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Steve Jackson Shows Off the Texas Brick Railroad (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year ago | from the choo-choo-chug-chug-and-the-quiet-whir-of-a-monorail dept.

Games 41

Imagine game designer Steve Jackson and a bunch of friends building Lego trains and tracks and scenery, including buildings and other props. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? The group calls itself the Texas Brick Railroad. A lot of members have children, so their meetings tend to be family affairs. Plus, as they're doing here, they often display their train sets at public events where -- yes -- their trains attract children like crazy. This video shows off both current Lego trains and some of the classic, no-longer-sold Lego trains that members have collected over the years, including the highly-prized monorails. There's a transcript, but face it: This is basically visual material, and worth checking out on a computer or handheld that runs Flash if your normal one doesn't. (We've requested an upgrade from Flash-only video, but don't hold your breath. It might be a good while before we get it.)

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Fnord. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43776251)

This comment has been censored at the request of Bureau 23.

Re:Fnord. (0)

danbuter (2019760) | about a year ago | (#43778401)

Who the heck downvoted this? Best opening/relevant comment in a while.

Re:Fnord. (1)

Keen Anthony (762006) | about a year ago | (#43800825)

People who know nothing about Steve Jackson's work... and possibly the Discordian Society.

How do I download the video? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43776281)

Dear Slashdot, it would be nice if you could provide flash video in a format that would run on the open source Gnash player or that could be downloaded using a script like youtube-dl. Please do not use to host videos. I am unable to watch them.

Re:How do I download the video? (1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a year ago | (#43776883)

Another win for open sores! You are the champion, my friend!

Steve Jackson seer of the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43776317)

I remember Steve Jackson's "Paranoia" and got all nostalgic about it, which in turn caused me to go to wikipedia. The description of the Computer Phreak society seems very pertinent today amid all the TPB and 'leaks situations in the press: "The line between 'hacker extraordinaire' and 'terminated traitor' is a fine one". Haha, I would like to get his opinion on what is coming next in the world of computers.

Re:Steve Jackson seer of the future (2)

xhgcqreq (975557) | about a year ago | (#43777121)

Paranoia is great and so is Steve Jackson. However, it's not one of his games...

Re:Steve Jackson seer of the future (1)

Keen Anthony (762006) | about a year ago | (#43800831)

Actually it is, but Steve's involvement is security clearance ultraviolet, citizen.

Re:Steve Jackson seer of the future (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#43780315)

Maybe you're thinking of Illuminati?

Personally I want to see the new Ogre.


That's not a model railroad! (2)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#43776319)

It's a play table for GURPS: Railroad!

Its good! (2)

Servaas (1050156) | about a year ago | (#43776341)

Its good to be a geek to be honest, look at all the fun their having.

Meeting Steve Jackson (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43776351)

If you want to meet the man in person, he'll be at DEXCON in Morristown, NJ from July 3-7.

Re:Meeting Steve Jackson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43776487)

He's a really nice guy. I met him at Owlcon a few years back and (after my small nerdgasm) got to talk to him about some of the stuff that was upcoming at the time. He's a fascinating guy to talk to.

Re:Meeting Steve Jackson (3, Interesting)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year ago | (#43776719)

I met him at a game shop owner's convention in New Orleans back in the mid 90s. He was pushing his "Illuminati" card game at the time. My customers tried it out, and it received a tepid at best response. Magic the Gathering was young back then and was steam rolling other card games trying to compete. GURPS didn't take so well with my customers either, sadly. I still carried it. You need a selection to contrast and compare in a game shop, plus it adds to the atmosphere.

He was friendly and decent to talk to. I told him I had been a fan of "Car Wars" since I was a kid. He thanked me, and said he now felt old.

Re:Meeting Steve Jackson (1)

jaundicebaby (885998) | about a year ago | (#43778443)

I met the guy because I live in Austin and he has game testing events at their offices from time to time. You get to come in, eat pizza, and play some new games for free... hard to beat.

Re:Meeting Steve Jackson (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year ago | (#43778899)

It sounds wonderful, but Texas scares the fuck out of me. All those guns and an express lane to the death chamber, it just smacks of too much trouble for my comfort zone.

But seriously, it sounds fun as hell. I remember doing some minor game design in High School back in 1980 for a mercenary rpg that was just pure guns, tactics and wild ideas of such. Friends and I would play test it, switch off administrating it so we could all try out our ideas. We had a blast with it. I can't imagine that being a job, it would be like cheating at life or something. Nobody is suppose to have that kind of fun and get paid for it. Everyday you do it, God has to punt a puppy into outer space when nobody is looking. Just to balance the universe out, you know. (just kidding)

That not a LEGO monorail. (2)

cnaumann (466328) | about a year ago | (#43776385)

THIS is a LEGO monorail: []

Re:That not a LEGO monorail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43776989)

New rule: There has to be realistic simulation of stops, towns, etc. Just coiling track is kind of a bore. Somebody can just throw money at it. Getting permission to run track from one "town" to another down the hallway of an office or in a shopping mall. Now there's the real challenge.

Re:That not a LEGO monorail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777249)

Or around your boss's office for that matter. "Mechanical breakdown at doorway imminent".

