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DTG Martin

What options and settings do you want in DTG Flight Simulator? (Official Discussion)

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Greetings virtual pilots,

 

Welcome to the options and tweaking thread! As part of our continued effort to understand the needs of the flight simulation community we are back again with another discussion thread. This week, we want to take a deeper look at how you set up FSX, what tweaks you apply, and what elements that you would like to have control over.

 

We know that modifying and tweaking your simulator is a key part of the hobby for some simmers. Everyone has their own personal preferences and customises their experience accordingly. For some of you, it is all about maximising your framerate. Some of you seek to improve the overall performance of your simulator. For others, the focus is being able to run as many add-ons as possible. We are eager to understand what options you require to achieve the desired effects (and what those effects are).  

 

For the upcoming Dovetail Games Flight Simulator, we are looking at ways we can streamline your experience, while giving you access to all the features and options you need to sim the way you want. Our goal is for you to spend more time flying and less time tweaking.

 

In order to do this to best of our ability, we have a few questions we would like you to answer:

 

  • What are your thoughts about tweaking and optimising your simulator? Do you see it as key part of your hobby, or do you consider it an annoyance which results from the age of FSX? Would you like to see a new flight simulator with a similar number of options as FSX, or would you prefer not to have to tweak your sim at all?
  • What is your primary focus when your tweak your simulator? For example, have you set it up to focus on performance, graphics or load times?
  • How have you gone about achieving this setup? What tweaks have you applied?
  • Many players modify their FSX config files. Have you done this? What have you changed? What values are you using? What difference do these changes make to your experience? (See below for more on this)
  • Have you modified any other files in your FSX setup? If so which ones and how have you changed them? How does this affect your setup?
  • Are there any tweaks or modifications that you would consider standard or essential? Are there any must-read guides you would recommend we check out?
  • What is important to you in terms of in-game settings? Are there certain settings in FSX that you use regularly? Are there any settings that you never use? Are there settings missing that you wished were included? Are there settings that you wish were different or had more options?

Please note that for the moment we are only focusing on the settings found inside the core simulator. That means settings in main FSX simulator, and not settings in add-ons.

 

Finally, it would also be a massive help to us if we could collect examples of your FSX config files. We can then compare them and see what exactly you are editing. If you have a few minutes to provide an explanation of your edits too that would be fantastic. If you would like to help us with this please email your config files to dtgflightsim@dovetailgames.com

 

- Martin 

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I have been tweaking MSFXxx in all its various forms since 1998.  It has taught me a lot about computers..but I would rather be flying.

  

I think you can safely divide the tweaks into 2 categories

 

a. Correcting or amending settings that could not be changed in the GUI (e.g. WideViewAspect=True in FSX)

b. Trying to optimize performance for the specific computer hardware being used. 

 

The "must read" guides are often misguides...example Bjote's tweaks are no longer relevant to current hardware.

 

Keep it simple...provide a clear interface and try and deter people from messing up their .cfg files.

It will avoid thousands of ill informed forum posts.

 

Maybe provide an "Advanced" tab in the GUI where you can place whatever tweaks the community most requests..along with a caveat that YMMV.

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Regarding tweaking, I'd rather see a matrix settings that lists cpu, video cards, memory, and add ons. And, according to what the user checks off, the simulator creates an optimum configuration for a specific fps.

tony

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Maybe provide an "Advanced" tab in the GUI where you can place whatever tweaks the community most requests..along with a caveat that YMMV.

 

What tweaks or options do you think should be on that tab Tony?

 

- Martin 


Regarding tweaking, I'd rather see a matrix settings that lists cpu, video cards, memory, and add ons. And, according to what the user checks off, the simulator creates an optimum configuration for a specific fps.

tony

 

That is a great idea. Can you think of an example of another sim or game that those this well? 

 

- Martin 

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My $.02 as a prospective buyer of the sim, is that I'd prefer the way X-Plane does it. Everything important for the user to adjust is right there in the GUI, with no need to edit external files. And I'm sure you can make a better GUI than that one, although it's functional once you get used to it. Only one or two settings require actually exiting and rebooting the sim, so for most things it's very easy to try different settings and see how it affects performance.

 

I suggest using the format common in many current AAA games (especially strategy titles) where the first layer of setup menus is very basic for the casual user, and each menu also has an "Advanced" button or tab that expands the menu with the deeper and more complex settings. This gives tweakaholics the access to settings they need, without scaring off the newbies.

 

Regarding this question "What is your primary focus when your tweak your simulator? For example, have you set it up to focus on performance, graphics or load times?"

