Autogen Tool - Is It Being Relied On Too Much?

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by londonmidland, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    As per the title says, do you think that the autogen tool is being relied on too much when routes are being built?

    For those that don’t know what autogen is, it’s basically a tool which places the bare minimum scenery, as well as models the terrain for you, so you don’t have to hand place it manually.

    So far, two routes have used this technology. LGV and SEHS. Both routes have something in common - a distinct lack of scenery in places, consequently caused by relying on autogen too much. This typically tends to be around large, open spaced areas. Such as in the countryside or large flat areas. These are not miles away from view, but in fact noticeable from when driving/sitting on the train.

    The article promoting auto-gen specifically said that it won’t not compromise scenery quality and it also speeds up route building time. However from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve contradicted this statement as scenery has quite clearly suffered in some areas.

    What do you think? Comment your thoughts below.

    Screenshots showing this issue:
    861C64D1-2385-4F2E-8E34-9672E2AB364C.jpeg
    A52F73AC-9B4A-46D7-80B1-F91F17072683.jpeg
     
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  2. mattdsoares

    mattdsoares Well-Known Member

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    Yes. It seems to generate very sparse, very low detail scenery
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
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  3. Shaun123

    Shaun123 Well-Known Member

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    After just 2 routes, I’ll reserve judgement for now.

    But you can definitely tell the difference between the High Speed and Classic sections on SEHS.
     
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  4. BR125

    BR125 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the above, but one thing ill note is that open area of SEHS looks better than TGV and atleast has some mix up of colours which helps. its still bad, but its better than it was.
     
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  5. praxidike.meng

    praxidike.meng Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me they're following a certain logic here...sections of the route where speed seems to be lower are more detailed since it's likely we will have more time and chance to spot the detail. High speed sections of the route are sparsely populated with scenery since we will be blasting through it anyway, hardly spotting the difference. Obviously this isn't the case, so here we are. Personally I find these areas quite off-putting, so I definitely think the tool needs to be toned down, or upgraded in some way.
     
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  6. jevan-dean

    jevan-dean Active Member

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    I wouldn't say they are relying on it too much. Its fine for a "base" it just needs to be gone over manually to add the details
     
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  7. Mat_Jam_Ca

    Mat_Jam_Ca Well-Known Member

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    I would say it certainly needs improvement.
     
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  8. jeremydunn8

    jeremydunn8 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    I think this is a render distance issue right here. I was in the same spot, and I could see tons of foliage, then all of a sudden it disappeared for the most part. Adam Thomson also experienced a similar thing on his first look of the route. Hopefully they fix this.
     
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  9. PeteW

    PeteW Member

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    Not really comparable but posting as food for thought.....
    MS Flight SImulator 2020 uses a huge amount of autogen for scenery (allbeit view distances are much greater). But they have managed to achieve things in towns which you can recognise as a given area. If you look close, it looks a bit rubbish. But it does resemble the area they are modelling. But still with their resources Edinburgh Castle has turned into an office block.
    Not really sure what I am saying. But I guess if you want ok priced routes, there has to be a choice of not-perfrect autogen vs short routes.

    What I don't get is when TrainSimulator from ages ago has more realistic scenery than a just released route which I understand is what folk are saying. I have no data on that. Just a comment
     
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  10. Callum B.

    Callum B. Well-Known Member

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    This particular shot does look naked, but in my opinion it would be disingenuous to use this screenshot on its own without any comparison shots because, unlike the horrendous LGV scenery, this particular area seems more like a fluke than anything else (also for reasons of polling integrity, but that is not really important for these kinds of questionnaires). For example, here are a couple screenshots from the same location but taken in different directions.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And then only a couple hundred metres down the track, the scenery is lush.
    [​IMG]

    The scenery looks fine to me in other directions, so why is the field to the south so barren? I would not say that it is representative of the kind of quality we can expect from the use of autogen, nor is that one particular area indicative of the route development team relying too heavily on the tool. Clearly, the route development team has used it primarily as a basis for allowing more time to place assets rather than basic terrain, at least for SEHS. If this poll were about LGV, I would vote 'No'. However, since SEHS shows a marked improvement (to which I am generally satisfied with the overall quality), I refuse to vote.

    N.B.: What are the other places on SEHS in which you feel auto-generation has resulted in dissatisfactory level of scenery?

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  11. stujoy

    stujoy Well-Known Member

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    I would say that for the moment the autogen process is probably not proving to be much quicker than placing it all manually. Both routes that have used it have had to be delayed to manually fix all the bad stuff the automatic process had produced, and the results are not entirely good throughout even after that. We have seen the results of manual fixing of a great deal of the autogenerated scenery. The process is likely to get better in time. It’s still early days.

    I don’t see it as being a case of it being relied on too much. They either use it or we get short routes, it’s as simple as that. At the moment we are getting longer routes but they are delayed and somewhat unfinished, as the system isn’t up to speed. There are sections of both routes that have used the system though that are just as detailed and as good as any other routes. Give it a few more routes to see if it’s working out.

    Having said that, the players are going to have to accept some less detailed scenery if we want longer routes because even when the teething troubles with the autogeneration tool are ironed out the scenery it produces will be sparse. The aim will be to create routes that are even longer than the ones we’ve had so far, and to not have to fix lots of the scenery created automatically.
     
