The Sound Test Interface

What it is and how to use it

by Stuart Williamson and Jeff Ashton


This interface doesn't allow you to create sounds, but provides feedback on how sounds are being played and, to some degree, allows you to manipulate them.

We've been able to disable certain sounds from playing. This will be really useful when testing new rolling stock sounds as both the loco and track sounds can be turned off/on at will, enabling just the sounds you want to hear to be heard.

It also gives some data about the sound card setup, which we can see relates to some of the numbers in the soundcfg.dat file. It appears that MSTS defaults to 40 3D streams and 20 2D streams regardless of the actual sound card hardware! But this can be altered.


The Interface

To use the Sound Test Interface, create a new shortcut to MSTS on your desktop, right click on properties, and change the target to read

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\train.exe" -vm:w -soundtest

Include the quotes (and make sure it has the right path, which it should if you have MSTS in the default location). Then double click the new shortcut to open MSTS in a window. Then, in Display Options, lower the resolution to something lower than your default display settings (I go right to the lowest). Now you can start an activity.

Make note of any error messages during start-up. They will tell you which .wav files the .sms files are looking for but cannot find, either because they do not exist, or because they are in the wrong places. Once MSTS is running, hit Shift T and you will get the Sound Test Interface Screen. The upper right box shows all .sms files active for the view you are in.

I know it seems like a lot of bother, but once you get the hang of it, it makes MSTS sound design and troubleshooting an awful lot easier.