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View Full Version : why is surveyor so limiting and will it improve in future ?



dangavel
August 11th, 2016, 03:43 AM
I've often wondered just why we have so many limitations regarding what one can do with surveyor. Yesterday , i spent hours trying to bring terrain closer to the track so that the line could run along a narrow ledge and cursed the limitations of the software in allowing one to accurately manipulate the terrain . Similarly, if only there was an opacity tool one could blend textures so much more effectively then one can do at present, the brush in Trainz is akin to using a six inch house painting brush,its severely limiting, its possible to do good work with it, but it is a pain to use much of the time.

When TANE came along, i was hoping that we would have a narrower brush and more control over being able to sculpt the ground , some features of a graphics program like photoshop such as different brushes and opacity control would allow the program to deliver a far more real world effect without having to resort to creating objects such as embankments which never look like the real thing if they are any length due to problems of repeated patterns.

I'd be interested to know why effort wasn't put into developing a better surveyor and if the next iteration of Trainz is going to feature a surveyor that would really allow artists to realise their visions without having to resort to 3d modelling , with all its complexities and limitations regarding polygon counts if a degree of realism is to be achieved.

shaneturner12
August 11th, 2016, 05:04 AM
Have you tried using Ctrl or Shift? These can help in terms of fine tuning.

Shane

dangavel
August 11th, 2016, 05:18 AM
Have you tried using Ctrl or Shift? These can help in terms of fine tuning.

Shane oh yes, i'm familiar with the controls, but brucshes are still too large for my liking, i want a one or two pixel size brush. i'd like to be able to select a small amount of terrain and tweak it like you c an in 3d modellign programs i imagine there may be technical reasons why i can't make adjustments like i can in most other programs, I find surveyor primitive to the extreme when i compare its degree of control to other software i use daily and was extremely disappointed when TANE hardly changed anything in its feature set when it sounded lkie it would revolutionise the surbveyor experience.

shaneturner12
August 11th, 2016, 05:26 AM
You are welcome to put things forward as feature requests in that case.

Shane

cascaderailroad
August 11th, 2016, 05:48 AM
That's the way it is ... Don't expect any big improvements this decade (it's now 2016) :cool: ... TS12 will be unsupported ... T:ANE will have a few improvements to bring it up to be a playable simulator (as it should have been from the release date) ... then the whole ball of wax will be on developing "NEXT T:ANE" simulator (for you to buy)

cressjl
August 11th, 2016, 06:47 AM
...i imagine there may be technical reasons why i can't make adjustments like i can in most other programs...
I agree with your suggestion wholeheartedly. Trainz, unlike 3D modeling software, is having to run real-time, and having to load many textures and so forth greatly hinders performance. It is safe to assume that the more variation permitted in defining the landscape only increases its complexity and consequently, the required time to construct on the fly. This would drive developers toward leaving the brush resolution where it is, even in T:ANE.

On the other hand, I notice that there is quite a significant number of Trainz users that are more oriented to building scenes and "drive-bys" rather than larger operational routes; these folks tend to be more concerned about creating realism in a very confined area. These are the ones that would greatly benefit from more precision in the tools.

dangavel
August 11th, 2016, 08:23 AM
I agree with your suggestion wholeheartedly. Trainz, unlike 3D modeling software, is having to run real-time, and having to load many textures and so forth greatly hinders performance. It is safe to assume that the more variation permitted in defining the landscape only increases its complexity and consequently, the required time to construct on the fly. This would drive developers toward leaving the brush resolution where it is, even in T:ANE.

On the other hand, I notice that there is quite a significant number of Trainz users that are more oriented to building scenes and "drive-bys" rather than larger operational routes; these folks tend to be more concerned about creating realism in a very confined area. These are the ones that would greatly benefit from more precision in the tools.
indeed, there is a need for that degree of sensitivity.
also, i can't quite understand why some settings such as 'smooth spline height " cannot be changed so the terrain hugs more closely to the track width . the actual single 3d section isn't much wider then a standard gauge track , yet trainz makes the default size two squares wide , i cannot see how this makes a great deal of difference to rendering , especially when people are using displacement maps of terrain which are more complex than most people can make with basic terrain tools.
am i wrong in making that assumption ?

JCitron
August 11th, 2016, 09:19 AM
indeed, there is a need for that degree of sensitivity.
also, i can't quite understand why some settings such as 'smooth spline height " cannot be changed so the terrain hugs more closely to the track width . the actual single 3d section isn't much wider then a standard gauge track , yet trainz makes the default size two squares wide , i cannot see how this makes a great deal of difference to rendering , especially when people are using displacement maps of terrain which are more complex than most people can make with basic terrain tools.
am i wrong in making that assumption ?

The terrain under the tracks is actually better now and it seems to be affected by which track is used. The older track, such as that made in the TRS2004 days will pull away, however, track such as that created by simulatortrain at Jointed Rail, will actually pull the terrain up and smooth out nicely due to additional track parameters which are not available in older assets.

Here are some of the tags which are not there in Build 2.0 assets, for example:



mesh-length 0.0
adjust-height-to-ground-threshold -3.402823466e+38
adjust-height-to-ground-offset 0.0
adjust-cross-section-to-ground 1
track-lod-tree
{
}
coordinate-transformation "spline"
follows-spline-gradient 0
follows-ground-height-at-ends-of-mesh 0
dont-scale-mesh-to-fit-length 0


I have played around with these with various results including one parameter, I can't remember which one now, that ended up extending the ballast down into the ground, however, the track was up very high as well. I recommend doing the same. Clone one of the tracks that has at Build 2.9, anything lower and these tags won't work, and play around with them. I think anyway that a Build 2.9 asset would have these parameters already in there and you can adjust the values to suit. I highly recommend consulting the Trainz Wiki on the track container as that will have the details on the tags and will help you determine which ones are useful.

The reason for the lack of smaller tools, which I would love too, has to do with the mesh and texturing. The smaller the tool radius the finer the mesh has to be, and a finer mesh means more polygons and points need to be drawn. The new 5 meter baseboard grid offers 14,400 grid points on the mesh, which allows for much finer control of course, but this comes at a cost because it takes that much more processing and resources to push these around in the computer system. Since the program is aimed at everyone, and not just those of us with super computers, the option was chosen, most likely, to stay at the lower end of the spectrum so everyone can enjoy the program.

clam1952
August 11th, 2016, 09:22 AM
If you could flatten to say a 5m grid (you can manually) unless its NS or EW you get a jagged edge, to get it to smooth properly at 5m you would need a 2.5m grid which would dramatically increase the loading and reduce performance.
They as in N3V were looking at ways of getting more control over the ground mesh without actually resizing it but I suspect that will be a long way off if it's possible.
It would make my life a lot easier as using a dem using the smooth tool totally wrecks the terrain for Narrow Gauge so I either have to do it manually which I'm quite good at now or make up various splines and embankments to fit bit's that are never going to work otherwise.
you can get away with splines if you use a texture that doesn't have any obvious repeat in it, it is possible!

This is an embankment spline.

http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/280x200q90/923/r934bc.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pnr934bcj)