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Bellisseria Railroads - How does the switching system work?


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I love cruising around on the rail in Belli, and I've found both (?) of the rez zones for trains. But the switching system confounds me. Sometimes I seem to go forever and never get stopped. Other times I get stopped a lot at the switches. I've tried camming ahead way down the track to see if any trains are coming in the opposite direction, but never. So I edit myself ahead of the switch and resume, and never run into any train heading in my direction.

Anyone figured out how the switching system works? If we get auto-stopped by a switch, does that mean another train is on the single track section ahead? Coming my way? And that we should wait until the signal light turns green again or some such? Or is everything still in a state of "not really finished yet" so various bugs abound?  Since Ebbe said recently that the rails are for resident trains only, I figured maybe the switching system was fully operational now?

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On the bright side, I found my favorite rail vehicle for Belli sight-seeing. It's a vintage Sydney tram made by L&P Creations.  It holds the engineer plus up to 8 other people. One of the guest rider seats is a cool standing relaxed animation up front in the exposed cab with the engineer. You can drive it from any of the passenger seats too. It's very open with great views. There's a camera menu that lets you get the camera right over your shoulder at any depth as the engineer, and it feels very immersive to view the scenery rolling by from that perspective. Sounds are great and not-annoying. Best of all, when you're cammed up close the ride isn't jerky.

It's also moddable, so I was able to carefully detach and remove all the upper electricity rod apparatus, getting the whole thing down to only 66 LI.

https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/SLLR-Tram-Sydney/6000033

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I think I figured out a workaround to get past all the switches and ride essentially an infinite loop through the entire length of track laid down right now. There are three main patterns to remember:

1. When you come to a split section that wants to stop and flip you back around, just stop your train. Then edit the train sideways over to the other track (facing the same direction). Then start up again in the same direction. If the train doesn't want to continue in that same direction after the edit, just use the train's "flip" menu to flip around, start driving forward, and then immediately flip again. After this maneuver, you'll continue past the signal light that originally stopped and flipped you.  Note that some train models might simply STOP at a split section like this and won't be autoflipped by the rail switch. But you should be able to manually flip yourself as needed to pull off this general pattern.

2. As you head into North Belli past the train station right there near Mole National Park, and then past the large 4-track switching yard, you'll soon encounter a 3-way "Y" intersection in the track. By default, you automatically take the left branch when heading north like this, and then you will end up in a huge, endless counter-clockwise loop all around the "boot" section of Northern Belli. Here's the important part: when that counter-clockwise loop comes back to that 3-way "Y" intersection again, you'll head straight each time, in an endless loop up in Northern Belli. But there's a way to break out of this loop and instead take the RIGHT branch at that "Y" intersection to send you back south down into Southern Belli again. This trick uses essentially the same pattern as described above!  As you pass straight through the "Y" intersection, right ahead you'll encounter another split section of track. Just stop in the middle of it. Then edit the train sideways over to the other side, flip, and resume moving in the opposite direction towards the "Y" again. This time when you hit the "Y", you'll take the LEFT branch heading South again towards Southern Belli.

3. So down in Southern Belli, at the very southern station in the Victorian station on the bottom right corner of Southern Belli, you'll automatically stop and flip when you hit the track dead end at the final station down there. 

So basically, you can do an endless loop starting anywhere along this entire route. When you hit the extreme southern station you'll flip and head north again. Every time you get stopped and autoflipped on your way back north, just use pattern #1 to push past that point and keep heading north. Then as you do the full counter clockwise loop up through Northern Belli and come through the "Y" intersection again, you can choose to either keep looping endlessly up in the Northern areas, OR you can stop immediately in the split section right after you pass straight through the "Y", then use pattern #2 to flip around and head SOUTH through the "Y" towards Southern Belli again. You can cruise around forever once you get the hang of these two patterns and how to deal with the "Y" section and head in the direction you want to head there.

NOTE: All of the above works in that green "Sydney" tram I posted about above, but should work with any train that stops and auto-flips when it hits one of the split junctions that try to stop you.  I have other trains that don't auto-flip and haven't tried the manual flipping I describe above, but I *think* it will work on them too?

