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Thread: problems with the sp2

  1. #31
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    Hi All
    Again there is a difference between PBR ground textures (ie ground textures that use the PBR material configurations) and Parallax ground textures (which are PBR textures, and have a heightmap specified to create the 3D effects).

    I'd strongly recommend avoiding using 'PBR' to distinguish 3D ground textures, as this is NOT what 'PBR' stands for. PBR (Physical Based Rendering) is the new rendering system in TRS19, and ALL objects technically use it, just that TANE and earlier objects/ground textures provide a limited set of the parameters used by PBR to create the reflection/shine on the texture...

    The issue, as noted, is the blending between ground textures with Parallax effects and ground textures without Parallax effects.

    Unfortunately blending between these is messy, no matter what you do. In most game engines that support parallax effects, there is a LOT of work put into art to blend them (even terrain textures). This is honestly something I've been paying a lot of attention to in games over the last couple of years, noticing where I see the same distortion as in Trainz (ie in hard corners, be they concave or convex corners), and noticing where they are and aren't used and how well (or not well) they blend together. Including blending them where there's minimal other objects around them.


    There are a number of options that we are looking at to improve this, but none are simple or quick, and so there won't be any immediate changes to this...

    One thing that can help with doing bulk asset replace is to choose 'replace rotation and scale', then set a specific direction and scale in the textures tab. This will replace the rotation/direction, and the scale, with what you set in the textures tab. Rotation spamming (ie holding [ or ] when painting textures) both has a large negative effect on performance, and can have a large impact on the look of parallax textures; so doing this can greatly help with the look of these textures.

    I have asked our team to see if there's any way to distinguish parallax ground textures in-game, however the only distinguishing factor for parallax is the presence of an alpha channel in the normals map. If one is present, even if entirely white (basically no parallax applied, which can basically bring you back to the same situation), then it would show as being 'parallax' despite not actually having any parallax effects.

    I've come to regard N3V's lack of policing of new assets allowed on to the DLS that can cause these database issues, crashes and fatalities as akin to letting in a virus.
    We do have error checking for all new uploads, and have recently run a pass of error checking over older uploads again (with these being added to the content repair group's queue for eventual repair); these assets currently show as 'unknown' in TRS19's content manager (or as 'third party' if currently installed in Trainz).

    However the error checking isn't perfect. But we are constantly updating and improving this as we find new issues/problems that can affect Trainz.

    The funny part is that these improvements also result in a lot of complaints that we are breaking content, so we really cannot win here...

    NV3 - GET A CONFIGURATION MANAGER and a system test crew to vet all uploaded assets, if that's what you think is the fundamental cause of these issues!
    Unfortunately it's simply not a viable prospect at the current time to pay someone to just download an test every available asset for Trainz. Even doing this just for the DLS isn't an option.

    We do generally test content when we receive a bug report. But if the issue is specific to that content, it will generally be stated as such. Beyond this, there's not much we can do apart from making the content faulty in a future release. And even then it may not be an issue that can be easily detected by the error checking at that time. Or, in some cases, may not be an error but may not be appropriate (ie a script is using a legitimate function in such a way that it can break something, but we can't explicitly block that function); in some cases we are over time able to make improvement with this, but it really depends on the situation.

    We do try to provide information, as I have in this thread, on why specific things happen the way that are, where we have information on that of course.

    This PBR mix can not be a surprise to N3V. They just adopt a PBR only attitude internally and move on forgetting to tell the customers. This is poor organizational discipline.
    We have stated since the early preview versions of TRS19 that mixing Parallax and non Parallax ground textures will be problematic, and it is not recommended unless you do it carefully. I'm not sure what more we could do, apart from not provide newer/more advanced graphics features, in this case. Which of course defeats the point of improving the graphics in Trainz.

    And again, we need to not confuse PBR with Parallax. Parallax is the issue here, not PBR.


    The whole forced PBR thing annoys me, when i returned after 11 years.
    PBR (Physical Based Rendering) is now the industry standard. All professional texture creation tools are designed around the PBR (look at Quixel Mixer, Substance Painter, and similar). For us to bring Trainz into the current generation graphics, we needed to introduce PBR to Trainz.

