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Just wondering about frame rates in general. I've got my settings close to where I want them and get about 50 fps on most runways and general size cities. Bring in bad weather and it drops to in the 30s fps. My real concern is if I'm in a big city like Chicago with bad weather which knocks it down to the low 20s and wondered if that's in the zone or not. I'm ok with it but at the same time I'd like to be within the recommended fps. I don't fly in big city areas all the time but I do like flying to them using real weather. I usually fly general aviation aircraft and would like to hear some opinions on flying and occasional low fps....I don't want to push and stress the computer which is why I'm asking. Thanks.

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You are "in the zone" if it all looks fairly smooth no matter what the frame rate.  If you are flying with the Shift+z functions on, I would suggest turning it off.

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I've "heard" 20-24 fps was the magic number but wasn't sure. Thanks charliearon.

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I'd say there is no "magic number".  Instead, smoothness is what you want, and you can get that at various frame rates.

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Analysis Paralysis, chasing the numbers. 

Follow charliearon &  Mace's advice & turn off the Shift-Z

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I am fine with 20 fps in large urban areas as long as it is smooth. In retrospect there was a time when 20 fps was the norm for video games and no one thought anything of it. 

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15 fps and smooth looks a lot nicer than 50 fps filled with stutters and pauses.  Don't sweat the fps with flight sim, look for smoothness of the display.

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Way back when...at my age estimating time gone by becomes confusing at times; perhaps it was circa FS2000 or 2002.  I bought  a Hercules video card because it touted 15FPS.  I was expensive for the time and I was thrilled with it.

I guess FPS is the holy grail of flight simming to some.  If you can wean yourself away from it you might find simming a bit more enjoyable.

Noel

 

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10 hours ago, birdguy said:

Way back when...at my age estimating time gone by becomes confusing at times; perhaps it was circa FS2000 or 2002.  I bought  a Hercules video card because it touted 15FPS.  I was expensive for the time and I was thrilled with it.

I guess FPS is the holy grail of flight simming to some.  If you can wean yourself away from it you might find simming a bit more enjoyable.

Noel

 

A high and steady FPS is critical for the first-person-shooter type of games.  Flight sims, especially non-combat types, it's just not as important.  I will say that a higher FPS that is stead is good in combat flight sims.  It would be bad in a combat flight sim to have a pause that allowed your adversary to either evade you or shoot you to pieces during the pause.

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I know most of this thread is probably about FSX/P3D, but here's a heads-up if you're flying X-Plane. Or plan to, at some point.

There actually is a magic number in that sim, and it's 20 fps. Or it might be 19, I can't remember.

You need to adjust your settings so you never go below that number, because the sim will start slowing down the time scale of the outside world, in an attempt to keep the aircraft flyable. It's a "helpful" programming trick for computers that aren't quite up to snuff for running the sim, but it will screw up flight plans and start to look weird when you get close to the ground. It's just generally not a good idea to enter that time-warp zone below 20 fps in X-Plane, even if it means drastically reducing the eye candy settings.

On the general subject, I try to use settings where I seldom drop below 30 fps even around fairly complex scenery. That's the threshold where I'm better able to feel ground effect when landing a fixed wing plane, or transitioning through ground effect in a helicopter. With my current hardware and settings, I'm usually flying around 40 fps and it only gets down to 30 around a big city and/or in heavy weather. I'm using a conservative monitor res (1920x1200) which helps, since my current video card ain't the best.

Edited by Paraffin
typo

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FPS in flight sim also depends on where you are at in the flight envelope.  In the flight levels, where you generally aren't maneuvering the aircraft as much and you are just cruising over terrain, lower fps is probably not noticeable, but ironically it is probably much higher than 50 fps, at least I find it so, because one is way above any 3D buildings that need to be rendered on the ground, or autogen trees.  As one flies lower, and banks in and out in the process of entering the pattern and lining up for landing, fps drops become more noticeable.  In such situations I do not pan around alot, I look directly ahead, and the fps stays stable since objects are only being drawn in front of me.

John

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Thanks guys and sorry for the late replies. I've discovered a few things: I turned off HDR which increased my FPS and allowed for higher anti-aliasing settings among others and last but not least I'm using some high-end freeware aircraft which also gives a BIG added increase in FPS. A big thanks to all of you for the basic FPS information I asked about...it lets me know I'm still good.

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I've been getting some rates around 60fps using a2a ga plus t6 aircraft in the OrbX new Zealand south region this week. I even managed to record 4k 30fps videos of the flights at the same time! 

Flying through mountains and valleys skipping through chase plane internal and external views is indeed the holy grail for me. Quick low banking around trees at 60fps inside valleys is to me as close as imagining I was really there I will ever get.

Like others say smoothness is king but fps counters are great for tweaking the high cpu sliders out of the equation in the first place. 

The scenery I was talking about includes 20 small add on grass strips which make the flight run much smoother than if I was using any of the major add on airports there. 

Remember when you have the Sim running smoothly and quickly as you like it to BACK UP ALL YOUR CONFIGURATION FILES ASAP 

:). 

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It's interesting how the community has adapted to the inability to get good fps from our sims. In most genres, 60 is pretty much the standard, and reviews of various programs generally look for as much as you can coerce out of your hardware.

Simulators, and civilian flight simulators in particular, are the only gaming genre I know of that habitually tries to either ignore or downplay the issue of frame rates, even as the issue is brought up repeatedly. (and almost daily)

And even as the community as a whole buys more and more extreme hardware to try to alleviate the situation, and eagerly awaits and speculates on probably false saviors like Vulkan.

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I can't remember a time when running a flight sim wasn't the heaviest load on every computer I ever owned, back to my first computer -- A Sanyo MBC550, the first IBM clone. I don't know why it should be different now.

Computer games, even impressive AAA productions like the latest Assassin's Creed game (which is visually stunning even on my current rig with a GTX970) play all sorts of tricks to get high frame rates that wouldn't work in a flight sim, like limiting detail in the distance. Every time a game shows a brief black screen as a transition, it's an admission that it isn't great at continuous simulation. It's doing something you'd never accept in a flight sim, which has to continuously and smoothly model both the aircraft and its systems, the weather, and the world outside.

I've never felt that games were a reasonable comparison for frame rates in a flight sim. Not unless you want your sim stripped down to the point where FPS is the main priority over everything else. We do have one flight sim like that now in AFS2, and it will be interesting to see if the FPS holds up as they add more features. Or if they go down that road at all.

One other big difference is that games are designed to exist in a very narrow window of time, just a year or two, and then the developer brings out the next one. Flight sims usually have much longer periods between major versions. It was four years between XP10 and XP11, and we may not see XP12 until 2020. The developer has to build in some capacity to take advantage of hardware that doesn't exist yet, but will come on the market during the long period before the next version comes out. As long as the sim can run at 30 FPS or better on most current user's hardware, that's probably considered a "good enough" target. You get gradually better FPS as you upgrade your computer system during the current cycle, and then it shifts down again when the new version comes out. 'Twas ever thus.

And of course, all of this is exacerbated by the way monitor resolution keeps creeping up. We have no "standard monitor" now, like we did in the early days of computer flight sims. Is it any wonder people are still griping about frame rates when they're trying to run flight sims on their fancy new 4k monitors? And then planning on buying an 8K monitor next year? 🙂 And then there's VR to consider. It's the Wild West out there for monitor resolution, these days. 

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