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Cruachan

VULKAN for Prepar3D v5?

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Good thread guys but we are VERY close to the edge of discussion on the EULA - let's stay on the path please.

 

Thanx,

Vic

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On 7/18/2018 at 7:09 PM, WotanUK said:

I think that a lot of simmers probably have multiple sims, i bought FSW, DCS, X-Plane 10, FSX:SE and P3D, but i only have P3D and DCS installed.  You are right that the risk for fragmentation probably does affect add-ons, more than sims.  Whilst i have all those sims i have only spent significant money in DCS and P3D.

Same here! P3dv4 and DCS.

As I progressed from the C64, through the Amiga, and into the PC forms of flight sims. The one thing that's remained a constant is the ever increasing visual quality of the simulation. With this increase in visual quality has come a corresponding increase of pixels that need to be rendered on the monitor. (Add a 4k into this and even more pixels need drawing!) Followed by a mandatory requirement to lash out on faster GPU/CPU/memory components. The code of the simulation appears to have changed little, although P3dv4 does seem to use more cores. DCS appears to be stuck on one core, but that's another story.

To think that I used to be thrilled by early renditions of MS Flight and Jane's Fighters and Microprose! Now with hundreds of pounds spent on an Orbx world and expectations raised, like the Olympic high jumpers bar, I wonder what's to come, from the PC platform?

If there is to be a progression in visual rendering and that progression is to include smooth rendition of flight, then perhaps a new graphics engine must be under consideration. Possibly even a rewrite of the code of the entire simulation, separating visual display from all the other complex bits that we now use. I am running a good system, but as many others have realised, those sliders have to be managed carefully or a totally unrealistic slideshow results.

Perhaps we have added too much straw onto the camel's back? With Active Sky weather, Real AI Traffic, Orbx, 4096 graphics splatted across a 4k 40" monitor and aircraft which run, quite realistically, the code from the flight deck of a 747/Airbus, including the fly by wire computers, the MCDU's and even AI Crew! Small wonder this list can reduce an experience of flight to one of watching a judder fest and occasionally a CTD, where all the different software components simply disagree with each other and go on strike! How many of these software add on are thoroughly tested, when run together, on different PC's with different installations of operating systems?

In my little future, I would wish for an Amiga style plastic box which ran a stable set of components and a little cartride port on the side (USB?) that I could plug my flight simulator into. Run it at smooth rendering of the ground (forget FPS , just smooth) so I have an experience of realistic flight. 

I think back to Microprose Tornado, spending hours flying pre planned missions over a solid green baise that represented the ground and being perfectly content! Then, many years later, I could fly over my house, take off and land from totally realistic airports, done with real traffic, real lighting, real weather and almost real aircraft physics!

Perhaps Vulkan will be an answer? Hopefully the hobby will continue to evolve. If not, where can I get a C64 and Microprose Tornado?

Best regards

David

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2 hours ago, charlie130 said:

Perhaps Vulkan will be an answer? Hopefully the hobby will continue to evolve. If not, where can I get a C64 and Microprose Tornado?

Hi David,

That was a great read! Takes me back to a time when the excitement of the nascent home computer market was palpable. Remember Falcon? That was the sim that persuaded me I must purchase an Amiga 500. I saw it running an automated demo in a shop and found I couldn’t tear myself away! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had the same experience when I first saw Elite, in all its wireframe glory, running on the BBC Micro. I became a Commodore man - still have the Vic 20, Commodore 64 and the Amiga (all in pristine condition) up in the loft plus all their ‘must have’ accessories.

Paradoxically, as software and technology continues to evolve it seems that the likelihood of ever recapturing such moments is fading rapidly into history. That's not to say that such instances never happen these days, they are just more of a rarity. Perhaps that yearning to relive those experiences is what, in part, drives that incessant compulsion to upgrade our hardware and install ever more complex, sophisticated software as we constantly strive to satisfy our emotional needs.

VULKAN’ could allow us to continue exploiting what we have now without feeling pressured to upgrade needlessly, yet again! Current CPUs and GPUs are already fast enough. Instead of employing the brute force model to mask any deficiencies in performance, more attention should be given to optimise and harness efficiently what exists today. I believe ‘Vulkan’ could prove to be part of that solution.

