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Thread: FPS and some common sense

  1. #1
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    Default FPS and some common sense

    Been thinking about writing this for sometime now and finally got around to it. I see on this forum and a couple other forums a lot of talk and even anguish over FPS that someone is seeing and what they perceive to need. Lets make some sense of it.


    First off, this is a simulator, not a shoot ‘em up game. If you can a get rock solid 30 FPS, you don’t need any more than that! Movies from the old days were filmed at 15 FPS and you didn’t know it. 30 FPS is more than sufficient on a simulation platform. Since most monitors are a minimum of 60hz, run the game on ½ sync: that will lock your top speed at 30 FPS.


    Secondly, turn off PhysX. Put ALL of your video options in the game to their minimum. Run a route. Do you get a constant 30 FPS? Good! Now, start by turning just one of your video options up a notch. Run the same route again. Still at 30 FPS? Keep raising the video options one notch at a time until you can no longer get 30 FPS consistently.


    Third, experiment with lowering your monitor’s resolution. That will probably allow you to raise one or two video options.


    On my equipment (Ryzen 7 2700 and an nVidia RTX 2070) running at all video maxed out except post-processing, resolution reduced from 1920 x 1080 to 1024 x 768, ½ sync, I run 30 FPS with GPU temp (yesterday) at 50 degrees C. Switch to full sync, I still had 30 FPS, but GPU temp rose to 56 degrees. Full sync at max resolution caused FPS to fall below 60 and a stuttering screen. GPU temp above 60 degrees. It was not nearly as nice to watch the screen with all the stuttering.


    The stuttering that you see on your screen is usually caused when GPU can’t keep up. Give your GPU and your eyes a rest and keep the FPS to 30.


    I have run computers for a long time: since 1975 when I used a Sperry Univac that took a 2 story building to house at Pennsylvania State University. Programmed in Fortran on that. Moved up to a CoCo (Radio Shack COlor COmputer) with a whopping 4K memory and a cassette tape recorder as a hard drive programmed in Basic. Onto an 8088, a 286, 386, 486, and on up to today’s equipment. I’ve been there, done that, got a few scars along the way.

  2. #2
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    there are several posts already about frame rates in trainz.

  3. #3
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    Exclamation There are plenty of negative replys in the fora

    I, for one, had my interest peaked by this thread and not knowing if I have properly optimized my setup, I plan to check it out.

    I think it would have been better if via6415 would have referenced some other posts and commented on points of agreement or disagreement so I could have a better understanding of how this is going to workout for me.

    Wild Willy the Wacko

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by autodctr View Post
    Been thinking about writing this for sometime now and finally got around to it. I see on this forum and a couple other forums a lot of talk and even anguish over FPS that someone is seeing and what they perceive to need. Lets make some sense of it.


    First off, this is a simulator, not a shoot ‘em up game. If you can a get rock solid 30 FPS, you don’t need any more than that! Movies from the old days were filmed at 15 FPS and you didn’t know it. 30 FPS is more than sufficient on a simulation platform. Since most monitors are a minimum of 60hz, run the game on ½ sync: that will lock your top speed at 30 FPS.


    Secondly, turn off PhysX. Put ALL of your video options in the game to their minimum. Run a route. Do you get a constant 30 FPS? Good! Now, start by turning just one of your video options up a notch. Run the same route again. Still at 30 FPS? Keep raising the video options one notch at a time until you can no longer get 30 FPS consistently.


    Third, experiment with lowering your monitor’s resolution. That will probably allow you to raise one or two video options.


    On my equipment (Ryzen 7 2700 and an nVidia RTX 2070) running at all video maxed out except post-processing, resolution reduced from 1920 x 1080 to 1024 x 768, ½ sync, I run 30 FPS with GPU temp (yesterday) at 50 degrees C. Switch to full sync, I still had 30 FPS, but GPU temp rose to 56 degrees. Full sync at max resolution caused FPS to fall below 60 and a stuttering screen. GPU temp above 60 degrees. It was not nearly as nice to watch the screen with all the stuttering.


