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Dynamic Dispatcher Wish List

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by JustWentSouth, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. JustWentSouth

    JustWentSouth Well-Known Member

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    Dynamic dispatching is what really makes TSW fun and challenging for me. Every run is potentially different and can be quite challenging when you stress the dispatcher a bit and then have to deal with how the traffic is handled.

    I love the chaos of all the services on routes such as HRR and HMA. However, what really makes a route feel challenging and busy to me is the traffic I have to adjust for when I am at the throttle. I love seeing the AI, but I don't necessarily want all greens on my runs, particularly if I start late. It can be quite a challenge to drive a freight behind a multiple stop passenger run and have the dispatcher pick a point where you can get ahead. CRR, with all freight and not as many services as HMA, can feel quite busy when I am forced to deal with meets.

    I think there are ways that the dispatcher and route design could facilitate this kind of engaging and immersive driving. So, I present a wish list for Dispatcher improvements:

    - Less conservative clearances.
    On Clinchfield, traffic entering a single track zone is cleared beyond the next passing zone and into the single track main beyond. The clearance wave actually extends into the siding after that. This effectively cuts in half the number of passing sidings available on a run. I would love a run on CRR where I potentially have to wait on a service or have one waiting on me at every siding. This is not possible with the lengthy signal clearances the dispatcher allows on CRR. I suspect this is needed to keep the timetable running smoothly and deal with the branch lines. Standoffs with traffic going the opposite direction on the single track sections happen in scenario planner.

    Along those lines, there are two holy grails of dynamic dispatching. 1) Having one track be designated the main for both directions in single track main and passing siding routes. The passing siding is only used when there is a meet. When there is not a meet, all traffic stays on the main. I have never seen that effectively accomplished in any train sim with dynamic dispatching. These improvements would be essential to bringing a route like Tehachapi into TSW. I recognize that the 68 mile length is also an issue here, but I would be willing to pay more to see such a route done well. 2) Being able to insert a player train as an extra run in the timetable.

    - Variable clearance waves.
    This is particularly important when freight interacts with passenger runs. Passenger runs, or fast freight runs such as the Florida Perishable (to use the CRR example once again) should have longer clearance waves than slow freight. This would make driving both more enjoyable. Interestingly, the Florida Perishable seems to have its own clearance wave; it won't leave Dante if there is southbound traffic on the line. I tried to create a chaos run by waiting at Elkhorn for the Perishable to depart and it would not start rolling until I had passed it in Dante.

    - Not having freight runs automatically cleared into the main.
    On routes such as HMA and HHL, freights originate in yards and travel a considerable distance before they enter the main to interact with passenger traffic. However, they are cleared into the main the instant the service starts. It would make game play and dynamic dispatching more interesting if they had to be set up and roll through at least one signal before passenger traffic was held up on the main. This would give passenger trains appropriate priority and allow for the player to build in delays and chose their slot between passenger runs on the main. It should be routine to see red when driving a freight about to enter the main. Doing this would be the easiest fix, I assume. It would also significantly increase gameplay possibilities.
     
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  2. TrainSim-Matt

    TrainSim-Matt Executive Producer Staff Member

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    On the last point we do have manual control over that - and try to do it, clearly it's been missed in a few places. Essentially by putting a waypoint at the signal entering the main without "dispatch beyond" it will hold to a red until you've got to that way point, which will keep the mainline running free right up until the freight train is at the signal ready to go essentially (which can be done with or without requiring a stop to trigger it as well).

    Being able to insert the player as an extra run is actually something it can pretty much cope with now - we have some debugging tools for allowing a dev to just spawn a train in the middle of a running timetable and then assign it an objective through console commands - it basically works (but isn't a feature in the game because it is also really easy for the player/developer to do something silly and create unreasonable havoc :) ).

    Dynamic re-pathing is something i'd love to get in there, but that is *tough*. Essentially it's one of the component problems needed to be resolved to get the Bakerloo timetable working properly (since you need dynamic behaviour at Queens Park turnback roads and in Elephant and Castle).

    Matt.
     
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  3. aglomarsale

    aglomarsale Active Member

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    TSW2 has dynamic dispatcher?? Or is it going to?
     
  4. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

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    But it would be our unreasonable havoc - i.e. fun :). I realise there are limits to the dispatcher but real railways go through this kind of havoc on most days from breakdowns, special trains, maintenance, signal failures, incidents involving humans, level crossing crashes etc. It would be awesome to be able to generate some of this sort of havoc.

    One of the things I enjoy doing with Run8 is running the dispatcher - I've been known to get myself into near impossible situations then spend literally hours routing, setting up meets and diversions to get myself out of it. I've done dispatcher with live players on multiplayer and they just love to tie you in knots, of course you can strand them in sidings until they beg to come out too :).

