Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

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ForeverForgotten
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Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 13 Dec 2018 01:44

So I have a somewhat esoteric problem.
Imagine two cities bracing a smaller set of towns. The two cities are a large distance apart (much more than what is represented in the symbolic screenshot below) and are connected by a high-speed intercity line. Meanwhile, alongside that line is a slower stopping service.
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In this scenario, there is no other way to link each of these towns; the mountain forces the bundling of these rails into a corridor. What's wrong? See below.
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It only makes sense to use a slower railtype (from NuTracks) to run slower trains. But when the rails are put adjacent to each other, the technical limitations of the game force each tile to have only one railtype. Frankly, with the goal in mind of creating an obssessiely pretty digital model train set, this can't do. In order to remedy this, I could separate them:
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But no matter which way I do this (all parallel with one space in between or some parallel, some separated), it looks ugly, and only gets uglier when it goes through a town.
So, is there an out-of-the-box solution I'm missing here? Or am I just asking for a green line with a red pen; creating too many different restrictions to actually leave room for any results? I ask because I know that I'm not the only one who likes building eyecandy, and I'm no island. But if I really am just chasing my tail here, please let me know. I've been seeing this problem in my dreams for too long.
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ForeverForgotten
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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 13 Dec 2018 02:44

kamnet wrote:Put the high speed tracks underground, or use bridges.
I might need more explanation. Any way I can see of implementing this leads to either the same gap or same original problem.
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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by kamnet » 13 Dec 2018 04:05

You're dealing with aesthetics - you're asking us to guess what you think looks good.

Would it be an issue to just run the same track type on the diagonals so you can build them more compactly?

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 13 Dec 2018 04:23

kamnet wrote:You're dealing with aesthetics - you're asking us to guess what you think looks good.

Would it be an issue to just run the same track type on the diagonals so you can build them more compactly?
I admit that my background makes me take for granted textbook artistic principles.

Essentially, the presence of that gap between diagonal rails creates visual tension, which should be avoided in favour of unity and "stable"-looking design. In the context of OpenTTD, this usually implies designs focused on as few diagonal rails as necessary, putting similar objects either directly adjacent to each other or with a certain distance apart, reducing to a minimum the number of linear shapes which lead to nowhere, and preventing shapes from looping back towards themselves unless doing so creates a perpendicular cross a.k.a. preventing obliqueness.

This is what inhibits me from, to answer your question, outfitting corners exclusively with singular railtypes. Doing so creates a hard transition between the straight rail and the curve. In the same way that changing a brown line to a black line on a canvas without a gradient or other accommodation, doing so is an artistic faux-pas at best.

These are all principles which I have readily observed being adhered to by, for instance, screenshot competition entrants, so I know that I'm not alone in the things I want, and that I can reasonably expect someone to have already figured all of this out while I sit here and mull for hours. I try to follow these rules as well, but I inevitably find myself with comparison syndrome: "everyone's creation looks good except mine". This is all just part of my process to slowly improve and grow.

To post-script, I could run these track types between stations where needed so that the transition is hidden by the station, but this will invalidate the point of multiple railtypes for half of the network, which seems against the spirit of NuTracks and most rail vehicle NewGRFs in the first place.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by Eddi » 13 Dec 2018 05:12

so, i could see two ways out of your conundrum:
  1. use a customized OpenTTD version which allows multiple railtypes on one tile. there have been attempts made at that in the past, not sure if they went very far. possibly Cirdan's "New Map Features" supports that, but i haven't checked.
  2. use a customized NuTracks that switches the graphics out for some other versions that don't conflict that much visually
a third way would be to allow track GRFs to check neighbouring tiles and modify the graphics, but that was usually avoided in the past because of performance concerns. (there was an idea of curved rails floating around that would have depended on that. afaik, no code was ever written)
You might not exactly be interested in Ferion, but if you are, have fun :)

