About the WTraffic 'Screensaver' and the Vehicle Picture Collection
The legacy: the Traffic Screensaver
Traffic is a screensaver on PC-s under Windows. It is an about 20 years old program -
extended almost in every year a bit, but the main functionality is the same from the beginning.
The core - the "Screensaver" - moves small vehicle drawings on the screen, mostly trains,
but also trams, buses, trucks, cars, airoplanes, ships, and some other special things.
The original idea comes from the MM&MM screensaver - Version 1 and 2.
That versions were fixed ones - the users could not add own drawings, own trains, only watch the
limited set of built-in trains. A few people hacked the Version 1 program - changed the vehicle drawings
in the DLL-s, creating screensavers with different vehicle sets.
The goal for Traffic was to provide a freeware platform to include own vehicle drawings,
to build own trains, to determine the sequence - or let it choose randomly by the program.
Later the functionality was extended by providing background, foreground pictures, custom
rail and catenary drawings, several new movement types, multi-layer scenes,
animations - animated pantographs, doors, windows, connections between vehicles: animated brake pipes, cables, etc.
( MM&MM has only position-dependent animations for the steam engine's and other old vehicle's wheels, rods ).
Snowfall, snow-plowing operations, animated background elements: signals, barriers, traffic lights
were possible to create - even functioning crane, fire truck, burning house was created.
Traffic is much more as a sole screensaver.
It has a vehicle picture collection, which can be viewed, added and modified by the users.
The drawings can be manipulated by Traffic when the trains run according to the commands ( = macros )
stored together with the images. Other pictures can be copied over parts of the images,
cleared, recolored, extended and cropped in all directions, and animations can be defined
over the image parts.
It has tools for
- handling the vehicle drawings - the Stock list window,
- for editing and reviewing the macros belonging to the images - the Graphic testpad,
- for editing the scripts (the Timetables), which contain, how to compose trains,
and which movements this train parts should make - the Timetable editor.
The standard vehicle collection is continuously extended, and can be viewed additionally
on this homepage.
The standard timetable files started only as an example, how to create such scripts
for composing trains, determining background and foreground, to control animations,
but as the function set and the picture set both grew and grew and grew, the standard
timetable got a similar function, as the standard stock list: one can use it, and enjoy
the huge variation of scenes on the screen - and also to look at it, as an example,
and to get ideas what to do, how to do with Traffic.
The advantage of Traffic - compared to the similar other screensavers - is, that you can make everything yourself:
to choose the drawings to move, to combine them to consists, to determine the background etc.
The drawback of Traffic is, that you have to make everything yourself :-) (if you do not use the standard vehicle set and timetable).
The actual project: WTraffic - 'Screensaver' in the browser
WTraffic is the actual project. It preserves the heritage of Traffic - to watch the trains passing by -
in times the screens do not need to be 'saved' - the long time identical content does not cause
burn-in effects on the cathode-ray tube, because almost nobody uses CRT any more.
The technology Traffic was built on is the technology of the 90-s (Visual Basic 6, MS Visual Studio 6),
still running under Windows10, but with compromises and despite Microsoft's intentions.
WTraffic is running on the internet, in browsers.
It is tested with Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Edge.
The functionality is divided into two parts:
- The vehicle drawings - the Stock list - and the train compositions, scenario
- the Timetable - are stored in a Server on pxtr.de . The random selections are also made there,
the vehicles, consists (trains) and background blocks are built in the server, and sent to the browser for each
scene / movement.
- The client - the browser - puts the parts together, shows them, and controls the movements, animations.
WTraffic is based on the very same data sets - the standard stock list and timetable files - Traffic is
providing and using.
WTraffic is work in progress, but almost all functionality of Traffic is available in WTraffic already.
The set of possibilities evolves in each month, it will be extended above the features of Traffic.
