Preliminary PNW AI ferry system screen clips

Having mostly finished rebuilding the first two BC ferry models I intend to post in conjunction with Jon Patch’s next project, I figured that it’s not too early to post a link to some preliminary screen clips showing what the boats will look like, and roughly how I intend to do the terminals. The clips show the BC ferries Tenaka and Bowen Queen, and a roughed out version of the terminal at Crofton BC.
Should I continue to post the rest of the ferry system, a few of the terminals will be far more detailed but there are so many terminals needed that some compromises have to be made. However all of them will be based on photoscenery, so the layout will be more or less accurate.
Why don’t I just post all the existing models now, and then offer revised versions as I re-do them? Here’s one answer: fixing the older toy like Tenaka model resulted in the model file size going from 800 to 500 KB, the texture count going from 24 to 3, and the total texture file size going from 15 mb to 11mb even though there is a huge amount more detail. The new model looks so much better than the older one, so it’s worth it on multiple counts.
I should mention that many of the models that remain to be posted will not be at the level of detail of these first two boats. These were the first ones I did a long time ago, so they really needed to be fixed up. The other boats are progressively better, so I may not do that much work on them, and instead use the time to make a couple of terminals, Swartz Bay among them.

What’s next

As an addon for Jon Patch’s next project, I’ve finished a beta version of the a Canadian Coast Guard Cape Class vessel. A few preliminary screen clips here:

And having posted the Puget Sound AI vessels which I made to add interest to my ferry system, I don’t have any excuse left to not start posting some of the ferries along with the accurate routes and basic terminals.

The tentative plan is to post two BC ferries with routes and 3 of the 4 terminals in conjunction with the release of Jon’s scenery, the scope of which is undetermined at present. So there is no time frame.

I’ve now pretty much rebuild my MV Bowen Queen model, one of the two boats I’ll start with. Some first test in sim screenshots here:

I’m very much indebetted to Scott Arkell, the global moderator for the West Coast Ferries Forum for kindly allowing me to use his photos for many of the textures. This made all the difference in the world. The original model was positively ugly.

The next boat on the rebuild list is the MV Tenaka, again using some of Scott’s super photos. I’m planning to implement the Crofton – Vesuvius Bay route and the Fulford – Swartz Bay route using these two boats. The Swartz Bay terminal is so complex that it will have to be a major project, but I’ll have at least basic terminal scenery including slips and floating dolphins for the other 3.

Unfortunately, there is no optimal way to begin to implement the ferry system, so there will be unavoidable compromises. Here is a rough outline: the idea is to replace the not so appropriate default FSX ferries, and that requires replacing the default FSX file that guides them.

One option might be to remove the appropriate ferry routes from the FSX boat traffic file and offer that, along with my own route file which would have the routes I’ve done to date.  This would mean a new default file and a new route file every time I added another boat… and invitation to confusion. Keeping all the files and versions straight would be beyond my ability. (There is another option along these lines, namely to remove all PNW ferry routes from the default file, then put all of the removed routes in another file which I edit as I go along, but this has significant problems too, and it doing it would probably drive me crazy… literally.)

At this point I think the only practical solution for me is to simply post my entire edited traffic file on which I’ve worked for a number of years and which I know works. This however will have some side effects:

All routes that use a given boat will become active, and in some cases the stopping points of the routes have been adjusted to match my own roughed out terminals. Without custom terminals, it’s possible that the boat and a default FSX terminal object might overlap when the boat is stationary.

More importantly, the only ferry routes from Puget Sound to Campbell River that will be active will be those for which I have posted the boat. I’ve made thirteen at present, including the MV Coho, but I’ll only be posting 2 for a start, so a fair number of routes will not have the models specified.

So if it will be important to see those other routes the option is to wait until I’ve done more. Although all the boats mentioned work on my machine, the plan is to rebuild them all, one at a time so I will not be embarrassed by them.

Problems with pilotable Norwegian Pearl in P3D v2.3

Although the pilotable Norwegian Pearl worked fairly well in P3D v2.2 with the modified aircraft.cfg, it did not work in v2.3. After to some extent starting over on the contact points, I have .cfg file that now works in v2.3, or at least seems to work so far. It’s posted in the same location as the pilotable boat, linked on the links page. There is a further explanation there too.