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  12. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    I'm really not sure where this obsession with long routes comes from. The routes we have so far are what, 50 miles max approximately. Would SPG be better if it were twice as long? I don't think so. Same for the European routes. Clinchfield will be about 40 miles, Cane Creek probably less. Now, I get that the high speed trains cover that 50 miles in almost no time at all and that makes them less immersive, but if players want full detail, they need to make a choice. Personally, I would always prefer shorter, more detailed and more accurate routes, like most of the ones we have now. I'm very skeptical of this short cut method of route creation. Besides, my attention span isn't very long anyway. I rarely play more than an hour per session, so about 50 miles is kind of the sweet spot. Just my take.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  13. SonicScott91

    SonicScott91 Well-Known Member

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    I think it depends on what content the route is made up of. High speed trains eat up the distance quickly, most ICE and TGV services can be done in just over 30 minutes but they’re usually an end to end affair or have one stop on the way. SEHS stands out being a mix of high speed running and normal commuter style, plenty of stops there and takes about an hour to complete a run with the 395. Bakerloo on the other hand is only 14 miles but has 25 stops and a full passenger service that can take an hour to run. Sand Patch is a 50-odd mile run if you look at the results screen and that takes just over 2 hours to complete a full run, I don’t think that route needs an extension like you said.

    I’m not opposed to having the occasional 100 mile route if the route consists mostly of higher speeds of 125mph+. For example, I’d like to see an 100 mile chunk of the West Coast Main Line in the U.K.. For slower commuter services or freight runs, I think DTG have made the right call in route length.

    I’d also like to see some routes in the other extreme. Have small, densely packed shunting routes.

    This auto-gen tech is still early days, I don’t want to see DTG rush into a really long route anyway. I’m not usually one to fuss about scenery but there are areas on SEHS that look a bit too empty, mostly around the high speed section. I’d rather they focus on getting a 50 mile route done without too much compromise in scenery quality first before taking it forward. Still, we’ll see how it develops over the next couple of route releases.

    I think if DTG can balance auto-manual route building and put out routes that match East Coastway levels of quality using this newer tech. We’ll be on a winner :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2021
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  14. theorganist

    theorganist Well-Known Member

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    I would say it is a bit early yet to form a judgement, we have only had two routes using it.

    I have only driven the SEHS once so far, from the cab which is where I normally drive but I couldn't see any glaring issues personally. Maybe after some time I will notice, I don't have TGV so can't comment.

    I might have a drive on ECW then the classic section of SEHS and see how they compare as they are not too far apart landscape wise.

    I think it is a good thing they are trying a different technique, maybe it needs some fine tuning.
     
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  15. I understand your point of view, as I used to think like this before the pandemic. However, with all the new time I have in my hands now, my attention span has greatly increased, and I obviously prefer driving from London to Dover than from London to Faversham and back. I think a part of the player base wants the high speed factor without having to give up driving time, so DTG is trying to sell to these players with longer routes, which I am very happy about.
     
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  16. hightower

    hightower Guest

    I think this video sums it up very succinctly indeed. If you’re not aware who the guys on TrainSimTV are, they are the route-builders who have turned around Just Trains’ output, taking their content from what was frankly well below par to some of the most detailed and well built routes you can get for TS2021. Way better than the rubbish being churned out by DTG at the moment. In short, they know what they’re talking about.

    I don’t see how anyone can watch this video (or indeed play the route itself) and say that something hasn’t gone seriously awry recently with route building in TSW2. It’s surely no coincidence that this significant drop in quality has come with the previous 2 routes where this auto-gen system has been used. These routes are not ultra-long, they are simply marginally longer than some other routes but are of way worse build quality. They are sloppy and shoddily put together and some of the assets are just terrible.

    Anyway, don’t take my word for it, watch and see for yourself. From the moment the train leaves St. Pancras the standard of scenery is just way below the standard DTG themselves have achieved in the past. It makes GWE look like another game entirely, and I think ought to be a real cause for concern for those who have ‘invested’ money in this product.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2021
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  17. ZeenozPlays

    ZeenozPlays Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I do feel like the Autogen tool is being used too much. I don’t need to say much but look at the HS1 portion in TS21 and look at it in TSW 2, big difference.
     
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  18. ZeenozPlays

    ZeenozPlays Well-Known Member

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    I’ll take a shorter route, for more detailed scenery, as long as it has a terminus at each end for Back to Forth services.
     
  19. Shaun123

    Shaun123 Well-Known Member

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    Reading this, you’d think they’d given an extremely negative review. They didn’t - were there more negatives than positives? Yes, but only just. They highlighted some issues we already knew about (tunnels, fences, scenery/texture quality on HS1) and some things I didn’t spot, but had praise for station and train models and the scenery on the “Classic” section, as well signals and level crossings.

    My mind is made up, and of course it is my opinion!
    ;) But I’m really enjoying the route, I’m really satisfied, it’s my favourite UK DLC. However, for me, nothing has really surpassed München-Augsburg yet.

    There’s still work to be done, and I hope some of the bug fixes in the first patch go a long way to solving some of these issues, with more to follow.
     
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  20. davidh0501

    davidh0501 Well-Known Member

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    ‘With a ladder and some glasses you can see as far as Hackney marshes, if it wasn’t for the houses in between’

    Not really bothered by that area as it’s the most visually boring part of the route.
    I would argue that it’s an acceptable portrayal of the marshland.
    Especially if you stay in the cab and don’t fly like Peter Pan ten feet about it.
     
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  21. LeadCatcher

    LeadCatcher Well-Known Member

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    davidh0501 has hit the nail on the head for in my opinion. While I think loyalty to reality is important, I treat this simulation as a train driving simulation. I do want fidelity from the drivers prospective, but want realism in how the locomotive performs, the correct signaling and accurate stations, but beyond what can be seen from trackside and while driving, not really interested in flying out to see the scenery.
     
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