Welcome to the forum   
Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

Share
Options
View
Go to last post in this topic Go to first unread post in this topic
Offline northstar  
#1 Posted : 24 February 2023 15:29:28(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Hi all! I'm the developer of RailControl Pro, and happy to answer all your questions, discuss features and ideas here.

In a nutshell: RailControl Pro is an app which runs on iPhone, iPad and Mac. I'm trying to give a better user experience for Märklin Central Station 3 with this app, especially on mobile devices. There's still a lot to be done, and since I'm building this app alone in my spare time, unfortunately features grow pretty slow. I'd love to dedicate professional time on it too, but for that the sales are not strong enough yet 😜

I think the basis is solid though:
- Controlling locs:
- Precise speed control through +/- buttons or with an old fashioned slider
- Natural acceleration/braking through predefined settings
- Multiple in parallel on iPad and Mac
- Works with keyboard shortcuts on iPad and Mac
- Through a game controller like the one from PlayStation or Xbox

- Controlling accessories through a keyboard like interface, or through the track diagram
- CS3 Start/Stop
- Shutting down/Rebooting CS3

Things I'm working on right now:
- A better speed slider (almost done)
- Editing locs (stuck on an issue with writing to mfx decoders)
- Assigning a loc to a specific game controller, so one iPhone can control 1 loc, and all connected game controllers can control other locs (stuck on bug in Apple's game controller framework)

Things I want to add in the near future:
- Editing articles
- CS2 Track Diagrams
- Executing Events

The idea is that once all this core functionality is done, I focus more on deep platform integration: e.g. controlling locs from Apple Watch, integrate with Siri/Shortcuts (e.g. "Siri, start loc 186-902").
I don't want to create a new RocRail, but rather the app Märklin should have included with CS3. It should be easy to use, and self explanatory for new CS3 users.

All feedback, suggestions and questions welcome!

Website: www.railcontrol.pro ↗️


Some screenshots to give an idea, what we are talking about 😜
Screenshot 2023-02-24 at 15.25.41.png
thanks 8 users liked this useful post by northstar
Offline bygger01  
#2 Posted : 17 March 2023 12:54:24(UTC)
bygger01

Denmark   
Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 166
Location: Herning in Denmark
Is it possible, that you will show how to select a locomotive.

The reason I ask is that if you use Märklin's web solution on an IPad today, the images are no bigger than those on your CS3!

For that reason, I often use the old Apps from Märklin, where the selection of locomotives is much easier.

And when things go really crazy, I have 2 iPads running, one of which is 12.9", and the big one is used for track plans, and then my CS3 is actually just a computer!

I am also considering, whether I can have a track plan that must be the entire visible track with approx. 100 magnetic items.

The two invisible "stations" control themselves with the help of 2 Arduino prints per station.
Best regards
Jørgen St. from Herning in DK
H0 / Märklin K track / CS3+ / full digital / Epoke III +/-
Offline northstar  
#3 Posted : 17 March 2023 13:30:11(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Well it's super simpel:

- On iPhone there's a list with locs. You tap on a loc, and it opens the loc full screen. To select another loc, go back to the list and choose a new one.

Simulator Screen Shot - iPhone 14 Pro Max - 2023-03-02 at 19.44.40.png Simulator Screen Shot - iPhone 14 Pro Max - 2023-03-02 at 19.43.10.png



- On iPad, this list is always visible on the left side (unless you want to hide it). Again you tap on a loc and the loc appears on the right side.

Simulator Screen Shot - iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (6th generation) - 2023-03-02 at 21.26.46.png

The app supports dynamic type, so if text and other things are too small on your screen, if you set the size bigger in iOS Settings, RailControl Pro will respect these settings.


For Articles, there are two options: 1) Track Diagram and 2) grid with all articles.

1) Here you can see the diagram, and if you want you can hide the left navigation to show the diagram full screen. The diagram is zoomable, btw. And you can show/hide the article names.

Simulator Screen Shot - iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (6th generation) - 2023-03-02 at 21.26.34.png



2) This is the grid: it will depend on your iPad, but with the navigation visible, you can already show 10 articles per row. So if you hide the navigation, it will be around 13 per row. So I think 100 might be possible on the biggest iPad. Again, you can make the text look bigger.

Simulator Screen Shot - iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (2nd generation) - 2022-03-19 at 19.18.45.png


If you have more questions, let me know! Happy to help 😊
Offline northstar  
#4 Posted : 17 March 2023 13:47:05(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
BTW, I updated the app, as mentioned in my first post with a new speed slider and support for multiple game controllers.

Read all about it in this blog post ↗️

game-controller.jpg
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by northstar
Offline bygger01  
#5 Posted : 17 March 2023 17:20:18(UTC)
bygger01

Denmark   
Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 166
Location: Herning in Denmark
Your target audience is old gray men with presbyopia ("old man's vision"), so I think that your pictograms (icons) are far too small for the aging vision.

And these are your main customer !!

You have to think that it should be easy to find a locomotive without having to use the special glasses on an iPhone or iPad, and then quickly switch to seeing far!

I will try to take a few screenshots of the old app/version from Märklin.


Because you have to offer something that doesn't already exist !!!
Best regards
Jørgen St. from Herning in DK
H0 / Märklin K track / CS3+ / full digital / Epoke III +/-
Offline northstar  
#6 Posted : 17 March 2023 17:27:20(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Thanks for the suggestion about the pictograms! I will see how I can make them scale too.


The text however already grows together with your iPad settings. Compare these two:

IMG_DB039E35BEB5-1.jpeg IMG_C0CD89743AB1-1.jpeg
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by northstar
Offline Danlake  
#7 Posted : 17 March 2023 19:32:32(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,569
Thanks for posting.

It looks like a well designed app with good documentation behind and the fact that your are keen to improve it will only make it better.

