RTR Layout Viewer 2.0 Manual 

  That's the online version of the manual which is contained in Layout Viewer. It can be read anytime directly in Layout Viewer.

Rule The Rail Layout Viewer 2.0 

Version 2.0 December 2006

© 2006 Willi Leopold • Leopold’s Hobby Page http://www.wleopold.ch/

Layout Viewer 2.0. exists of two main components:

1. Layout Manager (corresponds to Layout Viewer version 1.0):

  • Browse layouts with preview pictures and layout descriptions
  • Archive layouts and start RTR with the layouts you just need for this game session 
  • Manage archives and make backups of layouts

2. Start-Up Manager (new!):

  • Screen Settings
  • Select program options like framerate, camera control and many more
  • Use special ground textures
  • Choose from different track styles
  • Set grades
  • Choose between 5 night and 13 day skies, including great light effects
  • RTR-Basic-Mode for fast testing or Full-Mode
  • Start RTR directly with a layout selected in Layout Manager
  • Developer panel 
  • And much more...

1. Content

1.1. Important
1.2. Installation
1.3. Layout Information Files 
1.4. The Menu

2.  Layout Manager
2.1. User Interface
2.2.  Functions
2.2.1. Browse Layouts
2.2.2. Archives Selection and Work with Archives
2.2.3. Save Layouts
2.2.4. Delete Layouts
2.2.5. Move and Copy Layouts Move Layouts to Archives Copy Layouts from Archives to Rule The Rail
2.2.6. Options and Start of Rule The Rail

3. Start-Up-Manager
3.1. User Interface
3.2. Screen Settings
3.3. Game Options
3.4. Ground Textures
3.5. Track Style
3.6. Grades
3.7. Skies
3.8. Preview
3.9. Basic-/Full-Mode
3.10. Actual Layout, Start-Up Parameters, further Operations
3.10.1. Actual Layout
3.10.2. Music
3.10.3. Back to Layout Manager
3.10.4. Start Rule The Rail
3.10.5. Start-Up Parameter
3.11. Developer Panel
3.11.1. Set X-File
3.11.2. Set Utility
3.11.3. Open/Edit/Save Xli
3.11.4. Process Model
3.11.5. Directories

4.  Responsibility and Legal

1.1. Important!
  • Layout Viewer 2.0 needs Rule The Rail 1.4 or higher!
  • Layout Viewer must be installed in the Rule The Rail main directory!
  • All layouts with spaces in the name must be renamed, otherwise the direct start with start-up parameters doesn't work! The spaces must be replaced by an underline, for example "tutorial_1.roa" instead of "tutorial 1.roa". The layout information files supplied with Layout Viewer 2.0 are renamed already.

1.2. Installation

There are two versions of Layout Viewer 2.0 for download:

  • The complete version with all layout information files (pictures and texts)
  • Program only (separate download of layout information files)
If Layout Viewer 1.0 is installed, please uninstall it first.

The setup program installs Layout Viewer into the Rule The Rail main directory and creates a sub-directory "Layoutviewer" and there further sub-directories:
  • archive
  • lvfiles
  • xlifiles
Attention! Don't delete or rename these sub-directories as the program calls them. Apart from that you can create any archives directories in the Layout Viewer directory. 

Before the first start of Layout Viewer 2.0 be sure that Rule The Rail 1.4. or higher is installed and that all layout names with spaces are renamed! 

1.3. Layout Information Files

To use the Layout Viewer meaningful, from each layout there should exist a screenshot and short layout description. These files must be in the directory “Layoutviewer” and are delivered with the complete version, as far as I know the layouts.

Of course the user also can create own screenshots and descriptions. These must have the following format: 
  • Screenshot: JPG-file, size 480 x 360 pixel. The file name must exactly be the same like the layout file, including the extension “.roa”. For example: for the layout “Analogdemo1.roa” the screenshot must be named “Analogdemo1.roa.jpg”!
  • Layout description: A short text about the layout in the normal, unformated text format, created for example with Notepad or Editor. Again the text file must have exactly the same name like the layout, in the above example “Analogdemo1.roa.txt”.
A layout description could be as follows:

Layout Langenthal

By Willi Leopold, 2006

This layout was created with the intention to build a real model railroad layout. There is a twisted double track main loop following the “dogbone” concept with a hidden staging at each end loop. At the main station a single track branch line connects with the main line. The traffic with 7 trains is fully automated, using analog control. Have fun with the layout!