Best regards,

Mike

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12 hours ago, Cruachan said:

Hi David,

That was a great read! Takes me back to a time when the excitement of the nascent home computer market was palpable. Remember Falcon? That was the sim that persuaded me I must purchase an Amiga 500. I saw it running an automated demo in a shop and found I couldn’t tear myself away! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had the same experience when I first saw Elite, in all its wireframe glory, running on the BBC Micro. I became a Commodore man - still have the Vic 20, Commodore 64 and the Amiga (all in pristine condition) up in the loft plus all their ‘must have’ accessories.

Paradoxically, as software and technology continues to evolve it seems that the likelihood of ever recapturing such moments is fading rapidly into history. That's not to say that such instances never happen these days, they are just more of a rarity. Perhaps that yearning to relive those experiences is what, in part, drives that incessant compulsion to upgrade our hardware and install ever more complex, sophisticated software as we constantly strive to satisfy our emotional needs.

VULKAN’ could allow us to continue exploiting what we have now without feeling pressured to upgrade needlessly, yet again! Current CPUs and GPUs are already fast enough. Instead of employing the brute force model to mask any deficiencies in performance, more attention should be given to optimise and harness efficiently what exists today. I believe ‘Vulkan’ could prove to be part of that solution.

Best regards,

Mike

Ditto Elite and Falcon Mike.

That "excitement" first experienced in the 1980's, for me, has evaporated, perhaps because it's no longer a new experience? Then it's my old age to blame!  I have Falcon 4 on my "old" PC, which runs it fine on a Pentium, and small GPU. I tried the new Elite, on my new "monster" PC, but was severely disapointed, when it turned out to be an online shootemup for adolescents wanting gratification from destroying other players on line? Gone was the old feeling of mystery, mastery and wonder, where was Raaxlaa?

Flight simming is a niche market. It got into a smaller niche when Aces were sacked by MS! Demonstrating the total lack of interest in the Flight Sim market by MS. I only run their Windows 7 because of Flight Sims!!

We have gone through the age of the birth of Flight Sims and appear to be at at crossroads of development. Nothing new seems to be on the horizon. I need there to be a prospect of an "exciting" evolution of the genre. Something that has the"C64/Amiga" prospect of newness? Perhaps a VR system, which would provide flawlessly smooth rendition (essential for eliminating motion sickness) at real resolutions (4096 or higher per eye). Perhaps this would be helped by a Vulkan evolution?

The future appears through a glass, darkly. Let's hope for some light!

Best regards.

David

 


 

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Hope this doesnt leave the topic too far, but here is a recent statement from FSExpo (I really hope it didnt show up here yet, if so, sorry) where the Laminar Guys get a little into detail about their current state of Vulkan: https://developer.x-plane.com/2018/06/an-x-plane-road-map-from-flightsimexpo/#more-8588

 

Quote

 

Vulkan Update

I presented a progress report on our port to Vulkan. For the last year, Sidney and I have been rewriting the rendering engine to run on Vulkan and Metal as well as OpenGL. This is going to get us faster performance, reduce stuttering, and enable us to run the engine on multiple cores for better hardware utilization.

After a year of banging on the code, we’re at what is roughly perhaps a half-way point. We have several parts of the underlying code ported to Vulkan, and we can run Airfoil-Maker natively on Vulkan on Windows. While Airfoil-Maker on Vulkan isn’t useful to anyone and it’s a far cry from all of X-Plane, it’s a useful check-point for us, demonstrating that the code we’ve written so far is on the right track. It’s still too soon to say what performance will be like under Vulkan, but the Vulkan implementation of Airfoil-Maker makes 69% less driver calls than the OpenGL one; we thought that was a good sign.

We don’t have a release date or version for Vulkan other than to say that we will ship Vulkan in the v11 run and it won’t be in 11.30. We are hoping to have a beta this year, but that’s a hope, not a hard date.

 

Cheers Eric

Edited by Bloody
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Regards

 

Eric Bach

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2 hours ago, charlie130 said:

I tried the new Elite, on my new "monster" PC, but was severely disapointed, when it turned out to be an online shootemup for adolescents wanting gratification from destroying other players on line? Gone was the old feeling of mystery, mastery and wonder, where was Raaxlaa?

