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CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide! :: Archived
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:02 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Defrag your Hard Drive...Again!

Yup it's that time- good to do this on a regular basis, especially for CFS3!

CFS3 benefits greatly from a nice clean file system, and back during the Pre-Installation checklist, it was recommended that the hard drive be cleaned up and defragged - well, a number of files have been added and/or moved since then, so it's now that time - Go run Defrag again and keep your machine running well.

And remember, the more often you run Defrag, the less time it takes to finish. Some folks defrag weekly. Goes quick that way.

Generally this is always a good idea after installing and setting up ANY large program too - and also after Uninstalling.

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:03 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Decrease Sound Acceleration

As FOE_Pappy pointed out this needs to be covered..S! and thank you, Pappy!

DirectX seems to allocate a lot of resources toward game sound that really doesn't need to be there, and with Hardware Sound Acceleration enabled or set to full, this will have a negative effect on CFS3. Commonly, noticeable gains are experienced when moving this setting to a lower value, with no noticeable impact on sounds.

This setting is found in the DirectX diagnostics utility, "dxdiag" which you can launch by going to your "Start" menu, select the "Run...." otion, and enter "dxdiag" as shown:



Once DxDiag is up, it takes a few seconds to gather system information, Click on the "Sound1" tab and set your Hardware Sound Acceleration level to "Basic" as shown:




How good is it? Well the test mule was already running with this tweak, so the tweak was backed out by moving the option up to Full, and the test flight reports that we would have been getting:

DxDiag Sound Accelleration to "Full"
Frames: 2239 - Time: 94266ms - Avg: 23.751 - Min: 11 - Max: 32

With DxDiag Sound Accelleration back to "Basic", the test flight gives this improvement:

Frames: 2306 - Time: 89500ms - Avg: 25.765 - Min: 18 - Max: 32

...a very significant improvement for such little time spent!

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:03 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Killing unnecessary processes.

Some users report additional gains by eliminating unnecessary background tasks in Windows prior to launching CFS3. This makes sense from the aspect of freeing up system resources. However, determining which processes to kill off can be a very complex subject and can vary widely from system to system. The example below show what works on the test mule used for this guide, but it's not likely at all to match your exact system perfectly.

As mentioned at the outset of this guide, there are much better resources on the web for a lot of the technical details on this subject, starting with the thread called ""Tweaking for smoothness" right here in the Com-Central FS2002/2004 forum:

www.com-central.net/np...php?t=6495

There are also some great websites with plenty of info such as:

www.blackviper.com

...and...

www.theeldergeek.com

With that being said, here is a BRIEF demonstration of what is used on the test mule. The excellent freeware program ENDITALL2 is launched prior to any serious CFS3 session. This software tool is designed specifically for the purpose of automatic or manual "safe" termination of background processes in Windows. Enditall2 is a successor to the earlier "Enditall" program and has specific improvements geared for Windows XP; you'll need this latest version if running that O/S.

Enditall2 can be downloaded from this site:
home.ptd.net/~don5408/.../enditall/

There is also a GREAT description of the program and a few links for other topics on it's use. READ THEM FULLY as Enditall2 is indeed a powerful program that if misused, could contribute to system instability.

Here is a snapshot of what Enditall2 looks like, and these are the processes running on the test mule before Enditall2 is invoked to slay certain ones:



In a nutshell, after the unneeded services in question are determined, they can be individually Closed or Killed by Enditall2 by creating a batch file in the Enditall2 program directory that looks as follows:

Code:
rem ** Batch file for Enditall2 3/1/03 EJP

rem ** Close:
START enditall /C:navapw32.exe

rem ** Kill:
START enditall /K:directcd.exe
START enditall /K:fxssvc.exe
START enditall /K:mmkeybd.exe
START enditall /K:msmsgs.exe
START enditall /K:saytime.exe
START enditall /K:spamkiller.exe
START enditall /K:traymon.exe
START enditall /K:webshotstray.exe
START enditall /K:nvsvc32.exe
START enditall /K:devldr32.exe
START enditall /K:tosexe.exe
START enditall /K:tgcmd.exe
START enditall /K:nkvmon.exe
START enditall /K:fxssvc.exe
START enditall /K:ctsvccda.exe
START enditall /K:osd.exe
START enditall /K:nhksrv.exe
START enditall /K:devldr32.exe



rem ** end of list
rem ** 9 tasks should be terminated

rem ** Go ahead and start the GV app

Note that enditall2 must be called once for reach process it is asked to Close or Kill. It will autodetect if a copy of itself is already running and add additional calls to it's list. This is just the syntax the developer used, even though it may look a little unusual. You'll also need to determine if Enditall2 needs a "Close" or "Kill" command for each process - generally, "Close" is a nice way to shut something down, but it has to acknowledge the Close request. "Kill" is a little more forceful. You'll see which option to use when you try to Close any processes manually when experimenting with Enditall2. If "Close" does not work, you can try a "Kill", after setting an "Allow Kill" option for the process as it shows in Enditall2's list.

