FSX SP1 News:AMD quote



Today AMD announced their new Phenom™ processor here.


As part of this press release, Aces Studio participated with a quote about our improved multi-core support in SP1. The quote stated


“Like AMD, we too envision quad-core technology as an enabler of a more immersive experience,” said Phil Taylor, senior program manager of Aces Studio at Microsoft Game Studios. “Multi-core technology is already opening up a new world of significant possibilities with the Service Pack1 release for Microsoft Flight Simulator X. SP1 contains multi-threaded code for terrain loading and in-flight generation of terrain textures; as well as for the batching of Autogen vegetation and buildings. This code is written to allow SP1 to use all available cores. We are excited about AMD’s upcoming quad-core technology, which we believe will further enable our mutual customers to dial up the visual details when using SP1 and see more of the highly detailed world contained in FSX.”


So what does this mean for FSX and FSX flyers?


As I stated previously, our multi-core support will take advantage of both 2 and 4 cores today, and more cores in the future when they become available. And this is for both AMD and Intel.


 


As to how much of a boost, we are still being conservative with the 20% across the board number, but we are seeing some scenarios on better hw hit up to 40% improvement. It really depends on your rig, on your settings, and on your actual flight.


 


And thats before we talk to the scenery content fixes, the airplane and gauge/panel fixes, the back-compat bug fixes, the 3 AI aircraft fixes, the multiplayer fixes ( griefer bug, partial fix for the connection to Gamespy issue ) and the SDK+SimConnect fixes.


 


SP1 is chock full of goodness. And is still on target for later this week. Stay tuned!


 


Comments (22)

  1. MauiHawk says:

    Phil,

    Congrats, you’re famous now!

    When you get to the part where it reads "As to how much of a boost", you sound as if you are about to give an estimate of how much of a boost multi-cores will bring with SP1, but instead recite the generic SP1 performance increase estimate again (correct?).

    But parsing your comment a little further:

    "better hw hit up to 40%"

    … I’m guessing given the context that "better hw" may mean, in large part, multi-core processors?  If I run with that assumption, can I deduce in terms of multi-core FPS benefit that on the aggressive end SP1 will provide a dual-core benefit up to 20% more than the RTM dual-core benefit ((<=40% for DC machines) – (>=20% for single core))?

  2. Phil Taylor says:

    Maui:

    its a combination of all the work that gets the perf boost, not just the multi-core work.

    in general, better hw will get better perf, of course. thats both GPU and CPU.

    but it really depends on your settings and where you are flying too. even a strong machine could fly in a dense area like Narita with Ultra High settings and wouldnt see as high a gain from SP1 as a rural area with Medium High.

  3. chris627 says:

    Phil, I’m just curious, can I install mesh or would that ruin the clean installation?

    I just bought the fs genesis mesh and I’m just itchin’ to install it. 😀

  4. Bikedude says:

    I’ve forgotten to ask, but has any work been done on radio communication between the built-in ATC and us? I’ve hit spot where two ATCs keep telling me to switch to the other in a ping-pong fashion…

    (I also wish ATC chatter directed at me would cut game speed back down to normal again)

  5. Phil Taylor says:

    Chris:

    if it loads only content, it might be ok; but if it loads dlls, it probably needs to be refreshed. the authors are the best ones to ask.

  6. Phil Taylor says:

    Bikedude:

    we just didnt get time to look at everything, that one I dont think we looked at.

  7. Shel800521 says:

    Phil, just a couple of questions iro sp1.

    1. Will sp1 utilise the GPU any differently in order to produce better fps?

    or. 2. is the performance gain from sp1 only focussed on the CPU (MC & DC)?

    I also understand the limitations of DX9, however we haven’t unlocked a fraction of DX9’s potential, why DX10?

    Lastly, what version of MS .NET Frameworks is required for sp1?

  8. panos95 says:

    Hey,

    Is the QX6800 or the AMD better?

  9. CaptDaadood says:

    Phil this one is for you?

    I have noticed that not in all airport and cities the performance are the same. Why is that? Why not?

    And did you  fix the view of the wheel  digging thru the ground when breaking?

    and for what I understand the sp1 looks like is the only patch be release just to shutup the fans in general but in reallity until I see I wont believe it that you guys fixed anything, for the simple reason is that everyday you have a differente explanation  for the SP1 performance.

    “but it really depends on your settings and where you are flying too. even a strong machine could fly in a dense area like Narita with Ultra High settings and wouldnt see as high a gain from SP1 as a rural area with Medium High.”

  10. Phil Taylor says:

    Shel:

    reducing Draw and SetTexture calls *is* using the GPU differently. and the performance work will help single and multi-core.

    DX9 has hard limitations, its version if instancing, for instance is primitive compared to DX10. And thats just one feature. So when DX10 comes out later this year we expect to get another efficiency gain as well as new features. But I am not going to talk to DX10 in specifics for a while yet.

