Tweaks & Mods

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Postby JonARNZ » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:20 am

I was re-reading a post Trolly put up a few days back on another thread about various FSX tweaks.

I think as our own FSX user community grows (I was encouraged by the number of people we had online last night, biggest crew ever and it didn't include a number of regulars or members of this forum, but we will change that B) ) it would be valuable for us to start posting details of the tweaks or texture mods we have applied, if any, because I know some havent.

This would then give new users a feel for what others have found useful and is working/not working for them, and perhaps make it easier to modify the config file etc.

I'll trawl through my config file and highlight the tweaks I have applied later today.

>nzflag<

Edit: My Tweaks.

Edit - Some of these are now redundant post SP1

Let me start by saying this thread isn't here to debate why we should have to tweak FSX to get decent performance from it, its about sharing our knowledge and experience to enhance everyones FSX experience, just like we have done with every version of the sim.

I have done a few things, some aimed at performance and some at visuals. The first thing was Autogen. I did a few things here:

1: Removed the default autogen, this is basically chicken restaurants, petrol stations and fast food shops. It doesn't affect houses, buildings or anything else, just the specialty high polygon shops. It was simple, in the FSX Autogen folder I simply renamed default.xml to default.bak. Did this help? No idea, I had this tweaked before I even ran FS because the reported FPS gain was so good.

2: I changed the density of autogen drawn - this was in the config file.

TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=900
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=1000

The maximum value you can have on either of these is 6000, so as you can see I have pulled it right back. I'm still amazed at the level of autogen displayed, as some of my screenshots have shown, so am happy with the result here. Another setting for this is suggested at:

TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=4500
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=3000

See how it goers, but this WILL make a big difference if your system is struggling with autogen.

3. Default autogen texture size reduction - I went for the updated textures that halved the size of the autogen textures. This means they load faster and use less ram, but also means they are not as crisp as they could be. I backed up the originals first and will probably go back to them, it will be interesting to see the change if any.

The last thing, and this is quite recent, was changing the Mip bias..

[Display]
MipBias=6

What this has done is sharpened things up considerably. I'm still not 100% convinced I want to keep it, but it has certainly dealt with some blurries I was getting, so worth a look.

You will find this site quite valuable for tips, tweaks and ideas on display settings.

TWEAKS AND TIPS
Last edited by JonARNZ on Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Matlo » Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:58 am

:)
Thanks Jon (and Trolly....),

FSX has gone from being basically unuseable to fine with these tweaks. The autogen tweaks and turning down traffic have meant that my other sliders can show the level of detail I want. And this on a low end (for FSX) system.
Now achieving frames in the mid to high 20's on average (with autogen on...).

Matlo

p.s. Now I can find out what will go over from FS9 (payware etc..)
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Postby creator2003 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:31 am

its funny that ms made this sim with traffic you cant really use the autogen you have to crank back and water effects that blow you out of this planet {all that makes this new sim better than the last but yet you still cant have running because of bad timing on the world pc market or that it was made with many bugs

now a new user to fsim would be really get lost to theses mods and wonder why they have to do any of them at all {or even find the cfg.}after forking out $100/thank microsoft for that :(
most users with there average pc should stay away from fsx and go with fs9
till the prices come down on highend better than average super computers !!

best mod is to make sure fsx will run on your pc /and you have a general knowleage of the inside of your fsx folders /lots of memory/biggest g/card out /and a bank balance to match ....
Last edited by creator2003 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Matlo » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:37 am

:thumbup:
Yes, I was suprised that my setup (P4 2.4GHz, 1.5 Gig DDR400 RAM, GeForce 6600GT 128Meg vid card) struggled with FSX. I had no illusions that I would be able to run it with full sliders, but thought I would handle mid range okay out of the box.
Given that I can run FS9 full sliders with addons no worries and I can also run LOMAC (and FC) with full sliders (no mean feat knowing LOMAC!!) to be reduced to a slide show was humbling to say the least.

But on the other hand with a few tweaks and some patience...... :plane: .
hmm.... didn't we all do this with FS9 when it was released?

Matlo
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Postby JonARNZ » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:21 pm

Thanks for your post Natas, interesting views.

