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FS2002 Graphics Quality: A Very Specific Question

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I am new to flight sims and just installed FS2002 Pro on a new custom built computer. I'm pleased with the graphics quality, but have a very specific question about the scenery as I don't know what to realistically expect. I'm generally very pleased with the scenery quality, but, of course it could be better. My problem is that I don't know what is a realistic expectation and what graphic imperfections are normal regardless of the system being used. The "imperfection" that I find most irritating is the "shimmying/shaking/crawling, etc.) of buildings to my front. Tall buildings in particular are never still and "wiggle" around while flying toward them. I suspect that this is a normal occurence because I do have a fairly powerful system. If this is NOT normal and anyone can truly say that tall buildings are as solid or near solid as when the sim is paused, I would like to know as I will then pursue a fix, maybe a different video card. The test I've been using is flying at about 1000 ft heading N from Seatac Intl to downtown Seattle. The buildings to my sides are pretty solid (not shaking), but those to my front view are constantly "moving" (I don't know how else to describe it). And there are some kind of red structures W of downtown near the water that "crawl" constantly until I'm very close to them.Here's my configuration: Hypersonic PC P4-2.53, 512MB DDR PC2700 (333) RAM, ASUS P4PE MB, Nvidia (Chaintech) TI-4600 128MB DDRAM, Dell P991 19" Trinitron monitor, DX 8.1. I've tried every combination of video driver (40.72, 41.09, 30.82), AA, Anistrophic Filtering, MipMap quality, video resolutions, refresh rates, etc. that I could think of. In the sim itself, tried every combination of graphics settings imaginable, including frame rate targets. NOTHING will stop the continual movement of objects, particularly buildings. So...is this normal state-of-the-art? Is this normal for the Nvidia TI-4600? Is this an Nvidia issue? Is this normal for the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro also? If the 9700 is significantly superior in regard to this type of quality issue, then I would consider exchanging my TI-4600 for the ATI card.Bottom line: is this constant graphic movement normal no matter what? Is it an FS2002 issue or all flight sim issue?Thanks for reading this long post!!! Would surely appreciate hearing about the experience of others before my video card exchange period runs out.

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All I can say is I haven't noticed this, and I have an Nvidia based card. Are you sure mipmapping is on? When it's off, textures and building can almost have a "swimming" effect. Other things that can cause a problem is if the mesh is too low--make sure the mesh slider is at 100 pct. Same is true if you've tweaked the LOD "too low". See if you can post a cropped screenshot of downtown Seattle...All in all, I'd say most people here are fairly happy with the results. Flightsim's in general still have a long way to go, and despite slogans, "real as it gets" has much room for growth as simming and systems expand. If you are new to flight sims, you have to consider where many of us have come from--in my case, back to the days of running FS on a 1MHZ C64 at a whopping 5 fps. It is possible that buildings do move, and my senses have just gotten around that over time. Still, post a pic.... In the case of troubleshooting issues like this one, a pic is truly worth a thousand words...-John

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Should be as simple as going to fairly high screen res like 1152x864 or better at 32 bit color and choosing a a mid to high AntiAliasing setting like 2xQuin. to 4xs and choose "force AA in all 3d aplications" also dont go beyond 4x anistropic filtering as 8x AF will contribute towards "texture swimming".Hope this helps you.

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#1 Yes, mipmapping is set to "best image quality" plus mipmapping is checked in FS2002.#2 All sliders are at 100% and all graphic options are checked although it doesn't matter as the vertical building movement happens the same regardless of ANY setting.The building movement could be called "swimming", I guess. Actually, if you took a snapshot, the side of a tall building would like like half of the side is offset from the other half and then they would switch places. I guess I'll have to figure out how to take a snapshot and post it, although I'm not sure a still pic will help all that much. Too bad it's not easy to post a video.Are you saying that, when you approach a city with tall buildings, that they look solid without any movement at all, close to what you would see in the real world? If that's so, then I must have a defective video card. Oh...by the way, what's the "LOD"?Thanks for trying to help. I'll go try to do a snapshot.

