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Thread: Making Realistic Performance-Friendly Forests

  1. #1
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    Default Making Realistic Performance-Friendly Forests

    I've just started a new route, and while I won't be working on scenery for awhile, I can't help but think about how I'm going to go about making the forests. I know that "forest items" reduce the tile object count, but are hard to manage when you want a forest with a wide variety of tree types. Also, probably a bigger problem in my eyes, is that they can only be viewed up to about 1 km away. Using individual trees gets rid of this problem, but from how thick I'd like the forest, this process would eat up the tile object count VERY quickly.

    How do you guys think I could go about this issue? Should I go with forest items and deal with a short viewing distance, try using individual trees, or a mix of both? I'm not sure which way I should go. Also, with simple 2-poly trees, how high can the tile object count go before it becomes a problem? Finally, does a forest item with 100 trees affect FPS more or less than 100 individual trees?
    Any input appreciated.
    ~Sean Kelly~
    MRL Mullan Pass for Open Rails: https://www.trainsimulations.net/mullanpass
    SP Shasta Route for Open Rails: In Development / Tracks 100%, Scenery 75%

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerryPlatypus View Post
    Also, probably a bigger problem in my eyes, is that they can only be viewed up to about 1 km away.
    Any input appreciated.
    A long time ago we were successful in convincing BIN George to increase the forest object viewing distance to a full 2000 meters, just like other shapes/objects. It works...

    regards,
    charlie

  3. #3
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    I have the latest Bin, and on the Cascade Crossing where I have installed forests, I can only see them from 1 km away? Do I have to apply some additonal fix.
    ~Sean Kelly~
    MRL Mullan Pass for Open Rails: https://www.trainsimulations.net/mullanpass
    SP Shasta Route for Open Rails: In Development / Tracks 100%, Scenery 75%

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerryPlatypus View Post
    I have the latest Bin, and on the Cascade Crossing where I have installed forests, I can only see them from 1 km away? Do I have to apply some additonal fix.
    No, it's been working for me from several BIN revisions ago. The 2000m is counted from the green cube centroid of the forest object.

    regards,
    charlie

  5. #5
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    Some nice tutorials:

    http://steam4me.railpage.org.au/trai...s/forests.html

    and

    http://steam4me.railpage.org.au/trai...ls/gantry.html
    Look for "using other Shapes in the Gantry.dat file: 5 Use multiple gantry shapes for Thick R-O-W Forests by Chris Schwan ( aka ENR3005 )"

    Also forestlines or treelines placed behind, or in, a forest will give a nice dense effect. It is good to change the parameters in forest.dat to get a better spread in height. Also mixing different types of trees will give it a more realistic touch.
    with kind regards,
    Simon
    ____________________________________
    "It never hurts to help!" - Eek! the Cat

  6. #6
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    For convincing forest;

    1. Use the trackside tree clumps for high details close to the track. Watch so they don't float on uneven terrain.
    2. Use the trackside brush and weeds where they work.
    3. Break up the pattern with random individual trees.
    4. Use at least three types of forest objects to mix the tree types for general forest coverage on hills and valleys.
    5. Use billboard trees if you have to fill distance.

    Place the forest so it looks convincing from the cab view. If you are up on a cliffside, you will need to fill the valley. If you are in the valley, you only need to be concern about the hillside that you can see from the cab. Don't worry about what it looks like from birds eye view.

    Bin does allow forest objects to show up to 2000 meters from the placement point.


  7. #7
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    I just measured how far it is until I can see forest items using Google Earth, and they won't become visible until under 1 km. But I can see any other objects up to the regular 2 km.

    That gantry process looks really promising! Thanks for the link!
    Last edited by PerryPlatypus; 01-14-2010 at 07:22 PM.
    ~Sean Kelly~
    MRL Mullan Pass for Open Rails: https://www.trainsimulations.net/mullanpass
    SP Shasta Route for Open Rails: In Development / Tracks 100%, Scenery 75%

  8. #8
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    Default Forest making

    Quote Originally Posted by PerryPlatypus View Post
    That gantry process looks really promising! Thanks for the link!
    Feedback : I am now a "power user" of the Gantry.dat to build up forests . Too bad so few tree / treeline / treeshapes , were originally designed with their axis of orientation, parallel to the tracks . Try first with the "CGclump" selection , as those are indeed Gantry.dat friendly .

    I now no longer like those... "forest,dat" items , as the "resolution" for each single tree, is reduced to pure "mush" ( down to about 4 Kb per tree ... ).

    To offset that , I am now, once again , turning into a "'power user" of forestlines .

    I'll provide more feedback on Friday, as I have to compact an upgrade patch for a Route which does feature massive amounts of forested land . I have no challenges at all with frame rates, now that very significantly optimized my Terrtex aces I am using .

    To be continued ...

    Jean Brisson BCLW Route Building team rookie

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