Some Feedback For The Dtg Team

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by Andrew Beeman, Nov 3, 2021.

  1. Andrew Beeman

    Andrew Beeman Member

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    I have played train sim for years, I go all the way back to when it was developed by EA and First, back in 09 and continue to play TS2022 to this day, the advances made in the years have been quite mindblowing.

    I bought TSW when it very first was released with CSX Heavy Haul and I must say in the years, the sim has gotten much better than where it started, but there are some technical features that I would like to see implemented in the sim, which being built on UE4, these are some simple additions that I think should be added.

    Graphics Engine: This one is a big one to me

    Some of us use AMD rigs, and UE4 is notorious for graphics issues on AMD cards, low FPS, crashes, etc.
    Up until TSW was upgraded to 4.26, I could not run livery editor like many other AMD users, since 4.26 I am now able to run Livery Editor, but, when I made an advanced livery, well, it would corrupt the textures and look absolutely awful, so I had to scour the internet for a fix, and come to find out, if I add the runtime files for Vulcan and force TSW2 to run Vulcan through startup commands, I do not have any texture issues whatsoever.

    In my opinion: We should have the option to choose between Direct X, and Vulcan... Many other titles built on unreal have this option, its simply a plug in that you can apply to the project file before cooking it for shipping, it would include all the runtime DLLs it needs instead of someone like me having to add it myself, this would solve many AMD users issues and bad experiences with the simulator

    Settings Menu:
    Currently in the settings menu you have 8 advanced graphical features
    Foliage Quality
    Shadow Quality
    Effects Quality
    View Distance Quality
    Texture Quality
    Max FPS
    Motion Blur

    Unless you use unreal unlocker, there are no true "advanced options" all these are already adjustable if you use the command console, I should not even have to do that.
    In my opinion, we should have access to more advanced graphical features that UE4 has, such as
    Adjustable Gamma
    Tonemapper settings
    FOV
    Headlight Flares
    Fog and Skybox quality settings
    Water effect and quality settings
    and more...


    Night Time lighting and effects:
    Nights are too bright, Tonemapper gamma settings can fix this issue, but then lights are too weak, I do believe there needs to be more research done on how to properly produce a night time scene

    Headlight flares:
    Headlights only light up like 200 ft in front of the loco, years ago, on Train Sim, it took forever before lighting effects were supported.. I would just have assumed the team would have learned long ago that players want realistic headlights. US locomotive headlights are insanely bright and can light 1/8-1/4 mile or more in front of the loco.

    A few other feedback opinions I have:
    Dynamic weather should 100% be a thing that should be included in TSW, nearly all ue4 titles Ive played have had dynamic weather, and instead of me having to type (tsw.dbg.strikebolt) in the command console to make a lightning bolt, it should be something that dynamically happens in a storm. The 3rd party Dynamic Weather tool adds this as an option, but having the command console pop up every 30 seconds while playing so it can inject code is just, dumb haha.

    I know this one is asking for a bit more work, but would be fun to see someday, is snow effects where you can set the amount of piled snow instead of it being basically a light dusting, and have it interact with the train (such as Donners Pass tried to emulate on Train Simulator), where if lets say you travel on track that has a few feet of snow on it, your plow pushes it out of the way, and the rails and snow cut marks from the plow become clear behind the train for a period of time.

    Suspension:
    A cool feature to see someday would be operating suspension on locomotives and rolling stock, I work for a shortline railroad, and one of the things you see when running is the variation of track, track is not perfect and has its dips and bumps, it would be cool to see locomotives bounce over a certain stretch of rough track, both from an exterior and interior view, locomotives do have quite a bit of give in their suspension, and they react with track, load, etc, but just a simple bounce effect over switches, rough track etc would be cool. I suggested this in Train Sim back in 2012 or so, and It made it to the game in a, crude, but enough to be engaging way, you guys added rocking and boucing to the locos and cars depending on where you set the track roughness when you placed it

    And last that I can think of currently
    WHY IS THERE NO WEATHER ADJUSTMENTS FOR SCENARIO PLANNER... I have to use Command Console to set weather, Again, I don't think this should be a thing, I shouldn't have to open up command console to do simple things the game should already support.

