Night lighting in MSFS overly soft and blurry?

I’ve been doing some night flights/landings lately just to get acquainted with it and have been mostly using X-Plane lately. Did a night landing in the same location (Honolulu) with the 787 and couldn’t believe how soft and blurry the night lighting is. I have a photo on my phone from when I first started with MSFS and looked at that photo and it looks better, but it was taken with my phone not a Windows screenshot. The lights are way sharper and more realistic in X-Plane so I have to ask what’s up? I turned off the Bloom setting thinking maybe that was the culprit but no change. Take a look at this screenshot. All settings set to Ultra except Motion Blur is turned off. This shot was with Bloom turned off but again, it made no difference. Is it the sim or something I have set?? As you can see the cockpit graphics are sharp…

3 Likes

The lighting is actually too bright and distinct in most places.

I have a saved flight plan that covers 200 nm over a mix of major metropolitan, dense to sparsely populated coastal, and island areas. I’ve flown this route many times starting just before USA Update; from dusk and arriving in total darkness at destination.

The lighting is too distinct even at 8000 AGL. I’m picking out beacon lighting from secondary strips in low visibility that I shouldn’t be able to until much closer, taxiway lighting that I really should be able to distinguish until on Final. Each roadway, even secondary roads, have uniform bright lighting that let’s me do DR in the dark.

1 Like

Yeah, the light balance isn’t quite right for some lights.

If X-Plane is showing it as very sharp then it is probably wrong, unless it is somewhere with no air pollution at all, 100% still and air with low moisture content. I know saying X-Plane isn’t 100% like the real world isn’t popular, but it isn’t. You may prefer X-Planes atmospheric modeling but that is not the same as “more realistic”.

Your screenshot is extremely realistic (in terms of the issue your complaining about) at the major airport where I live.

3 Likes

When I said much sharper and realistic I meant it IS more like real life in clear still conditions. Night lights are simply not anywhere near as bloated, soft, and blurry as the lighting in my screenshot during clear conditions/weather. That was set for clear skies and weather. Yes I understand it shouldn’t be razor sharp, and X-Plane does its own light blooming/flaring, but it still looks more true to life than this blurry mess.

1 Like

Well, just did a search and found this thread, last post only 2 hours ago. Guess I’m not alone. I am using super ultra wide at 5120x1440…

1 Like

Hey I’m just curious… If you choose different anti-aliasing method in the game menu (FXAA, DLAA, or no AA), do the lights get sharper or pretty much the same?

I knew this would turn into this. This isn’t a battle of which is better, look at my image. Night lighting does not look that bad in real life under clear conditions. Not unless you have poor vision and need glasses. Of course it shouldn’t be razor sharp, just not this mushy. I linked another thread to others complaining about this. It’s not realistic, stop acting like it is.

2 Likes

There is also another night lighting issues discussion pertaining to light bulbs and road lights mostly you might want to vote for:
Night lighting issues still present - The community solutions
Ambient Night Lighting illuminating more than a full moon

2 Likes

Lights should blur only if atmospheric conditions would do so in the real world. On a cold frosty clear winter night, lights dont blur in the real world even over some distance like they do in the sim. I can look across the Bristol Channel to Wales and see individual lights lining major “A” roads climbing over hills, quite clearly.

2 Likes

My bet is a major part of your problem lies in your ultra-wide screen setup, as I believe you intimated above. X-plane handles wide screen much better than any FS product ever has. I assume you’ve turned off the edge distortion in the graphics options (I forget what it’s actually called)? That helps a little, but it’s still not great. It’s one reason I went with a single 55" 4K screen, having it ultra-wide is just too distorted on the sides.

Edit: I don’t mean to imply it’s the whole issue, but I think it may be part of it.

I think comparing night lighting to X-Plane’s is a little misguided.

I’ve never played X-Plane, but have seen a lot of videos and screen shots of it. To me, night lighting in X-Plane looks more like a photograph of a scene. And I think that’s the frame of reference most people who aren’t actual night-rated pilots have of what night lighting from the sky should look like - from photos. The problem is, the camera sees things very differently than the human eye does. While I’m not a pilot, I’ve done enough night and low light photography to know there’s a big difference between what the eye sees at night and what a camera sees at night. To me, X-Plane’s night lighting looks like night photography, not like what we see with our eyes.

I think MSFS night lighting is still the best out there atm. My only real issues with it are that light sources are too large and a too bright. And the countryside is far more illuminated than it should be. There’s no way one should be able to navigate VFR at night using rural roads.

If those things could be corrected, I think it would co a long way to making it even more realistic.

2 Likes

Exactly! I mean anyone can simply Google any city at night for images and you can see from an aerial view on a clear night whether from a plane or skyscraper that the lights are much clearer than in the image I supplied. I work in Manhattan right across from the Chrysler Building and I can see clearly the lights at night on clear nights. What MSFS is doing is wrong and it wasn’t always like that. When I first started using it in September it was fine.

1 Like

Sigh, don’t understand why I have to keep saying this… maybe I just shouldn’t have mentioned X-Plane. I’ve been on dozens of night flights and have looked down at the city lights… they do NOT look as mushy and soft as the image I posted, they just don’t. And that was me using my eyes. I also use my eyes on the top of the Empire State building and the lights don’t look anywhere near as soft and mushy as in MSFS.

It’s not a human eye problem. It’s an MSFS light rendering problem. If you read through the linked thread people show how the problem exhibits itself once going higher than 1080 HD. There are screenshots showing the same image on difference definition screens. As far as everyone laughing at X-Plane’s graphics, you can make them amazing with a few free and low cost paid add-ons. Look at this screenshot I took this weekend:

Global illumination in msfs is just miles and miles better than xplane. The atmosphere in xplane always feel empty and lifeless.

2 Likes

That is easily fixed with XVision. But please guys, stop the XPlane vs MSFS argument. It wasn’t my intention to make this a discussion about which is better, I should’ve known better than to reference it.

Interesting suggestion. You could well be right, I use an ultra-wide.

1 Like

Whats so special here? Looks good for xplane but medicore at best if compared to msfs.

1 Like

I don’t disagree at all. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done on MSFS night lighting. It’s better now than it was, but still needs a lot of tweaking to get it right. City lights should be pinpoints of light, not the large, fuzzy floating orbs that they currently are.

I’m just pointing out that comparing MSFS night graphics to aerial night photography is not a good comparison at all, and that X-Plane’s night lighting looks exactly like that - night photography. So neither of those are good points of reference.

3 Likes

Seems we’re in agreement. Like I said, that other thread shows the degradation that is occurring with the lights as resolution increases. It’s an MSFS rendering issue. One of the mods even said it was escalated to the devs.

As for the rest I’m not going to respond to anymore of the x-plane vs msfs comments. My bad. I really should’ve thought better than to mention x-plane on here :roll_eyes:

2 Likes

Agreed. I think it’s a rendering issue. It’s something that definitely needs to be revisited by the devs at some point. It would be nice to have the night flying experience be as visually stunning as the daytime experience.

And for the record, I think comparing MSFS to X-Plane is a perfectly valid comparison, as it’s the main competitor, and it does a lot of things WAY better than MSFS. Asobo could learn a lot from it.

But making that comparison here will ultimately always bring out the fanboys of either club to white knight for their preferred sim.

2 Likes