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NickBo

Runway lights bug still present in MSFS?h

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I suppose most people are well aware of the runway and approach light issue that was introduced in FSX and has been plaguing FSX and Prepar3D ever since? I'm talking about the issue where some lights aren't shown until very late, depending on height and angle etc. It gives a very ugly popping appearance. There are many threads about it, e.g. http://www.prepar3d.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6312&t=133676

It's still present in Prepar3D and I've been seeing some worrying signs in various MSFS screenshot the last months that this bug is still present there. I didn't really want to believe it but in the last July screenshot batch I saw the screenshot from Matt987123 and now I'm pretty sure the bug is there.

I zoomed in and added some arrows. Can you see it? It looks exactly like the old FSX/Prepar3D light bug.

https://www.imageupload.net/image/htbjK

In that particular screenshot it looks like there are connecting taxiways around a few of the areas with missing lights but I don't think this has anything to do with it. There are other screenshot where this is not the case.

Can someone confirm or deny this issue? If it's there, please report it so it can finally be fixed after all these years.

By the way, isn't it really sad that they're still using exactly the same runway/airport light textures that were in FSX? The only differene I can tell from the screenshots is the centerline, the other lights appears to be straight out of FSX from 2006.

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MSFS runway lighting system is completely new, isn't possible repeat any bug from older sim.

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I'd argue that if it was the same bug you'd see a whole lot less lights further down the runway, as I've never seen it happen in FSX/P3D that a runway was so fully lit from such a distance and then just having one or two lights missing. It is always pretty symmetrical left and right side of runway for the edge lights for example. But I'll go check in FS2020... If you know which airport the screenshot is of I can even go check that one specifically.

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9 minutes ago, Prpn said:

I'd argue that if it was the same bug you'd see a whole lot less lights further down the runway, as I've never seen it happen in FSX/P3D that a runway was so fully lit from such a distance and then just having one or two lights missing. It is always pretty symmetrical left and right side of runway for the edge lights for example. But I'll go check in FS2020... If you know which airport the screenshot is of I can even go check that one specifically.

You may be right, although I've seen the lights being lit (and not lit) in exactly the same way as the screenshot in FSX/Prepar3D as well when approaching the runway from the right angle/direction. Hard to tell from a screenshot though.

Sorry, I don't known which airport. But if it's the same bug any fly-by over any airport would probably do. Thank you!

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27 minutes ago, ludekbrno said:

MSFS runway lighting system is completely new, isn't possible repeat any bug from older sim.

That's what I was assuming but after seeing several screenshots showing exactly the same phenomenon as the FSX/Prepar3D runway light bug I started to wonder so that's why I asked as it's hard to tell just from a few screenshots.

Where can we find info about the fact that the runway lighting system has been totally rewritten?

If it is totally new I still find it a bit sad that such talented developers spent hours and hours rewriting something but when it comes to the final touch, i.e. the textures, they just said "Oh well, let's reuse those old FSX textures from 2006 one more time". Maybe it's just me but on some screenshots (like the one I posted) when I see the runway at night I see the FSX look, not something brand new. Everything around it, including the other lights, looks astonishing though.

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Thanks for bringing this up. I posted about this very long ago and got some responses like "try changing your AA settings" or "change the size of runway lights", of course those didn't do anything. This continues to bug me today and I'm very disappointed that Prepar3D never fixed this. For the record, this issue is not present in Microsoft Flight.

As for the new simulator, from the footage I've seen I don't think this issue persists, and those missing lights are just that, missing lights. Not sure if it's some sort of bug, or if those lights are also missing from the real-world runway. As Prpn said, if this LOD issue were still present you would have fewer lights towards the end of the runway.

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This is by design apparently. ICAO omits recessed edge lighting depending on runway type, surface and lighting intensity requirements.


Bernard

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The last Microsoft simulator I owned was FSX, so take this with a grain of salt - but also remember that most runway lights are highly directional. So much that it is very hard/impossible to see the runway at night when flying abeam of it. I am not sure how P3D does it, but if they simulate the effect (like X-Plane does as well) of you having to be "inside the cone" to see them, then it is very possible that you could see some (distant) runway lights, but not those that you are closer to, because you are "outside of the cone".

