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MarioDonick

My view on MFS -- Performance on weak PCs, Pros and Cons

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So, I want to share my views on MFS, too. Especially reading all the very negative statements here, which let MFS look as if it was one of the worst simulators / games ever released. Which is clearly not the case.

 

Disclaimer

Some may remember me as mostly an X-Plane user and involved with some 3rd party developers (vFlyteAir, Aerobask), and I usually write X-Plane related reviews and guides for the German FS MAGAZIN, so you may of course assume I'm biased. But I always try to not be and be very fair in my judgements. So, before I go into detail about what I like in MFS and what I don't yet like I want to state clearly: MFS is a revolution for the flight simulation world and has changed my personal flight sim use sooner than I imagined. While I will of course continue to use X-Plane (and to a lower extent also AeroflyFS, and even Flight Gear), I guess my main simulator is now MFS. And I honestly did not believe I would say that so soon.

 

Performance Considerations for my weak PC

My opinion is based on using MFS on my weak PC (Intel i5-6600 @ 3.30 GHz, NVidia GTX960 (4 GB VRAM), 32 GB RAM). I use VSYNC capped at 30 FPS. 

My goal is to get between 25 to 35 FPS, which is what I am used to from my X-Plane flying.

I can live with occassional stutters, as long as these are not too frequent. I am also used to not having anti aliasing, so I keep that off usually.

I have the following settings:

 

Spoiler

Full Screen Resolution: 1920x1080

Render Scaling: 100
Anti-Aliasing: Off
Terrain Level of Detail: 50
Terrain Vector Data: Medium
Buildings: High
Trees: Low
Grass and Bushes: Low
Objects Level of Detail: 50
Volumetric Clouds: Low
Texture Resolution: Medium
Anisotropic Filtering: 4x
Texture Supersampling: 4x4
Texture Synthesis: Low
Water Waves: Low
Shadow Maps: 768
Terrain Shadows: 256
Contact Shadows: Low
Windshield Effects: Medium
Ambient Occclusion: Medium
Reflections: off
Light Shafts: Low
Depth of Field: Off
Lens Correction: On
Lens Flare: On
Use Generic Plane Models (AI): Off
Use Generic Plane Models (Multiplayer): Off
 

When flying the included General Aviation planes (up to TBM930-size), or the Carenado C182, these settings work just fine for my aforementioned FPS goal -- even in New York City and Los Angeles.

When flying big airliners, esp. the 747, but also the A320 and 787, my FPS are lower than my personal goal, even in not so populated areas. They drop to 20, sometimes 17-18 FPS while near the ground. This creates a similar effect I know from X-Plane: Time is slowed down, so real-world time and sim time do not match, and everything feels sluggish. In these cases, I reduce render scaling to 80%, but keep the full screen resolution and switch on FXAA antialiasing -- and I move my screen a few centimeters backwards. Not an ideal solution, but this way I can fly even the 747 with my 25-FPS goal from many airports at takeoff with a pleasing visual experience, and FPS get better at travel altitude. But with the 747 at KLAX or KJFK, I just have to accept the fact that my system is not strong enough for that.

 

What do I like about MFS?

I guess I am lucky: My real-world hometown (Magdeburg in central Germany) is included with photogrammetric data -- so when I first started MFS, did my very first flight in the CTLS (which is somewhat similar to the C42 ultra light I fly in the real world) and flew my standard sightseeing tour over my town -- I. Was. Blown. Away. Formerly, I used X-Plane with Ortho4XP-based Google imagery and World2X-Plane buildings, which was already stunning. But seeing even complex buildings in the city like the Green Citadel (created by famous architect F. Hundertwasser), the cathedral, and even the house where I live in with correct shapes, small details, correct colors was so incredible that ... I find it very hard to go back to my previous way of flying.

Flying the CTLS felt quite natural. As others said, planes are quite nervous, esp. in pitch and rudder, but after getting used to it and adjusting control sensitivity, I could fly just fine.

Then I explored the world. And explored. And continue to explore. Some places are stunning, others are mediocre, when the Bing map resolution is low (the area around Palm Springs, for example, does look better in Orbx True Earth California South). But the overall experience is just great.

