More Focus On Improving Sounds Please

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by londonmidland, Mar 17, 2022.

  1. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    As the title states, I really think there should be more dedication and priority in improving the sounds in TSW.

    So what do I mean by improving sounds?

    1.) Ambient & world sounds


    Since the launch of TSW, we’ve never really had any ‘proper’ ambient sounds. In large cities and towns, it can often feel like a ghost town. Stations are awfully quiet, not helped by the NPCs making absolutely no noise at all. The only sounds I often hear is the odd police siren in the distance, or the sounds of construction works going on.

    Opening the cab window of my train, all I can hear is the faint rumble or hum of my own train, as it sits in what can only be described as a post-apocalyptic world. We should be able to hear the constant sound of traffic, as cars pass by, passengers talking etc. The ‘buzz’ and rush of busyness just doesn’t exist in TSW.

    Adding extra NPCs is all well and good, but if they don’t create any noise or sounds, then in my opinion, it’s just extra visual clutter.

    2.) Train sounds
    I often feel certain sounds on aren’t mixed correctly. It feels like track joint sounds or wheel flange sounds are often missing and/or set far too quiet. The sounds often do not do justice of the ‘heaviness’ of the train. The same goes for the ‘running’ sounds of the train. Sometimes it feels like I’m driving a maglev train in the air.

    Another issue is the cab can be far too quiet too. There’s no rattling, creaking or ‘thuds’ as you go over a set of points, for example. Tunnels should have reverb in them, with the sound of air rushing through. Often in TSW, if you’re lucky, this will only feature in one particular place along the route.

    I think a lot of the issues explained above are tied to the 32 sound channel limit TSW has, which means only that amount of sounds can be played at any one point/simultaneously. This is never going to be enough for a train simulation game. In comparison, I think TS1 has a limit of 2xx?

    If we somehow manage to resolve these issues, then I think it’ll make a huge difference and improvement to TSW. Certainly a lot more compared to Rush Hour passengers or dynamic billboards, for comparison.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
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  2. GarethDavies21

    GarethDavies21 New Member

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    I can't help but agree.

    The sounds are pretty dreadful. The thing for me is - the 465 was a tremendous unit. Scripted well and sounded well. But that wasn't DTG, it was AP. They need to use the third party more!
     
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  3. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    It depends a lot on the route. Sherman Hill, for example, has amazing ambient sounds. I think Boston Sprinter is also good.
     
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  4. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    I believe the used AP recordings, but all the scripting of the sounds were done by DTG. So it just shows they can make a very good sounding train, providing they have good recordings for it.
     
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  5. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    Second londonmidland: the raw sound files are only the starting point, it's the mixing where the magic does or doesn't happen.

    (Incidentally, I find the 465's rail screech to be excessive and annoying)
     
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  6. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    Me too. It seems to be way too loud and seems to sound very frequently.

    If we could have some sort of ‘middle ground’ then that would be perfect.
     
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  7. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    I think the 465 screech is bang on. They do screech rather a lot when they're moving slowly
     
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  8. 4-COR

    4-COR Well-Known Member

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    I wish train sounds interacted with the environment more. For example, more echoey sounds when in a tunnel or that windy noise when passing a platform at speed.
     
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  9. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    Tunnel reverb is present in the game at some routes on some places, but funnily enough, never consistently. For example, SPG has them for most tunnels or GWE at Paddington. It depends on where the route builder decided to put them (I suppose it works based on a placeable volume box).
     
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  10. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    I agree about the background sounds. The world is a noisy place and that should be reflected in the TSW audio. I often feel that sound, such as track and motor noise are there but just not loud enough. It's annoying when they turn down the volume on streams so they can be heard when they really need to pipe down so we can hear the various sounds in the game.
    I get the impression that the folks at DTG don't really consider sound to be as important as most of us do.
    I once thought I heard a dog barking on SPG all the way from Cumberland to Hyndman. Then I took off my headphones and realized it was the dog from the house across the street.
     
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  11. Kangaroo Conductor

    Kangaroo Conductor Active Member

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    I totally agree there. I don't know much about train noises, so the train noise as it is ingame is not to critique for me, but the ambient sound is indeed to little. It's one thing on my personal wishlist for more things going on on the routes, which would create sound, which then would make the sound too way better.
     
  12. nhilsubsolenovum

    nhilsubsolenovum Member

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    Sound is so important to immersion and it's never taken seriously. In some cases it's almost there but not fleshed out, like tunnels, track noise when trains approach, laughable horns etc. It's simply a case of "oh this'll do" and there's no pride or love gone into it. I know they've hired a sound engineer now so this should improve but it has to be given as much love as the graphics.
    I know the Colonel was mocking this issue ("sound police") a few months back but please take it seriously otherwise don't bother releasing it.
     
