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Probably a dumb question, but having just bought Pacific Northwest, I'm wondering how much of a difference Vancouver+ would make.

Obviously there's a ton of city/airport and other improvements, but I'm more interested in natural scenery than man-made scenery, so I'm curious to know how much the surrounding landscapes are enhanced.

I have relatives living near Vancouver and I'll be visiting in a few months time, so I'm keen to fly around the area to familiarise myself with it first. I'll probably buy Vancouver+ anyway, but I'd just like to get a bit more info about it before I do.

While I'm on the subject, any thoughts on the main airport, CYVR? Should I buy the FSDT version or is there a good freeware version available or is the version in PNW good enough?

Again, I'm not big on man-made scenery so I'll be spending most of my time flying around the mountains rather than hanging around airports. I prefer smaller airports anyway so I don't want to throw money at CYVR unless it makes a significant difference in some way.

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I have both FSDreamteam CYVR and Vancouver+ and they make a great combo. As far as I recall, Van+ (by Fsaddon) does nothing to the airport (being left to airports designer like FSDreamteam), but essentially upgrades the city and mostly the city center. Vancouver downtown is much more detailed with a great number of hand-made 3D buildings, much more than in default PNW, a detailed port etc. It also adds some recently constructed buildings missing in the dated PNW scenery. Also Northern Vancouver with the mountain region (Capilano valley etc) is quite detailed with autogen buildings. I would leave it to others more experienced in the area to comment on the surrounding area, as I lack detailed experience there. This one (including detailed mesh for the mountains) is not bad in PNW either, I would say.


 


On the other Hand, CYVR is a pure airport scenery. It is great, too, but if you are not that much interested in airports I would say the PNW rendition is sufficient for takeoffs and landings and go for Van+. As a side note, Van+ author Jon Patch is very responsive and often around here on the forums.


 


One caveat, though: Both Van+ as well as FSDT CYVR are heavy on frames and blurry-prone. If your system struggeles already with PNW Vancouver (downtown and airport) I would suggest adding neither of them. I always had to fight blurries in FSX in the area. At last, under Prepar3d2.2 performance of both is much improved.


 


Kind regards, Michael


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I also have the PNW along with Van+, and I must say, that when I added Van+, it made an incredible difference to the visuals. There are a few little things that seem to be missing, but otherwise it's worth every penny!


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I have both FSDreamteam CYVR and Vancouver+ and they make a great combo.

 

<snip>

 

One caveat, though: Both Van+ as well as FSDT CYVR are heavy on frames and blurry-prone. If your system struggeles already with PNW Vancouver (downtown and airport) I would suggest adding neither of them. I always had to fight blurries in FSX in the area. At last, under Prepar3d2.2 performance of both is much improved.

 

Thanks for your reply Michael. Your last point seems crucial. Yes, I have been getting low frame rates flying around the Vancouver area, and this is quite shocking to me considering that I've just bought a powerful new computer that has no problems playing modern games with everything maxed out. It seems that FSX is the limiting factor, not the computer. On the other hand, I'm getting very high frame rates when flying around the mountains, which is where I prefer to spend most of my time, so that's good.

 

I used to be a flight sim addict back in the FS9/early FSX days, but I've taken a long break from the hobby (6 years) and have only reinstalled FSX a few days ago. It's really sad to see the same old problems of low FPS, stuttering and so on, although to be fair, I have maxed out many of the sliders, which I could never do before. I haven't started tweaking yet, so I'm sure I can get better performance once I optimise my settings, but still, FSX is a big disappointment compared to what I was expecting.

 

Which I guess leads me to Prepar3D. I only found out about this a couple of weeks ago (I've been completely out of touch with the latest developments in flight simming) and what little I know about it sounds really good, particularly the volumetric fog and things like that. I've been reading some threads and people seem to have mixed feelings, but overall it seems like it's the only option to get the kind of performance that I want (realistic weather effects in particular). Even so, money is a bit tight right now (I spent everything on the new computer) so I have to prioritise. I guess I'll stick with FSX for now and just put the sliders down a bit.

 

Paul

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I also have the PNW along with Van+, and I must say, that when I added Van+, it made an incredible difference to the visuals. There are a few little things that seem to be missing, but otherwise it's worth every penny!

 

Thanks Rick. I've been coming to that conclusion too after flying around the area in PNW. It does look a bit bare compared to the screenshots I've been looking at. In spite of the FPS hit, I've decided that I have to buy this, along with NRM, since PNW doesn't go far enough east.

 

Paul

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I absolutely love Van+ and I've owned it longer than there's been ORBX PNW,  so at one point this area along with the freeware Victoria + "was" my PNW.  the version 3 fits very well with PNW, and makes the city of Vancouver spectacular.


