ErichB

One of the elephants in the room with P3D

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'Terrain, terrain' - 'Pull up'!  'You don't want to be anywhere near that'

So there was doing a flight from Atlanta into Anchorage on Saturday on a PMDG 747.  I was passing over the Orbx Northern Rocky and Southern Alaska region and was really excited  because I hadn't flown in that region since I'd given up on GA flying in P3D about 2 years ago. (even A2A's latest and greatest can't lure me back).  My flight into Alaska was pretty spectacular as far as sims go -  dense cloud cover with the tops of mountains peaking through and then suddenly a gap in the cloud.  And there is was - the awfulness of the really old ESP/FSX/P3D terrain.  A stretched mountain face texture (Orbx) with a blurred surface and then suddenly, when directly overhead, the texture snapped, crackled and popped its way into a sharper focus (but still resembling nothing like mountain rock - looked more boulder like with no jagged sharp peaks, as is typical of mountains) .  Not only did it kill the immersion (which that sighting usually does) but it made me realise why I no longer fly GA in P3D anymore - and why I stay as high as I can above terrain these days.  P3D  just looks better from higher up.  The higher, the better.  Some would argue that's exactly where it should look good.  But It's no longer appealing as GA, low level sim - even after having done that for many enjoyable years - it's lost its appeal

It's little wonder why Orbx is exploring other sims to make best use of their available scenery technology.  Wondering how long it'll take before we see the absolute visual realism of mountains as they are depicted in Xplane - even without Ortho scenery.  (I don;t use Xplane - but it is difficult (again) to make this kind of observation without referencing other sims)

I can only imagine a new terrain engine will introduce all types of issues.   

Just my view.  What's yours?

 

 

 

 

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I also only fly high and dry in P3D. For low and slow I prefer Aerofly FS 2 (over TrueEarth Netherlands). Those late loading popping up mountain textures have annoyed me for years already and I'll never get used to it. Luckily I fly the Majestic Q400 so during take off and landing I don't have too much time to enjoy the scenery: by the time I do I am flying high and dry already. But low and slow VFR in a GA in P3D... no, thanks.

An advantage of this only high flying is that I could lower the autogen draw setting to medium while having the autogen itself on extremely dense: I only see that autogen during take off and approach and performance is great because autogen can only be seen nearby (which you don't notice at all during taxi, take off and landing). There are some more settings I could set lower because they have no use at FL250 so I have to say I am pretty happy with performance of P3D right now. ;) 

Anyway, GA in P3D is a no go for me and I doubt if that will ever change. For real nice low and slow flying I have also set my hopes on Deadstick btw, although that one will only off a bush flying experience of course. 

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Doesn't bother me all that much. Usually if I'm down on the deck, I'm *really* down on the deck, like flying through narrow canyons in mountains. Maybe I've just trained my eye not to look at the pop-ins.

I've also noticed that up high, even with Orbx, things start getting into a repetition pattern. Looks better than stock, but it also doesn't look terribly realistic when the exact same arrangement of farm fields is repeated over and over as far as you can see.

Also for what it's worth, Orbx's ventures into other sims haven't exactly garnered them universal praise. Their Monument Valley for Xplane got pretty soundly thrashed on the Xplane forum as being sub par for what people usually expect of an Orbx product. And even in FSX/P3d I've found a number of areas where Orbx looks bad - the farm on top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque is a good example - even a mountain goat would have trouble farming up there.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ErichB said:

Just my view.  What's yours?

The same. As a pure GA flyer, I can double your experience every day. The P3D terrain engine is due for an overhaul for sure. I made a shortlist of 7 terrain engine-related issues in another thread already.

https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/540185-mild-complaint-about-the-p3d-platform/?page=2

https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/540185-mild-complaint-about-the-p3d-platform/?page=4

Kind regards, Michael

Edited by pmb
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Horses for courses really. Someone would have to be the biggest Lockheed Martin evangelist ever to suggest that (especially right out of the box) P3D looks anywhere near as good as either Aerofly FS2 or XPlane, but by the same token, Aerofly FS2 and XPlane aren't as good flight simulators as P3D can be when it is blessed with a load of add-ons, because there simply aren't as many decent add-ons for either of the latter two to enable them to compete with a souped-up P3D in so many areas, be it flight planners, AI traffic, weather add-ons, ATC add-ons, payware airliners, payware GA aeroplanes, utilities etc, etc. Even the GUI of P3D is a miles better design than any other competing flight sim. But in addition to the graphics, P3D sorely needs a better display engine which utilises the GPU better so it can do things such as profiled runways and such without grinding to a halting slideshow. Moreover, the nav aid database, airport database and the AI flight plan logic is in desperate need of an update too.

