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AI Traffic behaviour in MSTS
Greenleader
post Oct 18 2008, 07:53 AM
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I am busy compiling a simple activity on the Garden route of South-Africa. The player train starts at Knysna to George and I have three AI trains coming from George to Knysna. Two of them behave like I want them to. Theye start at their given times and the proceed towards their end piont. The third one just show up and wait for the the player train to enter the station and then will start to move. There are 6 stations between them where it can pass. It does not matter if I make passing paths and I did make sure that AI and player trains do not share a platform. I do have the tutorial for Activity Guide by Arnie Lee. This is a very good program, but even it can't sort this out for me.

Any suggestions would be welcome
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sgdavis
post Oct 18 2008, 09:52 AM
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QUOTE(Greenleader @ Oct 18 2008, 08:53 AM) *
I am busy compiling a simple activity on the Garden route of South-Africa. The player train starts at Knysna to George and I have three AI trains coming from George to Knysna. Two of them behave like I want them to. Theye start at their given times and the proceed towards their end piont. The third one just show up and wait for the the player train to enter the station and then will start to move. There are 6 stations between them where it can pass. It does not matter if I make passing paths and I did make sure that AI and player trains do not share a platform. I do have the tutorial for Activity Guide by Arnie Lee. This is a very good program, but even it can't sort this out for me.

Any suggestions would be welcome

Thanks

Martin


Try NOT using "passing paths" but instead always routing the player train down a given track and the AI train it is meeting (I am assuming these are going in opposite directions?) through the other track. Sometimes this helps. AI traffic logic is one of the big known weaknesses/issues with MSTS and creating believable traffic patterns is one of the biggest challenges for our template creators.

On a personal note, I am glad to see you made it to the forum, I apologize for the difficulties. Like I said I now have to restrict new membership because of all the spam and porn we were getting, neither of which I want on my site (and I doubt anyone else here does either).

Thanks,

Steve


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Greenleader
post Oct 18 2008, 12:01 PM
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QUOTE(sgdavis @ Oct 18 2008, 10:52 AM) *
Try NOT using "passing paths"

Steve, thanks for the "welcome".

This activity thing is making me think, but I will sort it out. Yes, I do not want to use "passing paths" but sometimes it seems to be the only option and to get them out, you have to do the whole path over again. I am trying now to alter the starting places of the AI trains to try and force them doing things, but I think the heard me already. If it is two AI trains on that line, it seems to be okay, but not more. Is there a restriction on the amount of AI traffic to a distance of line?
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Martin
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nbeveridge
post Oct 18 2008, 01:29 PM
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QUOTE(Greenleader @ Oct 18 2008, 12:01 PM) *
Steve, thanks for the "welcome".

This activity thing is making me think, but I will sort it out. Yes, I do not want to use "passing paths" but sometimes it seems to be the only option and to get them out, you have to do the whole path over again. I am trying now to alter the starting places of the AI trains to try and force them doing things, but I think the heard me already. If it is two AI trains on that line, it seems to be okay, but not more. Is there a restriction on the amount of AI traffic to a distance of line?

Thanks
Martin


No restrictions on how many AI trains on one line, or at least I have never found the limit. BUT . . . and this is a big BUT . . . the more you have which run on the same line, or at least part of the line, the more likely that the MSTS AI dispatcher will bog down or whatever it does. I am working on some templates now where the prototype has passenger trains leaving as close as five minutes headway, and MSTS simply cannot do it. I have backed off to every fifteen minutes, and it seems to work well.


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Greenleader
post Oct 20 2008, 01:37 PM
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The path that I use is 39 miles long with 18 cross points along the route. I start at point A and the AI at point B. They move towards me. I Have their starting times up so that I have to cross them along the way. The first one is waiting for me 7 miles from my start point. I then have to wait for the second one there until it gets there. If I let it start earlier it waits for me 25 miles up the road and there are many crossing points. I manage the times now that the dispatcher send the second one so that I have to wait for 20 mins for it to cross. I can set the start times of the first two AI trains at 5 mins apart, the dispatcher won't let them go earlier.