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  13. Tonto62

    Tonto62 Well-Known Member

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    There are quite effective ambient sounds at South Bank on the Tees Valley route. Distant sounds of heavy industry. I remember there used to be a siren test at the steelworks around 10.00 each day but I haven't heard it for ages. Maybe it got lost in the conversion to TSW2.
     
  14. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    It's still there
     
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  15. praxidike.meng

    praxidike.meng Well-Known Member

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    I second both points. It has to be said though that there is a noticeable improvement in the overall audio presentation on newer routes. Train sounds are definitely getting better, although still not quite there yet, while ambient sounds leave much to be desired. My most common complaint is the running sound, it just isn't convincing on most vehicles (exception being TSG products). I understand that modern locos and control cars are well isolated, but even with the best isolation there's some audible noise of movement. Trains are incredibly heavy objects, yet some of TSW's trains feel like a paper plane when driving.
     
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  16. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    Track noise is something that definitely needs improvements. On the MTA Metro-North Railroad, track noise is very common especially when going on a straight track but in the harlem line, that's mostly non-existent. While yes the train audio has been improving, track noise is something that needs improvement as well.

    Ambient sounds need improving. It feels like your just driving through ghost towns with how quiet the stations are
     
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  17. Scorpion71

    Scorpion71 Well-Known Member

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    Posted the below in a similar thread and is also relevant in this thread.


    I fear we will never get consistently great sounds in TSW2. I briefly dipped into TS the other day and went for a 37 thrash along NWC with a set of rake MK2's all with AP sounds, WOW, pure heaven those sounds, then I went for a spin in the TSW2 Class37, dear god, the difference in sounds is night and day.
     
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  18. praxidike.meng

    praxidike.meng Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't go that far. It certainly can be brought up to the level of AP quality, it just needs more effort from the developers (not in any way saying it is a small task).
     
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  19. martschuffing

    martschuffing Well-Known Member

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    A subject close to my heart, I agree with the observations here sound needs to be taken far more seriously, I want to be immersed; and the sounds of TSW2 do not immerse me they leave me unsatisfied apart as some say JTG's products but even then there's a paucity of sound interaction with the environment. Trains are noisy!
     
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  20. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    Unrelated to sounds themselves, but related to the atmospheric/world within TSW, but perhaps on stations, we could have a bit of ‘clutter’ on the station platforms?

    Currently they’re pretty bare and pristine looking. It’d be nice to have some rubbish/trash assets spread out on the platform. Particularly at platform ends/below the platform, where they’re likely to accumulate from the wind blowing it.

    Additionally, it would be nice to have some variation in platform lighting. Perhaps have different brightness intensities between lights, so it doesn’t look all the ‘same’ looking. Maybe even have a couple of lights not working and/or flashing to give the station a bit of an atmospheric feeling.

    Finally, on underground/below level routes, we could have some rodent/rat squeaks, the sound of water flowing through pipes, water dripping, electrical humming etc.

    I think these would really make a difference to the look and feels of stations and the route as a whole.

    What do you guys think?
     
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  21. gazz292

    gazz292 Well-Known Member

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    not sure if i'm imagining it, the BR112, a loco i love so drive the most (i'd love it even more if VirtuaRailroads could script it... needs the Freier Auslauf / free run down button adding in, and the power lever lockout if you don't let the notch display get to 00 before operating the brakes etc... oh and maybe the motor temp display.... with having to back off power when it gets too hot... i'd gladly pay for an update that added all that)


    anyway, i'm sure it had more flange squeal untill recently,

    lately i've noiticed what seems to be a very badly looped squeak that goes on for ages when going around a curve or changing tracks at points,

    so instead of going 'SQQQUUUEEEALLLLLLLLLLLLL.... cccrrrrssshhhhhhheeeeeekkkkkkk' it's going ' ...... squeak.... ah- squeak........ ah - squeak' with a thunk as the recording loops each time.

    It's more like someone forgot to oil something rather than metal being shaved off the wheel flanges against the steel rails thats really happening.



    As for in cab sounds, i open both the external doors, the engine room doors and the windows as part of my cab set up procedure when i drive the BR112.

    There are some German trains that are very well sound insulated in the cab, but these ~90's era locos aint them...
    Not quite a 'ears ringing for days' as you'd get from driving a deltic, but deffo not the 'like driving a rolls royce, the loudest sound is the clock ticking away in the dashboard'
     
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  22. 4-COR

    4-COR Well-Known Member

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    Some routes are certainly better in the ambient sounds department than others. A little detail on ECW that I love is that you can hear the transformer hum when driving past substations.
     
