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Guest JonP01

FS9 is REALLY starting to grow on me

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After three days I am really starting to appreciate the subtle and not-so-subtle improvements in this new version. However, that said, I'm still not really happy about the way FS9 installs. It is very fussy about how you have your OS set up - it seems like if you've done anything fancy to your OS then there is a chance FS9 will not like it. It seems for example, that I now have to have Internet Explorer on my simming machine even though it has been happily running program after program without it for the last three years. If anyone has got this sim working on Windows 98 Lite (micro or sleek)without IE installed, please let me know how you did it.Anyway, after another day tweaking and flying it has suddenly become clear to me why I seem to have had a bigger case of "slider shock" than anyone else so far. I fly almost exclusively around Australia, and in FS2002 and previous versions, the terrain mesh and complexity in Australia has been a joke at best. In FS9, even if I were to set the terrain mesh complexity at 0 (yes, zero), it is still FAR more detailed than FS2002 was at it's absolute maximum setting of 100.So here are some good points that have really impressed me:1. Virtual cockpits. In FS2002, I never used them because I got such a huge performance drop with them. In FS9, the opposite is the case. The virtual cockpits are really smooth, just like they were in Combat Flight Simulator 2. I'm not even going to bother with the 2D panels anymore. If MS wants to totally be rid of them in FS2006, I won't be upset at all.2. Flight models. I didn't quite know what to make of them at first, but at least with the historic aircraft, the flight models really seem to be excellent. Any trouble I am having with them I think boils down to a lack of flying skills on my part and the need to experiment further with controller calibrations and sensitivities. Landing and even take-offs now require much more skill than before - you just can't gas an aircraft up, hit the right rudder pedal and then take off. Differential braking, throttle control and rudder control have become even more important now. The flight models seem to far more accurately model the aerodynamic effects (or lack thereof) of control surfaces as airspeed is increased or decreased. I am greatly impressed by the Jenny, Piper Cub, Ford Trimotor and DC3 in this regard. Infact I think most of my flying will be using the Ford Trimotor on corss-country runs, and the Jenny for short hops. On the other hand, I'm not too impressed with the Comet and Vega.3. Weather. It isn't the 3D clouds that have impressed me, beause I have the 3D cloud slider set to 10 percent. It is the wind and turbulence modeling that is so impressive, especially in the context of the new flight models. I now feel like my aircraft is flying through a fluid body of moving air - unlike in earlier versions where I felt I was just flying on rails (or when turbulence hit - flying in a paint tin shaker).4. GPS navigation. Having the Garmin with it's moving map and terrain has transformed VFR flight for me. What an improvement from following the red line in FS2002 and earlier versions. Now when I fly VFR and I see a lake in my GPS, I can look out the window and see the very same lake. That *is* a big deal to me.5. Selecting runways. Again this has been a big deal for me. Now when I overfly an uncontrolled aerodrome and look at the windsock, I can legitimately land using the most appropriate runway.6. Terrain mesh. I really have to thank MS for the amazing job they have done on the Australian landclass and terrain mesh. Even if I can barely tap into it's capabilities (and to be honest I can't on this machine), it is still a few galaxies ahead of previous versions.7. No more texture popping. This used to drive me up the wall in FS2002. Not only do the textures now stay at a proper mip-mapped level, but I don't suffer the ocassional terrain mesh "popping" that happened in FS2002 if the terrain complexity slider was set below maximum.Overall, there is still a lot of experimentation and tweaking for me to do. I haven't found the optimum set up yet. This sim uses more main memory than FS2002, and it's dug about 6 megs into my swap file a couple of times (I have 512MB RAM). So I need to reduce my vcache size a little. But to be honest, even if I can't surmount the performance issues I have, I think the sim has so many redeeming features that I would be prepared to put with it - a little anyway :-lol

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Jon...FS9/COF/FS2004 (a.k.a. to my wife--the "obsession") has somewhat stopped growing on me. I find I fly it for short bush style, eye candy hops, and FS2002 for the longer runs. Even around the simplest, most barren airports, I've seen performance fall by a third or more. Problem is, my system is slow enough that anything slowing it down more really can challenge a smooth approach and landing. I don't know why it's an issue, but it seems to be. I've killed off all the sim's settings to see where the bottleneck is. There isn't-- simply when it comes to being around airports, the sim suffers where FS2002 didn't. I'm sorry to say I was so entranced by eye candy that I didn't pay much attention to the issue--I'd start a flight, but I'd rarely complete it. Now that I've settled down to serious flying, all I can say is flights around airports disappoint.But removing myself from that issue, there is no flying more beautiful than taking the COF Jenny up in the Pacific NW, and just enjoying the rich textures and good 'ol barnstormin' style of flying. For that style of flight, I can max out Autogen, add a few cloud layers, and get some really decent performance and great visuals..... As long as I land in farmland vs. the landing strip :)I used to enjoy FS2002 for that style of flying, but COF is much better and much more immersive. My favored aircraft I've ported over haven't flown that much different from their FS2002 habits. I don't have a clue how the classics should have flown, but I do enjoy flying them....-John (with the "h")

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Hi John,I read your threads about the airport slow downs with great interest. People might be amazed when I say that I run the scenery slider at sparse, but I do this because I have other priorities in the sim, such as accurate terrain (because I fly VFR, often by dead reckoning).I've been looking for the slow downs and haven't really noticed any show stoppers yet, but as I say, I only have the slider set to sparse. Still, I've only been tweaking for two days and I usually allow a month for tweaking before I get into the add-on and enhancement side of things. I do know that as soon as my swapfile gets hit, the result is a *major* drop in performance.I went on a flight in the Trimotor between YGLB and YTMU this morning (about an hour). Halfway through the flight I got a bad case of stutters and slow downs, just like you reported. At first I thought that my swap file was being hit (the weak link of my SiS 745 chipset seems to be PCI overhead and I/O overhead). But I had Sysmon in the background and the swapfile log had been at zero the whole time. Then I thought it might have had something to do with the GPS, even though it wasn't in view when the actual stuttering started. I then saved the flight and re-booted, but had the same problem when I re-started the flight at the same point. Then I reduced the terrain mesh slider and the problem appeared to be much reduced.I do notice that the effect on frame rates caused by hard drive accesses seems much more pronounced in FS9 than in FS2002. When I forgot to re-enable DMA after installing FS9, for example, I was getting horrible drops in frame rates. I was about to completely give up on FS9 because of this, but then remembered I'd forgot to turn DMA back on.As you would appreciate, this sim pulls a lot more data off the hard drive in a typical flight than FS2002 did before it. I haven't got a figure yet, but I've already taken about 48MB out of my vcache allocation and put it back for use by main memory. I'm just wondering if the extra read / write activity in FS2004 could partially be the reason for the big frame drops people are experiencing. You'd notice it more on a PIII 800 than my Athlon 1500. It would also explain why once people have got well within the vicinity of an airport (ie all the data has loaded), the frame rate fluctuations usually abate.

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