Edited by Fushichou Mfume
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On 2/29/2020 at 10:02 PM, Fushichou Mfume said:

I love cruising around on the rail in Belli, and I've found both (?) of the rez zones for trains. 

Ohhhh, so you have to Rez your own train. I was wondering why there were no trains traveling around on a loop.

Mystery solved!

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20 hours ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

I think I figured out a workaround to get past all the switches and ride essentially an infinite loop through the entire length of track laid down right now. There are three main patterns to remember:

 

This is a great howto for those of us who are bewildered by the current state of affairs but still want to use the tracks!  I'm gathering that because the signaling isn't yet operational, the switches just aren't working?  So you're basically manually hopping to the track that you want to use, is that right?  I haven't had time to try railroading as yet.

 

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On 3/2/2020 at 11:10 AM, Nika Talaj said:

This is a great howto for those of us who are bewildered by the current state of affairs but still want to use the tracks!  I'm gathering that because the signaling isn't yet operational, the switches just aren't working?  So you're basically manually hopping to the track that you want to use, is that right?  I haven't had time to try railroading as yet.

 

Yes, that's what seems to work right now.

There have been two rez zones for trains for a while now. (I'll try to post LMs below.) The one that's located in the extreme south-east corner of Southern Belli is at rail dead end where you can only head north from there. You'll travel up to a point just on the South edge of "Mole National Park" (and some Vic houses on that side of the park) where there's a split-track switching station. You'll enter the switching station and either be stopped or stopped and auto-flipped (depending on your train model?), sending you back down South again. If you have an auto-flipping train, you'll loop endlessly up and down this section of track.

The other one that's located on the big, sandy west coast area of "beach campers" (just North of them a bit) acts differently depending on whether you head North or South from that rez area. If you head South, your path that goes straight through that "Y" intersection I mentioned above will effectively run you in an endless counterclockwise loop up in the "boot" area of Northern Belli (modern homes and camper homes). But if you head North from that that rez zone, you'll turn right through that same "Y" intersection and eventually head just past the train station on the western edge of Mole National Park towards that same split-track switching station just on the south edge of of Mole National Park. There, you'll be stopped and flipped (depending on train), and this time you'll end up in that permanent counter-clockwise loop throughout the "boot" area of Northern Belli.

 

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Hello everyone, just a small quick update on the Railroad Switches for Linden Homes.

They are designed differently from the Mainland as you’ve maybe already noticed.  Since we are limited to one track per region in most cases, we had to balance a way to go both directions while trying to avoid crashes with one another.  This is where the switches and signals come in. 

They have been scripted in a way to stop traffic when a rail block in front of you is busy.   The system forces you to a siding in a block to do that.  When you go through all of the blocks with green lights, it likely means nobody is on the track ahead of you.  Sometimes you may hit red lights which often means someone is currently on the track in the next block ahead of you.  This could be several regions away from you, and you may not see or realize it.  The travel of whatever is on the tracks in the blocks ahead of you could be traveling towards or away from you, but the rail knows someone is already on it.

We are also seeing in many cases that someone will "cheat" the blocking system by moving their train on to a track by using edit rights, or someone might “flip” (reverse the direction) of their train or by not simply using the designed rez-zones, this disrupts the track completely for 5 to 15 minutes.   Using any method other than a rez-zone to place a train causes the sensors to get confused as that is not how it is designed.  I would strongly request that if you can avoid it, not to use these "cheats".  If you are truly waiting a very long time for a red light to clear (in excess of 15 minutes), please contact me and I’ll try to diagnose any issues that might be occurring.   

Sometimes you may discover orange flashing lights, this means the track on the next rail block is not complete yet, the status of the rails is disabled, and it may not respond correctly.  The Bellisseria Railroad is still a big work in progress as we try to figure out how to make it work the best way for everyone, this includes rez-zones.

