Is exterior views important or not?

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Is exterior views important or not?

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Is exterior views important or not?

Post by devilreborn on Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:08 am

Hi all,
I am just wondering how important does exterior views seem to developers / players here at BVEWW.

As you may know, the Japanese developer mackoy has published BVE5 1-2 years ago. The new software, however, is not exactly well-received in communities outside Japan.

The new software is not exactly unattractive; in some areas it seem to be more powerful than OpenBVE, for example trains can move in the opposite direction; there are also improved / more realistic simulation of train dynamics (at least I believe so). From the developer's perspective I also think that the BVE5 syntax is also more convenient to code. (just my overall impression, I wont elaborate here)

On the other hand, apart from the lack of routes outside Japan as well as the language barrier, one major drawback is the lack of exterior views. My guess is that Japanese railfan place the simulation of the driving experience above everything else. I wonder if that is the case here, as well as what would be the potential response to developing European BVE5 routes.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Quork on Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:27 am

While exteriors are really great to have, they definitely aren't must-haves. There are simulations quite successful in the western world which even have only 2D cabs; LokSim3D and Zusi to name two german examples.

What is more appealing, to me at least, about OpenBVE is Michelle's idea of a trainsim "free as in freedom", open source, public domain, open for everyone. While I do have great respect for Mackoy (btw, does anybody know if he's a Trekkie? The nick does suggest it) and his work, I personally stick to OpenBVE for ideological reasons.

While Michelle wasn't always easy to work with for some people, we should never forget that it is her whom we owe for OpenBVE, and she's one of the great minds and ladies of the railway simulation world. Mind that while she very abruptly dropped the project and seems to have been very disappointed by something, she did never do anything to stop the project, to retrieve her legacy from net and use.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by graymac on Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:18 pm

The possibilities presented with the introduction of exterior views in OpenBVE made a potential for the sim to overwhelm the likes of MSTS on all fronts, in both performance and realism. Once the exterior viewpoints became a fact you could say that there's no going back.

BVE5 may or may not be better as a driving sim. I haven't really got it to work yet. Documentation in english is non-existent and this makes it unviable for developers outside Japanese speaking countries. Alan Wheeler has spent much time looking at BVE5 and is enthusiastic about its potential. But without documentation and with no UK (or Irish!) devs having a clue about it then it won't take off.
If such documentation were to be available, and if it proved possible to produce routes both better and quicker than I do at present with OpenBVE then I would evaluate it again and decide whether to adopt it.

I suspect other experienced devs are also "sitting on the fence", as I am. Incidentally, as far as I am aware , NO fans from europe or north america have yet produced anything at all for BVE5 - it appears to be totally 100% Japanese content at present.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Ad1992 on Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:04 am


The possibilities presented with the introduction of exterior views in OpenBVE made a potential for the sim to overwhelm the likes of MSTS on all fronts, in both performance and realism. Once the exterior viewpoints became a fact you could say that there's no going back.
Yes I said this in another  thread too. Unfortunately unlike MSTS, Open lacks the dynamics to really make good use of the exterior views.

I suspect other experienced devs are also "sitting on the fence", as I am. Incidentally, as far as I am aware , NO fans from europe or north america have yet produced anything at all for BVE5 - it appears to be totally 100% Japanese content at present.
You are right I have no interest in Bve 5. The only benefit I can see of it so far is that objects and routes can be encoded perfectly in to x files. But like you said there is no documentation about it at all.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by kwijiboenator on Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:11 pm

I've found that BVE offers more realism in driving in terms of safety systems, dynamics etc. As such I've only ever found exteriors useful in looking back along a train to see if the entire train has passed over the top of a set of point - and I'd have to say that it's nice to have a realistic exterior in lieu of the grey and white boxes shown as default.

But again, you can use your imagination when imagining if the other end of the train has traveled over a junction or not - in reality most trains built within the past 20 years here in the UK don't exactly require the train crew IRL to check back and ensure everything is on the track.

