Info, suggestions and comments

This section contains some useful pieces of information regarding the MM Screensaver and its drawings.

Which models I would like to see...

Some of you sent me your pictures, and some now appear in the picture collection, so ... go on this way!
Even if you are afraid your picture is not so good, it's generally easier for me to improve an existing picture than to build it from the beginning.
There are many models that I probably never paint, because I do not know them enough or I have other models I want to do first. In particular, I would be glad to find pictures for the following locos and vehicles:

Spare parts!

You have spare parts with H0 models: why shouldn't you have them with virtual models?
Simply use them if you need...

685 wheels with rods 685 wheelset with connecting rods

685 wheels 685 wheelset (four phases)

E.431 wheels E.431 wheelset (two phases)

E.554 wheels E.554 wheelset (two phases)

E.428 wheels E.428 driving wheels (with rubber blocks' transmission)

(I've started offering wheels because they are a bit difficult to copy from a complete loco)

Colors, filenames and other things

Per i lettori italiani: spiegazioni simili a quelle contenute in questo paragrafo si trovano qui.

During last months, many of you had to face the problem of selecting the color depth of your pictures - but it is a simple problem!
Windows bitmaps are of four different types:

The file size is proportional to the bits used, so that a 256-colour file has a double size that a 16-colour, and a 24 bit image is three times a 256 one.
As each colour is identified by tree values (red, green and blue), each ranging between 0 and 255, only a 24 bit image can contain all possible colours (note that 2563 = 224). But if you use less colours, you can introduce a
"palette", i.e. a list of colours, chosen among the available 16 millions, that actually appear in you paint. A 4 or 8 bit image uses such a palette to state which colours are used (and available).
As to MM pictures:

Thus, a 24 bit image is never required.
The last problem is which colours use: MM screensaver suggest you to use only the colours contained in the colors.bmp palette. This lets your pictures work even if you have an old 256 colour graphic card, and is therefore recommended. But colors.bmp actually contains only 170 colours ... so you have the possibility to define some extra colours, without exceeding the 256 limit. For example, in my E.428 I've added a couple of Isabella shades, to better suggest the curve surfaces. (to be completely precise, a 256 colour card limits user colours to 236, because the last 20 are reserved by Windows)

For my drawings I use the old (good) Paint Shop Pro 3, which permits to manage all what I've described. The only problem is that, when you decrease color depth, it "rounds" the colours to similar values (why? I don't know); anyway, you can always load manually the desired palette - for example that of colors.bmp, which is here.
You can download a shareware copy of PSP 3 from here.

Web sites, HTML and ASP pages

There are three different types of web pages (at least at an elementary level):

My web site uses many ASP pages, which allow me to run scripts on the server. This means that there is no page, stored on the server, which contains what you see, for example, in the "locomotives" section. What actually is stored is, on one hand, an empty template (the ASP page), with bookmarks for images, text and so on; on the other hand there is a simple text file (that I produce with Microsoft Access) containg all the "data" I have to show. The Visual Basic Script embedded in the template builds the page dynamically when you retrieve it: this makes the updating of a web site much easier, and also allows me to use the same template for different languages.
ASP scripts are quite easy and very useful. If you think they could help you in constructing your site, I can send you the source for this site (you'll only have the problem of facing ... Italian comments!)

Filenames, Windows 3.1 and learning programming

Maybe some of you is wondering why my pictures have only very short (and thus unclear) filenames. It's simple: because at home I still use the old good Windows 3.1, which does not allow long filenames. But, if so: where can I see MM trains running? By the moment, at office, of course! But other things are under construction...
I'm thinking of a (simple) Visual Basic application, which of course will not be intended as an alternative solution to the MM screensaver (it will remain much more simple). Rather, it will offer the opportunity to learn the basic elements of programming: I'll put the source code on the website, so that, if you would like to open a window over computer programming...
(but don't expect to have it ready tomorrow ... I need some more time)

Customize your Windows

You would like to customize even more your PC with the MM screensaver? Follow these simple steps!
Save this picture as "OEMLOGO.BMP"


Be sure to save it as bitmap (not GIF), and put it in your Windows/System directory
Then copy these lines:

Manufacturer=PC of [put your name here]
[Support Information]
Line1=MM Screensaver by Martin and Manfred Meyer
Line2=FS E.428 by Giorgio Stagni

Put them in a new file called "oeminfo.ini" in your Windows/System directory
Click on "My computer" and select the System tab: your MM screensaver is even there!
For experts: bitmap must be 160 x 120 and uses the bottom left pixel for "transparency".

That's all. By now...