I do hope people enjoy the railroad, it has been very challenging to find the right balance between the various limits within the Linden Homes regions.   We try to avoiding people crashing into each other and may have to curtail some realism, which means people have to wait their turn. 😛  I'm watching the railroad daily to learn from it and improve it.
On a side note, trains that auto-flip on "stops" can also bug out the rails. Sadly there is nothing I can do to solve for that.  My best suggestion is - to stop your train when this happens before you swap off to a siding going in the wrong direction.

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35 minutes ago, Squeaky Mole said:

Hello everyone, just a small quick update on the Railroad Switches for Linden Homes.

They are designed differently from the Mainland as you’ve maybe already noticed.  Since we are limited to one track per region in most cases, we had to balance a way to go both directions while trying to avoid crashes with one another.  This is where the switches and signals come in. 

They have been scripted in a way to stop traffic when a rail block in front of you is busy.   The system forces you to a siding in a block to do that.  When you go through all of the blocks with green lights, it likely means nobody is on the track ahead of you.  Sometimes you may hit red lights which often means someone is currently on the track in the next block ahead of you.  This could be several regions away from you, and you may not see or realize it.  The travel of whatever is on the tracks in the blocks ahead of you could be traveling towards or away from you, but the rail knows someone is already on it.

We are also seeing in many cases that someone will "cheat" the blocking system by moving their train on to a track by using edit rights, or someone might “flip” (reverse the direction) of their train or by not simply using the designed rez-zones, this disrupts the track completely for 5 to 15 minutes.   Using any method other than a rez-zone to place a train causes the sensors to get confused as that is not how it is designed.  I would strongly request that if you can avoid it, not to use these "cheats".  If you are truly waiting a very long time for a red light to clear (in excess of 15 minutes), please contact me and I’ll try to diagnose any issues that might be occurring.   

Sometimes you may discover orange flashing lights, this means the track on the next rail block is not complete yet, the status of the rails is disabled, and it may not respond correctly.  The Bellisseria Railroad is still a big work in progress as we try to figure out how to make it work the best way for everyone, this includes rez-zones.

I do hope people enjoy the railroad, it has been very challenging to find the right balance between the various limits within the Linden Homes regions.   We try to avoiding people crashing into each other and may have to curtail some realism, which means people have to wait their turn. 😛  I'm watching the railroad daily to learn from it and improve it.
On a side note, trains that auto-flip on "stops" can also bug out the rails. Sadly there is nothing I can do to solve for that.  My best suggestion is - to stop your train when this happens before you swap off to a siding going in the wrong direction.

OMG I had no idea!  A little shared knowledge goes a long way towards mistakes like mine? :)
Like, for example, what about putting a visible sign at the rez zones with a link to a sticky forum post that explains the switching system and encouraging people not to "cheat" it?

So, clarifying question to elaborate on what you've said above... What exactly do the light indicators mean at the switching stations? If we enter a split section where there's a switching light, there are two different sets of lights and I've never been able to decipher what they mean. Is the pair that's sitting lower to the left the one affecting my train moving in its current direction? What is the other pair to the upper right?  Can you explain the expected patterns to these lights and what they signify, so that (in my case) if I'm using a tram that autoflips when stopped, I know whether to manually stop and wait?

Next question.... If you have a train that autoflips but you immediately stop right after the flip (and don't exit the switching station), can you simply stop immediately (before exiting the split rail area), and then manually flip (while stopped), and then wait for the light to turn green before resuming? Would this work without breaking the switching system script flow? I'm really curious about this one because my absolute favorite tram auto-flips by default (I need to look and see if I can somehow disable that behavior, but until then....)

Last question: can you clarify exactly which direction each rez zone should orient the train so that it's headed int he right direction for the switching system?  I know trains are supposed to auto-align when you rez them out, but what if they don't correctly align? How do we know in which direction to start?  I guess it's moot for the one at the SE corner of southern Belli, but what about the rez zone on the west coast of lower Northern Belli, just above the sandy camper area?  Which direction should you head out of that rez zone?