    Unfortunately, PBR is an all or nothing change. You cannot mix PBR and non PBR shaders in one game.

    But what we have done, is introduced conversion algorithms for the 'legacy' materials so that content from TANE and earlier can still be used. The other option was to simply not provide this, and have TRS19 not allow content with legacy materials to work, which I don't think many people would have been happy to see...
    Zec Murphy

    Customer Support Rep
    N3V Games (Auran)

    *Please do not use Private Messages for support. Support can only be provided via the helpdesk, or via the forums.

  2. #32
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    You should open some of those PBR assets, they use 4x sometimes 8x(size and ammount)of the textures a normal asset would
    EVERYthing has to be loaded at 1 time to see it, yes we have better CPU's, yes we have better HD's (m2)SDD
    but loading them always takes time, slowing the experience. Not to mention the spam on our Drives.
    With newer standards, comes greater sizes. Although you personally may not be looking for high resolution content, most people using Trainz today are looking for this. To achieve this means using high resolution textures.

    As it stands though, the maximum texture size currently used by Trainz is 2048x2048 (ie 2k textures), and generally only 1-4 textures are used for most objects (although some may use more depending on their design/etc). Personally, I use around 2-3 2k textures, plus a couple of smaller ones, on my steam loco body. Then one for each bogie. Plus the textures used in the cab view.

    It must be noted though, Trainz does make a lot of use of mip-mapping (automatic texture reduction/lod) so that the textures become lower resolution the further away you are. This again is pretty standard these days. This allows you to have more/higher res textures on objects that are up close, and yet not have to render them at full size further away.

    In regards to hard drive space, this is generally fairly cheap these days.




    My estimate, maybe only 5% of the meshes/assets actually need PBR to look better, cause they are viewed real close-up.
    Keep the old bulk simple and quick to load. Be critical when and where to use PBR.
    learn to bake (not in the kitchen, search for a tut if you don't know what i mean)
    Then the loading process sequence is not logic (could write a whole page on this but i wont)
    In reality most objects will look best when you use PBR materials on them. You mention baking, and yet say objects don't need PBR. By baking a shadow AO into the diffuse, you end up preventing Trainz from correctly rendering the AO on the mesh. Your AO should only really be seen under ambient lighting, not direct lighting, which is only possible with PBR in Trainz, as only PBR supports an AO channel in the material.

    It also must be noted that going into the future, there's going to be less work put into making legacy materials, and IM meshes, being efficient compared to PBR materials and FBX formats.

    As to more complex objects, in reality any object in Trainz should be expected to be used practically anywhere. So for the most part, unless it is an object that very specifically needs to be low detail (a good example is a 'backscene' plane, like the backscene on a model railway), most objects should look good up close, then use LOD to be efficient from a distance. Trainz will only load the LOD, and texture mip-map that is needed for the distance it's being displayed.


    Someone that says STOP, we first make this game stable, user(and content creator) friendly (again) and work on the weakest links.
    This is honestly what we are doing. Continuing to support content that is up to 20 years old, but at the same time this is also one of the bigger drawcards for Trainz, as you can use content that might otherwise not have an alternative.

    There are a lot of things that we are working on to make Trainz more stable, and more efficient. But in all honesty, the only way to do this effectively is to move toward more professional content methods. This means better error checking (which is an ongoing task, as mentioned above), and better methods of making efficient content (ie more options for configuring LOD).

    Like you said, there's no reason for a really complex object at a distance. This is what LOD is for, it reduces the object's detail/complexity at a distance so that you are reducing the load on the computer and the impact on performance. Unfortunately to be able to keep Trainz up to date graphics wise, and to introduce other graphics features that people want (ie things light area lights/point lights, and similar), we do have to enforce things like LOD a lot more than we might have previously, which is unfortunately going to require more work from creators. There's not much choice, apart from going back to automatic LOD (ie the progressive mesh system in TRS2004 and earlier, where it simply welded vertices together as you went further away - this resulted in really bad looking objects!).

