Acceleration and SP2


Overview


 


Acceleration has RTM’ed. Acceleration Pack contains the SP2 fixes; including both DX9 and DX10 work. Acceleration Pack looks really good, and for the $30 US list price there is a lot of value with 3 aircraft (F-18 jet, P-51 racer, EH101 helo), along with 30+ missions and several new “sim” features like a functional carrier, slingloads and hoists for the helo, as well as the multiplayer racing experience. And I am probably forgetting features. There is quite a bit of value there.


 


Acceleration will be available in late October. FSX-SP2 will be available sometime after Acceleration Pack and before Christmas. Edit:Acceleration includes SP2 bits, and SP1 and thus does not require SP1 to be pre-installed as there is room on the DVD for it, but the downloadable SP2 does require FSX-SP1 to be installed. As I have previously stated, SP2 will include DX9 fixes as well as DX10 support. So with the release of SP2, Aces will have fulfilled its commitment to 2 updates for FSX RTM customers in 2007.


 


I want to make clear two important details about the DX10 part of Acceleration and SP2:


1) From a feature perspective, we do not match the magic screenies item-for-item because those screenies ignored an important visual element—the aircraft. We added virtual cockpit shadows to the work list because this feature further enhances the immersion. Of course, we also faced schedule and other constraints.


2) We are not promising runtime backwards compatibility in the current DX10 code path now or in the future. This is for two reasons:


a)The first is to send a message that we are going to change the backwards compatibility story moving forwards.


b)The second is practical, in that continuing to provide the backwards compatibility we do is a huge drag on forward progress. Spending time on 4 or more code paths (FSX DX10, FSX DX9, FS2004, pre-FS2004) costs us time that could be spent polishing the existing features, working on resource management to fully eliminate out of memory errors, and working on performance. We have to change that balance and in the DX10 preview you can see the first notice of that. Yes, we know we have to address some features that are not possible using the FSX SDK in future SDKs so that 3rd party developers are enabled and do not depend on these old techniques and we accept that.


Because of these two issues, we are labeling the DX10 support a “preview” in the UI. We expect it will add value; but we are not expecting the DX10 path to replace the DX9 path as the primary experience in FSX and expect third parties to author to the DX9 path in the large. And yes most add-ons should continue to work in the DX9 code path in Acceleration/SP2, as long as they don’t depend on the old BGL compatibility path. An example that no longer works is the B-307 Stratoliner, it uses a decal alpha technique that we didn’t get re-enabled in either DX9 or DX10 after the re-plumbing work involved with SP2.


 


I know some are going to be disappointed, and some disappointment is reasonable. I will be the first to state that Aces releasing the magic screenies was flat out a mistake; but us not matching that level of “vision” ( and that is what the magic screenies were ) is not a cause for a flame war against Aces or DX10. I should note, for instance, that the DX10 code path performs better under load than the DX9 code path, and this means the DX10 features are more useable. And DX10 does look better, both in the cockpit and in the world.


 


Let’s move on to detail on the specific features in SP2, from both a DX9 and a DX10 perspective.


 


FSX SP2-DX9


 


Here is a list of what is in SP2 from a “global install perspective” and not just on Vista when DX10 is active:


Fixes and Features Core and Graphics


1) 8-core bug fix


2) 3G enabling FSX and Autogen memory use optimization


3) Exterior shadow quality improvements


4) Optimization of terrain IO for photo-scenery and “scenery load out of the zone” fixes to help reduce blurries


5) More batching of Autogen. This will help in areas where a lot of custom objects of the same material are authored and complements the SP1 batching work.


6) 737 and A321 night/taxi light fix with new models


7) Raindrops in the 2D cockpit


Audio, International, UI


8) Audio fix for soundcard/usb to speakers/headphones on Vista


9) Various internationalization fixes


10) Saving undocked panels


11) UI fix for flight list to be alpha-sorted when “Title” is clicked


Multiplayer


12) Multiplayer compatibility with XPack for free-flight. With all the changes in Acceleration, SP1 is not free-flight compatible. SP2 addresses that.


13) Multiplayer fixes for


a) when using DIRECT CONNECT, FSX now remembers the last IP used


b) COM1 shared cockpit sync


 


We didn’t get either the “w” key issue or the alpha-fade for Autogen into SP2. We just couldn’t get to those fixes. We still have a good set of fixes, even without those two, and we hope the DirectX9 user is happy with the two service packs we have delivered this year.



 


FSX-SP2 DX10



 


The features we do have are:


1) VC shadows


2) HDR Bloom


3) Water enhancements


4) Efficiency improvements via more Autogen batching, more efficient shaders, and a more efficient method of generating bloom.


 


In looking at the magic screenies, we realized those screenshots show nothing “in the plane” and instead concentrate on atmospherics and water effects that will only be visible when:


1) the right weather or angle of view happens


2) flying low and slow


 


So we went back to the drawing board and decided to invest differently. We decided atmospherics and water should still get some attention, just not the entire effort. And we decided we needed to do something for the pilot in the plane.


