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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:44 am
Post subject: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

CFS3 Install, Tweak and Tune Guide



From time to time, folks we fly with have had to reinstall CFS3 for whatever reason and the same questions come up: "What settings do you run at, what tweaks do you use". We find out the hard way that some of our buddies have been running for a long time in a degraded manner not knowing about some tweaks. And lotsa new guys always need some help.

The following info is an attempt to help address that, and provide a good checklist for anyone reinstalling or trying CFS3 out. This will also be a "living document" so more tweaks can be evaluated and added on their merit, so suggestions are very welcomed!

The info below stems from the efforts of many people who have found and shared many separate tweaks and tips over a great length of time, but which aren't necessarily together in one place or have much info on how each tweak reacts with another. A GREAT DEAL of thanks goes out to those folks who have researched, tested, and shared those tweaks and tips. CFS3 would NOT be the great game it is without ya.

We'll cover the installation and upgrade of CFS3, and the details of the most important and meaningful tweaks, with a specific eye toward using it in the MultiPlayer environment since there's so many squad types here (and since online flying is where it's at right? Smile ). Some of the items will be basic common-sense stuff but that not everyone may know about. Other tweaks will be deeper, may involve video card drivers, settings for those, and even a few add-ons that have been developed with the intent of making the game look better than stock - while at the same time maintaining, or even improving, those all-important Frames Per Second (FPS).

A quick disclaimer: as stated above, there's lots of great tweaks, add-ons and updates out there. The CFS3 community has done a fantastic job rolling up their sleeves and taking advantage of CFS3's open architecture to make the game better all the time. It's impossible to go into detail about each and every one of them, as a result the tweaks and add-ons discussed here were selected for their potential of getting the most out of CFS3 with as little initial effort as possible. There's no reason why it can't keep improving, but after so long the number of enhancements possible will depend to a large extent on the user's comfort level in file manipulation as well as the "FPS Budget" that their system has - not every 'enhancement' is a performance tweak, so once you have CFS3 running well, proceed with caution and add things one at a time so you can reverse any changes...and always back up original files!

If anyone feels that their favorite tweak or upgrade was omitted, it is not intentional. Just speak up about it and it'll be run through the mill for testing.

The Plan:
Our goal will be to install CFS3 on a 2-1/2 year old middle-of-the road average system, and then, to not only make it look much, much better than what MS gives us by default, but to end up with equivalent or better FPS performance at the same time. In short make it nice n'sweet with no performance losses. Realistically, that's a pretty decent goal.

The Test Mule:
Dell Dimension 4200, Pentium 4, 1.8Ghz Processor, 100 Mhz bus
1 Gb RAM (old slow PC133 SDRAM, not DDR)
NVidia GeForce FX5200 128MB Video card
Windows XP, SP1 with all updates.

Nothing special by today's standards, specifically the slow RAM and bus is the biggest performance limitation this system has. The 1 Gig of RAM is overkill and something with 512 to 768MB should perform similarly. The video card used is a fairly inexpensive commodity these days, and this system also responded well in an earlier effort with a 64MB NVidia card.

Most importantly, most of the info and tweaks below will appy to any system regardless of processor type, video card, operating system etc. Use what you can, where you can, and you'll be OK.

(The next bit is some detail on how this was all measured...if you're not a tweaker geek like some of us, it'll probably be kinda boring so feel free to skip ahead to the installation pre-checklist and tweaking parts).

The Test Tool:
Just as importantly, is the way in which performance will be measured. It's pretty common to see improvement claims of 5 or 10 or 15 FPS (funny how they usually round out at the nearest 5) for individual tweaks, and if you put them all together, you might expect to be getting 135 FPS. While some tweaks are very effective, the truth is that many times the results are judged in a fairly anecdotal and subjective way and their true effectiveness is more likely a percentage result of the system's unique performance. What I mean is, the same tweak applied to a system getting 50 FPS might get you 5 extra FPS, but when applied to a system running 20FPS, you might just get 2, maybe even 1, FPS improvement. So take those numbers with a grain of salt and most importantly, find a way to accurately measure them so you really know what you're getting.

The test tool used throughout this series is a great utility called FRAPS. If you are a casual user and not a "tweak demon" you can live OK without it, but if you ever plan on rolling up your sleeves and digging into your system a little, it's a fantastic tool and totally free if you download the 1.9D version from www.fraps.com. The payware 2.0 version and higher is arguably well worth the small price since it allows video capture and you can make some great CFS3 movies with it.

FRAPS allows logging of FPS data either as a summary or on a per-second basis. For this project, summary logging is used. The test system was set up in a standard flight situation with CFS3, the hotkey to enable FPS recording was pressed, a pre-planned set of flight maneuvers was performed, and the hotkey to end FPS recording was pressed. The total frames displayed, total capture time, FPS Average for this time, Minimum and Maximum FPS detected will be logged to a text file in the FRAPS directory which grows each time you use it. This is a nice feature because you can edit the file and add your own notes as you try different things.

(Note: If you don't have or want FRAPS, just press the "Z" key and you'll get some onscreen data which will also show your FPS...although that feature tends to soak up some FPS just by being present, it's the next best option)

The Test Process:
This is the other problematic thing - it's totally dependant what FPS you get based on what you're doing and what your nose is pointing at. You get killer FPs looking up at clear blue sky, so-so FPS looking at clouds, maybe miserable FPS looking at a complex structure. We need something that not only duplicates our intended environment (MultiPlayer, turn-and-burn stuff) but also exercises different display situations, has a meaningful amount of sample measurement (not just a few seconds) and is consistently and reliably repeatable.

So we'll fly the same plane, in the same place, in the same sequence of specific maneuvers that'll sample what CFS3 might throw at us - screenfuls of sky, clouds, ground, an airbase, water, and some flak all the way throughout. And we'll do it for a decent length of time so we know we're not just getting a few lucky frames.

Settings (use what ya like, but this worked really well)
Set location to Toulon France,
Select the FW190A-5, set 5000' spawn, 3/8 clouds, spring, no labels, cone or brackets. Hard flight model with TAC on.
Set up for 1 enemy aircraft (P47D-25).
Flight Procedure:
- Spawn in level Flight 5000 ft, heading Due North;
- Set view to HUD if you prefer, most do;
- Pause, set the TAC display to A/C only, set zoom full out, set Full throttle, Unpause
- Start pushing the nose over into a gentle dive...at 10 degrees nose-down, start the FPS recording.....continue to 20 degrees nose down;
- At 4200 ft, begin pulling up and over into a full loop - complete the loop, facing back to North heading....end with nose 10 degrees above horizon at about 4000 ft;
- At 10-degrees nose high, roll right 90 degrees to immediately transition into a hard 360-degree break turn to the right, all the way around to a North heading again, maintain 4000 ft thru the turn....
- Back at N heading, roll left 180 degrees to reverse the turn into a 360-degree break-left around to N heading again, maintaining 4000 ft....
- Back at N heading, immediately roll left 90 degrees to transition into a Split-S and pull through and up 10-degree nose high, wings level...
- You should now be facing South and looking at the airfield at Toulon now. Perform 3 quick aileron rolls approaching/viewing airfield;
- Stop FPS recording at wings level at end of 3rd roll.

