Author Topic: pak128.Britain scale problems  (Read 22990 times)

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Offline The Hood

pak128.Britain scale problems
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:17:42 PM »
Great work with the new trams, but I must say I'm concerned about the new scaling. See this:



Is it just me or does the tram not look way too small for the road and houses nearby (e.g. a double decker tram appears to be only as tall as a single floor in a building? I'm really not sure why you've had to do such a drastic rescaling anyway as I applied the 30m to one tile length scaling when I first drew them. I've investigated your blends but can't quite work out why - the length seems about right on your new blends (but e.g. the Blackpool Balloon is a bit short I think). One thing which is probably not helping is width and height. While I'm sure yours are correctly scaled compared to the length, most pak128.Britain models actually don't have a 1:1 aspect ratio as you might expect. They are actually slightly wider and taller than they should be compared to their length, partially to avoid visual oddities like the one in the picture above - hence the blends I originally drew. I know this isn't strictly accurate but given the scaling problems with simutrans generally (e.g. different length scales, the fact that in real life two rail tracks are much closer than the visual gap in simutrans between tiles), that's not a problem. More of a concern is the general graphical "feel" - and to me these newly rescaled models "feel" too small - I'm lacking the visual detail there used to be and the just look too small compared to what's around. After all this is a transport game so the main features should be the vehicles themselves - if anything they should be larger than their surroundings so as to stand out.

Personally I'd recommend keeping to the scale I originally adopted, which was what Kieron had used on the rail vehicles too (so in fact all rail, road and trams should already be in scale, although I admit a few earlier road and rail vehicles are possibly too large compared to others). I'd be interested what Kieron has to say on this though.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 11:42:07 PM »
Hmm - the trouble with using something that is "slightly wider and taller than they should be" is that it is very hard to work out just how "slightly" wider and taller that they should be, which results in terrible inconsistencies and things looking awful, especially when compared to each other. With the larger ships, Kieron's logarithmic scaling system works so that we can work out exactly what all the dimensions of the ships should be using a mathematical formula, and everything is consistent. The trams actually look so much more real when they are narrow like real trams. It would be very odd indeed, I think, for the trams to be a different scale to the trains, especially when they share the same track (and I have checked: the width between the rails is exactly correct for the scale that I have used).

I do not know how the buildings are scaled, but, if they are out of scale for the vehicles, this is the problem rather than anything else, I think. The road width seems correct in proportion to the tram, however: see this Hong Kong example, for instance:



or this rather lovely photograph from Dundee:



If one adjusts for the fact that the latter photograph shows double track trams, what we see in the image above does not look too far off.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 11:53:18 PM by jamespetts »
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Offline kierongreen

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 11:54:53 PM »
Well, this goes back to it being impossible to have all scales in simutrans consistent. Road vehicles and trams were roughly the same scale as buildings previously. Buildings are to the same scale as roads, with trains and railways to a smaller scale. If you try and make railways and roads the same scale then either trains will end up very long with lots of clipping errors, or road tiles will appear unnaturally wide. Really roads should be two tiles across (which would solve double track trams at the same time), but that's another story, and a whole load of extra things to code.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 12:02:59 AM »
Well, this goes back to it being impossible to have all scales in simutrans consistent. Road vehicles and trams were roughly the same scale as buildings previously. Buildings are to the same scale as roads, with trains and railways to a smaller scale. If you try and make railways and roads the same scale then either trains will end up very long with lots of clipping errors, or road tiles will appear unnaturally wide. Really roads should be two tiles across (which would solve double track trams at the same time), but that's another story, and a whole load of extra things to code.

I thought that you had said that a consistent scale between rail and road vehicles is preferred?
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Offline kierongreen

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 01:01:05 AM »
The Hoods post made me remember why they weren't to begin with...

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 01:16:00 AM »
Hmm, that is after they have all been done.

However, and in any event, looking at the photographs, the scale seems correct. A single deck on a tram is much lower than a storey in a building, and the tram in the photograph appears to be, at most, barely higher than the first floors of the buildings opposite (and those are not buildings with high floors, although there are three storeys). The width of the tram tracks, which is on the same scale as the trams as I have scaled them, is broadly consistent with the width of the road, as seen in the photographs, assuming the road to be a reasonably but not exceptionally wide road. Given that the height, length and width of the trams are scaled to the same scale as the width of the tracks, the scale must also, it therefore follows, be in keeping with the scale of the road. If the scale of the road is in scale with the buildings, it would also be in scale with those.