Edited by Fushichou Mfume
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3 minutes ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

OMG I had no idea!  A little shared knowledge goes a long way towards mistakes like mine? :)
Like, for example, what about putting a visible sign at the rez zones with a link to a sticky forum post that explains the switching system and encouraging people not to "cheat" it?

So, clarifying question to elaborate on what you've said above... What exactly do the light indicators mean at the switching stations? If we enter a split section where there's a switching light, there are two different sets of lights and I've never been able to decipher what they mean. Is the pair that's sitting lower to the left the one affecting my train moving in its current direction? What is the other pair to the upper right?  Can you explain the expected patterns to these lights and what they signify, so that (in my case) if I'm using a tram that autoflips when stopped, I know whether to manually stop and wait?

Next question.... If you have a train that autoflips but you immediately stop right after the flip (and don't exit the switching station), can you simply manually flip and wait for the light to change? Without breaking the switching system?

 

Last question: can you clarify exactly which direction each rez zone should orient the train so that it's headed int he right direction for the switching system?  I know trains are supposed to auto-align when you rez them out, but what if they don't correctly align? How do we know in which direction to start?  I guess it's moot for the one at the SE corner of southern Belli, but what about the rez zone on the west coast of lower Northern Belli, just above the sandy camper area?  Which direction should you head out of that rez zone?

We have considered a few times to make a wiki or information page about it, however as we are still working on it things keep changing and that may only end up confusing people. Right now the best information source would be resident to resident. Hopefully soon, soon-ish, I'll be able to write a detailed explanation how everything works.

The lights are a little more simple in Second Life instead of Real Life to make it usable for everyone. The top lights are always red, lower lights are green, they swap back and forth. When it's green its good to go, when its red it means the block is busy.

When you have two light post facing you (so 4 lights in total) It's always based on the left or right side. For example, The left side may be red, but the right side green. That means you are good to go and the switch will automatically go to the right (the green light). If both are red it means stop. If you have only one light, for example on a branch or station its just for you and green is go, red is stop. If you try to go while it's red, it will force stop you (or flip direction depending on your train).

To your question about auto flipping, yeah you can safe to flip it back as long you have not left the branch. If you did leave the branch backwards you could still switch and hopefully it will detect that and correct itself. However if you flip and completely head the other direction the track does not know you are on the block. 

Last thing, to know if you are on the right branch or not is simple. The lights on the branch only face one direction, so if the light is facing the back of your train you are flipped around.

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14 minutes ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

Last question: can you clarify exactly which direction each rez zone should orient the train so that it's headed int he right direction for the switching system?  I know trains are supposed to auto-align when you rez them out, but what if they don't correctly align? How do we know in which direction to start?  I guess it's moot for the one at the SE corner of southern Belli, but what about the rez zone on the west coast of lower Northern Belli, just above the sandy camper area?  Which direction should you head out of that rez zone?

The reason there are such a few rez zones right now is because their even more unique, it does not matter which direction you leave the switch on rez-zones. The way that is designed is that you can leave rez-zones any direction but you are unable to ever re-enter a rez-zone. This is also exactly why it is so important that people do not "cheat" them, because it keeps count of how many trains are rezzer out and in use on the blocks. Same thing for the light, if you rez and your light is red that means there is already a train on the next block.

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Thank you, @Squeaky Mole !  I'm out now on the tracks to help me internalize what you've said. Yeah the lights make more sense now. You see two lights when entering a branch (two tracks), but only one light when moving into a single section.

I did notice just now that a single light (exiting a branch) was green for me as I was still in the middle of the branch, but it turned red as I approached the light, yet I still went through unhindered into the single track. I guess the light just turned red for anyone potentially behind me, but perhaps turned red about 5-10 seconds too soon?

EDIT: Okay I see now. Yeah, the light will often turn red right as I'm approaching it (about 5-10 meters away), so I guess it's just a timing thing.

Edited by Fushichou Mfume
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2 minutes ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

I did notice just now that a single light (exiting a branch) was green for me as I was still in the middle of the branch, but it turned red as I approached the light, yet I still went through unhindered into the single track. I guess the light just turned red for anyone potentially behind me, but perhaps turned red about 5-10 seconds too soon?