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 13 Dec 2018 05:29

Eddi wrote:so, i could see two ways out of your conundrum:
  1. use a customized OpenTTD version which allows multiple railtypes on one tile. there have been attempts made at that in the past, not sure if they went very far. possibly Cirdan's "New Map Features" supports that, but i haven't checked.
  2. use a customized NuTracks that switches the graphics out for some other versions that don't conflict that much visually
a third way would be to allow track GRFs to check neighbouring tiles and modify the graphics, but that was usually avoided in the past because of performance concerns. (there was an idea of curved rails floating around that would have depended on that. afaik, no code was ever written)
Cirdan's New Map Feaures patch was definitely a consideration of mine. I was concerned about patching it into JGRpp as I had no way of guaranteeing that it and JGR's existing custom bridgehead patch would be compatible, but I'm willing to give it a try when I can find the time and post results for posterity.

As for a custom NuTracks version, I prefer the stark visual contrast of the main branch (otherwise there's scarcely any point), and in any case I was only asking around to see if my shortcoming was in my creativity.

Thanks all for suggestions.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by kamnet » 13 Dec 2018 07:46

I think you have a bit of conflict in what you're wanting to achieve visually, which I do totally understand. You have this desire for simplicity, clean lines and conformity, but you also say you're drawing inspiration from examples in the screenshot contests... which are largely comprised of people who strive to represent the literal filth and convoluted mess of real-life rail transport.

Real train operators have quite varying approaches to dealing with slow trains and fast trains. For example, in the northeast US corridor, in many places there simply is no room for dedicated rails for slow trains and fast trains, and slow freight trains typically have priority over fast passenger trains. It's those fast trains that are forced to run on degraded tracks and sit at sidings waiting for slow freight trains to pass. In other places, though, you wouldn't even see fast rails and slow rails sharing the same corridor, or if they do not at the same elevation.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by Pyoro » 13 Dec 2018 11:46

You can't patch cirdan's NewMap into JGRPP. I mean, I'm not saying you can't; it's not theoretically impossible, but the differences are massive.

Anyway, it does allow what you want to do -
Image
... yeaaah, I didn't find any other screenshot I had already made except this one where you can see it at the very bottom :mrgreen:

e: also custom bridgeheads is a feature from cirdan, actually, if that means those short bridges that don't as such have a bridgehead.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 13 Dec 2018 17:35

Pyoro wrote:You can't patch cirdan's NewMap into JGRPP. I mean, I'm not saying you can't; it's not theoretically impossible, but the differences are massive.

Anyway, it does allow what you want to do -
Image
... yeaaah, I didn't find any other screenshot I had already made except this one where you can see it at the very bottom :mrgreen:

e: also custom bridgeheads is a feature from cirdan, actually, if that means those short bridges that don't as such have a bridgehead.
That's what I was concerned about. JGR isn't something I'm willing to part with because it gives me too many features that are conducive to my culminated goals, even if NewMap is exactly what I want, which it is.
kamnet wrote:I think you have a bit of conflict in what you're wanting to achieve visually, which I do totally understand. You have this desire for simplicity, clean lines and conformity, but you also say you're drawing inspiration from examples in the screenshot contests... which are largely comprised of people who strive to represent the literal filth and convoluted mess of real-life rail transport.

Real train operators have quite varying approaches to dealing with slow trains and fast trains. For example, in the northeast US corridor, in many places there simply is no room for dedicated rails for slow trains and fast trains, and slow freight trains typically have priority over fast passenger trains. It's those fast trains that are forced to run on degraded tracks and sit at sidings waiting for slow freight trains to pass. In other places, though, you wouldn't even see fast rails and slow rails sharing the same corridor, or if they do not at the same elevation.
To be earnest, I agree that I'm conflicted. That was my initial worry; that all of this was my effort to draw water from a stone. The problem is that I can't concede now, because I've already seen what I want to achieve. See below, screenshots from both you, Kamnet, and Pyoro.
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Source: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=45856&start=120#p1172224
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Source: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=74447&p=1206328&hi ... o#p1206277
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Source: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=74447&hilit=pyoro& ... 0#p1183475

These screens, whether simple or complex, all reflect exactly what I want to achieve. Perpendicularity, use of existing terrain, integration with urban spaces, variety, and efficiency. To be certain, they don't necessarily involve my low-speed/high-speed problem. But I can nonetheless be confident that I know what I want, and that there's a way to get it.