It may well be easy to mistake objects such as vehicles for being larger relative to roads and buildings than they appear in the perspective used by Simutrans because our perspective of them at ground level (when we are much closer to them) emphasises their size relative to surrounding, larger objects. When viewed from above, as in the two photographs in my previous post, the scales seem more consistent.
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Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014, 08:00:51 AM »
James, I know the rationale behind the scaling and I'm not doubting it's all been calculated correctly and carefully. However I think at times it's best to go with what looks good in the game. This of course is more subjective, and you may well have a different view to me on this, but for me the trams (at your correct scale) look too small. As I said, it's a transport game and to have all of the vehicles as little dots moving around somehow misses the point of the game to me. I'd advocate just using a bit of visual judgment to get scales looking visually "right" rather than trying to do everything by formula. The rough scale that I found worked was 2 blender grid squares wide and 3 tall for most "standard" vehicles - double deck trams worked out more like 4 tall. Length scaled as to the 30m per tile.

There is also the issue of building scale - this has never really been enforced properly and I think there are a few buildings which are clearly to a larger scale than others that could do with scaling down - Archon's green and white pub in the shot above is one but I know there's one or two of my houses that also could do with scaling down. Again, given the constraints of what fits on a tile in Simutrans judgment should be used.

As kieron says the best solution would be to eventually go for double tile roads but that would introduce clipping problems (length of vehicle relative to tile woudl double) and require a huge amount of code change and graphics recoding.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 10:53:19 AM »
When I first started with graphics for the pakset, I did not consider precise scaling, and just tried to make what looked about right. After a while, I realised that a number of the graphics - mostly rail vehicles at the time - were obviously out of scale compared with one another and looked very poor, and this problem became more acute as I added more and more vehicles, and it was necessary for the visual distinction between each of them (especially railway carriages, where earlier and later versions of similar carriages often differed only in length) became finer. I then started working out what the correct scale was and using that, and found that things looked far better in relation to each other when I did. I then found that a number of existing vehicles that were already in the pakset or that I had scaled based on those that were (Midland Railway locomotives in particular) were obviously overscaled, and, when rescaled, again looked much better in comparison to other vehicles. Now, there are still a good number of earlier steam locomotives obviously to the wrong scale which look silly when compared to other locomotives or carriages, or even the width of the track.

What looks better is, of course, subjective, but I have always found that things being correctly scaled look better to me (at least, when seen alongside other things of the same scale: individually, of course, bigger is usually better, and when one is accustomed to vehicles being a particular size in the game, one gets the short-term impression of them looking worse when made smaller), and I strongly suspect that the overall look of the pakset will appear more natural to people (and therefore better) the more consistent and accurate that the proportions of things are in comparison to each other. When judging the appearance of things, it is important, I think, to try to set aside one's memory of the larger (and therefore more detailed) versions of the images by comparison and focus on what the images look like in proportion to other things in the game as they are now scaled.
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Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 06:24:53 PM »
OK, we really need to knock this one on the head. I've done some more playing around with scales. Firstly, a class 37. Two images below - one in its current form and one applying a strict 30m to one tile and 1:1 aspect ratio. Although the length was correct, the old image was higher and wider than a 1:1 aspect ratio would imply. I was already aware of this, and personally I favour the old approach as it fills the width of a tile better and gives better detail. However not so much of a problem so far.



The next pair of images really highlights the problems we have at present. The first house is adapted from the 1880 terrace houses and is consistent in scale with that image. The second version is correct to 30m to one tile (actually it's a little large but I wanted to fit a whole number of semi pairs into a tile) - this model is accurately scaled as it's an idealised version of my own house so I know the real dimensions of it pretty well.



As you can see the existing buildings are about 3x too large compared to what they "should" be if we keep to a strict scale with vehicles. One option of course is to enforce the 30m to one tile more rigorously and rescale all the buildings down to what we have in the second image. However I think this is not a good idea because (a) everything would be tiny and that seems to be against the idea of 128px tiles and (b) you'd still have major scale issues. For example a single carriageway road plus pavement is rarely more than 10m wide, so that would be 3x too wide on that scale (presumably where the 3x too large buildings come from if they are drawn to look good compared to the road!). You also still have the problems with the distance between double railway tracks being 30m (!) and ships and planes being on a reduced scale anyway.

In other words inconsistency of scale is going to be a part of the game. We just have to decide on what sort of inconsistency we accept and what we don't.

My views on this:
- the "general" scales should remain roughly as they are at present (this is what people are used to and have given so much positive feedback on, and it also means not so much redrawing)
- some things are still unacceptably out of scale however. In particular I'd look into scaling (some, or possibly even many) buildings down a bit.
- Accurately scaled vehicles at 1:1 aspect ratio and 30m to a tile are generally too small for good visual game experience, especially with small vehicles early in the game.
- Given the fact that widths are exaggerated compared to lengths by default (given the width of tracks/roads is much more than would normally be the case in real life because of the need for elongated objects on square tiles) I suggest we keep the exaggerated width and height that has been a feature of most road/rail vehicles in the set from the beginning. Lengths should still be at 30m per tile for road/rail vehicles, or if anything, scaled UP not down.
- We should have a standard width/height ratio to avoid irregularities. The class 37 was about 1.25-1.3 times larger in both these directions. I'd go with this for now and apply it e.g. to the new trams.