Of course the layout description could be in any language, but as Rule The Rail is used internationally, the best would be in English – or in two languages.

Important informations:

The layout informations delivered with the Layout Viewer surely are not complete. Please send me the screenshots and descriptions you have made yourself to:  mailto:wleopold@wleopold.ch .

All layout creators: Please publish your layouts from now on with all three files in the ZIP- file, for example:
  • mylayout.roa
  • mylayout.roa.jpg
  • mylayout.roa.txt
I will offer updates of the layout informations for download on my homepage, so all users will always be up-to-date.

1.4. The Menu

Reload F7 Completely reload the program.
Quit Ctrl+Q Leave Layout Viewer.
Back F3 or ESC Back to previous page.
RTR Options F4 To Options Panel/Start-Up Manager
RTR Start F5 Start Rule The Rail.
Hide the Menu F8 Show or hide menu.
Help F1 The document you're reading - PDF file, needs Acrobat Reader.
Hilfe F2 The German manual - PDF file, needs Acrobat Reader.
Homepage Ctrl+H Informations and updates on my homepage.
About... F9 More about Layout Viewer.

2.  Layout Manager

2.1. User Interface

 Title, number of layouts and layout list of the Rule The Rail main directory, the layouts that will be loaded with Rule The Rail.
 Layout screenshots as far as they exist. Otherwise “No Layout Image“ will be displayed.
 Title, number of layouts and layout list of the choosen archives.
 Actual layout name
Start Rule The Rail
 Layout description as far as it exists.
 Archives directories
  Movelayouts from Rule The Rail to the archives.
  Copy layouts from the archives to Rule The Rail.

2.2. Functions

2.2.1. Browse Layouts

This is surely the most important function of the Layout Viewer. With the in the meantime fortunately big number of Rule The Rail layouts, surely nobody knows exactly, what a layout is hidden behind this or that layout name. So you can get an overview with Layout Viewer very easy.The just actual layout directory and the corresponding layout name are shown coloured. For the Rule The Rail directory the colour is blue. You can select the desired layout with the mouse or scroll through the list with the cursor keys.

If you start Rule The Rail directly from Layout Viewer, Rule The Rail will start with the here selected layout.

The colour for the archives directories is red . This way you know on the first look in which directory you are actually browsing.

2.2.2. Archives Selection and Work with Archives

A single click with the mouse on the desired archive    changes the directory of the archives list .

If you double click on the archives directory  a directory window will open, where you can create new archives or delete old ones. To delete archives, click on its name and then push the “Delete“ key.

2.2.3. Save Layouts

Generally for safety reasons file operations are only possible in the archives directory!

If you double click on a layout name in the archives list, a save window will open. You can save the layout for backup under a new name, and if you wish in a new directory.

Please note: It’s not allowed to change the ending “.roa“, otherwise the Layout Viewer won’t find the file anymore! So don’t save a backup under “Demo.bak” but under “Demoback.roa” for example.

2.2.4. Delete Layouts

Generally for safety reasons file operations are only possible in the archives directory!

Select the layout with a single click in the archives list and then push the ”Delete“ button. A safety warning will appear.

2.2.5. Move and Copy Layouts

Besides layout browsing (see 2.2.1.) this is surely the most important function of the Layout Viewer. It allows to start Rule The Rail with only the layout(s) you just need. And if you are working on a layout you can drop a safety copy in the archives Move Layouts to Archives
  1. Select the desired archive in the archives directory   It will be displayed in the archives list. .
  2. Select the layout in the Rule The Rail list  you want to move.
  3. Click the “Move“ button , the layout will be moved to the archive you selected and both lists will immediately refresh.
Attention! Layouts from the Rule The Rail directory will always be moved, as you don’t wish to load them with Rule The Rail. To make the moving faster, there is no safety warning! Already existing layouts with the same name in the archive will be overwritten without warning. If you want to archive an older version of the layout you have to save it first under a different name (see 2.2.3.)! Copy Layouts from Archives to Rule The Rail  
  1.  Select the desired layout in the archives list .
  2.  Click the “Copy“ button , the layout will be copied into the Rule The Rail directory and both lists will be refreshed immediately.
Attention! Layouts from the archive will always be copied, so you automatically have a safety copy in the archives. Again there is no safety warning! Layouts that already exist in the Rule The Rail directory will be overwritten without any warning!

