Rod Animation Export to TS2014

There would appear to be a problem exporting loco rod animations from 3D Crafter for use in the new TS2014 Blueprint Editor.

I recently updated a steam loco I had already working in Train Simulator. I made no changes to the wheel and rod animations. However, when I previewed the loco in the editor using the TS2014 Blueprint Editor, I noticed that at the end of every rotation of the connecting rods and piston rods, the rods made a rapid 360 degree rotation along the Z axis. The effect in the game is a rapid flash which becomes less noticeable one the loco speeds up, but is very noticeable at low speeds. I am aware that Crafter always had a bug that resulted in a slight jerk at the end of a 360 degree rotation..

I tried various fixes to see if I could identify the problem, including exporting a set of wheels and rods generated by the Train Simulator Engineer plug-in and using 8, 16 and 32 frames, but there was no joy.

At the suggestion of a poster on UKTrainSim where this issue has also been raised, I increased the frames to 64. The ‘flash’ is no longer noticeable – but it is still there. In the game I reduced the speed of the loco to 0.1 mph and I found that not only was there a 360 degree rotation along the ‘z’ axis, but also along the ‘x’ axis. While one could live with this as in any normal activity the effect would not be noticed, it is evident that animating all of the rods, eccentric links, pistons and valves, etc, at 64 frames would be a major undertaking.

Instead, I located an earlier version of the TS Blueprint Editor (from Railworks 2) and exported the animation of the my loco (16 frames) with that version. There were no problems with that version of the Editor and the loco is now working without any flashing in the game.

My conclusion is that a change was made to the Blueprint Editor for 2014 which has resulted in a problem with the animation export from 3D Crafter. I think the last update of the exporter was in 2012 when version 9.2.2 became available, so hopefully, the owner of 3D Crafter or the author of the animation plug-in will look into this.

I would add that the problem seems only to effect animations involving full 360 degree rotations – other linear animations or rotations less than 360 degrees appear to export correctly.


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