• TurfFX - the future of landscaping in Trainz

    Clutter is just one way you can use the new "Effect Layers" feature. We've also been working with NVIDIA on their new Turf simulation software (NVIDIA Turf Effects) to incorporate into the Trainz engine.

    As you can see in the image below, this feature will completely change the way trackside grass and weed areas will be created.

    Instead of laying splines to give the appearance of dense grass, you will actually be able to paint dense grass using TurFX and the standard Trainz tools.

    Creating Turf Assets

    For Content Creators, here are the basics of the new system. TurfFx is made up of individual polygon blades with many options to configure each blade in your Turf Effect Layer and within the asset itself.

    SHAPE: Determine the shape of your blade:

    CURVE: Adjust the curve of your blades based on 2 or 3 control points:

    OFFSET: Set whether your blade needs edge offsets:

    TESSELLATION: Determine the tessellation of your blades:

    DISPERSAL: Adjust the dispersal of your blades:

    BUNCHING: And adjust how blades bunch together:

    DENSITY: Set the number of seeds to plant which controls the overall density:

    COLOUR TINTING: Determine which parts of the blade to colour blend to match the ground texture:

    FINAL TWEAKING: In addition to the adjustments above, you can also tweak the height, width, bending-scale for wind animation and many more parameters to create all different sorts of grass and grass-like ground cover.

    Work-in Progress In-game Footage:
    Although there is still further development required on this feature, here's how it looks in-game right now...

    For more information on future Trainz development be sure to keep up-to-date at http://www.trainzportal.com/blog or see all the articles and have your say https://forums.auran.com/trainz/content.php.

    All content creators wanting to start to look into the technique will find some initial information at http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki very soon.
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. davesnow's Avatar
      davesnow -
      Tony, is this going to work similar to the map editor in several other games, in that, when you lay track and roads OVER the turf, the turf directly under and a few feet to either side of the track or road will vanish? If so, this will be super great!!
    1. bekaember's Avatar
      bekaember -
      It looks promising, but will these "similar feautres" be available on ATI cards too "somehow", or these features will be completely unavailable for ATI card holders?
    1. Roy3b3's Avatar
      Roy3b3 -
      This looks fantastic and so realistic. It's amazing what can be accomplished.

    1. Scitimar's Avatar
      Scitimar -
      not bad WindWalkr
    1. Tony_Hilliam's Avatar
      Tony_Hilliam -
      Features will work on ATI although we’re still looking at implementation on the Mac

      Regarding track eliminating anything else on that grid square, Trainz allows as many asset types as you want - the flexibility is yours to do with as you please. I’m sure being forced into system restrictions would not be popular.
    1. tume's Avatar
      tume -
      Wow – very great!!!

      I cannot wait to get this new functionality used when I create my routes.

      Thank you very much for creating this new clutter mesh – I have been waiting for that so long.

      I hope it will maintain season change - does it do so?

      Your’s TUME
    1. prr325's Avatar
      prr325 -
      Gonna need a bigger computer.
    1. martinvk's Avatar
      martinvk -
      As others have said, WOW, Trainz is looking better and better. Is this limited to grass or can other things like trash be added too?
    1. ClintClassic's Avatar
      ClintClassic -
      Quote Originally Posted by prr325 View Post
      Gonna need a bigger computer.
      Yeah, and we were concerned about the trees. Now we need to worry about the grass!

      Great technology... again, but it'll be back to the ol' drawing board... in a VERY big way; after importing my route over (to TRS 2018), updating and "Replacing Assets" with ALL these new things! But, do I think it'll be worth it? DARN RIGHT it'll be worth it! We mustn't stop the wheels of progress!
    1. kin3's Avatar
      kin3 -
      That looks a lot like FarCry scenery. Great.
    1. martinvk's Avatar
      martinvk -
      Quote Originally Posted by ClintClassic View Post
      ... DARN RIGHT it'll be worth it! We mustn't stop the wheels of progress!
      As long as we don't get run over by those wheels. Have to be a pretty nimble creator to keep up with all these improvements. Can't say we didn't see this coming, what with all the noise for more realism over the years. Interesting times indeed.
    1. ramsay72's Avatar
    1. davesnow's Avatar
      davesnow -
      Quote Originally Posted by kin3 View Post
      That looks a lot like FarCry scenery. Great.

      That's what I was referring to. When you lay a road over the scenery (grass, bushes, trees) in Far Cry, the vegetation is eliminated under the road.

      This video shows it better than I can explain it:

    1. kin3's Avatar
      kin3 -
      Yea, I like that davesnow. A very good video.
    1. martinvk's Avatar
      martinvk -
      Easy installation.