However I've played Railworks TS for the past year or so, and that's a different game where - unlike in BVE - you can shunt coaches and trucks, so exteriors are paramount for realism.

I guess where BVE is concerned, I'd say that it's best for developers to continue as they have been - develop the cab first, and if there is time - develop the exterior. But that's just my opinion.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by devilreborn on Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:29 am

Thanks for the response Very Happy 

The reason why BVE5 appeals to me (from a developer's perspective) is, well, the lack of exterior views, or more importantly, that the simulation is constrained to one viewpoint only.
Not only this saves a lot of work for the developer, but it also means that you could make use of viewing perspectives to make the route much more realistic.
The Youtube video below illustrates this point. (please ignore the "OpenBVE" in the title and start the video at 0:25)

This route has extensively made use of photorealistic textures which is rotated to suit the driver's viewing angle.

The purpose of this post is similar to conducting market researches; and there seems to be significant support for exterior views at least in this forum (One third of the votes is for "Absolutely"). I am not worried about the language barrier at all (BVE2 was intended for Japanese use only yet there has been numerous LU routes for BVE2/4 published in the past) as long as somebody is interested in taking the lead. What I am more concerned about is that in the average Western player's perspective, the cons of BVE5 seems to outnumber its pros outlined above, making it not worth playing. In other words had I developed a BVE5 route it would not be well received at all.

One thing I have been wondering: Is it more suitable to classify the BVE5 as "driving simulation software" and OpenBVE as "train ride simulation game", referring to the differences in features and intended audience?
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Quork on Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:34 pm

The video is in such a rappy retion that it doesn't really allowto see anything... However I think I know what you mean, I have a japanese route (wich was portrayed here by someone I thin't know the name right now) built in this way. Well... While it obviously does produce quite great realism concerning the low hardware load it produces, but it's not really state of the art and if the user is used to real 3D, the perspectivc issues do strike at once.

The method can be used still tday for specific usage; that is for thngs only seen from a grater distance (hundreds of metres) and from only one perspective really; that's a method heavily used in LokSim3D to e.g. show a village on top of a hill two, three kilometres away from the route, it's nicknamed "coulisse" there. In this case the viewing angle doesn't really change so there are no issues. Now that's something you can do in OpenBVE as well, because leaving the train doesn't change the viewing ption by more than a few till a few dozen metres, which is still no noticeable change of viewing conditions for that great distance to the object. The best method in my eyes though is to integrate things, which are too far away for 3D to be reasonable, into the ky texture. Relate to the italian routes, those make heavy use of it and thus produce what I consider to be the most appealing mountain feeling.
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(Train cab mock up for BVE trainsim)

Post by Northern Line on Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:11 pm

I feel that this representation brings BVE a very long way in it's development.



The cab is self made and the route has a reality look. Very Happy
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by hkmtrhah on Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:20 pm

devilreborn wrote:for example trains can move in the opposite direction
Which train can move in the what kind of opposite direction?
If you're talking about the BVE5 Keio Keibajosen (Racecourse Line), then it's nothing surprising at all.

BVE is quite a driver's cab-oriented train simulator since train operators in Japan don't really need to walk out from the cab. It (BVE5) provides high quality of simulating the shaking of the train, pointworks, sound effects, etc. And it just make me feel fantastic.

There are some traces that openBVE tried to change the orientation of the simulation, from driver's cab-oriented to the world oriented, like changing the rendering of the scenery objects by not just how many meters the train has ridden, but also the world coordination of the scenery objects. However, I indeed think that the changing of that coordination of openBVE has still a lot more work to do, and don't forget the sound simulator.

So at this stage, the exterior views is still an optional for me. I'd rather do better for those more important things first, like the sounds and the train system.

