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Guest JohnEGPF

Interesting FSX observations

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I will start this post off with some facts.I have been flight simming since I started owning personal computers since 1990. I have been building my own hardware for the last 10 years. I know the technology and what makes it work. I have been artistically and creatively involved with Flight simulator and several other popular combat flight simulators for a good bit of the last 5-7 years. When ANY flight or combat flight related sim has been released, there have been problems. Both hardware and software related. As far as I can recall, most of the time, the cutting edge system users have good experiences and overall are satisfied with what they see. I am not sensing this with FSX. It's not a good sign. I am noting a different tone with the release of FXS. We always have the whiners. We always get the revelations about real world system requirements versus whats on the box. We always have the folks who find the magical "fix" to whatever new problem has arisen due to new versions. I see all of that here and at a few other forums which I read. What I note that is different now, is the dearth of threads that say "all is well", "we have reached a new nirvana", "I am ecstatic". I see very limited and tepid reviews where performance is mentioned. I'm not 100% sure at this point, but by first responder accounts, it's appearing as if MS may have laid an egg with this one. I have a fast machine, not the latest and greatest, but it's run EVERYTHING I have thrown at it very well. It ran the beta 3(I am a beta tester) version of this new software acceptably with default settings prior to final release code. I have access to the release code but have not run it yet. What I see is that for us here, the limited few who exploit the sim as a BASIS for greater things, its not going to be tenable or viable until we make a rather big leap in technology. Having the sim run with NO autogen, and limited texture resolutions defeats the purpose of having the program. It's not running acceptably on ANYONES machine as far as I can tell. This was definitely NOT the case during the last few go arounds with this title. We saw some problems for folks who had mid life rigs, but the ones who had the latest and greatest hardware could run it actually quite well. I'm worried that this is not the case this time around. MS may just have reached a bit too far and this does not bode well for the future. I can imagine the frustration for the average user who is trying a flight sim for the first time. That in and of itself is very bad as MS planned this version to be geared towards bringing more casual users into the fold. I fear the opposite may indeed happen. This is just my opinion and I hope that time proves me wrong. I think it would be more appropriate at this point to seek out those who have systems that can run this with some minor scenery upgrades and SOME AI at frame rates near 25 or so. Anything less is just dismal as far as I'm concerned. For me both FS2002 and FS9 were enjoyingly playable with a good bit of the new features enabled and running. Flame suit is on, I just have an ugly sense about this one.Hornit

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Hornit I keep trying to tell people this one reminds me of FS2000 only worse. This is a very unique can of worms we have. If Aces does nothing and this thing is left to the community to ponder over whose to say how this is going to shake out. FS9 may be around allot longer than people once thought... Even if the autogen issue is addressed, the sim is still a poor performer and add-ons are going to catch #### running on top of it.I personally don

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Guest Jimbofly

I have to disagree. I find the sim works very well on my machine, but agreed that is with autogen turned off. HOWEVER:I have mesh complexity turned up to 100%, mesh resolution turned up to 1m, terrain texture resolution turned up to 1m, water turned up to 2.X max, and I have 20% vehicle traffic and generally low traffic density all around. Oh, and I have scenery complexity up to dense.The sim looks FAR better than FS9 ever did or ever could. The reason behind this is that the textures in general are done a lot better, the clouds look much more real, the sky is a much more realistic colour, the transitions from night to day are done more subtly and a lot better, the sensation of flight is greatly improved due to the fact that winds and up/downdraughts are done a lot better, transitions from one wind direction to the next are a lot smoother, the water, well, the water looks incredible, the helo flight dynamics are greatly improved (thanks ms!), the stutters (or lack thereof) are an improvement over what was in FS9, the buildings look a lot better, the ability to go into space opens up the door to a myriad of very exciting missions down the track, the missions are brilliant and could not have been done better, and the general fluidity is great.My point is, that even with no autogen the sim is still far better than FS9 (don't get me wrong, I loved FS9). I guess it really depends on what you want to get out of a sim.