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Yes, it definetly sounds like you are not using FSAA or AF, and/or that you're running the sim in a low res.I recommend at least 1024x768 with 2x FSAA and 4x Anisotropic filtering. With a powerful system like yours, you should be able to use 4x FSAA.I have an XP1900+ and a Radeon 9700 Pro and I use 1280x960 with 6X FSAA and 16X Anisotropic filtering (Anisotropic on the Radeon 9700 Pro is better than that of the GF4, and you can use a much higher setting).

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"Are you saying that, when you approach a city with tall buildings, that they look solid without any movement at all, close to what you would see in the real world?"If I use Vegas as an example, I would say yes....that's what I see. But I don't believe your vid card is defective. There's a ton of things that could be involved, most of them simple."LOD" is an adjustment which in simple terms allows you to increase/decrease the level of mipmapping the Vid Card uses. Taking it to a low negative value can cause everything to "swim" so to speak. But for the most part, my buildings look solid as rock when I'm flying. That's why I was hoping for a screenshot.... Taking one is simple in FS...just hit your "printscreen" key, then open up your favorite photo editor, and choose "paste". Crop the pic to 700x525, and save it as a .jpg.The other thing you should do to help troubleshoot, is reset all your FS2002 settings to their default. Do this by renaming FS2002.cfg to FS2002.old. FS will then rebuild the cfg with default settings. Try FS without adjusting any sliders. I am away from home at the moment, but when I fly FS tonight I'll pay close attention to the buildings. But I simply don't ever remember seeing this issue, or at least paying attention to it.

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Well I tried both 1280X960 and 1152x864 with 32 bit color; AA at Quin; Anistropic at 2x and all sliders maxed and all graphic options checked. Same thing: low buildings look fairly good, but the high rise buildings look like they're experiencing a mild earthquake.

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Well I've done everything you've suggested and nothing changes. I've tried mipmapping set to "best performance" (looks terrible) and "best image quality" (looks much better and I always set it at best). As I said in my original overlong post, I tried low graphic settings and high/max settings. In any case, when I approach Seattle (or any other high rise buildings), they look like there's a minor earthquake. I'll go do that screenshot. Thanks for the instructions.

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That's very strange. Would you be able to post a screenshot, so that we can see if FSAA is actually working?You could also perhaps try the fsscreen.zip (file library) program. Rapidly take three or four screenshots after each other. That way it's possible to analyze what's actually happening.If FSAA and AF are working, it sounds like it's some kind of Z-precision issue, but I haven't heard of any such problems with the Geforce4...

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Hi,I was wondering exactly if it would do more to buy a new graphic card and stepping from a GF3T400 to a GF4 4400 TI or instead to upgrade to a better CPU! I have the same motherboard like you, but just DDR 266MHz not 333MHz. Well, if I woul dhave the money to buy a new CPU like a AMD Throroughbred XP 2700 which runs with 333MHz, then it would make sence to have DDR with 333MHz as well. But as long as the CPU cannot get the most out of it, like the Athlon K7 XP 2400 with only 266MHz RAM Bus speed, I say staying with my "old" DDR will do it as good. I guess my now just ordered upgrade from a XP1900 to an XP2400 makes a lot more sence, right? And it is just a bit cheaper than a new GPU!What do you say?CiaoTorben

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Well, John and others, here's the pic, but, as I suspected, it's hard to see what I'm talking about in a snapshot. I'll try to point out a few things that maybe you can see. First of all, look at the far left, the Seattle Space Needle and see how jagged it is. Those jagged edges are moving as I'm flying. Then look at the light gray building about 1/3 from the left: it's touching a dark gray building and they're close together. Notice that the top floor or two are slightly offset from the lower floors. Also look at the swimming window textures. This is all very noticeable when flying and the textures are moving, but not so easy to see in a still pic. Like I said in my original post, I don't know if this is normal or not. Doesn't sound like it from what you're all saying, like "my buildings are rock solid when I'm flying". Oh..FS2002 was run this time with driver 41.09, "Best Application Quality", 4xAA, 4x Anisotrophic Filtering, best mipmap immage quality, all those checked in FS. Well...I just ran a few more tests and now I'm wondering if AA is working in my card. I tried the Seattle downtown approach with AA turned completely off in both the video driver and FS and then I tried it with the driver set a AA 4x and AA checked in FS. I can't really detect much if any difference. For example, with AA 4x, should I see any jaggies on the top of my virtual cockpit on the Cessna 172SP? The top show some small sharp jagged teeth like saw blades. They seem only a little less pronounced with AA 4X than with AA off. Any thoughts on this? By the way, I surely appreciate your efforts to help. Thanks!