 


So we decided to enhance the VC experience with shadows. VC shadows greatly enhance the realism in the virtual cockpit, and are the logical extension of the airplane exterior self-shadowing.


 


Atmospherics are an important part of the flying experience, so we wanted to improve bloom. HDR Bloom takes a feature that is almost unusable in DX9 because of performance and makes it both visually better and usable from a performance standpoint.


 


Given the globe is 70 percent water or more – water enhancements still make sense. What wasn’t possible was to match the water in the magic screenies due to the confluence of hardware issues, constraints on new content, and schedule. What we have does make the water visually different with whitecaps and make water react to weather—wind causes whitecaps on water.


 


In terms of efficiency improvements – first the water shaders are more efficient, as is the way we generate bloom using HDR techniques. We now batch what are called “Autogen 2” objects in addition to the Autogen 1 objects that were batched in SP1. In areas where there are a lot of Autogen 2 objects ( library objects ), as opposed to the entirely procedural Autogen 1 objects, users will get a nice performance bump. If you don’t have a lot of Autogen 2 objects, then of course you won’t get much improvement.


 


Ok, that’s not what some people where expecting, even after I have tried to reset expectations, but it’s a nice bump for DX10 users.


 


Two things we had hoped to get in on the DX10 code path; but we just didn’t get to are crepuscular rays and improved world lighting. We had hoped to improve the world lighting, so that back sides of buildings and trees showed better rendering; as well as render crepuscular rays ( popularly called godrays ) through the clouds but those two features didn’t make the schedule when we added the VC shadows.


 


And the lack of FSX-SP1 level backwards compatibility is the key reason why what we decided to label the FSX-DX10 work “preview”.


 


With that said, you now know what is in FSX-SP2 from a DX10 perspective. At this point, from a studio perspective it is time to move on from FSX so we have no future updates planned for the engine.  


 


Here are two screenshots to show the efficiency of the water and bloom improvements, taken on a 2.4 Ghz Intel Core Duo, with 1GB of RAM, and a GeForce 8800 GTX.


DX9 ( 24.1 FPS, 30 set as goal )


DX10 (30 FPS, 30 set as goal )


 


That is 20% better FPS under load.


 


I’ll get to feature by feature shots in a future blog, right now I have other tasks that are a bit higher priority.


 


Thanks for listening.

Comments (86)

  1. Aberforth says:

    I don’t see much difference between DX9 and DX10, why do you think DX10 as a performance gain? it is possible to write optimized code in DX9. What i was looking for is DX10 specific feature, the water doesn’t look great, no sunrays. I feel like it’s all big scam now. You guys are just doing this to keep your promise and track record staright-there is no real motivation. I have a suggestion you should try 3rd party engines like CryEngine 2 (http://www.crytek.com/technology/cryengine-2/specifications.html) that has advanced terrain, water, light and weather. I’m sure Cryengine 2 is highly optimized to run on 2 to 3 year old machines.

  2. wedge says:

    Hello Phil and thanks for the big post 🙂

    There is just something I don’t really understand, maybe because I4m not that fluent in english after all 🙂

    You say that "Acceleration has RTM’ed. Acceleration Pack contains the SP2 fixes" and then "Acceleration will be available in late October. FSX-SP2 will be available sometime after Acceleration Pack and before Christmas."

    And I don’t really get what it means is there part of the SP2 in teh Acceleration Pack, or is it containing the all SP2 thing, and that the SP2 will be available for those who don’t purchase the Acceleration pack only later by download ?

    Else that looks very interesting and I’m looking forward the next posts 🙂 As I thought purely visualy there is not much change, after all, DirectX 10 don’t make things look better, it is more a better API and wont make graphic cards do somethign they can’t do, like the real old DirectX 10 preview screen that was amazing, but hard to believe it would look as planned 🙂

  3. Phil Taylor says:

    There are 2 products, Acceleration and SP2.

    Acceleration is payware, it will be on the shelf late October.

    SP2 will be a free download, available before Christmas.

    We performed careful integrations between both the Acceleration and SP2 products to make "embed" the SP2 code into the Acceleration build so it also contains the fixes in SP2, for both DX9 and DX10.

    Due to the setup and localization requirements of both products, International versions of Acceleration will be a couple of weeks behind ENU ( American English )and due to SP2 needing its own setup and localized versions it will be a bit behind that.

    So they are different products, delivered different ways, with different timing. Yes, it is a bit complicated and sorry about that.

  4. Shel800521 says:

    Sounds great Phil, thanks for the updates.

    Taken what you’ve explained above re: the differences between DX9 & DX10 there is no doubt about the frame increase, what water settings are used?

    One other thing Phil, i have FSX Deluxe version but cannot find anything on disk one regarding SDk installation, please can you direct me to a post where i can find out what SDK is, what it does and do i need to install it.

  5. RojanTrojan says:

    "That is 20% better FPS under load."

    This alone makes SP2 absolutely brilliant. Good job ACES!

  6. Phil Taylor says:

    Shel:

    Water settings were 2.Max on both.