2.2.6. Options and Start of Rule The Rail

If you click the Options button - or Menu: Options/RTR Options or F4 key - you go to Start-Up Manager (see 3.) You can also directly go to Start-Up Manager if you keep the Shift key pressed while Layout Viewer is loading. 

If you click the Rule The Rail button - or Menu: Options/RTR Start or F5 key - Rule The Rail will load with the selected layout and the last used settings. If you haven't selected a layout the last used layout will be loaded.

3. Start-Up Manager

3.1. User Interface

 Screen settings:
  • Screen resolution
  • Colour depth 
Game options
  • Wireframe 
  • Framerate
  • Fine Water (complex water)
  • Control Info 
  • Camera (reverse horizontal movement of the train following camera)
  • Fine Steam 
Ground textures
  • Std. Ground (Standard ground texture with 57 textures)
  • Full Ground (full ground texture with 62 textures)
  • Special (individual, layout related ground texture)
 Track style
  • Std. Track (Rule The Rail standard track dark)
  • Brown Track (brown track from me)
  • Bright Track (bright track from me)

  • 5 night skies 
  • 13 day skies 
 Preview of the selected option


Actual layout, start-up parameters, further operations
  • Display of actual layout
  • Music on/off 
  • Back to Layout Manager
  • Start Rule The Rail
  • Display of start-up parameters
 Developer panel

All settings are automatically saved by Layout Viewer and are selected when you start Layout Viewer the next time! 

You can also directly go to Start-Up Manager if you keep the Shift key pressed while Layout Viewer is loading. 

3.2. Screen Settings

In the screen settings area you can select the colour depth and the screen resolution:

Colour depth:
  • 16 Bit
  • 32 Bit
Screen resolution:

You can choose from 6 different standard resolutions:
  • 800 x 600
  • 1024 x 768
  • 1280 x 1024
  • 1440 x 900
  • 1600 x 1200
  • 1920 x 1200
Layout Viewer 2.0. checks the actual screen resolution of the system and deactivates all resolutions that are higher. 

The colour depth and resolution you select here, are written to the start-up parameter line and saved. Parallel, the settings are saved to the file "dcfg.txt" in the RTR main directory, so if you start RTR like before from outside of Layout Viewer, the selected settings are pre-selected in the screen configuration window of RTR.

You can also use a different resolution than one of the 6 standard resolutions: Enter the desired resolution manually in the start-up parameters line and press Enter:

These settings are also saved and the parameter line is displayed in red as a warning.

Attention! Manual screen resolutions are made on your own risk! Layout Viewer only makes a security check for the 6 standard resolutions but not for manually entered resolutions in the parameters line! I can not be made responsible in any kind for any damages of your system that could result!

3.3. Game Options

In the game options area you can make the following settings:


If selected, the landscape and all models are displayed as wireframes. If you're just curious or for developers that want to take a look, how the models are made.


You can switch the framerate on or off. The display of the framerate is very useful for layout creators to make sure the layout runs smooth. Critical areas can be eliminated by use of less and/or simpler models so you reach an acceptable framerate.

Fine Water:

Here you can turn on or off complex water. Like all settings, this option is saved and you don't have to select complex water each time in-game anymore. 

Control Info:

If you select this option, all connections of controller contacts are displayed, if you turn on "Draw Track Info" and "Show Control Objects" in RTR.


If this option is selected, the horizontal control of the train following camera is reversed. That means, if you want to turn the camera left around the train, you have to press the left cursor key and not vice versa like it was before. There's no influence on other camera control.

Fine Steam:

With this option selected, a more realistic fine steam is displayed. For that, another smoke texture is copied from the Layoutviewer/lvfiles directory to objects/bitmaps/smoke.dds. Smoke texture from Mike/Träumer, many thanks!

3.4. Ground Textures

In the ground textures area there are three options:

Std. Ground:

That's the well-known standard ground texture with 57 available single textures.

Full Ground:

With this option, the ground texture graphic is fully used without any changes on the 57 standard textures. There are 62 single textures available. The 58th texture is a gray/white grid texture, that makes the basic grid of RTR visible and is very useful for building-in the turntable or individual bridges in RTR. Additionaly you can create 4 individual textures. If you select this option, the file Layoutviewer/lvfiles/terrain62.jpg  is copied to objects/bitmaps/terrain.jpg. So if you make individual changes, you must do them with that file "terrain62.jpg", otherwise they will be lost as soon as settings are changed! 

