Slider to adjust/disable the scenery culling (reduce panning pop-in and stutters)

Sim Update 5 brought some huge CPU performance and RAM consumption benefits by culling the scenery not visible in the player’s current view. However, it means that panning the camera quickly or switching views can cause frame drops or stutters, and some obvious terrain morphing and object/photogrammetry pop-in.

To many this is an acceptable compromise for better performance, but for some people this is too much of a trade-off, especially for those with high-end computers that are not interested in pushing a high frame rate, but rather care about superior visual quality. Also, several VR and TrackIR users (who are constantly moving their heads) are reporting as quite unhappy with these changes.

In order to please both sides, I think we should get a slider in the graphics settings, so that each user can tweak the amount of culling to their liking in order to find the best balance between performance and visuals, or even completely disable it if they cannot tolerate these side effects. Allowing for more adjustability, which is essential to a PC title, will make everyone happy.

Here are some videos demonstrating the pop-in and stutters caused by Sim Update 5.

Personally, as a PC user, I like the culling because I get a nice FPS boost but my PC uses less RAM and CPU. It was an overall good design decision by Asobo for the majority of players. However, I can sympathize for those who use Track IR or VR. It may be a better experience for them if the scenery is not reloaded every time they turn their head. For this reason, a slider is needed to placate those players that don’t want the scenery to reload.

Also, the missing jetways do not look good. I hope that is fixed.

Let’s also ask this question at the next Twitch Q&A to get Asobo’s attention on this.

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TrackIR user here…

This new popup issue really does takeaway from (destroys) the immersion when panning form left to right…scenery that was just there…now redraws itself. I really don’t see how they could have overlooked this impact on VR / TackIr users…hopefully they can address this without too much of a hassle.

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Another Track IR user.

The redraw in SU5 every time my view changes and it changes a lot is much less immersive than in SU4.

Id gladly loose some FPS but not have scenery redraw/pop in whenever I turn my head.

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TrackIR user here also.
I think they were very well aware of the issue and decided they don’t care about TrackIR users because we don’t use Xbox controllers. Asobo’s priority are gamers from now on, not simmrs.

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True some stutters on ground when turning camera.but cruise smooth 60+

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Can’y say I find this bothers me at all actually and isn’t that obvious to me on my system

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Would you maybe mind making a short video with the same scenery and camera movement than one of the vids above? Because at the moment, it is not clear to me, if the magnitude of the effect depends on system specs. For me, the effect is quite noticable and can have a duration of more than 1 second (but my system is low end), and it is also visible with rather slow camera movement. It is also only pronounced in PG area, I did not notice much in noon-PG areas (maybe only when you pay attention very carefully).

Also I don’t quite understand the technicalities. I mean most of the details are already there when you pan. It’s just some details that start changing (and that is the thing that bothers people: an obviously changing world reduces immersion).

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Thank you all for your insight. I will stress that I think the addition of the culling technique was an important one, because for many users (especially those with low-end systems) the huge performance benefit would be preferable to a visual loss that many will not notice or feel bothered with indeed. An option to adjust it is the way to go, and hopefully there won’t be any more flame wars over the matter. We need to work as a community to request it, and I agree that it should be asked in the next Q&A!

I also have a low-end system myself (in fact it’s a bit too close to the minimum requirements), and based on others’ video footage I don’t think these side effects vary based on system specifications indeed. Over photogrammetry I’m also seeing the pop-in with camera panning at medium speed, sadly I cannot make a video of my own because I have to reinstall the simulator due to a bug which means I will have to wait for a week or so before using it again.

I think the main problem is that there is too much difference between the different levels of detail, because the simulator suffers from very poor shape retention. It is the reason that the terrain is morphing everywhere and the photogrammetry looks melted at a distance. It does not look very decent until the highest quality is properly loaded in, which is something the new panning pop-in exaggerates. Meanwhile, if the lower levels of detail properly maintained object shapes, the difference between them would be smaller which would make the pop-in less noticeable.

It was said that shape retention of photogrammetry is being worked on by the Bing Maps team and that it would come later this year, but according to the Feedback Snapshot it could come in 2022. We don’t know much regarding what they can do about the terrain morphing though, which is more properly documented in the following thread.

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Agree with adding some sort of slider to change/disable culling.

The accompanied FPS drop when panning is more noticeable the higher the LOD slider is set. Set to 100 and the pop-in and FPS drop is less noticeable. Set it to 200+ and the more scenery has to be re-loaded the worse the pop-in and the higher the FPS drop. One argument could be to just set LOD to 100, but this doesn’t make any sense given that pre-update LOD 200 worked absolutely fine with zero pop-in when panning or the accompanied FPS drop.