We definitely need some competition in this market which will only force Marklin to up their game as well.

Well done ThumpUp

Best Regards
Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by Danlake
Offline bygger01  
#8 Posted : 17 March 2023 22:10:54(UTC)
bygger01

Denmark   
Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 166
Location: Herning in Denmark
I am fighting to download 2 pictures .....
Best regards
Jørgen St. from Herning in DK
H0 / Märklin K track / CS3+ / full digital / Epoke III +/-
Offline David Dewar  
#9 Posted : 17 March 2023 23:36:35(UTC)
David Dewar

Scotland   
Joined: 01/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 7,206
Location: Scotland
What does this do that my CS3 can not do. I have an ipad but why would I want to use it. The screen is a bit bigger but that is about all plus it takes up more room om my control desk.
I like driving trains and the CS3 events control the turnouts and routes and a shuttle line.
Take care I like Marklin and will defend the worlds greatest model rail manufacturer.
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by David Dewar
Offline thing fish  
#10 Posted : 18 March 2023 07:06:02(UTC)
thing fish

Turkey   
Joined: 25/01/2020(UTC)
Posts: 207
Location: istanbul
Originally Posted by: David Dewar Go to Quoted Post
What does this do that my CS3 can not do.


David hi,

I think the idea is not what this app does which cs3 can not do but what it can do on top of cs3 capabilities. For me, this app means more gadgets that I can control the locos with i.e. having more friends enjoying driving locos or controlling turnouts/signals.

Just my two cents ...

C.

thanks 1 user liked this useful post by thing fish
Offline bygger01  
#11 Posted : 18 March 2023 08:36:25(UTC)
bygger01

Denmark   
Joined: 23/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 166
Location: Herning in Denmark
But if your CS3 is connected to your router, you already have this option with an iPhone or an Ipad, where you get the same options as a CS3 gives you!

I just suggest that the icons for the locomotives should have a more readable size ( so I have to figure out how to show pictures here !!! ).
Best regards
Jørgen St. from Herning in DK
H0 / Märklin K track / CS3+ / full digital / Epoke III +/-
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by bygger01
Offline thing fish  
#12 Posted : 18 March 2023 09:07:21(UTC)
thing fish

Turkey   
Joined: 25/01/2020(UTC)
Posts: 207
Location: istanbul
Originally Posted by: bygger01 Go to Quoted Post
But if your CS3 is connected to your router, you already have this option with an iPhone or an Ipad, where you get the same options as a CS3 gives you!



Wow ... I didn't know that. Thanks.

C.

Offline northstar  
#13 Posted : 18 March 2023 18:57:43(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by: Danlake Go to Quoted Post
Thanks for posting.

It looks like a well designed app with good documentation behind and the fact that your are keen to improve it will only make it better.

We definitely need some competition in this market which will only force Marklin to up their game as well.

Well done ThumpUp

Best Regards
Lasse


Thanks Lasse!

I'm not sure how Märklin is actually interested in providing an app again. They retired their previous app and took the web-app route, which works on all platforms, but nowhere really well... It's the cheap option for them.
Offline northstar  
#14 Posted : 18 March 2023 19:20:16(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by: David Dewar Go to Quoted Post
What does this do that my CS3 can not do. I have an ipad but why would I want to use it. The screen is a bit bigger but that is about all plus it takes up more room om my control desk.
I like driving trains and the CS3 events control the turnouts and routes and a shuttle line.


In terms of functionality, as it stands, the CS3 or CS3 web app can do much more than this app. I keep working to bring CS3 functionality to my app, but that's not what it is all about.

My motivation to build this, is the user experience. Let's be honest: Märklin software doesn't work well. It's hard to use, not very well designed, and full of bugs. They used to have a good, but pretty limited app, when CS2 was around, but decided to kill it. And there are other (desktop) apps around already, but they mostly target the very advanced user, for whom CS3 isn't advanced enough. I aim to deliver a well designed and easy to use app, basically the app I'd like to use myself. And if I can make other people happy with it, even better.
Offline northstar  
#15 Posted : 18 March 2023 19:28:10(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by: thing fish Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: bygger01 Go to Quoted Post
But if your CS3 is connected to your router, you already have this option with an iPhone or an Ipad, where you get the same options as a CS3 gives you!



Wow ... I didn't know that. Thanks.

C.



Sure, but try to use it for more than a few minutes, and let me know if you like it 😜
Offline Marcus01  
#16 Posted : 19 March 2023 09:13:51(UTC)
Marcus01

New Zealand   
Joined: 10/05/2013(UTC)
Posts: 23
I paid my NZ$13.99 to download the App in NZ. It connected to my CS3 in a split second once the IP address was entered. This APP is awesome! You can open multiple windows to run multiple trains, and there is a really cool speed step (auto) increase or decrease in speed. ‘Im super impressed. Well done. To anyone thinking of downloading, it’s worth it….

Edited by user 20 March 2023 12:09:41(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 1 user liked this useful post by Marcus01
Offline northstar  
#17 Posted : 19 March 2023 18:03:38(UTC)
northstar

Belgium   
Joined: 23/02/2023(UTC)
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by: Marcus01 Go to Quoted Post
I paid my NZ$13.99 to download the App in NZ. It connected to my CS3 in a split second once the IP address was entered. This APP is awesome! You can open multiple windows to run multiple trains, and there is a really cool speed step (auto) increase or decrease in speed. ‘Im super impressed. Well done. To anyone thinking of downloading, it’s worth it….


Thanks for the kind words, Marcus01! All feedback welcome 😊
Users browsing this topic
OceanSpiders 2.0
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

| Powered by YAF.NET | YAF.NET © 2003-2023, Yet Another Forum.NET
This page was generated in 0.451 seconds.