    In closing comments:

    With all that said though I really do appreciate the effort the DTG team has put forth to create one of the most realistic train simulators to date (I know people will say "If you want that then use run 8", and my reply is, Id rather not use a sim with MSTS graphics, unless im playing MSTS)

    If TSW is like TS series its just starting off in life and I can see a whole lot added as time goes on, as has been already. I understand that the game makes money off selling new routes, and not updating the base game, but I really do think that the team should step back for a minute and work on bugs and issues in the preexisting content and the game, and add much needed features, instead of producing sub par quality (referring to cane creek) add ons.

    I would be more willing to tell my friends to buy TSW, If the base game was updated. Right now, I show it off to my friends and Im like, yeah this is buggy and this doesn't work right but, its still pretty realistic, and it drives them away from buying the sim.

    In my own speculation, I dont know the truth to any of this, but its just what Ive seen over the years

    I do think TSW needs to open up to 3rd party devs. I, including many other savvy people, know that UE4 is a very easy tool to learn and pick up on, and we could see some decent add ons, but locking the game down with no tools, no way to add on, and forcing add ons to come from First party devs, keeps the money flowing for DTG. A 3rd party could have already made an amazing SD70Ace and variants, but, then when DTG wants to release their own, the market wouldnt be there. I get it, that DTG needs to make money to keep the game going, but selling half done content, just pushes your customer base away. (Same with a map/route maker, I feel its the true reason we were promised a route editor years ago and then all of a sudden "It was too difficult to add, sorry") How is DTG supposed to make money on routes when 3rd party devs could release them.

    I have nothing against the DTG team and Im sure these are things that they already know and realize, but, I imagine theres other powers at play that wants the money, they want certain things to be pushed and released on a regular basis and the teams just cant meet expectations of their customers, and ultimately I could see this being the demise of DTG. You need to be able to release quality add ons, for people to continue to want to pay for them. And it has been an ongoing trend with DTG since they took over the Railworks franchise... Nobody buys DTG add ons from steam for TS2022 because, lets face it, its half a##ed buggy junk, Some of it is downright awful. As for TSW I have not touched Cane Creek, the reviews are awful on steam and youtube, mainly for alot of the issues on the locos and rolling stock that was overlooked in development.

    I do wish to see this sim prosper and become one of the best sims we have to date, but I feel some changes need to be made.
     
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  2. roysto25

    roysto25 Active Member

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    Interesting your comments on Vulcan, since other sims, such as X-Plane, are Vulcan-based and have had a series of issues with AMD and careful selection of driver version has been necessary.
     
  3. TheShotte

    TheShotte Well-Known Member

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    You're not saying anything that hasn't been previously said (some things for months already). Also, in regards to AMD hardware, I've been running an AMD GPU for years, and never had problems with TSW. As far as Renderer is concerned, you could also force the game to run using DirectX12 (instead of 11) by using the -dx12 flag. Some people have reported improvements in quality in performance, but that's a mixed bag. Now, when it comes to weather in scenario planner - you can set it to whatever you want, all you have to do is just go to Service mode, pick your weather of choice, then simply back out and into Scenario Planner. Yes, it's less than ideal, but it beats using the console.
     
  4. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    A friend told me (no guarantee it's actually true) that third party developers have to get devkits for the different consoles TSW can run on, as well as a license for Simugraph, a piece of software that has no use other than setting trains up in TSW, for £8000. This is just too much for something that could be an easy process if DTG did it right. They can't distribute the editor publically, but that doesn't mean there needs to be a £1000+ paywall to develop for the game. There are many people in this community who are capable of making brilliant content for the game and who'd jump straight away for any opportunity to make stuff for it - myself included (and if any moderators are reading this, I am serious). But so far there are only three third party developers, and one of them is also likely a second party developer as well. There are things I see in DLCs that make me think "I can do that better" and if the opportunity came, I'd jump in and actually do it. But myself, London Midland, perhaps jamesthepershing and many others, who could work wonders for TSW (okay, this mostly applies to London Midland :D), will likely never have the opportunity to actually develop for the game.
     
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  5. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the graphics, I’d say that DTG’s ‘Ultra’ settings are more like medium or high, at best. They certainly aren’t ‘Ultra’ considering what you can do with a simple ini change. They seriously need to reconsider their default values as I believe it’s exactly the same since TSW HH Beta days. Hardware has moved on since then, so there’s no need to be so restrictive.

    There definitely needs to be more graphical toggles and features available. We have the bare minimum, and neither of them to much other than change the game from ugly looking to good looking, or vice versa. You can do so much more if you download ReShade, however this should be a standard feature of the game. Things like field of view, lens flare, gamma correction and other things are basic graphical options, and are found in most, if not all, modern PC games.

