It's been a big year for the amazing SIM called WOFF! Back in February I started a thread titled “The Holy Grail Of WOFF”. It caused quite a stir and very soon I found myself deep in debate with KKSnowbear and others about the infamous stutters, as well as other aspects of WOFF’s performance shortcomings. I’ve spent much of the 10 months between then and now working to try and improve things. Why? Because I think OBD have created a masterpiece, especially with the release of the Platinum Edition, its only real shortcoming being that its deeply immersive atmosphere can sometimes be spoiled by stutters and unruly cloud behavior.
I also said that my purchase of a G-SYNC monitor had made a huge difference. Thanks to a tip from Panama Red, I enabled V-SYNC and almost immediately after that I discovered the ½ refresh rate setting via the Nvidia Inspector app. This results in what seems to be the ideal frame rate for the CFS3 game engine. Not too fast, not too slow, and most of the time rendering at a solid 72FPS, dropping to the high 50s / low 60s only during the most intense action and sometimes during takeoffs with max airfield detail. The monitor also provided the opportunity to bump the game resolution up to 2056x1440 which makes everything look absolutely gorgeous.
There are plenty of tools outside of the source code that can be used to improve the game. AnKor has worked miracles with his DX shaders (including the recent fix in PE for the cloud clipping issue), Panama Red's Scenery Improvement mod for PE and many other excellent mods have been created that add depth and realism. Again, chasing my Holy Grail, I’ve been working on my own mod to reduce the cloud popping and it’s already proving effective in doing so. At this point I occasionally have Holy Grail, threshold-breaking ‘good cloud days’ but I also have sub par ‘not so good cloud days’. Overall though, there’s far less cloud popping than before and I’m not done with it yet.
…. And now, for the last time ever, my perspective on the subject of stutters…
I’ve spent so much time on this issue now that I feel I have accumulated quite a store of knowledge regarding what actually is going on: there are two basic sources of stutters. The first source is game engine related, where textures (and sometimes sounds) are not making their way from the game engine to the player in a consistent, smooth fashion. There are complex issues under the hood involved, but here’s a gross simplification to explain this: at varying times there can be too much data traveling through too thin of a ‘pipe’ or simply too many things for the PC hardware system to compute at one time. This is where PC hardware can assist, and I am currently of the opinion that, with a well balanced system with sensible settings, enough CPU power, fast memory and a powerful GPU, these stutters can be pretty much tamed into submission. I’m seeing between one and five single, stutter events in 60 minutes of flying (even fewer if I disable TrackIR) and they are very benign in nature. This is Holy Grail-worthy in my book, far from immersion breaking and certainly nothing that has ever caused me to be shot down in-game. Monitoring my CPU usage while in-game, it seems less than half is being used, so I suspect my next upgrade will likely be the graphics card (again).
The second source of stutters comes with external view control systems, e.g. TrackIR or Mouselook (this incidentally also seems to be a root cause of the cloud popping problem). In many ways this is the more troubling of the two stutter sources, because a) it’s more complicated to cure (i.e. it’s not just horsepower related) and b) it requires the use of ‘risky practices’ in terms of CPU management. I have decided to take my chances with Realtime Priority and I have finally gotten rid of 99% of the stutters from my TrackIR input. So far, no harm done to my system after 20 plus hours of testing. Again, Holy Grail-worthy.
KKSnowbear’s “Stutter Test” can’t be beat. He’s right, the stutters exist and by following his rules for the test you will always see them. However, like the Blue Triangles, you can mitigate the issue of stutters.
If anyone is interested in minimizing the stutters further, let me know below or send me a PM. I may try to put together a detailed ‘Tweaker’s Guide’ for all of this. My TrackIR setup guide is already a substantial piece of the puzzle (it needs an update which I will get to after the holidays). A G-SYNC monitor is a prerequisite.
As RAF Louvert suggested to me recently, we should attempt to change the debate from being a negative one about stutters to a positive one about how to achieve as smooth and consistent a flying experience as possible. Accordingly, this will be my last ever mention of stutters on this forum
Happy holidays everyone, and watch your sixes!
#4501156 - 12/21/1907:11 PMRe: 2019 Wrap, My Final Mention Of The Stutters....
Thanks again for all your hard work, information, and testing on this rather irritating in game anomaly to better the way it should smoothly run. It’s very much appreciated! Have a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year with family and loved ones!
#4501659 - 12/26/1905:35 PMRe: 2019 Wrap, My Final Mention Of The Stutters....