This could be because of two reasons.

  1. As you mentioned, it could have swapped for the person behind you knowing you were passing it already. This is hard to control based on lag and delays.
  2. Someone just crossed the trigger at the same time on the other part of the block, there is not much we can do about this but that is very unlikely timing wise.
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1 minute ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

@Squeaky Mole  Okay and one more bit of feedback since you're monitoring the thread.... I just encountered a Y split where the light on the left was red, and the light on the right was blinking orange, and it shunted me onto the orange track. Is that normal and okay?

Yes and no, the red means that it does know to direct you to the other branch (the orange one, which is good) but the orange means the next part of the block or the branch/switch is still being worked on so from there on you may experience some problems.

I do go through these and fix over time however, since Linden Homes keeps expanding the railroad does too and sometimes parts of it just can't be setup yet until the next part of the block is complete.

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2 minutes ago, Squeaky Mole said:

Yes and no, the red means that it does know to direct you to the other branch (the orange one, which is good) but the orange means the next part of the block or the branch/switch is still being worked on so from there on you may experience some problems.

I do go through these and fix over time however, since Linden Homes keeps expanding the railroad does too and sometimes parts of it just can't be setup yet until the next part of the block is complete.

Okay, I see now. That orange light switched me onto a section of track that had further orange lights and eventually stopped me in Extraordinary at a 3-way junction (also orange lights that stopped me). I can see that if I manually skip through the stopping point i'd be heading into the back side of orange lights (the wrong way) heading into Beckwith Station. If I force my way through the orange lights and take the left turn at that 3-way, I'd also be heading the wrong way into the backside of some orange lights. So basically, once I was shunted onto that orange section back at the Y that had a red light and an orange light, I was tossed into an unfinished section of track.

I think the moral of the story is that if you encounter a red/orange light combination, it's best to stop manually and wait for the red light to turn green? That it's generally a good idea to stay off of orange track sections for now?

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2 minutes ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

I think the moral of the story is that if you encounter a red/orange light combination, it's best to stop manually and wait for the red light to turn green? That it's generally a good idea to stay off of orange track sections for now?

Pretty much! Much like real life, when you see a red traffic light.. slow down and stop ^^

Orange lights are at your own risk, since anything could happen at that point. The good news is that is you do pass those it does NOT break the track since it's not completed anyways. This is really just if you'd like to continue as long you know that anything could go wrong or you could crash into other residents for example. All "safety" controls are disabled.

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Sooo many lights are blinking red all the time, yet no trains anywhere around.  I wish there was a reset switch that residents (particularly ones who live nearby!) could push, which would cause the signaling script to check the current track state and reset.  Sometimes I suspect that a train poofed before it even got to an intersection, leaving the lights blinking forever, or something.

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Yeah, I'm trying to find a red light to stop at and wait to see how long it takes to clear and turn green again. From what @Squeaky Mole said above, I'm guessing that there's some type of global "safe reset" that happens every 10-15 minutes or so in case the switching scripts got borked from accidents or cheats?

 

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5 minutes ago, Nika Talaj said:

Sooo many lights are blinking red all the time, yet no trains anywhere around.  I wish there was a reset switch that residents (particularly ones who live nearby!) could push, which would cause the signaling script to check the current track state and reset.  Sometimes I suspect that a train poofed before it even got to an intersection, leaving the lights blinking forever, or something.

The red lights should never be blinking, unless you mean the Crossing Barriers. They should reset themselves after a few minutes if it bugs out, please show me the locations if you experience issues like that. I can take a look 🙂

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1 minute ago, Fushichou Mfume said:

Yeah, I'm trying to find a red light to stop at and wait to see how long it takes to clear and turn green again. From what @Squeaky Mole said above, I'm guessing that there's some type of global "safe reset" that happens every 10-15 minutes or so in case the switching scripts got borked from accidents or cheats?

 

You keep catching my replies in between replies! But yup, each block has it's own safety timer. Same for the Crossing Barriers, their all on their own timer.

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