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yanfeng12342000

Asobo should get rid of the smoothing effect of mountains

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Realistic scenery is one of the biggest advantages of MSFS, but there is one weak point: mountains. The mountains of MSFS look too smooth and rounded compared with other sims and Google Earth.

At first I thought It's because MSFS was using low resolution terrain mesh. So I waited eagerly for the Japan and US world update which significantly increased the terrain mesh up to the incredible 1m resolution.  After the update I took several flights to some mountain areas, and to my disappointment I can find no perceivable improvement anywhere. For verification I took a comparison picture from Google Earth. The location is Mammoth Yosemite airport runway 27 facing southwest. According to the updated elevation data map it’s 1m or 2m elevation data, but it does not look like that high resolution at all. It looks like 100m! My computer is 9900K + RTX 3090 with every graphic option set to ultra, and I cleared the rolling cache. I used to fly a lot from this airport on FSX with FS Global Ultimate terrain mesh which is 32m and it’s much better than this.

So I think the smooth and rounded look of moutains is not only caused by low terrain mesh, but also some kind of algorithm that decides the ruggedness of the surface of the mountains. The smoothing effect of MSFS on mountains is definitely too much and thus making them looking too soft and rounded. If that's the case it would be relatively easier to solve by just changing the algorithm. Google Earth has a built-in option to change the ruggedness of the mountains. Of course the world terrain mesh should still be improved gradually to make it more realistic. Both factor should be taken into consideration.

I have included some comparison pics below. The first two are Mammoth Yosemite airport from MSFS and Google Earth. The latter two are Mount Cook from MSFS and Google Earth, which is the same location north of the Cook airport.  from a slightly different angle. There are some areas in MSFS that do have rugged look and it’s the effect of the texture, and they are mostly not covered with snow. The snow mountains of MSFS look particularly false.

0a3f4b0ee74b732fe43e3720b504cdd050edf62b471d6cf3d1824d6e858765ca9b822721d7a5c9e2a06febe9c4dcb53dc04b2ec9f36284e29575190dbebb03e4521c00dc13f51b7815e04e9303862277

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My big problem is this large pixelation of the ground from an altitude of 15000 ft. It looks worse than xplane.

On ultra of course

 

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I agree, and this has been raised as an issue and is being looked at by Asobo (I think it is on the official wish list), but I think any changes in detail might make the morphing problem look even worse, so they need to fix that first.  


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53 minutes ago, Colonel X said:

"1 meter resolution" must have been a joke by Asobo.

What they meant by that, is that you have to keep moving back from your monitor in 1 metre increments, and if you keep going far enough, eventually it'll look pretty good. 🤣

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1 hour ago, Deleted said:

My big problem is this large pixelation of the ground from an altitude of 15000 ft. It looks worse than xplane.

On ultra of course

 

Yeah I hate this too, especially when over an airport. It looks like minecraft. 

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Try flying around Seattle, like Mt. Rainier or the Olympic National Park. All mountain ridges and rocks are super sharp and edgy - if you fly near enough, at least.

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The simulator is using Bing for its elevation data and imagery, not Google. When viewing the same area in the Bing Maps app from the airport's location, the mountains do not really look any different compared to your screenshots.

It does look like some sort of smoothing effect is used in the simulator, but only when the level of detail is lower from a distance. In the Bing Maps app, the mountains start looking really plain and pointy at a distance. When you fly closer, the full mesh quality should be displayed. In such a case I would prefer the smoothing effect over the harsh edges.

I think we really should be complaining about the Bing data instead, it is so far behind Google in some respects which can be frustrating. But other than the missing water masks, the sometimes poor building recognition by the AI and of course the recent terrain glitches, I think the simulator is doing well enough with the data it's given.

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2 hours ago, bobcat999 said:

I agree, and this has been raised as an issue and is being looked at by Asobo (I think it is on the official wish list), but I think any changes in detail might make the morphing problem look even worse, so they need to fix that first.  

