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Thread: Some thoughts on sounds.

  1. #16
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    What's also unclear is just what kind of sound producing device the Trainz audio engine is expecting. There is an extremely wide variance in Trainz users' experience in this area. Some users find the sounds to be wonderful, others have total audio dropouts every few seconds. Some use onboard audio, some use sound cards, but there seems to be no correlation between the hardware and the quality of the resulting sound. My own PC contains what was a high end Soundblaster at the time (2012), and Trainz sounds perfectly awful with it.

    I can't help but think that a lot of the problem has to do with how many audio channels have to be simultaneously mixed to the final output. When every creator feels they have to add a sound component to every little asset (I'm half-expecting telephone poles that whistle in the wind one of these days) the unnecessary proliferation of sound sources has to be a potential source of problems. Whether this is handled by the Trainz sound routines or is referred to the PC's output software/hardware I have no idea, but perhaps some clarification on this from N3V would be helpful in determining what an optimum hardware setup would be. This would also be to N3V's advantage, as the current confusion and widespread experience with poor sound reflects (quite possibly unfairly) on them.

    --Lamont

  2. #17

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    Memory may not serve me well here, but I seem to recall one significant change to sound and that was fade in of general track noise (rail joint sound) at 30mph or thereabouts in TRS2006. This effect, I note, continues to this day.

    I thought that was a good response to feedback from users at that time.

    Now, we have continuously welded rail, and so, the disappearance of general track-rail-joint noise in the real world except for the occasion track spread (rail spreading out of gauge) and the associated yawp-yaw rail noise when rolling stock goes hunting on the rail head.

    So there is a tension between modern railroading practice (less of "road noise" and the periods we are modelling (more of 40 foot rail and its associated road noise).

    Perhaps, one day, we may be able to set the track sound as an event in surveyor?
    Speak the truth, follow right conduct; all else will fall into place.

  3. #18
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    This thread got me interested in what real engines sound like. There are many websites and youtube clips. One thing quickly became very clear, the sound of an engine at high speed is not just the sound of the engine at low speed just played faster. See this series of clips https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whcHZntoduE

    I don't think the purists will ever be truly satisfied. But I do agree there is much lacking with the current system.




    But I guess we could carry that discussion to smoke as well...
    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG]
    The first pic is the loco at low speed, the second at high speed.

    In N3V smoke is smoke regardless of speed.
    Last edited by ecco; May 14th, 2018 at 10:23 AM.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pencil42 View Post
    One question - why 2 audio channels? I was thinking the audio comes from a point source, and so should be a mono file that would be mixed to the two output channels depending on the orientation of the camera to the audio source?

    I myself have always struggled with audio in my assets. I don't have a good baseline that I can use to verify my loudness against; for example.

    Thanks,
    Curtis
    Quote Originally Posted by pware View Post
    Its been many, many years since I did an acoustics course in my Science degree but I do seem to recall that having two channels increases the "3D sound depth". Even though there may be just a single "point source" for the sound by using two spaced microphones means that the two channels will not be identical and this can give the ears (or more accurately, the brain) 3D spacial information about the source of the sound.
    Pretty much this. Single-channel audio is strictly mono, 2-channel audio is stereo. Stereo is much more realistic for simulators like Trainz, in which many objects and the camera have to move around and thus the audio will change depending on where they're moving, how fast, etc. In music, where most of my work with audio lies, 2-channel audio files are responsible for receiving a certain instrument more in one ear/speaker - such as how it's very common for the left headphone/speaker to have more guitar emphasis on some slightly older tracks, I've noticed. With Trainz, multiple channels makes the sound not appear from a fixed point, which is crucial in a game like this one.

    Cheers,
    SM

    Last Call! SMWorks will close in November, 2019. Home of the Silver Lines.

  5. #20

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    I am happy that sound is finally having a proper discussion in this community. I was very disappointed when Tony made no mention of improved sound quality or effects to Trainz. Trainz has been around for a long time now. As some have pointed out, most of the sounds we hear in TANE dates back to the UTC days of Trainz! As someone who has played with the freeware BVE train simulator many years ago, I always admired how well it simulated train physics and sound effects. BVE allowed a lot of flexibility to content creators in making trains sound quite realistic.

