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2.5 Video Settings - VR Quality/Performance Balance


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After a lot of research, I think I've found the sweet spot for my system. I tested in a map that I created specifically for the purpose. There are a lot of F10 radio commands you can use to add and remove assets, etc. I'll post it up in user files as soon as I tweak it a bit.

 

MY SYSTEM:

i7-5960x, 16g RAM, EVGA 1080ti FTW3, Samsung 850 pro 1Tb SSD (dedicated), Samsung 850 pro 500Gb OS drive, Oculus Rift CV1.

 

TESTING NOTE:

Before testing I deleted the files from "..\Saved Games\DCS\FXO and .\metashaders". I don't know why DCS acts up if these files aren't purged periodically, but it can make a big difference. Something else I always do when starting a map, and this is going to sound crazy but it works, is hit F11 to switch to various airfields and just spin the mouse 360 to take in the area. I do this on several airfields to preload a lot of ground objects into memory. It sounds crazy, but it cuts down on FPS drops over cities. Lastly, and this sounds crazy too but it works, I hit ALT+ENTER to go full screen. I know that it shouldn't make a difference since I'm using VR, but it makes the mirrored window on the monitor go full screen and it seems to make a difference.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=177438&stc=1&d=1517549235

 

PREFACE:

I'm not going to bore you with my logic for each and every setting in the pic, as most of it is personal preference. I will say that Grass = FULL is not good for FPS, but I fly low level a lot and I think it looks sweet. Most other settings are a compromise between quality and performance. As of this post, nVidia panel or inspector settings have no effect on performance (other than Power Management, but this should be set to "Prefer Performance" in the global settings, in my opinion).

 

SWEET SPOT INGREDIENTS:

VR PD = 1.2

MSAA = 2x

Anisotropic Filtering = 2x

Deferred Shading = ON

Terrain Shadows = FLAT

Cockpit Global Illumination = ON

 

SCIENCE:

I know most people keep MSAA off, and I used to in VR as well, but the key is that if you lower your VR PD to 1.2, MSAA does not create a big performance hit. PD being at 1.2 has very little effect on the clarity of the gauges *as long as* you have MSAA at 2x and AF at 2x. With PD at 1.2 and MSAA off the world is jagged and the gauges are blurry.

More about PD.

More about MSAA.

More about ASW.

More about Deferred Shading.

 

HIGH QUALITY HIGH PERFORMANCE:

With the combination of PD 1.2, MSAA 2x, and AF 2x, and Deferred shading on, the graphics quality is superb and there's no lag or edge bleed in VR. My FPS is 90 in an empty NTTR map, and doesn't decrease to 45 until I have a few dozen active assets in map or fly into Vegas. My average minimum FPS is 45 stable and doesn't get lower until I throw something crazy at it (like having 5 Bones drop a few hundred MK-82s at once), and even then it only drops down to 30 for a few seconds then it's right back up to 45. I'm sure I could tweak it to maintain 90 FPS, but I'm not willing to compromise the high quality graphics. What ED has achieved really is quite breathtaking (exceeds shorn scrotum).

 

[TABLE]

__PD__

|

_MSAA_

|

_Quality_

|Performance

1|

0

|

0

|

10



1.2

|

0

|

2

|

10



1.4

|

0

|

4

|

10



1.6

|

0

|

4

|

10



1.8

|

0

|

4

|

8



2.0

|

0

|

6

|

6



1

|

2

|

6

|

10



1.2

|

2

|

8

|

8



1.4

|

2

|

8

|

6



1.6

|

2

|

10

|

4



1.8

|

2

|

10

|

2



2.0

|

2

|

10

|

2



1

|

4

|

8

|

4



1.2

|

4

|

8

|

4



1.4

|

4

|

8

|

2



1.6

|

4

|

10

|

0



1.8

|

4

|

10

|

0



2.0

|

4

|

10

|

0



1

|

8

|

8

|

2



1.2+

|

8

|

10

|

0

[/TABLE]

 

Also, take a look at this thread from Sideslip for a great visual analysis of different individual settings. This wasn't done in VR, so we'll have a few different considerations (i.e. MSAA is essential for VR, and MFAA doesn't work), but it's a brilliant baseline presentation none the less.

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=202092

 

PRELOAD RADIUS:

You'll notice that my Preload Radius slider is all the way left. I've read a lot of posts recently about how people are resolving issues by decreasing this setting. I decided to investigate and retested with several values. The more I slid it back, the better my performance got. I ended up with it at minimum. Take note though, that I am using a very fast SSD which is dedicated to DCS. You may not get the same results. I would check it at 25% increments and retest. Perhaps the cache mechanism is broken right now, or was interfered with by a recent OS update.. who knows.

