Got to spend some more time testing this weekend. Full disclosure, I’m a layman not a software engineer. Still,
My current hypothesis:
It seems to me that the sim is trying to boost by performance by only partially drawing buildings at “mid” distances. In particular, the engine holds off drawing rooftop geometry and rooftop textures until the plane is at a distance of X. Instead, the game just draws a flat surface for the roof. (I have no idea what controls X, but I believe the ability to increase X will create a dramatic improvement to fidelity at cost of performance).
As is, this drawing scheme causes problems for lighting and AA. The “light” hits this flat surface and creates “glare” (high white value). Then, because the surface is effectively a horizontal line when viewed at a low angle, this glare creates issues for AA— which struggles to deal with tightly packed, high contrast straight lines.
The only way to remedy this on the user end (that I know of) is by making the lines less tightly “packed,” e.g. by increasing the resolution of the image.
If I’m right-- then I hope Asobo considers giving users the option to adjust the draw distance on building geometry/textures just as they gave us the option to adjust the offscreen caching.
I can and I thinks it’s a great suggestion. I will do the following in 24 hours if I don’t see too much opposition:
Change title to: “[BUG LOGGED] Shimmering/AA downgrade since SU5 (in-game, not menus/overlays)”
Add this at the top of the post:
Edit 20211011: added shimmering to the title of the issue, as it is one of the main unpleasant symptom of the issue: buildings (many report it to be more severe on autogenerated buildings) and trees that shimmer, even in active pause. It may also be that the shimmering is not related technically to AA (despite appearances) but to something else.
Thanks japayannick I really hope this issue gets more attention as it is perplexing that so few either experience it or notice it.
I would make the title change slightly different and change your ‘shimmering’ to ‘buildings shimmering’ as I personally have only seen that characteristic degrade with SU5. I think the trees have always exhibited some shimmering since release (transparency in their textures being the cause) and I overcome this by turning off sharpening in the usercfg file. While this makes the image appear softer it’s not bad at 4k and the tradeoff is worth it.
Another thought occured to me - this issue appeared at the same time as Asobo changed the lighting balance (SU5) and I wonder if some non-linearity has crept into the pixel lighting calculations. This would certainly explain why the level of sunlight changes the amount of shimmering and there appears to be a distinct band in the image where it is worse. However lighting level also affects AA which is why this could still be the culprit although I believe Asobo have stated there were no TAA changes.
Are you running Steam or the Microsoft store version? The reason I’m asking is because the Microsoft Store version seems to be more restrictive. For example, I can’t even select it in Nvidia Control Panel even if I select the .exe file. Steam games this isn’t a problem