    I dont have a disk handy to direct you to a procedure, but there should be an SDK folder with a separate setup.

  7. Phil Taylor says:

    Rojan:

    thanks.

    and actually, 5.9/24.1 = 24.5%.

  8. touradg says:

    Hi Phil,

    I was eagerly waiting for DX10 post. In my idea 20% better performance is nothing but just amazing. You just did magic with programming. Good job and thank you.

    Yours truly,

    touradg

  9. DavidVDH says:

    Hi Phil, I saw the video of FSX on 8 cores, but what is the performance gain in framerate from 2 to 4 and from 4 to 8 cores? I guess it is a logarithmic curve because the video-card becomes the bottleneck. I also think that multicore is less important in DX10 than in DX9?

    About the 20% performance gain: Is it the maximum or the average performance gain? And is it also 20% in a big city instead of above the sea as seen here?

  10. blueflamer says:

    As Doctor John D. Zoidberg would say "We’d have to try it to believe it…"

    Thanks Phil!

  11. Phil Taylor says:

    David:

    8 cores should help with stutters and blurries more than FPS gain.

    The gain under load should be similar across the board, since water and bloom are just more efficient. There is a lot of water in NYC for instance, and I suspect most people turn water down there and turn bloom off. We’ll have to see to be sure, but DX10 should enable higher water and bloom in cities yes.

  12. tfm says:

    Phil

    Thank you for this update. It would have been entertaining to be a fly on the wall in your internal discussions over the past few weeks. Nobody should be surprised to find that the businessmen at MS have won the day and that they prefer us to pay for FS 11 than receive the full range of expected DX10 improvements for no extra charge with FSX. The early release of SP2 as part of the Acceleration Pack is another clever move, as it will undoubtedly entice many users to buy this add-on who would not otherwise have done so.

    I am bound to say that I do not think this reflects well on MS, given the expectations generated – by MS itself – when FSX was launched.

    But it is no reflection on you. Indeed I suspect you have probably found yourself in a rather awkward situation by being so candid with us in the past.

    The one point that surprises and troubles me is the demotion of SP2 to a "DX10 preview", accompanied by the reference to dropping "backwards compatibility". I am not interested in the more arcane implications of this. All I want to know is:

    (1) will the Level-D 767 still work?

    (2) will X Graphics and Activesky X still work?

    (3) have you liaised with PMDG about whether the forthcoming 747X will work?

    (4) will FS Inn 1.3 still work?

    I do hope you have the opportunity to answer these questions, as I think that they would also be of interest to others apart from myself.

    Thanks again for your postings.

    Warm regards,

    Tim Morshead

  13. Phil Taylor says:

    TFM:

    Content released using the FSX SDK should be just fine, its just "old generation" content that has an issue specifically content that depends on certain BGL compat paths and that is mainly pre-FS2004 content.

    Tools like FSInn and FSUIPC might need to provide an update just like SP1.

  14. tfm says:

    Thank you for such a speedy reply.

    Tim Morshead

  15. flying-w says:

    Hi Phil,

    thanks for the update.  Perhaps I missed it somewhere else, but any chance of a blog by you or someone else about simconnect and SDK changes in general for SP2?

    Simon

  16. Te_Vigo says:

    hanks for the info and especially for your offered candidacy. Being candid is a rarity these days.

    For all the work on the upcoming add on and update thanks to yourself and your team.

    It’s a shame that the pre release screenies turned out to be artistic concepts. This is why I bought the sim and a system to run it, except now it seems that DX10 is a fizzer and will have to now wait for later releases and hardware upgrades to hope that Dx10.x?x will work… also will be the wait for true DX10.x?x drivers and not DX9/ 10 (9Ex) hybrids.

    Now after being polite about that…..

    I’m sure to enjoy what is available and the work with effort that has been expended combined with the addition of a military jet/ carrier that can trap with a working helo is really cool and I’m sure to keep myself and a lot of others engaged, hopefully taking the experience from here forward.

    Perhaps a lesson learned from this is not so much to keep ideas guarded but rather to keep ideas in check with hardware/ software advances, not what hardware/ software development promises.

  17. XaliaS says:

    Shame to hear about the light rays and improved world lighting not making it. I always thought the FSX world could have done with more dulling down with heavy contrast in landscape shadows and objects, rather than lighting up with more bloom.

    But what I was really hoping to see in SP2 was improved ground texture details. Higher resolution ground surfaces with bump mapping and 3D grass. I’m a chopper nut so I enjoy bush flying and generally piloting at ground level is a blur, which I find upsets the scale and sense of speed. Understandably, with the other half of the market share; high altitude, long haul airline pilots, it’s really difficult to please both extremes in that respect.

    You did hit mark right in the middle with FSX at the begginning, with the current generation of hardware. 3rd party scenery just doesn’t seem to cut it out of the airfield, But here’s hoping for the next instalment of flight simulator!

    Even if you didn’t get to put all you wanted into FSX, I just know get all the opportunities with FS11, so just do your best work, as always.

