Night lighting issues still present - The community solutions

Well we know that this a temporary solution and this has an effect when outside is pitch black (different settings can enhance daylight as well) but at least for now it makes it more bearable .
I would be really interested to see your results .

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OK so I just had some night flying over Las Vegas, Seattle, and Hobart (Tasmania, Australia) and found out that while update-7 bring changes to night lighting in the right direction, there’s something Asobo might be able to do fairly quickly and easily (again, i’m not devs, and I don’t know of the technical development aspects of it so apologize if this is not “that” easy to do).

That is: Reduce the size of light orbs! Especially when viewed mid-long distance! I am playing 1080p and the further it goes in a distance, the lights turns into this "rectangular"ish shaped orbs that don’t really decrease in size much! This create an “out of focus” effect where I had to squint my eyes and asked myself if it was me having myopia, or it’s actually the night lighting effect.

So Asobo / devs… if you see this thread, the next step is to reduce the orbs size by 50-60% while keeping the effects (luminosity and coverage area) the same. Runways / taxiways light orbs need to be reduced in size also I think… They’re just too big.
Even if reducing / halving the orbs size resulting in slight decrease in luminosity, this should be ok.

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ah ok, my bad. I was indeed referring to the light reflection from ground to air.
Anyway, although nightlight in earlier versions wasn’t perfect, it was a LOT better than current state :frowning_face:

And next thing I’ve noticed that Asobo should fix in the longer run, is the height of the light orbs from the ground. Just found out that light orbs “floated” above grounds like on an “invisible sheet” in the sky that tries to follow the contour of the ground, but failed to mimic the ground contour 100%.

The result is that you can have a suburban street light at the correct height (about 6 metres) at one spot. But if you go 500 metres forward, the street light can sometimes only be 1 metre off the ground (similar height to vehicle head light), or sometimes it can be 50-70 metres in the sky! Waay too high!

And this is not only suburban street light, but all lights! I saw highway lights on correct height, and sometimes too high.

Once they addressed this issue in the future and the lights are in their correct heights, i’m sure the night lighting will look much more realistic!

And this is just one thing they need to fix in the longer run… Devs also need to address the issue of “too many light orbs per light point”, duplicate light orbs, and would be great if they can create other sources of lights (porch lights, building/store front lights, vehicle head/tail lights etc).

They fixed it a little bit with smaller lamps now, but they are still too big. Also, the lack of sepia / amber mask at the distance makes the landscape looks like a cold place like we are flying in Alaska, where we can see everything clear for miles and miles. The sepia / amber mask did mimic humidity and that light / glow diffusion at the distance. Yes, in some very cold / dry days the sepia mask should be very thin, but still present.

I’ll see if I can put together some prints, but it is so much work to gather some considerate information and prints. Most of us don’t have time for that.

So, yes, it improved a bit from the horrible lighting update, but taking a look at both versions in my videos (the original one and the version after the update 7), the way should be more a compromise of the two. The current version needs smaller lamps and some of the sepia / amber mask of the original version at the distance. But in between the two, the original one is still a better representation of reality, even though it does not have the bright at the distance.

It is not burning my retina anymore, but it is still giving out the "computer generated grid’, and I can say it is mostly due to the size of the lamps (still too big) and the lack of sepia / amber mask at the distance.

I’ve been trying different comparison this morning because it seems to me the discussion is taking the specific direction of light bulb size.

I can’t find where I’ve posted this in the forum in the past (too many posts) but I believe one important issue with the light bulbs is not their size but their lack of size variability with the distance. In effect, the perceived brightness depends on the power which is the intensity over a surface. If you’re displaying two light bulbs with the same size on the screen but one farther away than the other, it will appear brighter.

Some screenshots and comments below.


Light bulb size hasn’t changed between updt 3 and 7

Light bulbs are displaying at the same size as in the past. However there used to be smaller light bulbs in the distance with update 3.

Also size doesn’t vary with render scaling which is expected (it might vary with monitor size but I’ve not tested and I doubt it). However because TAA and the new CAS shader is ‘creating’ new pixels from the existing ones, the lower the TAA the brighter the light (try to flip between the 3 back and forth to see it).

EGNX (Update 3):

EGNX (Update 7 TAA 100):

EGNX (Update 7 TAA 70):

EGNX (Update 7 TAA 50):


Light bulb size doesn’t change with distance

This is the main problem to me with the size in that it gives a false sense of brightness the farther they are. Flight Simulator franchise has never changed the bulb size with the distance and this has always been wrong.

Compare with X-Plane 11 and reality: if you look at the runway lights (the brighter white ones), you can see XP11 is reducing the size of the bulb with the distance which in turn gives a uniform luminosity along the line. In real life, you can perceive as-if they are getting smaller with the distance as well and luminosity is even along the line as well. However with FS2020 they never vary size and in turn, the runway lights seem more bright at the farthest edge than in the closer one.

EGNX FS2020:

EGNX X-Plane 11:

EGNX Real:


Here are other screenshots to compare the evolution of the lighting between update 3 and update 7:

RJTT Update 3:

RJTT Update 7:


Why does size matter?

