Train Simulator 2021 Core Update - 2nd March 2021

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by DTG Jamie, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. DTG Jamie

    DTG Jamie Staff Member

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    Today, we are bringing a core update for Train Simulator 2021 that includes optimisation and loading performance improvements aimed at addressing long load times experienced by players when loading content that is contained within asset package files (.ap).

    This update has been tested vigorously but, given the vast scale of the Add-on catalogue, User Generated Content (UGC) and the Third-Party Add-on catalogue (non-Steam), it is entirely impossible to test every possible combination. We are, therefore, making these improvements available as an "opt-in" update. This means, to utilise the benefits of this update, you will need to do some additional steps as explained below.

    To use this update, please follow the steps below:
    1. Open Steam and navigate to your Steam Games Library.
    2. Locate and right-click on Train Simulator.
    3. Select Properties from the context menu to view Train Simulator's Properties Dialog.
    4. In the General Tab, scroll down until you see Launch Options.
    5. Click in the text entry box and type (see image below): -fastload
    6. Close Train Simulator's Properties Dialog to save your changes.
    upload_2021-3-2_11-4-20.jpeg

    The next time you click Play, Train Simulator will use the new code and you should see significant improvements to loading times for many add-ons, mostly for those you've purchased from Steam.

    Should you run into any problems when loading an add-on whilst opted into the update, you will need to carry out additional steps before contacting Customer Support, as explained below:
    1. You should first opt out of the update by repeating the above steps but deleting the text from the Launch Options in Step 5.
    2. Re-load Train Simulator and attempt to repeat the steps that produced the problem.
    If the repeated test DOES NOT result in the same problem once you are opted out of the update, you need to let us know by contacting Customer Support and advising you are opted in to the performance update and which add-on you experienced the problem with. Customer Support will guide you on what details to provide which will help us in tracing the cause.

    Please note: If you use a desktop shortcut to launch Train Simulator, you will need to also add the above launch option to the shortcut. Launch options only work when clicking Play in Steam and, if they are not also added to your shortcut, you will not see any difference. To add the launch option to your desktop shortcut, follow the steps below:
    1. Right-click on your desktop shortcut and select Properties.
    2. In the properties dialog, click the Shortcut tab.
    3. Locate and click in the Target text box.
    4. Scroll to the end of the text, add a space then type: -fastload
    5. Click Apply, then OK to save the changes.
    When you next launch Train Simulator from the shortcut, you will see the difference in loading performance.

    The update will download automatically when it becomes available. Players should allow at least 24 hours after restarting Steam for the update to appear and before contacting Customer Support. The approximate download size is ~16 MB.
     
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  2. DPSimulation

    DPSimulation Member

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    I'm actually impressed. Noting it's for stuff contained within .ap files only i've just loaded up a scenario on WCML South and from menu to scenario loading it was just over 20 seconds, that is a major improvement for me. Thankyou.
     
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  3. Traindriver316

    Traindriver316 New Member

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    The update is great, thank you very much. If multicore and DirectX 11 support comes now, it would be great. The loading times are much better and I couldn't find any errors in a first test.
     
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  4. 749006

    749006 Well-Known Member

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    DirectX 11 won't happen
     
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  5. Average_Joe57

    Average_Joe57 Active Member

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    A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
     
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  6. DTG Jamie

    DTG Jamie Staff Member

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    Thank you for your feedback so far, have been testing this to see how much of a difference there is. We would like to know the differences you have experienced. Here is a couple of routes I have tested.
    Arlbergbahn: Innsbruck - Bludenz
    Standard - 1 min 3 Seconds
    Fastload - 18 Seconds
    Weardale & Teesdale Network
    Standard - 34.33 Seconds
    Fastload 16.45 Seconds
     
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  7. Cameron's Gaming

    Cameron's Gaming Well-Known Member

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    WCML South for me used to take about 5 minutes, now loaded in about 1 minute. Not properly tested it and will edit this post when I have. My TS is on a HDD inside a laptop so loading times are going to be slowed down because of physics and electricity. Nonetheless, really nice update.
     
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  8. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    This makes a fantastic difference, thank you very much.

    I timed before and after with the WCML South.

    From click play to main menu, went from 1 min to 25 seconds.

    From click on drive to route ready, went from 1 minute 30 seconds to a mere 20 seconds.
     
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  9. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    WCML over Shap loading down from 1:10 to just 23 seconds. Great stuff!

