Possible fix for improving the graphics after SU5

Hi Guys,

As all you have noticed the sharp graphics decline post SU5, i did some research and i was able to bring the graphics to a satisfaction level. I made few tweaks in usercfg.opt file and other in sim settings to achieve this with no performance impact. In fact i am really impressed how my sim looks now as well it is butter smooth.

Based on my observations, i am ASSUMING asobo made following changes to the sim in their SU5 update. I CANNOT guarantee or prove my assumptions are correct. But anyway here they are.

  1. The max RAM usage for the sim has reduced to 6.8 GB, this means even if your rig has 32 or 64 GB of RAM, the sim only uses a max of 6.8GB. Again this is based on my observations, please correct me if i am wrong.

  2. The max VRAM usage is also reduced to 4.5GB. Again this is also based on my observations.

That being said, let us get back to the graphic quality. I believe the following changes are made in the sim to reduce the graphics quality based on my assumption.

  1. LOD - Both terrain and object LOD values are no longer matching the pre-su5 LOD’s.
  2. Cloud quality is reduced.
  3. Added scenery/object culling causing objects to popup when panning the view.
  4. Antialiasing TAA quality is also reduced.

There may be more changes, but the immediate concern goes to the above ones.

Now before i jump into the fix/solution. IMPORTANT!. I have tested all the below fixes ONLY on my rig, and i believe it improved my graphics. I CANNOT guarantee it will work on your rig. But it is worth a try anyway. So lets get on to it. Before proceeding, here is my rig configuration.

Monitor : HD with 1080p resolution
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (Not Overclocked)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1070 - 8Gb (Not Overclocked)
RAM : 32Gb 3200Mhz (No XMP Profile used)

Alright, now that being said, lets talk improving the graphics.

IMPORTANT!. Before proceeding further, take a backup of your UserCfg.opt file. I have purchased the sim from the microsoft store therefore mine is located in the below location.
C:\Users<YourUsername>\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.FlightSimulator_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalCache
For steam users, please google it to find your location.

IMPORTANT!. Modifying the configuration file, may or may not work OR it can give completely unexpected results. Therefore proceed at your own risk. If you see any issues, then close the sim and revert the configuration file.

Open the UserCfg.opt file in a file editor (Notepad/Notepad++). Locate the graphic section. It should look like this.

{Graphics
Version 1.1.0
Preset Custom

Change the version to 1.1.1, now i am not sure if it made any difference but i did it anyway assuming the sim loads the file based on the version change.

Terrain Graphics

  1. LOD (Terrain/Object):

To fix the LOD, i have made following changes in file

{
Terrain
LoDFactor 3.000000
}
{
ObjectsLoD
LoDFactor 2.000000
}

Basically i have increased my terrain LOD from 2.0 to 3.0, this gave me clear and sharp ground texture all the way upto 40,000ft. Now if you plan to fly higher, then you may need to configure to 5.0. As far as the object LOD is concerned, i went with the default max 2.0.

NOTE: Increasing the LOD to a higher value may affect performance, therefore i would suggest you to start with a lower value and move up to a higher value until you are satisfied with the result.

  1. The above change is just to increase the draw distance, however it still causes blurry textures when panning around. This is because of the scenery culling and the sim downloads the textures from the cloud everytime you look around. Fortunately this can be solved by ENABLING ROLLING CACHE which saves the downloaded textures on your disk and reloads it from your disk, instead of downloading everytime. You can enable this option from General Options → Data. I have assigned 8GB in my SSD for rolling cache. Now here are some screenshots with the results.

With Photogrametry over san francisco.







Clouds:
So for the clouds, i made the below change in the UserCfg.opt file.

{
VolumetricClouds
Enabled 1
Quality 6
}

I have changed the quality to 6, which i believe improved my clouds. Since i can see some good definitions in the clouds now. Here are some screenshots, you can see it adds some definition to the distant clouds.




Now load the sim and test your settings!.

NOTE: IMPORTANT!. Once you have modified the file, save it, then right-click the file and select readonly option. Also DO NOT change any graphics settings on the sim, this will override any changes you have done on the file and you need to restart the sim in order to get it back.

So, that is all i have. For antialiasing issue, i believe it is coded into the sim, therefore there is not much we can do about it for now. Again, as i said before it may or may not work on your sim. Also modifying the UserCfg.opt may break your sim or cause CTD’s, so make sure to take a backup of the file before modiying it. Please let me know your comments.

VERY VERY IMPORTANT!!. REVERT THE FILE BACK BEFORE INSTALLING ANY FUTURE UPDATES RELEASED FOR THE SIM!!. This is very important, let us say if the sim is actually fixed in the next update and the LOD values are back to normal, the way it used before. The changed current value MAY be higher and it can cause severe performance issue OR CTD. Therefore please restore this configuration file back to its original state, before updating the sim!.

Happy flying!.

46 Likes

These are really good things, right? All part of the performance optimization delivered in SU5?

Actually not. This is how it works. The sim downloads the textures, saves it in the disk and then CPU loads it into the RAM. Now since the sim now only uses 6.8 GB , it cannot load all the textures. Therefore it constantly unloads the texture from the RAM and reloads it again. This causes stress to both CPU and RAM. Also if you have 32GB of RAM, you will end up wasting around 20GB of RAM, which can be utilized to load more textures, thus eliminating the need for constant reloading of textures. Thus reducing the stress to your CPU and RAM.

Based on what i see, i believe the sim is currently optimized to run in XBox not for PC.