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  23. dhekelian

    dhekelian Well-Known Member

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    Agree 100%. I travelled on the trains a lot in the 1980's and if you stood next to a train you had to shout just to be heard by the person next to you. I'm not so clued up with the modern stuff but they are still too quiet. I spent a lot of time going through Paddington and the whole experience of the different Loco sounds, the noise from people and then the traffic outside was overwhelming at times. imo it is why people fell in love with their particular favourite train. DTG are really missing the point here, it isn't just a case of turning the volume up either as some sounds need to be increased while others do not. They could make TSW2 so much more immersive if they got the sound right.

    I think the Colonel also said he was not a great fan of trains but like Train games or something like that so I wouldn't take no notice. If you love trains you love the noise, whether that be steam, Diesel or even electric to some degree. The way the game is now is certainly lacking in the sound department and as londonmidland said the lighting. The station lighting especially.
     
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  24. PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix

    PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix Well-Known Member

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    londonmidland, thanks for creating this thread, I also agree with you as well, the audio team really needs to step up their game, and bring this to the game already.
     
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  25. PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix

    PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking if the team can create a sound system, where we as a user can tweak these sounds to our liking.
     
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  26. PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix

    PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix Well-Known Member

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    i agree something like the third party software call RW Enhancer which unfortunately currently its only for TSxx
     
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  27. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. For instance some stations on metro-north aren't always clean and tracks can be filled with trash. JD was joking about how they "cleaned up" the harlem line. Personally it would add to the immersion if there was trash in the tunnels and on the tracks on the Harlem line as that how it is in reality. The stations lack that weathered grimy feeling. There too clean. It would be nice to have stations that look like they've been used instead of them looking brand new. Those little details would add alot in my opinion
     
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  28. PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix

    PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix Well-Known Member

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    yeah you could say that, but the train track noise or joint (flange) is kinda too soft in some parts of the route. Like Londonmidland they need to improve the track sound, as I have said many times already.
     
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  29. PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix

    PegasusLeosRailwayFanatix Well-Known Member

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    I 100% agree with you Londonmidland, but first, they really Need to Fix the Audio for the Track sound, cause Some of the train track sounds i hear don't even sound close to realistic.
     
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  30. PBrogaard

    PBrogaard Active Member

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    On 4-cor's note on interaction between the train and the environment as well as the issue around too quiet cabs, I've often found that even going 160 km/h, you are able to hear the wind howling, if wind strength on that day is high - so instead of all the above mentioned very important sounds, that I agree could indeed get more focus, it's like playing The Long Dark in a blizzard. It's all well and good when you are stationary, but I would anticipate the wind hitting the front of the train would overrule whatever spooky house effect, that currently slips throught the otherwise almost completely sealed cab.
    Unavngivet.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
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  31. DTG Protagonist

    DTG Protagonist Creative Director Staff Member

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    Not mocking. Rather noting in a colourful fashion that the community has plenty of people who scrutinise sound closely. At no point did I say that anyone was wrong or somehow unreasonable in doing so. Characterising it as mocking is entirely off base.

    Sound is vitally important in conveying a sense of place, and given the opportunity to do so would be something we'd very much like to tackle. When the sound is good it makes the whole experience that much better.
     
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  32. Desiro

    Desiro New Member

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    I totally agree that sounds aren't where they should be. In many cases there's sounds which nearly hit the mark but are just really badly implemented.

    Now, I assume the following might have something to do with SimuGraph but I don't think I've ever managed to get the compressor on the 313 to sound for more than a second or two. In reality, they can run for quite a while and start randomly with no demand on the braking system.

    Random air hisses, Spirax ticks, compressors and other ancillary equipment making sounds would help massively with the immersion. (I know that some of these sounds exist but they are so quiet they do little to help).

    That said, don't get me started on the 66! I would dearly love for that to get some attention. The real things make so many sounds!

    I've often wondered the process of deciding which sounds get implemented (assuming they have the recordings). I guess that every soundest starts with a checklist of some sort...

    If I had the time, it would be quite interesting to try and list all the possible sounds a locomotive or unit could make. Then it would be a case of working out which sounds are a priority, unique or generic.

    I for one have always ranked sound as the most important area for improvement in any of the past surveys.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
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  33. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    You also have to remember that UE is "limited to 32 channels", so whatever sounds are being implemented on the loco, trailing wagons or carriages, echos / reflections and ambient all has to be fit within that channel limit
     
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  34. Desiro

    Desiro New Member

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    Yes, that seems to be the excuse. I don't buy it. My findings are largely a result of volume or poor prioritisation of sounds.

    But…I would rather the train I'm driving make an extra sound than give up one of these "channels" for a humming substation I pass at 50mph.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2022
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  35. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, 32 sound channels for a modern game engine like UE seems incredibly limiting. I can get 32 sound channels in a decades old OpenGL. Why is it so low?
     
