Graphic engine settings

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The SIMbox graphic engine settings (SGEV5) is an array of options, allowing control over the workings of the graphic engine. The settings cover a large array of subjects. From control over visual settings to memory allocation. From settings concerning the terrain engine to the AGI system.

It is advised to contact Simigon support before making any changes to the graphic engine setting.

Graphic setting options

The graphic settings options are divided to 2 major categories: Engine settings and Terrain settings. Engine settings control system wide options for the graphic engine, and influence the graphic engine as a whole. Terrain settings control options within a specific terrain, and influence the specific terrain for which they are changed.


Engine settings

The following table describes the available regular options within engine settings:

Name Description Flags
Agi\Batching\Batch Update Interval The amount of time to wait after batching AGIs before batching again [in seconds].
Agi\Batching\Volatile Frame Time The number of seconds the engine will wait before attempting to batch an AGI after a change.
Agi\Const Depth Bias The constant depth bias value added to all AGIs. O
Agi\Distance Relative Line Sets whether the line width is relative to the distance of the line from the screen or absolute. O
Agi\GIS\Texture Format The pixel texture format used in the images. E
Agi\Image\Mipmap Bias The bias factor added to mipmap level calculations in textures. O
Agi\Immediate Buffer Release
Agi\Min Line Width The minimum width of a line [in pixels]. This value pertains only to outlines of geometrical shapes or line type AGIs such as line and multi-line. O
Agi\Slope Depth Bias The slope depth bias value added to all AGIs. O
Agi\VC Max Texture The maximum width/height textures used in video cameras [in pixels]. E
Camera\Allow Inactive Sets whether cameras Are allowed to go inactive. If true things such as the terrain will not be loaded for the camera when it is inactive. O
Camera\Auto Clipping\ATC Safety Margin Far A value which is added to the far clip planes when using the automatic terrain clipping generation mechanism.
Camera\Auto Clipping\ATC Safety Margin Near A value which is added to the near clip planes when using the automatic terrain clipping generation mechanism.
Camera\Auto Clipping\Range Real Near A coefficient for the derived near clip plane when using the automatic terrain clipping generation mechanism.
Camera\Clip Planes\CP Console Far The far clip plane distance when drawing the console. O
Camera\Clip Planes\CP Console Near The near clip plane distance when drawing the console. O
Camera\Clip Planes\CP Instrument Far The near clip plane distance when drawing the console in instrument view. O
Camera\Clip Planes\CP Instrument Near The near clip plane distance when drawing the console in instrument view. O
Camera\Clip Planes\CP World Far The near clip plane distance when drawing the world. O
Camera\Clip Planes\CP World Near The near clip plane distance when drawing the world. O
Camera\Time To Inactive The time if in which the camera is not rendered, it is considered inactive [in seconds] O
Camera\Visibility Clipping Coef Objects beyond the visibility (fog) range are usually not drawn. This parameter tells by how much to increase the perimeter in which objects are not drawn relative to the visibility range. E
Debug\Agi\Debug Operation Activates various debugging operations. Note some of the operations will work properly only if batching is disabled.
Debug\Agi\Debug Param Extra parameter for the usage of "Debug Operation" feature. Usually a handle number of an AGI.
Debug\Developer Op Internal use only.
Debug\Performance\Max Func Time Simigon internal use only. Maximum amount a function should take [in milliseconds].
Debug\Show Light Grid Shows the grid in which the lights are arranged in (blue for amount of lights).
Debug\Terrain Cover\Log Loading Cycle Logs the loading cycle.
Debug\Terrain Cover\Show Footprint Shows triangles that are marked footprint in the terrain (Triangles used to merge models into the terrain).
Debug\Terrain Cover\Show Hidden Shows triangles that are marked as hidden in the terrain (Used in physical meshes).
Debug\Terrain Cover\Show Non-Physical Shows triangles that are not marked as physical in the terrain (Triangles used by the physics engine). To see only physical Triangles set this value to true, while setting the hidden and footprint options to false.
Debug\Terrain Cover\Sound a beep to debug texture cache A beep will be sound when a texture is loaded. Low beep = real update (from RAM to GPU) is needed; High beep = texture is cached (skip update). For this feature to work the ‘Terrain Texture Cache Size' property should have a value of at least "1".
Debug\TriD\Debug Operation Activates various debugging operations.
Environment\Clouds\Canvas Cutoff Distance The distance from which clouds are assigned to be rendered to the RTT [in kilometers]. E
Environment\Clouds\Vol. Min. Thickness The minimum thickness for volumetric clouds [in meters]. O
Environment\Clouds\Vol. Thickness Coef The amount by which to multiply volumetric cloud thickness. O
Environment\Cockpit Ambient Max The maximum amount of ambient light in the cockpit. Ambient light is normalized between "Cockpit Ambient Min" and this value.
Environment\Cockpit Ambient Min The minimum amount of ambient light in the cockpit. Ambient light is normalized between this value and "Cockpit Ambient Max".
Environment\Daybreak Ambient The speed at which the ambient light transitions between mid to max value.
Environment\Daybreak Diffuse The speed at which the diffuse light transitions between mid to max value.
Environment\Daybreak Specular The speed at which the specular light transitions between mid to min value.
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Daytime Coef A coefficient used to multiply dynamic light strength during day time.
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Lights per cell Maximum number of lights that can be drawn per cell in the segmented light system. E
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Max Light Coef The maximum value coefficient by which to multiply the strength of lights.
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Max Light Range The range from which the maximum value coefficient will be used.