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My first curiousity would be the fps. 8.3 is way low considering your system.... Could be you have remnants of an old driver fighting with a new one.I'm also worried now that I may be "seeing" the things you've noted and just become used to them over the regular releases of FS over the years. Because of the mipmapping, FS will swap out textures depending on the distance from objects--terrain, buildings, etc.... May be enough to see the offsets that you pointed out (and that I can clearly see) in your pic.I do run with AA on my system, and the difference is subtle but there. Less texture swimming, and also an ability to tolerate lower LOD levels than without.I won't comment any more until I go home and try this tonight. I'll fly around paying closer attention to the buildings. I fly with an 800x600 res, so that may make a difference for me. My older monitor gives the best refresh rate at 800x600, and that's easier on my eyes.-John

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"I was wondering exactly if it would do more to buy a new graphic card and stepping from a GF3T400 to a GF4 4400 TI or instead to upgrade to a better CPU!"For FS2002, a faster CPU is more important than the video card. This is because in FS2002 there are a lot of things to keep the CPU busy...flight dynamics, ATC, avionics etc. Also, the scenery contains many high-polygon objects, which means more work for the CPU.In other games, this is not the case. A new videocard can do wonders. It really depends on what else you do with your computer, but sims in general tend to benefit more from a fast CPU than a fast videocard, while action games benefit more from a good videocard. There are exceptions, of course.I assume you have a GF3-Ti500 (there never was a Ti400, only Ti500 and Ti200). Going from that (or even a Ti200) to a GF4 Ti4400 won't give you a huge performance increase. If you can't afford a Radeon 9700 Pro, there's really no point in upgrading right now, because only the top-end cards really offer anything over the last generation. When GeforceFX and Radeon9700 Pro cards come down in price, probably late next summer, you can start thinking about upgrading the videocard.

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I see nothing in particular wrong with that screenshot. Possibly some texture moire/noise but it's hard to tell. Does this "movement" happen on the edges of 3d objects, or actually on the textures?I am attaching two screenshots. The first without FSAA, the second with 4x FSAA. I have a Radeon 9700 Pro videocard, but the effect should be similar with your videocard. I zoomed in to 200% and cropped the images to make it easier to see the difference. As you can see, jagged lines are "smoothed out". The jaggies are still visible at 200% zoom, but much less pronounced. In normal viewing mode, the jaggies are virtually gone.

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Well, first of all, the frame rates are 18-19 as I approach Seattle. When I get as close as in the snapshot I posted, the rates drop to 14.8-15.8. I don't know why the snapshot was 8.3 although I wasn't concerned about fps at the time, merely graphic quality and had a number of other applications open at the same time. I do notice that the top of the Cessna panel still has noticeable jaggies in both the 3D and 2D panels even at 4xAA, especially the 2D panel. Maybe my AA isn't working 100%.

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These screenshots were taken with fsscreen as you suggested. 4xAA, 2xAnisotropic, Mipmapping best image quality, all FS2002 graphic options to the max and all checked. Obviously it's not easy to see the "crawling" and "swimming" in snapshots, but you can see some of it if you study the pictures closely. The first 4 shots were snapped close together at one distance and the second 4 shots were snapped when I was closer. It is easier to see the jagged sides of the buildings in the first 4 (more distant) shots. When flying, the high rises look like they were built in 3 or 4 "steps" instead of single verticle sides.