Discuss :)

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 08:23:54 PM »
Ahh, yes, a knotty problem indeed. I shall have to think about this more rigorously when I have a little more time; I should also be interested in Kieron's and others' views.

However, a few provisional points for now to be thinking about. Firstly, I actually rather like the second class 37. It looks more real and less like a toy; it gives, in other words, a more convincing illusion of actually being a class 37, and gives the player a more powerful feeling of actually managing a transport network; the suspension of disblief is more effective.

Likewise, I do like the buildings in the right hand side picture. It reminds me of some of the wonderful discussions that we all had a while back in this thread, where we decided that, ideally, it would be good if houses were about twice as wide as the roads (that would still be splendid, incidentally).

The issue with the width of the roads and railways is a somewhat intractable one and it is most unfortunate that it is not easier to fix this in the code. This should not, however, mean, in my opinion, that vehicles should not have a consistent scale compared to other vehicles, although it might have to mean that vehicles have a different scale from buildings. Overall, I think, if things are going to be out of scale from each other by necessity, it is better for a whole class of things (such as buildings) all to be in accurate scale with each other but out of scale with a whole class of other things (such as vehicles), all of which are also in scale with each other. This is because inconsistencies of scale between different objects of the same type are much more noticeable than inconsistencies in scale between objects of different types.

Edit: It strikes me that there is a potentially significant and rather important advantage to be gained from having smaller buildings. Because buildings are limited to one tile square, it is difficult to have anything like enough range of size between the smallest and largest city buildings. This has economic and game-play as well as aesthetic problems. If the smaller city buildings could be grouped together as has been drawn above, this would greatly improve the situation, and allow much larger buildings on a single tile drawn to a smaller scale.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 09:08:24 PM by jamespetts »
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Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 11:28:11 AM »
I agree that vehicles should have a consistent scale, as should buildings, but it doesn't necessarily work to make bith groups to the same scale. As it stands, all the vehicles myself and kieron drew for road and rail were to a consistent scale (with the possible exception of a few steam trucks which I never quite thought looked right, but I had no data for them). In theory so too for the buildings but this is harder to get right as you have to fit a whole building into a single tile and that can be deceptive. What I'm advocating is that we stick to the original scalings that Kieron started and I followed with buildings, trains and trams. To do differently would (a) involve more work than I'm willing to put in to changing perfectly good graphics and (b) significantly change the look and feel of the pak, which is something most players already like about the pak (if I'm not mistaken). Without a thorough review of how the game works (e.g. multiple tile city buildings, one-direction roads per tile, clipping improvements, etc so that the current "scale" could be re-used on a pak64 tile base) I'm very reluctant to change too much. We have a game engine with certain limitations and we should concentrate on what works best within these limits.

Offline prissi

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 02:46:21 PM »
Personally, and since this game is about transport, I found all pak128.britain vehicles too small. And clipping errors (like for larger trains) are long gone since Dwachs patch (as long as vehcile length stay shorter than 16).

There is even a patch around for multitile houses, which has the limitation of 2x2 houses only upgradeable by a 2x2 house. THis might not even be an issue, if most houses are actually 2x2.

Offline VOLVO

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 08:45:04 PM »
I do think the vehicle should be enlarged,  but if the buses are going to be enlarged by that scale, it won't fit on the road.
The trains will be just about right though.

Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2014, 08:52:24 PM »
Yes - I'd tend to agree with that view prissi. If anything I'd be in favour of increasing the scale of vehicles rather than decreasing them. pak128.Britain vehicles could all be scaled up by a factor of 1.25 and still fit on one tile (ie length<16). I've spent some time comparing paksets and from what I can tell pak128 vehicles tend to be slightly wider and taller but a lot shorter (many of them are still exactly half a tile long like in the old days). pak128.german has much larger vehicles than pak128.Britain, although looking at them I suspect they are not 1:1 ratios. Nevertheless they do look good. I've made a trial with your newer vehicles jamespetts and from what I can see exaggerating their widths and heights by a factor of 1.28 seems to give more visually pleasing results.

Good to know about the houses though prissi - is that making its way into trunk any time soon?

Offline prissi

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2014, 09:21:52 PM »
There are so many things to upgrade paksets: Maybe not before the next release.

Offline Junna

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2014, 09:48:46 PM »
Yes - I'd tend to agree with that view prissi. If anything I'd be in favour of increasing the scale of vehicles rather than decreasing them. pak128.Britain vehicles could all be scaled up by a factor of 1.25 and still fit on one tile (ie length<16). I've spent some time comparing paksets and from what I can tell pak128 vehicles tend to be slightly wider and taller but a lot shorter (many of them are still exactly half a tile long like in the old days). pak128.german has much larger vehicles than pak128.Britain, although looking at them I suspect they are not 1:1 ratios. Nevertheless they do look good. I've made a trial with your newer vehicles jamespetts and from what I can see exaggerating their widths and heights by a factor of 1.28 seems to give more visually pleasing results.