Edited by Chock
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1 hour ago, Chock said:

Someone would have to be the biggest Lockheed Martin evangelist ever to suggest that (especially right out of the box) P3D looks anywhere near as good as either Aerofly FS2 or XPlane,

That's becoming another sore point.  You have to spend upward of £350 just to get base P3D,  Orbx Global Textures, LC and Vector scenery - and then you haven't even invested in any aircraft.  So your minimum spend is about £400 to start you off with one decent aircraft and a flyable world.  

I was asked by a friend the other day how much it would cost to set himself up with a sim set-up exactly like mine, including hardware controllers, airports, scenery, aircraft.  When I'd totted up everything and showed him a figure  of £6000 (which includes the purchase of a decent PC)  he nearly smashed my 747 into that stretchy, popping mountain face which cost me alot of money.   There were times during the flight when he told me how jaw dropping he thought it was  -  and there were other moments (the twitchy terrain being one of them) when he looked at me with one eyebrow raised and just pretended it didn't happen.  Then he said what all other people say - 'but there are cheaper (games) that look much better than that - like what's up with those mountains'

As it turns out, I really don't think any one of the other current sims offers an optimal package for me.  P3D does offer me everything I want in a sim - but the way I use the sim has changed from a comprehensive all type of flying sim to an almost exclusive airline environment (exceptionally well supported with the add-ons I need for that.).  I'm not begrudging the fact that I've spent so much on it.  In fact, every pound I have spent on it has more than paid back it's worth.    That's what hobbies cost these days if you take anything seriously enough.    But I think it does allow me to ask the question  whether the platform I have invested in will deal with the ageing terrain in the same way it dealt with 32 bit.

 

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Yup, switching to P3D from FSX was a big expense for me, having to buy loads of planes, sceneries and utilities that I already had in what is essentially still a working sim in the sahpe of FSX-SE and is still installed on my machine, was an unpleasant and expensive experience. There are still one or two add-on aeroplanes and utilities which I simply refuse to buy again when their developers don't offer any sort of discount for those who've got the FSX version of their product which is basically the same thing with a few tweaks (I'm fairly sure most people will know which developer I'm talking about here).

 

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2 hours ago, ErichB said:

'Terrain, terrain' - 'Pull up'!  'You don't want to be anywhere near that'

So there was doing a flight from Atlanta into Anchorage on Saturday on a PMDG 747.  I was passing over the Orbx Northern Rocky and Southern Alaska region and was really excited  because I hadn't flown in that region since I'd given up on GA flying in P3D about 2 years ago. (even A2A's latest and greatest can't lure me back).  My flight into Alaska was pretty spectacular as far as sims go -  dense cloud cover with the tops of mountains peaking through and then suddenly a gap in the cloud.  And there is was - the awfulness of the really old ESP/FSX/P3D terrain.  A stretched mountain face texture (Orbx) with a blurred surface and then suddenly, when directly overhead, the texture snapped, crackled and popped its way into a sharper focus (but still resembling nothing like mountain rock - looked more boulder like with no jagged sharp peaks, as is typical of mountains) .  Not only did it kill the immersion (which that sighting usually does) but it made me realise why I no longer fly GA in P3D anymore - and why I stay as high as I can above terrain these days.  P3D  just looks better from higher up.  The higher, the better.  Some would argue that's exactly where it should look good.  But It's no longer appealing as GA, low level sim - even after having done that for many enjoyable years - it's lost its appeal

It's little wonder why Orbx is exploring other sims to make best use of their available scenery technology.  Wondering how long it'll take before we see the absolute visual realism of mountains as they are depicted in Xplane - even without Ortho scenery.  (I don;t use Xplane - but it is difficult (again) to make this kind of observation without referencing other sims)

I can only imagine a new terrain engine will introduce all types of issues.   

