Best Layout design software

At the risk of starting a war, what is the "best"/"best value" layout design software? I've used Atlas "Right Track" and I'm very frustrated
with two things: Only atlas track libraries (understandable, but frustrating nonetheless), and Very difficult terrain creation. Winrail 8 certainly doesn't fix the latter (in my opinion).
Unfortunately, all the demos out there are so crippled, I can't properly evaluate them, so I ask those of you with experience to make reccommendations.
Thanks.
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In a message on 2 Feb 2006 16:13:18 -0800, wrote :
"> At the risk of starting a war, what is the "best"/"best value" layout "> design software? I've used Atlas "Right Track" and I'm very frustrated "> with two things: Only atlas track libraries (understandable, but "> frustrating nonetheless), and Very difficult terrain creation. Winrail "> 8 certainly doesn't fix the latter (in my opinion). "> "> Unfortunately, all the demos out there are so crippled, I can't "> properly evaluate them, so I ask those of you with experience to make "> reccommendations.
XTrkCad is full featured and *free* (open source now). Runs under Linux or MS-Windows. http://www.sillub.com /
"> "> Thanks. "> ">
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\
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Hi marc,
marc wrote:

Did you have a look at XTrkCad? I like it on Win and Linux.
Regards, Kurt
--
Kurt Harders
MBTronik - PiN - Prsenz im Netz GITmbH
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Agreed... It's a little touchy at first but once you master it look out...
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Big Rich Soprano wrote:

Great software. However, if by "terrain" you also mean landscaping - then this is not what you want. For me, that is fine. There is other software around - maybe someone can provide further information - which allows you to draw semi-realistic colored landscapes - grass, trees, tunnels etc. Within XtrkCad, these can only be created as simple line art elements.
Regards,
Werner George Pflaum
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Ya know you made me think of something... Since it's open source, create a way to interface XtrkCad with 3D Rail or some other program that actually does 3D stuff well! Or conversely, make it's own 3D terrain program... Not being a programmer i wouldn't even know where to start nor do i like Jolt Cola...
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Hi,
Big Rich Soprano wrote:

Theoretically a great idea. Practically ... uhmm... yes ... not really. Interfacing two completely different (i.e. released by different companies) programs is usually equal to more work than writing completely new software. Part 2 of your suggestions would work, but who is going to take the trouble without ever getting a dime for it? This isn't a thing you could write within a few rainy weekends.
There have been people taking the trouble to write great freeware software. In this case, I would not expect too much, though. It is not quite as easy to include 3D art into XtrkCad, since the basis is merely a CAD program and all the necessary functions for realistic landscaping would have to be written from scratch. Writing routines based on existing functions within XtrkCAD is a lot easier.
Regards,
Werner George Pflaum
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Oky doky...
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to
When this topic was discuused in this newsgroup a year or so ago, there were some favorable comments about CadRail. Has anyone used both XTrkCad and CadRail to offer comparative comments about features and ease of use? Geezer
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In a message on Fri, 03 Feb 2006 12:42:26 -0500, wrote :
BRS> >>> Did you have a look at XTrkCad? I like it on Win and Linux. BRS> BRS> BRS> >> Agreed... It's a little touchy at first but once you master it look BRS> >> out... BRS> BRS> BRS> >Great software. However, if by "terrain" you also mean landscaping - then BRS> >this is not what you want. For me, that is fine. There is other software BRS> >around - maybe someone can provide further information - which allows you to BRS> >draw semi-realistic colored landscapes - grass, trees, tunnels etc. Within BRS> >XtrkCad, these can only be created as simple line art elements. BRS> BRS> BRS> Ya know you made me think of something... Since it's open source, BRS> create a way to interface XtrkCad with 3D Rail or some other program BRS> that actually does 3D stuff well! Or conversely, make it's own 3D BRS> terrain program... Not being a programmer i wouldn't even know where BRS> to start nor do i like Jolt Cola... BRS>
You could use povray. Lots of other people have:
http://sourceforge.net/search/?words=povray&type_of_search=soft
Note: since XTrkCad uses a plain text file for its layout data, it should be possible to parse it (see http://www.deepsoft.com/MRRSystem / for an actual XTrkCad C++ parser class) and then generate the sort of text file povray wants as input. It should then be possible to create a 3D view of an XTrkCad layout. Isn't OSS wonderful that way?
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\
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In a message on Fri, 3 Feb 2006 17:57:26 +0100, wrote :
"GP> Big Rich Soprano wrote: "GP> >> Did you have a look at XTrkCad? I like it on Win and Linux. "GP> > "GP> > "GP> > Agreed... It's a little touchy at first but once you master it look "GP> > out... "GP> "GP> Great software. However, if by "terrain" you also mean landscaping - then "GP> this is not what you want. For me, that is fine. There is other software "GP> around - maybe someone can provide further information - which allows you to "GP> draw semi-realistic colored landscapes - grass, trees, tunnels etc. Within "GP> XtrkCad, these can only be created as simple line art elements.
I generally don't bother with designing the 'terrain/landscaping'. I don't really have any way to tranfer 'terrain/landscaping' from the CAD to the reality. Transfering the track plan is straightforward -- just print selected pages at 1:1 and tack or paste them down to the work surface (eg foam or plywood or whatever), and use a pounce wheel or such to transfer. Or even just put down the sub-roadbed or track right onto the printouts.
I add the terrain later, generally not designed in a detailed way, just 'organically' created as I go along. I suspect this is probably somewhat more realistic. Yes, XTrkCad can be used to define outlines of terrain elements (eg edges of mountains or riverbeds or tunnels or spot trees, etc. Dealing with a semi-realistic three-D view is distracting to me. It is also computationally costly, which would be frustrating on my (relatively) slow 500MHz K6 (no, I don't really want a quad 3Hz dual-core Opterion system with 8gig of RAM). I have better things to spend my time and money on than buying a *new* computer every 6 months and hassling with installing Linux on it.
"GP> "GP> Regards, "GP> "GP> Werner George Pflaum "GP> "GP> "GP>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com/ ||FidoNet: 1:321/153 http://www.deepsoft.com/~heller /\
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Marc, Graph paper and a pencil! Actually I downloaded XTrkCad after already drawing the track plan the old fashioned way. It took me a while to get the hang of things but eventually it went smooth. I gave Right Track a try but trashed it after a short while. I also checked out several demos of other programs and did not find them any more useful than XTrkCad unless there is really a need or desire for 3D. Once you have a few things down using the software is fun and you get a very nice rendition of your design. Bruce

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