 

LOW END SYSTEMS:

Also, be aware that going above HIGH for Vis Range is a big performance hit, and really doesn't do much anyway. If your system isn't high end and you need to squeeze some more FPS out of it, make these settings different than mine:

Vis Range = Medium

Terrain Textures = Medium

Heat Blur = OFF

Shadows = Medium

Grass = OFF

Chimney Density = 0

 

ADDITIONAL TEST NOTES, HARDWARE:

With the same settings that I'm using in VR, I tested my system with a monitor at 1080 and 4k. 1080 averaged 173 FPS in the same tests, and 4k averaged 78 FPS. What really surprised me was that the visual quality was still superb on a monitor with the modified VR settings.

I also tested overclocking the CPU and Vidcard while in 4k:

i7-5960x - from 3.4ghz to 4.3ghz - about 10FPS gained across the board

1080ti FTW3 - from 1500/5500 to 2050/5800 - about 5FPS gained across the board

I've always known that DCS has a CPU bottleneck due to the huge amount of physics calcs that ED has blessed us with. I was not however, expecting that with the new graphics I would still gain more performance from a CPU overclock than a GPU overclock. These results surprised me.

Also (I guess this would be categorized as hardware), I found the perfect set of eye glasses for use with the Rift. They fit well into the enclosure and perfectly cover the Rift lenses.

 

SOLUTIONS FOR MICROSTUTTER

If you've tweaked DCS but find that you have good quality/performance, but you're seeing microstutters, here are some potential fixes. I'd try them one at a time so you'll know which one solved your problem. Replying with this information might help someone else. If you find a solution that's not in the list, be sure to reply with that too.

  • Make sure your BIOS is updated to the latest version. I know this sounds trivial, but I assure you that it can cause some seriously weird issues if you're on an old BIOS version while using newer drivers for components that are plugged into your MB.
  • Perform a clean install of the nVidia drivers. When you're doing the install you'll see a checkmark at the bottom of the screen for 'Clean Install'. Be aware, this will delete any 3d profiles you have set in the nVidia control panel, but it also refreshes all DLLs and gets rid of files from previous driver versions.
  • Make sure that your Rift Sensor is connected to a USB 3.0 connection rather than a 2.0. This can cause stutters and edge bleed.
  • Reinstall the Rift Drivers.
  • If you're using Windows 10, make sure you turn off Game Mode in the OS settings. **This is a common one
  • Download and install Razer Cortex. This app has a database of known 'unneeded tasks and services' that may be running on your system that could interfere with game performance. When you left click on the tray icon and engage 'boost' it automatically ends task and stops services that aren't required, freeing resources for games. After you're done flying, simply left click on the tray icon and select 'Restore Now' and it will restart all the tasks and services it stopped. This is a safe application that has never stopped a service that I actually needed, and has never caused me any issues. It frees up system resources. I recommend this because you may have something running in the background that is causing your issue, but why search for a needle in a haystack when you can burn the haystack down.
  • If you've 'Set Affinity' to specific CPU cores, remove it and choose all cores. Setting affinity can be a good thing if it's done right, but removing it will eliminate affinity as root cause.
  • Delete the files from "..\Saved Games\DCS\FXO and .\metashaders"
  • Bring Preload Radius all the way to low. Test in 10% increments until you receive desired performance
  • I know it sounds crazy, but try hitting ALT+ENTER to make the mirrored view on your monitor go full screen. I know it shouldn't have an effect, and I don't understand it, but I've seen this fix stutters for more than one person.

 

EDIT: I've seen a lot of threads about problems being solved by uninstalling the upgrade then reinstalling using the full 2.5 install. I decided to try it and see if there was a difference. I found that I had about 300 files less in \Program Files\ after the reinstall. My theory is that those files were leftovers from a time before ED launched DCSupdater. I haven't cleaned those folders in probably 5 years. It seems that I'm loading missions faster and that I have less stuttering. I acknowledge that this could be a placebo effect, but at the very least I'm glad that I cleaned up the file structure.

 

UPDATE FOR 2.5: I didn't have to change anything for 2.5, since I was doing my testing in Nellis. I was able to turn AF up to 16x with no performance hit. So I've got that going for me.


Edited by StrongHarm
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I don't know why people withstand PD below 1.5. It will be blurry and hard to see target until 3km (tank). I set PD 1.7-1.8 with DCS1.5.8 / 2.2, but with DCS 2.5 I have to lower a little bit.