If you want to see only the ready product, you have bad cards - I have plans for the next years
of new functions about
- what kind of movements, animations are available
- semitransparent windows, weather conditions (semitransparent 'curtains' before the whole scene)
- the set of scenes available
- features helping to develop and test new animated vehicles and scenes
- methods to enjoy and publish the own creations yourself
If you are interested in the already active parts - it is practically the same feature set,
which Traffic has offered locally, as far as the possibilities for the shown scenes are concerned -
and want to enjoy the moving scenes, or to create some new scenes yourself, browse the example
scenes provided in the WTraffic chapter,
Open then WTraffic demo chapter in the menu on the left
What already functions:
- All movements (the M=FOLLOW movement was the last one to work)
- $SECTION, $GROUP and $SCENE segmentation commands
- Background and foreground can composed and shown, with animations on them
- Waypoints ( WP ) - to trigger animations along the track, when the vehicle passes
- LOGIC - to combine and transfer events among tracks of the same scene
This set of functions is enough to show already more, than 1200 scenes. Some of them is
simple, running a few trams and/or busses of a specific town across the screen, others are
quite complex, having several 'tracks' - eventually mixed on rail, road, water and in the air,
it means, while trains, trams, busses, trucks, cars running, also ships and airplanes are passing by;
stopping vehicles open their doors, when shunting, the break pipes, couplers, gangways are
connected/disconnected, the whole scene plays before a background drawn in detail,
or randomly composed from a landscape photo and drawings of buildings, trees.
More about WTraffic on the Using WTraffic page.
The most popular section: the Vehicle Picture Collection
Traffic's vehicle picture collection moved here from http://pc.pxtr.de
The old site is still on line, but won't be updated any more.
A few possibilities are missing from the new site: the most important one, that the pictures can be downloaded
only in the Traffic and MM formats - as GIF files or in TVL picture library together with the Stock List ascii
file ( .stk file ), or as BMP files, but without the accompaniing descriptive text file.
The BahnLand, TrainSideView, TrainKit, Railway32 formats are still missing, and it will be ready predictably
only after the WTraffic project reaches a good, almost ready state. So, if you need the vehicle pictures
for BahnLand or Railway32, hope they are not the newest additions, and try to find them on the old site.
The old site grouped a bunch of pictures (from the same area or/and from the same author etc.)
for downloading them together. On the new site the downloadable groups are bound the the viewing pages,
you can download the images individually or together for the whole page.
The old site contained chaines among the pictures, the new and updated ones, or the pictures of the
same author can be followed by clicking the red, blue or green arrows near the pictures.
The new site provides individual pages or page groups for the new and updated pictures,
and for the pictures of the same author.
This picture collection is generated from the "Stock List" of the Traffic Screensaver.
The main difference is, that the old site was generated offline, on my home computer, and uploaded
as a static set of files to the server. As the collection is huge, in the last time the amount to upload
exceeded 2 GB. To prepare the update - (for example to set up the picture groups for joint downloading, among other tasks),
to generate the site files and to upload them took about a week or more.
Therefore the old site was updated at most twice a year.
The new site is dynamic, the server program creates it on the fly from the stock list file (*.stb) and picture libraries (*.tvl)
of Traffic, so updating the site means only to upload a few modified files.
Therefore this picture collection is regularily (at least monthly) extended, updated.
More about the picture collection on the Picture Collection's Introduction page.
Additional information: Links, The Museum, Codes
Sorry for this part - the pages were not moved here, to this site yet,
but they are important enough to be mentioned and visited, if you are interested in this theme.
JTraffic was a project to rewrite the Traffic screensaver in Java, but it was abandoned.
Nevertheless it's homepage still have some interesting (maybe outdated) information.
The Link Collection dates back to older times,
when many more authors were active and drew vehicle images, created scenes.
A few homepages listed there are still active. Others are not updated any more,
but they are still online. And many ones were disappeared.
I was following the changes for a while, and moved the links of the disappeared pages
into the section Once upon a time ...,
but not all of the links to the terminated pages were moved there,
so you can easily reach a dead end by following the links in the link collection.
More than a dozen such disappeared homepages are now in the
PiXelTRain museum. These are static snapshots of that
homepages, taken sometimes 10-15 years ago.
The vehicle collection contains drawings from the whole world, from many different companies.
The naming convention of the drawings intends to use a prefix of the company,
which owns (or produced) the vehicle.
The prefixes are easy to remember, if they are identical to the official abbreviations
of the companies:
- for american railway companies the AAR reporting mark of the company
- for modern european railway companies the VKM (the Vehicle Keeper Marking Register)
- for older railweay companies the UIC abbreviation of the company
- for civil airplanes the ICAO or IATA aviation codes
- and several other sources of official or commonly used abbreviations
In order to quickly find the correct abbreviation I've collected such lists, and
created search functions for them. Of course, the same company code can be used
for several different companies - either by the same organisation, as AAR,
through the years, or by different organisations: the same code is used by
an european and an american railway.
This database is only an aid when determining the company prefix for a vehicle drawing
in this picture collection.
The database can help others also, so it is published - but without any warranty,
it contains records also from unchecked sources.
Real word company prefixes