Night lighting issues still present - The community solutions


1 Like

Until this gets fixed, this is a daylight simulator IMO


But in daylight also I (and others) are seeing grainy clouds and trees, LOD issue, low terrain resolutions etc… Siigghhh… Oh well

Generally I preferred the street lighting at release, but the bigger problem to me right now is BUILDING lighting, at least in big cities. Building windows should be brightly visible over the same distances as the street lights, but (I assume because they are part of the texture map), they fade quickly, with the effect that every major downtown skyline looks like a black hole amid the grid of searing street lights until you are actually among the buildings.

Even the Vegas strip - which looks much better post-USA update - is easily overpowered by the surrounding roads when the opposite should be true, and every other city is worse. Now maybe the street lights are too bright or the windows are too dim, it’s all the same to me, but the balance needs to be corrected.


Close Encounters of the Third Kind!

1 Like


I believe this is all related to the specific LOD bug I’ve reported back in October. In turn, because the windows are fading away sooner than the walls, the illuminated windows are also fading away sooner than the walls:

Facts and illustrated comparison between previous versions and v1.9.3 - Community / General Discussion - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums

There are specific LOD problems which all seem to have the same underlying cause: a difference between the distance computation and the threshold value making different objects appearing/disappearing non uniformly.

Part of the problem is the LOD ring algorithm is also factoring in the object size and I suspect the code is doing this unconditionally. This means 2 related objects (building wall + windows, small and large tree at the same distance) will be popping in/out independently.

Here is a detailed analysis of these problems from a user point of view (given the tools available):

I believe there is a bug in the FS2020 code using the Terrain LOD % slider not as a percentage, but as a square root of the percentage which is unexpected.

LOD Problems - Distances revisited - Self-Service / Bugs & Issues - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums

If this is a programming error, this could explain:

In addition:

Having both ground texture resolution and object distance controlled with a single Terrain LOD setting is a problem too. In effect, many are reducing Terrain LOD in order to reduce the number of objects (buildings, trees, photogrammetry) in the distance and save fps, but in doing so it is also reducing ground texture resolution too quickly and makes the ground appearing too fuzzy too close to the aircraft. Therefore, it would probably be beneficial you do offer 2 sliders: one for ground texture and another one for ground objects, instead of binding the two in a single Terrain LOD slider.

I’ve posted countless detailed posts about the different LOD problems in the simulator and as much I’d like to believe it might be hard to agree there is a LOD problem by principle, let alone finding what/where the problem is without a clear indication of what is wrong, I can’t help thinking there can’t be as much a difference between what I see (and report) and what is coded, so that it has taken so much time to start seeing this being listed in the latest(s) dev updates.

Hopefully the latest development update ( [BLOG] December 10th, 2020 Development Update ) is now listing several of these discussions, included this one, in the “TOP BUGS” list!


Concerning night sceneries as seen from high altitudes, especially for big cities, I made some tests over Paris using approximatly 40x40km of baked night textures generated by an algorithm I developed (that uses OSM data).

Not a big impact on performances.

Original :

After adding baked texture generated using an algorithm :

Original :

After adding baked texture generated using an algorithm :

Original :

After adding baked texture generated using an algorithm :

Other screens :

The night database I currently have covers almost all of the Europe and some parts of USA.
I stopped the generation process for the moment.

I would love to have your feedback about it !


This! Two days ago I tried to fly at night, about 12k feet above Melbourne.
Looking almost straight down in external view, I “zoomed in” and saw the light orbs illuminating low resolution terrain. It didn’t look good.

In the bigger picture, night lighting / environment also closely connected to other issues such as terrain resolution, LODs etc.

That long strings of street lights we are seeing close to the horizon far away? There should be trees and buildings blocking it from views and make it more random. Due to LOD, they’re not there… But the light orbs are.


Interesting! So basically that baked texture replaces the sepia?

Theorically yes, but not exactly for the pictures I posted. For this test I just baked the textures on a flat model. That’s why everything is hidden under it, included the airport here on the right :

At some point the flat model reaches ground level, leading to some amusing results when seen from low altitudes :

It would certainly be better if the textures were baked on the ground, but I don’t know how to do :cry:

1 Like

Merci pour votre perspicacité! Ce périph est bien embouteillé à cette heure ci :joy:

I’ve suggested back in November using the “transportation” layer instead of the roads so as to try making the ones most used by buses and similar traffic more prominent (bus lines are along most used streets usually).

Night lighting issues still present - The community solutions - #335 by CptLucky8


Back then you’ve shown us some of your first generated street lighting which were looking promising and we can see in your post above it is looking quite good:

Have you tried using the transport layer only yet? What do you think about this?


Thank you :blush:
“Le périph est toujours embouteillé !” :grin:

Transport layer info would work for some big urban areas, but not for countryside nor for countries were data is lacking.

The method used to generate these tiles use road type, cadastral information, road density type by type, and POI density. With this information the algorithm knows which place is supposedly lightened, and which place is not lightened.

I compared with photos taken from space by
Thomas Pesquet astronaut and the result is very close to reality, though not perfect.

You can see here Nile Delta:

HD :

France :

HD :

Note: in the picture above all the roads of Belgium are lightened, because this is the case IRL :scream:
It is possible to take into account country specificities by using different sets of regional parameters.

1 Like

Please stay on topic of Night Lighting. This topic is generating some flags.

Hello @Hester40MT

The title of the topic is “Night lighting issues in update #7 - The community solutions”.

What is off topic please ? :slightly_smiling_face:

You are good :slight_smile:
My post was to the thread. If I replied to you, you would have received a message.

1 Like

Could you be more specific please? I believe practically all posts here are about night lighting, and the only recent one which only seems unrelated, but it only seems, is the recent comments I’ve posted about LOD problems. In case you didn’t read them through and these were flagged to you, please understand the actual “LOD” bugs in the simulator do have a direct impact on night lighting too because they are, at the very root of everything you do see in the simulator. For example, if the simulator wrongly hide an illuminated object like the building windows, but is still displaying the building itself…

Are these Thomas photos or your generated ones? They look very nice.

I’ve been digging some of Thomas photos I could post here (not from his book) and here is:

Paris ( )

Western Europe ( )









The one I posted above (France and Nile Delta) are generated images :wink: and screenchots of Paris above use the very same database.

I will make more tries in MSFS very soon and post the results here.

I think it would be a good idea to make a mod covering the entire planet using these night textures with pre generated lights, in order to replace the sepia texture. It’s a very challenging project for sure. It is technically very interesting, I’m motivated but I will definitely need help. :slightly_smiling_face:


Some tests over Dubai

Vanilla :

Baked texture :

Vanilla FL260 :

Baked texture FL260 :

Baked texture, FL300 :

FL150 :


these are very promising. can’t developers bring this to us? What is the obstacle in front of them? Why are they acting so slow. I still have trouble understanding…

1 Like