sending you an object called "SLFlyer Poster Hoster." Rez it and mod the contents:

>Give the object a new name that identfies your place.

>Edit the Text Floater script to the name of your place. Or remove the currrent text, leaving nothing but the quotes, if you hate floating text.

>Remove the existing note card and put in a notecard describing your place. Include one or more landmarks in your notecard. If your place is a whole sim, for example, you may want to offer several destinations.

>Delete the current images (textures) in the poster and load it with images that tell about your place. You will want the images to be consistent in shape, but you can use square, landscape, or portrait ratios. Adjust the shape of the poster to match your images. You may want to put the place name on all the images as we have done in the examples. Or you can use images of objects for sale and put the prices on the pictures.

>You may use X-rated images, but please include XXX in the name of the object. We will present those separately in a special kiosk marked "Plain Brown Wrapper," with appropriate texturing. There will also be clear warnings about the nature of the content. These arrangements will make the XXX kiosk the busiest of our offerings.

>Optional: The poster also plays sound files. It is presently loaded with soft crowd sounds. You can add sounds that present the special ambience of your place. As with the textures, just put them in the object contents and the script will do the rest.

The scripts are available at my website:
Sound rounder:
Image display:

I hope to be ready to send out initial versions in a day or so.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Rail graphics 2.1

Objective: Develop common mark to identify railroad and rail stations on the SL map.

I now have test versions of both the road marker and rail station marker 250m over Thinkerer Studios, Calleta. The station marker is a pair of rail lines crossed at right angles, costing 4 prims. The road markers are one prim each.

I have given Paddy test versions also. He will probably put them up over the SLOE main station in Calleta..

Note that these markers will not be seen on the map until SL does a retake of Calleta.

About following this blog

If you are interested in following this blog, here are some ways to do it.

>You can access it as a reguar web page. Just mark it as a favorite.

>On modern browsers (such as IE7), you can make groups of files and open a whole group all at once. I keep the farorite link in a group that I open at least daily.

>It is available as an RSS feed. With IE7 and other RSS services, you can have a notice sent to you when ever there is a new post. You can probably have it sent to your e-mail if you want.

Mall Update

Paddy says :
There are around 990 prims available.

Greg Colossus has already produced an impressive build of the full sized mall structure. It is on the final site. That does not mean that Paddy has decided to buy it although I am sure he is leaning that way. The build still needs texture and interior detail. I see that Hidenfire is working on a clock (the familiar 4-faced one), which would be an appropriate item of interior detail.

Hidenfire asks whether my comments mean that the builder has already been selected. Definitely not. But Greg already has the build to beat on structure. That is the only complete build we have seen so far. So any competition on overall structure needs to be visible soon or I will recommend to Paddy that he make an offer on Greg's structure.

Textures and interior detail remain to be done. I dont know whether Greg plans to do the textures or not. And the 4-way clock is probably needed. But is Greg ahead? As I said in the original announcement, Paddy needs it fast. So Greg is way ahead.

I told Paddy last Tuesday that we had builders who could get it done in a week. So next Tuesday, I will look at the situation and make some recommendations to Paddy.

Designers, rail products for The Rail Mall

I am seeking designers who can produce rail items for sale in The Rail Mall.
The Rail Mall will be central for our plans for SL, and designers will be fully acknowledged.
Our website provides some ideas, but SL needs a range of more appropriate products.
Rail uniforms & hats - North American / European / Japanese are first requirements; for sale and as freebies.
Rail accessories - flags, whistles, badges, tickets, branded luggage, wearable timetables.
And your ideas!
IM me on SL or post comments to this post.

Deadline for submissions for The Rail Mall

I'll go with Selby's sugegstion - one week from today for the submissions of designs for The Rail Mall.
Think of space and light and a sense of wow! to be felt by anyone in a building of this quality.
A building with character and style, not overpowering but uplifting like the best cathedrals - this will be a "cathedral" for rail, a destination for anyone on SL with an interest in rail from whatever angle.
The successful entrant will be properly acknowledged throughout all PR in relation to The Rail Mall, in SL & RL.
Google on "Train Chartering" to see the coverage we achieve for our RL business.

