Terrain mesh in mountain areas

Running an i2600K OC to 4.4Ghz with 16Gb on SSD 500Gb, RTX2070.
Was impressed by how fluid I am getting it to run with the right tweaks.

I believe terrain mesh can be definitively improved at least to a certain level of detail, considering the very high level of detail in depiction of terrain in general.
Flying in the Dolomites area in Italy, and knowledgeable of the various mountains, I could not recognize them. In X Plane 11 using custom mesh at ZL17 you have a very convincing depiction of those mountains and it feels you are there. It should certainly be possible in MSFS2020 at least to a certain level, while leaving third party developers to develop state of the art mesh. Otherwise flying in mountain area you would not feel there as in other parts of the world. Where you have high variation in height with distance I guess you need a more granular mesh (and the Dolomites is a test area for that as those mountains do have sharp almost vertical cliffs and shapes, similar to the Grand Canyon)
Hope this can be done, along with some improvement on the roads and road traffic as well.


Totally agree. Even the Himalayan Region needs much much improvement. None of the iconic mountain peaks are recognizable at the moment, including Mount Everest. Anyway, I am sure future updates will do this once all current important things are patched.


What makes you so sure exactly? Do you suggest they held back available better elevation data on purpose because it would be cooler to release MSFS with less accurate data?


OTH, I’ve studied the Mann Gulch region in Montana in great detail actually following trails there in Google Earth four or five years ago (46°52’44.1"N 111°54’47.6"W). I’ve flown through that region now in the Icon A5 and the Zlin Shock Ultra several times and am very impressed in how well the detail even down to the trails in many places is replicated in the sim. The one complaint that I have is with global warming and a number of recent forest fires, a lot of the tree cover in that area is far, far less than depicted in the sim. IMHO, the auto-generation goes crazy with the tree cover. Same for my local neighborhood. In Google Earth, you can see lots of gaps between and within individuals trees whereas in the sim, it looks like I like in a subdivision of the Amazon.

Perhaps if I kill the trees and the grass in graphics setting I can just get the earth surface mesh in the sim - I’d like to see that and perhaps then be better able to see trails worn in rocky, gravelly surfaces that have been hidden by artificial tree cover (haven’t tried it yet).

So maybe the detail varies according to the part of the world. Elsewhere on the forum I’ve complained that the sim does a lousy job of replicating the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and Upper Manhattan (NYC) but right with the same NYC manual cache in high detail (if it actually works), the Brooklyn Bridge is much better shown in all its suspension glory. So even within the same major city, the level of detail reproduced can vary considerably for unfathomable reasons (maybe someone went to the trouble of handcrafting the Brooklyn Bridge but not the G.W.?).

Yes I totally agree with you.Another good example is the Matterhorn on the border from Switzerland and Italy.
I would also love to see the unique pillar mountains in Zhangjiajie (zhangjiajie national forest park)
Check this link:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhangjiajie
With this new techniques of a sim, the base should be here to improve also de terrain mesh and to integrate stunning mountain areas all over the world.
Okay Im not sure if the mentioned Zhangjiajie mountains are available as DEM files (digital elevation models)
In no other sim I saw the pillars in Zhangjiajie and I even couldnt create it with more accurate mesh data in ortho4xp for X-plane.


The Jungfrau (Berner Oberland, Switzerland) doesn’t look quite right to me either but I can recall that mesh errors like these were present in other sims (not just flight sims) using DEM data so until that’s improved we may be stuck with these errors.

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Yeah, that was one place I made a point of going to see in MSFS 2020. Like so much of Asia and SE Asia IRL, it’s like the setting for James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ (minus the floating islands, sadly - but only just).

Imagine my disappointment. :confused: Those fantastic rock formations don’t even exist in this sim. But it’s not the only disappointment. As impressive as MSFS 2020’s use of Bing Maps is, and its vastly improved terrain meshing (over other sims), and procedural A.I., we’re not yet as close to reality as we might hope.


