scianoir

Orbx City Scene Orlando

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For anyone familiar with the Orlando area, Orbx have released scenery for this in their City Scene series. This is a very nice addon for the area including much of the Disneyworld complex, the city itself and the International and Executive airports.

Obviously an area such as this has the potential for a vast number of special point of interest addons but Orbx, clearly with a view to minimising resource impact, have have very cleverly created this scenery using POIs which they have classified into 4 levels of detail and accuracy  (Levels 0-3). The most detailed hand made POIs (Level 3) are used for accurate depictions of some iconic structures in the area but are quite limited in number because of their resource implications. However there are a huge number of Level 2 (mostly accurate and fairly detailed) and Level 1 (somewhat accurate but not detailed) POIs which really have been very cleverly designed and fairly accurately positioned as well as a vast number of Level 0 POIs (essentially regular autogen) and, together with photoreal ground textures, the overall effect is a pretty realistic appearance of Orlando and Disneyworld. Clearly the developers had a dilemma as to how to balance realism (given the potentially huge amount of ‘eye candy’ in this area) with performance and resource usage, but I think they have succeeded in this difficult task extremely well here. The only surprise for me was that they don’t seemed to have modelled Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom perhaps THE iconic structure in Disneyworld, but perhaps the detail of this had excessive resource implications or maybe there might have been some sort of copyright issue with Disney. However I would not want to get into a debate that this should have been included and that should have been included as I can understand the very good reasons behind the limited number of Level 3 POIs and, as I have said, in my opinion, the resulting scenery looks very good indeed.

The two airports included are an improvement on the default airports but are not very detailed, apparently to minimise the resource impact. However the scenery can be used with other airports such as the T2G version of KMCO with a modification incorporated into the control panel to take this into account.

A slight downside with City Scene Orlando is that loading of this scenery can be quite prolonged (in both FSX and P3D) with a long pause during the ‘loading terrain’ phase and this is the subject of discussion in the Orbx support forum. Using FSX it paused for about 10 minutes with me at the 36% stage and P3D users seem to be experiencing similar prolonged loading but it does seem to be worth the wait!

In my enthusiasm to have a first look at this scenery (in FSX), I loaded it without looking at the control panel or manual and suffered an OOM while on the runway during my first take off roll! However reading the manual first and modifying some parameters on the control panel is essential and allowed me to have a number of flights around the complete area without further issues although the VAS footprint, as might be expected, was quite high. I used the default Baron and then the Vertigo Stearman (because of its very low VAS requirements) but I suspect using an aircraft with even a moderate VAS footprint  in FSX with this scenery could push you very close to the OOM threshold so FSX users will need to be very selective about aircraft type! Clearly VAS usage would not have the same implications for P3Dv4 users who presumably will benefit from the ability to run this scenery with their sliders maxed out but even in FSX this great scenery addon can be enjoyed with care. Highly recommended for someone who might enjoy a bit of low and slow sightseeing over Orlando!

Bill

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I own the scenery and it's nice indeed. However, the loading times are beyond all permissible. Initially, I tried twice and killed Prepar3d twice after 15 min at the infamous 6%. This was already with a SimStarter profile where all sceneries outside NA are deactivated.

Next, I looked up the manual to find that I should deactivate two Prepar3d native entries, where I found one only, why ever, and deactivated it. Moreover, I read in the ORBX forum that I should actually deactivate all sceneries except Orlando. Thus, I made a SimStarter profile deactivating anything except Orlando - including the ORBXlibs, as suggested, which I never deactivated so far. This way I could start it within the more or less normal  (can this be called normal those days?) 5 min - from an SSD, btw.

I've never been in Florida, but the scenery looks really nice. However, if we get into the habit to deactivate all other sceneries to get one single scenery to work, this cannot be the future. Think about airport developers copying this habit and requesting us to deactivate all airports excepts theirs. What about flying from Orlando into the adjacent Open LC NA or even into another ORBX airport definitely requiring the ORBXlibs?

