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Interesting Problem with Canberra Cityscape

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Massive flickering of the industrial area close to Canberra Airport and it's proving to be a real pain for me.


Short history:  Never had flickering much, however over the last few months it has become bad.  Not only do the buildings flicker but the runways at Canberra Airport also show heavy flickering when viewed for up a bit.  (standard approach is OK).


Since the problem became really bad I have used the default flight at Friday Harbour to see if flickering is going to occur.  On a brand new FSX install everything default, if there's flickering at the taxiway/runway junctions I know it's going to be flickering around Canberra.  So, on a brand new install, I checkthe default Friday Harbour flight, and in DX9 there's no flickering, but DX10 there is.  So, I run the freeware DX10 fixer and the flickering disappears.


Install ORBX scenery for Canberra including the Cityscape and there's only a little bit of flickering.  All good.


However, once I run the payware version of the DX10 fixer, to fix the black squares problem, the flickering in the industrial area and the runways returns with a vengeance.  Even reverting to DX9 doesn't help. And of course back at Friday Harbor in the default flight the flickering has returned.   I've tried everything under the sun but the only solution I've been able to come up with is a complete reinstall of FSX from a formatted drive.  


If I could offer any information about the Canberra scenery that might lead to a solution I would, but I don't know how the scenery is constructed.  The developer, Maurizio, doesn't see any reason for his library items in the industrial area to flicker badly and others don't seem to have the problem.


I hope it isn't a system thing, I have an Intel i74790K at 4.6GHz, Noctua Cooler, ASUS Maximus Hero VII motherboard, 16GB RAM, MSI GTX 660, Windows 7 Ultimate and FSX Gold, which should not present any problems with this scenery.


Any suggestions warmly welcomed!!!

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You shouldn't need to install the freeware dx10 patches. They are all included in the Fixer.  It will back them out if it detects them.


What does the Fixer diagnostics button report?


Do you have ground shadows or bloom enabled in FSX?

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Hi Steve.  


Well I just installed Australia and then Canberra Airport and Canberra Cityscape, did a test flight and had very little flickering.  I then installed one of the North American scenery packs, changed back to Australia, and flew around Canberra, and the flickering is back.  So, I npw don't believe it's associated with your Fixer.


However, what could possibly be causing it I have no idea.  It's not the video card as I borrowed one to check that out.  I am now getting to the stage of wondering if a complete Windows 7 reinstall from the ground up is worth trying.  It's like the video processing either can't read the layers properly or reads them too finely and can't decide which one to display (???)



I'll install the full fixer and see what the diagnostics says.  No ground shadows no bloom 



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Does the flickering occur if you land on the affected area or only at a distance?  


In simple terms the way that computer graphics works is to draw objects and test the depth buffer to see if anything else is "in front" of it - if it is then those pixels are not drawn leaving the object in front on the screen.   This means that you see the right thing even if the objects are drawn in the wrong order - without this the CPU would have to sort all the objects.


Now in some instances this is a  problem - the runways and taxiways and the lines on them  are all draw at the same "height". If we just used the depth buffer test  then because of rounding errors and the exact positions of the various triangles  you would get flickering.  To work around this the FSX engine turns off this depth test for these draw calls.   


The original problem in DX10 was that the instructions not to do the depth test were being lost. 


 The payware fixer fixes the missing instruction in a way close to DX9.   The freeware version uses  a much cruder technique


I know that UK2000 use FSX coded polygons at their airports and this seems to cause flickering in DX9 and DX10  at a distance above.  The strange thing is that it seems to affect different people with different airports - its probably a combination of the FSX mesh,  GPU processor type and its precise rounding behaviour etc etc.


Google "uk2000 fsx coded ground polygons"


What I suspect is happening is that


a)  there is use of FSX polygons somewhere in Orbx   

for you that just happens to   cause problems at Canberra.

c)  those problems would probably occur in native DX9 and DX10 but may not occur for other people

d)  The freeware DX10 patches are forcing settings to fix other things which accidentally fix the issue

e) installing the fixer disables the accidental fix

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Thanks Steve.


Well it seems to be a mismatch between my rig and ORBX textures.  I visited a few cities where the default FSX scenery still exists and not a hint of a flicker anywhere.


So I guess until I can try a complete reinstall on a different C Drive and FSX Drive combination I'm stuck with it.  I can live with it.


If you want to see the extent of the flickering go to www.mycanberra.com.au/FSX and have a look at the video flickering.avi.  I don't know if it holds any clues.

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I have suffered from flickering issues all the time. I've tried countless fixes but nothing works. All my uk2000 airports flicker from above 1000ft, like the whole airport! When flying over orbx payware airports all the shadows under the static aircraft flicker. In random scenery, mainly orbx some buildings/roads/bridges flicker. I also have the canberra cityscape and random buildings flicker for me as well. I have tried all sorts I really have and have come to the conclusion that this happens for everyone but at different airports/scenery etc. Watching random videos on you tube proves this, ive seen the same flickering all over the place. Some people have more tolerance than others and just ignore it which is exactly what I have decided to do. I just think its an fsx ism and can't ever be fixed because there are too many variables.

Thomas Derbyshire

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It's possible it's not something that will be resolved, however prior to my current build I didn't have the flickering issue.  That's why I will continue to look for a solution.  First step will be to create a new C Drive with a new Windows install and install FSX on that and see what happens.  Another scenario is to get hold of a second hand computer with older specs and see if it also has problems.  


Not based on any knowledge but I sometimes wonder if the upgrading of motherboards and CPUs to constantly better graphics might have resulted in this flickering becoming a problem, perhaps bits of code have been altered or dropped to increase performance and the older graphics like FSX aren't 100% compatible anymore?

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