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Mega Airport Schiphol framerates


Mathijs Kok
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Gents, I'll better be clear about this.

We looked at the performance of Schiphol again and although we have seen better, optimizing it to the best standards we know of now (that a while since release, keep in that in mind) we might get it a few percent better. Not more. Per polygon, the only valid measure here) it’s about as fast as other big airport scenery files. Just google FS and Schiphol and you’ll see that the same issue has come up for this airport for any version of FS. I myself did one of the very first scenery projects for Schiphol (using Schiratti Commander!) and it was slow as molasses. And you can be sure that the next version of a Schiphol add-on for a flightsim will be slow. We are handling a few minor issues and expect a patch for those soon (missing night texture etc). That patch will do nothing for fps however.

The simple fact is that Schiphol is one of the biggest airports around, has a whopping lot of runways, more taxiways then ANY airport in the world and to make things worse it has very obvious concrete gutters around all tarmac. That means that exactly what makes FSX scenery slow, ground polygons, is at least double of most other airports. You see the same issues on Mega Airport Budapest for example. So to make it faster the developer would need to delete items or reduce the LOD levels even more than they are now. That means popping scenery or blurred textures. Simply put, there is no way to optimize how fast FSX shows a polygon, what we call optimizing is how careful polygons are used.

So no matter what's done the only way to get this better is to reduce the amount of polygons. Simplify. But at the same time people are asking for more objects. Now I am sure that some people will not be happy with this. But there simply is no easy cure, no easy fix, in fact there is no hard fix. I am also sure that that this will not close the discussion about it. But at least it is clear what our point of view is. Simply put, in FPS, what you see is what you get. If there is another developer who can do a Schiphol with this level of detail and gets much better fps we’ll most certainly ask him to come and work for us. But it won’t happen.

I will attach some images of how Schiphol runs on my machine (<$800). I show it without traffic because we all know that traffic can wreak havoc on fps and many people have traffic add-ons. My standard traffic (not very dense) would eat about 5 fps from the shown fps. In settings I got mesh at the lowest possible (duh, it’s Holland!), AutoGen at low (the immediate region around Schiphol is rather empty), Water effects at lowest (all the water nearby is always a dull dark green, not really the Bahamas’ you know) and airport traffic at low (seems the most realistic to me). As you see I get reasonable results with that, certainly making the airport very useable for me.

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Mathijs, thanks for the explanation. I do not have FPS issues with EHAM @ FS9, but still some other issues. Therefore I opened another topic since it is not clear what happened to them. Now Shaun closes it down, but in fact this is only about the FPS...

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Mathijs, thanks for the explanation. I do not have FPS issues with EHAM @ FS9, but still some other issues. Therefore I opened another topic since it is not clear what happened to them. Now Shaun closes it down, but in fact this is only about the FPS...

Okay, I'll have Shaun reopen that one then.

But let's keep the FPS issue here.

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Dear Mathijs Kok,

I've been using Mega Airport Amsterdam X since the FSX release and I really appreciate all the work Aerosoft and especially Cornel put into this to give the Dutch simmers a new rendition of their main airport. But there are a few key items where this project has failed. I would like to discuss these things, if you don't mind.

First of all, Cornel is a great scenery designer who delivers high quality products. But there are a few things in the way he works. The impression I got during development, release and support periods was an impression of ‘missing communication’. While Cornel was working quietly on his big project, there was not much information about the project. Aerosoft didn’t seem to know what was going on. I think Cornel visited the forums just a couple of times. If you look at some current projects, like Corfu X, you see the developer heavily engaged with the community in the forums. There are clear previews and clear information about content and release date. Something the Schiphol Project lacked. Things like ‘good performance’, ‘accurate rendition’, ‘release in (MONTH)’ were promised but these standards were not met.

I don’t know who is to blame and I don’t want to speculate about it. But Cornel and I exchanged some e-mails some months ago and he was really friendly and responded quickly.

I’m just trying to show that the developer is not the only one to blame for a faulty product…

Speaking about a faulty product. I’m not saying Schiphol X is faulty; there are just some annoying bugs. No product is perfect, that’s obvious.

To start with, before the release it seemed the Beta phase was rushed or not done thoroughly. Bugs like the ‘RWY 24 Runway Light bug’ and the buggy ‘excludes’ would have been discovered when the Beta phase was completed thoroughly. Oliver Pabst had to fix it and luckily he managed to do it quickly. There was no word from Cornel. (I think developers should be active in the forums to give previews, information, status updates and to answer questions). There were a few small updates (1.00 to 1.04), for which I’m grateful, but there was no serious work done. (Neither on the FS9 version).

