While our products (and those of our competitors) are certainly more graphic intensive than what's included with MSTS, we've nevertheless attempted to strike a balance between good graphics and good performance. However, some folks may find our products too performance intensive for their PCs, while others may find that our products run perfectly. With these items in mind, we've put together a few tips to make MSTS perform and look as good as possible on your system. We'll try to add to this list as time allows.
- If you're not running the latest version of Train Simulator, you can download the v1.2 update from Microsoft:
Microsoft's Train Simulator Support Page
You'll find a few other nice goodies there too.
- Make sure you're running the latest drivers for your video or sound card. Many card manufacturers ship their cards with drivers that are already months old or obsolete by the time the card hits the shelves. Consult your video card handbook for information on where to obtain the latest drivers for your card. In most cases, installation takes only a few minutes, but can be worth many hours of enjoyment and saved frustration.
Note: Once you install any new video card drivers, be sure to run the MPROFILE.EXE program, located in the main directory where you installed Train Simulator. This program will reset the video configuration files used by Train Simulator to help it perform at its optimum level. To run, simply double left-click the MPROFILE program. It's very fast, so if you blink, you might not even notice it ran at all. Once complete, start Train Simulator in the usual fashion.
- Adjust the sound and display settings in the OPTIONS section within MSTS until you get the looks and performance you're comfortable with. We recommend that you begin by turning-off (un-checking/deselecting) the boxes for (in order) HIGH DETAIL SHADOWS, DYNAMIC SHADOWS, and finally SHADOWS. Select one, test the effect in the sim, and see if the item you disabled improved performance any. If you need to, you can go back to the in-game OPTIONS and deselect another SHADOW type. If however, you find those options did little to solve any performance issues, try experimenting with the adjustment sliders for VISIBILITY and WORLD OBJECT DENSITY (left to reduce; right to increase). Also, you can adjust the various VOLUME sliders for AMBIENT VOLUME and QUANTITY OF SOUNDS. All of the above items give you a lot of freedom in configuring MSTS to run at its best at all times.
- Ensure you have little or nothing running in the background that might interfere with the performance of MSTS. Background items include MS Office, browser windows, paint programs, or any other program that might be sitting idle while youâ€™re off driving trains. Closing these items will have a positive impact on your MSTS performance.
- If you elect to run all sliders at their max settings, and run a 120-car train with 12, highly detailed locomotives on the low-end PC, expect the performance to be very poor! Use good judgement, and also have realistic expectations when running an old sim with a lot of pretty pictures.
- A mini-install can greatly improve the performance of MSTS, as the idea is to have only one route (and only the trainsets and consists associated with it) load when you start the sim. The following link on the Steam4Me website should get you going when creating a mini-installation of MSTS:
Setting up a Mini Route