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View Full Version : 'Hidden Error' (Built-in) Assets - the true effects? (Opinions wanted)



shaneturner12
July 2nd, 2012, 09:56 AM
Hi Trainzers,

This is related to another thread I recently made, but I've created this thread to keep the other one from going off-topic.

I have found that these 'hidden error' assets actually can impact on game performance in quite a big way.

For example, the AJS Stations. Two of these (the 6T 3.5 and 8T 3.5) have hidden errors that affect the way the station works.

Has anyone else found that their framerates are lower when using built-in assets? I certainly have.

The main problem is that thanks to N3V's policy of hiding errors on built-in assets, users have no idea on how bad the situation is (and that's why they do not want users to open them for edit then recommit them)

It's not just hidden errors though. Some of these built-in assets have high buffer counts.

I'm interested to hear other users opinions on this subject, so I can gauge whether I should raise a Helpdesk ticket on the matter.

Shane

P.S. If any users wish to check these themselves, please clone the asset first.

fran1
July 2nd, 2012, 11:02 AM
I've just been looking at built in train vehicles in 2010 cm, the chn ones at the bottom seem to be the worst offenders. On saying that nearly everything I've looked at has texture txt files missing. Note all aurans have been disabled.
It's a difficult one to judge by what amount the fps is affected, with a poor machine the effect will be more noticable.

shaneturner12
July 2nd, 2012, 11:06 AM
Thankyou for your response.

The .texture.txt issues can be resolved using PEV's Images2Tga tool.

Shane

p-dehnert
July 2nd, 2012, 11:34 AM
The missing .texture.txt files (and associated graphic files) are only a problem when modifying or clonig the asset. The simulator doesn't need these files, it uses only the compressed .texture files.

Peter

shaneturner12
July 2nd, 2012, 12:13 PM
Hi Peter,

I would agree with that, but unfortunately that does not solve the issue with the other hidden errors in assets. The only way of identifying these is to clone the asset or to open it for edit and recommit.

Shane

fran1
July 2nd, 2012, 06:18 PM
Re the texture txt files missing, normally it brings a yellow warning which can be ignored.
I just cloned a tree (aurans) and it gave me errors for the missing txt files, any ideas why.

Ricke82
July 2nd, 2012, 08:37 PM
I would also be interested in the answer to fran1's question. I recently downloaded a route from a third-party site. CM downloaded the assets needed by the route.Some of them showed as faulty and the only errors were missing texture.txt files. Others showed warnings and (you guessed it) the warnings were all with regard to missing texture.txt files. I'm curious why some these assets were treated as faulty and others weren't. I didn't look at every one, but I did take a look at a few and I couldn't see anything in common with those that showed errors and those that showed only warnings.

Red_Rattler
July 2nd, 2012, 08:41 PM
It's not just hidden errors though. Some of these built-in assets have high buffer counts.

I'm interested to hear other users opinions on this subject, so I can gauge whether I should raise a Helpdesk ticket on the matter.I believe you should raise a Helpdesk Ticket about this.

WindWalkr
July 2nd, 2012, 09:54 PM
Has anyone else found that their framerates are lower when using built-in assets? I certainly have.

This depends on the construction of the assets. For any given asset, a built-in variant will typically be slightly faster to load and have identical runtime performance characteristics. It is of course possible that a built-in asset may be constructed in a less efficient way- we vet the content set for serious performance and visual issues, but since we don't build the content ourselves we cannot ensure that everything is built to a perfectly consistent standard.



..and that's why they do not want users to open them for edit then recommit them

We don't recommend that users edit and recommit built in assets because:

* It's likely to introduce problems that were not previously present, both due to the fact that no source textures are supplied with the game and also due to the possibility of human error when manipulating the content.
* A lot of content (both built-in and otherwise) relies on our built-in content set, so an error or poorly-thought-through edit in the built-in set often has serious follow-on consequences for the 'stability' of the game. To put it bluntly: we don't want to cop the blame for something that a user has broken.
* Keeping source textures around massively increases the file size of the trainz installation. That's why we don't ship with them, and if you use a third-party utility to build your own source textures from our compressed ones, you'll be suffering a significant increase in file size. On a case-by-case basis this is not a big deal, but it adds up quickly when done en mass.
* Creating "source textures" from the included compressed texture files results in lower-quality visuals. Like copying an analog music tape, decompressing and re-compressing the textures can lessen the quality of the game.