There are still quite a few bugs and problems left, besides the dreadful performance. I’m okay with an addon that is heavy on the FPS, but that addon needs to be perfect and detailed to compensate for the heavy performance.

I made a list of the things I came across during the last year or so while approaching EHAM and walking around with Ezdok Camera:

FSX v1.04:

- Approach Lights not on the poles

- Low resolution photo real ground scenery

- Bad connection (water & road) to the default, UT2 and NL2000v4 scenery

- Blurry textures on terminal buildings

- Low LOD on jetways (with AES)

- Misplaced and missing taxi signs

- Missing 3D taxi way bridges

- AES Light Traffic drives into the ground.

- Horrible photo scenery coverage area.

Pictures can be found here:

(NOTE: there are spelling mistakes in the pictures. Sorry for that)

I would like to see the Photo Scenery get fixed (alignment, coverage and quality)

Could you please consider the following coverage area of the MAP Schiphol Scenery:

ehamphotoreal3.jpg

Instead of following the roads and some random lines, you could follow the channels and water surrounding Schiphol.

I’m looking forward to your reply and if anything isn’t clear (maybe because of my English) let me know, I’ll try to explain it futher.

Greetings from Holland!

EDIT: Oh, I see there is an other topic for other issue's regarding MAP EHAM, but it's still closed...

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  • Root Admin

Some comments:

  • The photo background has to stay as it is. We had major problems getting a good affordable license as it was. Linking that photo base to default and other addons is always problematic. If it works with one it will for sure not work well on the other. Of course adding a higher resolution ground image will also make it slower.
  • I don't think the textures on the buildings are bad but to make better means a lot more bits to drag around and that makes it slower.
  • Adding more 3d objects (the 3d air bridges and taxiway signs you ask for) is possible. But adding them will make the scenery slower.
  • The LOD on many objects is indeed low but making that different will make the scenery slower.

I am sure you are seeing a pattern in my replies by now, lol. A lot of the issues you mention are there by design to keep the scenery usable.You like them sorted but that comes at a price. The four items you mention above could easily decrease your fps with 25%, more when you are running low on texture memory. I will for sure have the other issues looked at. The lines showing with the photo tiles is something we see a lot, but there is nothing that can be done about it. some graphics card /driver combination show it, others do not.

A separate comment on the ground texture. We will always have to use a larger area as most buyers of the product will not have a photo background (many Dutch users will, but they only make up a small percentage of total sales).

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  • Deputy Sheriffs

Mathijs,

I hope you can help me with the following:

On my (new) system Schiphol runs rather well, traffic on, but I have this strange phenomenon that I do not see the AI/Traffic aircraft, but I do see their shadows on the ground.

I run Schiphol on top of the NL2000 scenery.

Any suggestions what can cause this?

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Dear Mathijs Kok,

Thank you for our answer.

As I said: I don't mind if a scenery addon is heavy on the FPS but that addon has to have a reason (quality wise) for the bad performance. If an airport addon has 7 cm/m ground textures and bad FPS; that's fine because it looks good. If an airport addon has 3D taxi way bridges which draw performance; that's fine because it looks good. If an airport addon has a great amount of detail on it's 3D models; that's fine because it still looks good.

But Mega Airport Amsterdam doesn't have any of this. It doesn't have many details on the land side (look at FlyTampa Athens), It doesn't have good looking, high res., photoreal ground textures (look at Orbx), it lacks high res. textures and details on the buildings (Look at Flightbeam KSFO and Flytama Athens).

Mega Airport Amsterdam doesn't seem to meet the modern standards in scenery design for FSX.

Mega Airport Amsterdam is just messy. Look at the way the photo real ground textures are cut out. Look at the cars on the highway with AES light cars driving on top of them. Look at the AES light cars sinking into the ground to drive through flat tunnels, etc

If customers want good FPS and bad looks; use FS9. If customers want awesome looks and bad FPS; use FSX.

I'll repeat it again: a scenery can be heavy on the FPS but it has to look good to compensate. MAP Amsterdam doesn't look that good and has bad performance...

I know, it sounds complicated and I hope you understand me. I don't mean any disrespect.

Greetings from Holland

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Dear Mathijs Kok,

Thank you for our answer.

As I said: I don't mind if a scenery addon is heavy on the FPS but that addon has to have a reason (quality wise) for the bad performance. If an airport addon has 7 cm/m ground textures and bad FPS; that's fine because it looks good. If an airport addon has 3D taxi way bridges which draw performance; that's fine because it looks good. If an airport addon has a great amount of detail on it's 3D models; that's fine because it still looks good.

But Mega Airport Amsterdam doesn't have any of this. It doesn't have many details on the land side (look at FlyTampa Athens), It doesn't have good looking, high res., photoreal ground textures (look at Orbx), it lacks high res. textures and details on the buildings (Look at Flightbeam KSFO and Flytama Athens).