    If the original texture-creator wants to provide PBR, they should have created a new KUID rather than obsolete the existing ones.
    In all honesty, this is something I've personally been thinking on a LOT over the last couple of years, as I have a few ground textures that I've made, and have been assisting with upgrading quite a few others.

    In the end, my personal choice was to release an update for the texture, rather than an entirely new asset. Part of this was due to the creator I was assisting not wanting to release a whole new texture set. The other part was that it would make it far easier for those wanting the new textures to use them on their routes. Unfortunately it won't look great in every case, but in this case I did find that making the parallax effects relatively subtle helped avoid a lot of issues. Another part was also that some of the ground textures were closely related to track assets I've made, and if I didn't do the update, then those textures would not match the upgraded tracks when released...

    I hope this helps clear up a few things, and explains some of the reasons for why content is in the position it's in, and where some of these things will head in the future.

    Regards
    Zec Murphy

    Customer Support Rep
    N3V Games (Auran)

    *Please do not use Private Messages for support. Support can only be provided via the helpdesk, or via the forums.

  3. #33
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    Hard drive space may be "cheap" (not for all of us), but your download speeds are still akin to dial-up. You have not adjusted the throttle for the larger sizes, just let us sit longer or pay for the FCT every time. Recently, there was a nice upgrade to Cornish Mainlines that downloaded nicely through the Content Store. But right on its heels I found hundreds of megabytes of "Newer version available for the VR track and bridges on Healesville. No update via the Content Store there, just days and nights downloading hundreds of megabytes. I think if you are going to update DLC, it should be available at faster than the normal throttle.
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” - R.L.S.

  4. #34
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    I will (and this is personal ofc)
    NOT buy NOT use any trains made with PBR until the flickering stops(exporter issue probably)
    and the loading of assets, the sequence, is made better.


    I intend to expand on my Route with all track of my country
    so I must limit myself on what is used (specially texture size wise)
    Only use the procedural track with it, there its okish.


    an alternative to using PBR ground textures is use simple(old school) but close to the track use some turfx grass
    the result here is better than PBR all over the place.


    Zec noone doubts you people work hard and with a limited crew
    but since the game is so dependant on what content creators have made. old MUST work
    fine to add new possiblities (procedural track top!, speedtrees top! turfx top!)


    mip-map has been around for ages and also works on simple diffuse textures.
    hardrive space has become cheaper, but you will not decide where we spent our money on.
    on a big route loading textures always is(and will be) an issue. less is faster.
    and like posted above, bigger files lead to more internet traffic (while the speed is limited)


    We agree to disagree on a few things it don't bother me.
    I love trainz, and will be critical because of that.
    greetings GM

  5. #35
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    Hi All
    First off, I have a few updates/corrections regarding PBR ground textures, after talking to the team, and doing some testing myself from the information from them.

    First off is that I need to correct that technically all PBR ground textures do use parallax, but it can be made flat with a flat 'heightmap'/parallax map. That said, this can still cause some odd blending effects if the heights are greatly different... The good news is that it doesn't appear to be many ground textures that actually have blending issues where they don't have agressive heightmaps

    So from this, a good rule of thumb is to simply filter to just 4.6 ground textures if you want to use Parallax ground textures. If you haven't tried this, you can do it by following these steps:

    1) Open the Search Filter by pressing CTRL + Shift + F
    2) Click the '+' button to add a filter
    3) Click the left box of the filter menu, then click 'minimum build version'
    4) Enter '4.6' into the right hand box
    5) Click on 'Save' and then name it (I called mine 'PBR', TRS19 would also work).

    This will then show only ground textures that are build 4.6

    That said, you might still need to experiment with which textures you use as if the heights aren't matched well, they may still not blend well.

    NOT buy NOT use any trains made with PBR until the flickering stops(exporter issue probably)

    I honestly haven't seen any flickering on my PBR content. Could you provide an example of it, as I don't recall personally seeing any reports of this issue.

    There are issues with shadow resolution in some cab views, but to a degree this is due to the thinness of the walls on many cab view assets.