The routine above takes about 90 seconds to complete in the FW190 and with 3/8 clouds and full zoom, and with lots of terrain being drawn, is a pretty fair workout for the system. Only at the top half of the loop will you have a screenful of sky, the rest of the time the system is rendering ground, flak, clouds....and water, which surprisingly turns out to be one of the FPS killers in a stock CFS3 setup!

_________________
"Once your reputation is ruined, you can live quite freely."


Last edited by JG300-Stoopy on Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:44 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Installation...pre-checklist.
It's not the purpose of this discussion to go much into PC and operating system tweaks. Frankly there are much better resources on the web, starting with the thread called ""Tweaking for smoothness" right here in the Com-Central FS2002/2004 forum. There are also some great websites with plenty of info such as www.blackviper.com and www.theeldergeek.com particularly if you're running Windows XP. But it's pretty much a given right now that your system is properly set up, with no outstanding issues, viruses, spyware, trojans, BSOD's, etc. and has:

-Been very recently cleaned up with "Disk Cleanup" and "Defrag"
-Has the latest version of DirectX installed (version 9.0b as of this writing)
-Has plenty of good hard drive space and recent versions of video drivers
-Has no inordinate amount of background tasks running that you don't really need.

Installation - and updates:
Pretty straightforward. Install CFS from the two CD's. Choose 'Express Install' if you like although it's good practice to usually choose 'Custom Install' and then go with the defaults - it's usually the same thing, but at least you get a little more info on what the install program is really doing....Can't hurt!

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.

Unless your copy of CFS3 is fairly recent, you probably have the 3.0 version and that won't cut it. You wont be able to join many multiplayer games and you're missing some critical fixes. Go here:

www.microsoft.com/games/combatfs3/

Get the 3.1 and 3.1a updates, and install them,. The last one may not really be necessary unless you intend to fly the B25 much, but its small, so get it, and install it too.

First run:
Well we're installed and updated so let's fire this thing up and see what we got. Hmmmm....default resolution it set up was...800 x 600. Let's set up our flight, and...holy moly!!!



Well OK maybe it aint much to look at....yet!! Still, let's put it on the rack and see what we get.

Going through our flight maneuver test as described above, FRAPS reports the following performance:

Frames: 2339 - Time: 95141ms - Avg: 24.584 - Min: 2 - Max: 32

So we're getting 24 FPS average, but the "Min" is a problem....2 FPS?? Well that's understandable if you'd seen the flight. Stock CFS3 is prone to tons of "stutter". At times the video is doing fine and then BAM....everything comes to a halt for a little bit. What happens is the video card starts claiming all the available overhead and gets ahead of the rest of the system....then everything has to catch up...there's the stutter. This is EASILY fixed and is the one of the first tweaks to do.

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:45 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Kill Stutter by Setting MAX FPS

We'll keep the video card from trying to make 60FPS happen when it can't possibly by setting a limiting on the maximum frames per second we want to have. This is a little bit of a guess on our part but we kind of know where to start by looking at the FRAPS log. It reports a max of 32 FPS achieved. Obviously the stutter occurred in trying to get past that. So we'll go for a little happy medium...30 FPS for starters. We could go lower, like 24FPS, but 30 will do fine for now.

The point is the number we use will be REALISTIC and lower than the max achieved when we got stutter. This setting will NOT get you any higher FPS, but will help spread the FPS around a little bit, so the whole flight is much more consistently smooth.

To set the MAX FPS, from your desktop, double-click on your "My Computer" icon, and navigate to the folder named "default" in your main CFS3 folder, which should be:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3\default

First thing we'll do is back up the original file:
Look for the file called CFS3.xml - right-click on it, select "Copy", then right click anywhere in the file folder area (not on the filename) and select "Paste"...this makes a backup copy named "Copy of cfs3.xml".

Now, to edit it: Right-click on the original file again, choose "Open" or "Open With" (if you havent opened an XML file before, you'll probably only have an "Open" option when you right-click...choose the "Select the program from a list" option and then choose Notepad as the tool to open it with.

You%20will%20see%20text%20like%20the%20following%20(it%20may%20be%20jumbled%20together%20on%20some%20lines,%20but%20the%20content%20is%20in%20this%20order: -%20>CFS3<%20 >Debugger%20DefaultDebugLevel=\"Alerts\"%20DisplayFileLine=\"No\"%20DisplayLevel=\"No\"%20Watson=\"Yes\"%20 DebugLog=\"cfs3debug.log\"%20ExitOnAssert=\"No\"%20OnlyLogMsg=\"No\"%20UseDebugWindow=\"Yes\"%20EnableAsserts=\"Yes\"%20 SingleAssert=\"No\"<%20 >Timer%20DefaultPeriod=\"0\"%20Log=\"cfs3timer.log\"%20OnlyLog=\"No\"%20UseDebugWindow=\"Yes\"<%20 >Counter%20DefaultPeriod=\"0\"<%20 >Graphics<%20 >OldAircraftRender=\"No\"<%20 >MaxFPS=\"30\"<%20 -%20>ModuleDebugLevels<%20 >SampleModule%20PrintLevel=\"Normal\"%20AssertLevel=\"Alert\"<%20 >ModuleDebugLevels<%20 -%20>TopicDebugLevels<%20 >SampleTopic%20PrintLevel=\"Normal\"%20AssertLevel=\"Alert\"<%20 >TopicDebugLevels<%20 >/CFS3<%20 That%20line%20in%20boldface%20is%20the%20key%20-%20it%20will%20not%20actually%20have%20a%20value%20of%2030%20in%20there,%20but%20will%20be%20blank%20or%20have%20a%20value%20of%20zero%20like%20MaxFPS=\"0\".%20%20Insert%20a%20number%20as%20shown%20in%20this%20pic%20(where%20you%20see%20\"22\"%20in%20the%20pic%20below):

Then from the Notepad file menu, save the file and exit. Then start CFS3 and do some QC - verify your FPS remain where you set them...they may jump slightly higher occasionally, but you for sure shouldn't see 60, or whatever, and the stutters should be pretty much gone if you used a reasonable number.

_________________
"Once your reputation is ruined, you can live quite freely."


Last edited by JG300-Stoopy on Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:47 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Configuring CFS3

While were out of CFS3, might as well take the time to actually set it up the way we want to fly because the 800x600 resolution on our test mule is NOT gonna do it. And cranking the resolution up is gonna extract a performance penalty but we have ways of dealing with that.

First, to run the CFS3 config program, From the “Start" menu, go to "All Programs", then "Microsoft Games" and “Combat Flight Simulator". Select the icon for "Run CFS3Config". After the message displays telling you that "CFS3 has been configured" go to the File menu and select "Change Display Options". It'll look like this, and for the test mule, 1280x1024 resolution is selected which has plenty of detail to enjoy the game - if you aren't sure about your rig, try something less like 1024 x 768. 16-bit depth of color is selected instead of 32 at least for now, since the benefits of the deeper palette are negligible most of the time, at least to my tired eyes.