The third one will stop also at 20 miles up the road and wait for me to pass even if there are plenty crossing points. I did make sure about the paths of AI and player train. All AI are goods trains and player train is a passenger train.

By the way, do the dispatcher know the difference between the two types of trains ( goods/passenger) and do that influence the route?

I did simulate the path and drive it. The outcome is the same.

Thanks


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Martin
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dgionet
post Oct 20 2008, 04:12 PM
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Hi Martin,

Despite the many crossing points present along the path between George and Knysna, it is noted that the signal points are very distant. If you check your MSTS Activity editor (AE), you will notice the signal points are located only at 5 areas on the 40-mile stretch. They are at Knysna (MP 40), Goukamma (MP 31), Sedgefield (MP 23), Wilderness (MP 8) and George (MP 0). MSTS wouldn't allow two trains within the same area between two signals. For example, if you are approaching Sedgefield WB and your AI train has passed over Wilderness EB, you will have to wait for the AI at Sedgefield, allow it to cross Sedgefield before your train could move ahead. Both signals are 15 miles apart from each other. That means that, with a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour, you are expected to wait close to 30 minutes for your AI to reach Sedgefield.

With such distance between both signals, it can be more difficult to add more AI trains in that stretch because you may have to wait for not one but two trains, depending of the area your player train and AI train are located. In the case of the upcoming Garden Route template, now finished and in the testing mode, I have limited the AI trains to only two in that stretch of line. Both start , If I recall, around Sedgefield and go on opposite directions and do not meet, because I wanted to limit waiting time for the player train in the area.

Also, MSTS do not make a difference in terms of priority between passenger and freight, although I believe that in many areas in South Africa, passenger has priority over freight. This will be more difficult to apply in MSTS, unless precise timing and path configuration is deliberately set to allow freight to wait for passenger trains.

I hope to have answered your questions and feel free to reply.

Cheers


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jrmeindl
post Oct 20 2008, 04:29 PM
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QUOTE(Greenleader @ Oct 20 2008, 02:37 PM) *
The path that I use is 39 miles long with 18 cross points along the route. I start at point A and the AI at point B. They move towards me. I Have their starting times up so that I have to cross them along the way. The first one is waiting for me 7 miles from my start point. I then have to wait for the second one there until it gets there. If I let it start earlier it waits for me 25 miles up the road and there are many crossing points. I manage the times now that the dispatcher send the second one so that I have to wait for 20 mins for it to cross. I can set the start times of the first two AI trains at 5 mins apart, the dispatcher won't let them go earlier.

The third one will stop also at 20 miles up the road and wait for me to pass even if there are plenty crossing points. I did make sure about the paths of AI and player train. All AI are goods trains and player train is a passenger train.

By the way, do the dispatcher know the difference between the two types of trains ( goods/passenger) and do that influence the route?

I did simulate the path and drive it. The outcome is the same.

Thanks



There are few things that you also need to factor with regards to AI traffic. Speed and timing of the player train also will have an effect on where the dispatcher will hold trains. I have run many activities trying out different speeds and have come out with different results. Sometimes I will get held at a signal or the AI train might get held sooner than what you might have anticipated. Another thing is switching, the reverse movements along the path by the player train can have undesirable results with AI traffic. For this reason, I always save the activity whenever I enter into an area with passing sidings. Many times I have gotten to the other end of the siding and received a clear or approach signal only to have an AI train meet me out in the cornfield. Passenger AI trains can sometimes give other problems within an activity. I did have this issue while working and testing the Raton Pass 3 templates. If there are big differences in the speed assigned along the route, it can ultimately influence the trains. Raton Pass 3 has areas that are assigned 40-65 MPH for freight and 40-90 MPH for passenger along the same sections of mainline. The passengers do gain on the freights and screw up all the trains behind them since the dispatcher has trouble in situations like that. It might hit a few reds an then proceed along at the restricted speed. In the service edititor, you can limit the performance of them, but this does get trickey since not all situations are the same. I might be able to time them for myself, but yours might be completely different. With only 39 miles, I would not use much more than 2 AI trains for traffic from my experience along single track mainlines.

