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Thread: The elephant in the room?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
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    Default The elephant in the room?

    So I recently came across something that may explain some of the issues I was having with Waycross where others were not. The issue seems to stem from servers or computers above minimum requirements but not powerful enough to run larger area of AI and industries.

    See what I did in Waycross was made the issue worse. Something I could get away with in Barstow. That is I use dummy tracks for all the bowls so that I get reports of what is in the bowl, receiving, etc. and can export the data to Google Sheets. This I'm being told by those that have tested similar things on their server or even in single player wind up resulting in issues with AI disappearing, humps that go down the wrong track etc. Where as Barstow due to limited tracks is not an issue.

    So here is the elephant I'm talking about and just putting it out there, because with the issue of course I have at least a short term solution. If too much AI or industries in a region are causing issues why not go with smaller regions? I know this game engine is old and no longer supported. I'm not sure if V3 is being developed in it (I hope not for their sake). But going for a smaller region that is limited in scope may be a win win for Run8 and some customers.

    The small fish and single players like myself have a world that may not be a transcon but have plenty of action to keep it interesting. In fact the TSW Oakville Sub just released if done right would of worked PERFECT in Run8 in my opinion.

    Any smaller region I would be happy to shell out some money to check out. Not that I don't enjoy all the regions I have, but running them gets to be very difficult.

    Anyways my 2 cents. Tonight for those having issues there is a work around. I'm going to have a live stream at about 6pm tonight on my channel where I clean up the industry database for a smaller operation. I tried doing it last night but I was tired. Today I have much more energy so hopefully I can be more focused.

    Thanks

    Sean

  2. #2
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    Apr 2001
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    Default

    Sorry some things came up so I won't be able to live stream tonight. All the latest info will be available at the links below.

    Thanks

    Sean

  3. #3

    Default

    I agree the huge scale possible with Run8 is both a blessing and a curse. The "curse" part is really two different things - performance and complexity.

    On my 9900k and 2080 Ti PC, the full SoCal region with 40 AI trains running (and a lot of cars scattered through in sidings and yards) brings my FPS to the 30-40fps range. That's perfectly playable for me, but I can imagine on a mid-range PC it would probably get unplayable. That's one argument for a region that would be more single-player friendly.

    The other side of things is complexity. Run8 in general is awesome for its power and flexibility in single player (it's like having a massive model railroad at your fingertips where you can realistically run things however you want) but also still lacking stuff that would make it so much easier to use for that purpose. I practically get an anxiety attack trying to dispatch and route 30+ AI trains while trying to remember where I need to go with my own train, let alone trying to handle operating it on a steep grade and all that. I know I keep beating this drum but I really think AI dispatching combined with a more detailed train symbol system that allows us to enter origin, destination, priority etc (so the AI dispatcher understands where it should go and how to handle meets and stuff.) Even if the AI trains still couldn't do more complex operations like backing up or making pickups/setouts, it would allow a single player SO much more room to breath and relax. Now of course you can avoid the dispatching altogether by just not running AI or only a small handful of them, but that feels like wasting the cool parts of Run8.

    Also in relation to dispatching and AI trains, there needs to be more structure to how AIs are spawned. A daily schedule that could be configured with some hard-coded times or optional time ranges would be cool, to avoid having 3 H-BELBARs spawn in a row or whatever. The schedule would also be a way to enjoy driving a through-train as a single player, you could go through the schedule and find one of the scheduled trains that looks interesting and run it. Then the AI dispatcher would come into play and route you where you're supposed to be going, hold you up for priority trains (or vice versa) etc etc. In the case of the CSX regions where train symbols are just numbers that require you to look them up, it could have that information right there for you to see.

    On top of dispatching, there really needs to be a built-in system that can look at each industry and tell the player "hey, there are enough industries ready to be served by L-CAL0611 now, click OK to automatically generate that local train and place it in yard XYZ, or you can assemble it yourself" (just giving one example, of course there are many things that could be done here.) I haven't joined Depot+ yet but from what I gather, they have a very thoughtfully designed web app that does a lot of that stuff that would make single player so much better.

  4. #4
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    Default

    My FPS usually falls in the 20's some place give or take. The FPS I can live with but unfortunately what once was capable of being a server would have a difficult time in say a California.

    I share your points on schedules and AI dispatching.

