Night Lighting still has alot of improvement headroom

As our lovely megathread with an immense amount of feedback got closed after Asobo claimed that Night lighting was improved, we couldn’t voice our opinions anymore.
First of all i’d like to thank every single person in the following linked thread that participated and gave alot of solid constructive criticism and ideas to improve the night lighting of microsoft flight simulator.
So here i’d love to revive our community it’s wishes to keep improving on this subject.

A few things i’d love to get off my own chest :

You guys were truly on to something when you MS/Asobo gave alpha access to a select lucky few.
There were many screenshots circulating that brought me immense joy of the visual fidelity my eyes were laid on.
Some of these shots were the night lighting ones that were so impressive at times, NOT perfect but very nice nontheless.

We as a community asked for improvements but only cuz the heavy sephia effect got introduced in the release build.
That got fixed but we got some strange lights in return which spread out unnaturally looking like cones of lights from above.

The things I personally think can be improved compared in the current state of night lighting:
I will speak purely about lights scattered across the sim world as per wishlist rules sticking to one topic.

  • The light bulbs lack brightness and is undersaturated which can honestly be increased a tad bit to give that orange glow look we see in real life from above. (not all cities do i know that)

  • The light bulbs lack the atmospheric effect, this is a bit hard to explain.
    When you look into the city with your own eyes it looks like it’s blinking/shimmering.
    This is due to the light photons traveling through the atmosphere.
    This can obviously bring some more immersion as it’ll look more alive outside.

  • The lights are actually casting now which is good but it looks like expanded bubbles everywhere now at higher altitude. I’d suggest for this to be reverted back to how it was previously but a bit more spreaded bloom on it, maybe 20% outside of it’s radius from high altitude.
    This image below is likely the biggest immersion killer for me personally looking al the light bulbs from above.

Current state:

Release build state:

  • The light bulbs miss the blooming effect which is not only visible on camera but a bit to our eyes as well.
    Alltho this shot is a bit exaggerated maybe but here is a comparison of a small edit i did with reshade and photoshop.

And here is another edit of my vision of it a bit in terms of brightness and saturation.

Here are a few alpha shots that circulated around : (posted also in our earlier thread linked above)

Ah… the good old days :frowning:


Hi, did the amount of individual light sources been reduced from initial release ?


Yes, both the amount of light sources and visibility range was severely downgraded between the first alphas and release, as well as lamp appearance from pinpoint glowing lights to faint semitransparent orbs.

The placements was also better before, more randomized and less artificial looking.

Now we have to set LOD to 400 to get close to the visibility range we first had, but that kills the FPS since so much more terrain needs to be rendered at higher resolution and distances , which is a total waste since it’s night and hardly visible.

I sincerely wish they had spent 2 1/2 years improving the amazing night lighting we first had, instead of slowly improving a downgraded version still not reaching what we first had.


I have edited my post just now to add my wish for the light bulbs itself in the sim.
please feel free to share your feedback guys.
constructive criticism is also welcome.


The current lights also seems to both hang at a higher altitude as well as wrongfully illuminating roofs, even when the lamps are placed lower than the actual roof, giving weird unrealistic circular “light splashes” , when light should be isolated to streets and walls like they used to.

It seems lamp illumination is based on distance only, ignoring angles. Plus you see the lamps effect on ground at greater distances than the actual “lightbulb”, while in reality it’s the opposite.


indeed, instead of properly casting on the walls of the buildings in the alleys etc it’s just a full view blob just looks randomly placed.
It really trows me off, especially when you enable snow build up in weather it’s even more prominent.

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The problem with the initial bloom effect is that it looked absolutely horrible on WFHD DQHD UWFHD nVsurround ect.

they allready fixed this in a patch long time ago.

Not finding any real problem with what we have now in SU9. Seeing how screwed up night lighting got a few sim updates back I’d take what we have now and leave it alone for awhile. Bigger fish to fry like ATC/AI…

And those two departments should and most like do have absolutely nothing at all to do with one another except maybe share the same office building.

I myself and others are not asking to prioritize night lighting and drop all other developments.
this is a wishlist topic, it’s up to Asobo to plan their roadmap.

Just because x issue is there doesn’t mean another issue should be fully ignore.
+working in parallel is something that is happening constantly in development groups.

This is their doing, the first itterations of the night lighting were fine.
It just needed some extra fine tuning imo.
“they broke it and fixed it now i am scared of them messing it up again” is not a way to think forward.
We humans learn from mistakes, and constructive criticism helps improve a product.

If you mean the original lighting as in release then NO.

Anyone using more than 16:9 saw horribad lighting.

You totally don’t understand what i am saying.
They fixed that, it’s an easy fix.
U can retain the old visuals with the UW fix they applied.

And improve the rest from there.

If it’s such an easy fix why did it take several updates and is still broken on aircraft in flight AKA flying Tide Pods

It literally has nothing to do with aircraft .
it took a couple updates cuz they prioritized other issues first which is normal.

the lights blurring on ultrawides was due to the resolution of lights scaling horizontally as well, which they fixed.
it has nothing to do with the whole re-doing of all lights.

(but let’s please stay on topic for improvements)

I agree with this post, even comparing the current state of MSFS to the new XP12, the night lighting is incomparable. Lighting from a distance really needs to be improved in the sim. Those aplha photos look incredible but, it’s a shame it is what we have now…


If you’ve ever played with light placement in the SDK, you’ll see that lights do not behave like real ones in many cases. Only true global illumination with raytracing will solve this. Then all kinds of things would be possible including more realistic daytime lighting effects. The current lighting will always be an approximation. But I agree that some things could be adjusted, especially for those who can’t use RTX. Personally I would like to see this in MSFS…New irradiance cache (kajiya renderer) - YouTube
Nevertheless MSFS did the best job I’ve ever seen with rasterization and raymarching when it first came out, which is why everyone was so excited. It was such a giant leap from what we had before. Alot of things “came together.”

I agree - IMO it all comes down to the TLOD changes they made in SU5. All potential rendering distances are tied to this setting, including night lighting.

You should NOT have to set TLOD 400+ (killing FPS) to get decent night lighting visibility - same applies to trees (raised many times before).

Until they take a serious look at the TLOD implementation we will be stuck with sub-standard night lighting distances.

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just posting to keep this topic visible and for people to vote. the latest development update has a massive list of bugs and wish lists and i hope this can make it as it is something that a lot of people care about given the size of the topic we had before it was deemed resolved. if we still had that open im sure this would be the first thing on the list and it rightly should be

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