Add support for AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR)

Hey everyone, been a while since there has been big news related to FSR.
I’ve found some news about two upscalers that have added support for FSR upscaling. While it’s never as good as a native implementation, it’s now applicable to ANY window. Add FSR to Microsoft Excel if you even feel the need to, nobody can stop you now.

The two programs I’m talking about are Magpie v0.5.2+ (written in Chinese but free and open source, it’s what I use. Simple enough to navigate through even if I can’t read it.) and Lossless Scaling v1.4.0+ on Steam. The latter has some issues with oversharpening from what I’ve read, but otherwise should work well.
These are ‘overlay’ techniques, and take any window’s output to upscale, so it scales UI elements and post-FX with it. A true FSR implementation would come before post-FX and UI layers.

Anyway, I went ahead and put it to the test, and it works surprisingly well! It doesn’t look too different from the TAAU where the latter is shown at it’s best - static images. But because you can use the ‘native’ TAA at 100% render scaling (or more) to upscale, you lose most of the drawbacks of TAAU in motion. Win-win!

Unfortunately I am unable to give accurate scaling results for lower resolutions, say 900p to 1080p or 1080p to 1440p, as it can only scale to full screen resolutions - 4k in my case.

None are compared to native 4K, but rather compared to each other at the same resolutions. FPS overhead is as expected, around 10% for FSR with this workaround method. Seems to be on par or slightly faster than the in-sim TAAU.
Cropped comparison images below.

Test 1 - ~1200p to 4K - Native > FSR > TAAU

Native (1200p image + default Photoshop scaling to fit 4k)

FSR

TAAU (Note how it skips over scaling the display, unlike FSR scaling the Sim’s entire window)

Test 2 - ~1520p to 4K - Native > FSR > TAAU

Resolutions higher than these (~1800p and up) are virtually indistinguishable during gameplay. FSR has slight win over TAAU with sharper edges.

Native

FSR

TAAU

Test 3 - Extremes - 648p to 4K - Native > FSR > TAAU

Native

FSR

TAAU - Even though I would never use this resolution, TAAU has the clear advantage for this scenario

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Oh my god. Can you post simple step by step screenshots about how to try this open source software on MSFS ? I’m really eager to see performance gains with this technique.

I tried my best but I think I couldn’t figure out what to do ? Beyond the chineese software should we change anything in our MSFS Options ?

Kind regards.

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Absolutely! It’s extremely easy once you know how it’s set up.

First, download this file (direct link, will download automatically) https://github.com/Blinue/Magpie/releases/download/v0.5.2/Magpie_v0.5.2.zip
Unzip the file to a location where it’s easy to access.

When unzipped, open Magpie.exe. It should give you the following window:
image

The default hotkey to enable and disable the program is Alt+F11. Don’t use it yet unless you want to fullscreen upscale whatever window you have open :wink:

The first dropdown is where you can choose the upscaling method. You’ll want to pick FSR, or some of the others to try out. The options ending with x2 and x3 are magnifications, these can be avoided.

The second dropdown is the capturing method, WinRT should be selected by default and left on that.

The third dropdown are injection methods if Google Translate is correct. Default option should be fine(2 of 3). The first option (1 out of 3) seems to be ‘no injection’, which is probably useful for games using online anti-cheat.

Then there’s a checkbox on the bottom right, that’s a frame counter. I leave it off personally.

Once that’s set up it should be good for any application you throw at it.
Now for MSFS;
Set the game to use 100% render scaling. More or less to your liking, but 100% gives best results. TAA is best left enabled as it gives the cleanest image with the given options.
Now run MSFS in windowed mode, at a resolution smaller than your native display. This will be the window it will upscale to fullscreen. Keep it around the same aspect ratio to avoid black bars around the screen.

Once you have them both running like below, click the MSFS window and press Alt+F11. Easy as that! To get back to the normal view, just press Alt+F11 again. As always with FSR, the higher base resolution, the higher quality the final image is.

Edit: I should add;
For maximum potential performance, you can combine TAAU and FSR if you’re fine with the added artifacting this can lead to.
Example; you can have a 1080p render resolution (lower render scale), upscaling to a 1440p window using the sim’s TAA, then using FSR as the final upscale to 2160p.
The final result can still be reasonably impressive, this image was scaled from 871p to 1583p to 2160p

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Thanks for taking the time to do this! Your screenshots perfectly match my expectations after testing with the FSR tool. It resolves a little less detail than TAAU, but it creates smoother edges. And wow, it really does help retain the sharpness in the glass displays.

Although the TAAU had some nice improvements with Sim Update 5 (they fixed some of the ghosting glitches and it seems a little sharper), I still think it’s worth adding FSR, especially because it comes with a much smaller performance overhead.