This seems to be a deep issue with all simulators tracing back to FSX. I have P3D with the default mesh and Pilot's Super Ultimate All The Best Mesh Of The World or whatever the latest incarnation is called. It looks excellent when all nodes are in place. However, take off from KSFO in a C172 and fly over the hills to KHAF in P3D 4/5 and you will see places where the ground is morphing like jelly.

Me (and others) reported this numerous times at the Prepar3d forum over the years. However, I've never seen a substantial reaction by a LM developer, the best result being Mr. Martyson coming up and declaring it's all caused by your system.

Default MSFS does have a subtle morphing, too, but to an extent being not yet annoying. I am pretty sure, we well see the same jelly after adding a mesh with the same resolution as Pilot's.

While I saw very minor terrain movements in high-resolution mountains even in X-Plane11 and AeroflyFS2 they never come close to the FSX-based simulators.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, ChaoticBeauty said:

The simulator is using Bing for its elevation data and imagery, not Google. When viewing the same area in the Bing Maps app from the airport's location, the mountains do not really look any different compared to your screenshots.

It does look like some sort of smoothing effect is used in the simulator, but only when the level of detail is lower from a distance. In the Bing Maps app, the mountains start looking really plain and pointy at a distance. When you fly closer, the full mesh quality should be displayed. In such a case I would prefer the smoothing effect over the harsh edges.

I think we really should be complaining about the Bing data instead, it is so far behind Google in some respects which can be frustrating. But other than the missing water masks, the sometimes poor building recognition by the AI and of course the recent terrain glitches, I think the simulator is doing well enough with the data it's given.

I don't think this smooth and rounded look of mountains has much to do with Bing data. If we are talking about the low resolution of satellite imagery or the lack of 3D photogrammetry cities, yes Bing can be blamed, as it's not as good as Google's. But for the look of mountains, it's mostly the combined effect of elevation data and "verticality" algorithm, which can be improved out of Bing data. What I am emphasizing in the main thread is the algorithm. You can test this by trying an option in Google Earth, under "terrain--elevation exageration". The value is from 0.01 to 3. The low value will make the mountains smooth and rounded as in MSFS. Maybe Asobo can make such an option too?

Edited by yanfeng12342000
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19 minutes ago, yanfeng12342000 said:

I don't think this smooth and rounded look of mountains has much to do with Bing data.

yosemite.jpg

Not seeing much difference compared to your in-game shot. The mountains do look somewhat smoother in the simulator, but more pointy and rough in the Bing Maps app. Otherwise the level of detail is the same. Personally I prefer the former.

Only way to really improve the look of the mountains in this case would be to increase the level of detail, but that would require more system and connection resources. Not that I would be opposed to such an option in the graphics settings. But at a lower level of detail, I really wouldn't want the harsher edges of the Bing Maps app.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, ChaoticBeauty said:

yosemite.jpg

Not seeing much difference compared to your in-game shot. The mountains do look somewhat smoother in the simulator, but more pointy and rough in the Bing Maps app. Otherwise the level of detail is the same. Personally I prefer the former.

Only way to really improve the look of the mountains in this case would be to increase the level of detail, but that would require more system and connection resources. Not that I would be opposed to such an option in the graphics settings. But at a lower level of detail, I really wouldn't want the harsher edges of the Bing Maps app.

I like your capture of the Bing map so much more than my capture of the same mountains in MSFS. Most real moutains look rough. They should not look smooth and rounded except for some rare cases.

And your capture proves my opinion: rough or smooth, it’s caused by algorithm, as both captures should be of the same mesh resolution.

Of course the level of detail is very important, but the algorithm of roughness should also be important.

Edited by yanfeng12342000

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I think the low-poly look will just return us to the Flight Simulator 2000 era, especially since less smoothing will result in more obvious pop-in, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. A smoothness slider in the graphics settings wouldn't hurt if it's not hard-coded, but Asobo have got much more serious terrain issues to sort out right now.

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