Attention! The last two textures (63 and 64) must always be white and black!


You can't manually select this option, but it's a mighty feature! Thanks to Layout Viewer 2.0 it's possible now, to use a completely individual set of ground textures and to share the layout with other users nevertheless!

For that the individual ground texture must just have the same name like the layout, be saved as a JPG file and be copied to the directory Layoutviewer/lvfiles. Example:

Layout: MyLayout.roa
Ground texture: MyLayout.jpg

How it works:

Each time, Start-Up Manager is openend, Layout Viewer searches for a special ground texture for the selected layout in the Layoutviewer/lvfiles directory. If he finds one, the option "Special" is selected, the texture is copied from  Layoutviewer/lvfiles to objects/bitmaps/terrain.jpg and the texture is displayed (distorted) in the Preview Window  .

Attention! The last two textures (63 and 64) must always be white and black!

Of course, after operation of a layout with an individual ground texture, you have to go back to Layout Viewer and select another layout there. The Full Ground texture is automatically restored as far as you havn't selected another layout with an individual ground texture.

3.5. Track Style

Here you can choose from the following three options:

Std. Track:

The well-known dark standard RuleThe Rail track. The file Layoutviewer/lvfiles/track3orig.dds is copied to objects/bitmaps/track3.dds.

Brown Track:

A track texture with rusty brown wooden sleepers/ties and rusty gravel from me. The file Layoutviewer/lvfiles/track2wl.dds is copied to objects/bitmaps/track3.dds.

Bright Track:

A track texture with brown wooden sleepers/ties and gray gravel from me. The file Layoutviewer/lvfiles/track3wl.dds is copied to objects/bitmaps/track3.dds.

With extension pack 11 there come turnout covers, I had made, that can simply be placed above the turnouts. They give turnouts a more realistic look, turnout/switch motors included. If the track style is changed here, the textures for the turnout covers are automatically changed, too. That's true for my bridges as well, as far as they have a track bed. If you select the standard track, the turnout cover is made invisible, as there is no texture for that.

For that the files Layoutviewer/lvfiles/transparent.dds or Layoutviewer/lvfiles/turnout2wl.dds or Layoutviewer/lvfiles/turnout3wl.dds are copied to Scenes/001haz/turnouttex.dds for the turnout covers. And the textures Layoutviewer/lvfiles/gravel0.dds or Layoutviewer/lvfiles/gravel2.dds or Layoutviewer/lvfiles/gravel3.dds are copied to Scenes/001haz/gravel.dds for the bridge track beds.

Btw, the turntable also uses the texture objects/bitmaps/track3.dds, so the rail profiles of the turntable always match the selected track style.

3.6. Grades

RTR 1.4. comes with a great new feature: You can set the grade of tracks in ten steps - between 0,1 and 1,0! Now smooth prototypical grades are no longer a problem:

A mouse click on the left arrow reduces the grade by 0,1 - a click on the right arrow raises the grade by 0,1.

For layout construction the following is advisable:

Select the smallest grade 0,1, switch RTR to Basic Mode (see 3.9) and start RTR from Layout Viewer without a layout. In Basic Mode RTR loads very fast! Now you create a test layout, put some pieces of track on the ground and lift it. After you have saved, leave RTR and raise the grade in Layout Viewer one step. Start RTR with the test layout and create the next grade. This way you can test all ten grades very fast. When you have found your prefered grade let the grade setting on this value.

3.7. Skies

With RTR 1.4 come the 14 skies known from Iron Horses and 4 from me. Each sky has its own light effects that colour the landscape and the models, what looks really great.

Standard Sky:

Here you can select the well-known standard RTR skies, the softblue day sky with clouds and the deep black night sky, with one mouse click.

Night Sky:

Choose from 5 different night skies:

Day Sky:

Choose from 13 different day skies:

Although it's not usual for radio buttons, you can scroll through the skies with the cursor keys and watch the effects in the Preview Window  .  Just click on a sky in the night sky or day sky area, let the mouse stay there and use the cursor keys up or down to scroll through the skies. 

The selected skies are displayed in the Multi Edit Window of the developer panel and are saved to the file "rtr_skybox.txt".

3.8. Preview

The just selected option is displayed in the Preview Window, using the layout analogdemo1 as example, as far as a visualization is possible. Here the preview for the option night sky Skybox LHP Moonlight for example:

This way you have a good imagination of the just selected option.