Comparing EGNX screenshots I’ve posted, side-to-side, FS2020 Update 7 vs X-Plane 11:

Because they’re not varying size with distance this even makes a color shift in the opposite direction:

  • the red lights at the end of the runway are supposed to be the same red lights at the begining.
  • in FS2020, then are washed out at the front and red-ish at the back
  • in XP11 they are red-ish at the front and washed out at the back (atmosphere absorbing)

Suggestions

I believe they should:

  • Revert to update 3 bulbs.

They where having a semi transparent ‘glow’ which is a visual trick which you can use and is effective when you’re displaying lights at different sizes

  • reduce the light bulb size with the distance.

This is mandatory in order to simulate light as a power value, not as intensity value (power means intensity over a surface)

  • use the ‘sepia mask’ only after a certain distance (gradually displaying over a certain range)

This sepia mask is wrong when close up, but necessary in the distance. It is not very difficult coding a Shader blending in the sepia mask as distance increases. Think the reverse of the LOD function which takes smaller resolution ground textures as they get farther away. Do the same with the sepia mask but also using distance for the blending factor.

  • probably keep update 7 distant light bulbs but only sporadically (and much smaller)

These are necessary to make believe there are point lights in the distance, not just a sepia mask texture. With a little bit of twinkle it can also give the illusion of atmospheric distortion the farther away you look.

There 4 items alone are easy to code based on the existing implementation and should give better results immediately.


Nov. 25 2020 Q&A info and concerns

They are working on it… what concerns me is what they intend to do because I don’t see this solving the issue we’re describing in this discussion. Which begs the question whether night lighting will solely be something under the creative decisions at Asobo, or, whether like many other things the community doesn’t want they’ll change direction and adopt some if not most of our suggestions here.

In effect Sebastian was describing the problem of sampling multiple lights in the same pixel and he is right, there is no way you could this properly (simple signal sampling theory). In addition, he said they’ll add density to the road lights base on population statistics.

My point of view is road light should mostly and nearly solely be a factor of road traffic. You can see in all screenshots they’re adding yellow/red bulbs over the street and roads. So in turn with the population density data you’ll still get light bulbs over the roads and the streets, only, you’ll get less bulbs and spread apart. Now imagine you’re flying country side and you see a few dots there and there, 500m apart, they are no longer helping you spot it is a road (there is not enough points to see that), and they are static in the scenery.

Therefore, in adition to the 4 points I’ve enumerated above there are 3 more in my opinion for convincing night lighting of roads:

  • Use OSM data with population density to generate a ground illumination texture

This will pave the ground with the refracted light coming from the light poles which are present only where there are buildings and cities mostly.

  • Use OSM data with population density to generate non emitting light pole point sprites

Because light is baked in the ground texture generated by OSM data, there is less need for actual lights (with the Shader code doing the computation for illumination like it is now, if it is). Point sprites could be sufficient but point lights as they are currently implemented have the added advantage illuminating the nearby buildings which is neat.

  • Add Head and Tail lights to cars and don’t cut car range to the 1st LOD ring

You’ll get moving red/white lights on the roads and this will give you the sense of the road shape laying out below you. With the population density they can modulate traffic density too (like in X-Plane).

Attention: FS2020 is for now cutting out any car beyond the first LOD distance ring (maybe up to the 2nd). For car lights to work they have to display them farther away. In order to avoid the cost of it far away, they could use impostors or blinking lights like I’ve indicated above.


Why do we need a Legacy / Modern Light Setting

(like Legacy / Modern flight model setting)

Regardless it is more accurate perceptually, some prefer left, some other right…

PS: of course there are different performance implications doing one approach or the other but ultimately it appears FS2020 is rendering point sprites anyhow, so in the end it might not change much between doing what they do which looks like:

  • they’re changing brightness using the halo as an indirect size changing effect, instead of changing size using the halo as an indirect brightness changing effect.
  • the former makes distant and close lights look nearly the same size and distant lights seem brighter
  • the later makes distant and close lights look accurately sized from each other and accurately emitting the same power.
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You’ve been offering great suggestions for a long while now, yet Asobo doesn’t seem to be paying attention.

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Thank you for your kind words!

Please vote: “When will you start working directly with other Developers? We don’t want just Aerosoft airliners in the most beautiful simulator made for GA” - Community / Dev Q&A: Closed - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums

Light bulbs are not at the same size as before. You can see from my post below (which I posted in this same thread) that the lamps now are way bigger than before. I also mentioned that they don’t change with the zoom. Perhaps it was a trick to make it brighter and don’t get huge with the zoom, but some of us can see it.

Lamp size is too big still.

I’m still having issues with doubled floating lights. In today’s Q&A session MS/Asobo said that they looked into all locations reported and fixed the issues with the latest update.

However for me the situation is still the same, e.g. west of LOWI.

Here the lights elevate on short viewing distance right within a town area:

These are lights visible from distance and disappearing gradually as you move closer:

Any ideas? :thinking:

They have not fixed the issue, its not as bad as it was but there are still instances of double lights weirdly floating above each other over some roads. And on my sim the lighting is very blurry beyond a certain distance too. Light dont look like this in real life so I hope this isnt their “artistic vision” because I can tell them if it is, it sucks. I cannot fly at night in this sim, its just a mess.