    Thanks

    Sean

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Toronto, ON
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    Default

    The cool thing about TSW when it was announced (so it seemed) was being able to see a whole network of trains running, and being able to jump into one and take the controls as part of a living railway.

    Run8 does this even better, and has the potential to take the concept much, much further. When I started playing (on your server, Sean, back in 2013) my first interest was in running the long distance trains on the road, up and over the challenging gradients. Skip forward a few years to V2 and I was on a different server, and now found that I could spend an entire day juggling working Barstow Yard and watching the dispatch boards to keep things moving on the main lines without realizing how much time was passing. There was always something to do, but there was a key factor:

    Other people playing. For one thing, what you were doing had an impact on and mattered to the other folks in the server either right now or who'd be joining later. For another, you had the unpredictability of what other people'd do. They might arrive late, or with a weird consist, or ask to be squeezed through as a priority, or leave the yard in a mess.

    For a small route concentrated around a yard to maintain the same level of interest for the single player, Run8 V3 would/will need to have a really robust and diverse set of rules to spawn different things in and create different situations for you to handle, as well as be able to look after the other parts of the route while you're otherwise occupied. A busy Barstow in Run8 would overwhelm one person, but two or even three could handle detaching then inbound power, humping, and trimming.

    I think that is key to the immersion: it has to feel like a living railway that you're playing your part in. This is why TSW fails: there is not enough happening around you to keep up the initial illusion presented by the shiny graphics. (Oakville especially, which should have constant passenger traffic to contend with or thundering past in the distance from the yard or siding you're in)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalangel View Post
    *snip*
    Agree with everything you just said! The feeling that you're doing something that matters, even in single player, is what sets Run8 apart. It seemed like TSW was originally heading in that direction, but in typical Dovetail Games fashion they decided to forget all that and just start pumping out DLC after DLC without advancing the core game.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by metalangel View Post
    ........For another, you had the unpredictability of what other people'd do. They might arrive late, or with a weird consist, or ask to be squeezed through as a priority, or leave the yard in a mess....
    Other than lateness, the behaviour of other people is not really a factor in real life.
    You don't have train crews asking for priority, for a start; their train's importance is predetermined even before they turn up for their shift.
    And a crew could not just knock off work and "leave the yard in a mess".

    Looking back to the birth of Run 8 and its predilection for online play it now appears obvious that it (multiplayer) has not been as popular as first thought.
    Train sims, like flight sims, are still predominately a solo-player's world and they lend themselves perfectly to that form of game-play.

    For solo-play, all that is needed to overcome a "busy Barstow" is a Pause button.
    Then, with a Save function available, the rest takes care of itself.
    IBM XT i386; 512Kb RAM; 5.25" FDD; 1.4Mb FDD; 5Mb HDD; VGA 256-colour graphics card; AdLib soundcard; DR DOS 6.0; Windows 3.0

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by seagoon View Post
    For solo-play, all that is needed to overcome a "busy Barstow" is a Pause button.
    Then, with a Save function available, the rest takes care of itself.
    We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think there are a lot of strides Run8 can and should make in the single player department so it can keep growing and take advantage of the huge advantages it already has over other simulators.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by seagoon View Post
    For solo-play, all that is needed to overcome a "busy Barstow" is a Pause button.
    Then, with a Save function available, the rest takes care of itself.
    That doesn't overcome anything, it'll all be waiting just as before when you come back. Unless they upgade to AI drivers that can handle running things over the hump, or trimming, or detaching the power and taking it to service/storage, there could well be more to do than one person could handle alone given more trains would be arriving and needing a place to go. Just being able to let the AI drive some locos from one end of the yard to the service track entrance while you ran to do something else was a huge boon to efficiency (but you had to know how their simple mind worked and set a switch against them so they'd stop in the right place and not carry on their merry way out of the yard and try to make a break for Bakersfield)

    Heck, even with multiple people working, unless things were stayed on top of with reasonable diligence, you'd end up with trains queued up outside coming in from Mojave, Needles and Cajon for a receiving track to become available.

    Keeping it all moving is where the satisfaction came from as I said, but it would also need the ability to automate more of the tasks or it would quickly become too much for one person unless you dropped the spawn rate very low.

  10. #10

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    And just to add to what metalangel said above, nobody is knocking Run8 or suggesting any features be removed, we're just advocating for some improvements.

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