Track laying really slow

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Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:49 pm

Hello all, I hope you can help me with the following issue:
Whenever I play this game, with whatever map, at a certain point the game because really slow in regards to laying new track. With really slow I mean having to wait a second or 5-6 before the track (length of the track and pausing the game does not seem to matter) is finally laid down.

In example, I take try to lay a double track; I place and drag the desired piece (say 1 ingame km), when I leftclick again to "confirm" that I want to place it, the game freezes for a second or 5-6.

I've attached some pictures of whate map I was playing that also show the amount of stations and trains and my system specs, of which I'm sure are not the issue. Also using the "3GB enabled" .exe file (the 1.10 patched version).

Any suggestions as how to fix this? Also, is there a "best practice" in regards to laying tracks or switches in terms of performance?
Attachments
RR3.PNG
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RR2.PNG
RR2.PNG (511.01 KiB) Viewed 12710 times
RR1.PNG
RR1.PNG (5.37 MiB) Viewed 12710 times

snoopy55
Posts: 1961
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:13 am
Location: Centralia, Ill, USA

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by snoopy55 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:07 am

Well, you said your system specs were not the issue, but I'll comment on them anyway.....

This game is a memory HOG.... and that is putting it mildly. First, it's a 32-bit game, so anything over 4Gb of memory is moot. Second, while hogging the memory, it refuses to let go of it. If you start a map, play it thru or stop it mid game, and start another one, this game feels the need to hold onto a good sized amount of that memory. i found this during map testing. I kept getting crashes no matter what I deleted from the map. Being a bit peeved I played a game of Solitaire to calm myself. lo and behold, when I started the map again, all was well. When I added the parts back in, they worked, up until a point, at which time everything started crashing again..... The starting of the Solitaire game took the memory away from SMR.

Next, of that 4GB, the game only uses 2GB. There is a 3GB Enabler which, as the name suggests, gives the game 3GB to play with. You're using it, along with the patch, so you're OK there.

From there you might want to see what your system is doing in the background. There are programs that will shut down programs during play and turn them back on after play.

Your graphics settings could be lowered to save memory usage. Years ago I set mine to Full Screen (optional), Resolution per your system, Anti-Aliasing None, Texture Quality High (this could be lower, I stopped playing long ago), Tree Density Medium, Shadow Off, and Shader Medium, and as you have it, Clouds Disabled. Just for the heck of it, try a round with everything at the lowest setting possible and make adjustments from there.

When I've built Industries for the game I tend to not enable the action. Hey, how many times can you stop to watch barrels roll out of the Beer Plant?

I could comment on your OS.... mainly, shoot it and put it out of your misery..... I still use XP, but to each his own..... Some people have had problems with this game and the newer OS's, many have not.

As to "best practice" in track laying, I'm afraid you have 9 years of posts on two separate forums to read to learn about that. I cannot comment any further because I 'played' it for less that a year and went to ripping it apart to find out how to build better and bigger maps.

In case you have not been there, the other forum can be found here: http://www.sidmeiersrailroads.net/portal.php This forum has 99 working maps and the other has 160, with more on the way to both. If you get the urge to try your hand at building or revising a map, the materials can be found on the other forum, along with assistance in doing it.

Another thing that may or may not help is the No-CD patch that is available.

Let us know how it goes.
I'm correct 97% of the time..... who cares about the other 4%....

Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:19 pm

So I've just tried this with the last game that started to give issues; everything to lowest setting, and (a bit as expected) it does not help. At all.
Memory wise it does not seem to matter.. Which got me thinking; all the graphics should be handled by you GPU and GPU memory, not your CPU and "regular" memory..

As far as (active) background programs; just the internet browser, e-mail client and default Windows background apps.

During the test I opened the Windows resource monitor and my second screen (yay dualscreen setup!), and filtered everything to the railroads.exe process. During the track laying I noticed spikes in disk I/O, but not more than 1MB/s, which for an SSD is peanuts..

Thanks for the other forum link btw, I've registered in the hopes I could find some general view or best practice in regards to track laying and/or switching.


Edit; just for sake of argument and (not so fair) comparison; during playing GTA-V on my pc (from a non-ssd disk) my cpu does about 40% 2GB mem (as to around 8-900MB for railroads). Disk spikes to around 100MB/s and gameplay is still smooth :D

railage
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:09 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by railage » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:12 am

I know the problem you are talking about. I get exactly the same thing. I also wish for a proper solution.

The more track I lay the slower it becomes. It becomes a point of what is a manageable delay before I lose interest in a game.

Something that did help increase the useable limit for me, was using some low-poly count track. Basically, it's a simplified graphics file for each piece of track. It's available for active members of the other site in this thread: http://sidmeiersrailroads.net/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1372. I didn't make it, otherwise I would post it here.

In my experience freeing up memory used, number of trains and graphics settings only help very slightly. For example, might save a second out of 5.

I have quoted the number of track miles from the competition report (shortcut: F2) sometimes. I actually think that it has to do with the amount of sections in the track as well as the actual total. The fact that doubling track always copies over any smaller section sizes doesn't help with this problem.

