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Thread: Tweaking Fs9

  1. #1
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Tweaking Fs9

    Hi Guys,

    I found this and tried it. What a difference in my FS9 Performance.

    NOTE: THIS TWEAK IS NOT ONE FOUND ON FLIGHT SIM SITES. IF YOU DONT KNOW WHAT THE FS9.CFG FILE IS OR WHAT THE CONTENTS MEAN, DON’T MESS WITH THIS!

    ***NOTE*** MAKE A COPY OF YOUR FS9.CFG FILE FIRST


    NOTE: IF YOUR NOT RUNNING A DECENT VIDEO CARD AND CPU/MOTHERBOARD.... FORGET THIS TWEAK, IT WILL GET YOU NO-WHERE



    Ok gather around … I have a little treat for you tweakers.

    Before I get into this I want you to understand that if you believe 40+ frames are necessary for smooth flight and great scenery – or- you believe running ‘unlimited’ on the frame lock and nothing else… this tweak is not for you and there is probably nothing I can do to convince you that your 7900GTX does not need to be locked @ or above 38-45FPS. (Note: the unlimited frame trick does work but NOT for most systems)


    Understand that blurry textures and stutters come from both the same source -and-difference sources all at once. Assuming you have a good CLEAN system which you have tweaked and optimized so your not running all sorts of programs in startup and you have a good base to work from… try this:


    The TEXTURE BANDWIDTH MULTIPLER is just that. It multiplies, just like it says.

    The mystery is, what does it multiply? Well, it multiples loading a specified number of 256x256 ground textures (in file kb size depending on what ground textures you use) AND it calculates a load for the rendering engine to analyse based on the frame lock.

    So the question is… where is that specified number?

    Here it is:

    TextureMaxLoad=X

    Never seen that one? If you haven’t don’t be surprised because it is an Microsoft developers edit which is undocumented. The DEFAULT value when the line is not present in the FS9.cfg file, ... is “3”.


    And the formula the system produces is:

    TextureMaxLoad -MULTIPLED BY - TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT – DIVIDED BY – FRAME LOCK = X

    Now that you know this, how does that help?

    Immensely!

    Knowing that, I will go on to say the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT does NOT require a set number or to be a factor of anything. Although it is best this number remain a divisible by 20 the number used for the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT is not set in stone and it is completely based on the system being tweaked.

    Assuming you have a x800 (or fairly close) or greater performance type card, -and- a DECENT supporting motherboard/memory/CPU... AND your Flight Sim works good but it is not as smooth or does not display the scenery as well as you would like… or you just want to play and have some fun, try the following.

    First, save a copy of your FS9.cfg file for safe keeping.

    Next, open your FS9.cfg and edit the following

    TextureMaxLoad =X


    ……directly under the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT= entry in you cfg file.


    I will make this easy and without going into allot of chatter… about testing and tweaking because I cannot possibly tweak these numbers without sitting in front of the system.


    Start with these values:


    TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=100
    TextureMaxLoad =10


    YOUR FRAME LOCK MUST BE REDUCED OR THIS WON’T WORK.

    For x800 – x1600 and comparable Nvidia cards, lock your frame @ 22

    You read right… 22 (you might be able to nudge it up to 24 after its tweaked)


    Set your PAN_RATE= to either 600 or 700 for any card (your choice)

    For x800 – x850 x1600 and comparable Nvidia cards, disable SHADOWS in the sim. Others can test it to see how it does. The cards I mentioned can also test it but if you are not using a GOOD set of properly designed DX3 clouds such as found in FLIGHT Environment, I would leave shadows disabled. Test using "Building Storms" so you can judge the full load properly.

    THIS TWEAK assumes you know how to correctly set up your video drivers and have all the FS9 SCENERY sliders maxed and all boxes checked (except shadows for those I mentioned above) and correctly set up your cloud sliders (60 -40 – 100 with Detailed Clouds and 100% maximum density) AA disabled in the sim and the rest of the display settings correct.


    When you first boot … DON’T judge the tweak until you fly around for a bit. It will most likely need to be adjusted.

    If you have blurry scenery most likely the frame lock is too high. ONLY drop it by 1 to test.

    Also, I would NOT exceed 10 as the value for TextureMaxLoad =X Good values are (3 default) 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… but it WILL go higher. If you experience stutters, DROP the
    TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT= from 100 to 80.

    Assuming the TextureMaxLoad = 5 or GREATER, I would not go any higher than 120 on the TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT no matter WHAT you have learned in the past about that setting… most of which was the max value being 400.

    You guys with the right video cards but slower systems may want to work with LOWER TextureMaxLoad values and HIGHER TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT values.


    The idea is to find the spot where your ground textures load in a flash with no stutters when changing views over an area your flying in for the first time during a flight. With the extra time after that flash load the sim can start using the correct calculations to start sharpening and displaying them further away.