Try Oolite, true to the spirit of the original Elite.

http://www.oolite.org/starting/

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2 hours ago, Bloody said:

Hope this doesnt leave the topic too far, but here is a recent statement from FSExpo (I really hope it didnt show up here yet, if so, sorry) where the Laminar Guys get a little into detail about their current state of Vulkan.

Hi Eric,

Thanks for that! It’s interesting to note that while Laminar have a relatively small development team coping valiantly with lorry loads of new ideas they have found time to commit to rewriting the rendering engine to run on Vulkan and Metal. They do seem very optimistic about what this will bring to the performance of their sim. Can we dare to hope that the Prepar3D Team at LM are in a similar frame of mind as they implement plans for Version 5? 

Regards,

Mike

 


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13 minutes ago, Cruachan said:

Can we dare to hope that the Prepar3D Team at LM are in a similar frame of mind as they implement plans for Version 5? 

Regards,

Mike

 

This seems to be at odds with the other line of conjecture/reasoning here that LM's primary simulator customer base couldn't care less about the very stuff we would be excited for w/ a Vulkan implementation, which would mostly be in the domain of be graphically complex eye candy.  As was pointed out today's hardware is adequate for the current old engine, so what would be the motivation behind LM going down the Vulkan road?

I believe the vast majority of people in this forum choose P3D over XP for various reasons but mostly re the depth of what 3D content is readily available and integrated.  What exactly is missing in XP v P3D, and I would think LR needs to look at those differences to try to compete for market share against LM:   first class ATC, support from the highest end 3rd party content developers, and so forth.   Perhaps after LR gets the simulator well optimized for Vulkan they can start systematically knocking off each of the deficits XP has until they really achieve parity with the depth of P3D at which point I believe they could potentially grab the bulk of the market from P3D.  I'll be happy to kiss P3D goodbye, and I'm guessing others would be too because it's quite obvious LM does not consider much of what the common user is looking for, whereas LR seems to be fully focused on that, even if they aren't sure what that is! 


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49 minutes ago, Noel said:

and I'm guessing others would be too because it's quite obvious LM does not consider much of what the common user is looking for

Being a "common user" I'd wholeheartedly disagree. There are many aspects of their updates and development paths which directly address the wishlist items of the community - things that would have almost no bearing on the simulation setup of a commercial client.

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1 hour ago, Cruachan said:

They do seem very optimistic about what this will bring to the performance of their sim. Can we dare to hope that the Prepar3D Team at LM are in a similar frame of mind as they implement plans for Version 5? 

X-Plane is built on OpenGL, the ancestor of Vulkan. So X-Plane at least has a chance.  But they will still have to prove that Vulkan has indeed the effect that they are hoping for.

On the other hand - considering this very thread here - what makes you so certain that P3D will improve with Vulkan? Can you name a reference implementation, another 3D heavy DX11 application or game that has successfully been rewritten for Vulkan, and experienced the positive effects that you hope for? 

Best regards

 

Edited by Lorby_SI
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LORBY-SI

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On 7/19/2018 at 12:04 PM, Cruachan said:

This is just a quick flight over New York City at 4.00pm in Aerofly FS2 using the new Vulkan (beta!) API instead of OpenGL. Everything graphically speaking was maxed out. Frame rates were sustained throughout at around 120fps!! You'll have to take my word for that, I'm afraid.

CTRL + F1 brings up Aeroflys internal FPS counter, which does show up in recordings.


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33 minutes ago, Lorby_SI said:

X-Plane is built on OpenGL, the ancestor of Vulkan. So X-Plane at least has a chance.  But they will still have to prove that Vulkan has indeed the effect that they are hoping for.

On the other hand - considering this very thread here - what makes you so certain that P3D will improve with Vulkan? Can you name a reference implementation, another 3D heavy DX11 application or game that has successfully been rewritten for Vulkan, and experienced the positive effects that you hope for? 