..so I can gauge whether I should raise a Helpdesk ticket on the matter.

By all means, if you find a legitimate problem with a built-in item of content, let our Helpdesk know about it. They won't be able to help you directly, but at least they can put it on file for the dev team to have a look at. However, please focus on specific items. Helpdesk won't be able to do anything with generalised comments such as "some of the built-in content is faulty" or by-design limitations such as "CM does not check for errors in the built-in content set" or "the built-in content does not contain source textures."

kind regards,

chris

AntonyVW
July 3rd, 2012, 01:22 AM
Sorry if this is off topic, but what would be really nice is something Ive seen elsewhere. That the staff at Auran/N3V set up a live session where we can chat with them directly to air issues like this. As I have said Ive seen it done else where and it can be highly productive on both sides and give the community a chance to get to know who is looking at fixing what or what in the development pipeline - not just the next version but pre-programmed fixes that are already scheduled.

shaneturner12
July 3rd, 2012, 02:23 AM
Thankyou all for your responses.

fran1 and Ricke82:

Most of the time, when I've seen .texture.txt related errors, PEV'S Images2TGA tool has been able to fix most of them. Other times, I've had to create my own.

Red_Rattler:

I do intend to raise a Helpdesk ticket at some point about this.

WindWalkr:

Thankyou for your insights. I do have certain items that I will pursue with the Helpdesk, as they are faulty dependencies of a large quantity of locomotive/rolling stock assets.

It does concern me though that nothing has been done since TRS2006 (or possibly even earlier) to address this problem with faulty builtins. The effect is quite large especially when one thinks that many assets depend on one or more of the builtin assets.

I can see where you are coming from regarding the textures, but how are users meant to deal with these issues without either cloning the asset or opening it for edit then recommitting? Bear in mind that some builtins (as you probably know anyway) are used by several assets. (The major one for me at the moment is default wagon, which is used by quite a few non-builtin (and possibly builtin) assets).

It also makes me wonder whether some of these assets may be affecting certain Trainz features, like the internal messaging system between assets.

AntonyVW:

I like the sound of that idea - possibly posting it in Suggestion Boxcar may get more interest in it though.

Shane

WindWalkr
July 3rd, 2012, 07:37 AM
It does concern me though that nothing has been done since TRS2006 (or possibly even earlier) to address this problem with faulty builtins. The effect is quite large ..

You don't mention what "large effect" you're referring to? We're not aware of any faults that are problematic. Details?

Thx,

chris

shaneturner12
July 3rd, 2012, 07:55 AM
Hi Chris,

Thankyou for responding to my issues - I do appreciate it.

The main issues/effects I've noticed that appear to be linked to built-in content and/or core game scripts are:

Severely low frame rates (below 1.0) when previously it was at least 5.0 or higher - seems to be symptomatic of faulty content, but I've validated all my non-builtin content and nothing is coming up faulty. There are a few with warnings (progressive meshes,no shadows,aliased meshes etc) but no errors. None of the assets I am using in the route are missing dependencies either.

Disappearing baseboards - this always seems to involve built-in content - examples are 1 track wood,1 track as49,bridge 2t new, which have very high buffer counts. Tunnel Darkstone seems to suffer from the same issue, as do any assets that depend on these.

Trains not loading at stations - This seems to be particularly problematic with the built-in AJS Invisible stations.

Overflows - I haven't been able to track which ones are causing this yet, but it always involves Schedule,Complete messages. My suspicions are that it's a fault with the in-game asset messaging system.

Shane

Ricke82
July 3rd, 2012, 08:08 AM
Thankyou all for your responses.

fran1 and Ricke82:

Most of the time, when I've seen .texture.txt related errors, PEV'S Images2TGA tool has been able to fix most of them. Other times, I've had to create my own.

Shane

Thanks, Shane. Yes, PEV's tool took care of the errors. The issue, for me at least, was why some were faulty in the first place when other assets downloaded at the same time with missing texture.txt files only had warnings.

shaneturner12
July 3rd, 2012, 08:09 AM
It's OK. I'm just seeing if I can sort out the other issues with WindWalkr's help.