AI TRAFFIC - nothing new here, MS has been producing models unsuitable for AI since FS2002. If you remember back to when FS2004 was released it was generally accepted the aircraft were no good for mass AI. Thats why Project AI and people like me with AIS-AI became so popular with framerate friendly models. I developed AIS-AI because standard FS9 models killed my system. Try filling up Heathrow with 120 default FS9 models on a top-end computer system of the day, and see what happens. FSX is no different. Replace the FSX models with PAI or my AIS-AI models and your in business, just like FS9.

VISUALS - Ahh yes, that part of FSX that distinguishes it from the rest, and is the source of so much passionate debate. No doubting that water effects, some lighting effects etc bring current computers to their knees. Thats why ACES invented performance and visual sliders, all hail the sliders!! I run both sims on the same computer, the big difference for me is that Default FSX with sliders down is far superior visually to Default FS9 with sliders up. When I say default I mean a clean install, no add-on scenery, textures etc.

Hmm, just an afterthought on visuals, doesn't FS9 have sliders? *all hail the sliders*, and don't they allow you to turn bits on and off, adjust visuals and performance to maximize your experience that we all used when FS9 came out?

CONFIG - The FS config file has been tweaked, added to, ripped apart etc since FS2002. Good gosh, its our god given right as simmers to trawl the depths of this file and understand its workings and tweak, tweak, tweak until we can't tweak any longer. FS9 is no different, there was a post by Trolly a few weeks back where he talked about improving FS9 visuals by tweaking the FS9 config file. 1000's of simmers have, and do, tweak to maximize performance and experience. And yes, they did it from day one FS9 was released because some of the FSX tweaks have been drawn directly from experience with FS9.

HARDWARE - FSX running with everything maxed on an average home PC is 2 years away, much like FS9 was when first released. Lets face it, the hardware you enjoy today to run FS9 wasn't around when FS9 was released, or was so expensive you couldn't afford it. FS9 pushed machines to their max. I had to upgrade twice to finally get it running with everything maxed out. The majority of users have upgraded there way to their current FS9 performance, it didn't just happen the day FS9 was released.

To say you need a super computer is not correct and sounded a little 'narky' to me. I certainly don't have a super computer. What I do have is a machine that runs FS9 perfectly, and FSX well. I compromise and will have to continue doing so until I can afford upgrades. These tweaks mean I can enjoy FSX with sliders well above where the equivalent FS9 sliders were at the same time of its release life.

So, while I can commiserate with those who can't run FSX to a level to make it worth it, and I imagine this would be gutting (why do you think I upgraded my computer) I think the debate about FSX needs to be conducted in the space of not where FS9 is today, but where it was when it was released. Unless we do that, in my opinion we are not comparing apples with apples. To criticize FSX because it runs poorly compared to FS9 is a cheap shot, they are different beasts from different computer ages. FSX is a futuristic sim, it does, and will do stuff in the future you wont believe. Like all that have come before it, FSX is the foundation on which the community build on. Yes you need solid hardware to run it, and tweaks are not ideal, but they work and make a difference. Why knock it?
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Postby AlisterC » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:46 pm

Hi John, you've suggested changes above:

"TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=900
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=1000" but I can't find these lines in my fsx config. Nor can I find MipBias in there either.

Where did you find all this? Is this still where the config is located?
Documents and settings/name/application data/microsoft/fsx?

Thanks :)

Edit: Scratch that, your link to tweaks etc showed me I have to actually ADD those lines, not just modify them ;) I've gone with your settings!
Last edited by AlisterC on Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby scon » Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:06 pm

Jon what sliders are you running?
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Postby Geoffhop » Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:53 pm

I think two major tweaks were good for me.

First is to get rid of most Autogen and add the two lines recommended in the first post with values of 1500 and 1000. An interesting experiment was to add the UK VFR scenery for FS9. This has a built in exclude file. Frame rates soar to the same as FS9 which I think demonstrates the effect of the autogen.

The second - and I know this really dumbs down FSX - was to copy the FS9 main texture file to FSX(back it up of course). This puts back a lot of the coarser textures of FS9 - which one really does not notice - in to FSX.

I added a number of other tweaks as rcommended in the various blogs and forums like bufferpools but I think the above two had the most efffect.

I cannot fiond mipbias also - does this line need to be added?

