Laying Track
  • 12 Jan 2023
  • 8 Minutes to read
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Laying Track

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The Basics

These simple steps will show how quickly you can select, place, duplicate, move and replace Spline Assets as well as using the Contextual Menu.

  • Create a new route (switch to S20 Mode in the Tools Menu if required)
  • Click on the Track Objects icon in the Asset Palette
  • Type "TRS19" in the Search field and select a track
  • Click in the world, then move your mouse and click again to place a track segment
  • Note that the spline is still selected and there are three Contextual Menu icons plus two Vertex Points showing
  • You can apply various operations to the track using the Contextual Menu options
  • Switch to the Free Move Tool or Fine Adjustment Tool to move your track segment
  • Click on one of the end vertex points, then move your mouse and click again to place another track segment

Placement Mode

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Movement Mode

s20-6.png

Selection

There are a number of handy options to select track:

  • Select the Free Move Tool or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Click anywhere on a track to select a single track segment (i.e. the length of track between two the end vertices)
  • Click on the end vertex to adjust that vertex only (i.e. where possible, actions will affect that vertex, not the entire track segment)
  • Shift-click to add new segments to the selection
  • Double-click on any track segment to select all the attached segments between two junctions
  • Once selected, actions taken using the Contextual Menu or Tool Options fields will apply to the entire selection

Moving or Adjusting Track

  • Select the Free Move Tool and click on a track segment
  • Drag anywhere on the highlighted track to move it in any x,y direction
  • Click on the end vertex and drag to move just that vertex
  • Select the Fine Adjustment Tool and note there are three Anchors attached
  • Drag the Center Anchor Point to move the entire track segment in any x,y direction
  • Drag on End Anchor to move just that end of the track
  • Drag on any vertical Anchor line to raise that track vertex

Adjust Track Height

There are several ways to adjust the height of your track. You can adjust one segment at a time or bulk update large selections of track. It is also possible to adjust the height of a specific vertex.

  • Select one or more splines using the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • When using the Free Move Tool, use the Height field in the Tool Options Palette
  • Enter a new value in the Height field then hit Enter to apply the change
  • If you do not need to change the value, use the Contextual Menu > Apply Brush Height option
  • When using the Fine Adjustment Tool, you can use the Anchors to move an individual vertex, or use the Height field

Remove Spline Point

  • Select a single spline using the Free Move Tool
  • Ensure you click on the track segment where you want to insert the new spline point
  • To insert the spline point, click on the Contextual Menu > Insert Spline Point Here

Merge Splines

This is effectively the "Remove Spline Point" option

  • Select any two joined track segments
  • Click on the "middle" Contextual Menu and select "Merge Splines"
  • That spline point will be removed and the two track segments will now become one segment.

Separate Splines

  • Select the end vertex between any two joined track segments
  • Click on the end Contextual Menu > Separate Splines
  • The track will split at the selected vertex creating two new track ends
TIP

Select two or more track segments, then Contextual Menu > Separate Splines will split all selected vertices.

Insert Spline Point

  • Select a single spline using the Free Move Tool
  • Ensure you click on the track segment exactly where you want to insert the new spline point
  • Then just click on the center Contextual Menu > Insert Spline Point Here
  • A new Spline Point will be added creating two new track segments

Straighten Splines

  • To straighten an existing track, select the track segment
  • Click on the center Contextual Menu > Straighten Spline

Note that this operation will create a straight track between the two end vertices on your selected track. Any attached segments at either end will also be adjusted. You cannot straighten two consecutive segments.

Replace Spline with Selected Asset

Replace one or more existing track segments with a different asset.

  • Select the new track you want to use in the Asset Palette
  • Select one or more splines in the 3D world using the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Click the Contextual Menu > Replace Spline with Selected Asset
  • All the selected track is changed to your Asset Palette selection
TIP

To change every instance of a track on your route, use the Bulk Asset Replace tool.

Paint Under Selected

Paint a ground texture under one or more existing track segments.