Now in real life the cone isn´t a digital all or nothing thing. You can still see the lit fixture of the light (reflector, glass,...) even when outside the cone. But I would rather (for realism) see nothing when outside the cone than seeing the bright "string of light" runways in the distance all around when not somewhat aligned with their centerlines...

In real life the runway is the hardest thing to see at night when approaching an airport within a city. It is usually the place that is dark, and often - even on final approach - the runway lights are way more dim than the lights on the apron or surrounding area. There is no need for the pilot to see the runway from 30 miles - in fact this setting of light intensity would only blind (and destroy his night adaption) when getting closer.

Cheers, Jan

 

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I remember seeing a "visible at distance" parameter somewhere in the MSFS files for a particular element.  It's likely this could be adjusted either by Asobo or by the user at a later date.

Hook


Larry Hookins

 

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

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First of all thank you very much for bringing up this thread. I've been pointing out light issues since a long time and seen no progress along any of the updates, videos, leaks and so forth.

 

20 hours ago, ludekbrno said:

MSFS runway lighting system is completely new, isn't possible repeat any bug from older sim.

Well just for the record, it is very well possible to reintroduce a past bug even with new code. 😂

 

20 hours ago, NickBo said:

Where can we find info about the fact that the runway lighting system has been totally rewritten?

I think nowhere. They just say the system has been "improved" and that the lights would spawn along runways and taxiways. Although I really think that's what they always did. At that very point in the video the problem is again obvious. Another example is one of the current pre-order background images. And I would definitely say it has to do with taxiway intersections. This is pretty much wrong altogether compared to many real-world examples. Of course I can't comment on the entire globe but from my observations it's usually like this: Whenever a runway has elevated edge lights on those little posts (as we thankfully now have in 3D in MSFS!), they will change to the embedded or inset type whenever necessary, i. e. at taxiway intersections where you have to taxi over the lights. I can't recall any airport that I have seen so far that interrupts edge lights because a taxiway intersects.

The same thing applies in other situations, think of displaced thresholds and approach lights. In front of the actual runway surface the lights may very well be of the elevated type. However with a displaced threshold you might use the entire runway for takeoff, hence you need to move the aircraft on ground even in front of the actual (landing) threshold, where the ALS is. Hence, the approach lights will obviously change to the embedded type from the beginning of the physical runway up to the threshold so you can safely taxi on them.

 

19 hours ago, Janov said:

The last Microsoft simulator I owned was FSX, so take this with a grain of salt - but also remember that most runway lights are highly directional. So much that it is very hard/impossible to see the runway at night when flying abeam of it. I am not sure how P3D does it, but if they simulate the effect (like X-Plane does as well) of you having to be "inside the cone" to see them, then it is very possible that you could see some (distant) runway lights, but not those that you are closer to, because you are "outside of the cone".

Now in real life the cone isn´t a digital all or nothing thing. You can still see the lit fixture of the light (reflector, glass,...) even when outside the cone. But I would rather (for realism) see nothing when outside the cone than seeing the bright "string of light" runways in the distance all around when not somewhat aligned with their centerlines...

In real life the runway is the hardest thing to see at night when approaching an airport within a city. It is usually the place that is dark, and often - even on final approach - the runway lights are way more dim than the lights on the apron or surrounding area. There is no need for the pilot to see the runway from 30 miles - in fact this setting of light intensity would only blind (and destroy his night adaption) when getting closer.

Thank you very much, I completely agree. Again something I pointed out several times. I just wish they had implemented these features so at least 3PD could have maximum flexibility in designing their lighting systems using the SDK, even if they would not use these options themselves (think of alternative runway markings, they have been present in FSX and were available via the SDK but AFAIK not used in any of the stock scenery).

It's just as you say: usually, especially from high above and outside the "cone" the by far most prominent features will be the apron flood lights IMO. If you are abeam a runway it may be quite hard to see it. The edge lights, even if elevated, may be unidirectional or omnidirectional (I wish they had that as an option in the SDK). Runway and taxiway center line and approach lights are almost exclusively unidirectional, taxiway edges usually elevated and omnidirectional. Unless you are somewhat aligned with them the unidirectional ones are pretty much invisible, especially from distance.

