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akriesman View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Admin: Diagnosing UTX Performance Issues
    Posted: June-14-2007 at 9:39pm

For most users, Ultimate Terrain X should have very little, if any impact on FSX performance.   However, a very small percentage of users are getting really excessive load time increases, blurries or even some stuttering.


If your hardware can run FSX, it should also run UTX just as well.    The exceptions to this are:


  • Night Lights – The UTX night lights add a lot of objects at night.  You may want to reduce autogen at night if you have performance issues.
  • Traffic – There are now more roads with moving traffic on them in UTX.   So, you may need to reduce your traffic slider(s).


Outside of the features above, you should expect no real loss of performance with UTX.   And, both issues above can be compensated for.


“But FSX ran fine without UTX “”


While the above comment may be true, UTX is most likely pointing out an existing hardware or software problems outside of UTX.    If only a small fraction of UTX users are having poor performance versus normal FSX operation, then the problem is not directly related to UTX.   UTX scenery files, like other flight simulator scenery products, are generated using the same FSX SDK’s used to create FSX itself.    The SDK’s prevent developers from corrupting the FSX environment.


If UTX is giving you severe performance problems, like excessively long load times, and you move on without resolving them, there is a good chance of seeing the same thing happen again someday with other software.


If you are having problems, especially long load times, here are some things you can try:



Defrag Your Hard Drive Containing FSX


Both FSX and UTX contain thousands of scenery files.     If your hard disk is already fragmented before installing these products, it will be much worse after installing them.


You should defrag your drives immediately after installing UTX if possible.  And, you should defrag relatively often.    Commercial defraggers are often preferred by Flight Simulator users over those that come with windows.   For more information, just perform an internet search using words like “defrag” and “FSX”.


The defragging can help overall performance in FSX.   But, it will not help those cases where load times jump dramatically with UTX.   For that, you need to look into other possible causes.



Turn off Virus Scanning !!!


Virus scanners have already caused very long UTX load times for several users.    You should turn them off before running FSX !   



Disable The Windows Indexing Service


On XP, double-click My Computer, right click on the drive you are interested in and select Properties. The option you want is at the bottom of the open window. Uncheck the box if you don't want the Indexing Service to index the disk.




Reduce UTX Texture Resolution


All UTX textures are 1 meter resolution.   If you are having problems, lower resolution versions of the textures are available.    To change the texture resolutions, run the UTX Setup Tool.   Then, select “Change Resolution Of Ultimate Terrain Textures” from the “Ultimate Terrain” menu.    Try the 5 meter or 2 meter resolution textures.  This should not be necessary for most users.  However, some users with subpar video cards may find it beneficial.



Airport Traffic


Please check out the thread below if you have set FSX airport traffic using the UTX Setup Tool.



Fast Aircraft


This one is obvious to most flight simmers.  But, new users may not be aware.   The faster the aircraft is travelling, the harder it is for FSX to keep up with refreshing the scenery (can result in the "blurries").



The Blurries.


 Phil Taylor from the MS Aces team has released a terrific overview of the "blurries" in FSX.   Everyone with these issues should read this document (41 pages).



Vista Performance With Windows Vista 64 or Windows XP 64

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akriesman View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-14-2007 at 9:39pm

After any major hardware or conflicting software issues have been resolved, Ultimate Terrain X (UTX) should provide very similar performance to FSX.


Most of our users are having no additional performance problems with UTX and FSX.


However, if some users were already pushing their systems with FSX, certain UTX features might require just enough additional CPU cycles or graphic card usage to cause some problems with blurries and/or stutters.


Here is a discussion of UTX features and how they could impact performance, versus the same features in FSX.     This list could possibly help some users configure their UTX environment (with the UTX Setup Tool) to get better performance.





There are a lot of roads in UTX.   Normally, they don’t cause people problems.   The list below shows each type of road feature, and the % that each feature makes up of the total road package.   Those with higher percentages could be targeted for de-activation.


The numbers below were computed from the BGL files sizes for each type of road feature:


  • Freeways and Highways       2%
  • Major Roads                      4%
  • Road Encasements              3%
  • Highway Traffic                  9%
  • Major Road Traffic              19%
  • Minor Urban Roads*            28%
  • Minor Rural Roads               34%


In theory, the minor urban roads would have a greater impact than other features, because all the minor urban roads appear in the compressed urban areas.   Minor rural roads, although a larger percentage, are spread out across the entire coverage area.    Because of this, the minor rural roads would be much more efficient from a performance standpoint.





Compared to roads, railroad coverage is very small and should not be a factor in performance.



Extrusion Bridges


The number of 3D extrusion bridge objects in UTX should not be significantly higher than they are in FSX.    We use extrusion bridges for all highway and major road water crossings.   FSX appears to do much the same.



Water Bodies


The UTX water bodies are important.  And, they should not have an additional impact on performance.   You should not bother trying to tweak the water bodies.   If you feel the need, you should only remove the small water body features.



Water Body Coastlines


The UTX coastlines really improve the FSX environment.   From a performance standpoint, the coastlines should be relatively insignificant.    There are approximately 10x more roads (if they are all activated) then coastlines.  Both roads and coastlines are generated the same way in FSX.    So, they can be compared directly from a performance standpoint.





If the coastlines require 10% of the total CPU that roads do, the streams require about 25% CPU compared to roads.   The streams are divided into 2 categories.   So, you can disable either category if necessary.


Major, named streams consist of about 40% of all streams.   The minor, unnamed streams consist of 60% of the streams.



Night Lighting


The night lighting will not impact your day flight performance.    The lights will impact frame rates at night.  So, you should give serious consideration to reducing autogen at night.


The night lights are broken into 2 separate features, each of which can be disabled.


  • Street Lights            66% of all night lighting.
  • Intersection traffic    33% of all night lighting






The UTX waterclass will not effect performance compared to FSX.   The UTX waterclass is a direct replacement for the existing FSX waterclass and requires the same exact amount of CPU to process.


The UTX landclass should also not put an additional strain on your CPU.    However, there are several custom landclass textures that have been added to UTX.   So, these could put a slight additional strain on weaker video cards or those cards with a smaller amount of onboard RAM.   These custom textures are used in the “Custom Landclass Layer” that is configurable using UTX Setup Tool.




Ground Polygons (listed as “Other Terrain Features” in the UTX Setup Tool)


From a performance standpoint, the ground polygons should be insignificant.   However, they also provide additional custom textures that could impact some video cards in rare cases.


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