 

My system: Win10, 16Gb, 1070, i7-4790, O.CV1


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Hey Cibit! Too much work not enough flying, truth be told. I do have to say that life is great since 2.5 came out. 16x AF doesn't seem to make much of a difference to performance until there are additional assets moving into the area, or until you're flying mid-low alt around cities. For me, I don't want to risk a momentary FPS drop at the wrong time. In theory, 16x AF shouldn't affect performance at all, but I think they're still tweaking these new textures/rendering methods, so it seems that it can cause performance 'spikes'. As we get more patches, I'll probably turn it up and retest. As far as quality, at least for now, 2x AF along with 2x MSAA looks great and seems like a good quality/performance compromise for me. Cheers.

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I don't know why people withstand PD below 1.5. It will be blurry and hard to see target until 3km (tank). I set PD 1.7-1.8 with DCS1.5.8 / 2.2, but with DCS 2.5 I have to lower a little bit.

 

My system: Win10, 16Gb, 1070, i7-4790, O.CV1

 

This! A setting of PD to 1.5 is minimum for me. I always try to tune my settings in a way, that I can set PD to 1.7.

And also the AF setting is too important for picture quality to lower it. I always use 16X as textures on the ground get more and more blurry when lowering AF.

AF doesn`t effect my performance too much anyway.

I7 6700K, Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, EVGA GTX1080Ti SC, 32GB DDR4 @ 3000, Win10 64, BenQ EW3270ZL 2560x1440, VPC WarBRD Base + TM Warthog Grip, TM Warthog Throttle, MFG Crosswind Rudder Pedals, Oculus Rift S

 

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Agreed ram0506. I was set at PD 1.5 before 2.5 came out and wouldn't have set it at anything less because there wasn't enough visual benefit to be had by compromising it for other resource demanding settings values. However, with the 2.5 graphics, the visual difference between 0 and 2x MSAA is pretty significant when you're using deferred shading. You're getting a significant return for the .3 PD you're sacrificing, and the MSAA does compensate for the blurriness some. Give it a try and see if you achieve the same satisfying balance between quality and performance.

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How does increasing PD increase target visibility? It's always been the opposite. A higher PD would cause a distant target get rendered below a single pixel and rejected.

"It takes a big man to admit he is wrong...I'm not a big man" Chevy Chase, Fletch Lives

 

3700x - 32gb ram - GTX 1080ti - Windows 10

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Agreed ram0506. I was set at PD 1.5 before 2.5 came out and wouldn't have set it at anything less because there wasn't enough visual benefit to be had by compromising it for other resource demanding settings values. However, with the 2.5 graphics, the visual difference between 0 and 2x MSAA is pretty significant when you're using deferred shading. You're getting a significant return for the .3 PD you're sacrificing, and the MSAA does compensate for the blurriness some. Give it a try and see if you achieve the same satisfying balance between quality and performance.

 

Yep, you are right, of course. 2xMSAA increases picture quality / reduces shimmering significantly. But impact on performance (with DS enabled) is still heavy and causes stutters. I have to do more testing to find the optimum settings for me. Hopefully ED will find an AA-solution for DS in the meantime.;)

I7 6700K, Asus Z170 Pro Gaming, EVGA GTX1080Ti SC, 32GB DDR4 @ 3000, Win10 64, BenQ EW3270ZL 2560x1440, VPC WarBRD Base + TM Warthog Grip, TM Warthog Throttle, MFG Crosswind Rudder Pedals, Oculus Rift S

 

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I'm finding it much smoother with visibility on low. But honestly it doesn't look any worse in VR really and is not something I notice. That's really the main thing I ask myself when determining what settings to choose, if having a setting on or off is distracting or not.

 

Pixel density on low doesn't bother me much. I could also live with textures on low if I had to. The only thing I find almost indispensable for VR is MSSA, because too many jaggy lines for me is genuinely immersion breaking.

 

Its perhaps better as well to have a lower visibility range if you are not running any or much MSSA, because the less things there are will mean less horrible jaggy lines!

------------

 

ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H,1080Ti OC edition, i7-8770k 5ghz, 1 T SSD, 16GB DDR4 3200, HTC VIVE, VKB peddals, HOTAS VPC MONGOOSE, WARTHOG throttle, Gametrix JETSEAT, Voice attack

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The trade is .3 PD for x2 MSAA. I've found that if you simply go to 1.2 PD with no MSAA, it doesn't look good, but if you go 1.2 PD with X2 MSAA, the 1.2 PD doesn't look much different than 1.5 PD without MSAA, plus you get the enormous visual benefits of the terrain in deferred shading. I did hours of testing with different settings to arrive there, and I was really surprised at my findings, because it didn't make practical sense.

