How to Merge Routes

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The information in this Wiki Page applies to TANE, TRS19 and Trainz Plus.

Contents


In Summary:
DotPoint.JPG Merging allows two (or more) routes to be joined to make a single larger route
DotPoint.JPG The Session data from the first route only can be transferred to the new enlarged route
DotPoint.JPG Physical difference between the routes will cause problems in the merging process. Most of these problems can be overcome


Before You Start Merging

DotPoint.JPG Make sure that you have backup copies of all the routes that you are going to merge.


Before you start merging there are some important points you will need to consider and there may be some preparation work that will have to be performed.

PencilTips.PNG Identify...
  • the route that will be the base route. This route will form the backbone of the merged routes. It will usually be the larger route or the route that contains Session data that you want to keep in the merge.
  • the route that will be the to-be-merged route. This route will be joined to the base route.
  • the orientation (North-South or East-West) of both routes. Are they both the same or are they different?
  • the baseboards in both routes where they will be joined. The join must be along edges with no overlaps.
  • the height of the baseboards in both routes at the merge point. Are they the same height or different heights?
  • any layers in the two routes that have the same name.
  • which layers in both routes contain the tracks and the track objects (signals, switches, speed signs, etc).

Route File Sizes

DotPoint.JPG The success of the merging process will depend on the size of the two routes being merged and the size of your systems available memory

The merging process occurs within your computers on-board memory (RAM). If this is not large enough then your system will also use virtual RAM, i.e. your disk storage space as temporary memory, which is significantly slower. If your system does not have enough memory, both on-board and virtual, then merging large routes will become a problem (i.e. impossible or will take a very long time).

The Trainz forums contain several threads where attempts to merge very large routes (hundreds of Megabytes in size) have taken days to complete or failed to complete at all. In many of these cases the users did not have enough RAM (on-board and virtual) installed in their system. In one documented case, doubling the available on-board RAM from 16GB to 32GB and increasing the Windows virtual memory page size (disk based or virtual RAM) reduced the merge time for two extremely large routes from failing to complete in over 50 hours to successfully completing in 10 hours.

DotPoint.JPG In most cases there should be no technical problems in merging routes (and completing the task in minutes) on systems that meet the recommended specs for TANE and TRS19


Common Problems (and Their Solutions)

DotPoint.JPG Most route mergers will have problems but most of these problems can be easily fixed

Some problems will require you to do a bit (or a lot) of extra work before you can merge two routes into one. But for some problems, the best solution may be to select other routes to merge.

MergeHeightProblem.JPG
  • The easiest and most common problems will be fixed during the merging process itself.
  • Sometimes textures from the base route will bleed into the to-be-merged route particularly if the latter route is not textured. The solution to this can be found in the Trainz Wiki WikiLink.PNG How to Use Bulk Asset Update/Replace Tool.
  • The most common problem in the "hard to fix but do-able" category is merging two routes that have been built at different heights or altitudes. This will create a vertical cliff along the merge line, as shown on the left. The solutions to this will vary depending on the height difference. Common solutions are:-
    • add extra baseboards between the two routes to create an easy gradient between them. See the "Tips" box below. If the height difference is large then many additional baseboards will be needed. If the difference is too big then other options may have to be considered.
    • use a spiral tunnel or switchback/zigzag to build track between the two levels. This will reduce number of extra baseboards.
    • add portals to both routes so that a consist entering the portal on one route will emerge from the portal on the other route. Portals can have their own issues and this solution may not suit everyone and every layout.
  • Another fixable problem can occur if a layer containing track from the to-be-merged route ends up below the layer that also contains track in the base route. This can be fixed by merging the lower track layer into the higher track layer either during the merging process or afterwards using the WikiLink.PNG Layer Tools in Surveyor.


Stop.PNG The most common problem in the "impossible to fix" category is when both routes have different orientations (N-S and E-W) and you were hoping to join them end-to-end in the same direction to make an even longer route. Once a route has been created its orientation cannot be changed.


For the solutions to other problems that have been known to occur, but less frequently than those described above, jump to the section PageLink.PNG Uncommon Problems (and Their Solutions) found at the end of this page.

