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Prepare3D V3 - First Thoughts

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I was able to spend some time with Prepar3D V3 over the last few days both from an STB prespective and as a simulator platform.  Here's my thoughts so far:

 

- After recompiling with the new simconnect clients, STB is able to connect both locally and remotely and most functions tested so far seem to work.

- View AI is broken for about half of the AI aircraft being simulated.  The user aircraft now has two object ids reported over SimConnect (#1 and #2), which throws out the STB calculation for which aircraft to show.  That should be fixable, and I'll need to think about how the user aircraft is presented on the board going forward.

- STBServer is updated to the new SimConnect and Visual Studio 2013.  I found the entry points for the traffic slider values and delete AI, so those services to STB can continue.

- There's a decision to make about deploying STB components into exe.xml and dll.xml on the basis of the new architecture in V3.  I was able to create batch files to drive the P3D deployment tool.

- LM have been (quietly) enhancing SimConnect with new calls.  There are opportunities with cameras that might be used to provide a better "View AI", and the traffic sliders can now be read and written to.  The latter will do away with one part of STBServer in the long run.  If only they would provide a proper Delete AI, we could do away with STBServer completely.

- I wasn't able to reproduce the problems with the recent STB-DS hotfix reported by users.

 

The first objective is to provide working versions of STB and STB-DS and look at exploiting the platform at a later time.

 

As a simulator experiences I came away with mixed feelings.  In some places it performs great, but in others is has stutters that become a distraction.  For example in the default scenario with minimal settings there are regular and severe stutters throughout the area.  If I fly over Tasmania with FTX Australia with all settings near max, the stutters are very few and far between.  Makes no sense, any one with hints on how to deal with stutters?

 

Simon

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Hi SImon, and thanks for the P3Dv3 & STB info. It will be a great addition.

 

For your performance observations:

I have tried the default scenario using the default(?) cold front weather.

My addons are FTX Global & HD Trees and REX Soft Clouds @512 resolution.

I would rate my sim settings at medium high for shadows, autogen, etc.

Bottom line is that I cannot reproduce the stutters you have seen.

I have not yet installed any FTX regions.

 

I am using Win7x64 and P3Dv3 on a dedicated, middle of the road, SSD.

No other general purpose apps, no backup software in background, and no virus scanners.

VIdeo card is GTX780ti with driver @ 358.50. This will easily go to 99% GPU load near or in clouds.

(I believe that P3Dv3 offloads much more processing to the GPU than in previous versions.)

CPU is 4770K @4.5GHz, water cooled. Core usage is typically: 0 = ~95-100%, 1 = ~20%, 2 = ~60%, 3 = ~60%

CPU temps rarely get above 70C with ambient @ 23C.

Memory is 16GB @1600.

So up to date(ish) but nothing too exotic.

 

For your stutters:

Is it time to look at your hardware/OS/video card & drvier setup?

HDD or SSD - defrag the HDD?

GPU type and usage - Time to upgrade?

GPU over-heating?

CPU usage and temps?

 

Don't know if this will help.

Cheers, Mike

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Simon,

 

Thanks for working on this so quickly. P3d is an exercise in frustration for 3rd party developers because it is so much of a moving target. I've found that V3 has less propensity to stutter than V2.5, but I use My T 6 and the freeware Traffic Optimizer to control the impact of AI traffic on performance. You really should take a look at the TO. It hasn't been updated in awhile (not that it really needs it, but then again without any support from the author it may eventually stop working as sims and OSes advance), but it has some great features that could be built into STB. Obviously the best one is TO's ability to limit the number of AI aircraft within the "user bubble".

 

Jay

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Thanks Simon, for getting us back on track. I experience single stutters lasting about 1 second on an infrquent basis. I am using UT2 now and perhaps that is the reason. I also have MyTraffic 6. UT2 appears to be less of a drag on the system and the models are superior. Too bad it is no longer supported. I won't go into the litany.

You mentioned you were able to use STB in P3D 3, using the hotfix. Where do I get that? Or is it rendered obsolete by your other advances?

Does STB support UT2? I had to create a fake FSX environment to get it installed. Will that impact the functionality of STB? I would prefer to use STB on a client.

Thanks again for stretching yourself on our behalf.

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For your stutters:

Is it time to look at your hardware/OS/video card & drvier setup?

HDD or SSD - defrag the HDD?

GPU type and usage - Time to upgrade?

GPU over-heating?

CPU usage and temps?

 

Mike,

Thank you for the suggestions

 

GTX970 runs around 50% with my P3D settings.  If I introduce Transparency Antialiasing (SGSS) it's easy to get it to 100% so I've done without that so far.  Temps are fine, sometimes the fans don't even turn the temps are so well behaved.