This method doesn’t seem to be making the most of high end hardware. Just think in 5 years time when people have much more powerful systems, it would make sense that Asobo need to change the way the culling is handled at some point. If you’ve got 24GB VRAM, then fill that with all the scenery. Doesn’t mean it needs to be rendered all at once, but should help when the game has to draw on that scenery to avoid the pauses and FPS drop.

One very easy to repeat test is to spawn on the ground and use the mouse free look to look down at the pedestal then up at the overhead (set LOD to at least 200). Each time the view passes the horizon there is a huge lag as the scenery is loaded in. With the unusual mouse acceleration that Asobo have decided to implement it often means you overshoot the overhead or wherever you are wanting to look.

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I am very disappointed with the pop ins. I fly in VR and when I look out the left window to do my base turn, I get tree/scenery pop in in in the middle distance after about 1 second. I look ahead, pop in again after 1 second. I check left again, pop in. I look ahead… It totally spoils the immersion and makes me want to avoid looking at the beautiful scenery, as I know doing that will make the pop in even more drastic.

This didn’t happen before. I am running high/ultra settings with LODs at 200 with a 10850k and 3090, 32gb RAM, NVME SSD. I love the sim and spent a lot of money on the hardware to enjoy it to its fullest potential, this is currently an enforced downgrade.

Please let us have the option to revert to pre-SU5 or a slider to adjust this scenery pop in! Thank you

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TrackIR user here. I also am not a fan of this new scenery culling technique. It is optimal for people who have fixed views, but not for us.

It seems like a simple thing, but actually degrades immersion so much especially when you are hoping to get a nice sightseeing experience but get pop-ins, instead.

I agree that a slider would be the best compromise.

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I think this is a key point. If this sim is to last 10 years, it makes no sense to go backwards at this stage and not at least have an option to please both sets of people. Many users already have powerful machines capable of running the sim without the LOD redrawing constraint and in the next few years many more people will.

In any case it is not very fair for MS/Asobo to take such a step backwards without providing at least the option.

Edit: After flying a bit more in the update, the redrawing is really distracting. Also there is more aliaising (render scaling 80 in 4K) and the textures are much more muddy. Definitely not looking anywhere near as good as it did.

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Additionally, I have the impression the view distance is reduced drastically. Mountains that were clearly rendered from 15 miles away are now rendered when I approach 5 miles to them. That drastically decrease the VFR experience. Before the update I had the scenery super sampling on 150, now I had to turn it up to 200 to make up some of these culling. But the FPS are now as low as before the update. So in my view this optimization was just a trade off in every way. It almost hurts me to say this, because this SIM still is remarkable and awesome, but now just downgraded in its awesomeness.

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Completely agree with these points, and it’s one of the main reasons I’m making this request. With DDR5 densities will increase massively, and 64GB RAM will be the standard. CPUs will become a lot more powerful in the next 2-3 years now that there is competition. In 5 years, entry-level systems will cream today’s bleeding-edge rigs. By then, I think most people will be more interested in a consistent frame rate and smooth visuals, rather than pushing a stuttering 120+ FPS with pop-in.

The new changes have provided relief to those with low-end systems or those who needed a higher frame rate, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense for some use cases like VR and TrackIR and future hardware. A slider would be the obvious solution to please everyone, but if it’s not possible I would like them to at least slowly relax the amount of culling as new hardware is released.

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Very good observation…I thought it was just me. Usually I test smoothness by circling around my plane in external view. This is the first thing I did when loading the sim after the update…and noticed the huge stutter at the same point in rotation around the aircraft…not smooth at all.

I hope they fix the panning issue…it really does break immersion as my eyes (peripheral vision) seem to notice the scenery changing (reloading) all the time.

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I noticed that sometimes when the scenery redraws after panning…it’s blurry and needs a second or two…to clear up or sharpen…just another distraction when flying VFR.

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I agree…I usually don’t want to “complain” about the sim because I realize that Asobo is trying to get it right, but I am failing to see how Asobo or even the Beta testers failed to see how big of an issue this is with TrackIr / VR users. A major step backwards…they took something “stock and simple” away for very little gain (performance wise) on my PC…

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THE FSX “blurries” are back. This is just dreadful. Even on render scaling 150 which used to be very crisp all around, now every time I change my view the scenery has gone blurry and takes a second or 2 to load in again. I am extremely disappointed. I’d gladly sacrifice the few FPS I have gained for clarity of scenery.

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Although Asobo may have not taken VR and TrackIR users into account when implementing this culling technique, I wouldn’t say that beta testers failed to see it. Even assuming that they were complaining a lot, they don’t have nearly as much influence on the simulator’s development as you might think.

They need feedback from the entire community when it comes to major decisions like this, and the best time to complain is now. Let’s work together and get this asked in the Q&A, and then we can see if there’s hope of allowing users who don’t want the culling to disable it.

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