 

First off, I don't care about initial load times when the sim boots up, or if I change to a new starting location or load an aircraft model. If it's a good sim, I recognize that tons of data are being processed. I can't imagine anything that would reduce load times that also wouldn't compromise the sim in some way, like using lower-res textures for terrain or aircraft models. Generally speaking (and including other sims than FSX, including combat sims), I think flight sim fans are used to load times that can take a while compared to less complex games. 

 

Aside from that, my personal approach to flight sims is always frame rate first. The one thing I absolutely must have is a high enough frame rate for landing. Somewhere in the 30-40 fps zone, and absolutely free of any stutters or glitches. I need to get a sense of air cushion during the flare with lighter planes, and have enough control in a cross-wind landing, or manage a stable hover in a helicopter. Everything else in regards to eye candy is subservient to that requirement. I'll knock back anything I have to, in order to get the frame rate I need for precise control when landing.

 

After that, I tend to prioritize weather effects over what I see on the ground, but with today's CPU/GPU horsepower I don't have to sacrifice much to get a good general environment for flying, as well as high-enough frame rates for landing. 

 

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There are a couple of settings that I'd like to see in DFS.

 

One of them is more Anistrophic filtering such as 2x, 4x, 8x and 16x; Anti-Aliasing options such as MSAA 2x, 4x or 8x; and V-Sync options such as Off, On or 1/2. Usually used in FSX.cfg/FSc.cfg and/or Nvidia Inspector only.

 

Another would be the LOD Radius. In FSX and Flight School, the max is 4.5 via Settings. This can be increased via FSX.cfg/FSc.cfg, usually to 6.5. Since DFS will be 64 bit, it is possible to increase the LOD even further.

 

This might be just me but I would like the WideScreen setting to be automatic (and optional). Basically, if you set a resolution that is considered 4:3 (1600x1200, 1280x960) or 5:4 (1280x1024); WideScreen is disabled. If the resolution is considered 16:9 (1280x720, 1920x1080 or 2560x1440), 16:10 (1920x1200 or 1680x1050) or 21:9 (3440x1440); WideScreen is enabled. I still would like it to be optional.

 

There are also a few things that may not be related to graphics but for general settings (not sure if it's allowed). One is maybe "Use System Time" uses the UTC time of your PC with the UTC time of DFS. In FSX, this was set as local time (at default, it starts at Friday airport, in the PST/PDT timezone).

 

Finally (another general setting), I would like to see measurements to have Hybid retrified. By that, I mean settings are determined by region you fly at. Hybid is alright if flying in Europe but in the States, measurements are commonly imperial, especially in Altimeters where inHg is used over hPa, as well as countries like China and Russia where everything is metric, even altitude is in meters rather than feet.

 

Like everyone else, I would like an Advanced tab for the more complex settings.

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What are your thoughts about tweaking and optimising your simulator? Do you see it as key part of your hobby, or do you consider it an annoyance which results from the age of FSX? Would you like to see a new flight simulator with a similar number of options as FSX, or would you prefer not to have to tweak your sim at all?

 

My preference is to fly and not tweak, but there are simmers who like to explore the tweaking options to gain insights to the inner workings of the sim and to squeeze out every possible bit of performance or graphics quality from their systems. So it is a part of the hobby, but also everyone has a different system and sees different results, so I think even for those who would rather not tweak it may be a necessary evil and access to all the control knobs becomes important.

 

The really important settings are the ones that have a high performance impact. In FSX there are a lot of settings that people just enable and set to maximum because they have low FPS impact and turning then down just degrades the visuals with no performance gain. There are a relatively few settings that need to be adjusted, things like traffic percentages and autogen density, or with DX9, disabling light bloom.

 

A useful capability in FSX is the ability to save/load different display settings profiles so users can tune the sim to different flight scenarios. For example when flying an airliner the scenery is less important so we can turn down scenery settings and give the sim more cycles to simulate complex airliners systems. On the other hand when flying a simple GA aircraft low and slow, I'd want scenery settings turned way up.

 

There are some addon applications that work with FSX to help with performance I'd suggest you look at: Virtuali's Addon Manager, SimStarter, and Scenery Config Editor. These are tools to help with optimizing FSX and managing profiles for different flying scenerios. I'm sure there must be other such applications but these are some popular ones.

 

 

 


What is your primary focus when your tweak your simulator? For example, have you set it up to focus on performance, graphics or load times?

 

For me, smooth stutter-free performance is tops, but as long as that is achieved I like to get visuals to look as good as possible.

 

Very long load times are a pain but the only time I've had that happen is when using traffic addons since they add tons of aircraft. It would be great if DTG's sim can optimize for this, maybe by building an aircraft index.

