Tree Draw Distance / LOD Issues

It seems to me that the LOD reduction was a trade off to reduce stutters. I get very few stutters now compared the the original. Higher LOD taxes the CPU more. That said it does make the world less immersive.

I think a compromise would be to add an extended LOD option with a warning that it will cause stutters on all but the beefiest CPUs

4 Likes

I have already voted on the issues directly related to LOD among other things.

I find the level of adjustment to tree density to high, the difference is to dramatic in my opinion to say it’s OK. It’s like buying a new Porsche with all the latest tech. You like it so much you decide to take it on a long trip. Along the way you stop in for service and they replace your tires with and set of worn old tires, remove the cruise control, AC and take out the windows. And then they tell you have a nice trip and see you in a month. I know that sounds a little dramatic but it’s not far from the truth.

Thank you for your comments.

Please vote,
PACO572

4 Likes

It was interesting to hear the devs in the last Q&A session say they were unaware of the LOD issues which ‘some’ seem to be getting.

Also, some users dis our attempts to raise this as an issue saying they see no problem.

So I suspect this is more due to an as yet unrecognised bug which is causing unexpected side effects, like our reduced LOD.

At least the devs now accect that this needs to be looked into, because the current situation is definitely far from what some of us know this sim is capable of.

Let’s hope for a lasting resolution to the problem soon.

Oh and it’s not related to processing power. I just upgraded my GFX card and my system is not even stressed running this sim, yet the LOD looks no better with the faster GFX card.

Something else is going on.

I continue to look back at my pre 1.6.11 alpha screen grabs and videos longingly and wonder when we will get back to that level of immersion. There was simply NO tree or building pop back then.

4 Likes

I’ve looked the comparison screen shots in the 1st post and I can’t see any much difference other than that which might be caused by the slightly different distances from the ground. The 1st shot is higher so includes more trees in the view than the 2nd shot which is at a lower altitude, and consequently has less trees. Perhaps the trees in the 2nd shot appear a little blurry or maybe I just need new glasses.

So I thought I would do some investigation on what is going on in MSFS to understand how MSFS controls trees, and perhaps this might shed some light on any problem.

It appears MSFS improves performance by having tree density increase as you approach an area. The theory being that the ground textures at a distance give sufficient realism of trees, so that actual trees are not required. As you approach an area of trees, MSFS starts populating the texture area with more and more trees, until it reaches the maximum tree density, at a specific distance from the aircraft. This gradual addition of trees being a balancing act between visuals and performance.

The screen shots below show this effect as you approach an area of trees. First just the ground texture appears, then MSFS gradually adds more trees as you get closer. This effect is most noticable where there is mismatch of the tree colour and the underlying ground texture. I would expect that this effect is also more noticeable the higher your monitor resolution. This example is from a 1080P monitor.

I found that the LOD settings didn’t change the tree draw distance or quality at all. I can’t see any difference in either trees in the foreground or trees in the distance. Trees were set at my default high setting for this comparison. The town in the distance does become clearer as LOD increases as you would expect.

The screenshot below was taken with LOD set at 200 and trees controlled solely by the low, medium, high & ultra tree settings. You can notice:-

  1. Red arrow - foreground trees - the only difference is less tree density in low compared to medium. Medium, high and ultra all see the same result.
  2. Blue arrow - middle distance trees - noticable density differences between low, medium & high. But a much smaller difference between high and ultra.
  3. Orange arrow - far distance - no difference between low, medium and high with just the underlying texture appearing. But at ultra, trees appear and the underlying texture is obscured.

So what is my point? Knowing how trees work can help when asking the developers to make changes.
I think we need to be very specific on what changes we want or what has degraded. I don’t think “Bring it back” is going to get us anything as the developers have indicated they haven’t changed the level of detail. So they don’t understand the problem. I think we need to very specific and say things like:-
. The number of trees per acre in the distance (or foreground) has reduced, or
. The quality of individual trees viewed close up (or in the distance) has reduced, or
. The manner in which trees draw in in the distance is too noticable, or
. Trees need to start drawing in at a further distance to cater for higher resolution monitors, or
. Tree varieties are less realistic, or
. Trees have been made shorter but the width hasn’t changed in proportion.

The points above are all just examples of something a developer might find easier to understand rather than any change I have noticed.

This will give them a fighting chance of understanding the problem, working out what caused it, and then making changes you want. In addition, points like those listed above need to be accompanied with screen shots of how it was then, and how it is now, showing the obvious differences. Voting won’t help if the developers don’t have enough information to understand the problem.

Note that my comparisons were done at a fairly low altitude and you may get different results as altitude increases.

13 Likes

It’s hard to explain just how good the earlier alphas were if you haven’t seen it.

There is definitely a problem.