3.9. Basic-/Full-Mode

Although this option is primarily thought for developers for fast testing of new models, it can be very useful for every user to experiment with game options or graphic card settings as RTR loads very fast in basic mode.

If basic mode is choosen, all files "add_*.xli" are moved from the RTR main directory to Layoutviewer/xlifiles. This is also visible in the two file windows. So all is left, ist the basic content of the starter-kit, what makes RTR loading extremely fast.

Attention! While in basic mode, start RTR only without a layout, the layout analogdemo1 or a layout created in basic mode!

To return to full mode, just click on "RTR Full" and all "add_*.xli" files are moved back to the RTR main directory.

Before uninstalling Layout Viewer make sure to be in full mode!

3.10. Actual Layout, Start-Up Parameters, further Operations

3.10.1. Actual Layout

The actual selected layout is displayed here. If it has just been selected in Layout Manager it shows in blue:

If there hasn't been selected a layout in Layout Manager, the last used layout is displayed in red and will be loaded in RTR:

To start Rule The Rail without a layout, mark the layout name and press the Delete key. The start-up parameters are changed accordingly.

3.10.2. Music

Here you can switch the background music of Layout Viewer on or off. It is saved like all settings.

3.10.3. Back to Layout Manager

Click on the Back button - or Menu: Options/Back or F3 key or  ESC key -  and you get back to Layout Manager.

3.10.4. Start Rule The Rail

Click on the Rule The Rail button - or Menu: Options/RTR Start or F5 key - and Rule The Rail will be loaded with the displayed layout and the actual settings.

3.10.5. Start-Up Parameter

Here the actual start-up parameters are displayed. As known from chapter 3.2, Screen Settings, you can manually enter individual screen settings here, in which case the parameters are displayed in red:

3.11. Developer Panel

This chapter is only for constructors of RTR models. It's a huge help for development and testing of models.

3.11.1. Set X-File

If you click on the Set X File button, a file open window appears. Here you can select the x file you're just working on. The file name with full path is displayed in the display bar left of the button.

3.11.2. Set Utility

With the Set Utility button you define the path to the BrainBombers Password Utility, which again is displayed in the display bar left of the button. This setting must only be made the first time you use the developer panel.

3.11.3. Open/Edit/Save Xli

With the Open Xli button you open the xli file you want to work with. Pre-selection is "test.xli" in the selected utility directory. The file is opened in the Multi Edit Window and can be edited there:

You can now make the entries for the new model you have defined with Set X File in the test.xli file. Don't forget to raise the number of models by one (second number, after the file password). 

After editing the altered test.xli file is saved with the Save Xli button:

3.11.4. Process Model

By clicking the Process Model button, a number of steps to implement the new model into RTR, is executed fully automatically, that otherwise would have to be made manually:
  • The x file is copied from the working directory (defined with Set X File) to Scenes/xfiles.
  • The password utility is started.
  • The resulting test.xli_result file with the new password is renamed to test.xli.
  • The new test.xli file is copied to the RTR main directory.
  • The new test.xli file is loaded into the Multi Edit Window.
The single working steps are reported in the Multi Edit Window, before the new test.xli file is loaded. RTR can now be started in basic mode for fast testing of the new model.

After each change on the model, "Process Model" must be executed again, as changes in the x file also change the password.

Also changes in the xli file (for example scale changes) are realized the most easy way by saving the changed test.xli file and execute "Process Model" again.

3.11.5. Directories

Like in Layout Manager, a directory window is opened, if you double click on the directories window, and you can create new directories or delete old ones.

If you right click on the directories window, a save window is opened, so you can save a backup of the file, that is opened in the Multi Edit Window. It's advisable to make a backup of the test.xli file before adding new models.

4. Responsibility and Legal

Rule The Rail is © BrainBombers Group http://www.brainbombers.com/.

For the Layout Viewer I have the full copyright - © 2006.

The program is freeware. But it's not allowed to give away the program to others or to include the Layout Viewer in any kind of compilation or to offer it for download on websites without my written permission.

The software has been fully tested. But I can’t be made responsible for any damage that could result from use or improper handling. You install and use this software on your own risk!

Okay, after this legal stuff I wish you much fun with the Layout Viewer.

For further informations and updates please visit my homepage: http://www.wleopold.ch/.

St. Gallen, February 11th, 2007

Willi Leopold