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  1. Dave Hoffman

    VAS and Performance tips!

    Hello all, I'm a new customer to FlightSimLabs, and I'm not disappointed. I have use both the boxed versions of FSX, and FSX-SE, and am now running Prepar3D and trying not to look back. Over the years, and in conference with a friend of mine who is also an avid simmer, I have discovered some performance enhancing techniques for your sim. Some of these can be easily found on the internet, but here, I am going to focus on P3D, and without getting too specific as to my system settings. The reason being that P3D is more stable than FSX, and is delicate, but more fault-tolerant. I've got a LOT of stuff installed on it and I'm getting incredible performance, including with the A32X. Hyperthreading: If you use a processor, either Intel or AMD, and it's capable of running more than one thread per core, the best thing you can do is TURN IT OFF! You heard right. Hyperthreading or multithreading is great for running a bunch of desktop applications in a more harmonious manner, but we're talking about an engine that was developed for use with single-core processors. Do a test with the A320 at an addon airport with your sim "fully loaded" at a gate, then go into your BIOS and turn off hyperthreading, and try the EXACT same setup again, and you'll have to pick your jaw up off the floor with the memory you will save. Frame Limiter: I'm no hardware expert, but from what I understand of frame limiters, they work on the level of microscopic time and ultimately smooth out the performance that you are getting by doing the following. Frame limiters save the time of outputting frames they otherwise would have had they not been limited, and allocate those nanoseconds to doing other processes, ultimately smoothing your performance, and adding an element of scheduling to what your graphics card is doing. 30FPS is less than desirable in today's world, but a smooth 30FPS is very desirable in a flight simulator. There is NO good reason to use the frame limiter inside ANY of these sims. They do NOT work, so set them to "Unlimited." Use a graphics card utility such as the NVidia Control panel to set application specific frame limits. Use a frame rate that is right at, or half of your monitor's refresh rate. Mine's 60, so 60 or 30 would be applicable to me. Vertical sync should be on in the application to eliminate tearing (visible when viewing a whirling propeller). SLI/CrossfireX: I've got two video cards in my rig, and love the performance of having a second GPU doing some of the work. However, the application engine was developed before this technology came to be fruitful. Using SLI in P3D or FSX is basically a placebo effect. You will barely notice any effect in P3D, and it is also said that it can DECREASE performance in FSX. If you have an NVidia card, you can change the application specific setting "SLI Rendering Mode" to "Single GPU" Setting it this way also eliminates flickering of lights, smoke, and soft particles. It also helps in OBS if you're a streamer. Using SLI will cause OBS to render only half of your frames, so your broadcast will be choppy. If you're broadcasting at 30FPS, the app will run at 15 and look more like a slide show. Remember, SINGLE GPU! AffinityMast tweak: With regards to .CFG tweaks, less is more with P3D. With P3D and FSX-SE, use the double-slash "//" to comment out the affinitymask tweak. P3D and FSX-SE do a pretty good job of selecting the processors they want to run on, often you will get better performance NOT using the tweak. .CFG tweaks: Again, less is more. Try these: Under [GRAPHICS], set TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD=2048. This is a reasonable compromise between full HD and looking like dog food. We'd all like to be able to fly in 4K, but not with these sims. Don't let any installers change that value when offered. Under [DISPLAY], TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULTI=40. Some guides have you set this higher, and to be honest, it has been my personal experience that the higher I set this, the more blurries I get. I always thought it increased a multiplier of some kind and therefore, texture throughput, but this is what helped me. YMMV. Under [MAIN], FIBER_FRAME_TIME_FRACTION=0.33, this is the default value. Some guides recommend setting this to 0.01 to increase frame rate. What this does is allocate a portion of the process's thread time to rendering texture. If you want to get rid of blurries, keep this at 0.33. DO NOT SET IT TO ZERO. But, play with it, YMMV. I've found blurries the lower I set it, and found no value to setting it higher. Placebo? Under [TERRAIN], TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=4500, try reducing to 3000. TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS _PER_CELL=3000, try reducing to 2000. May save you some VAS, and you won't notice much difference. Sliders: The VAS killer is Level of Detail radius. P3D is good at exceeding what FSX can do with the slider. FSX Max right position was LOD=4.50, P3D is higher. The farther to the right you slide this, the more miserable your VAS usage will be. Keep it moderate. Mine is a 5.5, but comes down for graphics preset when flying the 'Bus. If you can't read taxiway markings: such as in ORBX sceneries that use photoreal technology, sliding this up to 15 or 7cm per pixel will help alleviate this, and won't cost much VAS. Autogen: Both of these sliders can save you a little bit if you knock them down. If you're flying a tube-liner then you won't be looking down at trees or buildings, you'll be busy managing the flight deck, only to get a quick glimpse out the window. You can turn them down to the midpoint to save some overhead. Scenery Complexity: A note about this; you can turn it down to save some overhead, but if you're missing buildings or jetways at some airports, turning this up might help restore them. Finally, just remember these last few things with regard to scenery. Like anyone that innovates, publishers try different things to be fhe first to bring something new to the market. Sometimes they fail. There are different sceneries from the same publisher that are sluggers when it comes to memory, performance, or both. Some have hotfixes or updates, and some don't acknowledge there's even a problem. Some refine their product, and some ask you to make concessions in other areas. Personally, I'm still trying to work out how people can fly into JFK at a VATSIM event. I have to offer a ritual sacrifice to the OOM gods to get into New York, in any airplane. Hope this helps, and happy landings.
  2. 777cap