    With that said, I will propose some ideas on how N3V could tweak the sound engine without the need of special scripts or coding by the content creator. These ideas I base off how BVE handles sound effects.

    Locomotive sounds...

    The current way Diesel locomotives handles Notch up - Idle - Notch down is currently set where if you go from Notch 0 to notch 8, you will hear all the notch up's and idle samples until you get to idle 8.WAV. The reverse happens when you notch back down to notch 0. It would be ideal that the new sound engine skips the idle samples until it reaches the correct notch of the throttle.

    The addition of adding air compressor sounds into the enginesound KUID's would be ideal. this could look like Compressor-start.WAV compressor-idle.wav compressor-end.wav

    Also adding to the enginesound KUID would be the air brake sound effects. This would completely replace the default "yet annoying" air break sound in Trainz where it sounds like someone is releasing air from a tire. These files could be labeled as Air-apply.wav Air-release.wav and Air-dump.wav

    Dynamic breaking should also be added. Dynamic-break.wav This file should be pitched based on the force amount of breaking selected by the driver.


    Tracksounds...

    Tracksounds should no loner be allowed to be tied to bogey KUID's. Tracksounds should strictly be tied to track KUID's. A track over wooden ties sounds different from tracks over a bridge or in a tunnel. They may also sound different based on various methods tracks are constructed these days. Also, locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars sound different when going over these tracks. With that said, I propose the tracksound KUID has multiple tracks based on what is on them. Here is an example of what I am saying.

    L for locomotive
    LRUN1.WAV
    LRUN2.Wav
    LRUN3.wav
    etc
    P for Passenger
    PRUN1.WAV
    PRUN2.Wav
    PRUN3.wav
    etc
    F for Freight
    FRUN1.WAV
    FRUN2.Wav
    FRUN3.wav
    etc

    Following these steps would mean we could finally retire the default clickety clack sound. Squealing flanges effects should also be added particularly in curves. Trainz does this a bit, but it can be hugely improved! It should also produce such sounds at higher speeds.

    Bogeysound...

    A bogey sound should be a new KUID that is introduced. In this file should be where the traction motor sounds of a locomotive or a multiple unit lives. Currently, this is one of the biggest weaknesses with Trainz. It is horrible with traction motor sounds which is awful for electric trains. traction motors base their pitch to speed. The faster the train goes, the higher the pitch of the traction motor. Also some trains have multiple sounds to their traction motors when starting from a stop position. No traction motor sound should be herd if the throttle is in the neutral position. This is exactly how Trainz should replicate traction motor sounds.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJOnjng9poc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1qyivrX6eM

    Junction sounds should be included in the Bogeysound KUID's. Trainz badly needs to remove the default junction sound. Ether N3V get a professional to record trains going over a junction or let the content creators make much better sound effects.

    These are some of the ideas that N3V can do to vastly improve the train sound effects in Trainz. All this is so far just off the top of my head and not so hard to implement.
    Last edited by jd_james; May 14th, 2018 at 08:14 PM.

  6. #21
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    Yes, it is an interesting discussion.

    From the above posts it seems to me that we MAY need an LOD equivalent for sounds, like the LODs for graphical objects but not linked to distance from the camera. I do recall a discussion some time ago about the sound of steam locos being tied to their speeds (I have noticed a change in the beat of the loco sounds at around 9-10mph) and that this should be tied to the throttle setting instead.

    I can see problems though. You would need realistic high quality audio recordings for many different throttle settings just as you currently *should* have many different mesh and texture-maps for different LOD distances. While the LOD data size does decrease with increasing distance, the audio data recording size would probably not.

    Smoke levels could be similarly handled.

    Just an idea.
    A member of the "Party Machine". Now if only I could remember where they are holding the party!