Looks horrendous on bends with longer vehicles. Already at the limit of what is bearable with the current lengths, I'd say.

Offline kierongreen

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2014, 10:13:28 PM »
The Hood's post with comparison images shows that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

prissi is right in saying that pak128.Britain already has relatively small vehicles compared to other paksets. Making them even smaller isn't the way forward.

For what it's worth my original scaling was intended to be broadly similar to pak128 - originally pak128.Britain was an addon so I intended the vehicles and buildings could be interchangeable. When length of vehicles was no longer limited to 8 the lengths were rescaled but not the height and widths.

I agree with broadly keeping things the way they are. Although I support taking advantage of larger buildings if these are ever implemented in trunk. I'd say that 1x2 buildings should be used for most houses - some dense tenements could remain 1x1 while large blocks of flats could be 2x2. It would be good if there'd be a way of upgrading from larger (e.g. 2x2) buildings to smaller (e.g. 1x1) buildings though.

Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2014, 10:55:00 PM »
It would be useful to know if anyone has any suggestions for vehicles or buildings which appear obviously out of scale with other objects. I suspect we'll eventually have to do some selective rescaling, even if we do choose a set of scales that is similar to what most objects are currently designed for.

Offline ӔO

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2014, 11:19:15 PM »
pak160.britain?
If I remember correctly, 160 gave a better scale when coupled with 20m^2 per tile.
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Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2014, 09:53:35 AM »
Problems with that are obviously (a) muchos redrawing and (b) exacerbating the distance between tracks for double track.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2014, 11:16:17 AM »
To be clear on what is being suggested: is the idea that all vehicles (save for large ships, which have their own particular scaling as discussed elsewhere) are scaled consistently with each other, but are 1.25 times higher and taller relative to their length than in reality? If that is so, the trams will still be significantly smaller than they were previously, as the older generation of trams (but not the second generation, from Metrlink onwards) were considerably too long as well as to wide/high, and I suspect that the same applies to road vehicles, too. Early steam locomotives are also out of scale compared to later steam locomotives (with the exception of the early LBSCR locomotives that I added last autumn).

As to the buildings, what scale relative to vehicles are these now? The scale of buildings to vehicles is obviously a rather different question than the scale of vehicles to other vehicles. As to multi-tile buildings - this would be splendid, but 2x1 is likely to be more useful than 2x2 (unless, I suppose, the 2x2 buildings comprise multiple actual dwellings). I should still be interested to see what the smaller buildings look like in the game, however; as written above, there is a great deal to be said for allowing a greater ratio between the smallest and largest buildings by putting multiple smaller buildings on the same tile. Also, the class 37 looks like a miniature railway locomotive next to the larger sized buildings, which, to my mind, is a little silly.
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Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2014, 11:27:04 AM »
James, you seem to have access to much more data on the lengths of early vehicles than I could ever find. Could you please let me have the dimensions for as many of the locomotives and trams that you have drawn (or for the vehicles that you say are out of scale)? That would allow me to come up with a better standard scale for road and rail vehicles. Even then I think some of your rescaled vehicles are too small - e.g. your rescaled Jenny Lind was too short (I have found the locomotive only was 7.8m long and checked using your 15m ruler - this is somewhere between the length of your version and my original version). Incidentally the Rocket appears to be the correct length at 30m per tile.

In terms of rescaling road vehicles, I'd be wary of making them much smaller than they are now - the road would dwarf them!

As for boats I suggest we leave them as they are - after all they are all scaled consistently with each other now.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2014, 11:53:08 AM »
The data on lengths of early steam locomotives are somewhat patchy; the lengths for many of the locomotives can be found in "The British Steam Railway Locomotive from 1825 to 1925" by E. L. Ahrons, but data on earlier locomotives is less detailed. Often, I have to use the wheelbase data instead of length, which means scaling the wheelbase accurately and judging visually whether the length is correct based on the proportion of the wheelbase in the Blender graphic compared with the photograph from which I am making it. The lengths of railway carriages seem easier to find, often because length was a defining feature of those carriages compared to later carriages. I have quite a number of books on railway carriages, both generally and of a few specific companies. In many cases, especially the later locomotives, carriages and multiple units, the length is readily available on Wikipedia, although I imagine that you have found that already. For locomotives and carriages for which I cannot find data, I scale them to match approximately the size of contemporary vehicles.

For the trams, the steam trams and their trailers are based on information from some specialist books on the subject that I have acquired recently. The horses are scaled according to information from Wikipedia as to the normal size of draught horses. For electric trams, I found good information both in a book that I had bought about London trams and also on the internet: see here for a summary of some of that information.