PencilTips.PNG A handy tip for merging two routes with different heights is to create a new route that only contains the extra "in-between" baseboards - no scenery, textures or track are needed. The baseboards on one end will have heights that match those of the base route and the baseboards on the other end will have heights that match those of the to-be-merged route. The merge is performed in two stages:-
  • the new bridging route is merged with the Base route.
  • the selected to-be-merged route is merged with the Base + bridging route.
This avoids having to add the extra baseboards to the original routes.
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Selecting and Loading the Routes to Merge

Steps.PNG

Steps
DotPoint1.JPG Load the Base Route Into Surveyor:
Question.PNG Should you load the Route or the Session?


The answer depends on whether or not the Session contains assets (scenery, consists) and settings (rules, driver commands, industry and wagon loads, weather, time of day, etc) that you want to continue to use in the new merged Route and its Session. If this is the case then load the Session. If the Session contains nothing that you need, then only load the Route.

Note that when you add the to-be-merged route its Route assets and data will be loaded but not any Session assets or data so this is the only opportunity you will have to load any Session assets and data. If the Session attached to the Base Route contains nothing that you need then load the Route only into Surveyor.


  DotPoint2.JPG Start the Merge Route Tool and select and load the Route to-be-merged:
  • Select the Merge Route option in the Surveyor Main Menu (TANE - shown below left) or the Surveyor Tools Menu (TRS19/Trainz Plus - shown below middle)
This will open a Route Selection window (shown below right)
  • Select the route to-be-merged. Only the Route data will be loaded from this route
DotPoint.JPG DLC payware routes cannot be selected for merging
MergeMainMenu.JPG MergeToolStartTRS19SP1.png MergeSelectRoute.JPG


This will display a "minimap" of the proposed merger (nothing will be merged until after the final step) with some control options.

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The Merge Map

MergeMiniMapComplexTerrain01.JPG

The two tabs shown on the left are the:-

  • Terrain Tab which is automatically selected when the MiniMap is first displayed. This shows the baseboards of the to-be-merged route superimposed on the baseboards of the base route. A red background colour on this tab, as shown in the figure on the left, indicates that the two routes have baseboards that are in conflict - they are overlapping. The overlapping baseboards are shown in red on the MiniMap.
  • Layers Tab. This shows the layers that have been copied from both routes. A red background colour on this tab indicates that the two routes have layers that are in conflict.


NotePad.PNG Notes:
  • You can zoom the MiniMap in and out using the mouse control wheel. There appears to be no keyboard zoom control.
  • You can move the centre of focus (the centre of the MiniMap view) by moving the mouse pointer to a new position and clicking with the right button.
  • The four arrows shown at the top, bottom and both sides of the map display can be clicked to move the to-be-merged route in the direction shown by each arrow.

TRS19/Trainz Plus

MergeMapTRS19SP1.png The Map Conflict tab icon in TRS19 and Trainz Plus


Move the To-Be-Merged Route into its New Position

MergeMiniMapComplexTerrain02.JPG
Steps.PNG Steps:
  • Click on the direction arrows shown at the top, bottom and sides of the MiniMap window to move the to-be-merged route into its correct position
  • Each click will move the to-be-merged route one baseboard in the selected direction


In the example shown on the left, clicking the Left arrow 5 times moved the to-be-merged route 5 baseboards to the left to a position where there were no overlapping baseboards and all terrain conflicts were resolved.

DotPoint.JPG A route merge will not proceed until ALL the terrain and layer conflicts have been eliminated.


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The Layers Map

Click the Layers Tab to show the layers loaded from the two routes.

DotPoint.JPG A route merge will not proceed until ALL the terrain and layer conflicts have been eliminated.


In the example shown below two of the layers, one from each route, are using the same name "route-layer". This causes a conflict that must be resolved before the merge can be completed.

There are three simple options for solving this problem:-

DotPoint1.JPG Rename one of the conflicting layers. Double click on the layer name to enter a new name.
MergeMiniMapLayersConflict.JPG

MergeMiniMapLayersConflictRename01.JPG

After renaming ...
MergeMiniMapLayersConflictRename02.JPG

... the conflict has now been resolved.

