In a few days time there will be a comprehensive update released for the Virtual District Line Phase II, bringing the package up to V2.1. In advance of this, the requirements for the add-ons have changed very slightly. Please make sure you are as up-to-date as possible before downloading the update.
The decisions regarding the updated requirements (JT Met route, S7+1 Stocks) were not taken lightly, but were in large part influenced by JT's releases and packaging; the new and updated content in the Met route that we can leverage (now and in future VDL updates), and the logical S7 fit into the District. Plus the excellent 3rd party S7 and District freeware add-ons available on ATS.
We hope you feel as we do that it's worth getting these new route/train products that provide us assets for the VDL, as well as being excellent JT products in their own right and a very likely purchase for LUL fans.
In case you're wondering what's in V2.1, I've posted the change log below (taken from the updated Route Guide). Lots of performance, operational and visual improvements; and new scenarios! And a new Scenarios Guide!
V2.1 Change Log There are a great many detailed fixes, changes and improvements to route operation and scenery in this v2.1 version of the VDL. If we’ve done our job correctly, you might not even notice them. In the interests of completeness, and tracking changes across releases, we have summarized them below.
STOCKS • added JT-provided S-stock TAB triggers to prevent tripcock events through joint control-shunt signals • replaced all S8-aliased stop boards and trainstop markers with those from the JT Metropolitan Line • replaced S8-derived District S7 in scenarios with new version using S7+1 (S7+1 is now a scenario requirement instead of the S8) • changed the D78 (refurb and un-refurb) R-code "Putney Bridge" destination to be "Wimbledon"
SCENERY • fixed missing winter tunnel textures • converted most tunnel sections and viaducts to a loft version for seamless transitions and lower resource needs • retextured elevated wall base to match chosen trackbed texture • filled in some scenery gaps and terrain holes and levelled a couple of platforms • added some spotlights in cut/cover places where visibility of the S-stock stop markers was poor • added missing UKTS Freeware Van Repaints
SIGNALS • WG15 / WG4 (PBR WB/EB) – changed signal type • W371 (WPK WB starter) – edited link1 to read across SWT depot EB x-over • W373R (WIM approach) – new approach control repeater • WB33 (WKN EB) – edited link1 to read across OLY x-over to ECT tunnel and EC300/EC3 • WK1A (CPK-GUN dive-under merge) – added repeater head to give more advanced warn of WK1B at red • GB15R (KEW-RMD) – new approach control repeater • OP5 (ERD WB P3 starter) – moved so starter is clearly visible from all cabs, incl S7
SCENARIOS • various fixes, tweaks and fine-tuning • added 4 new T/Op Man scenarios
DOCUMENTATION • Added change log and Top Man overview to Route Guide. Updated FOV control info for TS2020. Updated pre-reqs for v2.1 • Added new v2.1 T/Op Man Scenarios Guide • Updated Stocks Operator’s Manual
The links for the various route and stocks pre-req downloads are shown below:
There is a good chance Alan Thomson might be streaming our latest v2.1 update tonight on Twitch at 19.00pm, ie about 25 minutes time folks. Depends of course on how he gets on with it. So worth tuning in.
Speed control signals from the Met will be used once we're convinced that they work properly. At the moment the jury is out on that apparently. In any case they won't feature until we get on with building the Lower Circle which will commence work shortly after 2.1 releases. To be fair to Alan, trying to do a live stream and read chat, whilst driving one of these T/Op Man scenarios is no easy task. I think he did very well, under those circumstances.
What you need to remember is that signal blocks are small. Any yellow aspect you spot should have you on the brake reducing speed. It is very easy to miss a yellow and get caught. Try to get a mental picture of what is going on around you. A train in front means caution, it will hold you up soon................
Advance Info - Virtual District Line Phase II - Upcoming update - v2.1A Having recently released the v2.1 update the team is now working on extending the South Circle from Gloucester Rd (GRD) around to Tower Hill, or maybe Aldgate and Whitechapel. We will post progress and screenshots periodically when there's something interesting to discuss.
The first part of the work has involved re-laying the District and Circle Line tracks east of GRD, so they can follow the correct path and gradients to South Kensington (SKN). For Phase II we had laid simple straight tracks east of GRD to allow for a [fake] reversing road and some EB and WB portals; so scenarios could be created with GRD as an origin, destination or to turn AI trains around to create traffic patterns. We therefore had to both remove/replace tracks, but also to retain the reversing road destination marker and the EB/WB portals so v2.1 scenarios would still run. This would allow us to continue the P-way work to extend the line. And at the same time allow you to keep running the 2.1 scenarios, or even create new ones, that will still work when we have completed the next major Sth Circle section. Let's think of that as Phase III.
V2.1A is the intermediate result - and in our usual style we have gone further that we intended :-)
There are now prototypical tracks between GRD and SKN in the historical double-wide tunnels that used to also contain the Met tracks, prior to the Met-District merge to form the South Circle. The bones of SKN station are present, along with all the speed limits and signals on the new sections of track. A real EB-WB reverse exists east of SKN.
So with v2.1A you can still run existing scenarios that reference the GRD EB-WB reverse road and EB/WB portals... and Ed's P-way gang can keep digging the cut-and-cover tunnels to the east.