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I've been beta tester for FS2004 and FSX. I've got a mid-high range system (3 GHZ P4, 9800 Pro with 128 megs of ram, 1 gig of dual channel memory, etc). I've been fiddling around with RTM version for last 2-3 days. I've tried just about everything I can think of and the only way I can get it flyable is to turn just about everything off or to minium settings. And in this state it looks a lot like FS 2004, without the autogen and without any of my 3rd party addons (autogen even at minimum setting brings my computer to a halt).And even then I get weird graphical glitches and blurry ground textures. With every other version of FS that's ever come out, I've always uninstalled the previous version and never looked back as soon new version came out. This is the first time that I'm going to go back to FS2004 until either A) I buy a new machine or :( They release a patch, neither of which is likely to happen anytime soon. It's unfortunate, because there really is some cool new features in FSX and it looks amazing. I just don't have the hardware to turn any of them on. For those of you that are seeing good results, I'm envious.For everyone thinking about buying FSX, I would say don't bother just yet unless you have a very high end system. And even then, don't uninstall FS2004 until you're sure FSX will run acceptably.I do have hopes that the situation with FSX will improve one way or another in the next few weeks or months. And I think in 6 months to a year when I get around to buying a new system, I'll be very happy with FSX.Matt

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Guest

better than default FS9? sure. better than FS9 with addons? In some repects, yes, but like Ive said before, FSX was supposed to cure the performance issues because it was being built with a graphics engine capable of taking advantage of DX9 and DX10 when it came out, to take the load off of the CPU and allow better performance. Instead, we are seeing that running FS9 maxed with all addons, cannot run DEFAULT FSX without significantly lowering the sliders

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Well I understand your comment but for me personally, autogen is essential. I find that landing and takeoff without it are total immersion killers at this point. Without autogen I feel like I'm flying over google earth. Do you do the missions without autogen? Hornit

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Guest Jimbofly

FSX default does actually look more real than FS9 with addons, and definitely flies better. Atmospheric hues, for instance, stars, terrain texture details from high altitude, clouds, aircraft window reflections (including from inside) all look better.James

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Guest Jimbofly

Yep. I find I'm concentrating on too many other things to worry about autogen.Don't forget there will be downloads of textures for autogen fairly soon that will solve most of the autogen performance problems anyway. A lot of it is to do with the textures being used with the autogen trees.James

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Guest Dan G Martin

Hi there Dillon I get good flyable (in fact more than just flyable performance) on two very different machines one is a older P4 with an ATI x700 with 256Mb DDR3(128 bit wide data bus on the card) and only 768Mb ram and I still get about 16 to 20 FPS with most settings set low and water effects at nil. My second machine is a AMD 4800 dual core on a ASUS M2N32-SLI with 2 Gb DDR2 800 MHZ memory with two Nvidia GeForce 7950 video cards. Both systems have one thing in common though and that is they both have Western Digital Raptor drives in them. The P4 has a 37 GB version and the AMD rig has a 150 GB Raptor. Both systems Raptors are dedicated to FSX and are "clean" I.E. the older machine drive has been re-formatted and the newer Machine's Raptor is brand new (I just installed it to-night). Do I get better performance from the newer machine? of course I do but that's not the point it's that they both run FSX fine. It's very important that your hard drive is as clean as it can be due to the large number of files that have to be loaded into memory and then sent across the bus to your video card. If your disk is badly fragged you WILL get poor performance from an app like FS. As for dual core processors there are few if any consumer apps that could really take advantage of dual core processors. Writing code for multable cores is not easy for starters and an app like FSX has a very large number of tasks to handle and it's it's truly an art to balance how much time you give to each task. In fact I would say the coding for your task manager in something like Flight Sim must be VERY difficult to say the least. You and many others should read the post by the dude who led the terrain engine design team to get a glimpse of how much thought and time goes into task switching. Plus he did give some ideas on how to tweak the settings for better performance BTW. Dan Martin Team Flight Ontario

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Ok I see two beta testers offering opinions which are appreciated. My question is does MS listen to the beta testers? Does MS know the machine specs of the beta testers? I get the impression that private beta is not working well, given also the number of bugs that were reported in the wider community when the demo was released.Another opinion I got was that FSX in fact was and is beta 4 but they rushed to get it released so to expect many bugs and maybe two or three patches (including the DX10)...any truth to that?Performance has always been the critical factor and it seems that FSX is clearly behind the hardware curve at this time.We all wait hoping each new release will give better flying performance but it seems not to be the case. Better visuals , yes, but slide show flying is no fun.Mine will arrive next Tuesday so I brace for the pain...fortunately it has a money back guaranteeBill

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Ok some users are reporting good perf but not actually stating which version of FSX they are using. If you are using the demo version (as I suspect) and as Jimbofly admitted in the other thread then that would help exaplain it. Yes the demo has 90% water so it runs alot faster!