    Considering I ‘accidentally’ found out how to improve the cloud visuals, without much effort at all, I’m surmised DTG didn’t do this when they introduced their new TOD system.

    Finally, if that paywall figure is true, to use Simugraph, then that’s simply ridiculous. It’s no wonder we’ve still barely any third parties working on TSW.
     
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  6. Mr JMB

    Mr JMB Well-Known Member

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    I think it is the devkits that are extortionate not the licence for Simugraph
     
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  7. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    True. The visuals in TSW are far, very far away from an UE4 game in 2021. But I think most of it it up to simply not using the features of the engine properly.

    As you said, the clouds could be improved drastically pretty easily. And how Rivet improved the original TSW water to make it much better looking for their new route. It's like DTG just got the engine, learned the basics and bought a few addons like SpeedTree and Simugraph, then didn't bother to learn more and use more of Unreal Engine's capabilities. I mean even their windshield raindrop effect is the same effect from Train Simulator.

    Like we barely have any proper light effects that would actually improve the game a lot, like light flares from all trains (currently we barely have any), scenery lamp posts, road cars, etc. Or light at the end of the tunnel, which would be pretty relevant for a train game (and games like 7 year old GTAs can do it since 2013).

    I think they should take some time to learn more about what they could actually do with the base engine. Set a few people on the task to learn the engine and tweak the visuals. Because the basics are there, the game can look amazing from certain angles, but it definitely needs improvement.

    Things like the new passenger clothing from Rush Hour and the stair walking animations are a great example of improving what's already there. It doesn't take lot, even small changes can lead to big differences.
     
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  8. TheShotte

    TheShotte Well-Known Member

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    They aren't using UE4 to it's extent because of Simugraph. Simugraph uses a lot of computing power, so DTG has to make compromises on the graphical front so that the game runs well. I think the biggest drawback at this moment (and I think they're slowly starting to realize this is not the best way) is them trying to develop for PC and 2 generations of console at the same time. This is hardware that spans literally the entire last decade. They need to realize they could do much better with customized builds for the different platforms instead of keeping everything the same.

    When I say that, I don't necessarily mean different content, but rather the way that content is implemented. For example - we can use higher resolution textures on PC, but for last-gen consoles they could lower the resolution of textures to free up the much needed memory for the growing number of layers. Also, the way that shaders are built as well. They can implement setting/platform based switches in Materials that toggle various graphical effects, ie - someone playing on Ultra settings can have a different version of the same material as opposed to someone playing on Low settings (or last-gen consoles).
     
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  9. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

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    Aren‘t they doing that already? As I recall, one of the new features for the PS5/XBox S/X build was that they use PC textures whereas gen 8 consoles use lower resolution ones.
     
  10. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    I’m sure they said they do this already? I think last gen uses resolutions scaled down to as low as 480p vice 1080p/2K/4K which is used on PC and next gen.
     
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  11. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    480p is PS2 quality, you may be thinking of 720p... It's either that at its lowest, or 900p.
     
  12. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    I feel like something as simple as Dynamic weather or the ability to change the weather should've been in the game by now. There is no excuse for it not being in the game. Unreal Engine does have alot of features that other games utilize, but not DTG. It's like they just picked the engine just to aim for the bare minimum. Night time looks terrible, the skybox looks something out of a game from the 2000s, headlights in pretty much every train is too dim. Sometimes it suprises me that modders can improve certain aspects of the game that DTG themselves could've done.

    As for third parties, I think this year has not been a good year for third party releases. Cane Creek wasn't well received, Arosa is not a good route, The DB BR 187 is a terrible dlc, the 1938 stock doesn't sound like a 1938 stock and West Cornwall is a mixed bag. DTG can be blamed for that as they are fine with just publishing sub-par/low quality content just to make a quick buck. I would like to see more third parties but we can't have third parties or dtg release content that is low quality or content that is half done otherwise you'll just turn away customers which is not a good thing. Look what happened to NASCAR 21: Ignition as an example. That game got negative reviews, alienated the playerbase and more people are playing NASCAR Heat 5 which was last year's game than NASCAR 21. This modern gaming practice of "Release Now, Fix It Later" is a practice that you can't always get away with.
     
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  13. TheShotte

    TheShotte Well-Known Member

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    Not screen resolution, texture resolution.
     
