Operate Any Model Railroad Track Plan On Your PC
NAPA, CA, January 10, 2006 --TrainPlayer Software announces the release of TrackLayer, a program for applying track to model railroad plans so that virtual trains can run on them.
TrackLayer is designed to start with a track plan diagram, scanned from a book or magazine, generated from a CAD or drawing program or even from a pencil sketch. With a few simple but intelligent tools, the user traces over the diagram and adds straight track, curves, switches, and turntables. The result is a file suitable for running trains in TrainPlayer, the company’s popular program for building and operating a virtual layout.
TrackLayer offers many convenient features for drawing railroad plans. Building a curve requires only three mouse strokes, a full loop requires just four. Switches are generated automatically when one track section is dragged to touch another. A single mouse stroke constructs a working turntable. Special types of track are just as easily drawn for tunnels, “instant jumps,” or a working multi-level helix.
Together the programs offer an appealing package for the armchair model railroader. Hobbyists lacking the time or space to build a layout can still enjoy the experience of operating one. Those in the planning stages can sketch track and experiment with layout ideas, or start with a favorite plan from a magazine and try to improve operation by adding a crossover or yard. Beginners can learn the challenges of operating a railroad realistically. Model railroad clubs can create a working plan of their layout to teach new engineers, dispatchers, and yardmasters.
Testers have been impressed with the program’s ease of use. Vince Gortner says “I installed TrackLayer and had a rough version of my planned home layout done in one evening. I had all the digital track laid in under an hour. I use AutoCAD and several other drafting programs regularly and I have to say that your circle/tangent tools are the easiest and simplest I’ve seen anywhere.” David Holliday says “I can sketch a picture of a layout in a very short time; minutes. I can learn a CAD tool in hundreds of hours; then draw the same picture.”
The developer, Jim Dill, describes the company’s aim: “The model railroad track plan is an underappreciated form of art. It’s a precision drawing with a scenic backdrop, a real source of inspiration to a model railroader. Our aim is to bring track plans out from between book covers and onto the screen, where they can be not just admired but operated and really experienced.”
TrackLayer is an add-on module for TrainPlayer. The basic TrainPlayer program comes with six sample layouts and sells for $29.95; with TrackLayer the price is $49.95. Both versions are also available in Deluxe packages (TrainPlayer Deluxe $59.95, TrackLayer Deluxe $79.95), which include every layout from Linn Westcott’s “101 Track Plans for Model Railroaders,” the best-selling track plan book of all time. (Plans from the book are provided by contractual arrangement with the copyright holder, Kalmbach Publishing Co., Waukesha, WI.) All purchases allow free download of a growing library of user-contributed and commercial plans from the company’s web site.
All products are currently available only for Windows (98/ME/NT/2000/XP). Versions for Macintosh OS X are under development, scheduled for release by summer, 2006.
TrainPlayer Software opened for business in April, 2005 with the first release of TrainPlayer. Version 2 followed in September, bringing a new train controller and an updated look. TrackLayer became available in December, and in January the company revamped its web site with a new look developed by creativeblox of Los Angeles (www.creativeblox.com).
For more information, visit the website: http://www.trainplayer.com. A demo version including both TrainPlayer and TrackLayer is available for free download from the site. To request a review copy of the full package, inquire by e-mail.
Contact: TrainPlayer Software, 1411 Calistoga Ave., Napa, CA 94559. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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