Now%20for%20the%20other%20settings%20we%20need.%20%20From%20the%20file%20menu,%20select%20“Custom%20Settings\"%20and%20select%20\"OK\"%20at%20the%20warning%20prompt.%20%20The%20changes%20that%20will%20be%20put%20into%20place%20are%20not%20going%20to%20make%20your%20system%20behave%20erratically%20like%20the%20warning%20says! Now%20you'll%20have%20this%20screen...for%20now,%20set%20the%20sliders%20to%20what%20are%20shown%20(these%20actually%20may%20not%20vary%20much%20from%20what%20you%20would%20already%20have%20at%20this%20point): Next,%20from%20the%20“Window\"%20menu,%20select%20the%20\"Overrides\"%20option%20and%20prepare%20to%20make%20a%20few%20changes%20as%20follows: Some%20of%20these%20settings,%20like%20\"Disable%20Intro%20Movie\",%20\"Disable%20Movie%20UI\"‚%20\"Disable%20Weapons\"%20and%20\"Disable%20Targeting%20Cone\"%20are%20personal%20preference. Others,%20specifically%20disabling%20the%20\"Dual%20Pass%20Render\"%20option%20and%20enabling%20\"High%20Resolution%20Z%20Buffer\"%20are%20critical.%20%20So%20is%20\"Disable%20Terrain%20Texture%20Ring%20Blend\".%20%20\"Disable%20Water%20Reflection\"%20has%20a%20very%20positive%20effect%20too,%20if%20you%20are%20willing%20to%20do%20that.%20Other%20disables%20like%20Write-Only%20Vertex%20and%20Index%20buffers%20are%20tips%20that%20don't%20seem%20to%20hurt%20and%20generally%20help%20get%20a%20smoother%20feel. There's%20one%20last%20screen%20to%20go%20play%20with.%20%20From%20the%20\"“Window\"%20menu,%20select%20the%20\"Texture%20Info\"%20option%20and%20change%20to%20the%20following%20settings: Basically%20these%20are: Composite%20Terrain%20Texture%20Pool:%20%20Set%20to%20D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM Composite%20Terrain%20Texture%20Usage:%20%20Set%20to%20D3DUSAGE_RENDERTARGET Composite%20Aircraft%20Texture%20Pool:%20%20Set%20to%20D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM Composite%20Aircraft%20Texture%20Usage:%20%20Set%20to%20D3DUSAGE_RENDERTARGET Index%20Buffer%20Pool:%20%20Set%20to%20D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM Fullscreen%20Swap%20Effect:%20Set%20to%20D3DSWAPEFFECT_DISCARD The%20\"Vertex%20Buffer%20Pool\"%20setting%20may%20be%20best%20left%20alone,%20setting%20to%20D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM%20has%20caused%20brown%20flickering%20polygons%20with%20some%20effects%20when%20used%20in%20conjunction%20with%20the%20Nvidia%2052.16%20and%2056.64%20drivers.%20%20The%20other%20settings%20are%20pretty%20innocuous%20and%20no%20side%20effects%20observed. That's%20it%20for%20changes%20for%20now%20so%20select%20the%20\"OK\"%20option%20at%20the%20bottom%20of%20the%20Config%20utility%20screen%20(you%20might%20have%20to%20pull%20down%20the%20taskbar%20to%20see%20that%20part)%20and%20when%20you%20are%20back%20at%20the%20main%20CFS3Config%20screen,%20go%20to%20the%20File%20menu%20and%20select%20\"Exit\"%20-%20DO%20NOT%20close%20the%20program%20by%20selecting%20the%20“X\"%20gadget%20at%20the%20top%20right%20of%20the%20window%20since%20that%20will%20exit%20without%20saving%20changes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hot%20Tip:%20%20If%20you%20make%20any%20changes%20to%20the%20graphic%20settings%20from%20within%20CFS3,%20it%20has%20the%20nasty%20habit%20of%20REVERTING%20many%20of%20these%20settings.%20%20For%20that%20reason,%20either%20avoid%20making%20changes%20in%20CFS3%20and%20use%20the%20Config%20tool,%20or%20make%20the%20Config%20file%20READ-ONLY.%20%20To%20set%20it%20to%20read-only,%20go%20to%20the%20CFS3%20Application%20Data%20folder%20which%20is%20in%20a%20totally%20different%20place.%20%20It%20is%20in: C:\Documents%20and%20Settings\{your%20user%20name}\Application%20Data\Microsoft\Combat%20Flight%20Simulator%203.0 Find%20the%20file%20called%20ConfigOverrides.xml,%20right-click%20on%20it,%20go%20to%20“Properties\"%20and%20select%20the%20Read-only%20attribute%20at%20the%20bottom%20of%20the%20properties%20page.%20Don't%20forget%20to%20disable%20this%20property%20if/when%20you%20want%20to%20make%20any%20config%20changes%20again%20though!%20 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well,%20let's%20see%20what%20that%20gives%20us%20now.%20%20Fire%20up%20CFS3%20and%20take%20it%20for%20a%20ride.%20%20Should%20look%20a%20lot%20better%20for%20starters:

But lets see how the performance goes...running our test again, FRAPS now reports:

Frames: 2471 - Time: 104313ms - Avg: 23.688 - Min: 16 - Max: 32

Well, not too bad, we lost about 1 FPS through the whole thing, but it looks MUCH better and most importantly, notice the minimum FPS experienced is now 16 - a big change thanks to the MAX_FPS tweak. But we can do even better...

Summary: Most Effective Changes were:

- Higher-res but 16-bit video mode

In “Overrides" Section:
- Dual Pass Render UNCHECKED
- High Resolution Z Buffer CHECKED
- Disable Terrain Texture Ring Blend CHECKED
- Disable Water Reflection CHECKED
(More on water reflection later when we get to MAX_Devil's new water textures)

In "Texture Info" Section:
- Composite Terrain Texture Pool: Set to D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM
- Composite Terrain Texture Usage: Set to D3DUSAGE_RENDERTARGET
- Composite Aircraft Texture Pool: Set to D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM
- Composite Aircraft Texture Usage: Set to D3DUSAGE_RENDERTARGET
- Index Buffer Pool: Set to D3DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM
- Fullscreen Swap Effect: Set to D3DSWAPEFFECT_DISCARD

- "Vertex Buffer Pool" setting...leave alone!

_________________
"Once your reputation is ruined, you can live quite freely."


Last edited by JG300-Stoopy on Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:47 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Video Driver Comparison

At this point with a fairly flyable CFS3, it's time to get down to the foundation of the system once again and make sure all is really shipshape. That way, any further CFS3-specific tweaks will show maximum benefit without any second-guessing.