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Very well said. I think many of us who have been through the initial stages of the last 3-4 version have much the same feeling. There is, indeed, something "different" about this one. I can't find the retail version so I can't really comment except to say that there are far to many negatives from high-end users at this stage of the game. As you said, time will tell, and I'm still looking for some detailed feedback from a select group of folks whose input I've learned to trust, but, for now, it looks like both the average users and the developers that rely on them are in for a rough ride.Doug

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Autogen is indeed a problem, as described above. I use the demo and it simply does not work. However, we were told that Beta-3 preceeded the demo and that the demo autogen problem would be solved in the final. So, how do people with decent machines find operation with autogen??The textures are based upon real-life photos far beyond an artist to create. As such they form a highlight of the program making it very worthwhile. The high resolution (1 meter/pixel) of these textures provides an exciting experience. Photo-real scenery at .3m/pixel will allow you to eliminate the computer generated runways and taxiways. Look at Gottfried Razek's .3m/pixel presentation of the Half Moon Bay, California airport and it runs under FS2004! I think that the bitter pill has been the autogen. Is this fixed in the final of FSX???? If not, Microsoft has a problem and a need for a patch, if it is indeed repairable.Other than autogen are there any other "major" areas of concern???Dick near airport 5G8AMD 2ghz, 1mb, ATI 9800SE 128mb

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A comment about autogen...The lower settings for autogen in fsx make it about the same as the highest autogen settings on fs9.There really is no mystery-if you crank fsx autogen all the way up-it is drawing 10 fold the objects fs9 did. If you run at normal to low fsx autogen settings (which would be about the same as fs9 at high) , you should get about the same performance as fs9.However, with the new photo real textures-turning the autogen up covers these textures with autogen-so you really can't see them well-and I feel reality at altitude > say 150 ft. is thus lost.Imho there is nothing that needs to be fixed here-but it would be nice to have a way to leave autogen on for next to the earth and then have it vanish at a certain altitude-performance and reality would be thus enhanced. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg

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Dan, You say you have a new machine with 2 NVidia 7950 cards in it. How,exactly, does THAT machine run FSX? Tell us what kind of performance you're getting with those cards, since right now, they are pretty much "state of the art". I'm a little curious especially because I'm expecting my new computer by the end of the month with dual 7950 cards, 4gigs of Ram, and Intel 2.66 (Conroe)processor.I'm hoping that my FSX experience is better than a lot of what I've been reading here. Stan

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>>However, with the new photo real textures-turning the autogen>up covers these textures with autogen-so you really can't see>them well-and I feel reality at altitude > say 150 ft. is thus>lost.I agree. I turned auto-gen off while flying over photo-real city areas, as you mentioned the other day, and preferred it that way. Just looks more real with some altitude.>>Imho there is nothing that needs to be fixed here-but it would>be nice to have a way to leave autogen on for next to the>earth and then have it vanish at a certain>altitude-performance and reality would be thus enhanced. Yes, that would be a good option too.Overall, I'm more pleased than not with FSX. Could never run the sim until yesterday. L.Adamson

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Guest htwingnut

The comments about dual core sounds more like an excuse than an opportunity to get it done right. Programmers, especially Microsoft, should be at the forefront of this technology (multi-core / CPU) considering they've made OS's (Win2000, Server 2003, etc) that manage multiple CPU's.Programmers better get used to it because this technology isn't going away, if anything it is going to get more complex with quad cores coming to fruition real quickly. I'm tired of excuses, and for once would like to see a developer who is charging the customer a decent sum of money to actually deliver something that works well out of the box.In this case with FSX, just running the autogen as a separate thread sent to a separate core would have probably greatly improved overall performance. And the developers had to know that was the bottleneck, but made a bad decision, if it was even a consideration to have been a decision to make!That being said, I like FSX because FS9 ground textures looked like crap. I am hoping that autogen issues will be addressed by MS in short order. I can't imagine that changing ground textures as someone had stated, would improve performance because that is strictly a video card task, and my video card isn't being taxed much by FSX.

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>A comment about autogen...>The lower settings for autogen in fsx make it about the same>as the highest autogen settings on fs9.>>There really is no mystery-if you crank fsx autogen all the>way up-it is drawing 10 fold the objects fs9 did. If you run>at normal to low fsx autogen settings (which would be about>the same as fs9 at high) , you should get about the same>performance as fs9.>Maybe... But I get 100FPS with FS9 in the same condition. not 15FPS.Manny

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Guest htwingnut

First things first. I know I am a newb here at these forums, so "HELLO". That being said, I have been an avid flight simulation enthusiast since I was probably 10 years old, which puts my flight sim experience going on about 24 years now. My PC is no slouch - Athlon64 X2 4800+, 2GB DDR500, 7900 GT Superclocked (eVGA). I am running at 1024x768 resolution.I was frustrated with FSX at first because I made the bone-headed mistake of not moving the frame rate slider to "unlimited" this resolved lots of concerns as I was only getting 10fps with all settings at minimum (duh!). Setting it to unlimited opened up the frames to vsync framerates (60fps - 16ms response LCD).I can say right now that video card performance is *NOT* a factor here. With autogen, this program is entirely CPU limited. I can pretty much max everything, put autogen on none, and frames are in the 30-40's. Turn on autogen and forget it - 8-10fps in the air, with nearly impossible rates on the ground.I really hope that this can be resolved with a patch because I can't see myself being able to upgrade my system (as my the 939 pin AMD's aren't getting any faster) in the near future. But I don't think anything short of a 6000+ equivalent will be able to manage this well.