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  36. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    Your post states four types of possible additional noises to be generated, some of which are random and various so if you said that would be eight channels used on "random loco noises" that leaves 24 to do everything else including engine noises, levers and switches, track sounds etc etc
    Maybe not as simple as "well make it louder" or "prioritise more" and that's presuming that whoever is doing the sound programming is able to release the channels properly so that they're available when necessary
     
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  37. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    Well I don't think people who made the unreal engine at the time thought anyone would use their engine to make a Train Simulator game. The engine is mostly used in other types of games and with a cap of 32 Sound Channels they can sound good.
     
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  38. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    I think this might be a console limitation. In any case, in a train sim, more channels would not significantly improve sounds. My PC can only process 32 channels through its HDMI connection anyway. 32 is plenty for TSW.
     
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  39. Desiro

    Desiro New Member

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    I don't claim to know the in's and out's of sound creation in UE but some of the sounds I mentioned already exist in the game. The 313 does have a ticking Spirax sounds and other units have air-conditioning whir and things like ACM's but they just aren't loud enough.

    Another example, the 465 does have good brake application and release sounds - again you just can't hear them without pumping up the volume to a level which throws everything else out.

    I post mostly to support those who feel the same. Many voices are louder than one. There is no quick fix and it's quite clear that DTG have their own list of priorities - which is fine. It's their product.

    EDIT - Another thing I've noticed. Some sounds appear to be zoned (obviously not the correct term). You can hear the radiator fan in the diesels which is great, you need to be standing next to it, or zoomed in with an external camera. It's really effective but if this same effect is applied to something like a brake hiss to localise the sound to the bogie - it doesn't really work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
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  40. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    It’s not limited to that technically. Epic recommends to not exceed that number for performance reasons. The real limiting factor is that gen-8 XBox is limited to that number and it doesn’t make sense to author for 30 channels on XBox and for more on other platforms. Not worth it in terms of cost/benefit.
     
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  41. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    Not sure on that... They already use different codecs and mixing on the various consoles which we know because of the Xbox sound issues.

    Yep, and as I said before it may come down to those channels being reserved and therefore not allowing the "breadth of noises" we might expect. Matt did say on a stream a while back that they are getting in a "game focussed sound engineer" who may have more tricks up his sleeve than a sound mixing engineer generally. ie someone who can program a sound channel in a game environment may be "better" in this instance than one who can mix on a sound desk but might be used to a looser amount of channels
     
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  42. Tank621

    Tank621 Well-Known Member

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    Clearly the solution to ambient background noise is to play the game while actually on a train station ;)
     
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  43. Desiro

    Desiro New Member

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    Sounds... very promising. :)
     
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  44. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    It's quite frustrating to see, that when you dig through the internal game files for X train, you can see that there are loads of high quality sound recordings which have been provided. These are all at the appropriate sound level, too.

    However, when launching TSW it's a whole different story. Often these recordings haven't been included when setting up the train for TSW and/or won't sound. Even more frustratingly, it seems the sound engineers are constantly setting the sound levels incorrectly.

    Often individual sounds that do play are just far too quiet, or the cab has been insulated far too much and/or the sound doesn't travel far enough from the source of it. You'll only hear it unless you go RIGHT up to it in TSW.
     
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  45. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's the case with the crossing gates on LIRR as well, as a good example. They have alarm sounds playing, but at such a low volume that you can only hear them in outside cam whem right on them. No chance to hear them from the cab or even when a train is nearby.

    Basically just a waste of resources to play it at this point. And who knows how many sounds are like that? Playing in the background incredibly quiet without anyone knowing...
     
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  46. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    TSW2 on a Nintendo Switch anyone ;)
     
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  47. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    Of course "the fear" (put in quotes as far too dramatic a saying for what are in essence "noises in a game") is that the new guy will spend all their time working on new stuff and nobody will learn from their techniques and go back and fix the old...
    If it's a case of tweaking scenery assets, sound points and programming maybe someone in Adam's team can pick this up and run with it...

    Who knows, we might get decently balanced sounds on the old 66 yet! (I'll go round up the flying pigs) :D
     
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  48. Thorgred

    Thorgred Active Member

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    how much of the outside world does a real train driver actually hear?
    if doors and windows are closed
    i think in some modern trains you almost hear nothing
    and old trains are making so much noise :P
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
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  49. 5cip

    5cip Active Member

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    i installed boom3d now over steam which improves the sound quality of my speakers a lot never thought that this is possible much better than the crap realtek drivers which causes headache cause i never find the optimal settings.
     
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  50. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    How does Boom3D compare to Dolby Atmos?
     

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