Aliasing an SD70M
The EMD SD70M is one of the more powerful locos at 4,000hp used on various U.S. freight lines. The General Electric equivalent model would be the Dash 9, one of the MSTS default locos.
3D Train Stuff produced a model of the SD70M and it comes with its own cabview and sounds. That means that for any other SD70M you download and install, you can make use of 3DTS's excellent cab graphics and sounds by aliasing them to other SD70M locos.
A reminder that aliasing is a technique used for the sake of saving hard disk space. It involves telling MSTS where to find graphics files that make up the cab view and the WAV sound files. Practically speaking, what we have to do is insert the actual folder paths or names into the cabview CVF and sound SMS files so MSTS can find the corresponding graphics ACE and sound WAV files.
To ease organisation, NALW (North American Locomotive Works), and others who began using this aliasing technique, have decided upon two folders, Common.Cab and Common.Snd, as sub-folders under the ...\Trains\Trainset\ folder.
Files that we need
These are the files you'll need to download:
If you're unable to download Train Artisan's SD70, their SD70 cabview is available, by special permission, from Train-Sim.com. Look for sd70ali.zip (2.5Mb, 19-Jun-02) and a small update, sd70alia.zip (80kb, 23-Jun-02), in the file library.
Common.Cab & Common.Snd
You may already have the Common.Cab and Common.Snd sub-folders, particularly if you've downloaded and installed any of NALW's latest works, such as the Genesis Packs from Train-Sim.com (available since 26-Mar-02). Use Explorer to check.
If you haven't already, download cabalias.zip and extract the files (remember to check the "Use folder names" in the Extract dialogue box). The author of this package has done a lot of hard work for us by going through all those cabview CVF files to insert the required folder path names for each graphic ACE file.
A simple way to create and begin filling the Common.Snd sub-folder is to install both emd40snd.zip and gp40_snd.zip. At a later stage you'll be able to make good use of these sound files for any SD-type (except the SD70) and GP-type locos.
After you've installed 3D Train Stuff's SD70, it's time for some work. What we want to do is standardise our use of 3D Train Stuff's creative work by putting their cab graphics ACE files and WAV sound files into Common.Cab and Common.Snd respectively. Here are the steps to follow:
Start up WordPad and open sd70m-3dts.cvf in Common.Cab/Sd70. What we want to now do is ensure MSTS can find each ACE graphics file by inserting the full folder path to each one. We'll be inserting:
in the front of the name of each ACE file, enclosing the complete string in double quotes; for example:
There are fair number of insertions to carry out. If it helps, use WordPad's find (CTRL-F) to locate each ACE. After all that, save and exit WordPad. We can now go to each SD70's ENGine file and alias the SD70 cab.
Please note that webWiz should have written up all this much sooner. It's about 2 months ago that he caught onto the idea of aliasing and the SD70 was one of the first he did. He's not too sure about where 3D Train Stuff's installer places all its files but thinks he's got it right. Make any changes if need be for the folder from which you copy the ACE files. Whatver the source, the destination is the SD70 sub-folder under Common.Cab. Please mail me at email@example.com if need be.
Alias the cabview
We're going to put WordPad to work again. Start it and open folders until you're in the ..\Trainset\ folder. Now look for a folder of an SD70 you've installed. For example, if you've downloaded and installed Train Artisan's SD70 pack, go to ta_sd70bn. In the Files of type box, choose "All documents (*.*)" and then open the ENG file (in this case, tasd70macbn.eng).
Use WordPad's find to get to the Cabview line in the ENG file, or scroll down until you see it. From memory, it will look like this:
CabView ( dash9.cvf )
Delete the "dash9.cvf" and insert the following:
Save and exit WordPad. You've aliased the cab of an SD70! Repeat these steps for aa many SD70s and SD75s you have in your roundhouse.
You can see that all the initial hard work is done when inserting the full folder paths to each ACE file within a cabview CVF file. After that chore is completed, it's a simple task to open a loco's ENGine file and insert the path to the appropriate cabview CVF file. A similar technique applies to the aliasing of the sound files.