  18. Suma says:

    I am very interested about the DX 10 Performance, as this is where I think DX 10 should shine most – DX10 seems to be really well designed in this respect. What is still left to be seen is if the real gain is here.

    What I would like to know is something more about how the performance gain was tested:

    – what settings were used? Bloom yes, or no? What water detail? (Is this gain with bloom and high water details only?)

    – what was the testing configuration for DX9? Was it Vista or XP? (A lot of people seem to get a lot worse performance on DX 9 Vista comparing to DX9 XP on the same computer, therefore unless the comparison in done with XP DX9, it still does not give a lot of motivation to upgrade from XP to Vista.)

  19. Aeromar27 says:

    At the beggining FSX was used on the MS presentations to show the improvements Windows Vista was supposed to be regarding games. Vista was directly related to DX10. From what Microsoft started selling as the Holy Trinity (Vista+DX10+FSX)… became just a moto for most of us to believe the future was here… and went to get new machines and built up expectations on it.

    After all this year, it all ended up being a "what dx10 will be" showcase. Preview! PLEASE!

    If u guys didnt have the monopoly on this one, i would surely move on to other simulators. I cant wait to start my a320 type rating on a real sim to forget about MSFS.

  20. johnpmiles says:

    Dear Phil,

    Could you give a little more detail about the blurry tile optimisation? As a photoscenery user (Horizon Gen-X), this is one of the most interesting parts of the update for me!

    Thanks for this update.

  21. Phil Taylor says:

    Te Vigo:

    I think when you see some of the screenshots others with more artistic talent than I ( and the 2 I posted were perf-comparo shots and not artistic anyways ) you might be surprised.

    And as I have said elsewhere, the graphics team ( DX10 ) is separate from the Sim team ( carriers, helos ) the multiplayer team ( multiplayer racing ) and the design team ( missions ) so Acceleration didnt steal resources from DX10 if that is what you are implying.

  22. stesoell says:

    @ Phil

    > 8 cores should help with stutters and blurries more than FPS gain.

    I am using a Quad Xeon Mac Pro (4GB, Vista x64). Currently the system cpu# hangs around 60% while moving in slew modus. What _shall_ I expect with 8cores?

    30%, right ?? 😉

    Cheers,

    Stefan

  23. Phil Taylor says:

    Suma:

    perf tests were with bloom on, water at 2.Max.

    same hw (I posted the config details), on Vista, using DX9 on Vista vs DX10 on Vista.

  24. Phil Taylor says:

    JohnP:

    the IO optimization should help, as should the fix so we no longer load NZ when flying in the UK.

  25. Scousefox9 says:

    That’s all very good, but what about the bugs you haven’t fixed?  Are you planning on fixing them, or are you going to leave them and hope everybody forgets about them as I expect you’re trying to get away with?

  26. Phil,

    Thank you for the update.  I will of course purchase whatever I need to make get this.  If you get time I have a couple of questions:

    1.  Will the SP2 include real support for SLI/Crossfire?  So far in your DX9 FSX the support has been limited to whatever the ATI/nVidia permit via their drivers.  I’ve noticed that several newer DX10 titles are including Multi-GPU (and CPU) configuration options that one can turn On/Off — in some cases this has resulted in almost 75% increase in performance.  Will FSX SP2 have any such support or optimization specific to SLI/Crossfire and multipe GPUs?

    2.  Bloom was available in DX9 so I’m not sure why this is included as a new feature for DX10 version?

    3.  Will DX10 version support AA (Anti-Aliasing)?  If so, is it restricted?

    4.  No mention of reducing the terrain/scenery blurries — SP1 appeared to reduce the LOD radius to help increase performance, is there any chance SP2 DX10 will return LOD radius to normal or even greater range so that we can get more detailed textures?

    5.  Dropping backward compatibility — thank you and I completely agree with your decision to do this — I think planning for a future is better than living in the past.

    Keep up the good work.

    Rob.

  27. I am not going to repeat everything again… and Jon Patch has already given a good summary. Just

  28. Qbert says:

    I apologize for this silly question, but I still have some confusion.  Phil, are you saying that if I buy the Acceleration Pack(which contains SP2 stuff), that I won’t need to install SP2 when it comes out in December?

    Is SP2 only necessary if you don’t buy the Acceleration?

    Thanks again for all your work, can’t wait!

    -Qbert

  29. Mag007 says:

    I’m a bit dissapointed because there aren’t any ‘godrays’ in DX10 🙁

    But when I comparisson DX9 and DX10 I can see a big difference and I hope there will be godrays in further SP’s (if there are any coming?!)…

    So I like it and I think you did a great job 😉

  30. Funky says:

    Phil,

    please, could you give a comment on "Ambient Wind Y",  if this can be now modifiyed by third party software? In the current version it is not.

    I’m strongly interested in that option for developing soaring add-ons, in the way that has already existed in FS2004.

    best regards,

    Peter

  31. stesoell says:

    One question, Phil.

    Can you tell me something more about the "8core bug" ? What kind of a bug?