Total track miles can be a rough guide. I tend to get manageable lag below 10,000 miles. In the high teens it gets pretty bad and by 20,000 miles I am waiting far longer than I am actually running the game. You don't seem to have lots of track in your screenshot. How many miles do you have?

In the typical scenario, tracks are far too cheap and resources to plentiful. Basically there is always an economic reason to build even more track. Lately I had the idea to use the difficulty XML to further increase track costs. Reducing production rates for resources in the industry XML will help prevent adding extra sidings (such as in the Utah map). There's clearer info about this stuff on the other site, especially in the SMR Wiki part which doesn't require membership to view. (You will need to use one of the popular browsers that is patched fully up to date).

I just posted up a saved game of the New York Central and The Erie map by Chrislewek. I am getting about 5 seconds delay on that map. For really long or complicated lays that will obviously increase. If you want, try it out to see some routing ideas and how much delay your machine has.

If you have any questions about my routing setups, feel free to ask and I will try to explain things. I have posted a couple of diagrams and screenshots on the other site, but I am planning to post some better info in the future.

snoopy55
Posts: 1961
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:13 am
Location: Centralia, Ill, USA

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by snoopy55 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:11 pm

Well, as I said, I stopped playing the game long ago. Virtual Memory is another thing to look at.

Railage - I know what you mean by it being to easy to make money in this game. That is why I started hacking out the Passenger and Mail run abilities on my maps. Get a loop of 10 towns, set up a passenger/mail run on it and ignore it. Need more money, set up another loop. The money just rolls in with only an engine upgrade needed every so many years.

Maybe a short tutorial of how to do this on existing maps would prove useful to people like you who want to work the map and not just get rich watching it.
I'm correct 97% of the time..... who cares about the other 4%....

Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:39 pm

railage wrote:I know the problem you are talking about. I get exactly the same thing. I also wish for a proper solution.

The more track I lay the slower it becomes. It becomes a point of what is a manageable delay before I lose interest in a game.

Something that did help increase the useable limit for me, was using some low-poly count track. Basically, it's a simplified graphics file for each piece of track. It's available for active members of the other site in this thread: http://sidmeiersrailroads.net/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1372. I didn't make it, otherwise I would post it here.

In my experience freeing up memory used, number of trains and graphics settings only help very slightly. For example, might save a second out of 5.

I have quoted the number of track miles from the competition report (shortcut: F2) sometimes. I actually think that it has to do with the amount of sections in the track as well as the actual total. The fact that doubling track always copies over any smaller section sizes doesn't help with this problem.

Total track miles can be a rough guide. I tend to get manageable lag below 10,000 miles. In the high teens it gets pretty bad and by 20,000 miles I am waiting far longer than I am actually running the game. You don't seem to have lots of track in your screenshot. How many miles do you have?

In the typical scenario, tracks are far too cheap and resources to plentiful. Basically there is always an economic reason to build even more track. Lately I had the idea to use the difficulty XML to further increase track costs. Reducing production rates for resources in the industry XML will help prevent adding extra sidings (such as in the Utah map). There's clearer info about this stuff on the other site, especially in the SMR Wiki part which doesn't require membership to view. (You will need to use one of the popular browsers that is patched fully up to date).

I just posted up a saved game of the New York Central and The Erie map by Chrislewek. I am getting about 5 seconds delay on that map. For really long or complicated lays that will obviously increase. If you want, try it out to see some routing ideas and how much delay your machine has.

If you have any questions about my routing setups, feel free to ask and I will try to explain things. I have posted a couple of diagrams and screenshots on the other site, but I am planning to post some better info in the future.
Did not have much time this weekend to test, but I managed to grab two screenshots of the game with lots of lag, and the game with (so far) little lag.
The biggest difference is in the amount of track, and the number of trains; have a look.

I'll have a look at your game and polygon suggestion next weekend if I can free up some time, so thanks for that.

PS: how do you exactly free up memory?
Attachments
13km track.PNG
13KM track (est. 9000 miles) little bit less lag.
placement of 13km double track took about 9 seconds (this is on the America map, right under Atlanta).
13km track.PNG (1.1 MiB) Viewed 12674 times
11km track.PNG
11KM track (est. 8000 miles) lots of lag.
placement of 11km double track took about 14 seconds (this is on the America map, right under Atlanta).
11km track.PNG (1.54 MiB) Viewed 12674 times

Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:13 am

I've tried to download the low-poly track, but unfortunately my account has still (after two weeks) not been activated.
Do you perhaps have another location (i.e. dropbox or the like) where you can upload the files? Same goes for the save-games, I'm really curious for the routing parts you mentioned.

railage
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:09 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by railage » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:35 am

I don't have dropbox. I just asked the creator's permission, and if he agrees I will post the low poly count track on this thread.

I posted my NYC saved game on this site. Link: viewtopic.php?p=51110#p51110.

See if you can understand what is happening with the signals in that one for a start. I would like to formulate some sort of tutorial/instructions, I'm still struggling to get the explanation simplified nicely.

Coming soon to this site will be my first attempt at a tutorial on how to improve the gameplay of less challenging maps with a few simple edits to the map's XMLs.