    But I wonder if you’ve fully realised the consequences of your actions here - the merry winners of the weekly screenshot competitions will be feeling shortchanged now that their efforts get less ‘air time’! :)
     
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  10. raptorengineer

    raptorengineer Active Member

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    wow that fast. i loading canadian mountain pass with ac4400cw and it loaded alot faster thanks
     
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  11. VictorHugoVS

    VictorHugoVS Member

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    Hi everyone, I played two scenarios, one on Portsmouth Direct Line and other on WCML South, i had the feeling that it loads faster. Thanks DTG for this feature.
     
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  12. deanmacgregor

    deanmacgregor Active Member

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    The shortcut instructions work for 64 bit shortcut but how do I apply to the 32 bit shortcut please
     
  13. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    Nice. Will definitely try it out. Does it result in better gameplay performace as well in any way, or "only" shorter loading times?
     
  14. dudleybrooke

    dudleybrooke New Member

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    Yes, very quick. You will have to display the screenshots more quickly. I am getting a fully AMD computer, will there be an improvement with SAM also?
     
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  15. RailRoadEngineer

    RailRoadEngineer Member

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    Cheers, now please give us an option to compile our own 3D assets into .ap files zip!
     
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  16. atomicdanny

    atomicdanny Member

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    An AP file is just a zip file created with 7Zip, renamed .ap instead of .zip (with no compression) it's actually nothing special.
     
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  17. markhazeldine

    markhazeldine Well-Known Member

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    Wow, if this is true it will fix one of the most annoying parts about TS. Thanks in advance!
     
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  18. WhippleStripper

    WhippleStripper Active Member

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    It's not the prize that matters, just the WINNING!
     
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  19. atomicdanny

    atomicdanny Member

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    You have to use the Zip format in 7Zip and "store" for compression but yes basically. (but you also have to delete .pak, .cost, .tgt and .XML files before though (well you don't have too, it's just tidier) but basically this (picture)
     

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  20. pw2021

    pw2021 New Member

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    Thought I'd share some of my times that I gathered while testing:
    Weardale and Teesdale - Q6 Career Scenario [1] Supplying the Power
    Normal - 2 Minutes 35 Seconds
    Fast Load - 1 Minute 41 Seconds
    Fast Load* - 1 Minute 22 Seconds

    (WORKSHOP) TrolleyFodder's Lakes End Branch - Black Scenario Dalby South
    Normal - 5 Minutes 58 Seconds
    Fast Load* - 3 Minutes 56 Seconds

    *After restarting Steam
     
  21. ThePBX

    ThePBX New Member

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    Great news! I haven't met any errors yet on the route I tested.

    Clinchfield Railroad scenario 7. Efficient Haulage part 2
    -standard: 1 minute and 50 seconds
    -fastload: 0 minutes and 31 seconds

    I've noticed a huge improvement so far for us with older computers. If you could add multi-core and directx11 in the future that would be perfect
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  22. Tigert1966

    Tigert1966 Well-Known Member

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    This is a huge improvement.

    WCML South loading the Euston to Birmingham Scenario - less than 15 seconds
    Arosa Line scenarios - around 2 - 3 seconds
     
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  23. Peter Hayes

    Peter Hayes Active Member

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    Interestingly, I don't see any improvement.
    Why?
    The DTG latest scenarios are usually all Career, so I extract them from the route .ap file and convert them to standard scenarios using TS_Tools.
    As they are no longer in the .ap file structure I guess that they won't load any faster?
    pH
     
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  24. DPSimulation

    DPSimulation Member

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    I assume so. You could make your own .ap file to house these converted scenarios though, see post #19.

    I wasn't aware until today that creating them was so simple so I put my NEE route in an .ap archive to test it out. It took a quarter of the time to load.
     
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  25. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead Well-Known Member

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    I only have time to do a couple of tests, but here you go...

    Weardale & Teesdale Network
    Standard: 1:57
    Fastload: 0:39

    WCML South
    Standard: 1:39
    Fastload: 0:34

    Huge differences!

    What exactly is it doing to get these times?
     
  26. tsted.designs

    tsted.designs Member

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    Earlier, I played a quick-drive Class 450 Desiro from London Waterloo to Hampton Court on the Portsmouth Direct Line route.

    Standard: 1:15
    Fastload: 0:25

    This is a very welcome upgrade. :)
     
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  27. Cyclone

    Cyclone Well-Known Member

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    I may have to test this with Cajon Pass. Here's a good question, though. Will this also improve loading times during the simulation, or only during initial load? I found when playing Cajon on High quality that the game would freeze pretty much every few seconds while something else loaded, and even on Medium quality ran into a ten second lag at San Bernardino's spawn point. If those kinds of issues are resolved with this, then this update has promise indeed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  28. inversnecky

    inversnecky Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't tested any scenarios, just loading QDs - I'd imagine the speed improvements would apply to everything - after all, it's loading routes and trains, whether scenario or not.
     