As a pure VFR flyer, I am all for eye-candy, but this is a no-go, in my mind.

Kind regards, Michael

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11 minutes ago, pmb said:

Moreover, I read in the ORBX forum that I should actually deactivate all sceneries except Orlando. Thus, I made a SimStarter profile deactivating anything except Orlando - including the ORBXlibs, as suggested, which I never deactivated so far.

Hi Michael,

I also have SimStarterNG and, having used it for years, I now regard it as being almost essential to being able to use FSX without the risk of OOMs. As such I have created lots of scenarios in SimStarter where the scenery areas which I am not using are deactivated. In order to be able to use most most resource intensive city scenery areas in FSX (such as the Drzewiecki and older Aerosoft city sceneries), it is necessary for me to deactivate most sceneries except for the base scenery addons (such as Orbx Open LC), the origin and destination airports for my flight and the city scenery in question, so I am happy with the concept of deactivating unused scenery areas and doing this for Orlando didn’t bother me! Using something like SimStarter, as you know, you only have to do this once, but I do however appreciate that this becomes a much more tedious task for someone who doesn’t have a scenery configurator. 

As such, I can however understand your reservations about developers expecting us to deactivate other sceneries in order to be able to use theirs and, although for years I have accepted the need to do this in FSX with its 4GB VAS limitation, I am a little surprised that you also have to do this in P3Dv4 which does not, as I understand, have the same limitation. 

With regard to loading time, I followed the advice to deactivate residential housing in the control panel and that seems to have speeded up the loading process somewhat, although there is still a fair old pause!

Kind regards,

Bill

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33 minutes ago, pmb said:

As a pure VFR flyer, I am all for eye-candy, but this is a no-go, in my mind.

I've been saying things like this back to 2010 when the i7 2600K was released and we began to see a tremendous increase in performance in FSX.  That was, until some developers like Orbx saw the increases and decided to throw more eye-candy into their products.  The more eye-candy, the more likely the sales.  This is why I no longer have the 2600K and now have the i7 8086K and the GTX 1080TI.  Developers are only really concerned with their products but they need to test their products with other popular products like Active Sky, REX, PMDG, FSDT, and FlightBeam.  They also need to look at the minimum requirements.  Yes, the product will work but think they need to add a caveat that it was tested only with their products installed and default scenery and aircraft.  They also need to have switches, like FlightBeam and others to turn off some eye-candy if one does not own the latest hardware.  Personally, I have stopped using Orbx and gone to MSE and the many airport add-ons.  I might replace the default textures if I have to with GEX but mostly I enable a sim-savvy type product which has now been optimized for outstanding performance.

Best regards,

Jim

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4 minutes ago, scianoir said:

I am a little surprised that you also have to do this in P3Dv4 which does not, as I understand, have the same limitation. 

With regard to loading time, I followed the advice to deactivate residential housing in the control panel and that seems to have speeded up the loading process somewhat, although there is still a fair old pause!

I can run the scenery under Prepar3d4 (and to my surprise with not too bad performance, i.e. 20-30 fps, depending on location) and only a few hesitations now and then, as usual over very dense areas. This is with pretty high settings, only the autogen range slider taken back by two notches.

I didn't deactivate residential houses yet, as I don't think it's a good habit as well to request users of "normal" systems (which I would consider mine) to deactivate features from the outset. However, I might give this a try as well.

2 minutes ago, Jim Young said:

Yes, the product will work but think they need to add a caveat that it was tested only with their products installed and default scenery and aircraft.  

That's exactly what I think happened. The testers were supposedly requested to only test the product standalone without nothing else, and this does work. Which is plainly unrealistic, even more for ORBX where people (like me, I own all of their P3D sceneries) are inclined to "collect" stuff.