As for actually providing you with the dimensions of some of the earlier vehicles, aside from the trams where I recorded the data in advance, I did not keep an independent record of the length or where I found it, applying the scale to the graphics as I drew them directly from the source. (Some of the graphics that I produced initially were not strictly scaled at all, and may need re-doing). The rail graphics have generally been scaled strictly to length with the width and height being either unadjusted from the original graphics from which I adapted the vehicle, or scaled/adjusted by visual appearance only. It would take a long time to reconstruct all of those data; perhaps I could give you a sample?

As to road vehicles, I am not entirely clear on what the scale of them is supposed to be. They really should be the same scale as the trams, or else they would look very out of place alongside each other; and the trams need to be the same scale as the trains because they use the same tracks and stations. That means that the road vehicles need to have the same scale as everything else (the ships, you will recall, are also the same scale as the trains, save that ships longer than 15m are scaled to the square root of their additional length above 15m to keep them all within a maximum tile dimension of 255x255). I think that Giuseppe has a separate scale for aircraft, but this is less problematic, since aircraft do not interact as directly with other vehicles as road, rail and tram vehicles do. For narrow gauge vehicles, I scaled everything based on lengths relative to the Double Fairlie that you had drawn, assuming that to be the correct size.

Edit: The lengths of many of the railway carriages are apparent in the .dat files.
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Offline The Hood

Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2014, 12:40:25 PM »
A sample of a few lengths of locomotives for different time periods would be handy.

I have to say though, the more I think about this the more I'm convinced that an absolute scale that we stick to rigidly is not a good idea. I've always drawn the graphics with the idea that they should be visually pleasing (which requires a certain level of detail which should be enough to distinguish that vehicle from other similar ones if you look closely enough), but also somehow plausible in their surroundings in the game. In this regard the human eye/brain is quite helpful as we aren't very good at distinguishing different scales for objects much bigger than us, and we also judge vertical scale differently (and usually worse) to horizontal scales. That allows for substantial leeway in putting two different lengthscales adjacent in the game without looking too odd.

For me, and I suspect most other players and artists out there, the game is as much about looking visually good as it is about being strictly accurate. I'm certainly not up for rescaling everything, especially in such a way as to lose most of the detail that has been put into these models. Much better to make new vehicles consistent with what we have (and indeed decided on deliberately in the past) rather than change mid-stream. You might well say that the trains look like "model" trains compared to some of the buildings - if there are specific ones which make this effect particularly bad I might rescale a few - but there are plenty of other things about simutrans that to me are more "silly" than that, things which stick out as being unrealistic far more than the juxtaposition of scales, e.g.: only 8 directions of travel allowed, only 4 of which can have stations; regular tiles of the same size forcing grid-like layouts on cities and only specific multiples of length for buildings and stations; every turn is 45 degrees; even with the half heights every change of height is still steep, etc etc etc. These won't go away by "consistent" scaling, so I remain utterly unconvinced of the benefits of accurate scaling. The scales we use should only be a guide so as to prevent blatantly over/undersized vehicles from ruining the graphical appearance.

I'm compiling a list of objects I think could do with rescaling because they appear too large or small for the other objects. Please suggest any yourself. But most of the rescaled trams are on that list for me - they just look too small and I miss the detail they used to have - this is less enjoyable as a gaming experience for me therefore.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2014, 01:17:16 PM »
As I wrote in an earlier post, I started with the same principle as you describe above, but as I added more things, I saw more obvious and problematic anomalies in scale, especially with different vehicles compared to each other (and refer to my earlier post on the details of these problems: see also here for a further discussion and some visual examples). These obvious visual anomalies have exactly the opposite effect of being pleasing: they are visually jarring and make the pakset appear crude and ill-executed. Accurate visual scale is not an end in itself; rather, it is an efficient means of preventing some things from looking out of place compared to other things and ensuring that the pakset looks good. I cannot think of any other way of achieving that end effectively. I do not think that it makes a difference that the Simutrans engine provides limitations to the level of graphical realism possible: the aim should be to make it look as good as possible within those limits, rather than for those limits to be a reason to give up on making it look good. Also, if there are not standardised scales, it becomes very hard indeed to know how big to produce any given model, which was another problem that I had before I worked on scale standardisation: I produced graphics for locomotives and railway carriages, then, when I came to produce another one that had to be larger than it, I found that it ended up being larger than another locomotive or carriage already in the pakset than which it should have been smaller, and then one has to go back and re-scale something, duplicating work, and it is difficult to work out which one should be re-scaled, not least because one re-scaling will often then require a whole lot of other vehicles to be rescaled, and so forth.

As to the trams, to what scale did you intend to re-scale them; did you intend to multiply their widths and heights by 1.25, or do something else? Did you intend to do that to all trams (in which case modern trams would be considerably larger than they were before), or just earlier trams? If so, where is the cutoff for modern/earlier trams, given the continuum at Blackpool (and the need for modern Blackpool trams to run alongside first generation Blackpool trams; it is noteworthy that the second generation of Blackpool trams did not exist when the original set of trams was drawn)?