    You will need to work with this setting.. It’s REALLY a gem once you learn how to CORRECTLY set up the FS9.cfg by understanding how the sim works.



    This setting was brought to you by Steve Lacey, software developer and co-founder of SwitchGear Software who posted it almost a year ago but no one seemed to catch on over this past year. With the introduction of FSX, hidden settings will start to surface and be explained."


    Next...


    INSIDE FS9

    1. Set visibility (vis) to about 30mi/48km - that's the real world and this single adjustment will a) make FS2004 textures look much nicer and realistic, and cool.gif Give you back lots and lots of FPS
    2. Avoid large amount of cumulus clouds - they eat FPS. Create a new weather theme which looks nice but avoids those. If you must use real-world weather then get Active Sky 6 and install their 128x128 DXT3 MIP cloud sets - perfect solution
    3. Slide MIP down to 4 - no need for more than that
    4. Slide LIGHTS down to 6
    5. Slide 3D cloud density to 50%, will still look great
    6. Turn off lens flare (pilot's sunglasses don't have lens flare)
    7. Turn OFF anti-aliasing inside FS9 (Unless you have a low-spec video card, then it may actually be better to have no AA outside the sim)
    8. Set to Trilinear filtering always
    9. Run FS9 in Full-screen mode at the same resolution as your desktop
    10. Lock your FPS to 22 - seriously, you won't notice anything higher and it really does help. At the worst set it to 30FPS, but keep in mind Movies in the cinema run at 12fps.
    11. Pull back the field of view (FOV) in all modes (2D cockpit, 3D cockpit, external views) to 0.75 by pressing the "-" (minus) key. This will immediately make all ground textures appear much, much crisper. You will see the letters "0.75" in red letters in the top right hand of your screen to confirm your FOV has changed.

    For an IMAX experience, switch to 2D cockpit mode, press the "W" key until all instruments disappear, then press the "-" (Minus) key until you see 0.31 in the top right corner in red letters. Now climb to 6,000FT and enjoy!

    Optional
    12. Optional (disable the XML autogen library by renaming the fs9\Autogen\default.xml to default.xml.OFF - this will make very little visual difference to your flying but gives back FPS also. (NOTE: VOZ makes no use of the XML autogen libraries, so you won't see any difference with this setting turned off, but you WILL get better performance)

    Leave everything else maxed out.


    YOUR VIDEO CARD

    1. Set to anti aliasing to 4XS (anything else is overkill if running = > 1280x1024)
    2. Set Antistropic Filtering to 4 or 8
    3. Set Sharpness to +1 (this will make FS9 visuals look spectacular) NOTE: As far as I know, only the nVidia video control panel has a "Sharpen" slider, not the ATI control panel unfortunately. Also note that sharpen will take a few FPS in performance

    YOUR WINDOWS XP

    1. Not running XP? -- Doh! Buy it, install it with Service Pack 2 and make sure you have automatic updates running.
    2. Shutdown about 40-50 Windows XP services you don't need. Grab a program called FSautostart, which will do this for you with tips on each setting. I have 1024MB RAM and when I start FS9 I have 895MB free. Trust me, it makes a huge difference to performance.
    3. Turn OFF any programs in the tray you are not using. This includes Anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-anything. Also turn off all those silly tray icons like quicktime and countless others. They are all consuming CPU cycles and the Anti-virus will most definitely interfere with FS9 performance.


    THE DREADED "BLURRIES"

    The most common thing that can ruin your flight experience is a case of the "blurries". I see this in so many screenshots, and it's completely avoidable.

    Here's a few rules to follow:

    1. If you are flying low (below 5,000 ft) (not slewing), keep your ground speed around 160Kts

    2. If you are slewing (not flying), always tap Y to go back into flying mode so the textures can be reloaded in your immediately area. So slew to the position, (tap the 'Y' key and fly for a bit to let the textures catch up, tap 'Y' again and just slew back to the best position for the shot.)

    3. Make sure your [TERRAIN] section of your fs9.cfg file has these last 3 entries in the section:

    [TERRAIN]
    TERRAIN_ERROR_FACTOR=100.000000
    TERRAIN_MIN_DEM_AREA=10.000000
    TERRAIN_MAX_DEM_AREA=100.000000
    TERRAIN_MAX_VERTEX_LEVEL=19 (20 for 38m mesh, 21 for 20m mesh)
    TERRAIN_TEXTURE_SIZE_EXP=8
    TERRAIN_AUTOGEN_DENSITY=5
    TERRAIN_USE_GRADIENT_MAP=1
    TERRAIN_EXTENDED_TEXTURES=1
    TERRAIN_DEFAULT_RADIUS=3.500000
    TERRAIN_EXTENDED_RADIUS=4.000000
    TERRAIN_EXTENDED_LEVELS=232



    4. Just above the [TERRAIN] section there is this line:

    TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=40 <--- this is too low for current video cards

    Change it to 100 and step it up in increments of 50 until FS9 stutters. Then set it -50 of that point. This will load your textures much, much faster and avoid more blurries

    5. Tweak the airport and other lights by adding the entries below to fs9.cfg - not strictly performance related but it will look more realistic and won't dominate approaches.

