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Thread: Speed tree revelation

  1. #1
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    Default Speed tree revelation

    After watching a few route builders on Youtube I had come to the conclusion that speed trees should be used sparingly as they had a significant negative impact on frame rates. During a bit of experimentation in an attempt to improve FPS, including removing all speed trees with no effect, I removed all the old 2d billboard stuff and replaced it with a forest of speed trees...what an improvement! An instant jump in performance. Where I was struggling to maintain 30 frames per second, I'm now getting 50-60. I shall be embarking on a tree planting program.

    Is that surprising to anyone else, or is it well known?

  2. #2
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    Just figured that one out mate. I have known that for a long time that speedtrees out-perform any of the billboard style trees...I once brought my high end system to it's knees with a test of using billboard trees over speedtrees. Same route, 3,255 baseboards, no idea how many 10's thousands of trees planted....was getting 35 FPS avg with speedtrees, replaced all with billboard trees and watching my system come to a grinding halt. less than 3 FPS.

    I didn't bother saving that effort....just re-opened my backup of the route.

    Have almost null impact on frame rates in-game.....

  3. #3
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    I've been saying this all along. The reason is actually simple.

    The older style billboard and flipboard trees require the CPU to do all the work before they are displayed whereas Speed Trees make use of primitives and program components, which have libraries in them that will work directly with the GPU (video card).

    What this means is the older billboards will work, but at a cost due to the extra work the computer needs to go through before displaying the object on the screen. Grass, trees, and their relations are really more work because they are actually double-sided polygons with alpha-channels and images on them. Because they are objects, with no primitives (more on this after), it means that they have to be drawn over and over again, and they have to go the long way about it before they're on the screen. This added journey also impacts the CPU as well as the GPU because the CPU has to calculate the polygons and then hand off the information over to the GPU for output. This extra journey over the bus from the hard drive, to memory, to the CPU, then back to memory for the GPU to pick-up all adds up and this causes stutters, especially the reading from the disk and the extra CPU work.

    Speed Trees and their ilk, on the other hand, are generated in the GPU or video card. These primitives mentioned above are bits and pieces of trees, which are loaded into memory ready for assembly as required. The GPU is also much faster than the CPU and much better at math, which makes the video cards more suitable for this so the trees and plants are assembled quickly and are already there on the way out to the screen via the framebuffer and require very little interaction with the CPU, which is a lot slower.
    John
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  4. #4

    Question Help with figuring out the what assets are Billboard vs what is a Speedtree Asset?

    Excellent information, and as noted I agree on the math process of GPU doing the job it should by relieving the Graphic weight issue on an already over worked CPU.....

    So how does one know or deduce what is a speed tree and what is a Billboard Tree, when looking at the asset. Other than looking in the what is written in the Config.txt for every tree? And that's only if it is written? Am I correct or did I miss something? My point being, I prefer at this point in the game to replace all Billboards, over time, I know it will be tortuous job to do, as I would assume there are one or both on who knows how many Routes? Scary thought I know.........

    Is there any easy way, that is my confusion, the computer speak I get real easy. And thinking about it further, it makes sense that my weak GPU is doubly weak trying to process the Bill Board Trees or better graphically drawn Speed Tree Assets.

    What a conundrum if there ever was one!

  5. #5
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    Early days at Trainz for me so this kind of feedback is great! Glad I found this out before I committed too much time to installing billboards when I should have been planting trees

  6. #6
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    I think all speedtreez depend on special library assets while billboard trees usually don’t. So you should be able to tell one type from the other in Content Manager by checking for dependencies. Once you have identified the speedtreez, you might be able to open them for editing and add some text to their names (e.g. ST as a prefix) or add a category-keyword tag to the config with a value such as “speedtree” to use as a filter in Surveyor.
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  7. #7
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    i had thought it was the other way around, that the speed trees slowed down your frame rate. Now if there was only some way to do a batch replace on spline tress.
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  8. #8

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinorius_Redundicus View Post
    I think all speedtreez depend on special library assets while billboard trees usually don’t. So you should be able to tell one type from the other in Content Manager by checking for dependencies. Once you have identified the speedtreez, you might be able to open them for editing and add some text to their names (e.g. ST as a prefix) or add a category-keyword tag to the config with a value such as “speedtree” to use as a filter in Surveyor.
    That makes sense, I think I remember seeing that in a dependency, and didn't give a thought to it at the time. That's a good idea on the "ST" extension.

    Thank you for tip Dean........... Always appreciate your acumen sir.......

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourteen View Post
    i had thought it was the other way around, that the speed trees slowed down your frame rate. Now if there was only some way to do a batch replace on spline tress.
    That's what the bulk replace function is for. Do it one tree type at a time or you'll end up with a mono-culture tree farm.