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>Ok I see two beta testers offering opinions which are>appreciated. My question is does MS listen to the beta>testers? Does MS know the machine specs of the beta testers? We can't really respond to that question.But, I've been involved in many beta tests and, in general, the results of beta testing is just one of many factors that help the developers decide when a software product gets released. Other factors (such as timing of Christmas shopping season, demands of the accounting department, etc.) are somtimes the primary driving force.I'd just like to add, that I do think FSX does have great potential. The improvements over FS9 do go way beyond "eye-candy". It's just going to take us all a while to get our hardware upgraded and software tweaked to the point of seeing a lot of the improvements.Matt

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Geofa, I ran two of the beta test builds just like you are doing. Medium settings with a small sample of AI. I even turned off the airport vehicles and road traffic almost totally. This does give very acceptable and smooth frame rates here. I ran without bloom and water at a medium setting which still is a HUGE improvement over FS9. To me it's a crippled sim without this extra "stuff". On my P4EE at 3.6ghz, 2G of ram, Win XP Home, and a Radeon X800XL it was very good. I have NOT installed the last demo, nor the Retail release as of yet. I am just going by what I have seen. It actually seems that the Retail version has something big going wrong that was not a problem for demo users concerning autogen so comparing these two versions is tricky at best. I agree that the autogen is far superior to FS9 at even the lowest settings, your statements are correct. What worries me is that folks with much faster machines than mine are seemingly very dissapointed with the low settings required to fly at a reasonable frame rate. I think most of us do agree that there should be some autogen available for the low and slow croud and something to look at on approach and on the ground. No autogen is not acceptable for me. I would like to be able to run with sparse or something equal to FS9 with reasonable frame rates and no stutters. I also don't agree with your comment about the comparison between the two sims and frame rates. I can run FS9 on this box with full autogen easily. When FS9 came out I could not, but at least I COULD run it at the two lowest autogen settings and get decent frame rates, right out of the box. I got rid of 2002 almost immediately due to that. I just don't see that happening here. I believe we are going to need the NEXT CPU levels, and post DX10 video cards to run this really well even at medium settings. It's a shame really and I see big problems for the casual users as I stated above.

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Could you run fs9 with full real weather downloads without getting a hit? That was the biggest complaint when fs2004 came out-and I can still bring fs9 to its knees with a real weather download.You don't get more without a penalty-that is the name of the game.In the screen shot forum someone posted shots of fsx with different autogen settings-that is exactly the kind of performance I see on my rig. Actually-all are acceptable-and all can be changed on the fly depending on the type of flying one wants to do.We always need the next cpu/video card for the fs series-its been that way since fs1.http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg

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Guest Coneman

The autogen slider seems to control mostly the structures, and on low settings it doesn't even come close to max in FS9 (this is the latest demo). I'm convinced most of the frame rate hit comes from the trees, and they don't seem to be affected by the slider, unless it's full off, then the sim is very smooth. So there are a number of things I don't understand:1. The beta testers never noticed the huge performance issues that are evident? And if they did MS just plowed ahead?2. Why the autogen seems to suck the life out of the sim. I don't see it as being vastly different from FS9, although there are more tree varieties. It's a huge step backward in peformance, for little gain in appearance.3. Why the slider doesn't control both the trees and structures. Or the option of separate sliders would be helpful.4. Why should we settle for having to fly with no autogen, when the issue may be with the coding? I'm certainly not going to part with $70 to go back to FS2000 style flying, no matter how nice the ground textures look. That's progress?Cheers,Todd

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Beta testers can not comment on the process.For me the trees are the biggest improvement in the autogen and I'd like lose the other stuff like buildings that cover the photo real textures. Go fly in different regions-the tree differences and variety including turning colors at different times are amazing. As far as the slider not controlling trees-are you sure about that? I agree-it would be molto useful to have a slider to control the trees/buildings seperately-great idea!Then I am partial to trees:-) http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...g_id=1699&page=http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg

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