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Welcome to the Blog, where I'll be posting progress updates, work-in-progress screenshots, information about the progress I'm making with active projects, as well as anything else I feel is worth mentioning. Hopefully more frequent updates here will make the wait for upcoming releases more bearable! News from 2008, all the way back to 2001, can be found in the News Archive. YouTube ChannelMy openBVE videos and other comments from users and myself can also be found via my YouTube channel.

Blog and Progress Updates

Hardware upgrades, performance, and detail levels

Posted by admin on January 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Every time I upgrade the system on which I develop routes, I find that new options and possiblities always arise, and I can add new objects or textures to take advantage of the extra processing power, and step-up the quality of my routes accordingly. I’m planning on a major upgrade in just a few months which will let me find out just what I can get away with where Watford Junction to Rugby and openBVE are concerned, and this will likely be a Core 2 Duo E8x00, along with a recent graphics card. However, I treated myself to an interim hardware upgrade at Christmas, to help support my add-on development for openBVE during the next few months. I felt that my aging AthlonXP 2400+, 1GB DDR-266 system with GeForce 6600GT 128MB AGP graphics card, on which I’ve been developing routes, was finally beginning to hold me back too much as I explored the extent to which I could utilise animated objects in my routes.

Cross-City South v1.4 and Watford Jn to Rugby are now being developed on a dual core Athlon64 X2 4200+ system, with 2GB DDR2-800 dual channel RAM, along with a Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256MB PCIe graphics card (» see here for details «), which has enabled me to add more animated objects to the Cross-City than I’d have considered reasonable while developing it on the old system; while the extra performance makes little useful difference on more simple routes as framerates were already high, I’ve measured a 30-50% performance increase in terms of openBVE’s framerates when the new animated scenery objects I’ve just shown are used, making what was previously just about acceptable, now enjoyable. The new hardware is hardly cutting edge technology though, so hopefully enough openBVE and Cross-City South users will have hardware that’s of a similar specification, and can enjoy similar levels of performance to that which I will enjoy when Cross-City South v1.4 is released. The double track (Weedon Line) section of the Watford Jn to Rugby Maximum Detail route has never really been a problem performance wise, but in openBVE I’m also now getting up to 15-20fps on some of the more complex four track sections, where I got 8-15fps before typically, and loading times are down to 21 seconds, while they were at 49 seconds previously. The “normal” version of the route which will actually get released should be pretty trouble free by the look of things… Emoticon Smile

Where Cross-City South v1.4’s new scenery is concerned, what I plan to do is simply add as much 3D lineside vegetation as possible while maintaining around 30fps @ 1280×1024 resolution on the new system; tests I’ve conducted so far reveal that I should be able to easily include static grassy embankments and more simple static 3D trees throughout the route, along with the selected areas of high detail, animated 3D vegetation and trees as shown in the video, in locations as outlined above. I’ve also done some optimisation work on New Street for Cross-City South v1.4, and New Street framerates are now up to a very acceptable 24fps on the new system, and I’ll try my best to maintain this level of performance as the route develops.

For openBVE, I don’t think I’ll offer much by way of “Detail Levels” as I have done in the past for my BVE routes; at the moment I think there will be a high detail version which is essentially what I’ve described above, and a standard version which will include a few less animated objects and maybe some more geometrically simple objects too. I will also update the BVE 2 and 4 versions of the Cross-City South with some new textures as well, as time permits.

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