    The stuttering that you see on your screen is usually caused when GPU can’t keep up. Give your GPU and your eyes a rest and keep the FPS to 30.


    I have run computers for a long time: since 1975 when I used a Sperry Univac that took a 2 story building to house at Pennsylvania State University. Programmed in Fortran on that. Moved up to a CoCo (Radio Shack COlor COmputer) with a whopping 4K memory and a cassette tape recorder as a hard drive programmed in Basic. Onto an 8088, a 286, 386, 486, and on up to today’s equipment. I’ve been there, done that, got a few scars along the way.
    I also started with a bare minimum computer (zx81) but my depth of knowledge has stalled, I appreciate any posts regarding this subject, they are valuable.

  5. #5
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    I agree with the pervious post and the poster who used Univac. I fixed those ancient things (#10 or #12 Univac-I)

    We need to be reminded of the limitations of max settings. My 1060 card can run routes at all max if the foliage is Mojave Desert like. If I do a Western Pennsylvania I still get good performance but the heat becomes an issue. At $1,000 for video cards that component needs CARE. N3V has provided the adjustments to match your hardware, to your wallet and provide that care. If the video card blows I have a previous generation that will be just adequate, if I do not seek 40fps and room temperature performance. And yes, we do need periodic reminders about the parameters that are available, to maximize performance safely.
    Last edited by boleyd; June 24th, 2022 at 11:56 AM.
    Dick near Pittsburgh, Pa. i5-2500K 4.0ghz, 8gb memory, GTX1060 3gb video card. 117009 116912.

  6. #6
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    You can see from my timeline above that I've owned pretty much every version of Trainz but the ones I used a lot were TRS04 and 10. I ran both on computers whose GPU and CPU were drastically under recommended spec - my 04 computer was actually below minimun spec, but it built and ran East Kentucky 1 and 2 and the first version of Clovis. My current TS19 machine was acquired second hand and is proportionally better, just scraping in at recommended specs.

    In both 04 and 10 I found exactly the OP's proposition. In both those versions we had an editable file called trainzoptions.txt and I always had two entries

    framerate=30
    framestoaverage=16

    'framerate' was exactly that, it expressed a target fps, but 'framestoaverage' was a bit different, the value 16 was the highest valid entry but it expressed the effort made to maintain a consistent average fps, and that was the important bit - 'consistant average'. A silky smooth 30fps fools the eye into believing it's seeing continuous movement in pretty much the same way as those old 15 fps movie projectors.

    My conclusions were that a smooth low fps was infinitely more satisfying than even the slightest stutter at higher fps....

    Just my .02c.

    Andy
    Last edited by Dermmy; June 25th, 2022 at 12:09 AM. Reason: tyop

  7. #7
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    Gonna give my three cents to contribute to this.

    While 30 FPS is more than enough for a top-of-the-line simulator like MSFS or Trainz, 60 FPS is great for a couple of reasons:

    1. It's about the best FPS our eyes can differentiate. Going to 120 or 240 FPS is such a small difference, it isn't really necessary. 30 FPS is fine, but our brain will remind us that it's below the standards once we switch to another game or back to our desktop. I have a 120hz monitor, and most of my games I run at 120 FPS so it stays in sync with the monitor. 1/2 sync is 60 FPS, so it really looks nice with Trainz. I believe I run between 30 and 60 FPS on Trainz, but since I don't have an FPS counter or a built-in FPS counter for Trainz, I can't really tell.

    2. It's pretty much the standard FPS. Most modern GPU's will push 60 FPS pretty well on good graphics. No reason to be limiting it unless your computer gets excessively loud, your GPU and CPU are hot enough to boil water or a combo of the two. In fact, most games set the standard FPS to 60, or have it on VSync, which just matches your FPS to your monitor's refresh rate.

    Speaking of a boiling hot CPU or GPU, it's 102°F here in Texas...hope my computer holds up

  8. #8
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    My conclusions were that a smooth low fps was infinitely more satisfying than even the slightest stutter at higher fps....