    Thanks.

    Stefan

  32. risa2000 says:

    Phil,

    I am just curious, you wrote, that Acceleration will contain all SP2 fixes and that it is already RTM. From that I conclude SP2 must be finished too. So why it is not going to be available? I mean, it will be distributed as download, so why the wait?

    Concerning DX10, I would say that claiming, after a year the game was released, it to be a "preview", (when it was supposed to be major feature) is not very convincing. Not that I mind that much, since I do not run Vista, but it has probably even opposite effect. I am losing an intention even to try them ;-).

  33. flightsimenthusiast101 says:

    Hey Phil arent the pictures you postet mixed up? Dx9 is Dx10 and the other wa round..? beacause I think the water on pic named "Dx10 preview" has less details than the dx9 one..

  34. jazzselect says:

    Thanks Phil, nice update!

    You’ve said that its a bit complicated why you will release AP (with sp2) before sp2 itself, I don’t think it really is. Ofcourse you guys spice the AP up with a little sp2 in it, that makes people wanna buy the AP and pay for the sp2 fixes. If sp2 release were before AP release, less people would buy the Acceleration Pack. At least I wouldn’t hehe…

    Anyway, nice info, I love the water in DX10, more screenies pleeeeeaze…

  35. drtomkat says:

    dear phil, i have been a fs pilot since 2002 and so far i could say you guys are making me happy, and as far as magic screenies, it was nice but i rather have it the way you are doing it. like i said im a huge fan of the series and that dx10 picture is just making it better.

    and for last thank you for dedicating your time to make people like me ( not real pilot) say , im a fs pilot, i hope that one day i get to take you on line to the dominican republic, and just in case you want to im drtomkat also on line.   thanks phil.

  36. drtomkat says:

    people are saying that the dx9 looks better thatn dx10……..aahhhh look again guys.

  37. Dan Relfe says:

    “The second is practical, in that continuing to provide the backwards compatibility we do is a huge drag on forward progress. Spending time on 4 or more code paths (FSX DX10, FSX DX9, FS2004, pre-FS2004)”

    So what does this mean literally? Does it mean that all backward compatability will be eliminated? FS11 will be a new, fresh sim with no ties to prior sims or can people still buy addons for FSX knowing that they will be able to use them in the next sim? If all backward compatability for FS9 and prior is cut then it’s no big deal. But if you’re including FSX in the compatability cut then aren’t you cutting the throats of you’re addon developers for FSX? When word of FS9 addons not working with FSX came out a while back the addon market slowed way down. Won’t this announcement do the same for FSX development and sales? Can you please be more specific on the backward compatability issue?

  38. Te_Vigo says:

    With apologies Phil, if my rambling implied theft… that was not my intention, as well as nothing personal was intended in any form or manner.

    Please understand… my writings were from a confused sort of "Huh, wot’s goin’ on?" and more of a total disappointment with Vista/ Drivers/ Hardware.

    In the early days "shots" and rhetoric to the fashion of

    http://www.matbe.com/images/biblio/cg/000000048480.jpg

    were taken notice of and when this type of shot was seen, it was pick my up from off the desk, stop drooling, self justification to myself for a hardware upgrade without jumping on the bandwagon immediately (knowing new things do take time). This is what I have been waiting for… total magic – only it seems to have "poof".

    Nonetheless you guys have done an excellent job, I deny that not and hope things move forward from here.

  39. antonism96 says:

    Finally an update! I was waiting for it!

    In the new DX10 screenshot, I don’t see much difference from DX9, the only changes I can see is the frame rate and the water reflection. I hope you add the new effects soon.

    Will also SP2 give and more performance enchancements?

    Also the bug fixes you said on DX9 are available on DX10?

    And one more question : 1 or 2 months ago of the release of FSX, there was a picture announced which showed FSX on DirectX 10. Is this image fake? Because the DX10 patch isn’t completed yet, even after a year of the picture release!

  40. Toly says:

    Phil,

    If I understood your post correctly, it appears that DX10 version will have very minor visual differences from DX9, but it will be somewhat faster.  That is on Vista, which is slower than XP.  Which begs the question: what if I just stick with DX9 version on XP?  I would estimate the performance will be same as DX10 on Vista, and visuals very nearly the same. Then, really, what is the whole point of releasing DX10 version?  What tangible benefit do I, as end consumer, get from it in FSX??

  41. antonism96 says:

    Toly, it won’t be only faster in DX10, it will introduce and better graphics and effects also.

  42. Denala says:

    Hi Phil,

     <   and actually, 5.9/24.1 = 24.5%.

    If you get 30 with 30 as goal, it means that you probably can get better with higher goal…

    Does HDR bloom enhance clouds rendering and fps cost ?

    I saw last year that fogging was a new functionnality in DX10 and hope that it has been implemented.

    Thank you for all this hard work.

