Rediscovering Flight Sim

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Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby ardypilot » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:27 am

Hi all,

It's been a very long time since I started a thread on here, it actually took me a quite a while to figure out how to log in and navigate myself to this page, but here we go. Good to see some names from back in the day still posting here regularly, and a nice to surprise to catch Craig/Towerguy on the phone the other day too!

I have recently invested in purpose-built PC for FS2020, my first new gaming machine since 2011, and am seriously enjoying the fact that for the first time I can now run a flight simulator with all the graphics sliders to the far right. I thought I'd take the time to start a new topic to contain my stream of consciousness as I go about rediscovering the hobby, and also place a few questions to those of you who are a lot more up to date with the various aspects of simming.

Overall I am blown away by the experience straight out the box with FS20- In particular the amount of photoreal scenery coverage and AI placed autogen. Almost the entire planet seems to have a high end payware addon feel to it from what I can remember from my FSX mods. I am looking forward to seeing what pops up in the marketplace in the future, the renders from Flightbeam NZAA and Che’s NZNP both look incredibly realistic. Robin’s previews of Taieri look brilliant too, it’s going to be great to see some up to date renditions of other NZ airports crafted by the collective design skill that is out there. Fingers crossed for a decent terrain mesh release too, I think the years worth of flying around in Orbx’s FSX NZNI & NZSI spoiled my expectations somewhat!

I think my favorite aspect of the sim so far is the immersiveness of the virtual environment. I’ve mainly been flying low level GA, and the way the weather interacts with the terrain, and in particular the lighting model, with the sunlight bursts and shadows varying around cloud cover almost looks better than real life.

Being able to change the weather variables and time of day in real time is pretty neat too, that sort of stuff required a reload and several minute wait for me in all previous sims. Shame you can’t swap aircraft type or drag and drop yourself on a map like FSX allowed but I’m sure we’ll see plenty of UI modifications as time progresses judging by the amount of updates and patches we’ve already seen since the release date.

Another custom weather variable that I miss is the visibility slider, being able to set different variables for different altitude layers. The particle density slider works well enough instead but seems set a uniform haziness factor from ground level right up to the flight levels, with visibility generally increasing in altitude in the real world above the lowest cloud layer.

I’ve noticed that REX were quick to release a ‘WeatherForce’ addon for FS20, with the in sim weather built off METAR data rather than the Microsoft meteoblue data. Has anyone tried this for NZ? It seems the only extractable METAR data from NZ that can be found online comes from NZAA, NZWN and NZCH, so if that data is interpolated for the rest of the country, I’d guess that would be a waste of time with the significant influences of geographical features responsible for localised conditions.

In terms of performance, I’ve watched various youtube tutorials on how to maximize settings both in the GeForce Experience, along with in game and trial and error tweaking as I go. Much of the results seem like a placebo effect though as everything runs fairly smoothly to my eye, and counting frame rates on the corner screen counter seems irrelevant to the results I’m experiencing. One thing I had noticed is that when I run the extended desktop feature on Windows 10 to use my laptop screen as a second screen for the moving map, my FPS jumped from in the 60’s to in the 90’s! Does Windows 10 have the ability to combine both CPU’s to drive the software on the primary machine, or am I seeing a misleading combined value of two computers worth of frames displayed on one screen?

I’d also be interested to know if anyone else is experiencing overly sensitive control surfaces? In particular, elevator and rudder at slow speeds seem to be far more effective than they should be based of basic principles of flight. I’m running a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick with the following sensitivity (significantly decreased from default):

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A bit of googling lead me to download FSUPIC7 (free till the end of October) which allows further response curve modification for joystick inputs. I’ve set my elevator to +2 and rudder to +5 and it seems to have damped down the response a little, but still feels rather arcady. I realise there will always be limitations without being able to feel the feedback of the aircraft weight on the joystick, but any pointers as to something I might be missing would be appreciated!

Aside from FSUPIC, I’ve also stumped across Little Nav Map which is a game changer for both flight planning and in flight navigation. I’d certainly pay for this functionality if it was payware. Most flights I use the Little Nav Connect app to run the Little Nav Map on my laptop as a second screen, with aircraft position data broadcast from my main PC wirelessly. I particularly like how it shows your flight progress through a breadcrumb trail- another feature I miss from FSX, reviewing your flight track on the map at the end of a session.

I was talked into purchasing a Stream Deck too, after trailing the smart phone version of the software and customizing a bunch of key commands, I bought the 15 key unit from the local PC store. Having this device on my desk next to the joystick is a game changer for quickly being able to access lots of different sim features without needing to memorise key combos, but I mainly use it as an autopilot control panel for when I’m flying around in the external camera view.