  14. TrainSim-Matt

    TrainSim-Matt Executive Producer Staff Member

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    Wow there's a ton of misinformation on this thread. I won't comment on the qualitative things, some of which I agree with as well but there are some flat out incorrect things stated here as fact or belief that I just want to correct and would ask that you push the corrections back to your sources of this incorrect information so that hopefully we can stop it from going around further.

    No third party devs have console dev kits, if they wish to do so that is for them to become platform partners with MS or Sony and arrange between them. The cost is irrelevant, you have to buy PC's too to make stuff. The fact is, no third party devs have them because they are not needed by them. We run all the build infrastructure, kick out all the relevant builds and then they are given feedback on how it runs on the console where it is any different to the PC experience. We often do discord screen shares from the consoles so that people can see how it looks first hand as well. In short, not a cost, not a problem.

    £8000 simugraph license. Who the heck made that up out of literally nowhere? I can say that not a single one of our third party devs, nor any second party dev, has paid anything at all directly or up front for access to the editor nor access to our team to help them learn and provide advice. Of course there is a percentage from sales, but that's normal. Nobody is laying down any sums of money in advance.

    Only three third party developers... is just wrong. It takes time to learn tools, but there are more learning and starting to build things than you can see talking publicly about it. We are also growing the number of 2nd party developers, and if they choose to become third party devs I will only encourage them to do so.

    One of those might become a second party dev - I think just about every third party developer is also working with us on our own projects whether it's Rivet, Skyhook or others. I'm honestly not sure what the point of this statement was because it's not like anyone is forced to do second party nor are they in any way curtailed if they don't want to do so. It's intended to help everyone, opportunity to explore different projects, work more closely with the team which can aid learning a lot and without the risk of doing it on your own "dime" etc.

    DTG just got the engine, learned the basics and bought in simugraph... So... we developed and built the entirety of simugraph ourselves, that is entirely unique to us (as are many other aspects of the game, our version of the engine is quite significantly customised and extended). We have rewritten low level core chunks of UE4 because it wasn't efficient in the way that we need it to be for a Train Sim (perfectly fine for most games, but not for this one). One example of this is that we make extensive use of something called "Skeletal meshes" - these are used by every rail vehicle for example. UE4 handled processing of skeletal meshes in a strictly single threaded manner, with all its optimisations centered around "static meshes" running in multiple threads, so we worked hard to make that work multi threaded too. We may well not have mastered all the areas we need to yet, but we certainly know a lot more than the basics :) If you want to help us do better, then there are *tons* of vacancies open at the moment and no requirement to work in the office any more, step up, you will be welcomed :)

    Rain effect same as TS - it was based on it yes, but is a new implementation that also required us to extend how the material system worked as by default we couldn't implement it. It was a system that worked fine before, and as the developers were used to using it it seemed reasonable to create a new implementation of it.

    Customised builds per platform - we already do this. We generate 7 different outputs from the one source that is in the master repository, one for each platform. Gen8 platforms (2) , Gen9 platforms (2) and PC platforms (3) have their own settings. Gen 8 outputs lower resolution textures and the "LOD 1" mesh becomes "LOD 0". They also have the ability to have their own unique gameplay setup per platform as well, such as including layers on some but not others as everyone is aware at this point. This can be directly seen in file sizes of outputs - where a PC output might be say a 15gb package, the Gen8 equivalent is more likely to be around 10gb.

    While we build one source game, that output then gets split out into custom builds with unique settings and then we review the output on each platform to ensure it's come across ok. Where this goes wrong, for example, was on Isle of Wight, where the cab showed it's Lod 1 version - the cab on a train should always be lod 0 since there's really very little to optimise there without cutting quality. This was a setting issue in the model and once that was done and rebuilt, the build system was able to pick out the right combination for the output.

    Hope this helps. If anyone hears anything else that seems a bit bonkers, please do feel free to check with me for clarification :)
     
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  15. TheShotte

    TheShotte Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why, but I remember watching a stream of yours Matt, with you saying that you guys keep everything the same across all the platforms. This led me to believe that you don't do anything like what you described. Throughout my experiences with TSW, I have realized that things are never as they appear. If something is a specific way, it's never just like that, as usually it involves a strategic decision to make it that way.
     