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For those of you wondering what it could look like and don’t want to use this app yet, you can manually try on your own screenshots! More details included in this post:

[BUG] FS2020 CAS Shader implementation might have a bug

I didn’t find any change about these, be it cars or rotating wind mils for example. SU5 still looks the same to me as before: [BUG/FEATURE] TAA is transforming road traffic into ghosts (self-cancelling moving pixels)

However I’m only using VR and if you’re noticing a change in 2D for example, this is making me wondering whether both modes are using the same Shaders code actually?!

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Thanks for bringing this up, that’s an interesting issue. I couldn’t have seen it in 2D because I don’t have road traffic enabled, but this is something I should test!

I’m not sure about any differences between 2D and VR, but the TAA (which seems to be what your post is referencing) and the TAAU definitely had a different implementation. The latter had a ghosting glitch when switching camera views (it correctly ignored history for one frame but then would bring it back and mess up the whole image), but this was fixed with Sim Update 5. Also I’m fairly sure I’m seeing a little less ghosting around the aircraft when panning the camera, but this could be placebo.

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I can’t tell how I’m happy now by the surprise of “FSR Open Source Mod” you have shared.
I have tried it via your instructions and voila !! It looks almost like 4K by FSR upscaling from 2K with the high settings and consistent 30 FPS. I have also tried 1080p to 4K and it was also quite fine and may be considered comprimised option to have much more aggressive settings if you wish sucah as ULTRA on everything. Before your post I was looking RTX 3080 Ti prices among online stores thinking to switch from my RTX3070 in the aim of proper 4K and this one helped me a lot and saved me some hundreds of dollars.

Even on open source external FSR implementation we get this and surely I can’t imagine how it would be greatly optimised if they implement it in the internel game code or whatever it’s. Thanks again. Hugely appreciated. By the way is the steam FSR software (payware) better than this Chineese equilavent ? If so I will certainly would give it try ? Did you try that as well ?

Kind regards.

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Actually if you look closely the new intro screen with the rhino, you can see this ghosting alongside the top of the wings, roughly 2 or 3 such ghosted wings… :wink:

This is unfortunately due I believe to the way it is implemented: using an accumulation buffer:

I might be wrong of course, but this is the closest technical explanation which is making sense to me about this bug.

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That’s great to hear! I haven’t tried the utility on Steam, however it is (should be) functionally the same. To my knowledge only the sharpness pass of FSR has been modified so far, which the version on Steam currently has to adjust properly (always set to maximum sharpness). The scaling code itself seems to be untouched to date, so results should be equal.

There is an English translation for Magpie, but hasn’t been updated to the newest version yet. Will keep an eye out for more news.

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You are right and I did notice this ghosting right away, but I think this is because:

  1. It’s Series X footage, which means it’s upsampling from ~65% the resolution. Users with 4K monitors usually say that it starts looking good at 75% and above.
  2. The aircraft goes over clouds, which are also using a temporal algorithm and as such suffer from their own ghosting/pixelation as well when they come into view.
  3. The motion was very quick during that clip on the trailer, that much is rather rare when simply using the cockpit or external views.

I guess they did patch up the implementation a little for this update, which makes sense since the Series X is constantly using it, but you are correct that they didn’t overhaul it. There is still room for improvement, and I hope they’ll adopt FSR and DLSS eventually.

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It would be really nice if you share similar news or improved versions of those open source FSR external implementations.

I hope sooner or later ASOBO will seriously consider FSR and DLSS in favour of us and take the right action to implement. Their claim was TAAU is giving the same result with FSR but after some tests I believe I have benefited FSR more than TAAU in visual and perf terms. It was good push for me considering not getting the expected performance increase over SU5.

Kind regards.

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Hmmm…seems like I can´t find a resolution smaler than my native display without the two fat black bars left/right. Any ideas?

1920x1080 with a 60-75Hz monitor

That’s strange… In windowed mode you can drag the window’s dimensions to any shape/resolution you want. Try to keep the sim’s window the same shape as your monitor (rectangular) and it should work out fine. Alternatively try setting the window to 1600x900, that’s the first ‘main’ resolution below 1920x1080 that still matches the aspect ratio.

1600x900
1280x720
1366x768
960x540

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Recently there has been some misinformation floating around, regarding FSR being just a Lanczos upscaling filter, and pretty much equivalent to NVIDIA’s driver upscaling and sharpening solution.

I would recommend checking out this Reddit post which debunks those claims with screenshot comparisons as well.