Just my view.  What's yours?

 

 

 

 

I'm with you 150% Erich. I have posted numerous threads over on the LM forum regarding this issue, but I hardly think it's an elephant in the room! I think most people find it one of, if not , the worst issue with P3D, certainly I do. I too have almost given up on GA flying for the same reason. Well, not entirely true, as I don't find the issue half as bad when flying with landclass scenery, as the issue appears to be pertinent to P3D's graphics engine when rendering photoscenery.

Edited by Rockliffe
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I currently stick to a (relatively) small geographical area covered with photoscenery (UK/Ireland/Netherlands) in P3D v3.4, since flying over landclass scenery (at any altitudes) is not really an option for me. FlyTampa Corfu and Aerosoft Gibraltar are the two airports outside of my localised area, but I concentrate on quick circuits of my major airports at the moment (in PMDG airliners), so that keeps me away from default scenery (apart from FlyTampa Copenhagen and the default Sweden scenery.....someone please tell me where I can get good quality photoscenery for southern Sweden) :unsure:

My mission for the future is a new PC, with a 64bit version of P3D, and TrueEarth UK/Ireland/Netherlands. The thought of flying low over that kind of scenery in my PMDG airliners is mouth watering :cool: What I want is to be able to get the kind of view that I currently see when approaching (for example) runway 18C at FlyTampa Amsterdam Schiphol, but at all of the airports that I visit.

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1 hour ago, ErichB said:

So your minimum spend is about £400 to start you off with one decent aircraft and a flyable world.  

We're in a niche market. Things are going to be expensive. It's actually a little better than it used to be in some areas. I remember paying $50 for MSFS5. That was back in the 90's. That's nearly $90 today, and that sim wasn't anywhere close to what you get out of the box today.

And yes, PMDG is absurdly expensive, but then it's also kind of neat that we have such a deep option to get our hands on - we didn't have anything like that back in the old days. We didn't even have virtual cockpits.

I'm not saying things don't need to improve. They do (I especially agree with the above poster talking about the airport/navaid database) but we have to remember that at the end of the day we're in the hobbyist market. Most hobbies are expensive. I'm also into cars. I spend more keeping my classic Japanese sports car on the road than I've ever thought about spending in flight simulation. And the guys who have less reliable classic cars make me look like a tightwad.

I also do not agree that you have to spend as much as you say in order to get "one decent aircraft and a flyable world." The out of the box world is perfectly flyable. It's not the prettiest thing out there, but it's perfectly flyable. You can easily fly bone-stock P3d until you've saved enough to get quality-of-life improvements like scenery and weather.

 

 

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I like to do low level mountain flying in the PMDG DC-6, and maybe it's because I'm using Pilot's mesh but I don't see mountains popping up in front of me,, but I do agree that the P3D rendering engine is long over due a significant update.  I will often see a slight shape shifting, which is weird but I'm used to it.

As for cost, no one who has paid to fly will ever call this an expensive hobby.  I know it's relative, but I know sportsmen that pay much more for hunting or fishing and I suspect that even bowling is more expensive than this hobby.

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1 hour ago, Chock said:

Yup, switching to P3D from FSX was a big expense for me, having to buy loads of planes, sceneries and utilities that I already had in what is essentially still a working sim in the sahpe of FSX-SE

Same here.

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1 hour ago, downscc said:

As for cost, no one who has paid to fly will ever call this an expensive hobby.  I know it's relative, but I know sportsmen that pay much more for hunting or fishing and I suspect that even bowling is more expensive than this hobby.

I completely agree.  

 

1 hour ago, eslader said:

The out of the box world is perfectly flyable.

Of course it's flyable but it will sustain interest for about 15 minutes.  If you're trying to keep people's interest, they would have to throw some money at it .  Right now, the beginners choice is xplane.

