SERVERS IN THE RTS NETWORK Edit
184.108.40.206, Port: 15197 is the Selkirk / Mohawk server hosted by Smiley (No password for now / Not 24/7). Smiley will post messages at various time when and if the server becomes available.
Users should become familiar with the RTS Procedures. Additional information on accessing the RTS servers can be found on that page.
RTS original server began operations in the late spring of 2012. At the time I was brought into Run8 as part of their beta team. A fellow team member was following what I was trying to accomplish with RTS. RTS started out as a concept, and evolved into a rail traffic generation system for both MSTS and TD3 simulators. For me MSTS was too limited and TD3, though great at dispatching, didn't involve the 3D train simulation. Run8 was presented to be truly multiplayer capable, allowing dispatching and railroad operations without the constraint of activities or scripts. It turned out to be the perfect match. I upgraded to a new computer capable of running the software and supporting a server and began to host beta test sessions. This allowed me to explore the capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses of Run8. It also gave me a head start on developing RTS for the new platform, as I was already running freight forwarding software alpha prior to the launch of Run8. RTS became the First Run8 Server, and because of that holds the distinction of being the longest running server in the community.
As other servers came online with their own systems and techniques, RTS began to be identified as a place for serious operations. Other communities developed with different visions. The more popular servers would try to be less restrictive and less structured. This could be seen as a choice or option for Run8 users. The advantage for these servers was that they didn't have a large learning curve and could get up and running with many more people requiring little administration.
For our RTS I decided to keep with my original goals of being the ultimate freight forwarding system. What often gets lost in translation is that the vast majority of our trains are generated or built simply to run from one end of the system to the other (just like many servers). We do not delete trains in the middle of a run or spawn that way them either. Like the real railroad we run each of our trains one time and it will not run again until the next cycle (meant to represent 24 hours time).
The main advantage that RTS has over other servers for operations is the RTS car forwarding system itself. It has and continues to develop to keep pace with both our needs and the requirements of Run8. The guess work is taken out of the building of trains because each train is created using tags or waybills produced by the RTS system. The software either generates custom made trains from these waybills or creates tag lists which are used to send empty cars to industries and to load cars for other destinations once they are there.
As scheduled operating sessions were having difficulty attracting users due to the oversupply of other Run8 servers we felt the need to change our approach. One technique of operating which was originally not considered for RTS, anarchy mode dispatching, was working perfectly elsewhere. I do not recall how long after first being exposed to this style that I decided to give it a shot; but I didn't see the point in putting a server in anarchy for a long planned session. As a result we made the choice to go to 24/7 operations and just like anarchy caught on to us, 24/7 became very appealing to others almost immediately.
Unfortunately 24/7 spread things thin for us in many ways. Many members enjoyed my dispatching, but I went that route because I was getting bored with the numbers. This was something I saw as a shift of focus back to moving freight rather than just meeting other trains. I tried to organize people to meet up at certain times. The advantage of 24/7 is there is always a place to go to operate. The disadvantage is people spread out throughout the day and users lose the more realistic volume of the former sessions. The final issue was I no longer had a computer for solely my own use and the large amount of PC resources required to run the server required regular reboots when I tried to use it for other tasks in the background.
Version 2 of Run8 seen a change in how California ran to take advantage of AI and realistic operations under 2 dispatchers. This however meant a shift in how the two RTS servers operated. While California had the volume to warrant Florida was perfectly fine continuing in what worked in V1 and take advantage of some features of V2.
2017 seen the demand for a new version of RTS. Ski has taken the challenge and this is currently in development.
As of February 2017 California ownership was given up by Mike. Void was quickly taken up by Jordan who took over where Mike had left off. As founder Sean has continued to push in new creative projects waiting on a fix for Selkirk/Mohawk and advancing a more isolated section of the Mojave Sub in California. By the end of the month Sean announced that RTS would no longer oversee any official servers, and that it would be open for many different concepts. The membership system is now currently under review and has been recommended to be terminated on a global level.
NETWORK EXPANSION Edit
While this was all going on new routes were being released to add on to Mojave such as Needles and Cajon. In addition to the routes newer scenery and cars were also coming into play. All of this took more and more PC resources to run. Eventually I bought another computer in the summer of 2014. Once I had the server on it's own computer, I found it to be much more stable and reliable. This also allowed me to participate in other servers once again, and get into heavy video editing to promote RTS.
That promotion helped boost membership and a more solid core was now beginning to form. RTS has always had core members throughout it's history, but the current core has never been as big as it is now. The YouTube videos were attracting new members, and better advertising on other forums as well as the Run8 community page help to draw even more. It all came at a perfect time as a new route began to surface in late 2014.
The Florida A Line was now here, and I planned to develop the RTS system for it as well. At the same time core members were showing interest in putting up servers of their own for RTS. Shortly after A Line was released in December 2014 and I got a chance to test it out on my end, the 1st cycle went online on our second server. Towards the end of December a third server went up and this time it was our very own dedicated Teamspeak Server.
RTS continues to grow at a steady pace and hold its place as the premier Run 8 server group for prototypical rail traffic and operations.
As founder (Sean) I have tried to stay out of the way of any influence regarding how servers are operated. RTS has for a long time welcomed advertising of other servers and looks forward in participating in many different environments, and well thought out sessions. However the creative juices have just been reignited as I see potential for more independant yet MP inclusive sessions that can virtually eliminate any and all dependencies on core members to continue to operate.
In March 2017 I will be relaunching my server on a regular Monday, Wednesday, Sunday basis. For the first time in several years I will simply have no password. However I will require those who want to operate to be pre-approved prior to a session in advance so I know what is happening. Everyone else is welcome to come by, watch the action, and enjoy the experience on my live streams that I hope to carry.
RTS development is likely to continue with very little input from myself. Florida continues to push the limits of RTS software and I have no doubt Tom will continue to push this further. Jordan has just started his journey as a host for California and has plenty of support from the community hungry for the server. Other hosts have shown interest in having their servers part of the network as well.
Hopefully this is the start of the expansion that will give users plenty of choices and variety to operate in. Hosts will be encouraged to advertise, organise, and use RTS resources to enhance their servers. Where the actual Run8 software goes is hard to say at this point. Where I was once afraid of expanding I'm now looking forward at seeing other routes and taking them in bite sizes to get their flavor.
The future is as open as the minds who continue to create and make RTS the place to be.
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