Mall build, update

Greg Colossus has made great progress on the overall structure of mall build (w/o textures). I am suggesting to Paddy that he set a deadline for when he will choose a build and/or builder. I think a week from now is what I will suggest. Greg is the leader at this point.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Rail graphics

Objective: Develop common mark to identify railroad and rail stations on the SL map. Gemeral method illistrated by HOBO sign floating above Hobo Village in Calleta. Easily visibile on map in close view. With a little help from my friends, I decided to try the standard map graphic for RR. That is a line with crossing bars, like ties. I made one in red and have put it up over Thinkerer Studios (over the GLSR on Thinkerer Studios). Next time they remake the map, we wil be able to see how visible it is.

I propose that the RR station symbol be crossed rails, with each arm being 20 meters (2 prims) long. I will make one in a day or so for Paddy to test. I am leaving leaving sample markers on the ground at Thinkerer Studios, free to copy. That is for anybody who wants to take some and try them.

More about the rail mall.

We talked last nite on Skype, Geo and Zan an Greg Colossus and me. Pav was there too but was having sound card problems so was limited to IM. Here are some things that came up.

Where is the location? Across the road from Paddy's train display and next to Heather's place. There is a small house there now to mark the place.

Prim limits? I don't know but Paddy will see this and answer I am sure.

Dimensions of Grand Central Station: Geo found ref: 650ft x 200ft. Hi: 100 ft.


Look and feel: Huge expanse, bustle, 4-way clock, big windows let in light. Perhaps look of the 1930's might be strogest appeal.

Has appeared in various movies, radio shows, and TV things. "crossroads of a million private lives..."

The mall will have vendors. Artist-builders can include them or not.

I will probably make a loop of crowd sounds with big room echos.

Grand Calleta Terminal & Sirkeci Station

Grand Calleta Terminal is on the Great Second Life Railway (GSLR) and is a transfer point to the Second Life Railroad (SLRR).
It will host the Second Life Rail Museum and provides rail yards for other Train owners free of charge.
Grand Calleta stands opposite the planned Rail Mall.
Grand Calleta is based on Sirkeci Station in Istanbul Turkey and is being designed by SL Engineer & Architect Qu Qi. Sirkeci was designed by a French architect for a Bavarian-born Belgian banker in 1873 under concessions granted by the Ottoman Sultan. (We did not invent globalization!) It was the terminal for the original Orient Express.
Grand Calleta will be the terminal for the Second Life Orient Express (SLOE), a subsidiary of Train Chartering.
We need high resolution photos of Sirkeci Station - can anyone help? Close ups of wall texture, windows, interiors etc.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Wall imager and how I think we will use it

I have a convenient 1- prim display device that we will use in the SL train travel business. I call it wall imager. You put any textures you please into its contents and it will display them all in sequence. You can make it wall sized if you want. If the textures have transparencies, you will probably want it to have a blank wall behind it. If someone clicks on it it will deliver the top note card in its contents.

Our use for it will be as a wall poster displaying destinations in SL. In general, there will be one poster for each destination. The poster would present images of the destination. The note card will present a description of the destination and a land mark. (There could be multiple landmarks if needed.)

The main thing about this design is that anybody (almost) can use it. So we give it to people who want to have us display their sim or build. They take the pix. They make a note card. They send it to us. All we do is send out offers to host their poster in our Poster Hoster. And when we get it back, we put it up. I will be making a set of instructions and talking to Geo about this plan in the next day or so.


I am working on a project to make railroads and train stations clearly visible on the SL map. The general idea comes from the sky sign at Hobo Village (Calleta). We would mark train stations with a symbol floating high and big enough to be visible on the map. We would mark railroads with a similar symbol (same color, for example), but narrow enough to suggest a line and to fit over the right-of-way.

