Disappointing mountain terrain (in the alps and many other areas)

Hello everybody

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who finds the geometry data of mountain areas in the Swiss, French and Austrian alps very underwhelming.
I just flew over the famous Matterhorn, the Jungfraujoch, Eiger, and all thouse world wide famous mountains… and: It’s just sad.
The geometry of the terrain is so low resolution (tested on “ultra” settings of course) that is simply almost impossible to enjoy the area.
Is it still fun to fly? yes, sure.
But overall I’m a bit shocked how poor the data is.
The terrain data and detail on Google Earth (on my PHONE!) has about 100x (not exagerating) more geometry and details.
Compare the “Matterhorn” mountin in the sim and on Google Earth. In the sim, it’s barly more than a 3D triangle. In Google Earth, it actually looks like the real mountain in all it’s glory.

Now I know, they might have to make compromises because of performance, but I really think that they simply use very poor low res terrain 3d data.
And that’s just said because better data exists! Google has it, and Asobo could even get super highres data of the alps from Swisstopo, Switzerlands landscape topography agency.

I urge everyone who feels the same to write the team via https://flightsimulator.zendesk.com/ and tell them to please use better 3d terrain data, especially in the alps and mountain areas in generall.
Because mountains are really a weakness of the Sim at this point.
Water, weather, coulds, planes… I love it. But the mountains? Embarrasing :confused:

IMPORTANT ADDITION @Asobo: From today, March 1st 2021, all of Switzerlands 3D-terrain data, geo data, maps, etc. of the government (Swisstopo) is available for free.
PLEASE make use of this incredible dataset to give us a very detailed mountain terrain and a very accurate representation of Switzerland in general.

kind regards
Oliver

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Interesting. The Rocky Mountains in the US are really fantastic. I have not flown in the Alps yet. I wonder if it has something to do with the quality of the bing satellite images.

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Same issue in the Himalayas. All te iconig moutains are just gentle rolling hills.

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@justmostlydead: Interessing, could you maybe share coordinates where it looks really good?

@ApprovedEar3320 Yeah I noticed to. Basically the same problem. Mountains just look really bad if the terrain data has a low resolution. Everything looks like hills.
There are few areas in Switzerland where it looks ok, and the textures itself (the satellite images) are decent. Could be higher res as well of course, but the main problem is really that the actually 3D terrain data is so poor that rocky, steep, wild mountains look like soft hills :confused:
I don’t know about the data scource in the Himalayas, but from Switzerland, there would be fantastic 3D terrain data avialabe. I wonder why they use such a low res dataset instead :confused:

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I wouldn’t be as strict as you, because in many places the appearance of the Alps is absolutely magnificent. However, the simulator is not capable of rendering the geometric aspect of the rocky parts, and this is disappointing when flying over the Chamonix peaks, the Matterhorn or the Himalayan range.
FS knows the altitude of the places we fly over thanks to a grid of points (the “mesh” of FSX). Between these points, he extrapolates and smoothes the altitudes, which transforms the edges into rounded shapes.
There are several ways to change this behavior : locally increase the resolution of the grids to a very fine level, or create 3D objects to replace the sharpest peaks. It is likely that some DLC will take care of this in the future.

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@DonQuilmi29 sure, that’s exactly what I ask for: better resolution of the meshes that create the terrain. That’s what mountain areas definitelly need.

What areas of the alps do you find magnificent? Could you maybe share coordinates? I have not tested the whole alps yet myself ^^
Just some important famous spots… and they disppointed me quite a bit.

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Well I mostly flew over places I know in the French Alps (I’m French). I took off from l’Alpe d’Huez, Megève, and of course Courchevel.
I agree with the lack of roughness of the rocky landscapes, but apart from that, the rendering of the mountain pastures, forests, remote landscapes, and the work done on the light convinced me. I had fun landing with the Cub on isolated passes, just to play with the sun and the clouds and make beautiful screenshots with the drone camera.
Screenshot below is taken at a place called Auris-en-Oisans, near l’Alpe d’Huez airfield :


Sunrise on the Mont Blanc (near Megève Airfield)

I was just disapointed not to be able to generate a full cloud coverage at low altitude, to fly over a sea of clouds.

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I agree, forrest are great. So are the clouds, over all they are amazing.
And the mountains also look good from high altitudes, but the closer you are, the more you realize they are often just not detailed at all. Not even remotelly.
And strangely, textures often have a greenish tint and lack of contrast.

I think it’s a good start, but there is A LOT of room for improvement on the detail of the mountains. And like I said, I don’t really get why the developers are not taking advantage of the fantastic 3D terrain data that would be available.
Google can do it… so why can’t Microsoft?

Well, we will see how and if this improves.
They have already achived a lot of FS2020, but I really hope they will add more terrain detail in generall, but aspecially in mountain areas like the alps.

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I am not sure how to find the coordinates of where I am flying, but if you take off from aspen and fly west, the continental divide looks really good in my opinion. Large peaks,

Looks good to me.