Do you suggest reporting officially through ZenDesk? I have always felt the terrain shape has a high relative importance in recognizing a place. I have the impression that the terrain was smoothed quite a lot in those area. I can recognize those mountains (Dolomites) from various angles (as used to travel a lot there when I was young) so that when overflying in a liner sometimes I can figure them out. It may be that for pilots (and not only), this is a critical skill to navigate. I see that there are already some mods fixing some terrain issues (e.g. Bergen) and wonder if sooner we could not add our own mesh through a tool like the one available for XPlane (Ortho4XP), but I would think Asobo and MS can fix this with an algorithm that increase the mesh where variance of elevation increases, provided they have the right DEM. I am no expert though it seems to me it shall be doable, also because I see the texture is applied to whatever mesh.

Yes that’s true. No rock formations, no accurate mesh in many areas and other issues. But I guess the Asobo team and Microsoft will work on those bugs and issues and will add many patches and updates even with more accurate data in the future.
I will also send a bug report to Zendesk about the mesh „issues“. I recommend everybody who is willing to see also better landscapes with accurate mountains to do the same too.
Asobo and Microsoft prioritise the most desired subjects more as others - so I think at least.
Otherwise I’m happy with the new technology and I look forward to see the sim grow. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Yes I think so… I will send a bug report to Zendesk about the mesh „issues“.
Asobo and Microsoft prioritise the most desired subjects more as others - so I think at least.
The more feedback they get the more important it is for them too.

I definitely agree with the OP. I live not far from the Dolomites and I know their shape pretty well. In MSFS they are barely recognizable because of the poorly defined meshes. The famous Tre Cime di Lavaredo/Drei Zinnen are reduced to a couple of smoothened hills. For sure Frank Dainese will come to get them done as they should be, but anyway the default mesh should undergo some degree of refinement at least for the most well known landmarks.

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OK Thanks, do you take care of it to report? Otherwise I can do it as well (actually in parallel) and provide any additional detail. I believe it is a quite important topic to prioritize. IN X Plane with the right mesh, even if you don’t have the same level of trees, even if ortho is not perfect, the impact on the “believability” of the simulation and the “feel there” effect is compounded.

Yes agree, Frank Dainese and others for other parts of the world will for sure develop state of art mesh and terrain ortho and villages (by the way we also need cablecars and the like as well as power lines which in X Plane make the depiction very accurate). But in the meantime, a basic ZL17 and ortho mesh that I had applied on X Plane for that area made it so believable that even if MSFS2020 is on another level as far as ambient, weather, terrain, if flying in that area XP11 is still more believable. I don’t live close to that area but was there last July trekking, and then flew over it in XP. I could recognize so many things and feel there just with the right mesh, an acceptable ortho and the correct placements of cablecars, villages, mountain huts and the like. There should be a way to develop an algorithm to adapt mesh to terrain elevation variance, the results could be astonishing…

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You’re welcome, yes I did report it yesterday. :+1:t3:
My suggestion is, the more people give feedback about a specific topic, the more MS and Asobo will prioritise such things and listen to it. :blush:

OK thanks, I have reported as well!

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Taking some pics and reporting too.

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I was flying the Patagonia Bush Trip and missing Fitz Roy Completely ^^


Is there a way to show the coordinates? We could then send them to MS to fix the problem.

It is global problem with the Mountains. they are all flattened somehow.

One way to track your GPS coordinates as you fly would be to use one of the sophisticated applets devised by benhoto and others: Track position in Windows Maps or Google Earth Pro

There is a far simpler way to record your GPS location but it’s a little bit more involved but just uses sim features.

  • Fly over the map feature you want to report the GPS location for

  • When you are directly over the spot, hit Esc to suspend your flight

  • On the options menu that comes up, save your airborne position to an .FLT file (see 1st uploaded pix below)

  • Use the END key or click on the END-Main Menu button to go to the World Map on the Main screen and reload the .FLT flight that you saved

  • When you have reloaded your save .FLT file, the GPS position and altitude of your craft will be shown over on the right (2nd uploaded pix below)

  • You can use this technique to respawn in the air from that location as you wish without having to find it again on a map or enter its GPS coordinates in the location finder on the map.

Saving an .FLT file after Esc (escaping) a flight

Getting GPS coordinates of a Saved .FLT file by reloading on the World Map