Kind regards, Michael

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1 hour ago, Jim Young said:

Developers are only really concerned with their products but they need to test their products with other popular products like Active Sky, REX, PMDG, FSDT, and FlightBeam.  They also need to look at the minimum requirements.  Yes, the product will work but think they need to add a caveat that it was tested only with their products installed and default scenery and aircraft.  They also need to have switches, like FlightBeam and others to turn off some eye-candy if one does not own the latest hardware.  Personally, I have stopped using Orbx and gone to MSE and the many airport add-ons.  I might replace the default textures if I have to with GEX but mostly I enable a sim-savvy type product which has now been optimized for outstanding performance.

Orbx are not alone in the practice of only testing their products with the default setups and I suspect that many developers just do this. I know Aerosoft's almost stock response over on their forums to any questions or complaints that arise about performance of their products is to say that they cannot test new products with every addon and with every combination of addons that an individual might have and I think this is very understandable indeed. I do however completely agree that they need to add this as a caveat, particularly for newer simmers who might not understand performance limitations of combining various addons, as most of us old hands who have been at this for a while have learned this the hard way over the years! I also think that developers ought to consider adding some measurement of the VAS requirements of individual addons.

Like Michael, I'm a "collector of stuff" and I own most of the Orbx sceneries and they certainly provide some great eye candy. To be fair to Orbx the control panels for many of their products do provide switches to turn off certain bits of eye candy for lower range systems. However I agree there are other options out there worth considering, one of which is the very reasonably priced UTX/GEX combination which I used prior to installing the various Orbx scenery areas and which I have to say looked really good. Indeed my plan when I replace my rig would be to install both FSX and P3D on my next one, but use UTX/GEX with FSX for better performance on that platform and my Orbx scenery with P3D.

1 hour ago, pmb said:

I can run the scenery under Prepar3d4 (and to my surprise with not too bad performance, i.e. 20-30 fps, depending on location) and only a few hesitations now and then, as usual over very dense areas. This is with pretty high settings, only the autogen range slider taken back by two notches.

That's a very good performance considering your high settings! Given the limitations of FSX, I was quite surprised that I too was able to run City Scene Orlando fairly smoothly with reasonable framerates in the mid 20s and, to be honest, looking at the complexity and size of this addon I was pleasantly surprised to be able to run it in FSX at all! Unlike you however I use this with FSX in my "Extreme Resource Demand" SimStarter NG configuration where many of the settings are reduced and although undoubtedly this means I am not perhaps seeing as much eye-candy as might otherwise be the case, I am still quite pleased by the overall appearance.

Kind regards,

Bill

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Initially my system (P3Dv4) hung up at 37% during loading and after 40 minutes I just gave up and tried again.  So after another 40 minutes and giving up  I went to the Orbx forum and found two 'fixes' that I tried.  Disabling the residential houses in the control panel and disabling Orlando and KORL in the scenery library.

I finally found myself sitting on the KORL runway after 37 minutes.  Personally that's unacceptable.

I did fly around the city for about 30 minutes and experienced frame rates in the 20s.  Acceptable.  But there were a lot skips and hesitations.  Unacceptable.

I am through upgrading my computers for the latest and greatest flightware so Netherlands will fins a companion in Orlando the bottom drawer of uninstalled scenery.

I own all the Orbx sceneries and am an airplane collector and have Mytraffic, Neilson Shipping, Return to Misty Moorings and several Aerosoft sceneries installed and can accept the 5 minute loading time and 30 (fixed) FPS in 99% of the Orbx world.

When I have an hour of free time before dinner I want fly, not watch a half hour of local news waiting for the latest and greatest scenery to load up before I fly.

I'm not knocking these 'ultra detailed' sceneries.  But I'm not equipped mentally or financially to keep buying the latest processor and video card to keep up with the latest Orbx offerings.

Noel  

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8 hours ago, birdguy said:

I finally found myself sitting on the KORL runway after 37 minutes.  Personally that's unacceptable.

I agree that IS unacceptable Noel and if I was experiencing that then I too would almost certainly be consigning it to my bin of uninstalled products! Out of curiosity yesterday I measured the pause while loading Orlando into FSX (starting the flight at Kissimmee KISM just outside the boundary of the scenery) and it was just under 6 minutes (although it always feels longer while you are waiting!). That is surprising as I would have expected that P3Dv4 would be far better able to cope with resource intensive scenery than FSX. Indeed when I was buying Orlando my thoughts were that if it struggles in FSX I would at least be able to use it successfully when I eventually move to P3Dv4!