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On that note, my final gripe is the lack of depth that comes with the autopilot and avionic systems in general. I am aware that historically default aircraft were never previously overly complex when it came to their systems but I would really like to see some useable VNAV functionality to the VNAV capable aircraft, and a few less INOP switches on the Garmin 1000/3000 series cockpits. A track up moving map would also be great, along with a calculatable TOD point. I’m sure they’ll be some big efforts behind the scenes from the 3rd party aircraft developers to release products with the next level of immersion here, which is probably what I’m most looking forward to more than anything else.

That’s all I can think of for now. Today is a rare day free of work so might fire up the sim and go and explore the new Japan update. Here's a few screen grabs to finish. Cheers!

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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Adamski » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:37 pm

Great to hear you're enjoying being "back in the saddle" again! I'm really enjoying MSFS 2020 as well - especially after a disastrous downgrade from P3D4.5 to P3D5!

ardypilot wrote:Being able to change the weather variables and time of day in real time is pretty neat too

Have you tried the freeware Unreal Weather - Live METAR mod? It may save you some money!

ardypilot wrote:One thing I had noticed is that when I run the extended desktop feature on Windows 10 to use my laptop screen as a second screen for the moving map, my FPS jumped from in the 60’s to in the 90’s! Does Windows 10 have the ability to combine both CPU’s to drive the software on the primary machine, or am I seeing a misleading combined value of two computers worth of frames displayed on one screen?

I agree - LittleNavMap works beautifully in MSFS 2020 - and it's a stunning program.

ardypilot wrote:I’d also be interested to know if anyone else is experiencing overly sensitive control surfaces? In particular, elevator and rudder at slow speeds seem to be far more effective than they should be based of basic principles of flight. I’m running a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick with the following sensitivity (significantly decreased from default):

IMHO it's bugged to hell. Slow speed handling of the airliners is horrific. Terrible wing drops and, as you say, excessive yaw sensitivity - even in GA aircraft. I think it's actually got worse with each update, as I don't remember it being that bad in the initial release. No amount of controller tweaking (with and without FSUIPC) seems to cure it. Some people say setting large deadzones helps, but that didn't work for me. I think it's a flight model problem anyway.

Glorious as the visuals are, I'm beginning to find that as I get used to them, the feeling of actually flying becomes less enjoyable with these handling problems.

Adam.
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby FlyingKiwi » Thu Oct 15, 2020 4:55 pm

The flight model needs work and I'm very certain it will be fixed with time because the developers are so far responding very well to feedback/criticism - I suspect that it will require a fairly big rework though of the core systems which may take some time. I don't think the issue is the sensitivity so much as the scaling. The default sensitivity values are definitely set way too high, but you can turn them right down and then the inputs feel about right. But, when you apply more than a certain amount of control deflection the surface suddenly goes to full deflection. You can see it in your screenshot of your sensitivities the way the input curves suddenly go almost vertical - that shouldn't happen. This is what, I think, causes the problems with the controls being massively over-sensitive at low airspeed - because the flight model correctly represents that much larger control inputs are needed at low airspeed due to reduced dynamic airflow over the aircraft surfaces, but that causes you to enter the realm of sudden acceleration of the control value which causes sudden 'spikes' in control inputs and leads to oscillations. Setting the control sensitivity really high seems to fix the acceleration issue, but then of course the controls are just far too light and sensitive over the whole range of airspeeds.

I use a Logitech 3D Pro stick and I've gotten used to controlling GA aircraft by making very small and deliberate control inputs at low airspeeds. I haven't tried the airliners because they don't interest me but I can see how the inputs would feel very wrong for them. I think if the developers can just fix the acceleration issue all will be well since the way the aeroplane actually behaves within the airflow is far far better than FSX. You can actually do a realistic crosswind landing now, you just have to be very cautious with the controls while doing so.

Summary - I think the flight model is ok but the control inputs are a bit bugged.
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby ardypilot » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:17 am

Adamski wrote:Have you tried the freeware Unreal Weather - Live METAR mod? It may save you some money!

Thanks Adam, I have now. Looks like just AA/WN/CH are the only data sources even when loading up at the likes of NR/HK/NV but still a neat bit of software. Will be good to compare with the default WX when we're experiencing a storm over Auckland in real time to see how they compare!