    If you personally choose to use old standards, that is your choice. We won't actively force you to make your content to new standards. But it must be understood that content made to old standards may either not look as good (ie your content made using legacy materials is going to be rendered using PBR, just it will be emulated, and we don't guarantee everything will look great because of this!), or may not perform or function as well, as content built to current standards.

    There is a strong desire from many users for us to introduce more graphically/performance intensive features, and to ensure good performance on a wide range of systems. To do this means using more efficient, and more modern, standards. Much of which simply won't be possible with the older formats.

    Regards
    Zec Murphy

    Customer Support Rep
    N3V Games (Auran)

    *Please do not use Private Messages for support. Support can only be provided via the helpdesk, or via the forums.

  6. #36
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    Would it be an idea for future releases to have tabs or a filter inside the groundtexture tab in Surveyor ?
    the amount of ground textures since start of trainz is insane. and often names are arbitrary
    /Old\/HD\/Parallax\
    just a thought
    greetings Gm

  7. #37

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    Agree GM. There are so many old or unsuitable textures that we need the equivalent of an Ignore function, where you can right click (for example) on any asset, not just a texture, choose to hide it and simply not display in the side menu from that point on. Probably be a pain to programme but surely not impossible. You'd also need some function to restore asset should you subsequently need them.
    Building In TANE, Driving In TSW2 And Run 8

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZecMurphy View Post
    Unfortunately no. We don't have any method to 'roll back' an update (except during installation of an update), and we only actively provide support for the latest build of a given version of Trainz, apart from assistance with updating.

    Regards
    Then you need to give this serious consideration then, or at the very least the ability to download the previous version(s). The amount of complaints about SP2 and its rollout is surely a huge embarressment. Yes many people are ok with SP2 but many are not. It cannot be right to expect the end user to spend hours trying to fix something that was not previously broken. I'd rather rollback or download a previous version to play trains then spend time fixing something. Not having a method to rollback is very unprofessional.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJB View Post
    i installed the sp2 patch and cannot use the game.
    the ballast has two layers . one is normal the other is above the rails with grid squares and cannot find a way to fix.
    i have a grid with rails that i keep al the downloaded rail cars for reference when building consists. the problem i can't add cars since the upgrade.
    it takes forever for the routes to load and when they do finally load i cannot get the driver part to work at all.
    my question is would it help if i removed the local and reinstalled ? i have backups for this. i have tried the backups that the game generates but no success.
    thank you
    ernest
    Coming back to the original issue with ballast layers, etc. You can quickly fix that issue by turning your shader quality (see performance settings) from Ultra to Standard. Also, after installing the SP2 Patch do an extended database repair as follows: Under Trainz Launcher -> Trainz Settings -> Dev (tab) -> (check) enable advanced debug tools. Then restart Trainz and when the launcher shows again go to the menu option Developer -> Run TrainzUtilz Command...Type the command: repairdatabase extended Hopefully that will rectify most of the issues raised in the various posts.

    Regards
    Bob
    Bob Cooper

  10. #40

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    One of the biggest problems I have is when downloading something from the DLS and getting a long list of 'Unknown Assets'. It wastes a considerable amount of time. and now you are telling us that merely because an asset is faulty, you will label it as "Unknown". I find this totally unacceptable. If an asset is known to be faulty, it should be labelled as faulty, but I should still have the option to download it if I wish. Maybe I can fix it for my own purposes for the particular version of Trainz that I am using. In addition once an asset is known to be faulty, any subsequent uploads which include the faulty asset, should be automatically rejected, including any destined for DLC. A few queries on, "How can I fix, or is there an alternative asset?" on the forum would be much better than, as is currently the case, a forum swamped with "Where can I find such and such an asset?" We have the ridiculous situation of "Unknown Asset" meaning, It's broken: It's been incarcerated on the the DLC for some reason: it's for a later patch than the one I'm using: or It is genuinely unknown in that it comes from a third party site (to my mind this is the only legitimate use of the term "Unknown Asset"). Content Manager needs to be changed so that it is aware of or can search for all assets, including those that are part of a DLC.