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Would it help if we put a mouse in the room? Would it scare the elephants? 😉

Regards,

Simbol 

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6 minutes ago, ErichB said:

Of course it's flyable but it will sustain interest for about 15 minutes.  If you're trying to keep people's interest, they would have to throw some money at it .  Right now, the beginners choice is xplane.

Honestly, I was shocked when I flew through naked Prepard4.0. I didn't recall how poor it looks.

But I don't complain about this, there are enough addons making it look (and work) stunning. I complain about development of the terrain engine (and yes, the database as well) stagnating for many, many years now.

Kind regards, Michael

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I'm disappointed to hear about this I must say.  I'm still using FSX:SE and intended to switch to P3Dv4 in a few months in the hopes that LM has greatly improved the terrain engine and that the graphics are much better overall.  I'm actually not doing it solely for the 64 bit feature as I rarely have the VAS issue being that I don't use payware airports and super highly detailed scenery products. 

So I'm wondering: is it worth it to make the switch?  What do you guys think?

Thanks.

Dave

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I can only speak for myself. I made the switch to Prepar3d1.2 in 2012 and never did regret it. There are enough visual improvments (lighting, shadows, density of autogen...) beyond 64 bits making me stay with it. It's just that some legacy areas have been neglected over the years. This doesn't mean they are worse than in FSX, just not better. Those chewing gum mountains have been with us for ages now.

So my - clearly personally biased - suggestion would be to make the switch. I would just wait for the proper point in time. A very rough estimate would suggest Prepar3d5 to appear in spring 2019 and you would have to pay for it again, so it might be wise to wait for it.

And who knows, sometimes there are signs and wonders in this world. Maybe a couple of those legacy issues may even get eliminated in version 5.

Kind regards, Michael

 

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Going back to FSX after using P3D wold be like going back to DOS after using Windows. 

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15 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

Going back to FSX after using P3D wold be like going back to DOS after using Windows. 

Overly dramatic and not at all. Probably no different to be honest. 

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There are definitely issues in P3D that bother me, but overall, I still find it a great and immersive experience, even when flying at low altitudes.

However, my number one issue with P3D is the delayed loading of buildings and textures when panning. It's no fun when you are on the downwind leg and you look back at the airport and see nothing but black runways and buildings. They do load after a few or sometimes several seconds, but it definitely kills immersion when performing traffic patterns. 

I have never flown in XP, so I can't speak to whether or not I would like it more or less than P3D. I understand that they both have their pros and cons. Developer support for FSX/P3D has kept me happy with my current platform. 

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Autogen in P3D (and FSX) is comical!

Oversized houses (that are the size of warehouses) and oversized trees!

Just compare any scene in P3D to real life and you will see just how bad it is.

And no, ORBX scenery doesn't fix the problem.

I never fly with autogen.

Edited by MatthewS
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It sounds to me like P3D is better than FSX overall, but since the terrain engine is essentially the same with some minor fixes and enhancements we still have many of the same shortcomings we've lived with for years with FSX. 

I'll likely go ahead and wait for P3Dv5 at this point.  Hopefully LM will improve things further and fix the popping autogen, stuttering, and blurry textures that has always plagued FSX.  I believe that better hardware can also improve these issues, but there's only so much you can do with a nearly 15 year old terrain engine.  Only a major overhaul of the terrain engine would really do the trick, but I don't foresee LM spending the money and resources to accomplish this.

Dave

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9 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

I'll likely go ahead and wait for P3Dv5 at this point.  Hopefully LM will improve things further and fix the popping autogen, stuttering, and blurry textures that has always plagued FSX. 

LM has already done great work toward minimizing or eliminating these things in P3Dv4.  For example, I do not notice much autogen popping these days, or at least with realistic visibility and draw distance settings, it's not an issue for me.  And only the occasional stutter/long frame.  Yes, a problem is the mesh pop and the black airport thing.  You guys know what I'm talking about.  Improvements are still very much needed.

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3 hours ago, Raging Bull said:

Overly dramatic and not at all. Probably no different to be honest. 

No difference? Bull ! Come on... The differences are massive.

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But wait... doesn't LOD and TEXURE SIZE EXP=  fixes this terrain issue? 

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