On trains looking miniature compared to the buildings: I was referring to the images in this thread of the larger house and the Class 37; the smaller houses look much better in comparison to the locomotive than the large house.

As to what needs to be rescaled: if we retain a standardised scale for rail and tram vehicles based on the 15m rule and being 1.25x as tall and wide as they are long (relative to scale), then the only re-scaling necessary would be on the widths and heights of trams and the re-scaling necessary in any event on older steam locomotives and other miscellaneous out of scale rail vehicles. (I still think that a 1:1 scale looks considerably better, and not only because that is how ships are scaled, but also because the vehicles actually look like the vehicles that they represent rather better, but that is another matter).

The buildings generally as they stand are far too big for the vehicles. This can either be tolerated or fixed by making the buildings smaller. There are great advantages in making the buildings smaller, especially the ability to have a much greater ratio between the smallest and largest buildings, which will have substantial economic benefits for the game. (I have also noticed that the buildings are not always consistently scaled to each other, and larger buildings appear to be on a smaller scale than smaller buildings). Nonetheless, if it is thought that re-scaling is too much work, the current buildings look reasonably good in their own right. What I do not think makes sense, however, is to scale some vehicles, such as trams and 'buses, to match the buildings, and other vehicles, such as trains and ships, to a completely different scale, because it looks far worse when one vehicle is out of scale compared to another vehicle than it does when vehicles as a class are out of scale with buildings as a class (and see above on the necessity of 'buses interacting with trams and trams interacting with trains).

As to the locomotives, I shall look into compiling a few samples when I have some time.
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Offline kierongreen

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2014, 02:40:49 PM »
Further to what the Hood has said, I would say that trains should look good next to trams, and trams look good next to buses. That doesn't mean the scale has to be identical - road vehicles pass buildings more frequently so should probably more in scale with those, whereas trains cannot be at this scale.

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2014, 07:02:40 PM »
Further to what the Hood has said, I would say that trains should look good next to trams, and trams look good next to buses.

I can't really understand how this can be achieved without using a consistent scale.
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Offline kierongreen

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2014, 09:40:38 PM »
We accept that there are different scales going on, that vehicles that are likely to be near each other should have similar but not necessarily identical scales. If trams are 1.25x scale of trains, and buses are 1.25x scale of trams for example it's unlikely that the differences compared to all being at the same scale will be particularly objectionable.

Ultimately having buildings being able to take up several tiles, as well as vehicles able to be several tiles long, possibly combined with each road lane being a tile, no limit of image size, and more realistic curves would possibly enable a consistent scale across all transport types and buildings. That is a long way off - if indeed it is desirable at all.

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2014, 10:02:12 PM »
We accept that there are different scales going on, that vehicles that are likely to be near each other should have similar but not necessarily identical scales. If trams are 1.25x scale of trains, and buses are 1.25x scale of trams for example it's unlikely that the differences compared to all being at the same scale will be particularly objectionable.

To my mind, having different scales for different sorts of vehicles is sub-optimal as described above; but at least having different vehicles of the same type all to the same scale as each other (and specific known ratios as you propose between such vehicles, especially when those ratios are fairly small) is better than having different vehicles of the same type drawn to different scales. I should be interested to know what this would actually look like (and it might be necessary to try a few different scales).

Quote
Ultimately having buildings being able to take up several tiles, as well as vehicles able to be several tiles long, possibly combined with each road lane being a tile, no limit of image size, and more realistic curves would possibly enable a consistent scale across all transport types and buildings. That is a long way off - if indeed it is desirable at all.

The things that you describe appear to be in descending order of desirability; the curves thing would be especially difficult and not likely to be worthwhile in the foreseeable future, but having city buildings able to take up multiple tiles would definitely be worthwhile and should in principle be achievable, although it would probably represent rather a lot of work which may prevent it from being feasible for rather a while, depending on the availability of the time of coders interested in this project.

As indicated above, if buildings were re-scaled (and, in the case of smaller buildings, multiple buildings drawn on a single tile as The Hood demonstrated), I think that it is perfectly possible and desirable to have consistent scales as things are now, although this would be even better with the things that you mention, especially those near the top of the list.

However, if we are not to have consistent scales, it is better that the scales be consistently inconsistent and that the degree of inconsistency be small, as you propose.
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Offline kierongreen

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2014, 01:13:09 AM »
I should say that the reason for suggesting those scales is to reduce the difference in size between different vehicles (much as the formula for ships does). Indeed, an alternative would be to use a similar formula as for ships. The overall aim is that players should get an impression of size, but without small vehicles being difficult to see, or large vehicles taking up too large an area.

Regarding buildings being a lot smaller - this has drawbacks as The Hood points out above and I would not support it.