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pencil42 View Post
    One question - why 2 audio channels? I was thinking the audio comes from a point source, and so should be a mono file that would be mixed to the two output channels depending on the orientation of the camera to the audio source?
    Only ambient sounds are stereo, because they are not a point source. Point source sounds are mono, and are moved left or right depending on the orientation of the source to the user's implied viewing position.

  8. #23
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    Tracksounds...

    Tracksounds should no loner be allowed to be tied to bogey KUID's. Tracksounds should strictly be tied to track KUID's. A track over wooden ties sounds different from tracks over a bridge or in a tunnel. They may also sound different based on various methods tracks are constructed these days. Also, locomotives, passenger cars and freight cars sound different when going over these tracks. With that said, I propose the tracksound KUID has multiple tracks based on what is on them. Here is an example of what I am saying.



    There is a tags available for this already and this has been used by some content creators. Jointed Rail, for example has exellent bogey and couple sounds which have all the rattling and squeaking you would expect of a freight car.

    Some older Romanian track produced sounds based on the speed that the train traveled. This track, however, is the old chunk mesh and doesn't look as good as it did back in the TRS2006/TS2009 days, and HP Trainz applied sounds to their bridges used on their payware Marias Pass route.

    http://online.ts2009.com/mediaWiki/index.php/"track-sound"_container

    Track-sound container, which can be attached to track, bridges, bogeys.

    Code:
    track <NULL>
    track-parent <NULL>
    bogey <NULL>
    track-sound <NULL>
    priority 0


    Sounds attach to a bogey like this:

    Code:
    kind          "bogey"
     animdist      2.39
     axle-offsets  -2.5,2.5
     direct-drive  0  
     track-sound   {}


    We have the capabilities of this here, but it needs to be implemented more fully. Having a library of excellent track is a great idea. With the library, content-creators could choose the sound appropriate to their asset. The problem though, like the switch point sounds, we'll have a generic sound for each situation, and like the other built-in sounds like the current track-sound, we'll be annoyed with the same sounds for everything. That's an issue which we need to work out and like anything else is community driven, community-created, and there will be some sounds better than others, sounds that don't quite match the bogeys, the kind of track, and so on so in the end the only way to accomplish this is to use custom track sounds for each and every track-type, and each and every bogey-type/set will need its own sound set.

    In theory this is great, but given the complexity of everything related to railroads, we have quite the project, or pickle if you want and that's why we ended up with the default track and point sounds we've got.

    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

  9. #24
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    In TRS2006 there are a whole slew of railroad sounds, hidden away inside a JA file, and all these sound files are never ever used, such as: coupling, uncoupling, points ... etc ... sound files

    I don't know why it is so difficult for N3V to get these sound files to work, and why they are hidden away, "locked down" inside an un-openable, un-editable, JA file

    And whoever recorded, and incorporated the lame default click-clack tracksound, surely was tone deaf, and never even listened to a real prototype train sound
    Last edited by cascaderailroad; May 15th, 2018 at 08:23 AM.

  10. #25
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    I have to say about the 2nd photo above the smoke that the loco is producing is from coasting and not applying any throttle at all. Of course less smoke is produced by doing this. In Trainz, it IS represented in Driver by putting your driving mode to "cab or realistic mode". In DCC it does not because it works differently, basically like a model train instead of a real one. You can hit a button to adjust the smoke to look like your model train is coasting, but it isn't.
    Last edited by MTH_ELECTRIC_TRAINS; May 15th, 2018 at 09:01 AM.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascaderailroad View Post
    In TRS2006 there are a whole slew of railroad sounds, hidden away inside a JA file, and all these sound files are never ever used, such as: coupling, uncoupling, points ... etc ... sound files

    I don't know why it is so difficult for N3V to get these sound files to work, and why they are hidden away, "locked down" inside an un-openable, un-editable, JA file

    And whoever recorded, and incorporated the lame default click-clack tracksound, surely was tone deaf, and never even listened to a real prototype train sound
    The coupling sound is used in TS12 and up. When coupling there's that bang, clink, clunk, rattle roll, squeal as the freight cars settle back into place after being slammed and coupled. When uncoupling, the process produces a clink and bang sound as the couples undo and the air hose glad hand uncouples.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
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  12. #27
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    Basically the sound issues are (compiled):