      First look. around the tree stumps (sign Nvidia Turf effects), where the new TurfFX grass is used, at first I thought there was something alive underground that was trying to escape. But no, it was the grass moving. It all moves as one unit, a bit strange to say the least. I suppose getting individual blades to move independently might be too much for any reasonable GPU but if it could be broken into smaller blocks that could in tun be overlapped and rotated, the choreographed line dance look could be reduced.

      At some of the Ground Texture, parallax / detail mapping signs, it is very nice. Hard to see any repeating texture close up. From a distance, there is a faint repetition at the 10 m grid.
      At other Ground Texture Parallax signs, the grid repetition is much more evident.
      The Clutter Layers also look pretty good, especially the smaller objects. The taller plants suffer a bit from being static. Those broad leaves should catch and move in a light breeze.
    1. Scitimar's Avatar
      Scitimar -
      @ NV3 >> Is there any seasonal control over the grass via the texture set.
    1. philskene's Avatar
      philskene -
      STUNNING !~!

      I can't wait to use this. When will be be ready to go?
    1. Zeldaboy14's Avatar
      Zeldaboy14 -
      Trainz: A New E-reality of Grass in Trainz. Great Job! this is awsome work!
    1. RailFan500CA's Avatar
      RailFan500CA -
      This looks absolutely fantastic. For me it's just beating the other simulators. I plan on getting trainz 2012 next,but I hope I can get this and the requirements for the next edition of trainz.

      Keep up the good work.
    1. EverTrainz's Avatar
      EverTrainz -
      I hate to turn this into a suggestion thread but it may be worth asking since these are pertinent to the direct trackside atmosphere:

      1) Dynamic "procedural" ballast; completely ditches ballast as provided in the track asset, and uses terrain below to form random shape of ballast below track. Tracks (from config) could be able to marked as "no ballast" to disable this feature, and ballast properties such as spread (how far out from track sides), shape (is it a squiggly shape? Straight, neat?), and smoothness (freshly laid, geometric shape? Or more organic, rounded and random over time?). These would use all the new eye candy features, specifically detail maps so that different colorations and hues could be visible over a larger stretch. "Wild card" random textures, such as oil spills or random streaks? Height reached would be set by track height, and other environment features such as existing terrain shape.

      2) One big pet peeve found in almost all Trainz routes is the embankment grass texture, how it is always a different shade. I think a new terrain forming technique could be implemented called a KIND "embankment" spline asset, which literally splits the grid below. There are 2 sides to an embankment spline, the upper and the lower obviously. In Surveyor, you could manipulate both sides of the embankments' heights individually, without affecting the other. When an embankment ends, there has to be some sort of algorithm or something of the sort to smooth out the gaps made either side, and a way to fill in the cuts. I highly, highly doubt this is going to ever be implemented, but just a nice thought.

      3) Separate KIND "catenary" asset that automatically ("prodecurally") snaps to location of track, through auto-generation and technology ( ), places catenary masts and lateral gantry splines where the tracks end (laterally). The user can use a "move" tool to slide these supports up and down the track, stretching the catenary length inbetween, and if multiple shorter gantry supports are preferred, the user can "split" the gantry spline. Curves would automatically be detected and gantries placed along accordingly. Can also use Properties to change type of catenary supports, for example in stations or on long bridges/tunnels. The appropriate wire splines used for different situations such as turnouts, diamond crossings, under bridges, etc. would be in the config, and some sort of newfound computer algorithms and technology (again ) would detect whether these conditions are satisfied e.g. bounding box under bridges or tunnels.

      4) Automatic SSS: "Smart signal system" uses that new computer logic to automatically wire up the signals to the appropriate rods and/or wires, and can cut under the tracks and across the rail line as needed. Factors such as where the linkages turn/change direction can be altered by user using "pin points", to allow users to move them where the prototype rail line had them. The wires, rods, linkages, etc. would all come out from a new asset "Signalbox", and a change in a signal state based on train position on the line would work backwards as in, the change in signal state would maneuver the wires and rods, which would then change the position of the mechanism sticking out from under the signalbox, in the case of older versions. I doubt modern signals use this, except for a small white covered box "spline" that covers the electric signal wire from weather.

      It's all a dream for now but Trainz is becoming more up-close and real with the detail, like TSW, instead of being a representation. These new Turf Effects are a great example of that, and the simplicity massively trumps the old method of manually placing spline after spline.

      Trainz's biggest advantage is its Surveyor, and to have to manually do everything would be a bigger chore. So why not push what can be done and have the computer do the busy work, while the user can focus on the creative aspect? I feel that if the user does not have to finick as much with trackside details such as signal wiring and rodding, and catenary, routes would get longer and the builders would be more satisfied.

      Making everything dynamic/interacting with the environment or other assets frees up time to focus on other aspects of route building such as laying more track and placing buildings. Just like railway building shifted from man-powered to technology, railway simulation should also shift from doing everything by hand, to technology/computer.