Of course, I can't just saddle the forum with my problem as if I expect someone else to just fix my artistic hold-ups. I like to think that the solution is in building railroads in a more grid-like way, or maybe to generate flatter terrain, or maybe to generate towns in a different way, or just become more flexible with the rules I set down for my networking. It would just be nice if finals season could be over already and I could actually get to it. :lol:

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by Pyoro » 13 Dec 2018 18:00

Oh, I can completely understand this. Although I use cirdan's version, I compile it for myself with other patches (well, mostly daylength), I don't use randomly generated maps because they are too uniform over large sizes (like, you can't have a mix of flat and mountainous and islands), I did my own few GRFs for the specific quirks that annoyed me ... and some that I didn't manage to find a solution for still drive me crazy; like the way farm fields work (gna ^^). If you start with this sort of thing, you can't just go "bah, I'll stop caring about that part now." It's not an on-off switch ;)

I don't know if it'd satisfied, but maybe - make the terrain not less, but more mountainous. Local trains would then take winding routes with comparatively sharp corners, going around large obstacles like mountains or lakes.
High speed routes would go directly through anything in their path, along the shortest / straightest routes. This gives them a natural reason to be apart from each other in many places where you'd have curves.

Inevitably, there'll still probably be some places where something about it will annoy you. But if it works in 95% of all cases it might be more bearable. It's usually flat terrain that'll cause boring, grid-like networks.

... and, although it's counter-intuitive, but you can also create artificial obstacles where there actually weren't any to give yourself a reason to separate the tracks. Like, in the top screenshots - expand the mountain or the lakes. Have the local trains run along the lake shore, maybe, the highspeed one up in the mountain through tunnels. Or something. Yeah, at that point it's not really much about effective gameplay anymore and just about how stuff looks, but, eh, got to have some priorities ;)

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by kamnet » 14 Dec 2018 05:36

My secret is easy to tell - I don't use track sets that limit speed. :D

of course I still face the same limits as you when it comes to, say, wanting to run maglev or monorail next to conventional track. But I've also made peace with the idea of running lines with space between them if needed. I tend these days to try to bury lines when I can.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by Kevo00 » 18 Dec 2018 18:47

It's not that unusual to see railways running parallel with a gap between them surely - particularly where they are used for different purposes. The South Shore line out of Chicago springs to mind where there are even houses between parallel running lines of different railroads.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 18 Dec 2018 19:24

Kevo00 wrote:It's not that unusual to see railways running parallel with a gap between them surely - particularly where they are used for different purposes. The South Shore line out of Chicago springs to mind where there are even houses between parallel running lines of different railroads.
It's always been my belief that reality can only bleed into OpenTTD so much, so my initial concern wasn't with whether or not the gap was realistic; it just seemed dodgy in the context of the appearance of the game. I think I can reconcile with it, though, and even if I can't, I've found that I'm by-and-large satisfied with running bundled railways as all one track type and then just accepting the sudden difference in type when lines change.

I should reiterate that I appreciate all of these answers to a question that seemed pretty silly to me when I first posted it.

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by Kevo00 » 18 Dec 2018 19:27

As railway modellers say, there's a prototype for everything ;-)

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by kamnet » 03 Jan 2019 22:00

ForeverForgotten wrote:That's what I was concerned about. JGR isn't something I'm willing to part with because it gives me too many features that are conducive to my culminated goals, even if NewMap is exactly what I want, which it is.
JGR just updated to version 0.29.0, and now includes Multiple Rail Types Per Tile patch. Enjoy! :)

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Re: Multiple Lines, Track Types, and Aesthetics

Post by ForeverForgotten » 04 Jan 2019 03:38

kamnet wrote:JGR just updated to version 0.29.0, and now includes Multiple Rail Types Per Tile patch. Enjoy! :)
I laughed as soon as I heard about the update at the sheer coincidence of this. I can't wait to get started. :D

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