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2014, 01:41:48 AM »
From a practical perspective, the system for scaling ships would be more awkward to use, as this requires extra calculation for each vehicle; a fixed scale, I think, is preferable where possible (i.e., where not constrained by maximum size).
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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2014, 11:51:23 AM »
I too had been thinking about a non-linear scale, but for the smallest road/rail vehicles rather than the largest. I'd need some more reliable data on the dimensions of some early, short rail vehicles however. I'm sure we can all use a calculator easily enough to work out whatever scale factor to use if we do use a non-linear scale.

I'm also fairly certain that width and height exaggeration are a good idea so as to lessen the mismatch of scales between vehicles and buildings. Almost all road and rail vehicles I have tested which I have good data for have exaggerations of between 1.25 and 1.3 in these dimensions. I propose we set that down as a standard for all road and rail vehicles. I might try redrawing some of the new trams in this way and see how they look then.

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2014, 01:05:41 PM »
Hi, I would like to add my two cents to this discussion.

Firstly I must say that I like the visual appearance of pak128.Britain as is.
Secondly I understand that, once you notice the scale inconsistencies, you see them everywhere and they start to bother you more and more. A similar thing to bad typography and kerning. So hush, don't tell anybody, most players won't notice a thing.

Thirdly, I did some research and simple math:
Two lane roads (at least here in Czech republic) are designed to be roughly 6 m (local) to 12 m (main) wide. Highways are even wider. Main roads are usually so wide that three cars can fit comfortably. Railroad tracks are built 4 m apart (axis distance), tram track 3 m. So this all gives us 3-4 m wide lane for either road, tram or rail vehicles. Sidewalks should be at least 1,5 m wide. So lets have two sample simutrans tiles.

1 - narrow roads: 2x 3m for cars, 1x 3m for tram, 2x 1.5m for sidewalk = 12m tile width. If we rescale everything to 12m per tile, only standard buses will fit on one tile, modern rail cars (mk3, mk4) would occupy two tiles. Railway gauge (rounded to 1.5 m) would be 8 px. Hmm, that would be lot of detail, but a lot of work... Bad idea...

2 - wide roads: 2x 4m for cars, 1x 4m for tram, 2x 2m for sidewalk = 16m tile width. That is still not enough for articulated buses to fit on one tile. However railway gauge would be 6 px - and that is indeed the gauge used now. And 20/16 is 1.25 - the deformation ratio you claim was used on most road/rail/tram vehicles. So - everything is fine :)

Just leave the tile length to be 20 m and tile width to be 16 m. So that widths have to be exaggerated by 1.25. And you can leave most stuff as is, and just fix those that are completely out of scale.

Scale of houses is another thing. Some small terraced houses look indeed big, but the three houses on the image above are too tiny to my taste. Two on one tile would be fine. And some bigger and higher buildings would deserve occupying 2x1 or 2x2 tiles. However even real buildings have so much variety that it is hard to tell which one is out of scale. I think the only thing that could be used as scale guide is the tram or trolleybus catenary height. I don't know how high it is e.g. in Blackpool for double-deck trams, but for trains it should be at 5.5 m above the rails. And one floor is cca 3 m high (in modern houses), or slightly more on older houses. However the first (ground) floor can be raised or have a shop with higher ceiling so that it will be as high as tram catenary. So I would suggest to agree on consistent floor heights and scale the houses according to it. However, if vehicle heights are exaggerated by 1.25, houses should follow the same ratio.

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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2014, 01:40:14 PM »
I really do not think that a non-linear scale for rail/road/tram vehicles is a good idea: not only would it involve re-scaling nearly every single vehicle of that type in the pakset (and for rail vehicles, there are vast numbers) as the existing vehicles are not scaled in this way, but it would also make small vehicles look very out of place next to the larger vehicles. It would also cause real difficulties with vehicles, such as railway carriages, whose only real distinction from other nearly contemporary railway vehicles is the length (such as the 48ft/54ft LBSCR carriages); the size difference between these carriages will be inadequate if a non-linear scale is used.

There is also the issue not hitherto mentioned that the all the standard gauge railway tracks are scaled in their width to the same scale as the rail vehicles' length (I have not checked the narrow gauge tracks). If rail vehicles are to have a different scale on the x and z axes than on the y axis, should the rails not also have the same scale on the x axis? This would have the advantage of reducing the apparent spacing between the tracks for double track configurations. I should also note that, as things stand, most rail vehicles' wheels are far to far apart for the rails.

As to Vladki's point about noticing poor scaling: it's not an easy thing to keep from people - I certainly notice it, and there is no reason why any discerning user of the pakset might not come to notice it and think less well of the pakset thereafter because of it. It is best to try to prevent this from being a problem in the first place than hope that people do not notice.