This means it's time to take a look at video card drivers and get that all taken care of. If you're happy with your video drivers and feel comfortable that they're pretty much up to date, you can skip this section and move on. Otherwise it's info for us tweaker geeks and folks who aren't sure if their system is optimized and want to do something about it. Since this part is long feel free to cheat and go right to the bottom to see the winner if you like!

Because the test mule is outfitted with an NVidia card which is fairly common, this section will focus only on that particular brand. Apologies to anyone who owns a different card such as ATI, etc. Hopefully much of the same information will apply however it won't be possible to go into unique details of that card and it's drivers. However, the good news is that ATI has new Catalyst drivers out, you can read up on them and get them at ATI's download site here:

www.ati.com/support/driver.html

Now - to emulate real-world circumstances, the test rig was set up running fairly old NVidia drivers when the installation and testing above was performed. A recap of these drivers shows we have the following performance:

Nvidia 43.45 Drivers, MAXFPS set to 30 to kill stutters
Frames: 2471 - Time: 104313ms - Avg: 23.688 - Min: 16 - Max: 32

For comparison, the next driver set we'll try will be "Omega" optimized drivers for the NVidia cards. These are specially-tweaked drivers that are not directly supported by Nvidia, and also may fail to be WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certified. About all that last bit means is that DirectX Diagnostics might give you a small warning. Even Nvidia releases non-WHQL drivers.

The Omega drivers can be found at www.omegacorner.com and if you search the NVidia section you can find the older version like the 43.45's in the Nvidia archive section.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
An important note about updating NVidia Drivers:
Normally logic would tell you that it's a simple matter of downloading the latest driver install set, running the install routine, rebooting, and you're good to go. Sadly, the harsh light of reality steps in and shows this is NOT TRUE.

It's common for at least one file, called nv4_disp.dll, to be left behind in the process. Typical when a system file is in use and can't be deleted or overwritten. So here's one suggested method to completely update your drivers. It uses a file remover utility called NFR - "Nasty File Remover", available at www.guru3d.com. The exact link is:
download.guru3d.com/pa...amp;id=582

This utility will clean up leftover drivers left behind by the uninstall process, and should be used after the drivers are uninstalled but before Windows XP attempts to install the new drivers.

1) Uninstall the current video drivers by going to the Control Panel and launching the Add/Remove Programs applet. For Nvidia owners, scroll down the list and select the Nvidia drivers, and select the "Change/Remove" button. Select YES to continue. the drivers will be removed.

2) The system will then prompt you for a restart of the computer. Select "OK" and be ready to interrupt the boot process with the F8 key....right after the system BIOS check is complete. Tap the F8 key a few times and you should get the prompt allowing different startup options. Select "Safe Mode" at the top of the list and let the system boot up. Don't be alarmed by the low-res screen you get.

3) Now run the NFR application. Select "Nvidia" and select "Next" to let it search for leftover files in the system directory. Typically, it will find the one file mentioned above. Select the file and then choose the "Delete" option. When NFR is done, it will suggest another scan - let it scan again and it shouldn't find anything. Select "Exit" and you are done.



4) Now install the new drivers as per the recommended procedure (you did download them already didn't you). This should now proceed normally and when the system reboots, you may have to re-select your video settings (resolution etc) and maybe move a few icons back to their original positions with the mouse - that's it!

That's one method of several to use, but it eliminates any nagging doubt as to wether the drivers are REALLY all up to date.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK now on with the show - here are the results for several different video drivers which were tested with the CFS3 configuration so far:

OMEGA 43.45 Drivers from www.omegacorner.com
(Two tests were run because the first results were unexpected)
Frames: 2186 - Time: 108016ms - Avg: 20.237 - Min: 13 - Max: 32

After having praised the Omega drivers, this seemed odd but there are the numbers. Stock NVidia 43.45's beat 'em out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NVidia 52.16 drivers:
Frames: 2000 - Time: 101844ms - Avg: 19.637 - Min: 1 - Max: 32

Oh no - even worse! And on top of that, some BAD NASTY brown flickering polygons started popping up in the middle of the flight test. After a whole bunch of digging, this was traced to the “Vertex Buffer Pool� setting in the CFS3Config program...it was set to DPOOL_SYSTEMMEM....setting it back to defalt settings cured the problem, so another test was in order, and the result was:

CFS3Config Texture Info:
Vertex Buffer PoolMust be set to D3DPOOL_DEFAULT
Frames: 2264 - Time: 99203ms - Avg: 22.821 - Min: 16 - Max: 32

Compared to Avg: 23.688 - Min: 16 - Max: 32, the 52.16's loose a little bit. However, keep in mind that these are much newer drivers and other potential benefits exist - like having better compatibility with other programs on the system.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back to OmegaCorner, because it still seemed hard to believe the "Omega Tweaked" drivers got beat out....here are newer Omega's being tested:

OMEGA 45.23 Drivers
Frames: 2271 - Time: 99500ms - Avg: 22.824 - Min: 11 - Max: 32

The Omega tweaks must be for stuff that CFS3 doesn't appreciate. No reason to run 3rd-party stuff if there's no other benefit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back to NVidia again, more current stuff:

Nvidia 53.03 Drivers, WHQL Certified
Frames: 2317 - Time: 100968ms - Avg: 22.947 - Min: 11 - Max: 32

Still an overall loss to the 43.45's and only slightly better average FPS than the 52.16's....but the 11 FPS Minimum measurement is really not good. The numbers point to this driver being more "peaky" than others, and consistency is really the goal here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally, Nvidia's latest:

NVidia 56.64 Drivers, just released:
Frames: 2112 - Time: 97281ms - Avg: 21.710 - Min: 10 - Max: 32

Nice new features, but not the best performance. We'll wait for the next version.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summary:
Of 6 different and fairly common driver sets, the two top performers were the Nvidia 43.45's and the NVidia 52.16's. The minimum FPS measurements were not only the same, but the highest of any drivers tested. The overall FPS is less than 1FPS difference and so the decision here is pretty easy - go with the latest drivers. There's other things that still can be done to make up some potential difference, and the overall system benefits by being more up-to-date.

So after another uninstall and cleanup with NFR, the 52.16's were put back in place and buttoned down for good.

*****************************************************

UPDATE: New NVidia Drivers

Since the above was written, NVidia has now produced a newer driver set, version 60.72, with even BETTER performance than the 52.16's so far. Please see the update on this page for more information:

216.176.86.154/cpg/ind...;p=234#234

*****************************************************

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:48 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Nvidia Driver Optimization

(If you have an ATI card, my apologies but little to none of this may apply)

Best thing about having fresh new video drivers on the system, is going to see all the settings! Plenty of fun things to play with and check out. BUT:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CAUTION IS IN ORDER: Be advised, this section is the trickiest one. It potentially involves registry edits to turn on the advanced features of the Nvidia control panel, and will discuss areas that potentially could harm your system if abused or misused. The changes described below are considered relatively safe but still, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK, MAKE ONE CHANGE AT A TIME SO YOU CAN BACK ANYTHING OUT, AND JUST BE CAREFUL. Neither the author nor Com-Central assume any liability for damage claimed done to your system by use of the below material.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Nvidia control panel allows access to many features by default, but not all the features you might need to access in order to increase performance. A switch called "Coolbits" exists to turn those features on, but it involves an edit to the Windows system Registry - not the safest or user-friendly environment to go into. Rather than duplicate it here, just click this link below to read up on it, and make your own call:

oc3dmark.octeams.com/tip02.html

Regardless of your decision, here are the items which were next modified on the test mule system. Some will be available without the "Coolbits" registry edit, others won't:

Access the Nvidia control panel by right-clicking anywhere on the Windows desktop, select "Properties", gO to "Settings" tab, click the "Advanced" button, then go to the "NVidia" tab. You'll find each item as you go down the list of entries on the left side of the NVdia control panel.