    Just some food for thought on future possibilities on the "one day" list - there's plenty on that list already I suspect!

    Paul
     
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  5. TrainSim-Matt

    TrainSim-Matt Executive Producer Staff Member

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    The Havoc i mean is a "bugged out game" rather than just a wonky situation that will be fun to recover from :)
     
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  6. aglomarsale

    aglomarsale Active Member

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    Hello Matt sir, I dont know what to say right now, so I hope you find the picture below interesting.


    [​IMG]


    :):):)
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  7. TrainSim-Matt

    TrainSim-Matt Executive Producer Staff Member

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    All threads should be derailed with photos of pink trains, I approve! The Series 500 in Pink is one of the best :) The interior is crazy on this one too :)
     
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  8. fanta1682002

    fanta1682002 Well-Known Member

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    you go to make japan route
     
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  9. JustWentSouth

    JustWentSouth Well-Known Member

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  10. 7orenz

    7orenz Well-Known Member

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    implementing a partially dynamic (or even static, but looking dynamic/realistic) dispatcher would be a huge step forward for TSW's future. I was pleased to note that some services on the Hamburg-Lubeck make strategic stops (at stations along the route) to be overtaken by priority services. It would be very welcome if overtaking were implemented and used more often.

    I mean: the train that must be overtaken temporarily leaves the transit track (the line) and stops in a service track (as happens in stations with more than two tracks). The overcoming train will remain on the transit track. All this is not dynamic but predetermined. It is pleasant all the same because it is plausible with reality, I hope it is implemented more in the next DLCs.
     
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  11. Anthony Pecoraro

    Anthony Pecoraro Well-Known Member

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    There are opportunities for this to happen on the Boston route. Let's see if it happens.
     
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  12. cwf.green

    cwf.green Well-Known Member

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    Something that could make the freight driving more dynamic, without significantly updating the dispatcher (I think?) would be to slot in a good fraction of the freight trains right after a passenger service (or timed so that when the freight train enter the mainline it either has to wait for a passenger train or arrives just as the passenger train has passed). This way you get plenty of red signals, at least on routes where the top speed isn't significantly higher than the Vmax of the freight train, or with passenger trains that have a lot of stops.

    Check out this cab ride (Mainz - Köln):

    The freight train has to stop nearly 10 times in just the stretch between Mainz and Koblenz.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  13. Cael

    Cael Well-Known Member

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    I would like to point out the freight service on HHL that originates from Hamburg at around 11:15, lets a passenger train through at Ahrensburg and then continues to Lübeck.
    I don't know if this is the only service that does this or if there are more, but some of the technology *is* there and can be used at least in some capacity.

    If I remember correctly, it's done just by two instructions of "stop at" and "wait until", from the signal behaviour it seems the dispatcher allocates the line at the end of the wait until instruction.
     
  14. OldVern

    OldVern Well-Known Member

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    Zusi 2 had an element of randomisation, arrived at by setting the percentage chance of taking a particular route at a set of points or junction node. However it wasn’t infallible and could still produce lock ups, particularly on single line routes such as my favourite, the now closed back country line from Braunschweig to Wolfsburg.
     
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  15. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

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    I like this idea, but I would also want to be able to speed up time while I'm waiting, unless you need to pee or make a cuppa 10 minutes at a red is prototypical but boring :).

    Paul
     
  16. cwf.green

    cwf.green Well-Known Member

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    There's nothing in principle that prevents this. The physics probably has overhead for 10x speed up, maybe the dispatcher might bonk out doing that. Obviously graphics would have to reduce fps during speed up but again, nothing impossible in principle. FSX had like 64x speed up iirc, the dynamics of TSW2 is probably on par (more realistic physics but less complex systems) in complexity.

    Another way could be something like: Skyrim etc "sleep" for 10mins or whatever.
     
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  17. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    If variability could be programmed into AI train speed, or even duration of AI train station stops (idiot got his suitcase stuck in the doors, took 2 minutes to sort), that could make things very interesting. Running behind a stopper is one thing, running behind a late stopper rather more interesting.
     