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Min Light Coef The minimum value coefficient by which to multiply the strength of lights.
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Min Light Range The range up to which the minimum value coefficient will be used.
Environment\Fog Color Color of the fog when limiting the visibility (This does not influence the scene when using RTSS).
Environment\Moon Ambient Max The ambient color given from the moon when it is at it's apex.
Environment\Moon Ambient Mid The ambient color given from the moon when it is on the horizon.
Environment\Moon Ambient Min The ambient color given from the moon when when it is below the ground.
Environment\Moon Color High The color of the moon when it is at it's apex. E
Environment\Moon Color Low The color of the moon when it is on the horizon. E
Environment\Moon Diffuse Max The diffuse color given from the moon when it is at it's apex.
Environment\Moon Diffuse Mid The diffuse color given from the moon when it on the horizon.
Environment\Moon Diffuse Min The diffuse color given from the moon when when it is below the ground.
Environment\Moon Size The size of the moon in the sky.
Environment\Moon Specular Max The specular color given from the moon when it is at it's apex.
Environment\Moon Specular Mid The specular color given from the moon when it is on the horizon.
Environment\Moon Specular Min The specular color given from the moon when when it is below the ground.
Environment\Night Sky Brightness A value used to lower the sky's brightness at night.
Environment\Nightfall Ambient The speed at which the ambient light transitions between mid to min value.
Environment\Nightfall Diffuse The speed at which the diffuse light transitions between mid to min value.
Environment\Nightfall Specular The speed at which the specular light transitions between mid to min value.
Environment\Precipitation\Console\Rain Fade Range The range in which rain completely disappears.
Environment\Precipitation\Console\Rain Fade Speed The speed at which rain starts to disappear.
Environment\Precipitation\Console\Rain Transparency Max Tells how transparent is the rain.
Environment\Precipitation\Console\Rain Transparency Min Tells how transparent is the rain.
Environment\Precipitation\Console\Snow Fade Range The range in which snow completely disappears.
Environment\Precipitation\Console\Snow Fade Speed The speed at which snow starts to disappear.
Environment\Precipitation\External\Rain Fade Range The range in which rain completely disappears.
Environment\Precipitation\External\Rain Fade Speed The speed at which rain starts to disappear.
Environment\Precipitation\External\Rain Transparency Max Tells how transparent is the rain.
Environment\Precipitation\External\Rain Transparency Min Tells how transparent is the rain.
Environment\Precipitation\External\Snow Fade Range The range in which snow completely disappears.
Environment\Precipitation\External\Snow Fade Speed The speed at which snow starts to disappear.
Environment\Precipitation\Rain Max Size The maximum size of a rain droplet, relative to droplet at stand still.
Environment\Star Brightness Star brightness at night.
Environment\Sun Ambient Max The ambient color given from the sun when it is at it's apex.
Environment\Sun Ambient Mid The ambient color given from the sun when it is on the horizon.
Environment\Sun Ambient Min The ambient color given from the sun when when it is below the ground.
Environment\Sun Color High The color of the sun when it is at it's apex. E
Environment\Sun Color Low The color of the sun when it is on the horizon. E
Environment\Sun Diffuse Max The diffuse color given from the sun when it is at it's apex.
Environment\Sun Diffuse Mid The diffuse color given from the sun when it on the horizon.
Environment\Sun Diffuse Min The diffuse color given from the sun when when it is below the ground.
Environment\Sun Size The size of the sun in the sky.
Environment\Sun Specular Max The specular color given from the sun when it is at it's apex.
Environment\Sun Specular Mid The specular color given from the sun when it is on the horizon.
Environment\Sun Specular Min The specular color given from the sun when when it is below the ground.
Environment\Water\Normal Offset Angle The offset angle used to calculate the normal for the waves. E
Environment\Water\Pattern Speed Correlates to the speed at which the height pattern of the waves changes E
Environment\Water\Water Render Technique [Deprecated]
Environment\Water\Wave Stretch The amount by which to stretch the waves perpendicular to their movement. E
General\Enable 3D Monitor Enables the feature which allows to render on Philips 3d monitors. E
General\Floating-Point Mode Tells whether to use consistent or fast calculations when calculating with floating point values (DirectX only). E
Shadow\Max Of Visibility The maximum percentage of the distance, from the visibility distance, an object can cast shadows.
Shadow\Max Shadow Casters The maximum number of objects allowed to cast shadows.
Shadow\Shadow Map Resolution Far Resolution of far shadow map.
Shadow\Shadow Map Resolution Mid Resolution of mid shadow map.
Shadow\Shadow Map Resolution Near Resolution of near shadow map.
Shadow\Split Padding The amount of padding to add between texture rendering splits (used in texture shadows).
Shadow\Texture Split Far Far end plane distance for splitting texture rendering (used in texture shadows).
Shadow\Texture Split Mid Mid end plane distance for splitting texture rendering (used in texture shadows).
Shadow\Texture Split Near Near end plane distance for splitting texture rendering (used in texture shadows).
Terrain\Frame Introduction Limit The maximum number of batches to introduce per frame
Terrain\Texture Memory\Distance LOD Coef Controls the mipmap skip scheme when memory limit is reached. The larger the number the more distant textures would drop in detail.
Terrain\Thread Load Limit A value used to control the speed at which secondary threads load thier content.
Terrain\Use Static Buffers Tells whether to use dynamic or static buffers. E
Terrain\Visibility Limit Padding Orthographic Areas loaded in the terrain are limited to visible area. This value adds a padding to the visible area in case of a fast moving orthographic (2d) cameras [kilometers] O
Terrain\Visibility Limit Padding Projective Areas loaded in the terrain are limited to visible area. This value adds a padding to the visible area in case of a fast moving projective (3d) cameras [kilometers] O