Mega Airport Amsterdam doesn't seem to meet the modern standards in scenery design for FSX.

Mega Airport Amsterdam is just messy. Look at the way the photo real ground textures are cut out. Look at the cars on the highway with AES light cars driving on top of them. Look at the AES light cars sinking into the ground to drive through flat tunnels, etc

If customers want good FPS and bad looks; use FS9. If customers want awesome looks and bad FPS; use FSX.

I'll repeat it again: a scenery can be heavy on the FPS but it has to look good to compensate. MAP Amsterdam doesn't look that good and has bad performance...

I know, it sounds complicated and I hope you understand me. I don't mean any disrespect.

Greetings from Holland

I understood you well, but I tried to explain why this is not feasible in this project. All the examples you give have estimated half the polygons of Mega Airport Schiphol and as I said, it's the amount of polygons that counts. My system can draw around 40.000.000 polygons per second. So say 2 million polygons (that a serious scenery, an nice aircraft and some surrounding) at a fps of 20. Now if you double the amount of polygons you half the fps, it really is that simply in FSX as we got very little option to use the GPU accelerated hardware. And keep in mind that if you double the resolution you quadruple the file size!

So if we make it look better the framerate will drop very fast. There just is no way around that. As I wrote, there is no easy fix, there is not even a hard fix. The only real fix would be if MS would solve the issues with ground textures in FSX but we all know that's not going to happen.

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Thanks for the explanation, however you're running with clear skies or it seems you're not even using REX (must have addon for all simmers). This way I can also get 20fps.

It would be nice to allow users to choose between high performance and high quality upon install. I don't care if there's less objects or gutters around taxiways. I just want a better and more realistic EHAM than the default FSX

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This is all very clear to me. But what I do not understand is that, lets say, Aerosoft Munich X runs perfect on my system and it looks sooooo amazing with the bridge's, the cars, just everything.

Well, Munich is not so big as Schiphol, but it isn't a small airport too.

Why can't the highway A4 looks like the highway at Aerosoft Leipzich X? or like Munich???

Also there are loads of missplaced and incorrect taxiwaysings, that can use a update too.

Regards,

Robin

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I'ld add that in those picture no traffic is visible and the no one picture has been taken from a VC of an aircraft like the PMDG 737. I'ld like to see how then your fps are.

Yes, but as I explained we are not showing how fast the system is in the PMDG 373 or with My Traffic but if the scenery itself is slow. I even explained that in the post, you must have missed that. Clearly using the PMDG 737 will drop framerates, but it does so on any airport. It slows it down because there is an additional few hundred thousands polygons to handle. And it really is that simple, every single polygon take it's resources.

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Indeed you're probably just using default cessna....

Actually I had the our Airbus loaded. If I show the VC it will take away around 4 fps depending on what is shown on the displays. That's what's to be expected when another 400.000 polygons are shown. But even so, that should not matter if we are discussing the performance of an airport, right?

And for your information, the default Cessna is very hard on fps. As with all the default aircraft MS did not do a very good job. The modeling is sloppy and could be optimized a lot. It would half the demand on FPS.

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This is all very clear to me. But what I do not understand is that, lets say, Aerosoft Munich X runs perfect on my system and it looks sooooo amazing with the bridge's, the cars, just everything.

Well, Munich is not so big as Schiphol, but it isn't a small airport too.

Why can't the highway A4 looks like the highway at Aerosoft Leipzich X? or like Munich???

Also there are loads of missplaced and incorrect taxiwaysings, that can use a update too.

Regards,

Robin

You are right on the taxiways signs, that's being worked at. But the other airports you mention are all not nearly as large and complex. As explained it's the ground polygons that are most important here. Now take a look from above on Munchen and Schiphol and you immediately see the difference. Most be at least triple the number.

I keep saying it, the only way to make it faster is to reduce the complexity. And what you are asking is an INCREASE. Of course that might be possible, but only at the cost of a lower fps. And that obviously is not a good idea at this moment.

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You are right on the taxiways signs, that's being worked at. But the other airports you mention are all not nearly as large and complex. As explained it's the ground polygons that are most important here. Now take a look from above on Munchen and Schiphol and you immediately see the difference. Most be at least triple the number.

I keep saying it, the only way to make it faster is to reduce the complexity. And what you are asking is an INCREASE. Of course that might be possible, but only at the cost of a lower fps. And that obviously is not a good idea at this moment.

Oke thankyou, next thing I am going to do is buying a NASA computer :)

It's clear to me and I'm happy that the taxiway signs will be updated.

Is there any expected release date for the update?

