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Thread: Hoping AI is considered this summer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Default Hoping AI is considered this summer

    I didn't want to post this over on DAMS forum because Ralph has been providing a great service to the community. I've been enjoying participating in the big Saturday sessions when I can (lately it has been the VR which I think is improving as it grows). I've also come by every now and then when I'm bored to run a train on the 24/7 server. I felt uncomfortable posting it there since this about helping out some of the smaller guys like myself (and others who have given up hosting). But I do believe this is something that can help everyone and every server.

    Now I want to be very clear about this as in the past it was mentioned and taken the wrong way. Though I have a small core of guys who make RTS their #1 spot others have taken the time to check me out now and then. I appreciate it and I know that for many RTS isn't nearly as busy for them to make it interesting. Trust me I know how you feel. Knowing that I'm not the 1st choice is fine by me, or even if you don't like it. That being said there is plenty about other servers that are not what I would call ideal. But there is still plenty of strength being part of a very busy server. For me that is one of the strengths of a busy server. In fact I switch so much I look forward to running end to end with plenty of meets.

    There was a few concerns that I overheard recently. First I heard of some worried that their friends are no longer on etc. I can relate to that because I've seen several people who used to be regulars who simply are no longer around. Life happens some times, or perhaps it's just not enough for them. Second I heard was a few people saying running from end to end gets old after a while. To that I say indeed it does. The response was try switching, and I couldn't agree more.

    I learned a long time ago that purpose is a very key element in making everything feel real. The cool part about V Scale vs model railroading is it takes the real amount of time to get from a to b. But eventually that isn't enough. Now when you add in interaction such as what MP does or AI then it makes it more interesting. But for me even that can get old pretty quick. That is why operations is a key element in RTS, and will always keep me running this sim even if I end up being by myself.

    Though I ended up only operating Mojave to Bakersfield 100% to a system, it was enough to at least keep that part a purpose. For some time I've allowed open switching east of BNSF Jct. so that people could have the freedom to open switch if they chose. The purpose behind everything I do is based on customer demands just like the real world. Locals don't just appear out of thin air, they are worked from the very cars that come in from other trains etc. Everything again has a purpose and a reason. My yards are interactive with industries and I don't use them as parking lots for storing trains.

    As of late I've been coming to a crossroads. When I first seen this I thought this would bring in lots of people and there would be many variety of sessions to chose from. For some time that is exactly what has happened. But despite new faces there are some who have disappeared over this past year.

    The thing about hosting a server or session is it allows the person to use their creativity in creating something special. I've seen everything from using different symbols, to different eras and control systems. But the biggest driver is always going to be numbers. The most important thing people want is interaction.

    That being said I have already designed the logic behind an AI dispatcher for Run8, and I have a clear concept behind actual AI control of trains. This isn't meant to be geared towards single players, but to help those hosting sessions who can't bring in the numbers. In fact even the busiest servers are very quiet in the middle of the night. The real railroad does have lulls but is constantly running. We've had plenty of great server hosts in the past, but I find many have stopped because it simply wasn't as busy as they had hoped.

    Recently Amtrak made it's awesome release which I had purchased. It's a very well done train set, but for me personally it got old pretty quick. In reality no Amtrak trains run Tehachipi and I believe only a couple run Needles. Speaking of which that is the next big thing to come. I'm hoping Needles gives Run8 a bump but I don't think it alone is enough. I certainly plan on purchasing it as well. It actually might spread out some of the congestion and make for some very interesting sessions. But after that another route is on the horizon.

    With each new route you will get the bumps in interest to Run8, but the biggest thing I think you will find is segregation. As I said I know how to get AI to work. I'm even willing to invest my money into the project to make it happen. Even on the most popular servers people can't always agree on what should be allowed or not. Many times it's a compromise. It's my hope that eventually people don't need to compromise. That they can enjoy their particular flavor of a route knowing they will have some traffic and friends who share their same interests.

    As for me lately I continue to run the RTS system. I'm going to continue running on other servers, and run the RTS system on my computer. Not sure yet how many sessions I'll be running in the immediate future. It's difficult to enjoy the system, and try to dispatch and entertain at the same time. But I do believe once AI is developed there will be a new wave of people to come aboard. I think the fears some have mentioned about MP are very valid. Not everyone is a people person, and some want to run things their way. I'm still waiting for the next opportunity job wise that are few and far between. So for now I'm either going to program RTS, and the AI functions. Perhaps I may invest, but it should be an interesting summer.