    Regards
    Mike

  11. #41
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    You got a good point there Mike, Unknown assets is annoying for everyone
    yes even *cough* faulty you should be able to download
    for the DLS and all Contentstore and all built-in from any version they must be in a database allready,
    just need to be linked maybe.


    I have been thinking as an idea, what if CM could import a kuidlist (made in Excel)
    It would need clear rules how the format is.
    Why: I think there is even more content outside the DLS then on it
    which could easily bring the total over 1 million kuids allready.
    This would allow a route builder to have part on the DLS part elsewhere
    easier/quicker to find for any user.
    greetings GM

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by G.M. View Post
    You got a good point there Mike, Unknown assets is annoying for everyone
    yes even *cough* faulty you should be able to download
    for the DLS and all Contentstore and all built-in from any version they must be in a database already,
    just need to be linked maybe.


    I have been thinking as an idea, what if CM could import a kuidlist (made in Excel)
    It would need clear rules how the format is.
    Why: I think there is even more content outside the DLS then on it
    which could easily bring the total over 1 million kuids allready.
    This would allow a route builder to have part on the DLS part elsewhere
    easier/quicker to find for any user.
    greetings GM
    Yes, that and export easily as well would be nice. There are times when I want a list to query easily.

    The format for importing Kuids is <kuid:number>,<kuid:number>,... etc.,

    I was hoping that Trainz Util could export or import a kuid-list, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It does handle pick-lists this way though. Hmmm... Gives me some ideas. Create an imported stuff pick-list? and an exported stuff pick-list then send the kuids out to a text file using Trainz Util and a pipe command since Trainz Util can be run from a command prompt. You just need to start the Launcher up to enable it. I've got to play around with this. This can be automated via a batch and PowerShell might make it even easier.

    In reference to the issue that Mike brought up, yes N3V is aware of this issue and with the DLS and Content Manager. One of the issues, which we've all brought up, is something is marked unknown because a newer asset is referenced but we don't have it installed, or we've imported an older route that references an older version, but we've only got the new one installed. Installing the older version of the asset and letting it obsolete fixes this one, and sometimes deleting the referenced newer version of the asset, if we can, fixes that issue as well.

    I agree that an asset shouldn't be marked faulty if there's something missing. For my sanity, I setup two "faulty" filters. Faulty for me means faulty, not missing anything, not having a faulty dependency, just simply broken.

    Faulty = True

    I call the filter Faulty-only.

    Missing Dependencies = True.

    This filter is Missing Dependencies

    These simpler filters make troubleshooting a heck of a lot easier especially after installing a service pack, or importing a lot of content. I believe in KISS!
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  13. #43
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    Yup good idea John, (i see you are a dos guy also lol)
    Content Manager could/should easy Export also


    So the process could be:
    -The route creator lists all dependencies recursively
    -File>> Export to .xls (or any comma seperated format)
    -In Excel he sorts
    base, built-in, DLS, DLC, modified, external/unknown
    and only for the external in a, seperate column, add http: links to a package or site


    The one downloading,
    -imports the kuidlist
    -Base, Built-in should allready be there
    -DLS, select all and download
    -the remainder(now known as "unknown") have in a seperate column, links where to find


    not only faster, but also less frustrating for all
    + we make use of ALL content and extra bandwidth


    greetings GM

  14. #44
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    I like your process. KISS!

    Yup I'm an old command line guy coming in from CP/M, DOS, Unix, Solaris, Linux, and VMS world. It's quick, easy, and gets stuff done.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  15. #45

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    GM, John

    Whilst I agree that these are good ideas, I would still regard them as stop gaps. As someone who started programming pre-windows and in assembler, I would be fine with this, but for, I suspect the majority of users, this is still too complex. It really is up to n3v to sort this problem out for users who have no programming experience or even know what a command line is and simply want to download an asset without encountering problems. N3v complain about a lack of resources, and the need to make a profit, but how much profit have SP1 and SP2 brought? Why has the opportunity not been taken to do something about CM already?

    Mike

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