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Cjr60611

Night flying in X-Plane: Yay or Nah?

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I constantly see post from simmers who rave about the night environment in X-Plane.  I mostly agree with them as takeoff and landing in the cover of darkness is a true pleasure in the sim.  I can't compare the experience to FSX or P3D because I don't remember doing much flying at night with them, I mostly avoided it.  However, with XP I often will bid on flights that take me into the night.  So, I guess that's a testament to the sims features.

 

But....  While takeoff and landing are great :dance: , cruise in darkness in X-Plane is kinda wacky!  First, the issue with "moonshine" in beta is bothersome enough (I'm thinking they will fix that).  The more irksome issue is the numerous airports in sight that shine bright regardless of distance, cloud cover and surrounding area.  It's almost like the runway lights are the only lights you see for miles in every direction!  I know some of us need that security if a nearby airport "just in case" but, this is and looks crazy!  I'm surprised by this because the team at LR have done a fantastic job with the rest of the sim

 

My questions are;  Is there a way to turn down distant runway lights in the settings?  Or, is there a mod/plug-in that addresses the concern?  Finally, I haven't seen other comments on this issue so, is it just me?

 

   

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I have noticed this a bit, but primarily only because the draw distance for the airport lights is farther out than the draw distance for the rest of the scenery lighting.

 

I would personally love for LR to figure out a way too increase the draw distance for all the lights. In certain situations, the night lighting is indeed awesome - but it's quite crippled in my opinion because of the rather close distance that lights have to be within before they show at all.

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I'm sure there will be improvements.  The depiction overall is unmatched by P3D.

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I'm undecided on the night lighting. I think at low levels the view is incredible, especially coming in to land and seeing all the cars moving on the highways and I think there is a reason the majority of X-Plane screenshots are taken at dawn/dusk and night :-). But also there is still something missing for me and I can't quite put my finger on it. Once you get high up the lights seem way overdone and especially in Europe it just looks wrong that every single road has street lights. Although I think the HDR lighting is one of XP's greatest strengths, it's not something I actually care too much for since I like to see where I'm flying  :smile:

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It's the best out there, but yes, needs improvement. 

 

Draw distance needs to be about twice as far. At least make it an option for those with beefier systems. 

 

The night sky, moon, banding, etc. are all issues that hopefully get fixed. 

 

And yeah, the biggest issue as far as realism goes IMO is the runway lights showing up dozens of miles away through everything. In real life, it's hard to find an airport at night that you aren't familiar with. P3D suffers from this as well. 

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It's the best out there, but yes, needs improvement. 

 

Draw distance needs to be about twice as far. At least make it an option for those with beefier systems. 

 

The night sky, moon, banding, etc. are all issues that hopefully get fixed. 

 

And yeah, the biggest issue as far as realism goes IMO is the runway lights showing up dozens of miles away through everything. In real life, it's hard to find an airport at night that you aren't familiar with. P3D suffers from this as well.

 

You can say that again,it can be very hard.

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P3D suffers from this as well. 

 

Yeah, it's even worse in P3D at times....can be to the point where you can't MISS seeing the airport....precisely the opposite of real life.

 

A problem on both sides.  It's also the sort of thing, like weather in XP in general, that I wish would have higher Dev priority to remedy, as it slides right into the realism of simulating the real thing category that I personally wish was as high of a priority as possible.

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I actually prefer flying at late dusk / early dawn instead of pitch black. The added ambient light hides a lot of the shortcomings regarding short draw distance, while allowing for the nice parts to 'shine'. (Couldn't help the pun. :smile: )

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I agree Jim. Like I said, no surprises that most screenshots in both sims are done during dusk/dawn.

 

Reminds me of this stunning video

 

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The city lights nee to fade in instead of pop in. And, at altitude, it seems they should dim down. Otherwise, they are pretty spectacular.

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The city lights nee to fade in instead of pop in. And, at altitude, it seems they should dim down. Otherwise, they are pretty spectacular.

 

 

This - Exactly...well said

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@exodus1977 Hit the nail on the head with that one. 100% agreed

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The city lights nee to fade in instead of pop in. And, at altitude, it seems they should dim down. Otherwise, they are pretty spectacular.

We all should file bug reports on this, only chance we can have them fix this as long as the lights through clouds.

 

By the way, even with these shortcomings XP night time is prime show...reading some posts it looks poor...cmon please do a tour in PRD Orbx bulbs or look at any airport triangle fake cone light in FSX and go back to XP then.

 

I could open many "yeah or nah" topic on XP features but night lights would be bottom of the list for me.

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If we spread the word and report the distance of lights as a bug, they will consider it. As far as I know Austin likes GA aircrafts and so I guess he is not flying much at night... :P So he is not into IFR ... (it is a guess, but it makes sense since the problem with the lights showing through clouds is not yet fixed and the fact that when you fly at FL300 outside is completely dark and no lights on the horizon.

There is a guy that attempted to get a sort of solution to the drawing distance and I think he is on the right direction (or at least he was). I was thinking about that solution too and I also reported that to LR long before I discovered the "primitive" solution that guy did, but so far LR didnt do anything.

My suggestion was this: Do you guys remember when XP10 first came out? From low altitudes it was great but once up in the sky all the world looked like an immense layer of green grass,even where big cities were supposed to be. Then they came out with a fix using city textures (and no autogen that was gradually fading while climbing). Tht can be the solution for the night flying... NIGHT CITY TEXTURES (like the ones used for the cities during the day when flying high)! 3d light can gradually fade as you climb and that would also increase framerates cause 3d lights will not be there anymore. Anyway, who can tell if that is a 3d light or not from FL 300???

And also I agree that airport lights should dim while climbing. When I fly at night (for real as a passenger) you won't see airports around you shining that bright! But this is another story! :)

I hope you guys too might copy and paste the solution I wrote here  and send it to laminar... maybe someone will eventually listen.

BTW, here is the link to the "temporal fix" that a Brazilian guy did... and that I am using. It is not perfect but at least is better than flying over a sea of darkness.

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/36942-night-city-textures-extended-lights-lod/&tab=comments#comment-234366

Cheers

 

Stefano

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The distance for night lighting has been discussed by the developers in the past.  I seem to recall that they are aware, but it is a resource hog and they have concluded that the framerates are better spent on other things.  Maybe, once Vulcan comes on the scene in the not too distant future, performance will pick up to the point that they can bring it onboard.  As far as distant airports, I agree that they could dim some, but realize that a candle on a dark night can be seen from far away and there is probably nothing brighter at night than airport lighting.  It's also helpful if you experiencing a failure and looking for a place to set it down!

John

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