We would hope to get all SL rail lines to use the same symbols.

I am presently testing designs for visibility with minimum prims. The first tests will be over Thinkerer Studios in Calleta. I am inviting suggestions for the graphic.

Someone will no doubt say: “Why don’t you just get the Lindens to change the map software so that the map automatically shows railroads if you check a box.”

To that someone, I say: “Great! You go talk Linden Labs into doing that while I work on how we can do it ourselves.”

Calling all Hobo builders

(extension of previous note card)
Paddy P. needs a train mall to go with his train museum and train station. Just a pistol shot down the road from our village. So I told him we got lotsa able and fast builder-artists in Hobo Village. But he doesn't know exactly what he wants it to look like. And so I made up this plan.

I am inviting the builder-artists of Hobo Village to use my island, Thinkerer Quests, to build examples of what his mall would look like if they built it. The examples may be miniatures. They may be exteriors or interior segments. They should remind people of Grand Central Station (NYC). There should be a spacious (high and wide) interior. He may add other suggestions later. I assume you can talk to him if you want to.

He will look at the examples and pick one or more builders to negotiate with. Main negotiating issues will be price and time frame. He needs it fast. He will pay in Linden dollars, and is not expecting to make you rich. But there are other possible benefits: He and I will invite other rail enthusiasts to the display. Maybe they will be interested in your work. I will look for other ways to get publicity for the work. There may be future work paid in real dollars.

There are a number of builder-artists that already have building powers at TQ. Those who don’t can contact Zander for temporary powers. None of these builds would necessarily become permanent exhibits at TQ. The will all be returned to you after the project is over. Contact Zan for places you can build, which may be above ground level.

Added suggestions (These are mine. Not Paddy’s. Check with him for authoritative views):
The example need not be complete. Use it to show your concepts and what you can do.
Google on Grand Central Station and use Google images. Get a feel for the place. Notice the images you see a lot (clock, for example).

I will see if Paddy wants some bustle and rail sounds (with big building echoes). Not a builder problem there, but a feel issue.

Instead of shop space, much of the vending might be by automated kiosk vendors. For interior work, put them on or not as you think best. They don’t all have to be at floor level.

You might look for ways to use the special potentials of SL.

If you need a script and don’t have it, don’t spend time trying to find it. Make a note card describing what the script would do.

Can people not in the Hobo group make a build? Sure. I am inviting all artists in the art quest group to this project. Others are welcome to make builds of their own, in locations of their own choosing. They would notify Paddy of the place to look.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

All aboard!

Paddy and I are working on this project to:
>Enhance the visibility and entertainment values of the rail systems in SL.
>Build on the great values in Calleta, Hobo Village and the Info Hub.
>Improve the welcome we give to newcomers in Second Life.
>Provide useful travel information and services for people new to Second Life.
>Provide valuable marketing services to RL commercial enterprises in SL
>Develop ways to bring real dollars to people offering services in SL.
>Convince Linden Labs of the value of Calleta and its people and its needs.

We will be using this blog to communicate about what we are doing or might be doing Readers will be able to post comments. People who want to post as contributors should contact Paddy. We would like to have as contributors all the people in SL with a strong interest in Second Life Rail.

We intend to use this blog as a replacement for conversations on the SL forums. The advantage of a public blog like this is that it is available to people not (YET) in SL. We will also be interested in having comments from people intersted, for example, in model railroads or real world travel.

Welcome to Second Life Rail

Rail binds communities and builds commerce.
A railway network across Second Life on which trains of all kinds can travel will knit the world together and encourage businesses to develop.
This vision of a global integrated rail system needs cooperation to a degree that may only be possible in Second Life.
All the necessary ingredients are out there: Second Life, the in-world & real-life talent, the enthusiasm, the needs.
Let's go!!