21 Likes

Highest I have seen on my rig is 13gb.Have not seen 20gb usage since SU5.Highest vram usage around 7.1gb but I am running 3440x1440.1080p it will likely use less memory.
Also have Terrain LOD 3.0 OBJ 2.0
If I go higher on the TerrLOD I end up with long pauses.
Clouds for me set to High. Ultra big fps hit over cities in rainy weather.

2 Likes

Terrain LOD to 3 should do fine, but did you enable rolling cache?. If not try it to avoid blurry ground textures. Also for the clouds i never had issues with setting it to ultra. May i know what is your GPU and CPU?.

I am running an i7 10700k @4.9ghz
RTX2060super 8gb OC a bit on the core clock and memory.
32GB
My PC easily runs ultra on 1080p with nearly double the performance but I mentioned I am on 1440p ultrawide. Hard resolution to run for this gpu but my fps is now mostly in the 30-40s. Can get to 60fps high up.1080p in the some spots can be 30fps more but the extra immersion from 1440p wide I won’t go back.
Rolling cahce creates more issues.Had very low fps once I turned it on.Just running a standard sata SSD.

Yes, i too disabled rolling cache before and never used it. Until now, but looks like the sim is more optimized to use it now. The only issue i amfacing is the Sharp FPS drop when panning around very fast. That too happening only at the airports. After take off there it is perfectly smooth. So right now i found that is the only solution to avoid blurry ground textures. Until the sim is optimized for PC to load more textures into the RAM & VRAM.

Same problem getting that fps drop when panning at airports. Happening especially at payware airports.

1 Like

No. Only using 7 GB of 64 GB is ludicrous.

10 Likes

That is because of the culling they have introduced in the latest update. Which loads/unloads objects and textures when you pan the camera. Apart from these few issues, they really optimized the sim in other areas. Such as adding multi core support and moving the Coherent GT draw to a separate CPU thread. They just need to optimize the sim for PC to use more RAM and VRAM, along with increasing the cloud texture quality, antialiasing etc… Then the sim will be back to normal. Forgot, yeah they need to fix the CTD’s as well. Fortunately i am getting CTD only when i overclock either CPU or GPU. Once i restored them to base clock, no more CTD’s for me.

5 Likes

i9 11900k
RTX 3090
64G 3600 ram

Can confirm. Limited use of vram and system memory no matter what settings. Before update would use close to 12 gigs vram with ultra and high mix. System memory would be close to 20. Hopefully they will allow PC user to take advantage of our hardware with future updates or patches.

9 Likes

Well they have all but said they will not. Remember back during the announcement hype when that one guy responded to a question about the games being different on PC than Box? He said that the experience will be the same on both.

That worried me than and look what we have. So, logically, don’t that mean that PC will never be better than Box?

since when can volumetric clouds be pushed beyond it’s normal value?

4 Likes

Let’s compare and contrast pre-SU5 and post-SU5. The sim downloads the textures based upon location and other factors, saves it to disk (which disk? Rolling cache? Manual cache? Program directory?), and then loads it into RAM to process it for frame creation. So far, pretty much the same for before and after.

Post-SU5 assuming there is a memory limitation, you state “ cannot load all the textures. Therefore it constantly unloads the texture from the RAM and reloads it again.“ The memory limitation puts the texture file back onto disk? What happens if that particular texture file is NEEDED NOW to create a frame? Two possible things: 1) the texture file is retried from the disk NOW. The additional time to retrieve the file would be added to the frame creation time and lowers FPS. And if memory full, something else would need to be kicked out to make room for the texture file that is needed. Additional time lowering FPS. If the texture file kicked out of memory is also needed to create the frame, what happens? There is a LOT of graphics files being shuffled around and the more files that are needed to create frames more and more shuffling is done quickly destroying FPS. NOT GOOD! 2) create thr frame without the texture file. There would be no impact to FPS and who would notice a small decrease in frame quality.

Pre-SU5, graphic files would be continually loaded into memory when needed. If the CPU cannot process the files fast enough, memory continues to fill until it is exhausted. FPS slowly declines as memory fills up. NOT GOOD.

The optimal solution is to not have any memory limit. Is that possible? Here is a very recent Task Manager screen capture from a recent flight (MSFS 1.18.14.0).

For some reason, MSFS is ignoring whatever the RAM and VRAM limitations are. I can’t explain it.

When you use Task Manger to view RAM, it is showing you all of the RAM in use by the entire OS, not just the game. It is including the OS itself, background tasks, RAM allocated for the page file, etc. You need to use the Dev Mode in game to see what the game is solely using.

Ongoing communication with the user community would help in a big way.

13 Likes

i can not understand why they didnt seperate versions optimized for xbox an pc

9 Likes

I agree fully. It’s obvious that the Sim now doesn’t take into account anything over the Xbox specs. So all that hardware and memory purchased to run MSFS is a complete waste of money and we are left with a nasty looking Sim which may have good frame rates but the whole thing for me and many others was the immersive looks and feel …pre SU5.
Please allow PC users to use their PC potential and get back to how this Sim looked/ performed before Xbox!

13 Likes

and dont forget to implement multi screen functionality!!!

3 Likes

I know Task Manager shows the entire system performance. Since MSFS is the only main app running (no web browser, no Netflix, no email, etc.) the performance numbers reflect MSFS fairly well. There are other Windows performance tools that can provide very detailed performance information. The Task Manager high-level view is sufficient for discussion.

The memory utilization does not include virtual memory in the graph. The memory utilization graph and percentage does not include virtual memory. More detailed info at the bottom includes virtual and real memory.

I personally do not use Developers Mode primarily because I am not a developer. Also, the Developers FPS Counter tool was broken before SU5 for some situations and the tool was significantly changed in SU5 without any info in the Release Notes documenting the changes. The various Windows performance tools are sufficient for me.