The loading times I am seeing with FSX however most likely reflect the fact that, of necessity when using FSX, most of my settings are not maxed out, with the autogen density slider just set at ‘dense’ for example. Of course this probably means that I am not seeing all the available autogen in Orlando but what I am seeing still looks pretty good and the flights have been smooth even on my fairly old mid-range rig. So perhaps before you chuck it in the bin, it might be worth giving it one last try with some of the sliders turned down, although I would not have expected to have to do that in P3D!

Bill

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5 minutes ago, scianoir said:

The loading times I am seeing with FSX however most likely reflect the fact that, of necessity when using FSX, most of my settings are not maxed out, with the autogen density slider just set at ‘dense’ for example. Of course this probably means that I am not seeing all the available autogen in Orlando but what I am seeing still looks pretty good and the flights have been smooth even on my fairly old mid-range rig. 

I don't think it's autogen as such being responsible for the exorbitant loading times. Autogen loads pretty much at the end, around 80% where Orlando isn't stuck much longer than other sceneries. 90% of the loading time is spent around the 6%, at least on my system. That's the stage where usually mesh is loaded, but I doubt mesh is that detailed in the area, thus it must be something else. From my feeling I can imagine it's the hand-crafted models (regulated using the "Scenery complexity" slider).

In any case, the designer will have to work on the issue (and keep it in mind for his next projects).

Kind regards, Michael

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3 hours ago, pmb said:

I don't think it's autogen as such being responsible for the exorbitant loading times. Autogen loads pretty much at the end, around 80% where Orlando isn't stuck much longer than other sceneries

Yes you are absolutely correct - the clue is that the long pause occurs during the "loading terrain data" segment", with those words staring me in the face as I waited!!

I agree they will need to work on the issue and I would imagine they are as the issue is the subject of a lot of posts particularly from P3D users over on the FTX support forum.

Bill

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Bill, my feeling is I have everything set on P3D to run satisfactory with everything else I have on my installation.  As I said I have all of the Orbx sceneries and both airline (MyTraffic) and shipping (Nielson Shipping) and other scenery addons from Aerosoft and RTMM.  I don't think I should have to change my setting just for one scenery.  I have the whole rest of the world to fly in: Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Europe and North America.  They should not have to suffer changes in my settings or worse, being disabled, just to fly around a single city.

I don't know if they will be able to make those ultra detailed sceneries load any faster on installations like mine on what is now I would guess a mid-range computer that is three years old.

It seems like new sim products are developed on the latest systems.  Back when FS9 was new we were always tweaking to make it run smoother and increase the frame rates.  Now I have what was a new computer three years ago and my FS2004 installed on a standard HD  really sings.  Frame rates never below 60.  I have two installations so I can run both MAIW and CalClassics retro scenery and ai propliners.   

Noel

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akriesman

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Hi Guys,

 

First, the goal of these Cityscenes is to keep all load times under 5 minutes max.    I will give you a little background history on things regarding the beta testing of this product.    This could get a big long and complicated.  So, bear with me.

 

We discovered early on that because of the number of custom buildings in this scenery, load times were quite long.   I myself as the developer had 3 test machines and my longest load time was 5 min 30 sec.  Others on the beta team had lower and others had much higher.   I think the highest was 12 minutes.

 

When your load times hang at the 6% mark, FSX/P3D is trying to load custom object models.     Nearly all CityScene objects are native custom models that are unique to the CityScene scenery.     Most scenery packages, not just CityScene products, have buildings that are placed in object libraries.    This allows them to be shared and reused by any scenery package.    The core simulator provides library objects.   Orbx provides a very large object library that is shared among lots of products.

 

Just to note, CityScene Orlando does not reference any object libraries.