Best regards

 

I've been following this thread over the course of the week and have refrained from responding until now.  So far the thread has been filed with pie-in-the-sky dreams and (rather uninformed) speculation.  I wanted to point to the above comment as one that is grounded in reality, and those of you advocating an API switch for P3D need to consider the question asked by Lorby.  

Folks: there's no magic bullet for flight sim performance, and as far as primary factors go, the API is so far down the list as to not even be worth mentioning - when discussing flight sims at least.  Are the likes of Vulkan and DX12 more efficient than DX11?  Yes, but there's a catch.  That being the performance of each vendor's driver.  In the case of AMD, they tend to show increased performance when using the newer API in workloads that have both DX11 and DX12 codepaths.  With Nvidia, this is not often the case.  You have to remember that the vast majority of games on the market today use older APIs like DX11.  Nvidia knows this, and tunes their driver for the best performance with this API.  If you replace AMD with Nvidia in the aforementioned scenario, the outcome is often a small *decrease* in performance.  

One possible benefit of switching to a newer 3d API is that simmers may finally have multiple choices for their GPU vendor, instead of the age-old axiom "just get the fastest Nvidia card you can afford".  That's a nice outcome.  Although to be honest, I would prefer LM in particular focus their attention on implementing PBR.  If they want to switch APIs at the same time because they deem this to be of benefit then so be it, but I will not be expecting any massive performance increases as a result.  Not on currently available Nvidia hardware anyway.  If the next-gen architecture from NV sees changes in hardware and receives corresponding driver work to support these changes then we could see gains here as well, but Nvidia's DX11 driver is already incredibly efficient so there is less headroom for optimization, and thus less to gain.  

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The Vulkan API is patterned after the way that consoles work. It works at a level closer to the video hardware than DirectX and OGL and hence requires more coding by the developer. It has two major advantages. It works across OS platforms and it corrects a performance flaw that is specific to AMD video cards.

But all that collectively has limited its widespread application. The same could be said for DX12 which has an additional disadvantage of being specific to Win10. Mainstream game developers are presently content with DX11 and have thusfar avoided updating to Vulkan mostly because of the amount of coding needed.

The previous post is in line with my opinion on the subject.

Edited by jabloomf1230
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4 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

CTRL + F1 brings up Aeroflys internal FPS counter, which does show up in recordings.

Thanks Devon!

Regards,

Mike


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Hi everyone,

Well, it looks like we’ve just been served up with a heavy dose of digital reality! To be fair, it has taken a while for those with the knowledge and hands-on expertise to intervene and consequently we have been permitted to indulge our dreams and ill-informed speculations for a little while longer. For that I am grateful, as I am for all your contributions.

I’ve been challenged to name an example of “a reference implementation, another 3D heavy DX11 application or game that has successfully been rewritten for Vulkan, and experienced the positive effects as hoped for in this thread and, of course, I cannot do so. That does not mean that such a project would prove to be impossible; difficult perhaps, but not necessarily impossible.

Over the ages there have been numerous examples of progress made simply because a dreamer refused to be cowed by those who were adamant something was not feasible. Rightly or wrongly my belief is that the Khronos Group may be a collective example of such a visionary:

https://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/rendering-objects-in-parallel-using-vulkan-apis?spredfast-trk-id=sf193391976

Clearly there are huge challenges ahead without any guarantees of success. However, the possibilities are opening up before us and if significant further progress is to be achieved in the 3D rendering arena then this API needs to be considered very seriously. 

In the end, the daunting complexities and enormity of the challenge may determine the outcome of any decisions made by LM. We have no clue as to what they are planning for Version 5 nor, indeed, the extent to which they are considering any wish lists submitted by our community. It is likely that they are working on a new engine and this will continue to use the DirectX 11 API or, quite possibly, there may be the intention to move to DirectX 12 thereby expanding capabilities similar to those shared by Vulkan. Either way the sim will be moving forward albeit restricted to Windows based systems.

Without having a full understanding of what is actually involved, I freely admit that my readings of what was being offered by the ‘VULKAN’ API, Rob’s videos along with my own experiences using the beta version of Vulkan in Aerofly FS2 are what persuaded me that this seemed to be the logical choice. This assumes that a wider appeal (unlikely?) and longevity of the product are of overriding importance.

Regards,

Mike


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