TRS19/Trainz Plus

MergeLayersTRS19SP1.png The Layers Conflict tab icon in TRS19 and Trainz Plus


DotPoint2.JPG Delete one of the conflicting layers. Select the layer and click on the Delete icon.
MergeMiniMapLayersConflictDelete.JPG


Stop.PNG CAUTION: Deleting a layer will delete all its contents.


After clicking the Delete Icon ...

MergeMiniMapLayersConflictMerge02.JPG
... the conflict has now been resolved.


DotPoint3.JPG Merge one of the conflicting layers.

Steps.PNG Steps:
  1. Select the layer that is to be merged
  2. Click on the Merge icon (next to the Delete Icon)
This will open a list of layers (shown below).

MergeMiniMapLayersConflictMerge01.JPG
Stop.PNG CAUTION: When selecting a layer to merge into be aware that layers containing track objects such as signals, switches, speed signs, etc CANNOT be placed above a layer that contains the track.

Steps.PNG Steps:
  1. Select the layer it will be merged into
  2. Click the Tick.PNG icon


After merging ...

MergeMiniMapLayersConflictMerge02.JPG

... the conflict has now been resolved.


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Accept or Reject

Once all the conflicts have been resolved, the final step in the merging process can take place.

Tick.PNG   ACCEPT: Click to accept the merge. This icon will not be clickable unless ALL conflicts have been resolved. If you have problems after clicking Accept, see the sections at the top of this wiki page on File Sizes and Common Problems
Cross.PNG   REJECT: Click to reject the merge. The merging will be cancelled, no routes will be lost or altered.


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Uncommon Problems (and Their Solutions)

DotPoint.JPG All of these problems occur along baseboard boundaries after the merge but not just on the merge boundary - they can appear many baseboards away and can take a lot of searching to find.

These problems include:-

  • random needle spikes (like tall sewing needles sticking up through your layout)
  • random inverted needle spikes (like someone decided to bore very narrow vertical shafts into your layout)
  • long straight ditches
  • texture bleeds (on bare baseboards)
  • random dark "splotches" (on textured baseboards)


NotePad.PNG Notes:
  • the texture bleeds are relatively easy to solve after the merge has occurred and that solution can be found in the Trainz Wiki at WikiLink.PNG How to Use Bulk Asset Update/Replace Tool.
  • the other issues are more difficult or time consuming to solve after the merge. A better option is to restart the merge process from the original routes (that is why you should make backup copies first) using the steps described below.



Steps.PNG

Steps
DotPoint1.JPG Create a Small Dummy Route:
Create a new Trainz route using just two bare baseboards with:-
  • an East-West orientation for an East-West merge, or
  • a North-South orientation for a North-South merge

Do not worry about the height of the baseboards. Save the route using an easy to remember name such as Merge Dummy

PencilTips.PNG If merging is something that you will do often then create your Merge Dummy route as a 2x2 baseboard square for quickly solving these problems if they should appear. The 2x2 baseboards will work with both East-West and North-South merges

  DotPoint2.JPG Load the First Route:
Load the base route into Surveyor - see the section PageLink.PNG Selecting and Loading the Routes to Merge.

  DotPoint3.JPG Load and Position the Merge Dummy Route:
  1. Select the Merge Route option and load the Merge Dummy into Surveyor (the images below show a 2x2 baseboard Merge Dummy route)
  2. Move the Merge Dummy route into position so that it will overlap, by one baseboard each, the first route and the yet to be loaded second route
  3. Resolve any Layer conflicts
  4. Accept the merge

Merge Stage 1


  DotPoint4.JPG Load and Position the Second Route:
  1. Select the Merge Route option and load the second route into Surveyor
  2. Move the second route into its merge position with the first route. It must overlap, by one baseboard, the Merge Dummy route
  3. Resolve any Layer conflicts
  4. Accept the merge

Merge Stage 1


  DotPoint5.JPG Delete the Merge Dummy Route

Do not worry if the bare baseboards in the Merge Dummy route show any texture bleeds because the final step is to:-

  • Delete each of the baseboards from the Merge Dummy route


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This page was created by Trainz user pware in July 2018 and was last updated as shown below.


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