Re:That not a LEGO monorail. (1)

Nugoo (1794744) | about a year ago | (#43777451)

That reminds me of Mr Bones' Wild Ride [] .

Request an upgrade? (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43776411)

You can do it yourself. 'mencoder -oac copy -ovc copy -o video.avi video.flv' Then post a plain old download link.

ho scale lay outs are cool and DCC tech does a (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43776473)

ho scale lay outs are cool and DCC tech does a lot.

Re:ho scale lay outs are cool and DCC tech does a (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43777097)

I put DCC chips in my lego trains. It only takes 10 minutes with a sharp knife and a soldering iron.

Re:ho scale lay outs are cool and DCC tech does a (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year ago | (#43779439)

So that's how you pimp your ho.

Re:ho scale lay outs are cool and DCC tech does a (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year ago | (#43783915)

ho ho ho

Hard-to-find Monorail? 3-D printing to the rescue! (4, Interesting)

west (39918) | about a year ago | (#43776631)

I have to say, at least for the mono-rail track, 3-D printing seems the clear way to avoid prowling E-Bay for hard to find and expensive pieces.

I wonder if owners would consent to have their pieces scanned to produce a blue-print.

(Of course, then we'd see whether Lego wants to dare the bad publicity of preventing a trade in replica pieces that Lego no longer sells.)

Re:Hard-to-find Monorail? 3-D printing to the resc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777159)

3-D printing doesn't have any where near the accuracy needed for copying Lego pieces. A traditional CAM machines might work, but I guess that's not the "in" technology here.

Re:Hard-to-find Monorail? 3-D printing to the resc (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year ago | (#43777297)

I have some of those old monorail pieces (I had no idea they were valuable - should probably did them out), and I doubt that you could 3D print them at the moment. The key part of the centre rail is that it's toothed, with the train itself being driven by a vertically mounted motor in the centre power unit, engaging the fine-toothed track with a metal cog.

I just don't think that a 3D printer can produce the level of accuracy needed for that sort of track with enough strength to withstand the metal traction cog.

Re:Hard-to-find Monorail? 3-D printing to the resc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777617)

Who said you have to copy LEGO's design?

I remember seeing a monorail built by a kid and his dad at a local fair where the train itself was LEGO but everything else was hand fabricated. The rail and supports were made from wood and they'd built his own steamer box to make the curved sections. There was a copper wire glued to each side of the rail for electrical transmission which was controlled by a regular train transformer. The top of the rail had 120 grit sandpaper glued to it for the steep grade section where extra traction was needed. The train itself had two drive cars; one at each end and used elastic bands as spring to hold the horizontal clamping wheels.

Who says you need money or high technology to have fun?

Re:Hard-to-find Monorail? 3-D printing to the resc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43777651)

YES, we got our idiot pluggin in some 3d printing shit for no good reason...

Steve Jackson (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#43777569)

I'm confused. Is this the same Steve Jackson who created the Fighting Fantasy books, together with Ian Livingstone?

Re:Steve Jackson (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#43777583)

Ok, Google cleared that up for me. This is NOT the Steve Jackson of FF, but the Steve Jackson of Games Workshop.
Thanks for Hero Quest, Steve Jackson!

Re:Steve Jackson (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#43777591)

Actually, this Steve Jackson also wrote a few FF books. Holy crap. No wonder I'm confused.

Re:Steve Jackson (1)

danbuter (2019760) | about a year ago | (#43778409)

Steve Jackson was involved with almost every major gaming company when rpg's first took off. He really was a major influence on gaming in general.

Re:Steve Jackson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779027)

A lot of the prolific designers seemed to do that back then. There was a lot of cross polination by supplement writers in particular. So you'd get Steve Jackson Games publishing Car Wars add on rules for Hero Games' core systems.

Bah, thats nothing... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#43778421)

Compared to the size of the layouts the WA Brick Society (that's Western Australia, not Washington State btw) has displayed over the last few years, that layout is tiny.
And I bet there are clubs out there doing even bigger layouts.

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Is the guy in the video really Steve Jackson? (0)

narcc (412956) | about a year ago | (#43778941)

I only ask because I'm having trouble picturing him as the gigantic loser in the video showing off a toy train.

Yes, this is flamebait. That fact, however, doesn't negate the point nor make the weird-o in the video any less awkward.

Re:Is the guy in the video really Steve Jackson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779909)

I'd take an awkward weirdo for a friend over an obnoxious bell-end any day.

Nice but not as impressive as (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#43781285)

While that layout is nice it isn't as impressive as the ones up at Brickmania Toyworks [] in Minneapolis, MN. Housed there is the Greater Midwest Lego Train Club's [] layout as well as the Twin Cities Lego Train Club's [] layout. I highly suggest checking out the things in the base of the layout as well as looking carefully around the layout as there are some quite funny things (can you find tiger getting clubbed). They also have some large stand alone scenes they created like a WWII German town under siege, a Vietnam War Battle, and a Pacific amphibious assault from WWII which are all mostly to scale with numerous other models they created elsewhere. They even let you play with their Legos, have a ramp to race Lego vehicles down, and will let you run your own Lego train on their layouts. Kids love it, hell even adults like it and find humor there, plus it doesn't cost anything but donations are welcome and I always toss some money in the bin as it is great wholesome fun for a few hours.
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