I am getting very acceptable frame rates and am currently moving sliders right bit by bit to gain the optimum setup!
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Postby G-HEVN » Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:54 pm

Autogen for me is the real killer, even with the MAX PER CELL tweaks above. I've established an unhappy compromise, which seems to work most of the time for 'normal' flying (ie take off, cruise, land) that allows me to use 'sparse' autogen and frame rates down to 6 or 7. The theory is that that once established and properly trimmed (or on autopilot), very little control input is needed, and so the slow frame rate doesn't impact the flying. In fact, even for take off and landing it's okay, as long as you stay ahead of the aeroplane and make no sudden inputs.

I find I don't need to pause to let the scenery 'catch up' like I did in FS9!
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Postby JonARNZ » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:04 pm

scon wrote:Jon what sliders are you running?

They vary depending on what I am doing. In general I have the tweaks mentioned, and my sliders as follows:

user posted image
user posted image
user posted image
user posted image
user posted image

The Scenery sliders are the ones that I change the most, usually anything to do with Mesh will go to 100% for screenies and video footage. I find the hit isn't that bad for the visual benefits, water kills me as does bloom, so in general water stays low and bloom off. However, if you check my latest video you will see bloom in full effect, with heavy cloud and autogen and full reflective water, and the result is 'reasonably' smooth, certainly not a slide show. I must emphasize that in the video the speed or smoothness has not been touched, so what you see is what was recorded from the screen. For online play I tend to go with the settings you see above, once again mesh tends to go higher.

Here are the above settings in action tonight in multiplayer. I had Fraps running to do video capture work, the benefit is it shows the FPS..

user posted image
user posted image
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user posted image
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Postby Zöltuger » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:26 pm

i take it you have anti-aliasing enabled on your graphics card?
i noticed that i was getting 20+ fps while flying over the tasman, but as soon as we hit taranaki, my frames dropped- to the extent where just swapping views caused the game to pause for a second
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Postby JonARNZ » Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:37 pm

Zöltuger wrote: i take it you have anti-aliasing enabled on your graphics card?
i noticed that i was getting 20+ fps while flying over the tasman, but as soon as we hit taranaki, my frames dropped- to the extent where just swapping views caused the game to pause for a second

Yes AL through the card. I use to do it through X but read on the forum its better from the card? Anyway, thats what I do.


Yayyyy, I'm into the Boeing Posts now, what do I mean? This is post 717 for me, so the coming milestones are obvious!
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Postby frostynz » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:44 pm

Hi Folks,

on Nvidia cards there appears to be a better gain in framerates by using 'unlimited framerates' as the correct setting.

Secondly, by setting Water Effects to '1 high' creates by far the biggest framerate gain of any tweak.

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Postby dharris » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:50 pm

If you have not seen these tweaks, you may want to try some. I changed my Cfg file to read as the authors did and got much better fps. I used that as a starting point and them started changing some of the sliders to better reflect my preferences, and now see much better fps and great scenery even at most airports. The link follows.............http://www.fsx-tweaks.4t.com/fsx_cfg.html. Worked for me. Hello Ian!
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Postby creator2003 » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:55 am

so now with sp2 out etc .... what are all the top tweaks for fsx now ????
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Postby s0cks » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:55 am

UPDATE AS OF MAY 2010

This is an editted post to reflect new tweaks that have been discovered since the last time I tried FSX. Originally while I thought I had it running fairly well, it still didn't feel quite right and I eventually went back to FS9. Also because there was more NZ scenery for FS9 at the time. While this is still true there is certainly a lot more available now for FSX. AGain, in typical fashion, I have spent the best part of a week configuring FSX for my rig.

Optimizing Windows
Ok, so you're thinking, yeh yeh, this won't make any difference. You're right in the sense it won't increase your FPS by much of anything if at all, but it should help smooth out your gameplay experience.

1) Uninstall ANYTHING you don't need.
2) Do EVERYTHING in your power to stop any unnecessary programs from loading when Windows boots. You need to get rid of as many of those little icons in your system tray (next to the time) as possible.
5) Defrag your hard-drives!! I suggest using a payware defrag like O&O which constantly monitors and defrags your hard-drive on the fly! Fantastic product.