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I completely agree with you, the lack of mesh on Switzerland, It’s a shame. Also Italy lack of mesh all around the country, the same (the roads along the Amalfi coast looks like a nightmare without mesh). The great add of the photosceney for free and in all the world, is fantastic, but without a decent mesh is very frustrating. Hope we could soon buy mesh from a third party developer.

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@feelipeses Yeah I hope so too. Did you write the developers a support ticket? I think you should. The more people do it, the better.
I’m absolutly 100% sure this could be drastically improved without too much work.
All they need to do is to use a more fine, detailed mesh of the terrains. Especially in mountain areas like to alps. Otherwise, it’s quite a joke.
I don’t know if third parties can really fix it… depends on how terrain can even be changed/fixed by third parties.
But I really think it’s Asobo/Microsoft to just get better 3D data of the alps.
The data exists… all they need to do is to use it.

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No TheRealOli4D, I have not written a support ticket. First, because I’m absolutely sure they know this issue. Second, a global detailed mesh, was never available on Microsoft Flight Simulator, they always give you the “base pack”, and then we depend on third party developers, freeware or payware. I don´t know if they will have any plans to progressively update the mesh, for free, or they will leave that area to be developed by third parties, like Pilot´s FS Global.

I share your disappointment, when I first fly from Raron to Zermatt, waiting to see the Matterhorn silhouette in the distance, but never appears. We thought photoscenery and mesh would go together on the MSFS, this isn’t the case.

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For those of you who are disappointed – have you checked in the data settings whether the Bing data is enabled?

I had a situation where I was disconnected from the internet in mid game and it seems like the Bing streaming data was disabled as a result and when I reconnected it wouldn’t turn itself back on until I noticed and did so manually in the settings.

This also happened while I was flying over the Swiss Alps and thought to myself that the texture doesn’t look right – and when I enabled the Bing data it looked phenomenal.

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Yeah Bing data settings are enabled. The sim’s virtual environment is almost spot on with the weather, the lighting, and gentler terrain like plains and hills but the sim’s terrain mesh simply doesn’t capture the ruggedness of peaks and the verticality of cliffs. This could really use some work.

I recommend to make an improvment list in your area like:

  • Matterhorn
  • Eiger
  • Jungfrau (with Landmark Sphinx)
  • Federal parliament building Berne
  • Famous POI chapel bridge Lucerne
  • Hammetschwand lift
  • Jet d’eau Geneva

I think the community make this sim even better with inputs. And when we know this in the „how to do“ section of the SDK we can do it by ourself.

Personally, I hope Asobo will rework these inputs in a future world update.

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I totally agree that the Alps and mountains in general could do with a bit of love. While some mountains look just a bit too rounded but otherwise okay, there are places where the elevation data is extremely inaccurate so that some mountains are hardly recognisable. The Matterhorn for instance is several hundred metres too short. I’ve already posted these screenshots on Avsim but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to post them here as well, just in case some of the developers drop by. Please note that these are extreme cases and that other regions look much better.
Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau:

Eiger Mönch Jungfrau_real 1
Matterhorn:

San Vito di Cadore, Dolomintes, Italy:

Scenery is where this sim shines and it’s all the more unfortunate that it can’t really be said about mountainous areas. While all in all the sim looks stunning and heralds a new age in flight simming, I think in terms of mesh it’s rather a step back. I hope this can be fixed and that the Alps finally look as good as the rest of the sim.

Edit: These screenshots are from August 2020. Last autumn the mesh in the Alps was updated and it looks slightly more accurate now.

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After testing the new Simulator for somewhat 52 hours, I decided to dig a little deeper. I did direct comparisons with the original Bing data and the msfs2020 data using the cache/view option within the sim and I was blown away at how much the quality has been down-scaled. MSFS2020 does everything backwards IMO, on the ground, things looks fantastic, the blades of grass and the detail is great, but this is not a bus simulator. Going higher is where things get really weird, test it for yourself, so compared with the Bing data at the maximum zoom level, the quality is 1:1 but as you zoom out in msfs2020 and in Bing maps, you’ll notice the image quality on msfs2020 is drastically reduced compared to the original data, what a real shame this is! it looks absolutely awful from altitude and that is what flight simming is about, being up in the air, not stomping through the grasslands, very disappointed and I hope it gets fixed at some point, This one major oversight has completely ruined the simulator, cause everything else looks great except the most important part!!

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Here is the Bing data, same location, same zoom level but a major difference in quality.

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@Shack952514 Good screenshots and photo comparison. That’s exactly my point and why I started this topic here. Your images of the Dolomites and also the Matterhorn summerize it pretty well: Mountain terrain in FS2020 is quite a joke and disappointement.
I agree that the sim all in all is great, but the lack of believable correct mountain terrain kills it for me in thouse areas. Especially when not even the height is correct!
Everything looks way to smooth and flat and… well… just not even close to the real thing often.

I really hope the developers are listening and will fix this.
Because like I said right in my first post: Highquality 3D data of these areas exist! In Switzerland, they could get it from Swisstopo… and in other countries there are scources too for sure.
If the 3D terrain on Google earth on my 4 year old iPhone looks better and more accurate, we have a problem ^^

So guys, please write Asobo via Zendesk like I did. The more people mention this, the better.

We want mountains. Not hills. :smiley:

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