    Best regards

  43. Phil Taylor says:

    Robains:

    1)we still depend on the NV control panel for SLI support and we are still going to be CPU bound

    2)HDR in DX10 is why we updated bloom

    3)same AA support we had before

    4)other changes for blurries, no LOD changes

    5)thanks

  44. Phil Taylor says:

    Obert,

    yes you will only need the SP2 download if you dont purchase Acceleration.

  45. Phil Taylor says:

    Mag:

    no further SPs are planned for FSX at this point

  46. Phil Taylor says:

    Funky:

    we did not address the weather system, that work is bigger than what can be accomplished in a service pack.

  47. Phil Taylor says:

    stesoell:

    we had a terrain thread hang on 8-cores

  48. Phil Taylor says:

    Risa, JazzSelect:

    Yes, there is a reason for the delay, even if bits are done.

    Acceleration and SP2 are separate products.

    By putting SP2 into Acceleration we get additional test coverage on SP2. So not having SP2 in Acceleration would actually delay SP2.

    Then there is test, setup, and International.

    We ship in 8 languages, English+7 more. So we have to get thru those for Acceleration before we can even get onto SP2. We have 1 test and release team, these are not parallelizable activities.

    And then there is setup for SP2 and its associated SDK. So with Acceleration that is 4 setups our single setup developer has had to create for this fall. So that activity is not parallelizable.

    And then we have international for SP2.

    So there is a reason for the delay. It is not as easy as it appears from the outside.

  49. Phil Taylor says:

    JazzSelect:

    http://www.flightsimworld.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=128136&st=120 has a great 3-shot sequence of the DX10 water effect where you can see the build-up of the whitecaps.

  50. Phil Taylor says:

    Dan:

    FS11 needs to be designed a bit more before we can talk to details about back-compat so this is early thinking and means just that, it can change.

    FSX SDK generated content will likely be the only content we will enable on FS11, and that may also require a use of the SDK and a re-export to be compatible. We are actively considering going that far, yes.

  51. Phil Taylor says:

    Antonism:

    see the link I posted for JazzSelect on the whitecaps, you dont get that in DX9.

    SP2 has exactly what I said, no more or no less. Of course we made the same fixes for both DX9 and DX10, that part of the post was just to point out there was value for DX9 users as well.

    Anything months these shots is by definition a fake.

  52. yamane says:

    If I understood correctly, Microsoft made a slow frame rate game and want that I pay US$30 by PATCH (named Acceleration PACK)?

    I know that SP2 is available as free, BUT only AFTER a payware acceleration pack(patch)!

    I think that is better consider *PATCH* (SP2) as a FIRST release! Complementary package (a.k.a. Acceleration Pack) would have to be considered as a SECONDARY!

    And, why DX9 screenshot is more real water than DX10?

    Regards,

    Renato

  53. yamane says:

    My comments about DX10 screenshots:

    http://img381.imageshack.us/img381/4218/dx10smallad1.jpg

    Regards,

    Renato

  54. Aeromar27 says:

    yamane:

    My comments about DX10 screenshots:

    -The water is blue

    -The sky is ALSO blue

    HELLO!

    Conspiracy?

  55. markw says:

    Phil,

    As the chapter closes on FSX and you move on to FS11, are you able to comment on the likely timeline.  I realize exact dates are completely impossible now but I am interested in whether we are talking 1 year, 2 years, more?

    If its only 1 year, I may just stick it out with FS9.  2 years is a different story. With another year on top of that for addons to fully appear the 3 years of FSX enjoyment will be worth me fully investing in hardware and software.

    thanks,

    Mark.

  56. Toly says:

    Phil,

    Out of curiosity, did u guys do a benchmark of FSX performance in XP/DX9 and Vista/DX10?  It would be interesting to see which actually performs faster.  Otherwise it’s a hard sell to upgrade to Vista and DX10 hardware when a game looks barely different and runs actually slower.

  57. SebbyLive says:

    FSX Acceleration, FSX SP2, Direct X10 Support… Time to Dispell the Myths…

  58. Remember, my complete blog is now at: http://www.SebbyLive.com/ Now that the Acceleration expansion pack

  59. jazzselect says:

    Thanks for the screenshots Phil, the water looks much better now and the bloom more realistic.

    Looking at the horizon in FSX is almost as real as it gets, -always loved that even before sp1.

    The only thing I am wondering about is the coastline of the water, it looks a bit sharp, is there anyway of reducing it with some blur or anything?

  60. wellera says:

    Hi Phil

    Excellent post. Appreciated.

    Will the updates make FSX "large memory aware" (I think that’s the correct term!?), to help with out of memory errors some users are getting?

  61. Jorgensen says:

    I’m wondering – does anyone, in here, know how much extra performance one will get if upgrading from e6600 duo2 @3.2 / GF8800 gtx to Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4 GHz / GF8800 gtx ?

  62. Shel800521 says:

    Jorgensen.