Here are the measured details of each change:

(Current CFS3 FPS Baseline: Average: 22.947 - Min: 11 - Max: 32)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Performance and Quality Settings:
Changed from "Quality" to "Performance"
Test Flight Result:
Frames: 2235 - Time: 100046ms - Avg: 22.339 - Min: 12 - Max: 32

Changed from "Performance" to High Performance"
Test Flight Result:
Frames: 2194 - Time: 96578ms - Avg: 22.717 - Min: 12 - Max: 32

Summary: Every little bit helps...picked up a little on the low end. Kept this setting at "High Performance".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set Anisotropic Filtering to "2X"
Result:
Frames: 2187 - Time: 97172ms - Avg: 22.506 - Min: 11 - Max: 32

MUCH better look to the graphics however. Rather than push to the "4x" setting, this was left at 2X and we moved on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set Direct3D -> Mipmap Level Detail to "Highest Performance"
Result: FUZZY GAUGES!
Frames: 2153 - Time: 95562ms - Avg: 22.529 - Min: 14 - Max: 32

Set Direct3D -> Mipmap Level Detail to "Blend"
Result: STILL FUZZY GAUGES!
Frames: 2123 - Time: 94297ms - Avg: 22.513 - Min: 12 - Max: 32

Set Direct3D -> Mipmap Level Detail to "Highest Quality" which is where it was at the start.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set Direct3D Fog Table Emulation to "Disabled"
Result:
Frames: 2174 - Time: 95984ms - Avg: 22.649 - Min: 13 - Max: 32

Not enough difference to bother with - set back to "Enabled"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set Direct3D Vertical Sync to "Always Off"
Result:
Frames: 2298 - Time: 97750ms - Avg: 23.508 - Min: 15 - Max: 32

NOW we're talkin'. Left at "Always Off".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set Direct3D "Render no more than" 1 "Frames Ahead"
Result:
Frames: 2230 - Time: 95234ms - Avg: 23.416 - Min: 15 - Max: 32

Ehhhh. Punted and put back to 2 since so many people claim this is a tweak.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Changed OpenGL settings:
"Enable Texture Clamp Behavior"
"Vertical Sync Off by Default"
2004-03-20 17:10:04 - CFS3
Frames: 2354 - Time: 99782ms - Avg: 23.591 - Min: 11 - Max: 32

Ewww. Don't mess with 'em. Reset to default.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND LASTLY....The DREADED OVERCLOCKING........

(Note: Never been a big fan of overclocking hardware. Always seemed like a great way to slowly cook stuff and cause instability problems, so have always turned away from it. The hardware engineers who design this stuff know best, don't they? )

Nevertheless, since there's a control panel tool for it, and an "Autodetect" setting, it must be kinda okay. I mean Nvidia is giving a way to change it right here so how bad can it really be, as long as it's not abused?

Okay...since this is a test mule, let's test it. But only up to what the "Autodetect" function gives us. Again, DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK ON YOUR OWN SYSTEM.

Clicking the "Allow Overclocking" checkmark pops up a friendly little warning then gives access to the Overclocking controls. After selecting the Autodetect button, after a short time, the system will respond with something like the following settings (which really weren't too far above what it was already at):



After pressing "OK" and acknowledging the warnings and message that the changes would be applied on the next startup, the system was rebooted and another test flight was performed, and this very mild video card overclocking via "Autodetect" resulted in:

Frames: 2421 - Time: 100640ms - Avg: 24.056 - Min: 15 - Max: 32

It was rechecked for consistency a second time and we got:

Frames: 2334 - Time: 96781ms - Avg: 24.116 - Min: 15 - Max: 32

And THAT is good enough to wrap this area up for now. The original goal was to get "equivalent or better FPS performance" and we started with 24.5 FPS average in 800x600 mode fer cryin out loud, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 32 FP. At an average of 24.1, minimum of 15 and max of 32 in much higher res, that's close 'nuff for now. So the lid was closed on the video driver panel and the test mule was given a chance to rest.

Summary: Effective changes were:
- Performance and Quality Settings set to "High Performance"
- Anisotropic Filtering set to "2X"
- Direct3D Vertical Sync set to "Always Off"
- Mild Overclocking via the "Autodetect" function.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:48 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Install the MAX Cloud tweaks

Now with a good base of CFS3 Configs, video drivers, and settings, it's time to pop the hood on CFS3 again and take a hard look at waht MS gave us...and see what some people have done about improving on that.

An excellent gent by the name of MAX_Devil has spent what must have been an awesome amount of time making several improvements to the textures of CFS3, with the apparent goal in mind of not only making the game look much better, but making it do so while appearing to be set at higher quality settings than it really is. Question is, is it a visual enhancement or a performance improvement? For those of us who are used to thinking of the two as mutually exclusive, the results are very (and pleasantly) surprising

First we'll deal with the MAX_Clouds update for CFS3 since there's so much time spent looking at 'em in the test process. A comprehensive download of all MAX_Devils tweaks - Clouds, Terrain, Water plus a few other goodies - is also on the download server here at Com-Central.net's download section. Look for the CFS3 Utilities section.

http://com-central.net/index.php?name=Downloads&c=75

It's a large file but well worth the single download for all that stuff.

After downloading, open the ZIP file "MAXcloudsUPDATE.zip" and extract the contents to a test folder. Open the README file and follow the instructions. MAX is a man of few words (which is good, after you've read all THIS stuff) and the installation is actualy pretty simple.

Here's a shot of the 3/8 clouds before the mod:

Here's%20a%20shot%20of%20afterwards:

And test results give us:
Result - Frames: 2295 - Time: 95797ms - Avg: 23.956 - Min: 14 - Max: 32

Which is like, a difference of just over 0.15 FPS AVERAGE - enough to be attributed to measurement variations. Consensus? Keep 'em! Because the higher cloud settings that wil be run, the MORE positive effect there will be!

S! to MAX_Devil and his efforts on this one!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:49 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Install the MAX Terrain tweaks

MAX_devil isn't through kickin' CFS3's heiny yet. Next up, are his Terrain tweaks, which are even better. They yield great detail on distant scenery and really help bring the whole sim to life.

