So, you want to build a train for BVE4?
Here are some links to the other parts of the tutorial, for when you
come back and don't want to read all the way through.
part 2 part
3 part 4 part 5 part
6 part 7 part 8
part 9 part 10
Where do you
start? Well, a good place to start is by looking at one someone
else has done. In fact, look at several. Throughout this
tutorial, I'm going to assume that you have installed BVE4 in the
default location, which is normally C:\program files\mackoy\bve4.
If you've got BVE4 installed someplace else, you'll need to bear that
in mind when looking for files.
Okay, so, lets look
at a train. You'll find BVE4 trains in the
subdirectory called "Train". Open that, in windows explorer or
similar and you'll see a whole load of subdirectories with names like
"cl323", "class 50" or "37901 loaded steel carriers". Each
directory contains a train you've installed. Pick one and open
it; in this case I've chosen the popular class 153 DMU; you should see
a list of files like this:
Most of the files are sound files, and most trains have much the same
set of names. Points to note include the sounds called run0 -
run7 which are BVETSS
standard, which most trains adhere to and which you should also study
before starting to work on sounds. Adhering to BVETSS means that
your train will sound right on compliant routes, which is a good thing.
There are also some other files in there:
UKSpt.dll - this is the UK Sprinter plugin from the excellent Simon
Gathercole. The plugin adds functionality to your train, allowing
for fully-working AWS, TPWS and several other things like door warning
lights. There are other plugins - Simon has produced 3
altogether, for Sprinter class DMUs, EMUs and locos. Also,
there's a universal one by Oskari, which will do diesel, electric or
ats.cfg - this tells BVE what plugin is handling the ATS
functions. In this case it contains one line: UKSpt.dll
panel2.cfg - this is the thing that does 'most everything on the train.
sound.cfg - this assigns all those sound files to the actions in the
train. some of these actions are native BVE functions, and some
are in the plugin.
UKSpt.cfg - this defines the functions of the plugin, including things
like engine starting, wiper speeds, and in some cases overload and
We'll study the various config files listed above later on in detail.
The other really important file is train.dat. This is the file
that determines the physics of the train: acceleration, braking,
dimensions, weight, etc. Also in here are the motor sounds.
As for the config files, that will be studied in detail later.
The other thing (apart from the various readme files, which normally
contain copyright data and an introduction to the train) is a directory
called D3D. On some trains, this is called BVE4, and if you look
in it you'll find that it contains pictures:
These are the images that make up the train view on the screen.
It makes life easier to have them in a separate directory, although in
fact you don't have to. All the images are Windows/OS2 bitmap
format and most people use 256-colour images, which reduceds the file
size to 1/3 what it would be if you used 24-bit colour. The good
thing about this is that each image can have it's own, dedicated colour
palette, so you're not restricted to 256 colours for the entire
train. BVE4 will, in fact, work with 24-bit images, but it
increases the load on the computer when running the simulation and,
provided you use the right palettes for your images, doesn't make a big
difference to the quality.
OK. That's a brief look at what goes into making a train.
In the next section, we'll have a look at the raw material and software
you need to get good results.
On to part 2!