Fully defragged HDD, and will be SSD after CPU upgrade.

CPU is flat out on core 0, around 10% on core 1, and bursts up to 100% on 2 and 3.  Just like FSX as far as I can see.

My 2500K is old, but my 6700K doesn't arrive until December!

 

Don't get me wrong, P3D V3 is better stutter-wise than any P3D before it (in my personal experience) and is much much closer to FSX with 1/2 refresh rate configured.  So far I think, all the other benefits of using P3D feel like they outweigh the stutter situation but I continue to explore the experience.  In particular I like the water, cloud shadows, autogen just about as far as the eye can see, fog layers and the experience of passing through clouds.  What I would love to see apart from the smoothness is a better "rain" visual experience, better image quality to do away with the need for SGSS and better AI rendering performance!

 

I also think we all understand different things by the word stutter, maybe "smoothness" is better?  What I mean is the simulator will quite happily roll the scenery past me for a while, then it's like someone picks up my monitor and is shaking it.  Sometimes it last just a brief moment, sometimes several seconds.  Some places are better than others, so I wonder if it's a content authoring thing as well.

 

Simon

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Simon,

 

Thanks for working on this so quickly. P3d is an exercise in frustration for 3rd party developers because it is so much of a moving target. I've found that V3 has less propensity to stutter than V2.5, but I use My T 6 and the freeware Traffic Optimizer to control the impact of AI traffic on performance. You really should take a look at the TO. It hasn't been updated in awhile (not that it really needs it, but then again without any support from the author it may eventually stop working as sims and OSes advance), but it has some great features that could be built into STB. Obviously the best one is TO's ability to limit the number of AI aircraft within the "user bubble".

 

Jay

 

Hi Jay

I think TO is an excellent tool and STB already has some of what it does implemented long ago.  It may be that TO does it better, more intelligently and more automatically.  Here's a recap of what STB does:

 

- Approach control.  This deletes the "conflicting" AI when two places are two close to each other during approach to an arrival runway.  That's automatic.  It can also delete AI conflicting with the user aircraft during approach.  Other tools can do this too, like FSUIPC.

 

- Optimize Traffic Volumes.  This is a menu item, so it is a manual operation, but it has several options:

  a) Delete traffic at other airports.  This is a good one as AI deleted on the ground at an airport are not regenerated by the simulator next time it check the schedules.  There can be exceptions near the edge of the reality bubble.

  b) Reduce traffic by a certain percentage.  This isn't bad, but traffic deleted in air tends to reappear a little while after being deleted as the simulator checks the schedules and wonders where it is.

 

There's always the opportunity for STB to do more, if only all the simulators and operating systems would settle down and I could get beyond making infrastructure support changes!

 

Simon

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You mentioned you were able to use STB in P3D 3, using the hotfix. Where do I get that? Or is it rendered obsolete by your other advances?

Does STB support UT2? I had to create a fake FSX environment to get it installed. Will that impact the functionality of STB? I would prefer to use STB on a client.

 

Let's forget the hotfix, it broke more than it fixed.  My latest work is based on being able to spend time with the simulator in my development environment, so I've been able to work without the blindfold!  There's several changes in the simulator behavior that need addressing before I can publish an update, but I'll get to that as soon as I can.  Time is still constrained, so bear with me please.

 

I'm afraid we can't officially support UT2 in Prepar3D as Flight1 do not last time I checked.

 

Simon

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Hi Simon - sounds like your new system may help with stutters/smoothness especially if you get a good CPU overclock.

I certainly agree with your comments about the overall P3Dv3 improvements and you've hit the nail re SGSS and AI rendering.

fwiw - I have my AI down to 20-30% at my busier airports.

 

For rain and aircraft environmental effects, I suggest a look at "FSFXpackages".

They have payware general purpose rain/snow etc. effects for all aircraft. In addition they have payware "special" effects for AS Airbus & PMDG 777 (a 737NG package is WIP). I really enjoy the in-flight effects as well as the wing condensation and engine intake effects. They are not too bad on performance either.

What they cannot do however is force rain drops on the flightdeck windows! I believe that's a function of the aircraft. :huh:

 

Glad to hear you're continuing the good fight with STB, many thanks again.

 

Cheers, Mike

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Howdy Simon,

 

Appreciating how busy you are so it's good to hear you found time to sink your teeth into P3Dv3 and STB

 

Regarding stutters, the oft overlooked reason is read speed. Based on a hint from Adam Breed at LM regarding v2.5, I put P3D on a 512GB Samsung 850 Pro and it ran smooth as silk. This is with a GTX770 Lightening w 2GB VRAM which by comparison is relatively weak these days.