    SP1 doesnt change anything wrt .NET and FSX. As I recall, thats only used for SimConnect.

  11. Phil Taylor says:

    Panos:

    I am not going to make hw recommendations, as I said in my comment rules. Lets leave that to the hw review sites.

  12. Phil Taylor says:

    Capt:

    different cities have a different mix of terrain and water, buildings and trees, Autogen and Custom objects.

    skeptics will just have to wait and see.

  13. MelvinG says:

    Hello Phil:

    I’m wondering about your team’s plans to continually develop the sophistication of FSX AI as you navigate towards the Adrenaline expansion.  Are you currently working with proprietary AI routines developed in-house or are  you using some third party middleware?

    What kind of a performance hit (CPU usage) are you getting with the current level of AI calculations in various scenarios and would your team be amenable to look at an AI SDK with proprietary, dedicated hardware acceleration that would significantly offload AI calcs and possibly allow an order of magnitude more programmed smart object behaviors during FSX gameplay?

    Also, is it possible to set up FSX (with SP1) to cache the highest-quality scenery data along a specific flight path (say Seatac airport to Redmond, or further east) so that a FRAPS recording of the venture will look as smooth and visually appealing as possible without visible LOD terrain loads at different flying heights?  My system configuration contains several pockets of fast memory to allow for such caching such as 4GB Corsair main RAM, 768MB VRAM on the GF8800GTX, 256MB cache on the SCSI RAID controller, 4 x 16MB of cache on the four, 74GB 15Krpm SCSI drives set in RAID 0 on which FSX resides, and I run a Quadcore Extreme QX6700 with Vista Ultimate for your program.  I understand that SP1 will engage multicore terrain loading and help smooth things out, but I don’t mind making a few dry runs over a specific flight path to load whatever needs caching so that the FRAPS recorded flight looks its best at 1920×1080.

    We really appreciate your team’s dedication to FSX and the opportunity Microsoft provides for us to constructively interact with you all.

    Thank you.

  14. Phil Taylor says:

    Melvin:

    Our AI work is in-house.

    Really, the AI calcs dont appear high on the profile. Its rendering the AI objects that costs and thats why we fixed 3 of the AI aircraft in SP1. We regularly evaluate 3rd party toolkits, but we have some unique licensing requirements and that usually makes it difficult.

    The caching behavior we have is what we have, we arent changing that in the service pack. Hopefully the load balancing across the cores in SP1 helps with the stutters you are seeing.

  15. MauiHawk says:

    Phil,

    When you talk about rendering AI planes as being costly, I wonder if you employ the tactic a lot games do where they will use much simpler models when objects are distant than when they are close.  Is that something you do? Aside from being very near an airport I would think that would limit the penalty from AI planes.  It seems that after a plane gets 10 miles away or so, you could reduce the model to nothing except the beacons.

  16. ped says:

    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for taking your time with the community — I am really amazed that you can find the time!

    This is actually off topic, but anyway… I recently attended a Scrum Master certification course by Jeff Sutherland and wonder if you guys are using Scrum? If that is the case, how long are your Sprints and how many teams do you have? Who acts as Product Owner — I guess you do not let the guys on AVSIM prioritize the Backlog (even though we would like that).

    Oh yeah, and finally, should you not be able to release at each Sprint? 😛

    Thanks and looking forward to SP1!

  17. Phil Taylor says:

    Maui:

    the 3 aircraft I mention where just plain wrong and needed to be fixed.  of course in general we use a lower-LOD for AI. that wasnt the case with those 3.

    assume nothing except what I said.

  18. Phil Taylor says:

    Ped:

    we use some Agile techniques but we are not true Scrum.

  19. conaly says:

    Hello Phil,

    thanks for your infos about the SP1… I’m looking forward to it.

    But one question: after the SP1, the FSX will use both cores, when you have a multicore-system. But what about Hyper-Threading on Pentium4-chips? Will this help too? I’m not sure, because it’s just a virtual second CPU, so I can’t really imagine, that this improves the performance.

    Thanks, Dimitri

    P.S. Sorry, my English is not perfect.

  20. Phil Taylor says:

    Conaly:

    I already mentioned that we dont schedule threads on HT.

  21. Niels Schroyen says:

    I just wanted to add something on MauiHawk’s question. As far as I understand the current FSX engine isnt realy GPU-limited, granted you arent running it on something pre-historic. So actualy these Level-of-Detail techniques wont make much difference (perhaps even hurt the performance). I guess the mainproblem lays in the renderstatechanges (textures, materials, etc) and drawcalls, all CPU-work.

    Cheers on this blog, a realy great initiative that shows the devotion of the team towards the community. Keep on blogging! 🙂

  22. rob_h_83 says:

    Sounds like it’s all working – gimme the link ;-D

    Gonna be interesting just for the sake of science and that to run task manager with FSX running, and see if the graph hits 95-100% on both cores.