    Performance may increase by 15% to 20% but that all depends on your config settings, by readjusting the affinitymask and a few other tweaks, i believe this target can be reached. Initially i didn’t see much difference however i had slider settings all maxed out upon upgrading, readjusting the slider settings and the config file, i now see a substantial difference (for the better of course. target frame rate set at 28fps, in areas such as london, nyc, amsterdam and others, i hit a constant 26 fps with sliders set at 80% or 100%. Traffic at 55%, cars at 30%, bloom off and very dense scenery. hope this helps you in your decision.

  63. markw says:

    Jorgensen,

    I think the problem you will have is the core speed of the Q4 is lower than the Q2.   Full data on this topic is at the link below.  I suggest you wait for the Penryn’s to effectively boost performance of FSX.

    Topic URL: http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=197&topic_id=28727

    Mark.

  64. Ian McPhail says:

    Phil:  you mention that you have begun design on FS11. Do you have a nominal release date as yet?

  65. terry29 says:

    Hello Phil

    We have seen the latest Dx10 screenshots from different forums and personally I am feeling ok about the results, not impressed but ok. Of course there are some features like the virtual cockpit transformation which looks awesome and the new models in the acceleration add on which look very impressive as well. In conclusion its the dx10 features in a whole that did not impress us.We expected more ,we’ve got less.I’ve read one article in the following blog http://blogs.justflight.info/2007-10-07/water-water-everywhere-but/ which said that the new water features are fine but what about the basics in flight simulation?, such as ..uneven runway surfaces, improved Ai operations, regional accents for the ATC system,etc and an improved terrain.Of course this is just a patch, not a new software.We all want a more realistic environment in MFS and we hope that we will have it in the next FS but isn’t it better to focus also on the whole simulation experience as well?We all trust you and we hope that we all are going to have a whole new experience from the next MFSimulator.You are one of the people who makes the changes and its a privilege for us to send you our comments.

    Thank you

    Terry

  66. jespergb says:

    I sounds nice, i have a few questions about dx10-improvements in the gfx-engine:

    1: Will it have better aircraft-light illuminations. As the light is now from the airplanes it really doesnt look like the ground is lid up. I looks more like a white blanket is on the ground.

    2: Will there be overblended / burn out areas in light. Lets say you look at a very light/white area which is actual above 100% white will it bloom the surrounding areas. Like seen in games like Half-Life 2: Episode one – and Crysis?

  67. antonism96 says:

    Sure the complete patch will have some more improvemnets, so we should better wait.

    And don’t expect a lot, because this patch just updates the graphics and adds new effects. It doesn’t include a whole new graphics engine. If FSXI will be built in DirectX 10, then it will have a complete DirectX 10 graphics engine. FSX has a DirectX 9 graphics engine, and a patch can’t make so many changes in this engine.

    As for release date for FSXI (or FS11), I think it is too early. FSX is still new, and the patch will make everyone happier.

  68. Assassin says:

    Phil,

    I am very disappointed with the DX10 update. None of my expectations were met nor anyone that I know. I was expecting huge graphical advances, instead you flog a VC shadows enhancement upon us, and use it as an excuse too deny us, what some would argue, more significant additions such as god rays and improved weather. BTW I never use the VC so what good is it too me or the thousands like me! Guess we’ll have too make do with the HDR I suppose, wow, ur really pushing DX10 too its limit! Thanks for that anyway. Lucky I didn’t fork out hundreds off euro for a DX10 card, or I’d be doubley angry, which no doubt a lot of people are

  69. Ian McPhail says:

    Some of us only fly in VC, therefore the improvements are welcome and exciting.  It is unreasonable to condemn the product on the basis that it fails to meet your restricted use of the application.  I urge you to experiment – if you only have one screen try Track IR and VC – and it will show you just how wooden and mechanical the 2D experience is. Or if you can manage three screens invest in Matrox TH2Go – in my opinion it turns a computer game into something fast approaching a real experience.

  70. markw says:

    Assassin,

    I am not sure how long you have been using FS but my guess is that you have used if for a number of versions and probably buy addons. I guess this because no casual user of FS would find this blog.  If the above is true then shame on you for buying hardware before all the patches are out and all the addons have appeared.  If you had waited you could have properly evaluated whether on not you want to upgrade to FSX.  Hopefully the lesson is learned for FX11.

  71. Te_Vigo says:

    ^

    Well I dunno….. ya wait eight months, ya keep up with reviews and reports then read some more. If everybody waited. nobody would be upgrading and there would be no need for new programs either… I should surmise. At any time when an upgrade is mooted, what exactly is the right time?

    Have the yet to be released DX10 games been rendered oldhat by the relatively new (to be released) DX10.1?

  72. markw says:

    The right time is when "you" are comfortable with the cost benefit.  For me that is Penryn & DX10.  For someone who has an unlimited budget its now, 6 months from now and 6 months after that.  The point is don’t spend in "hope" and be dissapointed with the results.  Nothing beats hard data when making these decisions.

    Mark.

  73. Ian McPhail says:

    I am always an early adopter, but I can’t get a fix on when the first penryn processors are to be released. If anyone has a precise date I would like to know.  I will certainly upgrade as soon as the new chips come on the market.  