NSrailfan
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:08 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by NSrailfan » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:38 pm

I created a new low vertice track with realistic texturing, and new end of track markers. The game's original track had 110 vertices, and this only has 34, and a wider gravel base making multiple tracks a little more realistic with gravel in between. Simply unzip the file and put it in you're map folder and it should automatically be recognized by the game.

Also of note is the dual rails for bridges. The idea behind this is that in real life should a train derail on a bridge it is less likely to 'jump' too far as the inside rails protect it thus saving the crews lives and expensive equipment.

I hope this helps y'all :D
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snoopy55
Posts: 1961
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 5:13 am
Location: Centralia, Ill, USA

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by snoopy55 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:51 am

Senorknowitall - go back to the other forum to register and carefully read the part about the Email address you use. Read the reasons that Email addresses are rejected.
I'm correct 97% of the time..... who cares about the other 4%....

Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:10 pm

Thanks for all your input. I've downloaded the above mentioned track file, installed it in my current map, but it does not seem to boost performance.
In the "bad" game track laying still is a good second or 8, and in the "good" game a second or 5 for approx. same amount of track.

Also; I've downloaded the nyc savegame, but that makes the game crash without visible error. I also installed the nyc map from the link above, but that did not help :(
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7km 5sec.PNG
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6km 8sec.PNG
6km 8sec.PNG (704.03 KiB) Viewed 12467 times

railage
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:09 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by railage » Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:33 pm

Ok. Am I understanding this right?

Are you using the same maps that previously had 9 and 14 seconds load times? If so, that's a few seconds gain per lay and that's what I would expect to see. Bear in mind that as I mentioned above, these things you can do will only REDUCE the amount of lag not remove it entirely. It's just a matter of what is manageable.

I think this is probably not entirely a graphics issue but also involves processor calculation so we should be looking for maximum CPU speed. Railroads! only uses one Core at a time, so this is important. However, graphics do use a little CPU speed, therefore I do tend to believe there is small advantages in lower graphics settings. Turning off trees did seem to help a little for me sometimes. If the game gets really bad I will collapse everything to minimum. Once I had the resolution and all other settings at the minimum with over 22,000 miles of track, but the delay was still over 20 seconds. These things might have been worth a second or two for each lay.

To reduce your lag further I would be running only one screen and not running any other programs. As soon as a game starts lagging I will turn all other programs off. Then I will start a game booster. JetBoost, although I don't neccesarily recommend it, but it can be configured to shut Windows Explorer down and it seems to reliably re-start that without issue unlike some other products. It's free.

I haven't played the America map that you are playing. Therefore I don't know how hard the map's tasks are. If they aren't that difficult you could try tweaking the map, and specifically editing the cost of track making it harder to lay all the track that is causing the lag. The tutorial that I made explaining how to do this and some other steps is here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=4687.

My NYC saved game requires the version in the game's main database. This page: http://smrsimple.com/2014/06/new-york-city/. If you already used this version and installed it properly (one map at a time) but it didn't work, I would have trouble knowing why. I do hope to put out more info about track routing methods I use in the near future. Feel free to ask questions about this, it might help me to give a good explanation. In other posts you will find lots of frustration about it, but I haven't seen any posts that really explain what is going on at the Hard routing level.

Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:35 pm

Yes, you understood exactly right, and yes, to test/compare it properly I loaded the old savegames from the same map.

Since it's an old game, it probably has trouble properly allocating or fully optimizing the potational of the cpu, let alone a single core. I've set up resource monitor on my other screen to monitor all the resources, and never does it utilize the cpu more than 20%.
I did some testing with this, set the affinity to one core/two cores/all cores. I've taken screenshots in the process, but due to the size of them (almost 6MB/each because of the double 24" screen), I've posted them on an online image hoster.
This is the resource usage with all cores "enabled":
Image

This is the resource usage with only one core "enabled":
"Image

This is the resource usage with only two cores "enabled":
Image

railage
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:09 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by railage » Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:02 am

What I see in those screenshots is that Railroads.exe is using on average around 12% of your processor. If you do 100/8=12.5. So slightly above 12% is actually pretty close to using one core to the max.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can help with the technical aspect much. I know there is a definite deficiency in the way the program handles track-laying. At this time, what I mentioned already is all I know of that could help to make the problem more manageable.

Did you get the NYC game to load? From your shots, I think my methods could save you some track miles. Got to work on that tutorial/explanation.

Senorknowitall
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:36 am

Re: Track laying really slow

Post by Senorknowitall » Sat Mar 26, 2016 5:41 pm

I've just had a look at the NYC map and your savegame, I must say it is both impressive and fast. Probably because of the way you don't (try) to connect all your stations, but have lot's of trains and short routes/stops.

So in conclusion I think the "cause" is two-fold:
1. The deficiency of the game to fully utilize resources, both memory and definitely processor wise.
2. The way you play the game in terms of track laying. If you try to connect as many stations as possible, and try to make it possible to go from any station/stop to any station/stop. Not even talking about double, or even triple tracks.

The first I cannot fix, but the second I certainly can.
When I find the time I'll try a mix of "your" and "my" style, and see how that goes.

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