Another thing that bugs me is that many parts of the lighting system (especially ALS and center line) would usually be deactivated irl on inactive runways. In FS and probably all other sims they are active all the time, all together, in whatever conditions. If we get a built-in ATC function (where you can act as controller) I'd really have switchable lights (and navaids...) on my wish list in the longer term.

Even more, the activation of lights in general could use some major tweaking as well. In clear conditions the lights should be at very low intensity. With fog and low ceilings coming up the sequenced flashes will join in. As these are usually flash tubes they are very bright irl so it's super unrealistic to have them on in a clear night, just as we see it in the sim. Can't say for sure but I believe they are on all the time. Also during daylight CAVOK... I really can't comprehend why this is still unfixed. Same for their duration, even in the latest videos the flashes and the REILs fade in and out unrealistically as they ever have, not giving the realistic impression they should have. Guess there is still work left for the upcoming 10 years.

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Regarding runway edge lighting (my emphasis added):

Quote

ICAO - Annex 14 - Aerodromes

5.3.9.6 The lights shall be uniformly spaced in rows at intervals of not more than 60 m for an instrument runway, and at intervals of not more than 100 m for a non-instrument runway. The lights on opposite sides of the runway axis shall be on lines at right angles to that axis. At intersections of runways, lights may be spaced irregularly or omitted, provided that adequate guidance remains available to the pilot.

Some examples of omitted/irregular edge lighting:

Runway+lights+2.png.jpg

main-qimg-b4b76226b87ff58d94f767abfe1f23

3.jpg

icao_icaiw.jpg.b068c01a9085840fc1b1b0e4f

ALS_Geneva-e1571665532122.png

ALS_GVA.png

PAPI_Geneva.png

bsafw3kbw9z21.jpg

Landing_at_Zurich_International_Airport.

 

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Bernard

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On 7/26/2020 at 11:06 AM, ludekbrno said:

MSFS runway lighting system is completely new, isn't possible repeat any bug from older sim.

"I have learned from my mistakes, and am sure I can repeat them exactly"

 

(Peter Cook)

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On 7/26/2020 at 4:11 AM, Janov said:

 

In real life the runway is the hardest thing to see at night when approaching an airport within a city. It is usually the place that is dark,

Absolutely true, I actually once got lost over LA at night, the visibility was perfect and I was navigating VFR (no GPS yet) and failed to see lights of my destination airport - Burbank. The surrounding city lights simply overpowered any airport lighting, could not see runway or airport beacon. Had to land at wrong airport (El Monte) and this time with the help of controllers I was able to find my destination. Even though the controller told me Burbank should be 3 miles at 12 o'clock I still could not be 100% sure I actually had airport in sight. Did not have problems finding other (even small) airports at night which were far from major towns.

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Michael J.

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14 hours ago, andyjohnston.net said:

It doesn't take much to rile some people up.  Runway lights are like everything else in a program like this.  The closer you get, the more they will resolve themselves.  As you get closer, there are more pixels available to draw any individual item/effect/texture/whatever.

Maybe it doesn't sound like a big deal to you but with all due respect you obviously don't know which bug we're talking about here. It has been present since FSX and is still just as present in Prepar3D v5. That's almost 15 years. LM confirmed the bug years ago but they never fixed it. It has absolutely nothing to do with performance/hardware/configuration/visibility, it's a hardcoded LOD radius combined with flawed logic that makes runway lights go on and off in a very deterministic and horrible pattern which is a total immersion killer. It affects every single airport, stock and addons, everywhere in the world. So yes for some people it's pretty bad, especially combined with the fact that the developer never created a fix.

From the MSFS screenshots posted every now and then I noticed the runway light irregularities and thought it might be the same bug so that's why I wanted to ask. As you can see for yourself in the MSFS screenshots it has nothing to do with "available pixels" as you call it. As it seems, they have now implemented the omitting of runway lights at taxiway intersections so hopefully that would explain all of the irregularities.

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