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Hi @sfdeham,
Please submit those to zendesk or provide them a link to your post. On todays Q&A (25 November), the devs said they needed screenshots with locations of where the floating lights are happening.

To everyone else: Same thing, they need screenshots with the location where the floating lights are at.

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Seb gave a very detailed response on the night lighting subject and explained what they are trying to do and how etc.
Im so happy to hear they are actively working on it :heart:
I’m sorry for being so cranky and frank at times, i saw it on their faces how tired they were.
They are working hard to ensure we all have a nice simming experience.

If I may ask, how do you change the strength of TAA?

Btw, I thought the red lights were gone (I haven’t flown over big cities at night in a while)


It doesn’t look bad, just didn’t expect to see so many red lights

They need to work on the transition zone next. Currently it kinda looks like parts of the city have a power outage (render scale 200, terrain detail 200)

Seb talked about on the night light on the last Q@A, it is not easy as we thinks (reduce\ increase \remove), it’s on going process winch will require several updates.

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back to floating lights, this is the KASE landing challenge, looks at these little glowing pixies.

The floating light issue and (night light system in progress), are near mountains in average, on the latest Q@A they explained this “Discussion: Live Developer Q&A – Nov 2020”, most should be fixed but if still please reported them, floating light are system used on altitude, some are doubled on lower, it’s bug.

I don’t know what you’re referring to as “before”, but here are 2 side-by-side Update 3 (Japan DLC) vs Update 7 (USA DLC) from my 2 RJTT screenshots (left side is 3 and right side is 7):


They are exactly the same size. However in update 7 there is nearly no falloff (which further makes them brighter). As a matter of fact looking at this comparison again, it might be they’re trying to simulate dimmer lights farther away in changing the falloff (which is a basically taking a spot sprite texture, and adding ± RGB value to increase the brightness, which the shader will cap to the maximum and make the falloff disapear (similar effect to white clipping in photos).

Why does size matter?

Comparing EGNX screenshots I’ve posted, side-to-side, FS2020 Update 7 vs X-Plane 11:

Because they’re not varying size with distance this even makes a color shift in the opposite direction:

  • the red lights at the end of the runway are supposed to be the same red lights at the begining.
  • in FS2020, then are washed out at the front and red-ish at the back
  • in XP11 they are red-ish at the front and washed out at the back (atmosphere absorbing)

All these observations and comparison leads me to this:

Nov. 25 2020 Q&A info and concerns

They are working on it… what concerns me is what they intend to do because I don’t see this solving the issue we’re describing in this discussion. Which begs the question whether night lighting will solely be something under the creative decisions at Asobo, or, whether like many other things the community doesn’t want they’ll change direction and adopt some if not most of our suggestions here.

In effect Sebastian was describing the problem of sampling multiple lights in the same pixel and he is right, there is no way you could this properly (simple signal sampling theory). In addition, he said they’ll add density to the road lights base on population statistics.

My point of view is road light should mostly and nearly solely be a factor of road traffic. You can see in all screenshots they’re adding yellow/red bulbs over the street and roads. So in turn with the population density data you’ll still get light bulbs over the roads and the streets, only, you’ll get less bulbs and spread apart. Now imagine you’re flying country side and you see a few dots there and there, 500m apart, they are no longer helping you spot it is a road (there is not enough points to see that), and they are static in the scenery.

Therefore, in adition to the 4 points I’ve enumerated above there are 3 more in my opinion for convincing night lighting of roads:

  • Use OSM data with population density to generate a ground illumination texture

This will pave the ground with the refracted light coming from the light poles which are present only where there are buildings and cities mostly.

  • Use OSM data with population density to generate non emitting light pole point sprites

Because light is baked in the ground texture generated by OSM data, there is less need for actual lights (with the Shader code doing the computation for illumination like it is now, if it is). Point sprites could be sufficient but point lights as they are currently implemented have the added advantage illuminating the nearby buildings which is neat.

  • Add Head and Tail lights to cars and don’t cut car range to the 1st LOD ring

You’ll get moving red/white lights on the roads and this will give you the sense of the road shape laying out below you. With the population density they can modulate traffic density too (like in X-Plane).

Attention: FS2020 is for now cutting out any car beyond the first LOD distance ring (maybe up to the 2nd). For car lights to work they have to display them farther away. In order to avoid the cost of it far away, they could use impostors or blinking lights like I’ve indicated above.

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Yep… light bulbs / orbs size, especially further away in a distance, should be their first target to fix. It should get smaller.

The near ones could use some cuts also… make them smaller, then add a tinge of halo in the future.
This will make a very noticeable difference.

Current one gives a “blurry” effect in a distance, similar to “out of focus”.

Next is the height of the bulbs/orbs… It should be at a fairly consistent height from the ground.
Suburban street lights at consistent correct height (about 6 metres) will give chance for buildings and trees to cover the light orbs, thus creating nice variety and randomness, while also realistic.