Jim

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post Oct 21 2008, 05:25 AM
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QUOTE(dgionet @ Oct 20 2008, 05:12 PM) *
If you check your MSTS Activity editor (AE), you will notice the signal points are located only at 5 areas on the 40-mile stretch. They are at Knysna (MP 40), Goukamma (MP 31), Sedgefield (MP 23), Wilderness (MP 8) and George (MP 0). MSTS wouldn't allow two trains within the same area between two signals.


Denis
Thanks. This make sence now. I will play around and see if I cannot get the AI to move from George to Wilderness while I am holding at Sedgefield. This is my problem. Sedgefield is my first stop. If I alter player starting time, AI wilL wait at George or other case I will wait at Sedgefield until AI gets there. Seems to me they ignore Wilderness. I di have something to work with.

Regards


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Greenleader
post Oct 21 2008, 05:26 AM
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Thanks Jim.
Between your answer and that of Denis, I have a lot to keep me busy for a while


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post Oct 23 2008, 11:45 AM
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QUOTE(dgionet @ Oct 20 2008, 05:12 PM) *
Knysna (MP 40), Goukamma (MP 31), Sedgefield (MP 23), Wilderness (MP 8) and George (MP 0).

Denis

I have sorted out two AI trains without any real problems. I had to wait for one at Goukamma for 2 or 3 mins, depending my own speed and then I wait for the other at Sedgefield for also about 2 to 3 mins. I want to put up a third one, but that one is difficult. It seems it ignore the signal at Wilderness. I want to cross it on my way to George. Logic tells me that if I leave Sedgefield at the same time he leave George, the signal at Wilderness will keep us apart, but no dice. Either he wait at George for me or I had to wait at Sedgefield for him. I tried all different times. It is really as if there is no signal at Wilderness. I even make a path from Wilderness to Sedgefield and one from George to Rondevlei, but notthing.

Any more suggestions. unsure.gif

Thanks


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dgionet
post Oct 23 2008, 03:17 PM
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QUOTE(Greenleader @ Oct 23 2008, 11:45 AM) *
Denis

I have sorted out two AI trains without any real problems. I had to wait for one at Goukamma for 2 or 3 mins, depending my own speed and then I wait for the other at Sedgefield for also about 2 to 3 mins. I want to put up a third one, but that one is difficult. It seems it ignore the signal at Wilderness. I want to cross it on my way to George. Logic tells me that if I leave Sedgefield at the same time he leave George, the signal at Wilderness will keep us apart, but no dice. Either he wait at George for me or I had to wait at Sedgefield for him. I tried all different times. It is really as if there is no signal at Wilderness. I even make a path from Wilderness to Sedgefield and one from George to Rondevlei, but notthing.

Any more suggestions. unsure.gif

Thanks



Hi Martin,

I have reproduced the scenario, that is the Player train just east of Sedgefield and the traffic trainleaving from inside George. I have ended with the same results. I have repeated the scenario but moving the path one signal further twice at least and the trafic train stopped at the last signal before leaving George east to Knysna.

But startng the path past this last signal ( see diagram) will allow the traffic train to finally move to meet the player train in Wilderness. Make sure your traffic path uses the loop track at Wilderness to let him go through, since yourself will be waiting for it at the end of the Wilderness mainline track.



MSTS can reserve quite some surprises like that when trying to create traffic paths. I have found in the route that a traffic train cannot go through Kandelaars when going Northward. The last signal acts like a yard signal. For a player train, you can go through by asking permission (TAB key). In the template I had to stop my path before Kandelaars. I have given special instructions about entering and exiting Kandelaars in the Template readme file, users will have to follow instructions very carefully or they may end up with an ended activity.

Hope this helps

Cheers


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Denis Gionet
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Greenleader
post Oct 27 2008, 01:04 PM
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Denis
Thanks. I am playing around with it now. Will let you know.



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