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Oke thankyou, next thing I am going to do is buying a NASA computer :)

It's clear to me and I'm happy that the taxiway signs will be updated.

Is there any expected release date for the update?

A NASA computer won't help you much as FSX has a few issues that money can't solve. That's our biggest issue with FSX, you can not buy your way out of low fps as you can with other sims. With X-Plane you can double your fps if you spend double the money. With FSX you double your money and are lucky to get a few fps more.

I'll see if I get a time line for the update.

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Actually I had the our Airbus loaded. If I show the VC it will take away around 4 fps depending on what is shown on the displays. That's what's to be expected when another 400.000 polygons are shown. But even so, that should not matter if we are discussing the performance of an airport, right?

And for your information, the default Cessna is very hard on fps. As with all the default aircraft MS did not do a very good job. The modeling is sloppy and could be optimized a lot. It would half the demand on FPS.

So lets see: -5 fps traffic, -4fps PMDG 737.

That's 15fps. Add REX and there you go, 10 fps - unplayable.

I'm not asking for an INCREASE in detail. I said make an option in the install for SIMPLE or COMPLEX install (or something) so my EHAM will run better without all the ground detail etc. (I'd rather have 20fps and less detail!)

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So lets see: -5 fps traffic, -4fps PMDG 737.

That's 15fps. Add REX and there you go, 10 fps - unplayable.

I'm not asking for an INCREASE in detail. I said make an option in the install for SIMPLE or COMPLEX install (or something) so my EHAM will run better without all the ground detail etc. (I'd rather have 20fps and less detail!)

Yes, if you load up the sim like that you can easily make things impossible. We see that a lot in development. Just a few weeks ago somebody send me a Airbus VC that looked unlike anything you ever seen. Totally incredible detail. But it had over 1.000.000 polygons and was therefor totally useless. I seen scenery that would blow your mind, but who cares at 5 fps? Internally we always try to develop products that leave room (fps) for other parts of the sim environment, mainly because we sell all parts pof course (lol). A company like PMDG takes a different point of view (and they got all rights to do so). For them the simulation of the aircraft take precedent over anything. But we seen an increase in questions on scenery since the 737 was released. And that's not because the scenery got slower but it's because the scarce resources are used by other parts of the sim. If you want to use the PMDG 737, REX, serious traffic and some other stuff you will get low fps. That does not surprise me and I am sure that will not surprise you.

Changing the scenery so it has two levels of detail would be an option, but we got bad experience with that and depending on the settings of FSX seems far more useful and flexible. Certainly as it involves the ground layout, personally I feel that is one of the most important things. The taxiways with he wide concrete gutters (that cause so much of the problem) are so characteristic for the airport that removing them would not only cause a hell of a lot of additional work (meaning a higher price) and would create a very strange airport. As I said many times. There is no easy fix, there is not even a hard fix. If we redo the airport consider making a version that has simplified ground layout. This topic is not to discuss a possible change, just an explanation of why things are as they are.

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So lets see: -5 fps traffic, -4fps PMDG 737.

That's 15fps. Add REX and there you go, 10 fps - unplayable.

Are you complaining about REX, PMDG, FSX or the scenery? I mean it's not the scenery that makes it slow, it's the combination and it seems strange to only blame Aerosoft. Although I love the PMDG 737 it made a lot of my other scenery addons a lot less usable as the combination makes it too slow. But that's after I added the PMDG 737, not because the scenery changed. So I had to adapt, lower settings where needed and I even stopped using one or two. I rather spend my resources on the aircraft then on the scenery.

I think I got all the Schiphol scenery there is for FS2004 and FSX and while the latest from Aerosoft is the slowest, it's also by far the most detailed. And you know, I think the most detailed and the slowest is related!

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Changing the scenery so it has two levels of detail would be an option, but we got bad experience with that and depending on the settings of FSX seems far more useful and flexible.

I can't turn off detail in schipol. If i move the scenery density slider below DENSE, there's no taxiway lights at night. (=taxiways cannot be seen)

Are you complaining about REX, PMDG, FSX or the scenery? I mean it's not the scenery that makes it slow, it's the combination and it seems strange to only blame Aerosoft. Although I love the PMDG 737 it made a lot of my other scenery addons a lot less usable as the combination makes it too slow. But that's after I added the PMDG 737, not because the scenery changed. So I had to adapt, lower settings where needed and I even stopped using one or two. I rather spend my resources on the aircraft then on the scenery.

I think I got all the Schiphol scenery there is for FS2004 and FSX and while the latest from Aerosoft is the slowest, it's also by far the most detailed. And you know, I think the most detailed and the slowest is related!

I'm saying schiphol reduces FPS so much that I can't use any other addons with it. I'd rather have schipol be of less detail so I can run it with my addons.

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