I also made several IFR flights, mainly in the C208, the TBM-930, the A320 and the B747. Especially with the C208 and TBM-930, I had several very satisfactory flights where everything went just fine (in the TBM, I first forgot to switch on the autopilot main switch on the overhead panel, but with that on, all was fine). I think it is very important to set up the flight plan in MFS's flight planner; even approach and STAR, because my impression is that programming the flight in the cockpit does not work as reliable.

I was also surprised that the various variations of glas cockpits are quite plausible. Their systems depth is low, but what is included is really not bad. One can get a good impression how a G3000 differs from a G1000, and how GNS430/530 work. I have seen worse.

Finally, I like the weather depiction. Others mentioned that real-world weather is not current (sometimes 1 hour old, sometimes not working at all), but I have not noticed that so far. Whenever I switched on live weather, I got it. Maybe I was lucky.

 

But not everything is perfect.

I noticed autopilot issues in airliners a lot, especially when I did not set up a whole flight in the flight planner, but tried to program the FMS on my own. Also, sometimes basic modes in the 747 like HDG or VS, or auto throttle, did not work as expected. On other times, all was well. More than the issues themselves, it is the unpredictability of the issues that I don't like -- if you know that under condition X problem Y arises, you can prepare a workaround. But if sometimes under condition X everything is fine, and sometimes problem Y arises, and sometimes problem Z, seemingly randomly, it can become frustrating.

That's why I refrain from airliner flying currently, even under good FPS conditions (see above). If a 2 hours flight goes fine for 1:30 and in the descent phase the autopilot gets crazy, this spoils the whole fun. Of course I could pretend that these are "simulated failures" and then fly manually, but this is also not an option all the time.

Then there's the missing airports problem. In my area, several important airports are missing (like EDOV or ETNL), because of bad Bing data. it was a real disappointment when I started at Magdeburg (EDBM), headed for Stendal (EDOV), and the flight itself was great, only to notice that the airfield was missing. Really disappointing. And then I noticed more and more missing airfields. I wish in cases of bad Bing data, developers should have used other sources as well.

 

Final Words

I guess the things mentioned in my previous section are the real show stoppers for the critics here at the forums. If one wants to use MFS in its current state for plausible airliner flying, it is not possible in a reliable way.

General discrepancies in default aircraft compared with real-world planes have always been the case in default state (regardless if FS2004, FSX, AeroflyFS or X-Plane), so they are no show-stopper for me.

So in general, if one wants to fly VFR, MFS offers a lot of possibilities. IFR with the smaller airplanes can be done quite fine, too, but I suggest to plan the flight in the flight planner for now, since I _think_ the autopilot works more reliable this way.

Edited by MarioDonick
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Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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Good review, thanks.

Yes, the missing airports are a bummer for me too. My home town airport, EHEH, the second largest in the Netherlands, I heard is missing too because of it being blurred in Bing ... while it is in plain view in Google in a detail where I can count the tiles in the pavement.

Let's hope the autopilot issues get resolved in an update, they're working on it.

Edited by RudyB24

Always have fun.

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6 hours ago, RudyB24 said:

My home town airport, EHEH, the second largest in the Netherlands

Oh, well, this is of cause really disappointing. I hope that this can be fixed either by freeware community or maybe even by the devs themselves, at some point, even though they might have other priorities right now

(among others: such as live weather's not working for some people (or ot giving the expected results, because people expect METAR-like weather _reports_ but instead get a modelled _forecast_ of weather which may or may not be precise).


Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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Yeah, the developers have a lot to cope with right now. I hope they, and their managers, can remain calm and set their priorities right. I guess first priority now is to resolve the download and install issues ... these can really frustrate people. Then we have the frame rates and the stuttering. Then there's a lot of work on planes, control sensitivity, auto pilots ... and finally ... after a year or so ... EHEH. 🙂 I'll get the sim anyhow though.

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Always have fun.

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7 minutes ago, Flyfaster said:

Drop the render scaling to 80

Yes, I mentioned that regarding flying the 747:

Quote

When flying big airliners, esp. the 747, but also the A320 and 787, my FPS are lower than my personal goal, even in not so populated areas. They drop to 20, sometimes 17-18 FPS while near the ground. This creates a similar effect I know from X-Plane: Time is slowed down, so real-world time and sim time do not match, and everything feels sluggish. In these cases, I reduce render scaling to 80%, but keep the full screen resolution and switch on FXAA antialiasing -- and I move my screen a few centimeters backwards. 

 


Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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