Trainz/Using wide screen monitors

This page aims to explain certain optimization changes which can be applied for an optimal video display using the Trainz INI file (initialization file), Trainzoptions.txt' or in the Trainz Classics releases Trainzclassicoptions.txt which will be found in the simulators local root directory under ...\Auran such as for example ...\Auran\TRS2006. One nice and important thing which is consistent across all Trainz versions, all of which have separate configuration files for all assets, is the standard of using a .txt file as a configuration default type, allowing easy user adjustments.  

Fundamentals for Trainz Trainees

Setting up Trainz properly for yourself
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Former Windows default installation paths common in Trainz included either \Auran\version root folder (old style) or \N3V\ so please adjust the meaning of your understanding accordingly.[note 1]
  • Newer Trainz releases will attempt to auto-install themselves under the Windows C:\Program files folder and THAT IS NOT RECOMMENDED. Short version name (The nicknames TS09, TS10, TS12, & TANE or TS15 etc.) in a HDD root folder ARE BEST.
  • It is important and recommended that Trainz be on a non-Windows Hard Drive if possible and as close to the Drive root folder level as possible.[note 2]
In September 2014, Trainz Simulator 12 (TS12 or TS2012 became the only 'Supported' Windows version of Trainz. Assuming you are a new Trainzer and so using TS12 or a MAC version, proceed to Trainzoptions.txt as TS12 allows monitor selection adjustments internally in the Launcher>Options under the 'Display Tab' sub-menu.


Applicability edit

Trainz — TRS2006

This note in general is applicable to TRS2004 / TRS2006 / TC / TC2 / TC3 / TRS2007 / TRS2008 and TRS2009. (TRS2007 and TRS2008 were releases specific solely in Continental Europe). The main aim of this page is to set up the video to take advantage of the highest resolution video mode that is native to your monitor.

These settings override the conservative 'one-size-fits-all' initializations the installer will generate when it runs the hardware tests at the end of the installation initialization. This test does not have a means of telling the what modes the monitor is able to support, hence start up figures error on the side of figures which should work on all systems.

Tip: NOTE: The following method has been found not always to work.

Post-TS2009 releases

Newer Trainz releases are able to access a database, detect the type and capabilities of your monitor through Microsoft Windows, and automatically optimize the configuration files for normal maximums for your system. These values are no longer solely controlled in settings of the TrainzOptions text files, but now through Launcher > Options > Display.

Native or True Mode edit

about Native mode of the monitor

Two common native video ratio system defaults have emerged as standards in recent years, 16w:10h (ratio: 4 W : 2.5 H or 8:5) as found on many laptops (1280w X 800h, 1440w X 900h both common 16:10 native modes as is 1680w X 1050h, all testable in math by 1440x900, so 1440/900 = 1.6 = 16/10) and the more common desktop 16w:9h (ratio: 4 W : 3 H) widths to heights ratios such as for example: 1680w X 1260, and 1920w X 1440h.

  • Wider and narrower aspect ratio monitor initializations are supported; especially, for example, the width—provided you have the video card hardware to handle it— can be extended to window across 2–3 multiple monitors, in which case the figures below would retain their height, but sum to the total width in pixel count of the 2-3 monitors put together.
  • This would give a gamer style wrap around 'cockpit' effect (left+center+right), but if and only if, running Trainz non-windowed. Since consulting CM and other software is desirable even when route building, this mode is likely used only when putting finishing touches on a route in Surveyor or when settling in for some serious Driving in Driver.
  • The key is to search on line for announcements of the release or technical specs for your monitor model, and thereby learn what it's maximum native mode resolution (also called True Resolution) is claimed to be.
  • Newer monitor technology in the 16:10 class might support dynamically adjusting for a wider higher resolution screen above the native mode at the expense of performance of the overall video system.
  • The more pixels the Graphics card and microprocessor have to calculate will slow actual graphics whole screen performance.
  • OTOH, a 1680 pixel width monitor stepped down to 1440x900 height to 'height-match' settings for a second wider screen monitor has caused some Windows apps to incorrectly mis-figure where the base usable area of the windows 'expand to full page' mode should place the bottom; these apps coverup the taskbar in when windowed to full screen in both XP and Windows 7!
An annoyance at times, but a survivable experience if your priorities suggest that is best for writing tutorials for the Wikibook.

Adjustment description edit

Placing the two following lines into the configuration file will configure for a widescreen 16:10 ratio monitor 1440x900.

Example: How to use resolutions edit

Make this 'Entry' in the Trainzoptions.txt file
Native monitor mode should be entered in a dash prefixed width and height tag line with the appropriate equality as shown below:

Field of View adjustments edit

Adjusting the trainzoptions file to reflect the resolution of a wide-screen monitor is only half of the job! To show the view correctly you need to modify the field-of-view (FOV) to accommodate the increased horizontal size. This will enhance playability as well. The values you need to use are:

FOV for aspects 16:10 edit

These values are good for any 16:10 aspect wide-screen monitor.


FOV for aspects 16:9 edit

Monitors which are 16:9 aspect will need the following different values:


Adding these lines to your trainzoptions file will display everything correctly apart from the main menu screens which will appear to be stretched horizontally. You will be able to tell the setup is correct easily in Surveyor as follows:

  1. Enter surveyor and load a small route.
  2. Open the Mini-Map using the keystroke sequence [CTRL][M]
  3. Use the cursor pads left and right arrows to rotate your viewpoint and observe the circular centering ring of the minimap. It should remain and appear as a near perfect circle, in the map center, not elliptical or squat looking like a tangerine. Tip: Dated, TS09 and after have no circular ring to test
  4. The above test does not validate the FOV figures.

The Process, step by step edit

First, open the Trainz directory. The next thing to do is to make a backup. You can do this first by Left Click on file (select it LMB), CTRLC (copy); next, Left Click on the folder background to deselect the file, then CTRLV (paste) back into the same folder which will create new file named 'Copy of filename.txt' or 'filename.txt (Copy)', depending on which version of Windows you are running.

Edit the original text file using Windows Notepad or another text-only editor such as Notepad++ by double left clicking to open it. If your system has not defined notepad as the default text editor it will offer a list of optional programs including Notepad.

  • You might want to Check off the click box to Always Use this program to open files of this type and open the file.

Tip: If you use Trainz 2004 then you can simply use the editor in TrainzObjects to add the necessary info. In whatever editor, cursor or mouse click to the below the bottom line and add or fix up the lines as need. Save and Close the editor. Launch Trainz. You should be good to go.  

Notes edit

  1. Experienced Trainzers will install Trainz directly on the Hard Drive root directory/folder such as 'E:\TS12' or 'D:\TS10-SP4' simply because using the download station and accruing free assets invariably will require tweaking an older asset, so editing, and in that case, short easy to recall paths become a great aid. For this reason alone, installing to C:\Program Files\Auran\version name would be cumbersome and discouraged.
  2. Trainz is at it's heart, as much a data base and management system as a 3D graphics modeling and gaming platform. Placing it in a separate dedicated HD allows faster and easier backups, easier computer management (Scanning Trainz data for viruses is a waste of time, so can be excluded), and much faster swap file operations in the background, assuming the Windows TEMP, cache and virtual memory drives are on another different HD. Optimal performance of Windows with any memory intensive application is greatly benefited by having those resources in an alternative drive because HD to HD operations when one is reading and the other writing is extremely fast and efficient compared to having one drive reposition it's heads for both reading and writing, a circumstance known as hunting which is not only much slower, but also hard on the HDD.