Basically, FSR is based on a Lanczos upscaling solution, but with additional edge detection to give the edges more definition and reduce ringing artifacts (that typically come with the Lanczos algorithm). On top of that, it is highly optimised for extremely small GPU overhead, comes with FidelityFX CAS which is a great sharpening filter (much superior to the one NVIDIA use in their drivers and DLSS), and is provided in a package for very easy implementation by game developers.

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Unsurprisingly, this was started by the very same Alexander Battaglia from DigitalFoundry, who’s been nothing but wrong about FSR since it was announced (it’s spatial so it has to be terrible, right?) Got called out on it, then doubled down on what they were wrong about in the first place. And seemingly whenever there’s news about FSR they’ll have to tell everyone how DLSS is better… Ah well, it’s one way to get a review out before any other reviewer is allowed to, always follow the money.

Anyway, I’ve had some time to tinker around with FSR and the sim again, did some mix-and-matching with settings. So far I’ve found the best settings for overall image quality for higher resolutions, while maintaining reasonable performance. Glass cockpits still don’t play nice with the render scaling, I’d call it pretty unusable if applied to 1080p, but you can still get nice results with the analog planes. Just make sure the resolution doesn’t become too low.

Because Magpie doesn’t really care about the window size or resolution you have running, you can emulate something comparable to Unreal’s Temporal Super Resolution (TSR).
When running the sim in a full screen window (2160p) you can apply FSR on top, with the render scale ranging from 50 to 60% (1080p to 1228p). The TAAU does the upscaling to the full resolution and FSR is applied as an edge-enhancing and sharpening ‘cleanup’ pass. Any TAA artifacting is, of course, amplified. It still combines the best of both worlds, but at the same time amplifies the downsides of both.

Left is 4k @ 60% Scale (TAAU), right is 4k @ 60% Scale (TAAU) + FSR. You can see how FSR tries to find edges in the clouds and goes a bit haywire. Just one of the side effects I suppose.

I have sharpening disabled in the sim’s UserCfg.opt to prevent oversharpening when using FSR. If you regularly use Magpie with MSFS I recommend doing the same. Some more cropped images below;

Images here

60% Scale + TAA

60% Scale + TAA + FSR

60% scale + TAA

60% scale + TAA + FSR

60% scale + TAA

60% scale + TAA + FSR

You can even push it to 40% scale; but it does lose more detail and artifacting becomes more obvious;
40% scale + TAA

40% scale + TAA + FSR

100% scale + TAA thrown in for comparison

100% scale + TAA + FSR, heading into oversharpened territory. No point in running this, really, but looks super crisp

I really don’t see the point of NOT having FSR anymore, honestly, comparing TAAU vs FSR, the latter comes out on top for overall ‘native looking’ image. Adding TAAU and FSR together, well, see images above… I guess people aren’t GPU limited often enough for Asobo to bother? I know Sebastian from the dev team runs 40% scaling at 4k (see images above for comparisons) with a 2060 Super, and FSR cleans the image up very nicely even when it’s a third party solution running on top of everything.

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And yet, despite obviously being a huge fan of temporal methods, he used to praise DLSS 1.0 and claimed that it looked at least as good as native. As much as I appreciate Digital Foundry’s insights, they can be extremely biased sometimes, and I think they still haven’t corrected a huge oversight in one of their FSR tests (it had to do with some DOF setting I think).

And then of course other sites picked up on this misinformation. Sad that some tech journalists are so eager to attack AMD’s gift to those with ageing hardware.

FSR should be added for the benefit of a much smaller overhead alone. Using 50% render scale at 4K with TAAU gives me about half the performance of native 1080p, and of course it makes glass displays unusable. If I were to connect my system to my 4K TV for example, I know FSR would be much, much superior for this use case, and I wish Asobo would recognise that.

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When it comes to the reach vs. accuracy of their claims, Digital Foundry clearly fails to handle their responsibility.
They have a large audience and the potential to spread just enough misinformation when something is misinterpreted. (which can be pretty bad)
For a long time, it has also been clear that Alex occasionally praises things that aren’t ideal and criticizes things by nitpicking on them.

I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not (biases can too be unintentional), but it’s why you always look for multiple sources rather than a single one.

e.g: Gamers Nexus, Hardware Unboxed, Jayztwocents, others…

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Small update for those still interested in using FSR for everything; Magpie 0.6.0 just released!
Functionally still the same as v0.5.2, but has a fresh interface and is now English by default.
Release page: Release v0.6.0 · Blinue/Magpie · GitHub
Direct download: Magpie v0.6.0

Another interesting development with FSR, it looks like the (already little) overhead can be reduced even further by optimizing the source code at a small cost of image quality, which is particularly useful for low-power computers/laptops and phones: https://twitter.com/atyuwen/status/1430459990561607689
Explanations of what was changed: Optimizing AMD FSR for Mobiles

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