 


Now the troublesome part:


 


It is very frame rate hungry, and I usually used it for my frame rate testing since it was my lowest performing area by far,  I've got it tweaked so it's manageable, but if you have older or substandard hardware, I don't think it would be fun for you.


 


What looks awesome is the city of Vancouver and it's suburbs,  which I find spectacular, but if you are more into the wilderness areas, I don't think this scenery improves them much more than just basic PNW does.  now the beauty of Vancouver is that is located in beautiful surroundings,  but most of the improvements made are in areas you might not need.  YMMV


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It is very frame rate hungry, and I usually used it for my frame rate testing since it was my lowest performing area by far,  I've got it tweaked so it's manageable, but if you have older or substandard hardware, I don't think it would be fun for you.

 

What looks awesome is the city of Vancouver and it's suburbs,  which I find spectacular, but if you are more into the wilderness areas, I don't think this scenery improves them much more than just basic PNW does.  now the beauty of Vancouver is that is located in beautiful surroundings,  but most of the improvements made are in areas you might not need.  YMMV

 

Thanks for that Shawn. Yes, I am more into wilderness areas, but I'll no doubt be visiting Vancouver when I'm there (my relatives live in Langley) so I may as well get the best representation of the area as a whole, both urban and wild.

 

Hardware shouldn't be a problem, my new computer is Win7 Pro 64, i4770 CPU, GTX770 GPU, 16GB RAM. That should be enough, don't you think? Of course, I'll need to tweak my settings appropriately, which I haven't yet.

 

Please also read about this topic "Victoria+ V8 for Orbx PNW, plus add-on" on this web site http://www.jonpatch.ca/flightsim#vicpnw for a free download.  

 

Great, thanks for that link!

 

Paul

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It is very frame rate hungry, and I usually used it for my frame rate testing since it was my lowest performing area by far,

 

Well I've finally bought and tried it, and you're right, there's a helluva hit on frame rate. So I set up a configuration where I removed all weather and traffic, but with all scenery sliders set to max. With those settings I was getting around 15-25 fps (in spot view at the widest zoom, with the airport and the city in view). Noticeably flickery but still flyable. Of course, I could reduce the autogen slider to improve it but I wanted to see it in its full glory.

 

I then added traffic back, and my fps plummeted to 5-15, turning it into an almost unflyable slideshow. I'll be honest, I didn't notice much difference in water traffic when I did that. There are ships in the bay (static) even with traffic completely off. Seeing cars on roads is a nice touch but I rarely fly that low over urban areas so I don't really miss them.

 

I turned the traffic off again then reduced the visibility from infinite down to 10 miles, but that didn't seem to improve the frame rate at all (mind you, I was right over Vancouver at the time).

 

Overall, my impressions of the scenery are good, it certainly makes the city look a lot better, and the buildings actually line up with the roads correctly now. I noticed various other new features scattered throughout the area, but to be honest, I wasn't sure if some of them had been there previously or not. I hadn't spent enough time exploring the area in PNW before adding Vancouver+, so I'm not 100% what's changed. Maybe I'll try Van+ without PNW to see what that looks like. Still a noticeable improvement though.

 

I did fly out of the PNW area though, the eastern edge of Van+ does overlap the NRM area, which I hadn't installed yet. Flying north from Hope up the valley to Lillooet I could definitely see what had been added, lots of extra roads, rail and urban details. However, the scenery looked just like the default FSX scenery to me (that horribly yellowish desert effect) so it seems that the ground textures aren't enhanced at all (although the mesh may be). Then I installed NRM and flew up that valley again. Much better this time, but I'm not sure if NRM replaced the Van+ features or added to them.

 

One more thing. I'm not sure if I installed it correctly. I know that you're supposed to turn FTX mode off when installing non-FTX scenery, but since this was called "Vancouver+ for FTX" I left FTX mode ON. Was that a mistake? The result looks okay to me, but maybe I shouldn't have done that?

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Here's some of the inside scoop on Van+ from a developer's point of view:


  • it was always a source of frustration that we could not find any "low-hanging fruit", particular elements, that created a significant frame rate hit.  Rather, during the extensive performance testing, every little bit had a little hit.  Getting rid of high-vertex objects like Canada Place and the Lion's Gate bridge made little difference
  • it was also challenging that I could not reproduce the poor performance many had, I got frames in the mid-teens with everything active.  That will remain a mystery: was my fsx.cfg better optimized?  I doubt it.
  • this said, the floatplane traffic is the biggest single drag and can be turned off in the configurator
  • when redesigned for FSX in 2007 (from the 2005 FS9 version, it was almost completely redone), there was no PNW, and the incremental hit of PNW makes a difference.  Van+ over default performs much better.
  • In general, multiple addons are all contributing, it's not just the last one you try
  • although LODs were maximized, drawcalls were minimized and other good stuff, I think developers have learned a huge amount since then, and a redone Van+ (no plans for that!) would perform better.  I know I now build with fewer vertices.
  • the backcountry isn't much different than PNW, both are Holgerized gems, so if that's your destination, PNW will do.  You will miss out on the waterfalls and other subtle bits, but that's not a big deal
  • the smaller airports are much superior in PNW, which is why the Van+ PNW version cuts "holes" in Van+ to let them peak through.  The vision was that Van+ provided a canvas for others to add detailed versions of smaller fields.  That never happened.
  • what is a cool feature are the two regional airports, CYPK and CYNJ (must have if you're visiting Langley!).  Although not up to modern ORBX standards, I still like them and they are quite realistic.  A lot of time was spent on these, and being outside the downtown area they have very good performance in PNW with my ancient rig (25-35 fps)
  • one option to consider if you're not interested in the city centre: in Higher_Priority/Scenery disable buildings_vancouver_area.bgl by renaming it to .off.  Do the same for bridges_vancouver_area.  
  • CYVR-wise, yes, Van+ does nothing to it except add adjacent bridges, SkyTrain, and a nice floatplane base.  There is Nigel Grant's freeware version which you could try, but I like the FSDreamTeam CYVR.  They offer a host of options to optimize performance.  There are few areas of the world where such good stuff (PNW, CYVR, Van+) are packed into such a small area.  If your rig can handle it, it's very cool. 

And with that, I will close my kimono.


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Jon Patch, on 15 May 2014 - 10:43 PM, said:

There are few areas of the world where such good stuff (PNW, CYVR, Van+) are packed into such a small area.  If your rig can handle it, it's very cool. 

 

...which made it my all-time favorite region of flying. Add Vic+ and Squamish, which we might get in the not too far future.

 

Kind regards, Michael

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...which made it my all-time favorite region of flying. Add Vic+ and Squamish, which we might get in the not too far future.

 

Kind regards, Michael

Yikes, forgot Vic+!  And don't miss CBB7!

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Yikes, forgot Vic+!  And don't miss CBB7!

 

Celebrity Big Brother 7? At least, that's what came top out of over 5 million results in Google. Tipella got the other 9 slots. :)

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  • In general, multiple addons are all contributing, it's not just the last one you try

 

Of course, I never assumed that Van+ alone was responsible. PNW was already really detailed in that area.

 

  • the backcountry isn't much different than PNW, both are Holgerized gems, so if that's your destination, PNW will do.  You will miss out on the waterfalls and other subtle bits, but that's not a big deal

 

Wanna bet? I'm a photographer and waterfalls are a speciality of mine, so yes, that sort of thing actually is a big deal to me! 8)

 

Thanks for the detailed info Jon.

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...which made it my all-time favorite region of flying. Add Vic+ and Squamish, which we might get in the not too far future.

 

Speaking of all-time favourite flying regions, mine is the Milford - Queenstown - Wanaka region of NZ. That was back in my FS9 days using the Red Baron scenery. Looking forward to experiencing that area anew when I get around to buying the Orbx version, plus of course the two airports. I don't suppose they'll be doing Wanaka as well will they? There was some FS9 Godzone scenery covering that.

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Please also read about this topic "Victoria+ V8 for Orbx PNW, plus add-on" on this web site http://www.jonpatch.ca/flightsim#vicpnw for a free download.  

Awesome!  Thanks for the link, I hadn't heard about this update.  

 

I should add that I have ORBX PNW installed along with Victoria+, Vancouver+, Tongass Fjords and a bunch of freeware airports in the BC area by Don Grovestine, and they are all worthwhile and excellent quality additions.

 

Cheers,

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  • it was also challenging that I could not reproduce the poor performance many had, I got frames in the mid-teens with everything active.  That will remain a mystery: was my fsx.cfg better optimized?  I doubt it.

 

I suspect it was.

 

Earlier in the thread I wrote "there's a helluva hit on frame rate. So I set up a configuration where I removed all weather and traffic, but with all scenery sliders set to max. With those settings I was getting around 15-25 fps (in spot view at the widest zoom, with the airport and the city in view)"

 

To update that, after reading the Van+ manual in more detail, I made one simple change, turning bloom off, and that made and amazing difference to the frame rate! I'm now getting 30-40 fps (and even higher) over Vancouver, but still with weather and traffic turned off.

 

I then set the traffic according to the settings in the manual, then added some real-world weather (a fairly fine day with low cloud density), and the bad flickering came back. I guess it's true what I read, you can choose any two of detailed scenery, weather and traffic, but not all three at the same time. That's okay though, because for scenic flying, traffic's not very important to me.

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Can anyone verify whether I installed Van+ correctly?


 


I did so without turning FSX mode off. Should I have done?


 


Same applies to Victoria+, should I leave FSX mode on or turn it off?


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