Creating a batch file like the above saves a lot of time and is pretty straightforward - using Windows Explorer, navigate to the Enditall2 program directory (usually C:\Program Files\Enditall2 ) and create a new text file...add/edit the contents as you need, and when you are finished, save the file then rename the file to anything.bat...it must have a .bat at the end of the filename instead of .txt in order to be a file the system will execute. Note that the batch file can also call for other programs to be launched after Enditall2 has done it's business. In this case, the GameVoice application used to be launched but is currently remarked out.

Generally speaking tho, if you are very uncertain with things like how to create batch files, then you should really read up on this program and what it does....there is a certain level of user knowledge assumed.

Then, by going to the Start -> Run... menu in Windows, the batch file can be called and Enditall2 will process the list of services or programs in the batch file. When it's all done it will look something like this:



Some programs will not die quietly - don't be surprised if you receive some messages caused by abnormal termination. Enditall2 will take a minute or two to try to kill them quietly, but it's not an immediate process and you need to give it some time to complete - about 15-20 seconds usually.

As far as system performance, the flight test with FRAPS logging was run both with and without Enditall2 having slayed these unneeded processes. NO difference was seen on the test mule, your results may vary, but generally if you are running extra programs during CFS3 (like Gamevoice, Teamspeak etc) it may make a difference - it did on the test mule when Gamevoice has been used in the past, which was not tried this time.

If you're going to try this, just be advised that although it can very well have benefits in terms of smoothness and stability for CFS3, it is a power-user tool so take your time and read the material available to make sure you are doing it right.

Good luck - no matter which way you decide, odds are that CFS3 should running pretty smooth and looking very good by now!

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:04 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Fix the HUD Gunsight

With all the effort to get CFS3 humming smoothly, take a few minutes and reward yourself with something that you're going to spend a lot of time of time looking at - the HUD gunsight reticule. The stock black one that comes with the game resembles something that was inspired by a shower drain more than a gunsight. And it all but disappears when looking at the ground - no good!

There are plenty of replacement gunsight reticules around, one or two on the Com-Central CFS3 downloads section; JG300 has one or two different types; and if you downloaded the full MAX tweaks package, you'll find a ZIP file called "MAXreticle.zip" that has a decent gunsight.

Like most replacement gunsights, it's color allows it to stand out against either sky or ground, and you'll notice certain aspects about it that make it more useful for lining up banked deflection shots or ranged shots:



Unzip the contents to a test directory - there is only one file called "MAXreticle.dds". Right-click on the file and select "copy".

Then open your explorer tool - at the desktop, double-click the "My Computer" icon, and navigate to the main CFS3 directory which is usually:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3 and then drill down into the 'aircraft" directory and finally go into the "SHARED" directory within there.

Right click and choose "Paste" to copy the MAXreticle.dds file into this directory.

Now find the file called "reticule.dds" - right-click, choose Rename, and rename it "reticule.dds_orig".

Use the same technique to rename the MAXreticle.dds file to reticule.dds (don't forget the "u").

Find the file called "reticule.zx" and delete it - this file will rebuild the next time CFS3 is launched.

That's all there is to it...good hunting!

By the way, the Flight Of Eagles squad, both MAX_Devil and FOE_Pappy, are responsible for finding and sharing many of these tweaks as you've undoubtedly noticed - so be sure to stop by their website and forums at www.flightofeagles.com/ and give 'em a thank-you!



P.S. If you want to revert back to the stock gunsight (bleah) just go delete the retisule.dds and reticule.zx file in:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3\aircraft\shared
and then rename the backup file you made, reticule.dds_orig, to reticule.dds, and you're back to stock...

That about wraps it up for this guide for now. Unless anything else rolls in this has covered all the basics of getting the game in pretty flyable shape - enjoy!

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:04 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

UPDATE: New NVidia Drivers

Having got word that version 60.72 of Nvidia's driver set was were "leaked" prematurely, the ZIP was obtained from a site carrying it (google search for "NVidia 60.72") and installed to give it a shot. The official release should be available from Nvidia's (http://www.nvidia.com) site shortly. Meanwhile, a trial run with this driver set provided very positive reults.