As for measurements of early rail vehicles, here is some information on the trams from the "snippet" thread:

Quote
P. 79 gives some interesting information on some early (1875) designs of tram engine, these destined for Paris (whose steam tramway was not a success and which reverted to horse operation before electrification in 1896), but designed and built by English company Merryweather & Sons Ltd.. They were vertical boilered engines, although not to the Wilkinson patent, weighing 2t with dimensions of 1.6m long, 2.01m wide and 3.35m high; it had 5" x 9" cylinders with a 90psi boiler. The heating surface and firegrate areas are not given. This was the only locomotive built to these dimensions, the second locomotive, also sent to Paris, had 6" x 9" cylinders and weighed 4t. This latter type of engine became the Merryweather Type 1, and an example belonging to the Wharncliffe National Rifle Association, which used it in an annual makeshift tramway on Wimbledon Common for many years (p. 80).

Quote
...it is reported that the (standard gauge) Drypool & Marfleet Steam Tramway Co. paid between £500 and £600 apiece for some Thomas Green tramway engines in May 1889 (a caption on a picture on p. 41 gives a figure of £604 per engine). These were compound engines of two cylinders in an 0-4-0 arrangement with a 5ft wheelbase. Boiler details and cylinder dimensions are not given, but the overall length was given as 11ft 6in, a width of 6ft and a total height of 10ft 4in (not including chimney) (p. 39).

(These are probably equivalent to the Kitson no. 2 engines in the current pakset).

Some information on the size of electric trams by way of example:

Quote
In 1905, the LCC ordered a new class E, and built 300 of them (page 41). These were of a bogie type and fully enclosed from new (apart from the driver's position). These were also 33ft 6in long, but only 15ft 9in high. The bodies were apparently of "sturdier construction" than previous cars (implying higher weight), but actual weight is not given. Most class Es were fitted with (again, I assume two) 42hp motors.

Classes F and G were single deck cars seating 36, which ran through the Kingsway tunnel before it was enlarged (p. 41). They were 33ft 6in long, ran on bogies, and were 11ft high. Power and weight are not given.

Quote
Edit: Another unverified source, this 'blog comment gives dimensions for the Feltham tram as 40′ 10″ long and 7′ 3″ wide.

Some examples of the dimensions of some early steam locomotives (all page references from "The British Steam Railway Locomotive from 1825 to 1925" by E. L. Ahrons"; where wheelbases are given in two parts separated by a "+" sign, this designates the separate distance between each pair of wheels from front to back):

* based on a scale drawing on p. 36 and my (somewhat crude) measurements of it, a Hawthorn type 2-2-2 engine of about 1837-1841 was just under 17ft long (not including buffers or tender);
* the first "long boiler" engines, which appeared in 1841 on the York and North Midland Railway, had a wheelbase of 6ft 4 1/2in + 4ft 4 1/2in in a 2-2-2 configuration and a boiler barrel 11ft 3in long (this was a 5ft gauge railway);
* a Crampton type engine built for the Eastern Counties Railway in 1848 had a wheelbase of 15ft 3in (2-2-2) (p. 72);
* the LNWR "Cornwall" as originally built in 1847 had a wheelbase of of 12ft 11in, and, as rebuilt in 1858, of 14ft 10in (p. 74);
* the LBSCR "Jenny Lind" type had a wheelbase of 7ft + 6ft 6in and driving wheels of 6ft diameter and carrying wheels of 4ft (p. 77);
* the Metropolitan "A" class of 1864 had a wheelbase of its leading truck alone of 4ft, 8ft 10in of its driving wheels and a total wheelbase of 20ft 9in (p. 155);
* a 2-4-0 LNWR express engine of 1866 had a total wheelbase of 15ft 8in (p. 169);
* the MR 156 class of 1867 had a total wheelbase of 16ft 6in (p. 170);
* the GNR Stirling 8ft Single 4-2-2 of 1870 had a total wheelbase of 22ft 11in (p. 185);
* the Midland 0-4-4 tank engine of 1875 had a total wheelbase of 21ft 9in  (p. 201);
* the LBSCR "Terrier" 0-6-0 had a wheelbase of 12ft (p. 202), although note the overhang at the rear; and
* the LBSCR C class 0-6-0 goods engines of 1873 had a wheelbase of 7ft 9in + 7ft 6in with 5ft dia. wheels (p. 203).

I hope that this will suffice for now; as indicated earlier, wheelbases are easier to come by than lengths for older locomotives, but this can be a satisfactorily accurate means of measuring length if dimensions are kept proportional.
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Re: pak128.Britain scale problems
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2014, 02:29:10 PM »
Ah, I somehow missed in the previous discussion that the scale was supposed to be 30m per tile... I thought it was 20m per tile. Anyway if we would take the standard railway gauge as the base for scaling - and I would like to keep that consistent with other pak128.* - we have 6px = 1.435 m or for simplicity 1.5 m which gives us 4px=1m, and tile length 64px = 16 m. So if any rescaling I would suggest scale UP, not down. The tram in the first post is narrower than the tracks and too tiny to play with.