We didn't intend you create scenarios including SKN just yet, but of course we can't stop you exploring the new tunnels to the east of GRD. Bear in mind, construction work and operational/scenery details are far from finished in the new section - but you will get a sense of where we're headed.
Keep an eye on this thread for info about v2.1A download availability. Final testing in progress...
For anyone curious, we have delayed v2.1a release for a while, pending development and test of a new set of 6 very special and highly detailed and realistic T/Op Man scenarios. These are also using the excellent Armstrong Powerhouse Sky and Weather Enhancement Pack, although we will also provide alternate scenarios files for those without the AP pack.
Developing and testing of these new scenarios has caused us to need to make a few tweaks to the VDL route, signals, destination markers, etc. to support realistically portrayed activities in the scenarios. So as v2.1a is not a current requirement, nor does it fix any bugs (none outstanding), we decided to hold off on release until we're sure we don't need to make any more changes to support the new scenarios. We will make v2.1a available for download well ahead of the new scenario pack being released, as v2.1a *will* be a prerequisite for that.
The new scenario pack will take our T/Op Man realism concept to the next level, and provide a whole new set of varied challenges and enjoyable drives on the District combine. More news as we progress...
A month goes by so another update. We now have the 6 new TopMan scenarios running correctly as regards the player service and related audio; plus 2 of the 6 now also have full AI traffic, and at a density level you haven't seen before. One scenario has 50 AI services. Thankfully not all running at the same time :-) Here's how...
As part of this work, we have added/edited a load more portals into the route on every path. This allows us to bring a train into the scenario out of sight of the player, have it do something interesting or of affect to the player, and then leave via another portal. So while the traffic may look dense, the number of active trains at any given time is lower than you'd imagine. So the resource load on the system is reasonable. In some cases you will for example see realistic Picc line 4 minute headways between trains plus other DR and NL services using multiple train stocks mixed in. In an hour long scenario that's a LOT of traffic, and you will need to be alert for events and signals. Things will also change somewhat if you are earlier or later at various points, as other services may gain or lose priority over you - so there's a good degree of replay-ability too. That signal that is "always green" may not be this time...
The scenarios also include different times of day, different goals and parts of the route and different weather. Some of the conditions will challenge you - thunderstorms, fog, last train at night, dense traffic, tight schedules, etc.
We'll keep you informed as to progress. Creating, and especially testing, things that are this complex takes time to get right. We promise it will be worth it :-)
Another month and a bit goes by, and we have all been heads down developing/testing things that you will see shortly.
A new route update, now called v2.2, has just passed final test and the Stocks Manual and Route Guide docs have been updated to v2.2 to reflect changes and additions.
Here's the v2.2 change log:
ROUTE/PORTALS • Tracks and signaling extended east from GRD to SKN to facilitate building Phase III to Tower Hill • Portals modified/fixed/added to every line in the route to allow adding/removing AI trains at line end points • Fixed platform continuities at RPK and ECM to allow all train doors to open
SCENERY • Extended distant scenery around Wimbledon, Richmond and Kew Gardens • Infill of some terrain in various places • Some clutter/vegetation movement where it was floating or sunk
SIGNALS • All co-located shunt/semi signals now have the required JT “TAB” S-Stock SPAD protection gadget installed (Acton Works entry shunt WL14/Semi WL16 was missing it, meaning WB trains on the DR Slow road could trip approaching ACT). • HSK WB – incorrect repeater RED4 replaced with correct ED3 semi home signal, protecting the platform area • ECT-WBR tunnel - Repeater heads added to signals EC330/EC250 to show state of merge protect semi signals EC33/EC25. This now provides the advanced warning that repeaters REC330.33/REC250.25 do IRL. • RPK-TGN EB/WB – renamed (number plate) the multi-home signals on approach to each station to correctly reflect A/B/C naming. Added 2 missing fog repeater signals to give better advanced warning of home signals • Added signals to the new GRD-SKN section as per diagram
SCENARIOS • VDL V2.2 is a pre-requisite for the V2.2 T/Op Man EC scenarios (separate package)
DOCUMENTATION • Operator’s Guide and Route Guide updated to v2.2 • Detailed portals list added to Route Guide v2.2
STOCKS C69/D78/73TS made compatible with new features in the v2.2 T/Op Man EC Scenario Pack
Much of the route update is to ensure any scenarios using GRD and its reversing road will still work with future route updates, *and* to add tracks from GRD to South Kensington so we can continue building to Tower Hill and beyond. That new trackwork to the east started in earnest today after we'd extensively tested and signed-off v2.2. We also added portals to *every* road on the map, and made big use of them.
You'll also note some fixes and additions to scenery, track interactives and signals, much of which were "discovered/fixed" while testing a very special set of 6 new scenarios. We've spent over 3 months creating and testing them. They are the most detailed, AI-dense, feature rich we've done to date. And for anyone familiar with the v2.1 Top Man audio, we've taken that to a whole new level. And we've used the AP Sky & Weather Enhancement pack to provide dynamic weather. The scenarios have just completed final team test and I'm in process of finalizing the new 23 page Scenario Guide that will accompany them. That will go to team review tomorrow, followed by kit build/tests - so we're close to release.