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There's a hugh difference in the power between the ATI9700 and the Ti4600 with AA & AF turned on. I suspect the new GFX NV30 will challenge the 9700 so if it's within your budget, you may want to wait a while for the new Nvidia card. If you can't wait, you can always try the 9700. It can be a bit finicky though especially with 8xAGP motherboards. Mine is rock solid. Runs everything I've thrown at it so far flawlessly. I run 4xAA & 16xAF at 16x12x32 and there are no jaggies and no swimming with one exception. The tree tops twinkle. This is due to the way the ATI handles the alpha textures from what I understand. Not a show stopper though. All scenery is rock solid.I've tried 6xAA and you really have to look to see the difference in FS2k2 between 4xAA & 6xAA. Also tried different levels of AF. This makes a hugh difference. Anything less than 8xAF and the textures go south. They become smudged. At 8xAF the textures are OK. At 16xAF the textures are awesome. The buildings look like something out of a picture. Here's a shot of some buildings in London:http://www.xplanefreeware.net/freehost/mgdbottled/London.jpg

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Dick, Having looked at your screen shots and your comments I believe it seems there is a little confusion regarding your screen resolution.Where are you changing the screen size? on the desktop or in FS2k2/settings/graphic/hardware menu?It would seem as though you are making changes to the desktop screen size and then running FS2k2 in full screen mode, if that is the case then go into the FS2k2/settings/graphic (or display?)/hardware tab and select your screen size and color depth there.Are we onto somthing here?

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Paul,Unfortunately, we are not onto something here with screen resolution. In my testing, I've been changing the screen resolution in the sim. The only changes I have been making in the video driver software is in the FSAA, AF, and mipmapping settings (with the associated check boxes in the sim, of course).Dick

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Dick,Something is definitely not right from the looks of your screenshots. I have almost the same system as you and mine doesn't have that look to it.Have you tried going to display propertiessettingsadvancedadapterproperitesdriveruninstall?Then reboot the computer. When it says new hardware found, install the standard vga adapter. Then reinstall your Detonator driver. See if that helps. It really seems like you have a conflict going on.There is also a utility on Guru3d called Detonator Destroyer (removes all remnants of the driver), but I'm not sure if it's been updated for XP.good luck!Steve

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Dick...Sorry I didn't respond last night....After I went home and specifically flew around Seattle (been months since I've flown there, btw--very nice), I did notice the "jaggies" on the sides of the buildings @ 800x600. The Space Needle looked exactly as shown in your shot. As I raised the resolution to 1280x1024 )the max my monitor supports), the jaggies did diminish, but never went away completely, although AA does make a difference. Still, approaching the buildings and now being "attentive" to the issue, I can understand how they might appear to quiver as one approaches them and/or turns away from them. For me, the issue is so minute I've never noticed. But what does make the problem worse--lower framerates. I usually don't max my settings. The "Seattle panorama" at my typical settings yields about 15-25fps (it falls a bit if I look towards KSEA). I usually leave AI off or low, shadows off, and autogen off or low when I'm in the congested scenery areas. I can get away with maxing those settings when I'm flying over an area like Cincy, or Phoenix.I tried to approximate lower framerates, and found myself quickly annoyed with the jaggies. One gets the real impression that the buildings have work crews in 'em, shifting floors here and there. But at higher fps, it all happens too fast for my eye to care.I don't know if this helps, or if it even describes what you've seen. I'd suggest, just as an experiment, to kill the Autogen, AI and shadows. See if the higher fps reduces the effect. If it does, increase each in turn until you reach a "happy medium".Regards,John

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Dickwis, you don't by anychance have the 40xx stereo drivers installed do you, or any stereo drivers? These can conflict with the 4109's and gave me a drop of 60% fps, about the same as you were getting in the screenshot with 8fps.CheersBaz

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Yes, I've done the uninstall as you suggest, but, in XP, when it says "new hardware found", XP automatically installs it's default Nvidia GeForce driver. That's just the way it works. And Detonator Destroyer has not been updated for XP. Anyway...I've followed exactly the procedure documented by Nvidia so that's probably not the problem. Is the problem the video card? Well I'll find out in a few days as Hypersonic has agreed to ship me a new Ti-4600. I'm hoping that solves the problem.

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John,Well it's interesting to have someone say that the buildings are something other than "rock solid". So I'm not the only one that sees all this movement. I was disappointed the first time I saw all that "swimming, jagging, stair-stepping, distortion, etc.), but I started this discussion stating that I was just trying to find out what are realistic expectations. As I mentioned in a prior reply today, I'm getting another TI-4600 to try so we'll see what happens then. Maybe I'm just being too "picky". I didn't expect the Seattle buildings to look smooth like a film or video, but just hoped it would be better than it is. If not with a second TI-4600, then maybe, for a "mere" $499 I can see what a new GeForce FX will do.Dick

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