Shane

Red_Rattler
July 3rd, 2012, 10:04 AM
We're not aware of any faults that are problematicI note you say that you are not aware of any faults that ARE probematic, not that their are not any faults.

I have just installed a fresh copy of Trainz (with nothing else downloaded at this stage), yet ALL the track is missing and has the white dashed lines.

And about the faults, this fresh install has quite a number of items that are in the red fault text.

shaneturner12
July 3rd, 2012, 10:15 AM
I noticed that as well. I'm currently building up evidence of the faults so N3V can do something about it.

Shane

WindWalkr
July 3rd, 2012, 09:06 PM
I note you say that you are not aware of any faults that ARE probematic, not that their are not any faults.

It would be a bit silly to claim that any product as large as Trainz has no bugs.



I have just installed a fresh copy of Trainz (with nothing else downloaded at this stage), yet ALL the track is missing and has the white dashed lines.

And about the faults, this fresh install has quite a number of items that are in the red fault text.

If the game was in that condition from the get-go, then it sounds like you've got a faulty install, which has nothing to do with what we are discussing here. If you can't figure it out yourself, then please contact our Helpdesk for assistance.

kind regards,

chris

WindWalkr
July 4th, 2012, 12:06 AM
Severely low frame rates (below 1.0) when previously it was at least 5.0 or higher

You don't indicate what the "before" and "after" case is here, but both numbers sounds ridiculously low. Is your machine above our minimum spec? Is this a built-in route or something else? What is the "previously" that you indicate? A different version of Trainz?



- seems to be symptomatic of faulty content

I'm not sure that I follow this logic. I get that you are seeing a performance issue, but why do you assume that relates to faulty content (built-in or otherwise)?



Disappearing baseboards

Do you mean that they're completely being erased? Or that the draw distance is reducing? If we're talking about draw distance reduction, then that relates to inefficient content, but has nothing to do with "faulty" content in the sense that we use that word.



Trains not loading at stations - This seems to be particularly problematic with the built-in AJS Invisible stations.

This sounds more like a bug with the content in question, or with the use of that content. While it's possible that this relates to a problem with the construction of the asset, it's more than likely not something that CM can be expected to detect.



Overflows - I haven't been able to track which ones are causing this yet, but it always involves Schedule,Complete messages. My suspicions are that it's a fault with the in-game asset messaging system.

The script messaging system itself is unlikely to have any bugs, however it has upper limits on how many messages can be propagated simultaneously. In the event that this limit is reached, it will be reported. That may or may not lead to additional problems (depending on why the limit was reached, and whether the lost messages were important to anything.) In this scenario, we consider any problem behaviour resulting from reaching the limits to be a bug (with the system, or with the content, depending on the cause) but do not consider the limit itself to be a problem.

cheers,

chris

AntonyVW
July 4th, 2012, 01:53 AM
Thankyou all for your responses.

AntonyVW:

I like the sound of that idea - possibly posting it in Suggestion Boxcar may get more interest in it though.

Shane

Done that now. Maybe someone else might have similar ideas.

shaneturner12
July 4th, 2012, 02:04 AM
Hi again Chris,

I will attempt to answer your questions.

The 'previous' version I used was TS2009 SP4, whereas I now use TS2010.

My belief that it is due to faulty content is partly based on Jetlog output, and partly based on previous experience (especially as compatibility mode seems to be running at ~4-5FPS in some areas of the map(which I know is low, but it's a fairly large built-up area including splines).

With relation to the baseboard issue, it is a draw distance reduction issue, which seems to indicate to me that the assets causing it are inefficient. (and yes, the offenders are nearly always built-in assets)

With the station loading issues, this can happen with any station, whether it is built-in or not. Are you saying that all stations have been incorrectly constructed? (This includes Bloodnok's new and old Station Platforms)

With relation to the script messaging system, as I mentioned to you previously, the issue now appears to be random on when it happens. I believe it is linked to the station loading issue. It's a pity that Trainz cannot report why the limit was reached. As stated in the last post, it's nearly always Schedule,Complete messages that are discarded, which is impacting on stations.

I am interested to see what your answers are on this topic, as I'm sure that I am not the only one who suffers from at least one of these problems.

Shane

EDIT: More information on the station loading problems and the workarounds that have been tried can be found at http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?89463-AJS-Invisible-Stations-and-Bloodnok-s-New-Platforms-Loading-Problems-Workaround.