All of your pictures above show no detail/trees from mid range to distance. And even in the near field where there are trees, there are many skinny part-formed spikey trees.

Also the antialiasing has become bad and makes all this look even worse.

I do wish people would trust the alpha testers a bit more and not try and justify that the sim is looking ok. It isn’t. It is ruined compared with what it is.

But every time I say something like this, all it seems to attract is 100 replies saying it looks ok, somewhat drowning the attempted campaign to get through to the devs that it IS broken and is only a pale reflection of what is was a month or so before release.

Put simply, look at this alpha shot. There are ZERO spindly trees. Zero antialiasing problems. and trees all the ay to the horizon. There is no line where you can divide this image where the trees stop happening. They go as far as the eye can see perceptually.

Then compare it with this image below from the release sim, where there are no trees beyond only about a mile or two away from the plane. After that the hills are just bare, barren, lifeless terrain.

12 Likes

There is definitely a bug in the Tree LOD algorithms, besides a regression in LOD ring distance compared to alpha. I’ve extensively explained and illustrated the problem which a little more complex than just LOD distance.

You might want to start reading this post (and vote too):
LOD problems - Trees Fix Revisited

Then follow up with the post detailing the bug:
https://forums.flightsimulator.com/t/lod-problems-trees-fix-revisited/296923/19

I’m glad seeing this discussion is gaining votes which will make it more prominent maybe in the next Dev Update. Unfortunately having different discussions about the same topic is also diluting the votes and gives less change any single one reaches the minimum number of votes needed to be in the top 30.

PS: @BilingualHarp7 thank you for the detailed explanations! Sometimes you’re not noticing any change in the trees appearance because they are most likely drawn using impostors at a distance. This means Trees LOD setting is actually really controlling LOD ring distance (with a bug I’m detailing in the aforementioned discussion), and density as well, only at a distance you’re looking at pre-rendered trees on a texture and they can be drawn once only and displayed on many subsequent frames with high details without fps loss as a consequence.

1 Like

I suggest the forum admin be contacted and ask for the issue of “TREE LOD” have their respective votes be consolidated since these posts are on the same subject. Or is it policy to have a single thread determine the future of this sim? Seems diluted, not to take this into account.

PACO572

2 Likes

I had access to the Alpha, my tag was just missing when I posted. My point was not that the problem doesn’t exist, just that it needs to be explained in a manner that easy to understand and with evidence. Without that we have no chance of getting an improvement.

2 Likes

The three things I can see that is wrong with your second image is that:-

  1. Its failing to draw trees in the lower part of the scene.
  2. Its drawing a mix of conifer and deciduous over an area that the missing tree section clearly shows should be deciduous only.
  3. The deciduous trees are a bit too light and are not the dark green colour that summer trees in full leaf full of Chlorophyll are, again as shown in the section that is missing trees.

The trees need more work and Asobo should acknowledge this in my opinion.

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What more evidence do we need to provide than the two pictures I posted above? Surely it looks obvious.

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It also does not seem to be caused by a lack of hardware. My CPU and GPU are way underutilised at present - CPU ~50% (even the main thread/core is not maxed), GPU ~40% - with most settings on ULTRA, yet the LOD issue is obvious.

If my system was being thrashed within an inch of its’ life I could understand if the scenery was lacking detail.

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The Tree LOD for sure has gotten worse. I am now noticing it. I have the tree settings to Ultra and its like I am running it on LOW.I remember back in the ALPHA it the draw distance being superb with no noticeable performance hit.

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@BilingualHarp7
@CBCDES
@GTPILOT7596

You might want to really read the topic I’ve linked to above as this explains exactly what is the actual bug (there is a bug).

More specifically to get started:
[08OCT2020 Update]

Then to further the topic, the update I’ve just posted:
[16OCT2020 Update]

3 Likes

Ah I fail to mention they appear as you get closer. That’s what I have been noticing.

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I do agree there was a marked decrease in visual fidelity from the release to now, but it was in favor of performance. This is fine, but for those looking for more fidelity, there should be an option to return the detail to what it was before.

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This might be true, but there is also a bug I’ve now documented which is certainly not expected (see above).

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The bug does not only concern the trees, there are also the buildings which are impacted, when I fly over Paris the landscape is ugly and it constantly twinkles and the buildings are not as well detailed as in the Alpha version and however I am in Ultra mode.
I have a lot of screenshots of the Alpha version but not sure that I am allowed to post them for comparison.
Where does the vote take place ?

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This would be a good starting point:

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Hello, thanks for your help, I will test the sim with the attached files :slightly_smiling_face:

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Birnam Wood of Shakepearean fame in reality vs. in MSFS 2020 v1.9.5.0 - still way too many trees, pretty overdone vs. reality: Blackshark.ai - Too many trees, in too many wrong places

1 Like