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What is the Best Frame Rate for Flight Sim


DaveCT2003
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My friends,

 

I'm not a fan of posting the same thing on mutlitple boards, but I was entreated to a conversation somewhere else where I chimed in on flight sim frame rates, and it seems to have been a good thing so I thought I'd share my post here at home. 

 

Just wanted to chime in here about something regarding frame rates which is very important to a lot of people in our community, and maybe it should be for most of us.

 

A frame rate of 30fps (actually it's 29.97fps) is as close to one minute of sim time being equal to one minute of real time as I think we can get. When you system deviates from that (so anything under or over 30fps) you can cause a lot of problems for online pilots and controllers, especially during events and group flights.  You online guys have seen this, though you may have thought it was simply someone using X-Plane (the bane of all online flight simmers), someone with a different weather engine or not using one at all, but often times it's just the frame rate.  

If you're not familiar with how this plays out... 

Assume Aircraft A and Aircraft B are flying the same flight plan, the same speed and altitude, and the same aircraft (thus the same ground speed), and they both have the exact same weather engines and weather.  Aircraft B starts in trail of Aircraft A by 20 miles.  But for some inexplicable reason, Aircraft B is over taking Aircraft A, and it becomes problematic for everyone especially as the aircraft being to approach an arrival or approach.  The reason?  The difference in frame rates.

 

Anyway, 30fps (29.97) is the optimal frame rate for flying cooperatively, and since I used the term "cooperatively" I'd like to say that I wish we as a community still referred to flying online with others as "cooperative flight" and that we taught people what that means and the part they play in it.  Alas we are today mostly a collective of individuals who don't care much for anyone else (sad, but I'm not speculating when I say that), so maybe I'm just howling at the moon by sharing this, I don't know.

Flight simulation is not a first person shooter, and pumping your frame rates just as high as you can get them is not advantageous in any respect and does in fact serve to take life off of a lot of systems (relative to how hard you push things and the cooling, of course).  In the end, 30fps is the mark you most of us want to hit.

 

Don't care about what happens online?  Fair enough!  There are other reasons for why running at 30fps is beneficial to flight simmers, ones that go beyond fuel planning, fuel burn and fuel checks (for those who know what those are).  Often times those who push for a higher frame rate will suffer from micro-stutters, ones that most people can't easily detect given that it's usually done visually.  Moreover, pushing one's system harder for the length of time of a flight without some really awesome cooling can take life of your system and lead to other issues.  Yes, of course, this is dependent on many different things so it's pretty variable, but it does happen.  

 

Something else... and for those (like me) who have worked computer hardware engineering you'll recognize that the following analogy is far from perfect, but for the sake of argument let me say that running a flight sim computer at the maximum sustained rate (without micro-stutters) can cause pauses when scenery loads simply because there isn't enough CPU/GPU processor overhead remaining when those large groups of scenery textures have to be loaded (like on approach).  But if you were to run at 30fps instead of 40 or 60fps, you likely wouldn't hardly notice the load at all (again, depends on the system and settings).  Think of driving a regular, non-high performance car just about as fast as you can without it causing damage to the car... and all of a sudden you need to drive it faster so you push down a little further on the accelerator and hardly anything happens - because you don't have much (if any) power in reserve.

 

Setting your system to run at 30fps can be your own little slice of flight sim nirvana, and if you venture online it can lead to a much better experience for you and everyone else.  If this can help me (and you) avoid getting vectored by a online controller who either isn't paying attention or is simply woefully word not allowed and makes a snap decision because two aircraft are, for no intelligent reason, right on top of one another, then I'll consider the time writing this well spent.  For those who might offer that a controller could instead simply slow down the offending frame rate eating aircraft... you're not only placing increased burden on someone who likely not a real controller but also extending a lot of faith that they intelligent and/or trained enough to know all this AND they have time to handle such issues.  In other words, let's not push the problem off on someone else when we can easily fix it ourselves.

 

Best wishes to everyone!

 

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I can't fly below 60 fps because I notice even framedrops down to about 58 and everything below for me just feels bad, just stuttering and not enjoyable at all.

 

Regarding the simulation speed I don't think high frame rates can be a problem as no simulator I know of (and also no modern game) simulates time depending on frame rates, the sim time is always the same. X-Plane is an exception here: If frames drop below 20 the simulator slows down because the flight model is calculated per frame and needs a minimum of about 40 flight model calculation cycles per second to work reasonably, but if the simulator runs at more than 20 fps it does not matter if this is 21, 30, 60 or even higher, the simulated time will be the same.

 

🙂

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, FlyAgi said:

I can't fly below 60 fps because I notice even framedrops down to about 58 and everything below for me just feels bad, just stuttering and not enjoyable at all.

 

Regarding the simulation speed I don't think high frame rates can be a problem as no simulator I know of (and also no modern game) simulates time depending on frame rates, the sim time is always the same. X-Plane is an exception here: If frames drop below 20 the simulator slows down because the flight model is calculated per frame and needs a minimum of about 40 flight model calculation cycles per second to work reasonably, but if the simulator runs at more than 20 fps it does not matter if this is 21, 30, 60 or even higher, the simulated time will be the same.

 

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure what sim you are talking about, or what your system specs are, but performance such as you describe is completely (hopelessly) backwards. If your talking FSX/P3D then it sounds like things are really and suoer seriously messed up for you my friend. I would pist your situation iver on AVSIM  znd seek some assistance.

 

Best wishes.

 

 

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On 2/21/2020 at 6:32 PM, FlyAgi said:

I'm only flying in X-Plane but in P3D I can get almost stable 60 fps as well - but this is not depending on the software, I personally need 60 fps because of high sensitivity, motion sickness and stuff like that.

 

 

 

You probably need 60 fps to be smooth because I'm guessing your monitor refresh rate is 60 hz.   

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