Alias the sounds
Here are the first little jobs:
The two SMS files are similar to a cabview CVF file, in that they refer MSTS to where the various sound files (WAV files) exist for particular sounds. There are two SMS files: one for what we hear inside the cab (e.g., sd70cab.sms) a second for sounds outside the cab (e.g., sd70eng.sms).
Now it's time for the messy job. Start WordPad and wind your way through the folders until you're at the SD70 sub-folder under the Common.Snd folder. For "Files of type", choose "All documents (*.*)". Open sd70cab.sms.
Looking through this file, you'll see lots of stuff - we're only interested in seeing the names of WAV files; for example, sd70_horn1.wav. You'll probably have to do some scrolling to the right, depending on your screen size, to see some file names.
At this point, with regard to the 3D Train Stuff's loco, the download came with some sounds specific to their SD70. Other sounds, however, come from the default Dash 9 loco, i.e, MSTS has to be told to go to the Dash 9 sounds folder to find these WAV files.
In webWiz's version of sd70cab.sms, he's got the following format for the folder path to refer MSTS to the default Dash 9 sounds:
You may see this style:
Not remembering whether he had to change to the former format or not, webWiz recommends you work your way through and make the changes, unless it's already been done in the original file. It's good practice, if nothing else!
Save sd70cab.sms and open sd70eng.sms and carry out a similar editing job.
Now that we know MSTS can find the appropriate sound WAV files for any SD70 loco, all we need do is open an SD70's ENG file and tell it where to find the "cab" and "eng" files. Let's do tasd70macbn.eng; start WordPad and open this file as we did above. Use CTRL-F Find with sound as the search item. There are two lines, but the first you find will be:
Sound ( SD70Eng.sms )
Edit it so it reads:
Sound ( "..\\..\\Common.Snd\\SD70\\SD70Eng.sms" )
Now use CTRL-F Find again to get to the second Sound line which is for the "cab" sounds we hear:
Sound ( SD70Cab.sms )
Edit it so it reads:
Sound ( "..\\..\\Common.Snd\\SD70\\SD70Cab.sms" )
Save and exit WordPad. We're done! We've aliased the sounds!
You can see that once all the hard work is done in the "Eng" and "Cab" SMS files so MSTS knows where to find the WAV files, it's simple to edit a loco's ENGine file to point MSTS to the appropriate "Eng" and "Cab" SMS files. Now you can go ahead and alias the sounds of your other SD70 locos.
A note: we're not being prototypical in this instance by using some of the Dash 9 sounds since it's a General Electric loco while the SD70 is one of EMD's models. In Common.Snd/EMD_SD40 are SD sound files so webWiz should get to work and re-do 3D Trains Stuff's sd70eng.sms and sd70cab.sms files to use more prototypical sounds. Ah, well, another job...
After some testing to check all your locos have a cabview and sounds, it's time to do some file folder cleanups.
By the way, the most common mistake that webWiz makes is to leave off quotes, either at the end or beginning of a folder path and file name. E.g, MSTS will get upset with something like this:
Sound ( "..\\..\\Common.Snd\\SD70\\SD70Cab.sms )
One other job you can do is to edit your 3D Train Stuff's SD70 ENGine file to alias its cabview and sounds to those in Common.Cab and Common.Snd respectively. Why do this?
Once we've aliased cabviews and sounds, there's no need for a loco folder to have its own Cabview and Sound sub-folders - we've now organised MSTS into referring to often-used cabviews and sounds in our Common.Cab and Common.Snd folders. So go through all the 3D Train Stuff's SD70 locos folders and delete the cabview and sound folders. As far as Windows' file system is concerned, the less folders and sub-folders the better - that means less overhead for the OS' file system routines.
You may want to refer to a similar procedure as the one above, as applied to the SD60M loco - click here for that page or use the table of contents at the top right of this page.
Please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if need be, for any questions or areas which need clarification - I'll do my best to help.