There was an issue found on the test rig having to do with aircraft not appearing correctly, they showed as all black instead of the proper skins. Since this was a problem with the textures, some experimentation quickly confirmed that the "NO DXT1" setting ins CFS3COnfig was the problem, and the checkmarks for No DXT1, DXT3, and DXT5 were removed as shown here:



After that, all was good. There may be an almost imperceptible compromise for speed over quality, it's hard to pinpoint exactly, but the performance improvements made up for this impression in my opinion. A positive improvement in fluidity of the sim was instantly noticed, and the rigorous and tightly-controlled FRAPS flight test shows the following results on the test rig:

60.72 Drivers
2004-04-27 14:30:16 - cfs3
Frames: 2587 - Time: 98671ms - Avg: 26.218 - Min: 16 - Max: 32

This marks the first time the test rig has been placed solidly into the 26FPS realm for this test! In addition, the test rig also had some other changes performed to it that seem to have slightly compromised performance - notably, the installation of new Norton AntiVirus and Norton SystemWorks. Background tasks are increased and although every effort is made to remove them, this system has been a little "doggy" since they were added. Your results should at least match the above, but my bet would be that you'll do better!

Keep in mind this has been a tough test to get good numbers on. Mostly becuase with the frame rate limit set to 30, the only way the AVERAGE FPS will increase is to get higher "Minimum FPS" numbers more of the time. As the Average FPS approaches the maximum allowed, improvements will be harder to see in the test results. But, even more importantly, the "feel" is great with the better numbers showing up when looking at terrain.

And now the next maxim of tweaking took effect: With better FPS numbers, what eye-candy can we turn on? The first thing that came to mind was enabling Water Reflection in order to get the most out of MAX's new water textures...remember in the section regarding these, it was kind of a let-down to ot have the reflections enabled since everything look much better. Doing so resulted in these test results:

60.72 Drivers - Water reflection turned on
2004-04-27 14:35:30 - CFS3
Frames: 2437 - Time: 97453ms - Avg: 25.006 - Min: 18 - Max: 32

Which is...about where we left off before. So the point here is that you can tweak for good numbers, or tweak for eye candy with reasonable numbers if you feel your FPS budget allows it.

Since the water reflections should allow those dad-burned SpitPests to show up a little easier down low, the choice in this case seemd obvious!

A BIG TIP 'O THE HAT to FOE_PHYXIUS FOR SPREADING THE WORD ON THESE.....S! Phyx, LOOKIN GOOD!


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Jens
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:44 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

I have been trying to find the exe file, but no luck. I went to Program Files, Microsoft games, CFS3, and checked every file, but no exe. I then looked at the FS9 files, and no exe. Is there somewhere else it may be?
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:16 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Hi Jens.....umm....being as this is a fairly lonnnggg and detailed little thread, could you perhaps expand a bit on what EXE file you are trying to find? The CFS3.exe file, or the CFS3Config.exe file, or what?

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IMS_Dakota
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:57 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

I'm betting that you probably have "Hide extensions for known file types"
check in the view tab of folder options.
In which case cfs3.exe will show as cfs3
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Jens
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:17 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

I was asking about this below. I do not see a file called "cfs3.exe". I am adding a screen shot of what I see when I open the CFS3 directory. Hope it comes out. Thanks.


"You can check your exact version of CFS3 by going to "My Computer", selecting the drive volume that CFS3 is installed on, then navigate to the main CFS3 directory which is usually (on a default installation):
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3

Find the file "cfs3.exe', right-click on it, choose "Properties" and then select the "Versions" tab. Version should be 3.1.0.30203 or higher"
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Jens
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:19 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Dakota,
Where do I find that? Thanks for the help.
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:15 pm
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

In the Explorer menu, (what you're using to poke around and look at files) go to the "Tools" menu, select "Folder Options", click on the "View" tab, then it's about the 11th item down the list - "Hide Extensions for known file types" - uncheck it, if checked, which is what Dakota is thinking your issue is.

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Jens
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:33 pm
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Thanks. I tried that, and it changed some of the files to have "exe." at the end. I still do not have one that just says CFS3.exe. I looked at the configure files,and all they say is that CFS3 is already configured. All well.
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:44 pm
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Does CFS3 run for you?

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bader40
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:55 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Are you aware that the CFS3 download section only has 3 files?,none of which are the Max clouds, terrain and water files. I'm currently trying to become a memeber of Sim House somaybe they have them there.

Great tips by the way, i better get a new printer cartridge,it's over 42 pages long!! Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:18 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Hey bader40 check the Flying Fogies site. Click on the EJECT button in my signature

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