Same as before, MAX's Terrain tweak update can be downloaded from the download server here at Com-Central.net's download section. Look for the CFS3 Utilities section.

http://com-central.net/index.php?name=Downloads&c=75

It's a large file but well worth the single download for all that stuff. This is the same file as used in the above section if you've already downloaded it.

Open the ZIP file "MAXterrain Tweak FINAL.zip" and extract the contents to a test folder. Open the README file and follow the instructions again.

Here's a shot of the CFS3 terrain before the mod:

If%20you%20read%20MAX's%20instructions%20properly,%20you'll%20note%20that%20this%20mod%20calls%20for%20different%20settings%20in%20CFS3Config%20than%20what%20have%20been%20used%20here%20so%20far.%20%20So%20run%20CFS3Config%20and%20do%20as%20MAX%20sez....Terrain%20Slider%20goes%20to%20\"1\",%20Scenery%20goes%20to%20\"3\".%20%20Run%20CFS3%20and%20check%20it%20out...AWESOME:

And test results give us:
Frames: 2199 - Time: 93969ms - Avg: 23.401 - Min: 12 - Max: 32

Well admittedly, thats a bit of a hit but no sweat, with scenery like this it's well worth it IMHO. Take my word for it, the shrunken JGP's just can;t do this stuff justice. Need the performance more? Well, it's your call but remember we're still not through yet.

Out of curiosity, the settings on the test system were moved back to where they were before the terrain tweak - against MAX's recommendations - and another test was performed, yielding:

Frames: 1939 - Time: 99453ms - Avg: 19.496 - Min: 14 - Max: 32

Well that says it all....Moved the Terrain and Scenery back to MAX recommended settings of 1 and 3 respectively.

Another S! to MAX_Devil for his efforts!!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:50 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Install the MAX Water Texture Tweaks

Apparently not one to rest on his laurels, MAX_Devil has one more trick up his sleeve, and it addresses the big one.....Water textures. If you recall at the outset of this project, it was said that water is one of the biggest FPS offenders in CFS3. Well you're about to see why that claim was made.

MAX's Water textures can be downloaded from the download server here at Com-Central.net's download section. Look for the CFS3 Utilities section.

http://com-central.net/index.php?name=Downloads&c=75

It's a large file but well worth the single download for all that stuff. This is the same file as used in the above two sections if you've already downloaded it.

Open the ZIP file "MAXwaterANIMATIONfinalRELEASE.zip" and extract the contents to a test folder. Open the README file and follow the instructions again. This time, you'll note that there are two different sets to choose form. UNZIP the whole contents to a test directory and look in both folders, there is a sample picture of each. The dark water texture was chosen for the test mule.

A note about this particular installation: This one overwrites some original files in the effects/fxtextures folder in the main CFS3 directory. So the first thing you should do is BACK UP the original fxtextures folder just in case. However, the original water texture had a strange habit of showing up again after a while....what it seems happened is CFS3 still searches for different effects no matter what folder they may be in. Solution was to ZIP the backup folder up....then I renamed it fxtextures.zip_original so it couldn't even look in the ZIP...problem solved, no more turqoise stock water textures!

Here's a shot of the stock CFS3 Water textures before the mod:

....and%20which%20resulted%20in%20this%20performance%20of: Frames:%202199%20-%20Time:%2093969ms%20-%20Avg:%2023.401%20-%20Min:%2012%20-%20Max:%2032%20 And%20here%20are%20the%20MAX%20WATER%20Textures.....

Anyone who can't see that this is a vast improvement, needs to get away from the computer NOW and go watch 6 straight hours of "Gilligan's Island". Unless that's been the problem. Anyway, sure it looks fantastic, but the proof is in the puddin'....so another test flight is in order (really enjoying the scenery now) and the numbers that come out are...(drum roll)....

Frames: 2351 - Time: 95531ms - Avg: 24.609 - Min: 17 - Max: 32

And THOSE are the best numbers yet. Particularly the Min FPS measurement....again, best yet. With the best scenery yet. Re-read the mission statement at the beginning of all this, and it's pretty safe to say Mission Accomplished.

A word about Disabling Water Reflection in CFS3Config
The install notes that MAX_Devil gives us instruct to have water animation activated and that water reflection is personal preference. Just my personal opinion here; the water animation seems optional too - you'll see the whitecaps move a bit with it turned on, but at 400MPH it's not always a significant detail. However, as to the other setting, the pictures above just don't do justice to what these textures look like with Water Reflections enabled...it's a whole different ocean, and looks gorgeous. Unfortunately, this was also accompanied by a noticeable FPS hit on the test mule. Bottom line is, if you have the extra FPS budget to allow it, turn on water reflections. If you are trying to squeeze every drop of performance out of your system, leave it off (and maybe go with the light blue water instead of the dark, which will look a little closer to what reflections would give you).

Either way, the Professor would approve highly. So would th'Skipper and Maryanne! Smile Matter of fact, MAX_Devil, everyone on this uncharted desert isle called CFS3 gives you a huge S~ !!

(at this point a break is called for as the tester is getting a little punchy)...:D

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:50 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Sound Stutter fix

Anyone installing or tweaking along with this project surely hasn't been able to resist shooting down a few planes by now. Notice that annoying PAUSE when you first pull the trigger?

CFS3 has a nasty habit of pausing for a split-second when you first fire your guns at a plane in a room. That's because it has to go out and fetch the sound file for the machine guns or cannon. Same things happen on some explosions. Surely we've all noticed it and have been living with it.

If memory serves right, credit for this one goes to (no surprise here)...MAX_Devil again, who found this and shared with the community some time ago. There is a file called 'preload.xml' in the main CFS3 directory which has some sounds set up to already load in cache so they don't cause a stutter. By simply adding the gun sounds to this file, they wll be preloaded and the system stutter will completely disappear. Only side effect is you might have to train yourself to NOT expect it now!

For this one, the tweak is pretty simple and the info shared about it showed how to go modify the stock file. JG300 uses a file based on this information with one or two extras thrown in, so to make it simple, you can just download and install this tweak rather than edit an XML file. Quick, simple, and no pause or stutter when you pull the trigger. It contains the original file also so the change can be reversed for any reason if anyone finds a reason to.

Here it is: simple install, just run the EXE program in the ZIP:

216.176.86.154/jg300/Preloadfix.zip

Bottom line: Not like the rest of the tweaks that yield a smoother flight all the time, but it makes a big difference where it counts...it's definitely recommended!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:51 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Multiplayer: Windowed Mode test & MAX_FPS Revisited

Credit for this one goes to FOE_Pappy, a pillar of the CFS3 MP community, and this is A GREAT tweak.

This particular tweak addresses the issue of CPU performance specifically for Multiplayer. CFS3 pretty much claims all the CPU time it can, and this is not particularly good if you are hosting a game. Side effects can include lag, maddening "freezes" for the host and game quality overall can suffer. WHY? Well...going WAYYYY back up this whole list, the VERY FIRST tweak that was done, the MAX_FPS setting, has absolutely NO EFFECT on Multiplayer!