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  18. TrainSim-Matt

    TrainSim-Matt Executive Producer Staff Member

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    Programming variability in isn't hard, the challenge is having a test infrastructure which can auto-play all kinds of variations of this to ensure that you always end up with a playable completable game still. That's hard enough without any variation, but if suddenly there's infinite variations (and multiple stops with variable even short delays can create lots of different ways things might play out) then testing service mode becomes extremely difficult. We need to solve that first, before doing things like delays, in my opinion :)
     
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  19. cwf.green

    cwf.green Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago I built some custom scenarios to the Chatham Mainline route for TS20XX with the aim of making "super realistic" and interesting/challenging scenarios. What I did was to browse the RealTimeTrains website and then look for trains that had arrived to London Victoria (or Faversham) quite late (20 minutes or so) but that wasn't just late because of one big delay at a single station but had rather built up the delay bit by bit at several stations due to congestion. All the AI trains were pathed so that they arrived at stations and important junctions according to the actual time of that day, rather than the scheduled time.

    It required a lot of AI trains but the end result was some real hardcore "chasing yellows" driving and quite a few 1-2 minute stops at red signals (especially around Bickley Jn). That was a lot of fun.

    Unfortunately I lost both the scenarios I made (one in each direction) because I forgot to save them while reformating my computer.:|
     
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  20. Cael

    Cael Well-Known Member

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    This could create very interesting possibilities, however, it would run into the "gamification" of Train Sim World. Players who want a gold medal in everything would be disadvantaged by this randomness.

    I hope some interesting scenarios will be possible with Scenario Planner 2.0, I've loved creating MSTS scenarios where you are a backup train, you start in a yard, pull into the first station already some 20 minutes late and then try to catch up along the way.
     
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  21. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

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    I publish mine to workshop. I lost a couple during a machine explosion but just grabbed them again from workshop. Its amazing the comments you get, I particularly like a couple of older routes and there seems to be a bit of a fan club for them. I would certainly go for this kind of super busy scenario.

    cwf.green indeed - there are games with a time speed up mechanic now (e.g. World of Subways) - basically every second passes and things that are moving move at super speed. Doesn't seem to change the frame rate much they just move more in each frame and moving trains get very blurry.

    TrainSim-Matt its an interesting concept that delays introduced affect the entire time table of services, - I was thinking they'd only affect what you were driving and those that spawn during your session - but your reply sort of implies that the entire time table is actually running when you have the game running and services you cannot see spawn and operate while you play. I guess this makes sense but I'd not really every thought of it this way. Does this also imply time continues to tick while you're in the route main menu? If it does, then I suddenly understand the complexity of what you're dealing with.

    Paul
     
  22. fakenham

    fakenham Active Member

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    I think it would be good if it was a toggleable option. I've a feeling there are many folks (those who crave a bit of randomisation) that would be prepared to use this option knowing that it could cause problem lockups - but it's our choice. If it doesn't work, then fair enough, we can turn it off. But if we do get a good run in service mode, with a bit of randomisation, then great.
    Of course, the ultimate in random events would be multiplayer, but I've a feeling I'll be quite old by the time that surfaces unfortunately.
     
  23. TrainSim-Matt

    TrainSim-Matt Executive Producer Staff Member

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    Time doesnt tick while you're in the menu - but if you're walking around Boston station at 10am then all the trains that are out and about anywhere on the route are being handled and simulated at 10am. Doesn't matter what you can see - they all have to be simulated even if you're not able to see them (because at some point you might be able to see them). There's no fakery to the timetable, it runs every service that's defined all the time you're in-world and runs all those instructions as they do things whether they're doing passenger stops along lines, or switching in yards, tons of instructions being enacted and completed all the time while you sit and watch trains. Speeding up time would involve speeding up *all* of this - which can be done, but only so far, and less so when you couple it with all the visuals going on. When we simulate timetables to get them set up it runs them about 15-20 times faster than normal speed but that's only achievable on a decent spec PC without any of the game graphics being used.

    If you cause delays, or if AI have variable performance, then it can affect the order trains get to reserve blocks, get them out of sequence and so forth - which the dispatcher can largely cope with - but the higher level problems that might come about from this that result in deadlocks and so forth are much more tricky and are where the issue comes in. The variability in gameplay that is possible is immense - but with great variability becomes a game that you no longer know works (and if i'm blunt, I become more certain probably *wont*) - hence why I wouldn't even want to make it an 'At your own risk' option - because I think it's probably more likely to break than work so you'd enjoy the mild variability and what it brings, and then repeatedly be frustrated at not being able to complete things for seemingly silly reasons - then would come 'gah, dont they test this' and... well, here we are. :)
     
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  24. fanta1682002

    fanta1682002 Well-Known Member

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    thank you NEW DTG CEO
     
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  25. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comprehensive reply mate, I appreciate it. Now it makes a whole lot more sense why timetables are so hard in the first place. What you describe is actually harder than real trains because at least in those and around the network you have a collection of independent thinkers that come together and consult and work things out when the day goes awry. The game has only itself to run everything.

    Paul
     
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