Ingame Settings
The four main settings which seem to be the most FPS intensive is Autogen, AI Traffic, and Land Traffic. Water and clouds will also tax lower end graphic cards, but this is a GPU limitation and NOT CPU (unlike most of FSX). New GPU's like the 5850, 5870, GTX285, GTX470, etc... should be able to handle any clouds you throw at it, and much higher water effects.

1) Water. Set this as low as you can. I don't mean full to the left. What I mean is if you don't mind how the water looks at 2.x Low then put it at that! Water has such a hit because it has to render things twice. With an 8800GT I had to use Low 2.x, with a GTX275 my rig can handle 2.x High without too much fuss.

- 2.x Max. Reflects aircraft, sky, clouds, scenery, terrain, autogen
- 2.x High. Reflects aircraft, sky, clouds, scenery, terrain
- 2.x Mid. Reflects aircraft, sky, clouds, scenery
- 2.x Low. Reflects aircraft, sky


2) Autogen. Set this as desired. I tend to set Scenery and Autogen both to max (Extremely Dense) and then use the following tweak instead. FSX default max settings are as follows:

TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=4500
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=3000


I set mine to:

TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_TREES_PER_CELL=1500
TERRAIN_MAX_AUTOGEN_BUILDINGS_PER_CELL=500


It is rumoured that FS9 was 600 trees and 300 buildings max. I'm not sure, but even at 500 buildings I can tell you that cities look like cities! With 1500 trees, forests still look dense, but they aren't as immense as default. You'll need to play with it and see what you like and what your rig can handle. Fly over Auckland to check your building density, and the amazon for your tree density.

3) AI Traffic. AI kills FPS!!! Set this as low as you desire. I use 75% on each. Try and use optimized models and NOT FSX default AI. World of AI is a good free one. I also use the GNZLAP/HTAI for GA traffic. There is a program out there which converts FS9 flight plans into FSX format. FSX does support FS9 flight plans, but it can only handle one or the other, so make sure they are all FS9 format or FSX format.

4) Land traffic. 10% for each seems like a good compromise. Cars seem to chew up more resources than ships and boats.

nHancer - Graphics: Only for nVidia
Please follow this guide: http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=29041 for the nHancer settings. Feel free to try the other tweaks as well. Your mileage may vary, but I found that just setting up nHancer improved my game immensely. The FSX.CFG tweaks listed didn't seem to have as much effect for me.

Anyway. That is my experience. Hope it helps someone else!

BufferPools
There are two opposite tweaks here. One tweak, recommended by NickN, is to set a large PoolSize. This reserves system RAM for buffering. The poolsize you should choose vary from 5000000 to 100000000. You'll just have to try for yourself. The most common values seem to be 20000000 or 40000000. Add this to your FSX.CFG:

[BufferPools]
PoolSize=40000000


The other view is that using no buffer pools works better, but can decrease stability. This is because FSX sends renders direct to your GPU. If you have a high end GPU this tweak will probably work better than using pools. But if you have a mid to low end graphics card then this probably isn't for you. I found this cured some extremely horrible stuttering on very advanced aircraft models (payware).

[BufferPools]
UsePools=0


Frame Limiter
The inbuild frame limiter in FSX actually hogs resources. Setting a target FPS will give you an overall lower FPS than if you set it to unlimited. For example, if you got 30fps, then set your target to 30fps, you'll find your FPS is now actually only 20fps. This is because FSX is doing some strange tasks and calculations in the background. The good thing about a target FPS is that it helped decrease stuttering when framerates went up and down rapidly. Well now you can use a 3rd party program to do the same thing. Just set your in-game to Unlimited and use http://www.caveofdistraction.com/2009/07/2...d-other-titles/ to cap your FPS - I use 30fps cap.

Hope you find these tweak useful. There are a thousand other tweaks that people say works for them, but I've not had any luck with anything other then what I have mentioned.
Last edited by s0cks on Mon May 17, 2010 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby spongebob206 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:25 pm

Afternoon ladies and Gents

Awaiting my new PC so am finally close to ready for a full new install

I7 processor with GTX680 Graphics.

What updates, tweaks are crucial for smooth running?

What are recommended installs also?

How do I install Glaps50 for best performance or is there now something better.

All your suggestions much appreciated.


Thanks
Last edited by spongebob206 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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