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JLSeagull

Max Settings? ... Here's a thought

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What exactly do these elusive max settings do?

Like many other Commodore64 users I used to dream about being able to afford the sort of IBM Deep Blue needed to run Bruce Artwick and Stu Moments' amazing creation at max settings.

As the sim evolved over the years I always found that my [very latest] hardware was never quite good enough to run the [very latest] version of the sim of my dreams at max settings and, when the Flight Simulator franchise was finally controlled by Microsoft, I had visions of programmers smug in the knowledge that they had several 'Deep Blues' in SLI with which to replay their creations in butter-smooth scenarios that the Plebs could never possibly hope to recreate on their desktops.

It has been a very long and expensive pursuit ... but I finally have what I believe to be a current state-of-the-art machine - and NONE of my sims run smoothly at max settings? If I drop things back a notch on all three of them then everything is wonderful to behold - but - this begs the question.... What level of machine do developers use these days and what do they see and/or how do they define max settings - if they are actually unobtainable to the power user and themselves?  

Shades of Emperor's New Clothes perhaps - or the elusive carrot?

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Well, whatever settings you ran in your last video, the sim looked amazing!

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14 minutes ago, J.L.Seagull said:

Plebs could never possibly hope

LOL!!!

I don't think there is no hardware within the mainstream market, or even enthusiast for that matter, that would run XP at max settings and yield butter-smooth experience. We can only hope and dream that some day!

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Here's another way to look at it. Hardware improvements are available in the marketplace on a faster cycle than major software releases, at least for a company like Laminar that only makes a major new flight sim version every 4-5 years. 

So a flight sim developer traditionally builds in enough features that you may not be able to run every slider maxed out on today's hot machine, but you will, at the end of the product cycle when you've probably upgraded your hardware by then. It avoids a situation of software obsolescence, where at some point in the release cycle, your CPU/GPU/RAM are just coasting along at half capacity, wasting cycles. It's the "cycle of life," simulator version.  :biggrin:

It's a bit different with FSX/P3D, because the underlying sim has been static for 10 years. It should *scream* on today's hardware. But the pile-on of 3rd party add-ons has slowed it down so you need today's hardware to keep up.

It only feels frustrating when you're at that point where you have state-of-the-art hardware, and a new software product comes out (like XP11) that's building in this kind of obsolescence-avoidance.

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I think it's because there is such a big difference in flying styles, for instance an airliner compared to a low n slow VFR flight. I don't think max settings were ever put there to have the ability to run them all at max but to be able to increase what you value more. So in the above case , one may want a longer view distance in an airliner and not care so much for what is 28k feet below as it's so small you can't see the details anyways.

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I look at it more like a buffet.  You don't stand in the buffet line with the idea of pigging out on EVERY dish you lay eyes on.  You know your stomach has limitations, and you have an idea of when you might get full, so you carefully select the dishes that you consider to be most worth your money and stomach space.

In the sim, there are some settings that won't give you a worthwhile advancement in experience for the amount of FPS or hardware expense they cost.  Take, for instance, Anti-alias.  Especially if you have a 4k (or 5k) monitor, the return on investment of cranking up your AA is pretty horrendous... it's very expensive, and especially on high-pixel-density monitors does not contribute that much to a better experience.  To really MAX OUT on AA, you need some pretty pricey hardware already.  You might prefer to use that "performance budget" on something that's of more value to you.

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