FlyingKiwi wrote:.You can see it in your screenshot of your sensitivities the way the input curves suddenly go almost vertical

Hey Leo- that makes sense. Given that logic, I think I might have FSUIPC set incorrectly, exaggerating the perceived sensitivity problem rather than solving it. If you wouldn't mind posting a screen grab of your FS20 sensitivity settings page for reference, that would be much appreciated.
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Radar88 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:24 am

ardypilot wrote:
FlyingKiwi wrote:.You can see it in your screenshot of your sensitivities the way the input curves suddenly go almost vertical

Hey Leo- that makes sense. Given that logic, I think I might have FSUIPC set incorrectly, exaggerating the perceived sensitivity problem rather than solving it. If you wouldn't mind posting a screen grab of your FS20 sensitivity settings page for reference, that would be much appreciated.


Recommend having a look at Mark's recent video from SimHanger Flight Simulation HOW TO GUIDE | MSFS | Setting Up Peripherals

Click on the SHOW MORE in the description section under the Microsoft Flight Simulator game icon for relevant time stamped section's of the video.

Mark goes through with a thorough explanation, step by step guide on how to calibrate, set up and configure controllers and peripherals in Microsoft Flight Simulator. He also goes into the sensitivity settings to fine tune his peripheral controls. With a test of his Joy Stick set up in the DR400 with a test flight.

Most of what he goes through are fairly basic stuff, but you might like to jump straight to the time stamp section 24:42 Sensitivity Settings
Where he thoroughly explains what is happening with his Joy Stick input movements with the seen corresponding input response curve movement in the Sensitivity Settings.

Looks like a Flight Control Sensitivity Bug has likely been fixed with this weeks release of Update 4. Some of the auto pilot pitch oscillation issues have been started by the Asobo Team with an investigation and planned to be addressed in the future with Update 5 and Update 9.

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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Adamski » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:43 pm

FlyingKiwi wrote: I don't think the issue is the sensitivity so much as the scaling ... this is what, I think, causes the problems with the controls being massively over-sensitive at low airspeed - because the flight model correctly represents that much larger control inputs are needed at low airspeed due to reduced dynamic airflow over the aircraft surfaces, but that causes you to enter the realm of sudden acceleration of the control value which causes sudden 'spikes' in control inputs and leads to oscillations.

That makes sense to me.

My approach at the moment is to clear all axis inputs from MSFS and use only FSUIPC calibration. However - I'm wondering whether the axis sensitivity values in MSFS are still processed even when they're not assigned - it's hard to tell.

Even setting something as simple as a deadzone appears comlicated, as there are 3 places you can assign them - and I've no idea which over-rides which (!):

1) Windows Device Manager - Control Panel.
2) MSFS.
3) FSUIPC.

Arrrgh!

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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby ardypilot » Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:19 am

Adamski wrote:However - I'm wondering whether the axis sensitivity values in MSFS are still processed even when they're not assigned - it's hard to tell.

I asked this very question on the FSUIPC support forums and John Dowson himself said "It shouldn't matter what the sim is set to, the values sent by FSUIPC should be used directly."

He also suggested to try manually editing the .ini file to extend the value range of the elevator/rudder axes to change the highest/lowest values.

The example given was John's default elevator calibration setting:
Elevator=-16384,-400,400,16383
So changing to something like
Elevator=-20384,-400,400,20383
Would increase the 'expected' range, and so reduce the sensitivity, especially when using slopes.

I'll have an experiment with this next time I have some free time in the same town as my FS computer and report back :thumbup:
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Aharon » Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:04 am

ardypilot wrote:I have recently invested in purpose-built PC for FS2020


Care to share with us what is your computer configuration please that successfully handles MS2020 as seen in your AMAZING screenshots!!

Regards,

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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby ardypilot » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:36 am

Aharon wrote:Care to share with us what is your computer configuration please that successfully handles MS2020 as seen in your AMAZING screenshots!!


Hi Aharon, it's a AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER (4GB) graphics card, 32GB DDR4 RAM, using a Samsung 970 EVO 500GB SSD for the FS2020 install. All mounted to a X570 AORUS ELITE mobo with a 650W PSU powering it. Cost a fair bit but looked at it as an investment that I can use for my photography and video editing business as well.

In other news, is anyone else still seeing the 'tall building' office blocks everywhere after the 1.9.5.0 patch that was meant to fix this issue? This is what Whitianga currently looks like for me:

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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby toprob » Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:49 am

Tro.... sorry, Andy -- First, I'll say that I think it is a great time to return to simming, even though we didn't get a fully complete sim, it sure is fun to use while we wait for coming improvements.
I noticed with the update that the tall buildings were fixed, and my Whitianga doesn't look like yours. I think that a lot of people see the old tall buildings, but there's a suggestion that you may need to update Japan in the Content Manager to fix this.
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Naki » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:12 pm

Yes you need a small Japan update in the content manager. I’ve just installed it.
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Adamski » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:23 pm

Naki wrote:Yes you need a small Japan update in the content manager. I’ve just installed it.