    Exactly! W/o a restriction, I have parts of my own route that will run over 190 FPS. But, my monitor being only 60hz, means that the most I can see is 60 FPS. But when you get those sudden drops in FPS, you notice the stuttering. At a constant 30 FPS, there is no stuttering and it is much more enjoyable to watch!

  9. #9
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    There was a test done a few years ago. 80 gamers were asked to play their favorite game on the tester's computers. They either played @ 60 FPS or 120 FPS. They were not told why they were playing the same game twice. After playing on both machines, they were then told that one was at 60 FPS and the other at 120 FPS. They were then asked which one was faster that they played on. 41 got it right, 39 got it wrong.

    In Trainz, I honestly cannot tell the difference between 30 and 60 FPS. However, I can easily tell when the desired FPS drops suddenly a few FPS....the stuttering is quite noticeable. Plus, at 30 FPS, I can run higher video levels which looks better to watch.

  10. #10
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    My two cents worth. If you've been playing on your computer all day, and decide to run Trainz for a while, you go in and suddenly it seems to be stuttering more than usual, do this:

    1. Close out of Trainz (and all other programs... you don't want other programs running in the background while playing Trainz anyhow) and go to Content Manager. Hold down the Ctrl key and at the same time, click on the Rebuild Database line. This will do a deep database repair. If you have a LOT of assets in your Trainz folder, you may want to go watch TV for a while since this may take up to an hour or more.

    2. When the database repair is finished, restart your computer.

    3. Wait until your computer has restarted and everything has settled down. Then go back and start Trainz again. Run your route and see if the stuttering has mostly stopped. You may find the game is running very smooth.

    Good luck. This has helped me many times.

    Dave

  11. #11
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    I remember reading about that test.

    The telling thing is consistency. If the framerates jump up and down all over the place, then the slower framerates become annoying. If everything remains steady, then it's not noticeable. In addition to refresh and resolution, there are other factors that affect framerates. In Trainz we have content issues. Content with huge polycounts and large textures with poorly implemented LOD, can affect framerates as the program struggles to render the objects in real time. There's nothing worse than driving along smoothly until we reach a built-up area and end up stuttering and jerking through that spot only to speed up afterwards. The other factors include poorly optimized scripts which gobble up time. These scripts can take the focus away from the operation as the CPU struggles to process the scripts. This is why there are timeouts built into the scripts today.

    And finally, getting back to the hardware. Hot video cards throttle back. This causes lugging and stutters as the video card runs at one speed then throttles down just enough to cool off only to heat up again and throttle down. The only way around this is to ensure adequate cooling by using some form of fan control such as MSI Afterburner or whatever is offered by other video card manufacturers.

    I too came from the early days of computing. I would call these the heady heydays when various computer companies were just getting their feet on the ground. I started my tech world with a job at Visual Technology and worked my way up to lead technician and then field service tech where I worked on both Visual's terminal and PC products as well as those by the acquired Ontel Corp. Ontel made early computer systems and "intelligent terminals". The Ontel systems had floppy drives, small hard drives, big platter drives and various peripheral cards to go with them. I learned a lot on these older discrete logic systems whose boards were covered with loads of flip-flops, and gates. During this time, I also got my first two real computers with the first being a Visual V-1050 CP/M-plus based system. This complete system came with a 9-inch CRT and a bunch of software including WordStar and Z80 Assembler. It was then I learned Z80 Assembly and the rest was history. After that I got a Visual Commuter Computer which I still have today. This 22 lb. transportable still runs MS DOS 5.0 is quite a capable machine within its hardware limits with its 512 MB of RAM, integrated CGA graphics and everything else appropriate for the times. When the hardware jobs disappeared, I ended up in MIS and ran computer rooms full of DEC VAXs running VMS and I learned DCL and later SunOS and Solaris. Today, after my stint with Polaroid where I was given some obsolete Sun Sparcs, I still run Solaris on those beasts and they run quite well given their age.

    With my hardware experience, I will say that not a whole lot has changed compared to today's systems except for the size, price and speed of the hardware. These systems today still suffer from the same ills those did except I think we push our hardware a bit more as we expect the hardware to do more than its sometimes incapable of doing.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    Trainz-PLUS: 117669

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