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  10. #10
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    don't think you can bulk replace or even replace spline tress. Belive you have to delete them and put something else in it's spot. Unless I am wrong anyway.
    Modeling Ho scale on the cheap

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueodessey View Post
    Excellent information, and as noted I agree on the math process of GPU doing the job it should by relieving the Graphic weight issue on an already over worked CPU.....

    So how does one know or deduce what is a speed tree and what is a Billboard Tree, when looking at the asset. Other than looking in the what is written in the Config.txt for every tree? And that's only if it is written? Am I correct or did I miss something? My point being, I prefer at this point in the game to replace all Billboards, over time, I know it will be tortuous job to do, as I would assume there are one or both on who knows how many Routes? Scary thought I know.........

    Is there any easy way, that is my confusion, the computer speak I get real easy. And thinking about it further, it makes sense that my weak GPU is doubly weak trying to process the Bill Board Trees or better graphically drawn Speed Tree Assets.

    What a conundrum if there ever was one!
    Well Blue, it's usually pretty easy actually looking at the item in Surveyor: 'billboard'-type trees are usually pretty basic, and often, but not always, rather look like cardboard cutouts (hence the name 'billboard') in the most basic style (a lot of old legacy trees from the early days of Trainz are like this), where as Speedtrees are more realistic looking, they have actual structure and even animation (in fact, that alone is a pretty good way of determining a Speedtree from a billboard tree, if it's animated, it's probably a Speedtree).

    Incidentally Speedtrees are actually not made by Auran/N3V, it's a third-party package made by another developer that N3V Games has licenced to use with Trainz (it's actually a commonly used package in game design now, you'd be surprised just how many big-name modern games actually use it - in fact, I have a bit of a drinking game going when I'm playing a game and recognize a Speedtree ).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourteen View Post
    don't think you can bulk replace or even replace spline tress. Belive you have to delete them and put something else in it's spot. Unless I am wrong anyway.
    Totally wrong. Bulk replacement works on the basis that the property “Kind” must be the same for both the asset being replaced and it’s replacement. So assets of Kind = scenery can only replace other assets of Kind scenery. Splines are of Kind = track and can only be replaced by Kind = track items.

    What I’m not sure of is whether a tree spline could be replaced by a spline of another type, such as a fence or some actual railroad track. All are ultimately Kind track assets, but differ in other config details.

    Billboard trees (not splines) are usually Kind scenery and so are Speedtrees (I think) so it should be possible to do bulk replacement of one for the other. As martinvk said, don’t bulk replace all the different billboard trees with the same speedtree, or you will end up destroying the biodiversity of your ecosystem.

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    Last edited by Dinorius_Redundicus; July 23rd, 2018 at 07:05 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Yes you can in error replace tree or grass splines with a fence or telegraph poles, but not usually track.

    Even though all splines are classed as a track, there are qualifiers in the config.txt file to differentiate between being a track, road, or other.

    These tags are used for that purpose:

    istrack 1 or 0

    1 or 0 because it's a binary switch with 1 being true and 0 being false.

    Will put this in with the tracks, and track objects will attach to it. I have run across rivers, fences, and roads classed incorrectly because of this.

    isroad 1 or 0

    Is self-explanatory.

    Not use or isroad 0 and istrack 0

    is some other kind of spline such as a fence, grass, trees, etc.
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  14. #14
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    There is one major drawback to speedtrees. They are not backward compatible. That, as many of us know, means that routes made with speedtrees for TS12 will not work in TANE due to the changes in the two versions of speedtrees. This means that a route created in TANE containing speedtrees is going to lose all their trees once a new version of speedtrees is included in a new version of trainz. Trainz is one of the few games that is almost fully compatible with assets from earlier games.

    That said, I've been busily converting many of the routes I have gotten from various sources to full speedtree. I've done the entire 70 or 80 square miles of ProtoClinchfield in dense RoysTrainz seasonal speedtrees. I've also converted gawpo50's Hinton and N&W routes to mcguirel's seasonal payware speedtrees. There is a noticeable performance hit when jumping from one train to another but the look is so good it is worth it to me and the hit is much less than billboard trees and SP3 has helped some too.
    Last edited by normhart; July 23rd, 2018 at 02:06 PM.
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    I just hatez' Speed Twee's ... On the NEC route they are placed @ every 300', with barren patch's in between, I would just want them all gone, as they resemble those unnatural LifeLike® plastic trees that you place on an HO train platform, very unrealistic trunks and pointy bwanch's ... Id rather have no trees at all ... than barfy pop-up SpeedTwees
    Last edited by cascaderailroad; July 23rd, 2018 at 04:27 PM.

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