 

During testing, we had reports that the sim was hanging at the 6% mark anywhere from 6 seconds to about 5 minutes max.    So, we spent a good week or so researching the issue to try and understand why some people had quick load times and others were dragging.

 

What we did is to use ProcMon (Process monitor) on P3D V4 and monitor the way scenery was being loaded.    We had always thought that the load times at the 6% mark were linear and depended on the amount of custom objects in a CityScene scenery.   But, that ended up not being true.  Instead, load times appear to grow exponentially depending on the number and size of object libraries active in the Scenery LIbrary.

 

What P3D is (apparently) doing for every BGL scenery file (going all the way back to FSX) is that it first searches through all active layers in the scenery library and makes a list of BGL files that are object libraries.    Then, as it loads regular BGL scenery files, it checks each object in the file to see if it is a library object.     If the users system has a lot of "libraries" of objects across their system, each one of these libraries seems to get searched for each object in the BGL file, even though it is pretty clear that a call to perform a library search is not necessary.

 

After discovering this, we realized that by disabling other products in the Scenery Library that are not relative to the Orlando region, the 6% load times dropped down to almost nothing.  In fact, on a clean system with only CityScene Orlando,  it takes me no more than 6 seconds to get through the 6 second load mark.    Because the Orbx libraries are very large and complex (and not used in Orlando), deactivating this layer alone during Orlando flights will have the greatest impact.

 

At this point, we have a short term and long term solution.    The short term solution we have identified in your User Guide, which is to disable other layers before flying in Orlando if your load times are excessive.

 

The long term solution I think is going to be to work with LM to find a solution.   As scenery products get more detailed with more custom objects in the future, load times are only going to get worse.    The load times are longer with CityScene products because they consist of tens of thousands of custom objects.  Autogen buildings are not used.   During loading process, the simulator should not be checking a standard local object (3D model) against all object libraries it found in the system. 

 

What I can tell you is that we would not have released this product, if we did not have a solution for load times.    Loading from an SSD vs a hard drive will probably make some difference.  But, if your system is hanging at 6% for an extended time, it is because it found ACTIVE object libraries on your system and is checking every CityScene object against them during loading.

 

I hope this makes sense.   I will be glad to answer any questions that I can.     I believe that products like CityScene are going to be the future of flight simulator scenery.    And, P3D is a major player for us here at Orbx.    So, my #1 priority in the very near future is to get with LM and see if we can find a solution (it seems like a simple one).     If that is not possible, we have a couple of other things to look at that will be less productive but still helpful.

 

In the meantime,  you have an option available to you now if you find your load times excessive.   That option has worked for every beta tester that needed to shorten their load times.

 

I can tell you that I am as impatient as they come.    During testing, I have to load and unload my scenery areas every few minutes.   If my load times were even 5 minutes, it would make testing really difficult.

 

We will be here to answer any questions you have.

 

Thanks,

Allen

 

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Ridiculous !  Disable everything else, not happening, won't buy it.

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Yeah, definitely not a feasible option. I do live streams of my flights and fly on VATSIM, I can't be doing this mid-flight.

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15 hours ago, Penzoil3 said:

Ridiculous !  Disable everything else, not happening, won't buy it.

 

15 hours ago, Captain Kevin said:

Yeah, definitely not a feasible option. I do live streams of my flights and fly on VATSIM, I can't be doing this mid-flight.

Whilst I can appreciate your views, disabling scenery library entries is actually a very feasible option if you use a scenery configurator. I have been using one for years (out of necessity in FSX to avoid OOMs as I have a huge amount of addon scenery) and I have created a bank of scenery cfgs for different scenarios depending on the type of flight I am planning. However I guess in P3Dv4, you do not have to worry about OOMs so you are generally able to keep all your library entries active. As such, I can understand your frustration in that you feel you should not have to resort to something like disabling the Orbx object library to achieve a reasonable loading time. However I think Orlando City Scene is just another example of scenery development outstripping the technology required to run it, something we have seen many times over the years in different platforms with various new scenery addons although in most cases the technology eventually seems to catch up with it. I found Allen's explanation as copied above quite informative and interesting and clearly Orbx are working on a long term solution.

