Suddenly, the gound textures are really bad (details see post). What can I do about it?

Dear fellow simmers!

I love flying. Soaring through the skies, piloting my FBW A320NX through virtual clouds, from Airport to Airport, ideally controlled by VATSIM. But in the recent weeks, my excitement took a hit by undesired behavior of the sim.

For reasons I do not know, the ground textures look afwul. Ths certainly was not the case before. It seems like MSFS does no longer use photogrammetry/satellite images to display cities, fields, rivers and forests, but rather dissapoints me by displaying offline/default landscapes. Of course I mostly fly IFR and the flying part itself is still a lot of fun, but looking out of the cockpit (or around/below the plane) leaves me in shock. What is going on? To let you know what I am talking about I created 2 albums with a couple of pictures showing the " before/good" and " after/bad" situation. All images were shot by me during the last few months, and the last few weeks have been the bad ones. I do not know what caused the change between before and after since I did not (knowingly) change anything.

My rig: MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X, 32 GB DDR4-3600, ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 Super 8GB (Geforce driver 471.41), Game installed on SSD. Cable/LAN connection. MSFS purchased and installed through MS Store / XBox launcher on PC.

My MSFS graphics settings, which always have been like this.

My online settings, which I also never changed. I even tried to erase the local rolling cache and update it, but that did not help in any way!

Remark: When I start Xbox Network settings from the start menu, it always lets me know that “Teredo is unable to qualify”, but when I click on “check again” it always returns “open” and “connected”. In any case, neither do I know what Teredo is and if it play a role in all of this, nor do I know if there is a difference now to what was going on before since I never looked into this.

Is there a way to force the sim to “show” me if data is being downloaded or if satellite images are being shown? I would like to see what is going on exactly.

TL;DR: Since a few weeks, MSFS only displays the generic/default/offline ground textures and not the photogrammetry/satellite images, although I did not change the settings or alter my internet connection.

Can you help me to get the sim to look like it did before? That would be greatly appreciated and I am really thankful for any advice!

Your fellow pilot

Nuke

Hey Nuke,

You are clearly seeing the ‘generic autogen’ textures instead of the Bing satellite imagery … as you obviously suspect. There are a couple of things (in my limited experience) that will cause this:

(1) If you’ve had some kind on internet restriction, MSFS will turn off online features automatically. It usually pops up a warning message, but that’s brief and easy to miss if you’re reading a chart or something! Unfortunately, it doesn’t turn them back on again, so you need to go into data settings and check. (Also worth clearing your cache and reloading).

(2) MSFS also seems to reset some settings after an update … check as above; although it’s been a while since the last update.

(3) My internet is at the end of a fairly long thin piece of copper … if it’s heavily loaded, I will see patches of ‘autogen’ mixed with satellite images when MSFS can’t load fast enough. No warnings or errors in this case, and I don’t know of a way to measure. (For me, seems to start when my download speed crawls down to less than 5mips … but just anecdotal). This seems a little different to what you’re describing though.

So if it’s been a while as you say, and your internet is working okay … most likely thing is that MSFS has turned off some of your ‘online’ features for you (possibly without even telling you), so check your data settings!

I logged in earlier and found that my Bing data was switched off. Check your settings, under data

The sim should be changed so that the Bing Data option does not get permanently switched off, I.e. Keep the user option turned on. If the sim recognizes an Internet loss, it should just deal with it temporarily until Internet is restored.

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Bing data is (and always was, afaik) turned on.

Thanks for the detailed reply!
I did not recognize any warning message (does not mean that there wasn’t any): I also cleared and reloaded the rolling cache, did not help either. The bing connection and online features were never set to “off” anytime I looked, this is what confuses me the most.
I will watch the data consumption on the resource monitor during my next flights and see what happens…

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Some places just have old and rubbish PG, just press pause and wait a couple of years for Bing to produce better data.

This is something that was added in one of the updates. If no Internet, you get the seemingly innocent error message, then it changes the Bing Data option to OFF. It also turns off Photogrammetry as a result. The user has to go back into Options, General, Data and turn the Bing option back on.

It’s the worst case of misuse of an options file I have ever seen… Give the user options to set according to their preferences, then secretly change things in it unbeknownst to the user.

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Ah! Before I upgraded my network connection I had FS2020 turn off satellite textures multiple times without ever giving notice - in VR. I wonder if notices were popping up on my monitor and I never saw those.

It has always bugged me that FS2020 was turning stuff off with no notice but now I wonder if they do tell you but just don’t show those notices in VR.