    Meanwhile I have a 6700 CPU and an 8800GTX card, running on Vista Home Premium so it will be Acceleration incorporating Dx10 and Sp2 as soon as I can.  Will it make a difference? – (if I followed the tales of woe on the forums I’d still have FS95 and my Apple Mac) – but I’m going to try Dx10 and Sp2 as soon as I can, and I will be surprised if performance doesn’t move up a notch or two.  

  74. markw says:

    Penryn’s release date is November 12th, 2007.  You can Google search for all the processor types etc.  I believe the higher speed Quad’s are out in early 2008.  A comment one of the forums talked about a Penryn test system running FSX with SP2 almost flat out with 30+ frames in New York area.  Sounds promising…but then again no promises until we see real test results published.

    Mark.

  75. Rick H says:

    Just out of curiosity, Is releasing acceleration before sp2 a way of bumping sales of the acceleration add-on? Either way I don’t care I WILL definitly purchase acceleration, as from time to time it is nice to fly some missions or just bust out some windows with an f/18 (cf18) I have been simming since the sublogic days and those who have done the same, I’m sure, can say that MSFS has come a LONG,LONG way in a relitivly short time. Just imagine what it will be like in even 4-6 years from now. Until recently I have been flying on sub-par machines and yes it has been a little frustrating, but now I can run fsx with 90% full settings at around 24-35 (locked) fps. I am happy even flying with 8-15 fps because the whole experience is in the cockpit (for me anyway)

                                    Rick

  76. Assassin says:

    Does nobody else agree that we’ve all been taken for a bunch of saps! (the end-users) I think u’ll find that as soon as they publicly announce the DX 10 "features" there’ll be a massive outcry. Feels gud to be messed around with doesn’t it! A bad day for flight simulator all around.

  77. Phil Taylor says:

    Rick:

    I have a separate blog post about the delay factors.

  78. Phil Taylor says:

    Assassin:

    sorry you feel that way, but for months I have been trying to reset expectations that we are not delivering the magic screenies.

  79. nehuge says:

    So you said no other SP’s planned for now?  The improved lighting on trees and buildings would have b een welcomed.  What are your thoughts on Windlight technology?

  80. Dojjan_pw says:

    Hi Phil!!

    I´ve just bought an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850, have installed SP1 and Acceleration,, and when I compare my performance from earlier, the main thing Is that load times and maybe stutters are less. I´ve cranked up my settings now, almost everything fully to the right and resolution 1680 * 1050!! Works fine(25-30fps) until,, still the same problem,, when I fly over dense areas with trees (live in Sweden so I think you maybe understand what I mean by the way 🙂 ),, It starts getting real bad again.(4-9fps) Stutters and Instability. What do you say Phil?

    Have tried some fsx.cfg tweaking, but after the realese of Sp1 and Acceleration I thought It would work great.

    My specs ex. processor:  4Gb 800Mhz DDR2 Patriot modules

    Nvidia Geforce 7950GX2 and all new drivers (Win Vista x64 all updates)

    Do you think SP2 will help?

    Great work by the way with everything!

    Peter

  81. Dojjan_pw says:

    or maybe It´s my graphic card??

  82. Te_Vigo says:

    Shadows on aircraft need working on in both DX9 and D3D10 Preview modes (especially in Preview mode)

    Cockpit shadows need works as well, again especially in D3D10 Preview mode… they are all blocky/ jump about/ look like they don’t know what AA is.

    There are a few texture flashes as well and the jitters are still there but the pause/ skip side of things seem better.

    Handrails on the aircraft carrier jump back and forth and left/ right

  83. Te_Vigo says:

    … and in D3D10 mode only… <grrrr>… nvlddmkm Driver has recovered error. AFter about 5 mins of play using default freeflight with the pontoon plane.

    I’ve never had this error at all – ever – never before and now it’s only when in D3D10 mode…wtf!?

    1.4GB of memory used, core 1 shoots up to 100%+ – core 2 @ very little, with cores 3 + 4 at about 25%. CPU usage is shown as 25%.

    …and the water looks much better in D3D9 mode

    Is ILS available for the carrier traps?

  84. TheSidewinder says:

    "We didn’t get either the “w” key issue or the alpha-fade for Autogen into SP2. We just couldn’t get to those fixes….(snip)"

    Phil, I realize this is a very old thread, and I’m trying to be civil and diplomatic here…

    But the W key bug was a *MAJOR* screwup. SP1 broke what was working perfectly for the last however-many versions of FS!!!

    And full-screen views during approach are vital. In a real C-172, I can lean over, duck down, forward, or back and see what I need to. Fullscreen side-views gave me close to this ability. W key bug now makes me a paralyzed mannequin in my seat, that can only rotate my head 90 degrees left or right.

    And you say there will be no more SP’s for FSX?

    How about a hotfix for this pooch-screwer, given that SP1 was the cause of it in the first place?

    Or am I just going to have to wait for FS11….. *sigh*

  85. I still see a lot of confusion about Acceleration ( aka X-Pack ). X-Pack is an expansion pack for FSX.