You don't necessarily have to do this "Windowed" trick but it's good info....you could instead just skip down to the section on MAX_FPS in Multiplayer and plug in the number you are already using for QC / Standalone mode....but there's no guarantee that will help unless you see your CPU usage.

Here's the whole salami....the following shows how to run CFS3 in "windowed" mode so you can assess how much CPU overhead is being eaten up.....this is important because anyone experiencing those momentary 1-4 second (or more) "freezes" should be able to eliminate them entirely by bringing your CPU load down to less than 100%. If you are running at 100% CPU load, especially in single-player, than CFS3 multiplayer is more than likely gonna give you this problem.....because the additional overhead needed for the comm packets and player handling, especially if you are hosting, has the system working overtime at that point. Which means it has to do some housekeeping and spool out to virtual memory occasionally, which is....yup, you got it.....the freeze-ups!

Basically it's pretty simple: Find your CFS3 icon (mine is on a desktop folder), and copy it, paste it, and rename it accordingly. Look below and you'll see one CFS3 icon and one for WINDOWED mode:

Now%20to%20make%20it%20actually%20run%20in%20windowed%20mode,%20just%20add%20the%20option%20-windowed%20in%20the%20target%20field%20in%20program%20properties%20-%20right-click%20the%20icon,%20select%20properties,%20enter%20the%20added%20text,%20hit%20OK: Here's%20what%20it%20will%20look%20like%20when%20you%20run%20it%20-%20kinda%20funky%20but%20the%20great%20thing%20is%20now%20you%20can%20run%20some%20other%20tools%20like%20Task%20Manager%20alongside%20it.... ...and%20the%20tool%20to%20use%20is%20Task%20Manager,%20specifically%20the%20CPU%20Usage%20histogram.%20%20In%20Windows%20XP%20you%20can%20invoke%20Task%20Manager%20by%20pressing%20CTRL-ALT-DELETE.....then%20select%20the%20\"Performance\"%20tab%20to%20see%20your%20CPU%20usage: Relocate%20the%20task%20manager%20window%20down%20to%20the%20bottom%20so%20you%20can%20watch%20the%20graph%20as%20you%20fly.%20%20Here,%20you'll%20notice%20that%20CPU%20usage%20is%20PEGGED%20at%20100%%20all%20the%20time%20(the%20jaggies%20are%20from%20switching%20back%20and%20forth%20as%20I%20got%20set%20up)....you%20gotta%20fly%20for%20a%20while%20to%20get%20consistent%20results.%20%20THIS%20IS%20BAD!!!!! Now%20look%20at%20the%20difference%20below%20in%20CPU%20usage....THIS%20is%20much%20better.%20%20Notice%20that%20CFS3%20hardly%20ever%20creeps%20into%20the%20100%%20zone%20now%20-%20when%20it%20does,%20it's%20the%20explosions%20and%20smoke%20which%20seem%20to%20drag%20the%20 system%20down,%20and%20those%20only%20happen%20occasionally.%20%20But%20the%20overall%20average%20is%20far%20better.%20%20All%20it%20took%20to%20do%20this%20was%20to%20limited%20the%20frame%20rates%20in%20the%20regular%20game%20AND%20in%20multiplayer%20to%2030%20and%2028%20FPS%20respectively.%20%20Info%20on%20how%20to%20do%20this%20is%20immediately%20below%20(%20you%20have%20to%20edit%20a%20seperate%20XML%20file%20for%20multiplayer%20frame%20rate%20limits).%20%20%20The%20thing%20to%20know%20about%20CFS3%20is,%20it%20will%20run%20off%20with%20ALL%20your%20resources%20PLUS%20it%20will%20let%20the%20video%20card%20run%20away%20with%20itself%20unless%20you%20tell%20it%20not%20to.%20%20 With%20everything%20set%20up%20to%20run%20at%20lower%20CPU%20usage,%20once%20you%20go%20back%20to%20running%20in%20full%20screen,%20MP%20is%20TOTALLY%20smooth,%20no%20hangs%20or%20freezes%20ever.%20%20And%20the%20other%20benefit%20is,%20if%20you%20host%20games,%20the%20people%20who%20enter%20your%20rooms%20will%20also%20notice%20a%20big%20difference,%20because%20your%20system%20now%20has%20much%20more%20CPU%20time%20to%20process%20the%20game%20packets%20coming%20and%20going%20from%20everyone.%20%20 As%20a%20matter%20of%20fact,%20it's%20a%20good%20idea%20to%20try%20an%20MP%20session,%20or%20even%20hosting%20a%20game,%20while%20running%20in%20windowed%20mode.%20%20You'll%20see%20that%20as%20people%20come%20into%20your%20room,%20your%20CPU%20load%20goes%20up.%20%20A%20room%20full%20of%20about%2010%20people%20eventually%20drive%20my%20system%20up%20to%20100%%20load,%20your%20mileage%20will%20vary,%20but%20only%20then%20does%20any%20lag%20become%20noticeable.%20%20Try%20it%20and%20see%20-%20makes%20a%20big%20difference.

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:51 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Multiplayer: MAX_FPS Revisited - "FramerateCap"

More on this gem of a tweak from FOE_Pappy:

This is basically a continuation of the above subject, but putting it into practice to set Multiplayer FPS restrictions: CFS3 Multiplayer mode does not recognize the regular MAXFPS tweak. There is a different file in a different whole area to set the limit just for multiplayer. This is important because if you don't, you loose the benefits of freeing up CPU usage when playing online.

2) To set MULTIPLAYER frame rate limits:

You have to edit and add a little bit more to a file that is in a different folder - this is in your CFS3 Applications folder, which is located in:

C:\Documents and Settings\{your user name}\Application Data\Microsoft\Combat Flight Simulator 3.0

Locate the file called multiplayer.xml. Just like before, right-click on it, and copy/paste it to make a backup just like you did the other file. Then right-click the original file again and select "Open" or "open With...." and open it with Notepad.

-----------------------------------------------------
TIP: Don't see the file? Probably because you haven't yet hosted a Multiplayer game yet. It won't show up until you do. There is a similar default file in the CFS3 "default" folder (under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3) that seems to have effect if you edit it. But once you host a room, go check the NEW file that is created in the area described up above, and make sure it has this setting entered!
-----------------------------------------------------

This time, you have to add a whole entry which is FramerateCap="30" (or whatever number) as follows:

<Multiplayer>
<Configuration FramerateCap="30" GunServiceAddr="cfs3match.zone.msn.com"
GunServicePort="2300" Username="Whoever" Password="" Name="The Pigsty" Description="lets have fun" MaxPlayers="10" Publish="1"/>
</Multiplayer>

Make it look like this (except for the "Stoopy" stuff Smile )



Save it, exit, and start CFS3 to test.

That should do ya.....go slow and don't make any typos, an extra or missing quote mark or misspelling will hose you - heck, cut and paste from here if it helps. Remember, if something isn't working right, you can go DELETE the files and just RENAME the backups you made, delete of the "Copy of " part and you're OK.

