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Thread: Strategy For Trackmark Instead of AI?

  1. #1
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    Question Strategy For Trackmark Instead of AI?

    What are some of the strategies for running trains by trackmark versus AI?

    As an example - run a train to a station. Do you need only one mark at the station? Then, upon arrival, a drive-to a station command is executed to load/unload passengers.

    Or, do you lay a trail of trackmarks to follow? Doing this ro reducs any need for AI?
    Dick near Pittsburgh, Pa. i5-2500K 4.3ghz, 8gb memory, GTX1060 4gb video card

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    I use strategically-placed trackmarks with commands to 'Drive to...' or 'Drive via...' depending upon whether I want the consist to stop before proceeding beyond the trackmark.
    The 'Via' types are for ensuring the designated consist follows the strict path (at speed) I want it to follow throughout the route. (i.e. Including no shortcuts via yards/ sidings, inside-paths, etc.)
    The 'To' types are used - often in conjunction with a 'Wait (period)' on the siding leading to an interactive industry or yard entry point when I want the consist to pause briefly before proceeding to execute the 'Navigate to...' command that inevitably follows.
    Typically I will have a dwarf signal about 50 metres from the industry loader/ unloading point and the 'Drive to...' trackmark named appropriately 20m before that. Example: Drive to Kea Coal Entry 3; Wait for 15 seconds; (Signal); Navigate to...Industry (Kea Coal Loading Bay 3); Load..., etc.). The 'Navigate to...' command is issued sufficiently far enough away for the AI driver to immediately set the only correct/ possible final path to the desired destination industry or station.
    'Navigate to...' is used for the final remaining section of track before the station or interactive industry/ loading bay/ port or similar destination for loading or unloading.
    Stations should be set up and configured so that zero trackmarks are actually required nearby. Set the platform length so that trains stop at the right location for passenger loading and unloading.
    Last edited by PC_Ace; July 9th, 2020 at 04:49 PM.

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    Using track marks does not remove the need for the much discussed AI. Track marks only work when using the AI and that includes entering driver commands directly into the command bar in driver more. The driver command bar *is* part of the AI.

    If you issue a driver command, e.g. "Drive to Trackmark Siding West" in driver mode, the AI takes over to perform that task.

    As pointed out above, track marks are used as guides for the AI to follow and as destinations (e.g. terminating a train in a siding or on a particular track in a yard).
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    Concur - Trackmarks are ALL about issuing AI Driver guidance instructions/ sequential command lists. (Sorry; Missed that component of the OP's topic starter).
    Last edited by PC_Ace; July 9th, 2020 at 06:12 PM.

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    One point to bear in mind is that too many trackmarks will cause the AI train to slow down to a crawl as discovered recently. Too few, and it's libel to use the wrong track if it can and it always does if it can! Balance is the answer.

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    As others have written trackmarks, triggers and so forth compliment AI, not the other way round hence AI fills in the gaps between your instructions and tries its best most of the time to carry them out.

    I use trackmarks for one of two reasons. First to direct a specific operation at a given point i.e. stop here, wait here, change direction here, load/unload here etc. Second to indicate a path where AI is likely to choose more than one option. These are usually placed after running the route a few time and you realise AI gets confused, you have overlooked something or you never imagined AI would choose such a path. Peter

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    This is what I feared that TrackMarks merely function as intermediary points of purpose. They do not control the actual virtual motion of the "train" between marks. That is the responsibility of traditional AI. Perhaps the amount of data for a specific "mark" controlled section of track can be reduced while hoping for a better outcome.

    Thanks....
    Dick near Pittsburgh, Pa. i5-2500K 4.3ghz, 8gb memory, GTX1060 4gb video card

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alikiwi View Post
    One point to bear in mind is that too many trackmarks will cause the AI train to slow down to a crawl as discovered recently. Too few, and it's libel to use the wrong track if it can and it always does if it can! Balance is the answer.
    Yes I have noticed that as well along with AI running out of steam and eventually stopping probably due to the message queues getting overwhelmed with too much data. This latter issue is a bug, but as I found out reducing the number of track marks on a route overall really helps. I have one merged route that has so many redundant and confusing track marks that I found I could remove more than half of them and still operate just as well.

    This balance comes with experience as I've found out over the years. Strategically placed track marks such as beginning, middle, and end of a yard bypass, for example, really help since it keeps the AI on track (no pun intended) and prevents them from doing a wander through the yard at 3 kph instead of mainline speed along the bypass. The same situation works with before and after marks for wye junctions as well. With this kind of configuration, I had AI do some really stupid back up, reverse, moves. By putting in a track mark on either side of the wye legs, I kept the AI going forward on the track they were supposed to be on.
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    Driving or navigating to, or via named passenger stations and industries, interlocking towers, track direction indicators and portals can also all help reduce the need to use trackmarkers. Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by wilts747 View Post
    Driving or navigating to, or via named passenger stations and industries, interlocking towers, track direction indicators and portals can also all help reduce the need to use trackmarkers. Peter
    These commands work well in conjunction with strategically placed track marks to avoid AI shortcuts down the slowest possible sidings.
    John
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    Strangely, to me herding the trains around the map is challenging and keeps the brain cells active, driving is sleep inducing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost42 View Post
    Strangely, to me herding the trains around the map is challenging and keeps the brain cells active, driving is sleep inducing.
    I thought I was the only one!
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    Minimising facing crossovers helps a lot. This is easy for me since Uk railways in the era I model treated facing crossovers like the works of the Devil and always used trailing crossovers instead.
    Narcolepsy is not napping.



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    Quote Originally Posted by KotangaGirl View Post
    Minimising facing crossovers helps a lot. This is easy for me since Uk railways in the era I model treated facing crossovers like the works of the Devil and always used trailing crossovers instead.
    I am working on a crossover at the moment, using triggers to let one track know the other exists.
    Having spent ages watching the junction for collisions I have utilised horns to alert me.
    All good so far.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KotangaGirl View Post
    Minimising facing crossovers helps a lot. This is easy for me since Uk railways in the era I model treated facing crossovers like the works of the Devil and always used trailing crossovers instead.
    In my days as a Signalman at Brighton 'facing' points were always the ones that brought forth headaches. Especially during winter months when Mr Frost or his ally 'snowy' were around. Lost count how many times the first [5am ish] train could not depart until I had reluctantly left the warmth of the signal box to clean out facing points [No21] Yes I remember the points number. On the end of that lever were two facing and one trailing. Even a cigarette butt lodged between blades would cause them to fail. Damn things.
    Creator of Blue Mountains Line and Southern Region - Brighton Line routes.

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