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I have spent the weekend performing a lot of testing, particularly in the F-5E. For some reason, the gauges in the F-5E look horrible no matter what settings I use whereas the F-86F looks great. I have varied PD from 1-1.5. I have varied MSAA from 0 to x8. I have played with AF from 0 to x16. I pretty much tried any and all settings anyone has suggested. With some aircraft, I can achieve the 90 fps that some settings provide... but at a huge cost in quality. The low res of VR is already bad enough, but I can't stand jaggies and shimmering of any kind. But even throwing frame rates out the window, I can't get an image quality that pleases me. Everything looks like I am playing at 640x480 with at most x2 AA, particularly in the F-5E and UH-1. I switched back to TrackIR and a 1080p 46-inch TV and couldn't believe how beautiful 2.5 looks in its full splendor. I can only imagine how well it looks in 4K. It is hard to give up the immersion of VR, but I have always appreciated extremely high resolutions with at least x4 FSAA and x16 AF. As soon as I can get a GTX 1080 or better at a reasonable price for my son's PC, I think I am going to give him my Oculus rather than buy a 2nd one. I am currently running an MSI GTX 1080 "Duke" on an I5-4690 mildly overclocked to 4.2GHz. I could mostly live with the way DCS 1.5 looked in VR aside from visibility/identification of targets at long range (both air and ground), but 2.5 seems to have been a step backwards for me.

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

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I edited the OP to add a few additional performance gain methods that I use:

 

Something else I always do when starting a map, and this is going to sound crazy but it works, is hit F11 to switch to various airfields and just spin the mouse 360 to take in the area. I do this on several airfields to preload a lot of ground objects into memory. It sounds crazy, but it cuts down on FPS drops over cities. Lastly, and this sounds crazy too but it works, I hit ALT+ENTER to go full screen. I know that it shouldn't make a difference since I'm using VR, but it makes the mirrored window on the monitor go full screen and it seems to make a difference.

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I edited the OP to add a few additional performance gain methods that I use:

 

Something else I always do when starting a map, and this is going to sound crazy but it works, is hit F11 to switch to various airfields and just spin the mouse 360 to take in the area. I do this on several airfields to preload a lot of ground objects into memory. It sounds crazy, but it cuts down on FPS drops over cities. Lastly, and this sounds crazy too but it works, I hit ALT+ENTER to go full screen. I know that it shouldn't make a difference since I'm using VR, but it makes the mirrored window on the monitor go full screen and it seems to make a difference.

 

For some reason alt- and enter no longer works for me, it just remains in windowed mode. Don't happen to know why do you?

------------

 

ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H,1080Ti OC edition, i7-8770k 5ghz, 1 T SSD, 16GB DDR4 3200, HTC VIVE, VKB peddals, HOTAS VPC MONGOOSE, WARTHOG throttle, Gametrix JETSEAT, Voice attack

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I have spent the weekend performing a lot of testing, particularly in the F-5E. For some reason, the gauges in the F-5E look horrible no matter what settings I use whereas the F-86F looks great.

 

The F-5E is missing the mip maps for the dial faces. A problem it's had for quite some time now.

You can try Mustangs mip map fix for it:

https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=3341689&postcount=2

Havent tried myself, but Im guessing it still works for 2.5

- Jack of many DCS modules, master of none.

- Personal wishlist: F-15A, F-4S Phantom II, JAS 39A Gripen, SAAB 35 Draken, F-104 Starfighter, Panavia Tornado IDS.

 

| MSI Z87-G45 Gaming | i5-4670K @ 4.3Ghz | 16Gb DDR3 1600 | Asus GTX 1070 Strix OC | Samsung 850 Evo 250 & 500Gb | 40" Sony FullHD | Oculus Rift CV1 | Thrustmaster Warthog Stick (19.5cm extension) & Throttle | MFG Crosswind | Windows 7-64 |

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For some reason alt- and enter no longer works for me, it just remains in windowed mode. Don't happen to know why do you?

 

I believe I did see this once long ago. I'm not sure of the cause, but what I did was checked 'full screen' in settings. After that I was able to ALT+Enter with results, even when 'full screen' wasn't checked.

