Back on Track

The railway track is an essential part of any train layout. The shape and dimensions dictate what can run on it, the route defines where it will run.

To make a track for real rolling stock to run on, the material used is critical. The supporting media for the track are also important to provide the necessary rigidity so that the train will not derail. For a virtual railway the appearance of the track is the critical factor.

Railway tracks in Victoria, including the Maldon to Castlemaine route, were laid down in the Broad Gauge of 5 ft. 3 in. (1600 mm). They were supported by wooden red gum sleepers laid on compressed earth, leveled rock or over wooden trestle bridges. This was to keep the gradient at no greater than 1 meter rise in 40 meters traveled, allowing the locomotive to haul a load uphill and brake safely going downhill.

The tracks and sleepers are modeled in a CAD package to real specifications, then exported into Modo to generate normal, displacement and specular maps to apply to an optimized model for the game engine. Textures are created from our huge collection of photographic references, these go through significant processing before being applied to our 3D models.

Once this is done we can generate ray trace renders in Modo and show our final models to our followers. At this stage we also export them to the game for our world builders to use to create the route.

A picture of the high resolution CAD model, untextured, rendered in Modo. This is a work in progress, the plates and pins are still to be modeled.

The same model fully textured for visualization purposes, these are not the final textures.

This high resolution model will be used to generate the normal maps for an optimized low polygon version.

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