    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_SURFACE_SCALAR=0.7 //scales edge, center,end,touchdown,runways
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_VASI_SCALAR=0.7 //scales VASI/PAPI lights
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_APPROACH_SCALAR=1.0 //scales approach light bars
    RUNWAY_LIGHTS_STROBE_SCALAR=1.0 //scales RAILs and ODALs


    YOUR DISK DRIVE

    Simple rule. Defrag often. Get a defrag program like O&O Defrag that will run in the background and continually defrag you HD when the PC is idle.

    Keep things simple. Creating 2,3,4 or more smaller partitions on the one drive does not mean better performance, just a bigger management headache. Also, remember to have AT LEAST 3x the size of your PC's memory free in hard disk space (i.e. if you have 1GB of RAM, *always* have 3GB of free space on your disk). Go below this and expect Windows XP to begin to suffer in performance.


    This brought to you from the VOZ Forums.


    Best regards,

    Trev
    ________________________
    Trevor Hale

  2. #2
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    Motion picture 35mm film runs at 24FPS NTSC which is where mine is locked.

    Thanks for posting that. I'm going to try a few of them like reducing my view distance. I think it's at 60 miles right now. Mine rarely falls below 22.8, and is mostly at 23.8 or .9.
    Boeing Skunk Works
    Remember...140, 250, and REALLY FAST!

    We don't need no stinkin' ETOPS!



    Powered by FS9 & BOEING

  3. #3
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Interesting. 24 frames? Cool. I am not familiar with that but when I worked as a projectionist at a movie theater, the film rolled off the platters through the projector at I am sure 12 frames per second.


    but that was many many years ago.

    Glad you enjoyed the posting.

    Trev
    ________________________
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  4. #4
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    I've never heard of any format moving that slow.

    http://www.jamesarnett.com/guidebook/1-1-1.html
    Boeing Skunk Works
    Remember...140, 250, and REALLY FAST!

    We don't need no stinkin' ETOPS!



    Powered by FS9 & BOEING

  5. #5
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


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    Excellent info Trev Can't wait to play around with the numbers

    Oh, I agree with Mike.... 12 fps does seem slow... we start to see the flicker at 15 fps.

  6. #6
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Well guys, the tweaks changed my system like you wouldn't believe. I used to have 20 frames but bounced around down to 12 or even down to 8 during a busy vatsim session. I also used to get pauses when it loaded big scenery airports.

    All Gone now!
    ________________________
    Trevor Hale

  7. #7
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Bob Reed's Avatar
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    I am going to try this tonight. Will post how it goes.
    Bob Reed

  8. #8
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    Re: Tweaking Fs9

    thanks i will try !

  9. #9
    150+ Forum Groupie Drewsta's Avatar
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    Re: Tweaking Fs9

    Hi again, I have another issue that I'm trying to get my head around. I can't
    seem to get a steady 20-25 frames on fs9 more so with heavy weather.

    My specs

    Server PC
    Pentuim D dual core 3.2 Ghz
    2 gig Ram
    7600GT nvidia GPU
    windows xp home
    Fs2004 with addons
    LevelD767 with SP3 for instrument panels only(sliders reduced to minimum and
    outside visual a small as possible)
    Fsuipc registered
    Wideview registered ( 767 chosen)
    wide767.exe

    Client PC
    Intel CoreI5 2.8 Ghz
    4gig Ram
    2 x ATI 5670 1Gig GPU's
    windows xp home
    fs2004 with same addons
    LevelD767 with SP3 (exact same intallation)
    Fsuipc registered
    wideview ( same 767 chosen as client aircraft)
    wide767.exe

    I was sure that with this setup especially with the CoreI5 dedicated to outside
    visuals, I would have achieved 20-25 FPS at all times? If there is a bottleneck
    I was thinking it maybe it was the ATI cards but they should handle FS9 no
    problem. I have just tweaked some FS9 using that great post from Trevor Hale and it hasn't
    improved the framerates much. My point is I guess I didn't think with my setup
    and FS9 I would have had to do anything at all. My framerates are around 15-20
    FPS at best and stuttery at times especially with alot of cloud or bad weather.
    I am running 3 beamers at 1280x800 with 3 undocked views and 1 topdown view
    behind those. I know people who are running slower cpu's but similar setups and
    seeing 40+ FPS with all weather maxed. I must have something wrong in my setup
    surely, perhaps its the network?

    Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    Drew

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