    I know the team has plenty of priorities etc. I'm not the greatest programmer, but RTS works as designed. It's not the most user friendly but since it's primarily used by me it didn't have to be. Programming an AI dispatching system is well within my capabilities. I've already been reaching out to other programmers who are developing 3rd party for Run8 to see what is required. My weakest link is getting it to work with Run8 over the network (most of my experience is stand alone applications). I may program a demo of the AI dispatcher as I see it, if it's worth the effort. After that getting trains to behave properly in AI is simply following the signals and speeds based on their locations. This is very doable, and I know how it can work. I think this is something that is going to become even more important the more Run8 expands this year.

    Thanks

    Sean

  2. #2
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    Not sure where or how you got your numbers Sean but on the DAMS 24/7 server there was 20 trains running last night and on average daily from early AM 2 -15 trains.Maybe your numbers come from your own hosted server and sessions as anyone can host a session and that is what has been happening of late.
    Work Safe play hard

  3. #3
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    HI! Yesterday it took me 8 1/2 hours to run a loaded potash train from Barstow through Bakersfield due to the amount of traffic; my longest wait was 3/4 of an hour. AI traffic does not make sense to me in Multi Player, but would have some appeal to those who use Single Player. Also, those who do not have Run8 yet, may not know that there are an number of "Saved" sessions in Single Player, that puts static consists all along the route, the engines of which are fully operational. Cheers, Chuck F
    Cheers; Chuck F.

    "the people keep coming but the train has gone"

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SurvivorSean View Post
    Recently Amtrak made it's awesome release which I had purchased. It's a very well done train set, but for me personally it got old pretty quick. In reality no Amtrak trains run Tehachipi and I believe only a couple run Needles. Speaking of which that is the next big thing to come. I'm hoping Needles gives Run8 a bump but I don't think it alone is enough. I certainly plan on purchasing it as well. It actually might spread out some of the congestion and make for some very interesting sessions. But after that another route is on the horizon.
    Amtrak #14/11 (The Coast Starlight) occasionally detour over Tehachapi. Needles has the Southwest Chief.
    Nick - Creator of the Virtual Railroading Review Show

  5. #5
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    Apr 2001
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    I understand in fact the numbers on the DAMS server can get into the 30's at times as well. Especially when you have a good organised session. I'm not saying AI is needed on every server. A host can do whatever they like.

    As far as the low single digits I'll give you a fact. I was on wee hours of the 23rd. There were 3 people working in the yards and 1 person crossing over at Bealville siding looking to end it for the night. If you look at the wave http://www.tsviewer.com/index.php?pa...wer&ID=1012161. Railroads go through lulls but I'm not sure you'll find that big of a lull - then again I could be wrong.

    My point is this even DAMS could use a little AI during the lulls (it's a tool not a requirement). There are some people from Europe and Australia that it could be ideal time for them but wont run if there is no traffic. But AI is especially useful for those who aren't as popular but still have a good following. Then you start adding routes it's eventually going to spread out even further.

    Thanks

    Sean

    P.S. Nick I know about the occasional AMTK detour. But how occasional is it?

  6. #6
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    and when the A line comes out you have 4 Regular Amtraks - Silver Star and Silver Meteor - and 2 Auto Trains

  7. #7
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    Hey I love the Amtrak, and it was very well done. I'm glad I purchased it, and I can see it eventually being used quite a bit all over once the development kit takes place. For now it's nice to see and run in moderation.

    Thanks

    Sean

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by westerngy View Post
    Not sure where or how you got your numbers Sean but on the DAMS 24/7 server there was 20 trains running last night and on average daily from early AM 2 -15 trains.Maybe your numbers come from your own hosted server and sessions as anyone can host a session and that is what has been happening of late.
    Where is it that I actually said anything about DAMS numbers in my message? My post wasn't about DAMS it was about those like myself who may not be as popular, but have a following. With the exception of perhaps a few overnight hours their server is doing just fine. In my reply I said even they could take advantage of AI overnight but that was not my point.

    Thanks

    Sean

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCLALINE View Post
    and when the A line comes out you have 4 Regular Amtraks - Silver Star and Silver Meteor - and 2 Auto Trains
    I suppose it's easy enough to reskin some autoracks in Amtrak colors, but isn't the Meteor still all single level equipment, due to it originating in NYC?

  10. #10
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    the auto racks are slightly different i believe and yes Viewliner sleepers/Amfleet coaches and cafes and heritage baggage and diners on the star and meteor, when the Sunset Limited ran through to Orlando it was superliners and auto train is superliners
    Last edited by SCLALINE; 05-24-2013 at 11:09 PM.

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