    • Old sounds with low sample and bitrate
    • Bad documentation on the already included sound engine (the Trainzwiki is there but yeah it still would help if there where better explanations especially on the recommended lengths of the .wav files in engine sounds) There should be clear sound conventions.
    • Under utilisation of the already included engine> I see lots of engine sound where functions of ramp up and ramp down are not used. For an example of this download a Taurus Locomotive with included engine sound and test it. The engine sound is there in whole (in the file) but the config does not provide the right lengths of the ramp up and down durations so the wav sounds are not played right. This is already a third party object but a good example nevertheless that content creators are partly responsible for the finishing touches (sounds)
    • Not providing all necessary sound samples: When making an acceleration sound it is necessary for provide 8 ramp up sounds and 8 ramp down sounds and 8 idle sounds. I did that with my own Japanese engine sounds. And even I made a little fault in my latest N700 Sakura enginesound where an idle sound is a bit to short and therefore repeating and clicking (will provide an update of that sound by time stretching that file and) even though I provided an exponential fade in on the beginning and out on the end of the .wav file of a few milliseconds.
    • Not using the sound radius settings (as mentioned by J Citron)
    • No basic sound object editor in Surveyor (a menu with some edtiting options would be nice for the scenery sound objects so that you can set the sound radius jus in the same way as you set trigger radius.
    • N3v not providing a basic good starting sound sets to begin with and relying on very old sound sets.
    • No options to switch things on and off to your liking from within the program.


    As a music artis and Audiophile I would say that mono is fine. It is in fact better for placements for objects within a world. It is the engine of the game that mixes the sound object back in stereo. I mean in music a lot of base and base guitar samples are mono mixed too to sit in the middle of the mix and help to bring out the stereo mixed sounds by providing a clear base tone in the middle so that other sounds such as pads and synths provide a stereo carpet. You would be surprised that a lot of vocals are recorded mono too but are then feed into auxiliary mixing channels for stereo effects, placement (panning) and layering.

    So Mono is not the issue. It is what the sound engine of the program does with it>>

    The suggested action that the engine should skip the idle files would help with acceleration and braking would help with making acceleration sounds and braking sounds more realistic. But a better mechanism to tie the .wav file to certain speeds would be even better.

    In an ideal would you should be able to create a train where every part of it is being able to make it own sound and then use an in game mixing desk to tune the levels. Dream on

    Here's an example of a Japanese BVE route to demonstrate how important sound is. Without the sound half of the illusion would be destroyed. BVE is able through sound only to make a very convincing ride. This is of course a Japanese example but it also holds true for Diesel Trains and Steam engines.


    .
    Last edited by pagroove; May 15th, 2018 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Add example BVE video

  13. #28

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    Like i brought up, the default sounds are annoying to me, especially since i can't disable them in T:ANE like previous version. But one thing i can see, is to add a option to use custom sounds, custom sounds tied to tracks (this idea is from what i read in this), the default (which should be disabled by default and is a fallback incase somethings wrong), and maybe throw in another default, only the 2nd default is the old trainz track sounds from Trainz, UTC, and i believe 2004(?)

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldowns View Post
    What's also unclear is just what kind of sound producing device the Trainz audio engine is expecting. ... Some use onboard audio, some use sound cards, but there seems to be no correlation between the hardware and the quality of the resulting sound.
    Interestingly, the TANE Hardware Discussion Forum lists the minimum and the recommended CPU, GPU, OS, RAM and HDD space, but no audio specs at all.
    A member of the "Party Machine". Now if only I could remember where they are holding the party!

  15. #30
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    Trainz 2019
    The Sound quality of the Steam Engines are very Poor and unrealistic. I have tried everything with the COnfig files to no avail to make them sound better.
    The Chug Progression is really bad, How can Trainz be this bad? The older TRS 2006 had excellent Steam Sounds.

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