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The trade is .3 PD for x2 MSAA. I've found that if you simply go to 1.2 PD with no MSAA, it doesn't look good, but if you go 1.2 PD with X2 MSAA, the 1.2 PD doesn't look much different than 1.5 PD without MSAA, plus you get the enormous visual benefits of the terrain in deferred shading. I did hours of testing with different settings to arrive there, and I was really surprised at my findings, because it didn't make practical sense.

 

 

I found the same thing 2x MSSA with 1.8 PD (in steam VR) runs better and looks about the same with increased clarity inside the cockpit. Never thought I’d leave 4x MSSA to be honest but I’m happy on 2x now! Also have all shadows off and visibility on low or medium which is much less of a problem with helicopters.

------------

 

ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H,1080Ti OC edition, i7-8770k 5ghz, 1 T SSD, 16GB DDR4 3200, HTC VIVE, VKB peddals, HOTAS VPC MONGOOSE, WARTHOG throttle, Gametrix JETSEAT, Voice attack

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For the sake of testing, try going from:

MSAA-2x, PD-1.8, Shadows-Off,Vis-Low

to:

MSAA-2x, PD-1.2, Shadows-High,Vis-High

 

.6 points of PD is very expensive, and really doesn't make as big of a difference, since you're using MSAA. Make sure 'Terrain Object Shadows' is flat instead of default or off.

 

You probably won't get 90fps stable, but performance shouldn't be bad. Visual quality should be greatly improved without suffering performance problems.

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For the sake of testing, try going from:

MSAA-2x, PD-1.8, Shadows-Off,Vis-Low

to:

MSAA-2x, PD-1.2, Shadows-High,Vis-High

 

.6 points of PD is very expensive, and really doesn't make as big of a difference, since you're using MSAA. Make sure 'Terrain Object Shadows' is flat instead of default or off.

 

You probably won't get 90fps stable, but performance shouldn't be bad. Visual quality should be greatly improved without suffering performance problems.

 

I dropped it down to 1.5 without noticing too much difference. Remember though steam VR pixel density I think is slightly weaker than in game PD so I don't think it was a matter of .6 in quite the same way you believe. My performance as of now is pretty much where I want it, striking a nice balance between beautiful visuals and smooth performance.

 

Steam PD- 1.5 MSSA x2 VR-medium. I never use shadows to be honest!

------------

 

ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H,1080Ti OC edition, i7-8770k 5ghz, 1 T SSD, 16GB DDR4 3200, HTC VIVE, VKB peddals, HOTAS VPC MONGOOSE, WARTHOG throttle, Gametrix JETSEAT, Voice attack

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That works. The name of the game is personal preference. I would encourage you to turn the shadows on sometime and check them out. ED has done amazing things with terrain lighting in 2.5. In my eye, that's half the beauty of the new graphics. I do understand that people have different goals and sometimes only want to ensure only minimally good graphics with maximum performance for multiplayer.

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That works. The name of the game is personal preference. I would encourage you to turn the shadows on sometime and check them out. ED has done amazing things with terrain lighting in 2.5. In my eye, that's half the beauty of the new graphics. I do understand that people have different goals and sometimes only want to ensure only minimally good graphics with maximum performance for multiplayer.

 

Well shadows in VR are kind of a case of what I've never had I'll never miss. If I put them on I might start wishing I have them! I'm thoroughly sick of tinkering!

 

It might sound bizarre but I just don't think about shadows when I am flying! Mainly I like the game to look tidy, with at least 2x MSSA on Caucasus and 4x in Vegas. Kind of wish we could see different graphics profiles, but to be honest as I am using re-projection and fly helicopters mostly (and turn of shadows and lower visibility) on my system I can afford 4x.

 

I really do hope there will be big improvements for release though, but with the amount of problems that presently exist, they are going to be very busy!

------------

 

ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H,1080Ti OC edition, i7-8770k 5ghz, 1 T SSD, 16GB DDR4 3200, HTC VIVE, VKB peddals, HOTAS VPC MONGOOSE, WARTHOG throttle, Gametrix JETSEAT, Voice attack

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Lots of times some of this stuff comes down to personal preference as others have said.

 

I've used this post to make some adjustments and I also used to run with shadows off but have turned them to flat with no real performance hit that I can determine. I do like how it changes things and looks better. And I'm not one to care too much about having the best look. I'm looking for the best performance over graphics quality.

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Well shadows in VR are kind of a case of what I've never had I'll never miss. If I put them on I might start wishing I have them! I'm thoroughly sick of tinkering!

 

 

Wags said himself in the Hornet Live Streams that the new canopy shadows coming via 2.5 in the Hornet are insanely good (I would assume they will evolve in other jets, too)...you don't want to miss out on that now do you? :thumbup:

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