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  16. Maik Goltz

    Maik Goltz Well-Known Member

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    As one of the 3rd party developers i can easily approve what Matt says. There are no costs for using the tools at all other than what you personally may spend into hardware/software to use it (i for myself spent a 7000€ into an top of the notch PC to speed some things up, but you can do it with a 1000€ PC or laptop too for sure). It is a personal preference how you use the UE4 editor. I can basically do what i want if i respect the main set standards for the game. And for the PS/XBox dev kits i got asked if i'm interested to have one and DTG would be able to help getting them. I, for me, rejected on that part because it is to expensive to me and i have enough trust into DTGs test team that i don't need to test it on my own dev kits. The difference is not that big between PC and consoles, what is a benefit from the UE4 engine itself (you develop on one platform and build for many). Same i can state for the 2nd party work. No costs. i can basically do the work as i want to, again within the set standards. 2nd party work is just a bit more challenging in terms of time you have to bring results. So it is not an easy task. But also the work for your own as a 3rd party is not easy at all. You can spend as much time as you may want and can afford (yes, it is a business and time costs money for sure). You have to learn lots of things you don't expect, even if you came from a UE4 background. I thought i know enough from my experiences with UE4 before but i was totally wrong :) As a conclusion i would say, if you are interested, come on board. It does not hurt to ask DTG for the details.
     
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  17. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    Great to see the rumours about the devkits and SimuGraph licence were false. In a year or two I might apply myself...

    And just for clarification, when I said there were three third party developers, I was referring to Rivet, MeshTools and Skyhook, although MeshTools seems to just work as a second party developer.
     
  18. jamesthepershing

    jamesthepershing Member

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    By which you mean you want me to make stuff and you publish it? ;)
     
  19. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    That's been fixed, except on some Preserved routes that Adam's team haven't got to yet. But every route with the TSW@ sky switch on, that is all 2 native routes and all the reworked Preserved routes have Londonmidland's new clouds.
     
  20. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    Ohh. I haven't played East Coastway, SKA or BKL in a while to be honest so I didn't notice.

    Hopefully they will get to SEHS soon
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2021
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  21. chacal#2181

    chacal#2181 Member

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    Can't agree more on Andrew Beeman post. Bug squishing, opening, light correction, dynamic weather (or even real one just like any flight sim). Just the snow thing seems IMO not so needed (in comparaison with the other wishes)
     
  22. dhekelian

    dhekelian Well-Known Member

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    This is what frustrates me. DTG fix things but don't release the fixes after months in some cases. Adam said on stream he has fixed/updated all the preserved routes bar six but don't know when they will get released. It was DTG that said there will be more regular fixes but these seem to be for the just released DLC.

    Are people getting more nervous on buying DLC? I know I have and it is a shame.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2021
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  23. londonmidland

    londonmidland Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify it hasn’t yet officially been added to the game. It’s still in the works. The only way to get it is via a mod currently, which is for PC only. Download here
     
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  24. Mitchellman151

    Mitchellman151 New Member

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    You don't want much then
     
  25. Doomotron

    Doomotron Well-Known Member

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    You do all the work, and I'll be the eye candy. Just like real life. :D

    You'd do the signaling, asset creation and distant scenery, I'd do the close scenery, track laying, scenarios and voice acting.
     
  26. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    Ohh. Cause I was on BKL and I was wondering where the improved sky box was. Thanks for clarifying. :)
     
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  27. tallboy7648

    tallboy7648 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I would love to see the rush hour passenger system on sehs for example as that is my most played route in tsw at the moment (it would be lirr but the m7 audio is still broken so I can't play it because it's so immersion breaking) but that probably won't come for months until the preservation crew get to it. If it's done and tested, then just release it for all routes. I don't get why they wait. But they'll be in a hurry to release dlc's.
     
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  28. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, good explanation and it's nice to have a bit more insight into things. Sorry if I sounded unreasonably harsh there.

    What I was referring to by saying "didn't bother to learn the engine" was mostly regarding to visuals. Like the cloud system, which seems can be made drastically better with just small changes, or the water, which Rivet improved in their recent release. Or the issue with the headlights being either too bright at daylight or too weak at night. Things like that. So things like that. I mean I would assume a game engine like UE must have a solution for light sources that light up the surrounding area realistically (meaning they light up darker places, like shadows or night more, than daylight). Or a getaround over the messed up rotating wheel motion blur.

    Recent events clearly show nice progress, as I mentioned, like the better passenger system and things like the track sleeper render improvements on the preserved collection routes. Hopefully the better cloud visuals and Rivet's new water system can also be implemented in the old routes as well, as these are big improvements. For example, I would love to have Rivet's new water on Isle of Wight as well. And I hope further small, but impactful improvements like these can be made in the future (for things like lighting, for example).
     
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