 

Continuing in this vein I have an AUX P3D folder on another SSD where I load all things related that don't have to go into the sims root. MyTraffic 6, STB, FSGlobal Ultimate, etc.  Again, with an aging GTX 770, SSDs and P3Dv3, the stutters disappeared relative to my system.

 

The only change: Samsung 850 Pro SSDs instead of HDDs (The EVOs are probably just as good for sim puposes and a lot less expensive)

 

Cheers,

Clayton

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Mike,

Thank you for the suggestions

 

GTX970 runs around 50% with my P3D settings.  If I introduce Transparency Antialiasing (SGSS) it's easy to get it to 100% so I've done without that so far.  Temps are fine, sometimes the fans don't even turn the temps are so well behaved.

Fully defragged HDD, and will be SSD after CPU upgrade.

CPU is flat out on core 0, around 10% on core 1, and bursts up to 100% on 2 and 3.  Just like FSX as far as I can see.

My 2500K is old, but my 6700K doesn't arrive until December!

 

Don't get me wrong, P3D V3 is better stutter-wise than any P3D before it (in my personal experience) and is much much closer to FSX with 1/2 refresh rate configured.  So far I think, all the other benefits of using P3D feel like they outweigh the stutter situation but I continue to explore the experience.  In particular I like the water, cloud shadows, autogen just about as far as the eye can see, fog layers and the experience of passing through clouds.  What I would love to see apart from the smoothness is a better "rain" visual experience, better image quality to do away with the need for SGSS and better AI rendering performance!

 

I also think we all understand different things by the word stutter, maybe "smoothness" is better?  What I mean is the simulator will quite happily roll the scenery past me for a while, then it's like someone picks up my monitor and is shaking it.  Sometimes it last just a brief moment, sometimes several seconds.  Some places are better than others, so I wonder if it's a content authoring thing as well.

 

Simon

 

Simon,

 

Not sure if you have tried this but I have found that if you use the P3D frame rate limiter and lower it to 20 or even 15 and also keep Vertical Sync off, this may eliminate the stutters (or lack of smoothness) w/o having to lower the other sliders too much. 15 FPS is really not so bad as long as the CPU and GPU can keep it pegged at 15.

 

Paul

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Hi there again Simon - I just wanted to follow up on the stuttering issue you mentioned in your OP.

I stumbled onto the following article today and found something there that may be useful for you.

http://www.tweakguides.com/NVFORCE_7.html

 

The last paragraph in the Maximum Pre-Rendered Frames section reads:

"It is recommended that Maximum Pre-rendered Frames be set to Use the 3D Application Setting under Global Settings. For particular games where you are experiencing stuttering, first try changing this setting to a high value of 4 under Program Settings to see if it helps smooth things out. If that makes things worse, or you can't tolerate the input lag, experiment with progressively lower values."

 

The whole article is worth a read, but very dry.

Hope it helps.

Cheers, Mike

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Hello everyone.

I'm been able to spent some time moving forward the Prepar3D V3 support.  In particular:

- The "additional" user aircraft (Container ID 2) is no longer shown

- View AI is working again (using the same interface as per other STB versions)

- We are now reading the traffic sliders from SimConnect rather than hooking into DLLs to do so.  However I did not that was working remotely but not locally during testing last night.

- Some work done on deployment into dll.xml and exe.xml

- And still quite a bit to do.  I try to keep 99% of the code the same between all 4 platforms (FSX, FSX-SE, P3D V2, P3D V3) using various software techniques.  When I started out I nearly 9 years ago now I didn't foresee multiple simulator platforms, so significant amounts of code need to be modified to patterns such as the factory class to properly account for simulator differences.  As well embracing the new in P3D V3, the old has to be adapted and retest,  but in the long run it means less work overall.

 

While I'm here, let me say what a fine looking simulator P3D V3 has turned out to be.  The key to my stuttering problems seems to be the simulator frame rate lock.  If I run locked at say 30fps, the stutters make it unworkable.  If I unlock and run run with vsync to a 30Hz device like a TV, the results are amazing.  This is the polar opposite of FSX, but that is helped out by 1/2 refresh rate.  In any case, it looks like P3D will become my simulator of choice, once all the add-ons (myself included) catch up!

 

Thanks everyone for helping me get the most out of P3D V3.  Anyone out there with experience of SLI, DSR or 4K UHD monitors/TV please share your experiences!

 

Thanks
Simon

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Thanks for the progress update.

P3Dv3 seems to be quite subjective regarding settings, different things work on different systems. For me, VSync ON / Triple Buffering checked / Target Frame rate 60  is sweet. And I Use the Nvidia Control Panel not  Nvidia Inspector. I don't run SLI or use DSR anymore.

 

Clayton

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