 

 

 


How have you gone about achieving this setup? What tweaks have you applied?

 

I like to be able to adjust traffic percentages for Airline, GA, road traffic and boats, and control autogen densities

Some other tweaks that I use:

WideViewAspect

Affinity Mask

Fiber Frame Time Fraction

Buffer Pools and Reject Threshold

TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD

Hide Info Text

DisablePreload

LOD_RADIUS

 

One other point is that besides settings and tweaks, I always set up an Nvidia Inspector profile to get the best possible image quality (Filtering and Anti-aliasing, SGSS etc). It would be great if this step could be eliminated.

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Martin, not going to be much help because I am now down to only 3 tweaks

 

WideViewAspect=True    (set once and forget)

DisablePreload=1           (set once and forget)

 

[GRAPHICS]

TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD=1024/2048/4096  

 

I tweak this value depending on scenery/aircraft combination - and I use Aerosoft's free texture launcher tool as it is quicker than opening the config, changing the value and then saving again.

 

Perhaps a simpler  'aircraft systems' vs 'scenery quality' slider or switch might be useful.

Flying a fully loaded pmdg heavy into Aerosoft/uk2000 Heathrow is very different from bush flying around the mountains in a Beaver.

Given your new simulator is both 64bit and DX11 compatible, I believe you probably have a lot more leeway than is currently available in this respect.

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I would say that some new Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic filtering settings are needed. Since you now are on DX11, there are a plethora of new AA techs available and most users currently do this through Nvidia Inspector. With a 64 bit sim, alot of the previous tweaks are not needed as they were there to manage VAS, but the big remaining one for me is still removing the jaggies and shimmering without the use for a 3rd party tool. 

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IMO....

 

Edits and tweaks are a bother; all setting, options or adjustments should be a'plenty, in the game menus with basic and advanced choices. Also the range of these settings should not be artificially limited; give us a low zero setting and give us a 'you will see 2 fps' setting.

 

Steady frame rate is the ultimate goal. Fast frame rate with stutters is worse than steady, consistent low frame rate.

 

We all have edited and can provide flight sim edits but see my first paragraph; I don't want to edit in future flight sims. (I'm guessing nearly all other don't want to either.) FWIW, the edits are all well documented in the Avsim Config Guide and CTD Guide on the front page.

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We know that modifying and tweaking your simulator is a key part of the hobby for some simmers.

 

What!? Where!!!?  :lol:

 

If I never saw another tweak in my whole simming life, I would be ecstatic.

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I hope there is an option to let us adjust the autogen radius. For those who has powerful system, he can tune the autogen range to much much further.

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I wanted to make a separate post of additional options...

 

  • Ability to easily export or print all currently set keyboard and joystick assignments.
  • Feature where you can select what settings get reduced on the fly (to maintain a pre-selected arrival area frame rate) as you approach and land at busy airports.
  • VR support.
  • VAS crash prevent-er option.
  • Not an option, more of an addition, but autogen slider for people at airports.
  • Better crash detection.
  • Friendlier and frame rate faster multi-monitor support.

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I try to find a "set it and forget it" configuration for FSX, but my experience is, that it is always a compromise between increased visual complexity and performance.  Depending on the hardware used and the addons installed, this varies a lot!

 

LOD radius for example.. going beyond 4.5 used to cause a noticeable performance impact.. now, with Haswell+ systems and fast GPUs, the only real limit is VAS constraints.

 

Aces told us that they did not implement alpha fading for autogen because of performance considerations.. I would hope that you implement this in DTG-FS and that popping autogen is a thing of the past!

 

Then there are system specific tweaks, like affinity mask and anti aliasing..

Not sure how you get maximum performance out of multi-core systems, but AF is one tweak that works well for me.

AF=14 on a quad core 3770K with HT disabled, in my case.

 

Lastly, as mentioned above:  TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD=1024/2048/4096  should be selectable in the sim, without having to go to the config file.

 

There will always be "snake-oil" claims out there, but I'm not sure that any other tweaks are required on state of the art hardware.

 

One thing that has always impressed me, is how well FSX scales with faster CPU/GPUs...

 

Other than the popping autogen, morphing scenery mesh/textures, and hard VAS limits, FSX performs amazingly well for a "10 year old" simulator.

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There is a setting in fsx.cfg if I remember corretly that enables or disables VFR AI traffic, that could be included in UI.

i Would also suggest all possible settings or tweaks to be implemented in DFS should be in the UI and placed in two settings tabs/menu. one basic and one advanced.

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