No ... I haven't applied the Japan content and my buildings are fine (screenshot below). I heard that the Japan update introduces more bugs, so I held off. Maybe clearing the data cache might help <?>.

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Adam.

@ardypilot - thanks for the FSUIPC tip - I'll give that a try. It may help a little, but I really think it's the "ground effect" that's the problem, as sensitivity is generally OK at other altitudes.
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Naki » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:31 pm

Weird ... that was how it worked for me as I saw large buildings where there shouldn’t be this morning. Did the update and they all disappeared. I have had no issues with the full Japan update
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby ardypilot » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:59 pm

Funnily enough I had both the Japan update and the latest patch and was still seeing the tall buildings. Clearing my cache might have fixed it as you suggested Paul, (didn't know that was even an option!) but I installed the Tall Buildings Fix from the Microsoft forums and it seems to have cleared out all the high rises that didn't belong.

I forgot just how much tweaking was involved with FS, but it's all coming back to me now. Something like 50% flying to see if a code adjustment has worked as expected, and 50% flying for just for fun :lol:

Adamski wrote:@ardypilot - thanks for the FSUIPC tip - I'll give that a try. It may help a little, but I really think it's the "ground effect" that's the problem, as sensitivity is generally OK at other altitudes.

A thought just crossed my mind- I think I still have auto rudder enabled which might be responsible for the horrible yawing close to the ground on final approach and in the first few seconds airborne. I haven't read up too much on the flight model options under the general settings menu but note that mine has been set to 'Modern' this whole time. I think my next port of call before I go meddling with .ini files might be to have an experiment with the 'Legacy' preset and have a play with the P-Factor slider too...
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby Lindstrim » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:09 am

ardypilot wrote:A thought just crossed my mind- I think I still have auto rudder enabled which might be responsible for the horrible yawing close to the ground on final approach and in the first few seconds airborne. I haven't read up too much on the flight model options under the general settings menu but note that mine has been set to 'Modern' this whole time. I think my next port of call before I go meddling with .ini files might be to have an experiment with the 'Legacy' preset and have a play with the P-Factor slider too...


Too bad you can’t claim that at work :lol:
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Re: Rediscovering Flight Sim

Postby ardypilot » Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:23 am

I've spent the morning having a trial and error circuit session at NZNV with various aircraft and various settings in an attempt to get somewhere with the control sensitivity issue.

My first move was flicking over to the 'Legacy' flight model as opposed to the 'Modern' flight model selected by default in the general settings which apparently uses the same lookup tables as FSX to generate aircraft motion. This comes across as overly snappy and even more arcade than default- reminded me of playing GTAV on playstation. :wacko:

Next I opened the FSUPIC7.ini file in notepad and adjusted my elevator from "Elevator=-16380,-512,512,16380" to "Elevator=-20384,-512,512,20383". Selecting Control Spike Elimination in FSUPIC also meant the following lines of code show up, which seems to be the source of the problem with the raised sensitivity curves as Leo pointed out.

Code: Select all
RudderSpikeRemoval=Yes
ElevatorSpikeRemoval=Yes
AileronSpikeRemoval=Yes


I whipped around in the 172, the Bonanza and the Baron, with FSUPIC both off and then on, and found in each instance that there was a noticeable control smoothness enhancement when using FSUPIC. This was even with my default sensitivities adjusted down to -55% for X, -60% for Y and -60% for Z with 4% deadzones on each which seem to be the universally recommended preference from various youtubers.

I've also downloaded the C172 performance mod which apparently adjusts the power/lift/drag model, as well as the Turbo Bonanza mod and they certainly make a difference compared to the originals. The default Baron still bobs around like a chip packet in a 50 knot Wellington northerly even with light and variable winds set in the sim at low power settings, with the only way I was able to get decent approaches out of the craft was to come in with a fair bit of manifold pressure, keeping the throttle well open through the flare. It'll be interesting to try out some of Carenado's GA aircraft to see whether their flight models vary significantly from the default FS stablemates.

Lindstrim wrote:Too bad you can’t claim that at work :lol:

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In regards to the rudder though, using a twisting stick on the joystick is never going to accurately represent the ability to squeeze in pedal input like we're familiar with in the real world. Even with a pedal interface the ~$30 million full motion sim at work still feels very computersied during landing when compared to the real thing. Guess all simulators have their limitations but I'm sure we'll see some clever blokes releasing various fixes as times goes by to optimise the experience.
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