  • Select the Ground Texture you want to use in the Asset Palette
  • Set your brush radius in the Tool Options palette
  • Select one or more splines in the 3D world using the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Click the Contextual Menu > Paint Under Selected
  • The texture selected in the Asset Palette is painted under your selected splines
TIP

The texture is painted onto a "grid" which is either 10m or 5m in size. If your track is running parallel to the grid, your texture borders will be nice and straight. If you are running diagonally, then your textures will step along the grid.

You can change the grid size using the Marquee Tool, but note that a 5m grid requires four times more storage space than 10m grid.

Smooth Ground under Selected

Raise or lower the ground under one or more existing track segments.

  • Select one or more splines in the 3D world using the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Click the Contextual Menu > Smooth Ground under Selected
  • The ground will be adjusted to meet the base of your selected splines

Settle on Ground

Raise or lower the track so that it sits directly on the current ground height.

  • Select one or more splines in the 3D world using the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Click the Contextual Menu > Settle on Ground
  • The track will be adjusted to meet the current ground height

Apply Brush Height

Raise or lower the track to a specified height.

  • Select one or more splines in the 3D world using the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Set the Height field in the Tool Options palette and hit Enter, or
  • If the Height field is already set to the required height, click the Contextual Menu > Apply Brush Height
  • The track will be adjusted to the specified ground height

Adjusting Vertex Height

In Surveyor Classic, you could Get and Apply a vertex height. S20 has this option, but does things slightly differently.

  • Select either the Free Move or Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Click on the end vertex of a track segment
  • Open the Info Palette and click on the Pos.: expander arrow
  • Grab the vertical anchor line and drag up or down
  • Note the z value is changing in the Info palette
  • The dropdown menu provides the option to use this vertex height as your Brush Height
  • Click Use Height for Brush and note the Tool Options Brush Height field updates.
  • This can now be used for applying to other objects or the ground
TIP

With the end vertex selected, enter a new value in the Info Pos "Z" field to immediately change the vertex height. Click on the up/down arrow in the Info Pos "Z" field and drag your cursor up or down. Note the z value and track height changes as you do this.

Gradients

Track and scenery spline gradients can be applied in a variety of ways.

Laying Track with a Gradient

  • Enter a gradient value in the Grade field in the Tool Options Palette
  • Select your Track from the Asset Palette
  • With the Placement Tool active, lay track by clicking on the ground twice
  • Note that your track is running at the gradient value you entered

Apply Gradient to Track

  • Enter the Grade to apply in the Grade field in the Tool Options Palette
  • Click to select a single spline segment or shift-click to add more segments
  • Shift-click on the end vertex where you wish to start applying the gradient
  • Click on the Contextual Menu > Apply Grade to this Spline Endpoint
  • The gradient is applied to all segments selected
TIP

The grade is applied to all selected segments from the vertex used to apply the gradient, If you select a mid point of several track segments, the gradient will apply in both directions.

Manual Adjustment

  • Select a spline using the Fine Adjustment Tool
  • Grab the vertical anchor line and drag up or down
  • You can also click on the end vertex and use the anchor lines

Junctions

When creating a junction, a junction lever is automatically added. To adjust the junction level use the Free Move Tool > Contextual Menu.

  • Create a junction
  • Select the Free Move Tool
  • Click on the junction lever
  • Click on the Contextual Menu
  • Choose from the following asset specific options:
    • Reattach to track (available only if you have moved the lever away from the track)
    • Rotate trackside (flip the lever to the opposite side of the track)
    • Change junction direction

Copy/Paste Splines

You can select multiple splines (using shift click to select) then Ctrl-C to copy the selection into a Scrapbook.
More to a new area and use Ctrl-V to paste.
You can also adjust the Scrapbook filter options to exclude various elements from being pasted, or to add splines to an existing area without overwriting the existing splines.

Track Scrapbooks

There are a range of "Prefab" tracks that allow you to quickly paste complex track arrangements with a single click.

In the image below, each set of tracks was placed by selecting from the prefab list, settings the cursor radius to an appropriate size, and clicking to paint. So now a 10 track yard ladder can be placed in a few seconds.

2022-05-17_120040.png

See Also:
Working With Track Objects


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