Why FSX has Rough Performance

181548-mgslogo_blk_largeI invite you to take a look at this post by Adrian Woods, formerly of ACES who was re-hired on to work on Microsoft Flight. I realize that the post is nearly 2 years old, but there is quite a lot of information in those 3 paragraphs that clears the air on some of the current perceived worries from the community.Let’s dive in…

  • Adrian states that there is no longer a restriction on carrying over legacy code and making things backward-compatible as they have been with just about every other version of MS FS. This confirms the fact of FSX add-on content not being able to work in Flight. What I read later on suggests to me that we, performance savvy users (I am a user too), probably do not want FSX objects to run as they would drag down the whole system.
  • Performance is number 1 priority. Lessons were learned from the mistakes of FSX. I’ll quote Adrian here because I cannot rephrase it any better than this: “Creating a flexible content-driven shader system when there is already mountains of legacy content not necessarily authored specifically for that system, and no time to go back and touch every single asset is a BAD idea.” What Adrian is saying here is that when you add complex yet flexible elements such as specular and normal maps (two examples of shaders) on top of old code to support old geometric data (FS9 style .mdl’s), inefficiencies overall drag down performance.
  • Those lessons learned have taught these guys how to appropriately build shader systems that can be more easily adapted later on … MS Flight 2, and so on.

I think it is important to note here why I am thankful Microsoft decided to hire back some of the folks from ACES. There were a lot of things that were done poorly in the franchise of MSFS, especially in terms of what it took to get legacy objects to operate in the current version. The folks who learned from these mistakes were best to start with a clean slate because they knew from hind sight what makes a better performing …program. (You thought that I was going to say Sim, didn’t you?) In that respect, good on ya Microsoft Game Studios!

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Filed under FSX, Games For Windows, MS Flight

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