(offtopic: What do you think with my Traditional Chinese translation of BVE5 Editor's Documentation, devilreborn?)
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Quork on Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:32 pm

That cab is really, really great! However I wouldn't want to be a passenger in his train, that driving style gives me a headache from watching alone pale
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Ad1992 on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:52 am

The one annoying thing about the exterior view, is the fact that you now have to put more in. Whereas before you could just miss out bits of scenery as they couldn't be seen.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Stephen Cross on Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:31 pm

Hi all,

If you like me appreciate BVE in all its versions as a driver simulation then the only benefit of exterior views are for passing trains ie objects animated or not.

This is not putting down those with obvious talents for making the locomotives / units, as they're way beyond anything I could make. All I wish for is a detailed cab through which to view the route.

Being firmly planted in the driver's seat I can then make the route run faster, as like the movies you only need to model what can be seen from the seat. Up go the frame rates and once I can work out the animating or in BVE5s case the syntax full stop, we'll still be able to appreciate all the work that has gone into making the traction with externals.

For example I detail up the trackwork / pointwork you traverse at slow speeds as you get more time to see them and don't worry about objects too much that you pass at a reasonable speed. If the user wants to wander all over the place or view the route in detail using RouteViewer then they will be disappointed but sit in the driver's seat and drive the route as intended I feel that you would not notice the difference.

Years ago a young Tom Beevers received a lot of stick, mainly for being a very enthusiastic youngster but when you take a ride on his Piccadilly route you get appreciate his ability to only model what the driver can see. His route is a great example of route creation compromise of frame rate versus realism, I for one think he got it right.

Bye for now,

Stephen.
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Ad1992 on Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:20 pm

The other advantage of course is a one sound set up fits all.

The Piccadilly line started off as a horrible line and experience before he got to his current design. V1 had floating trains, and a tunnel appearing out of nowhere with ballast covering it, and horrible sounds. Later additions included a night time and snow version which oddly changed to daylight, and a dry ground after coming out of Oakwood, it also had horrible noise at loads of stations. In spite of what you say about compromising frame rates, his third Picc incarnation was actually impossible to run on loads of peoples machines and lagged like mad! it's a shame too because it was probably one of his better graphical versions of the picc to date. But even this didn't last long because next was the version that I call the walls of Hammersmith Very Happy

The most recent version of the picc is still pretty awful, but it is a massive improvement over the earlier versions.

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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by devilreborn on Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:02 am

Ad1992 wrote:The one annoying thing about the exterior view, is the fact that you now have to put more in. Whereas before you could just miss out bits of scenery as they couldn't be seen.
Yes that kinds of illustrates my point... if players don't feel like having exteriors is a must, then as a developer you could save tons of work by leaving out those parts that wont be observed by a driver with a fixed viewing angle. Although with the latest poll results in mind I would probably reconsider the "players don't feel like having exteriors is a must" part.Surprised 

hkmtrhah wrote:(offtopic: What do you think with my Traditional Chinese translation of BVE5 Editor's Documentation, devilreborn?)
No need to use Google Translate again~ Very Happy Very Happy
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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by Ad1992 on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:25 am

Bank being a good example but thankfully it is now nearly done. Due to the extras I've added for the sake of the exterior shots, it has taken me considerably longer. I remember the good old days when you just put two sides and a front in! Rolling Eyes 

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Re: Is exterior views important or not?

Post by ecreek on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:40 pm

I think it depends on what you want exterior views for. Most other simulators that have them use them for activities like shunting and loading or unloading passengers. You need to be outside the cab to perform those things. The only activity in BVE outside the cab would be to look at scenery or the train itself. It takes a great deal of extra work for not much advantage. In order to really enjoy the scenery or train it has to be well done and realistic. A few flat textured faces look very amateurish in comparison to the sims that specialise in scenery and train modelling.

I think OpenBVE was tending in the direction of the bigger commercial sims with the point of view command, exterior views and 3D cabviews as well as world co-ordinates but none of that development seems likely now. I would be inclined to stick with what OpenBVE does best and make it the best driving experience of all train simulators.

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