Railworks 3 Train Simulator 2012 performance tuning

A while ago I wrote a post about system requirements for Train Simulator 2012. The more I have been plaing the simulator, the more I have had the feeling that I am missing something (because my visual experience is not the best possible, or even very impressive).

My computer is an AMD X2 250 (dual core 3.0Ghz), 4GB RAM, GeForce 520 GT, and Windows 7 64-bit edition. That is well above the requirements of the game, but far from state of the art hardware. Perhaps buying a new computer?

I have been reading forums and and many people, many with very powerful hardware, have been complaining. A new computer, even on a high budget, is not guaranteed to run Train Simulator 2012 perfectly, it seems.

I decided to measure performance for different game setting and both measure FPS and look at screenshots. The parameters I have worked with are:

  • Screen resolution
  • Basic settings (Anti alising)
  • Train Simulator 2012 Game Technology (on/off)
  • Master settings (Details)

I have been using Fraps to measure FPS. All FPS tests and screenshots are from the Bath Green Park to Templecombe scenario A Day of Two Halves

Disappointed at 1280×1024
For a long while I have been playing the simulator at 1280×1024 (the native resultion of my display). With my computer, it is hard to achieve reasonable FPS as you see in this table.

2012 Tech: OFF ON
Basic settings: Low Medium Low Medium
Master settings
– Lowest 50-70 33-35 25-35
– Medium 30-40 13-14 12-14
– Highest 30-40

I want 30 fps, nothing below 20 fps. So, I didn’t even bother to measure the left out cells. Obviously, at 1280×1024, I can choose between some details (like buildings), or some anti-aliasing. And there are too few meaningful combinations to really draw any conclusions.

More interesting at 800×600
I decided to test more combinations at minimum resolution (800×600), and also take screenshots to be able to decide what compromises are best. I believe with better hardware, you will get a similar pattern at higher resolution.

2012 Tech: OFF ON
Basic settings: Low Medium High Low Medium High
Master settings
– Lowest 70 70 42 71 50 40
– Medium 60 35 19 46 35 27
– Highest 60 32 18 37 25 20

Clicking the number should open the screen shot in a separate tag. This way, you can easily compare two different settings side by side to decide for yourself.

Conclusions
My conclusions are:

  • Resolution matters a lot when it comes to what settings you can use
  • Master setting: medium is enough, highest makes little difference
  • Basic settings: medium is a huge improvement over low
  • 2012 Tech: in some ways nicer, but in my opinion, not that much of an improvement

I think I will run the game on Medium/Medium in the future, with 2012 tech turned off, in 800×600 or 1024×768, depending on the scenario (North East Corridor seems heavier). And I might have overcome my desire to get a faster computer.

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