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  29. DPSimulation

    DPSimulation Member

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    Only if the content is in an .ap file according to the announcement, the scenarios Peter are testing weren't.
     
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  30. Peter Hayes

    Peter Hayes Active Member

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    DPS
    Correct! For WCML South I moved my current "scenario" folder (temporarily) out of the routes folder, so that now all DTG scenarios in that route were only in the .ap file structure, and yes the scenarios loaded much faster. So a good advance for .ap files.
     
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  31. DROGE

    DROGE Member

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    I've previously extracted every .AP file in TS - as this would formerly improve both load times and (it seemed) GPU draw times. So now I need to put them all back into AP files, to get the additional load speed benefit :cool: .... will certainly try it with a couple of routes. TBH I don't get long load times anyway; never more than a minute, on any route in TS. Usually 10-20 secs. Probably because AP files were unpacked, TS is on a fast SSD etc. Still a great development for most people though. Well done DTG.
     
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  32. Cyclone

    Cyclone Well-Known Member

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    OK, this is a bit of an unfortunate twist simply because of the fact that, when using Ts-Tools, I believe you have to unpack a scenario in order to make any desired changes to it. While this may normally not be something of concern for official scenarios, I also now wonder if having extracted assets for use when swapping trains in other scenarios might have a drawback on this.

    Let me clarify. I previously unpacked the assets from Sherman Hill. The reason I did this was to slip the UP SD40 from Sherman Hill into scenarios on Castle Rock (the scenarios were cloned and not official). Based on these findings, fastload will not affect these extra scenarios or any Workshop content which is not in an AP file, but downloaded directly into the Content folder. I also have concerns now that having my unpacked AP files on Sherman Hill will affect the usefulness of the fastload, meaning I may have a minimal effect.

    So while this is a great first step, the fact that some have unpacked assets for use in swapping stock in the Workshop - a particular guilty party being BNSF, though people may want to substitute AP stock in scenarios as well - may result in things not working as optimally for them as for everyone else. So further improvements will hopefully be made to make this work for all files, or to create a string to force the game to look inside the AP files instead of using something on disk. Maybe fastload can for now force usage of AP files over disk files where possible (except for new trains added as mods, which would then be sought outside the AP file), in order to allow more optimal testing.

    I will run experiments and compile a video to eventually post to this thread showing differences. Having files unpacked will make Sherman an interesting experiment.
     
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  33. rwaday

    rwaday Active Member

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    Several people are reporting that they are getting virus warnings and in some cases AV is blocking installation of the update. FSecure seems to be one of the worst players. There may be way to add this patch to the whitelist, or disable the AV until the installation is complete. As always, back up your files before updating anything. Remember that system restore still works in Windows 10, one needs to know where to find it, enable it, and then use it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  34. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Tested a few routes to check on the load times...

    Career Scenarios

    Livonia Subdivision
    -1:46
    -0:13

    Donner Pass
    -1:44
    -0:10

    Granger Heartland
    -1:04
    -0:13

    Promontory Summit
    -0:40
    -0:07
     
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  35. Cyclone

    Cyclone Well-Known Member

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    I'm ahead of you on that, I quickly send a DM of one of the Steam discussion threads to someone from DTG here. I don't know if it's deleting the EXE file completely, rendering the download incomplete, or whether it's just blocking access to it. If deleting the EXE, then an emergency update is needed correcting the issue.

    Those are excellent times! The Donner one in particular interests me because it's a route I will need to visit soon.
     
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  36. Daytona

    Daytona Active Member

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    It's lovely to see DTG updating the engine where they safely can.
    I haven't tried it yet, but I'd be interested to know which UK period routes would be a good test on my basic gaming machine - which take longest to load ?
     
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  37. Cyclone

    Cyclone Well-Known Member

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    So I recorded some speed tests. I'll be uploading the unedited video and posting it showing the results as they happened. I almost fell out of my chair at one of them, if you want a spoiler.

    But there was one other interesting thing I noted. I'll spoil this as I recorded this video to show one persistent route bug to Jamie and the team, and will try to send that after I get up in the morning (or afternoon) my time. The result is that you can play Cajon Pass smoothly on high quality again. The only problem is at San Bernardino as you approach the bridge representing West Base Line Avenue. The 10-15 second lag still occurs there, but other than that, I had no lag issues at all on the entire journey. To go from lag every minute to the smoothest gameplay to date on the same level of quality on that route is a tremendous improvement. I made a joke in a DM to someone else that if they just fix San Bernardino, there might be interest in the area again. LOL
     
  38. martschuffing

    martschuffing Well-Known Member

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    Just a word of warning: If all your stuff 3rd party assets etc are in an ap. file if there is another update will they not be lost?
    Pity this update will not work for me as for some unknown reason the game doesn't/wont/refuses to see anything inside an ap. archive?
     