    A Guide to MipMapping

    Hey Guys, I just wanted to make a simple tutorial on how to mipmap and optimize your aircraft textures,both internally and externally. This subject has been discussed in the past,but is more or less ignored by most people.There is an assumption that we pay for the best quality scenery,aircraft etc..with an underlying assumption that the product has been thoroughly optimized.Most people find out later..that this infact is not true.In interest of keeping this topic as short as possible,I will not go into further details about this. But why mention something if I am not going to discuss it? Well...most developers use titles like..ultra hd and high quality and other gibberish to market their products.A simple look at the textures in these products show they are unoptimized and mostly 2k or 4k textures. The microsoft ESP engine is inefficient at using such huge texture files,and it really wont make a difference in your sim unless you start zooming into the textures at highly unrealistic levels. So let me preface this discussion by first saying you do not need textures above 1024x1024 resolution.At max..2048 is okay..to a certain degree. You most certainly dont need clouds at 2k or 4k textures(ridiculous much?). I know this sounds like a scratched record but..if you are having horrible vas problems..high res. textures are most certainly the reason. If you can't deal with it..I am sorry this guide isn't for you. For those of you interested in experimenting...read on,I will post all my resources at the end of this document.I highly recommend going through them at least once.I sincerely hope this helps you. NOTE: SAVE ALL YOUR ORIGINAL FILES BEFORE EXPERIMENTING.THIS IS THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT STEP. DISCLAIMER: I WILL BE PICKING UP A LOT OF TEXT DIRECTLY FROM OTHER ARTICLES.ALL THANKS GOES TO THE AUTHORS OF THE ARTICLES GIVEN BELOW: NickN,toby23(the original author behind the mipmaping guide...all thanks goes to him!) For the description behind what is being done..i suggest you read the articles given below...this document will only cover what steps need to be carried out to properly optimize textures. In case I feel this document needs revisions I will do so at a later date.There are many things that could be added to this document,but are beyond the scope of this particular discussion. I am going to be using photoshop with this nvidia plugin :https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop You can use dxtbmp or the aces image tool found in the SDK for fsx and P3D. From my experience..photoshop works the best...it is easy to use and the end result is how I want it to be. I have found the image tool to reject pmdg textures(image given below.) . Most commonly..texture files in p3d and fsx are in either dds or bmp format.DDS is preferable and is our first preference.You can convert BMP TO dds and vice versa..but I will only be dealing with DDS for now. Okay...When you open images in photoshop(with the plugin installed) this is the message you get make sure your options are ticked in the same manner.Do not convert textures to 32bit unless specified(I will try to cover this later) MIPMAPPING TEXTURES AND RESIZING: In the menu bar choose Image>Image size> make sure resample is checked.This way your resolution ratio will not change. This is where you reach a cross roads of sorts. You can reduce the resolution and save VAS or you can use the default 2k or 4k resolutions.If you want to lower the resolution..just reduce the resolution of the width..the height will automatically reduce(with constrained proportions). Some textures have slightly different texture resolutions for eg: 2045x4096..you can still reduce the res. to 1024 or 2048. Images that are 1024x1024 do not need to be optimized. note note note!!! FSlabs have done some really smart work on the decals...i am not completely sure if reducing the resolution will cause problems( it shouldn't) .Maybe a developer can clear the air on this one. You can either choose Bicubic(smooth gradients) or sharp(this adds a very slight outline to the text..not a big deal.I would recommend making two copies of the same texture and testing them out) Now go to FILE>SAVE AS you will be greeted with the following screen make sure you are saving the texture in DXT5 format(same format in the photo) after selecting generate MIP maps..you can either use the setting at ALL or anywhere between 11-13. That is basically it. to those who find the textures becoming too blurry..I suggest you save the textures with the sharpen soft setting.also make sure FXAA is set to off in your sim of choice. With mip mapped textures it is better to have the anisotropic setting to either 8x or 16x. You will see blurries if you have saved this optimized texture file at a resolution more than the sim resolution. That is: if you have selected a resolution of 1024x1024 in the sim and are saving your optimized textures at 2048x2048. THIS DOCUMENT WILL BE UPDATED.I WILL POST THE SETTINGS I USE IN MY SIM IN THE NEAR FUTURE. if you are brave and have enough patience to play around with amount of sharpening etc. I suggest you to do so. I have only posted the very basics of mipmapping..there is a lot more to be covered.I will also post more examples from my own sim. Good luck.I hope this small document helps! Regards FURTHER READING: http://www.simforums.com/forums/re-mipmapping-and-optimising-textures_topic54022.html http://www.avsim.com/topic/382519-a-huge-fps-increase/ http://www.avsim.com/topic/471107-guide-to-mipmapping-and-optimising-textures/ http://www.avsim.com/topic/311740-severe-micro-stutters-after-mipmapping-ai/ could mods please move this topic into the general discussion in the a320 forum.Very sorry.Thank you
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