For 'sightseeing' flights within highly detailed resource intensive scenery areas such as New York, Seattle, Washington DC, etc I have scenery configurations that are very specific to those areas with essentially all other unnecessary scenery library entries deactivated. For this reason I was quite happy to follow the advice to deactivate the Orbx object libraries (and some other object libraries that that I know won't be needed there) when creating a configuration for VFR flights using Orlando City Scene. . 

 For IFR flights however I am not usually too concerned about scenery detail, so my scenery configurations reflect this with most scenery library entries deactivated except for the origin and destination airports and any scenery that might be required related to these. Certainly if I am flying a PMDG 777 into KMCO, I am not particularly bothered about being able to see the huge Mickey Mouse hat in Disney MGM! For this reason in my various IFR scenery configurations any very detailed city scenery addons such as Aerosoft Manhattan, the various Drzewiecki city sceneries and now Orbx Orlando are deactivated. The great advantage of using a configurator is that you only have to do this once so it really is not a burden.

While clearly Orlando City Scene is not the object of much love on this forum :wink:, I have to say that I am impressed by how well it functions and how good it looks in FSX even with most of the sliders turned down. Indeed my loading time this morning was just 4 minutes 30 seconds which is about the average loading time on my set up for most scenarios and I completed another sightseeing flight in a Stearman of just under one hour from KISM around the scenery area including a touch and go at T2G KMCO followed by a full-stop landing at KORL. The flight was smooth with frame rates in the mid 20s and, using an aircraft with a low VAS footprint, I still had 0.8GB of VAS remaining at the end of the flight. To me in FSX that is a win!

Bill

 

 

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From Allen's post, it is a software problem ; not a hardware hasn't caught up problem.

" What P3D is (apparently) doing for every BGL scenery file (going all the way back to FSX) is that it first searches through all active layers in the scenery library and makes a list of BGL files that are object libraries.    Then, as it loads regular BGL scenery files, it checks each object in the file to see if it is a library object.     If the users system has a lot of "libraries" of objects across their system, each one of these libraries seems to get searched for each object in the BGL file, even though it is pretty clear that a call to perform a library search is not necessary. "

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Well, since I have every scenery item Orbx sells loaded and ready for me to fly anywhere, anytime I have a big problem.  I'm not about to give that up that convenience for a single city.  And how much time would it take me to go to the scenery library and uncheck eve3ry scenery I have just to fly around Orland?  And then repeat the process when I want to fly somewhere else?  Simply not worth it.

I'm no businessman but I would think that Orbx producing more cityscapes like Portland and Canberra and more airports like Bar Harbor and Sedona would bring in more revenue more quickly than one huge scenery like Orlando.  You can sell more chicken eggs in a basket than an ostrich egg in the same basket.   

From the 7,000 feet I normally fly my imagination can integrate what is not there in standard Orbx sceneries without all the preparation required to fly in Orlando.

I grew up in San Francisco and it's rendition in Northern California was a wow factor for me when I first flew it.  I recognize in my mind's eye the parks and the downtown area.  The same across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County where I learned to fly.  I recognize all the small towns.  Maybe not my house, but I can imagine where it was.

And when flying Orbx in locations I've never been like New Zealand I don't care if a street is missing in Wellington.

With the entire Orbx world installed on my system except for Netherlands and Orlando; along with My Traffic and Nielson Shipping and some Aerosoft airports and Return to Misty Moorings I load in just over 5 minutes.  Perfectly acceptable for me.  

 Noel

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I'm so on the fence with this Orlando scenery maybe I'll wait till they patch it. 40 mins loading time is nuts 

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Purchase on hold...till LM and Orbx get the fix for the sim.  Thank you for sharing.

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This why I don't think I will be in for the UK TE when it`s released I have all the UK regions I would most likely need to remove them to run it, and as UK based simmer but not a big VFR flyer I see no point, based on the fact I fly in Europe and US most of the time. 

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