Bottom line: NO MORE FREEZEUPS...better rooms hosted, with less lag...S~ Pappy!!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:52 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Multiplayer connection Settings

Speaking of Multiplayer, now that it's running really well if you've taken advantage of the info above, here's reminder info on hosting more players in a room than default settings allow. Not really a performance tweak or anyting, but this project is slanted towards multiplayer and is one of those easy little details that's easy to forget to share.

The default CFS3 settings assume a 56K modem connection, so broadband users are limited to 4 players unless this setting is changed. Go to "Multiplayer Options" and change the connection type to either DSL, CABLE or T1. T1 allows a maximum of 16 players, but you can dial it back from there - I use a T1 setting but dialed back to 10 players in the hosting options when starting a room.

Drawbacks: If set higher than your system is really capable of, players in your rooms will eventually complain of lag. SO make sure you have the CPU overhead to do this, and don't go nutzo with it.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:52 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

'Airfield Creep' and the "No Parked Planes" Tweak:

Credit for this goes to Sugita for passing along....as well as a link to the ZIP file hosted at sim-outhouse which has no author (or instructions).

This tweak deals with the annoying issue of slow FPS when approaching or viewing an airfield. Everything is buzzin along great but slows to a dang crawl whenever you even LOOK at an airfield.
Pretty much most of the slowdown is caused by the aircraft sitting on the ground - the increased level of detail needed in order to render them sucks up performance. Logically the fix is to clear those planes out, and the supplied tweak (thanks, Sugita!) modifies a few CFS3 files such that airfields will not have spawned aircraft.

Now there's more than one way to skin the cat on this problem - the method used here is to edit the default airfield files themselves and to eliminate the positions reserved for any parked aircraft.

Another way to do it, is to edit the XDP file for each aircraft in your collection and to set the "Allowspawn" setting to "0" (this is done the same way as some things like the MAXFPS tweak - open the XDP file with notepad, edit, save). This method is more of a bummer because it's not uncommon to have gobs of add-on aircraft and who wants to edit 65 or 100 different XDP files. BUT for some planes, like fictional ones (GeeBees, etc) it's handy because then they won't spawn in missions, which is always kinda odd to see.

Anyway, back to this tweak, and the file for it which can be found in the downloads section:

http://com-central.net/index.php?name=Downloads&c=75

As stated, there is no readme or author or instructions and I hope it's okay just to post the link in the manner it was given to me (Sugita, if you know the creator, I'd like to contact them about permission to wrap it as a self-installing file). But here's what to do with it:

0) If you like, make a backup of your "facilities" folder in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3 directory.

1) Download the ZIP from the link above. Open the ZIP, inside are two more ZIP files.

2) Open the "airfields_no_parked_planes.zip" file within the ZIP

3.a) Extract the contents of "airfields_no_parked_planes.zip" to the main CFS3 folder, which is usually:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Combat Flight Simulator 3
...and because the correct pathname is included in the ZIP, they will automatically extract to the \facilities folder.

3.b) (Or extract them to a test folder and copy them to the CFS3\facilities folder manually)

4) Either way, allow it to overwrite the original files - by the way, the ORIGINAL files are in that OTHER ZIP file included, so keep it handy just in case.

Now - what's it do? Obviously it strips any parked planes from the airfields. So things maybe might look a little empty....but it's WARTIME and maybe those planes are just out on a mission like they oughta be :D!!!! And again, for dogfighting multiplayer stuff, this isn't terribly important...full-on realism buffs can make their own call here. Frankly, to me, I didn't notice they were gone unless I looked for 'em.

How effective is this tweak?

To test this out, a more specific and simpler test was set up:

Set up a "Freeflight", same parameters as the dogfight test but at 2500 ft.
Spawn, set full zoom out, TAC set to "Airfields"
Maneuver your aircraft 2 miles North of the airbase at Toulon, 80% throttle, descend to 500ft. altitude.
Turn South and fly straight toward base at 500 ft.
Set TAC to 1 Mile (CTRL-SHIFT-T a coupla times)
When the airbase appears on the edge of the TAC display, Begin FRAPS logging (1 mile out)
Stop FRAPS logging when tower disappears under nose

Flyby test, STOCK airfields and planes all over:
Frames: 218 - Time: 13343ms - Avg: 16.338 - Min: 14 - Max: 24

Flyby test, with "No Parked Planes" Tweak:
Frames: 272 - Time: 13187ms - Avg: 20.626 - Min: 19 - Max: 25

Obviously there's where a lot of the performance hit in the previous tests have been coming from...this is VERY exciting and when the full-scale 90-second dogfight test was performed again, the numbers come out to:

Full flight retest

Previous Baseline:
Frames: 2351 - Time: 95531ms - Avg: 24.609 - Min: 17 - Max: 32

"No Parked Planes" Tweak:
Frames: 2329 - Time: 90656ms - Avg: 25.690 - Min: 20 - Max: 32

HOOOHOOO!! Best numbers yet plus a really annoying problem solved! BIG THUMBS UP from the test mule machine!
:rocker: :-D :rocker:

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Last edited by JG300-Stoopy on Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:38 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:01 am
Post subject: Re: CFS3 Install, Tweak & Tune Guide!

Multiplayer "Blank Map" FIX

56th_Capt_Predator PM'd with this great tip!

While not a "performance tweak" per se, it's still a mind-blower and fixes a real nuisance problem in CFS3 where airfields don't always show on the map in Multiplayer rooms. While the FFA guys may not care, those of us who fly missions, official matches that require forming up over or near an airfield, or do cross-country airfield hops and air races really need this...because all too often, you hit the map key and get.....nuthin'. Just a empty map with no airbases!

Previously (at least to some of us) the only known fix was to exit MP, go into Quick Combat, set up a flight anywhere in the same country, spawn, check the map, exit, go back into MP, login, and re-join the room. Frikkin' headache.

Here's the PERMANENT fix: Go run CFS3Config again (don't forget to make the cfs3config.xml not read-only if you are using that tip) and uncheck the "Disable Movie UI" box right here in the "Custom Settings" -> "Overrides" section:

Yes,%20this%20will%20re-enable%20the%20\"preview\"%20screen%20in%20CFS3%20where%20you%20see%20the%20airfield%20and%20the%20selected%20plane.%20%20Takes%20a%20few%20more%20seconds%20to%20load%20CFS3%20too,%20so%20be%20prepared. But%20from%20now%20on,%20the%20\"M\"%20map%20key%20will%20always%20show%20the%20airfields%20(yup,%20the%20screenshots%20are%20from%20verifying%20the%20fix...apologies%20to%20\"the%20Editor\"%20for%20popping%20in%20and%20out%20of%20his%20room%20to%20do%20this)%20just%20like%20this:

Much better eh? And the map is now also zoomed out, which was an unexpected result, but hey, it works!

Good one..thanks and ~S~ to 56th_Capt_Predator, and all the 56th gang!


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