  39. TrainSim-Steve

    TrainSim-Steve Staff Member

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    For anyone concerned about any antivirus interventions, we can confirm it is a false positive.

    As a precaution, and for safety, we have thoroughly checked yesterday's update and we were not able to find anything malicious in the code at all. So, please rest assured the update is safe to continue using.

    False positives are not an uncommon issue because of how some Anti Virus software works. They look for key behaviours and compares them with items in its database. If a genuinely innocent application uses a similar method for reading and writing data as some viruses in its database does, then it raises an alert. These alerts are nothing more than advisories to inform you that it thinks the app in question is a concern so, for safety, it has quarantined the app and it needs you to confirm whether it is safe to proceed or not.

    To restore the exe file, all you need to do is whitelist the application's exe in your antivirus software and restore the file from quarantine.

    We would certainly not recommend disabling or doing anything that would compromise the effectiveness of your antivirus software in any way as it can often mean you will end up with reduced protection for your PC.

    Hope this helps.

    Best, Steve
     
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  40. nwp1

    nwp1 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jamie. Following the update and listening to your stream last night. I have installed the update as set out by your instructions and my times largely differ from yours. Taking
    the same route Riviera Line in the fifties using a 54xx Pannier Tank, it took 1 minutes 22 seconds as against your 10.5 seconds and opening the same scenario on the Abula line it took 51 seconds.

    My loading times from clicking the 64bit play until opening in the career drive window is 2 minutes 26 seconds. However the 32bit is longer taking 2 minutes 45 seconds.

    I play on a i7 HP laptop with 16gb of ram an SSD drive and have a large collection of routes. Should I contact technical support? I hope DTG can reduce the initial loading times in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  41. Cameron's Gaming

    Cameron's Gaming Well-Known Member

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    Is your TS on a HDD or an SSD?
     
  42. TrainSim-Steve

    TrainSim-Steve Staff Member

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    Hi nwp1,

    The loading times will only become apparent once you've loaded up the software. We've not changed the initial loading of the software when clicking Play given that is largely dependent on your computer's hardware capabilities. The time where you'll see the improved loading time is from the moment you click Drive after selecting a scenario, until the moment the scenario starts.

    Hope this helps.

    Best, Steve
     
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  43. nwp1

    nwp1 Well-Known Member

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    I have an SSD
     
  44. nwp1

    nwp1 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Steve, I hope you reduce the load times soon as well as waiting nearly three minutes to get to the menu and then over a minute or two to start playing is very slow on my i7 SSD laptop and 16gb of ram. What should I buy to get the opening times down?
     
  45. TrainSim-Steve

    TrainSim-Steve Staff Member

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    Hi nwp1,

    It's a difficult one to get into with you as we don't know specifically the exact hardware you're using nor any other software applications running/installed that could be having an impact. However, laptops can be inherently problematic when it comes to performance because they have to manage power supply carefully, alongside heat output, and they often do that by slowing down. However, there could literally be a million and one reasons for it and, as with anything related to your own hardware setup, it's not something we have any control over.

    We'd be happy to take a look at it for you if you feel you need help with it. Just drop a ticket into Customer Support and we'll see if we can see anything obvious that might help you.

    Best, Steve
     
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  46. Broomwagon

    Broomwagon Member

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    Worth noting though - it would be my assumption, if you have any other command in operation e.g. -followaitrain it would mean you'd lose that facility?
     
  47. DPSimulation

    DPSimulation Member

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    No, the command works with others. Just leave a space between them.
     
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  48. Broomwagon

    Broomwagon Member

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    Great - thank you DPSimulations, I didn't know that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
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  49. Peter Hayes

    Peter Hayes Active Member

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    DTG Steve
    Thanks for that explanation.
    Now as TS20XX loads it checks saves loads, etc the scenario database (and many simmers get an OOM error at this stage possibly due to a corrupt WS scenario download.)
    My Question: What scenarios are being checked by TS?
    DTG Scenarios in .ap file format?
    DTG scenarios not in .ap file format?
    3rd party scenarios?
    Workshop scenarios?
    All of these?
    Tx pH
     
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  50. Reef

    Reef Well-Known Member

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    Just tested the same route on the pendo run (I added in initial load times from desktop icon click to main menu as well, because I was curious)

    Standard
    Icon click to main menu = 0:23
    Route load = 1:09

    Fastload
    Icon click to main menu = 0:21
    Route load = 0:17

    I can live with that till I get my RTX3080 :D:D

    Well done DTG.
     
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