The following table describes the available advanced options within engine settings:

Name Description Flags
Agi\Batching\Batching Technique The technique used to batch AGIs together. (None - Slowest to display. Priority & Order - Slow to display but backward compatible. Priority Only - Fastest to display but not backward compatible.
Agi\GIS\Memory GC Limit Amount of graphic card memory that the GIS mechanism will limit itself to [in megabytes]. E
Agi\GIS\Memory Main Limit Amount of main memory that the GIS mechanism will limit itself to [in megabytes]. E
Agi\Max Text Point Size Sets the maximum detail level of polygonal fonts. O
Camera\2D LOD Relative Range Sets how the LODs in the terrain are opened. If true to open relative to the viewed range and the position of the camera. False opens only relative to the position of the camera.
Camera\Min Display Size The minimum size of objects on the window [in pixels]. Objects below this size will not be rendered. O
Camera\Reflection Render Tells for which cameras to render water reflection textures by default O
Data Query\Geom Cache Size The memory size reserved for geometry data used in height and line-of-sight queries [in megabytes]. E
Debug\Agi\Enable Clip Regions Enables/Disables all clip regions. If disabled AGIs in clip regions will be drawn unclipped.
Debug\Agi\Show Batching Shows how batches are organized in the scene. Replaces each batch with a different color.
Debug\Console\Show Console Hides/Shows the console in console (cockpit) view. Does not hide influence AGIs.
Debug\Console\Show Console World Hides/Shows the outside world when rendering console (cockpit) view.
Debug\Show Bounds Show the bounding boxes of the different objects in the scene.
Debug\Show Stats Show statistics such as frame rate, polygon count and batch count.
Debug\Terrain Cover\Log Errors Logs errors in the terrain files. E
Debug\Terrain Cover\Show mipmap skip Shows the mipmap skip texture levels that have been loaded with (0 - Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red, Black - 5).
Debug\Terrain Cover\Stop update When turned on prevents updating the terrain
Environment\Clouds\Canvas Texture Height The height of the RTT texture used to draw clouds [in pixels]. E
Environment\Clouds\Canvas Texture Width The width of the RTT texture used to draw clouds [in pixels]. E
Environment\Clouds\Cloud Texture Breadth The width and length of cloud textures [in pixels]. Lowering this value will lower memory consumption but reduce cloud complexity. O
Environment\Clouds\Cloud Texture Depth The depth of cloud textures [in pixels]. Lowering this value will lower memory consumption but reduce cloud complexity. O
Environment\Dynamic Lights\Use Double Precision Texture A value of true will consume more memory and framerate when generating dynamic lights, but will also get rid of flickering issues due to precision issues. E
Environment\Water\Reflection Complexity Above Water Denotes the type of elements rendered in water reflection when camera is above the water.
Environment\Water\Reflection Complexity Below Water Denotes the type of elements rendered in water reflection when camera is below the water.
Environment\Water\Underwater Visibility Maximum Distance which is visible underwater [in meters].
Environment\Water\Use Reflection Texture Tells whether the system will render the world to a texture used for showing reflections (computationally heavy).
General\Anti-Alias Level The anti-alias level used. This value is represented in powers of 2. E
General\Render system Type of render system used by the graphic engine. E
General\Use Multihead Tells whether to activate multihead in full screen mode. E
General\Use VSync Tells if the rendering system is synchronized with the screen's refresh rate. E
General\VSync Interval The minimum number of VSync events to wait before swapping the display buffers (Valid only when VSync is used). E
Information\Device Name The name of the graphic card device. R
Information\Driver Version The driver version of the graphics card. R
Information\Is in VMWare Tells if running inside a VMWare program. R
Information\Refresh Rate Main monitor refresh rate R
Information\Vendor The name of the graphics card's vendor. R
Information\Video Memory Size The amount of memory on the graphics card. R
Models\Animation Logic Compatibility Used to tell the system to run with the same logic as in previous versions E
Models\Low LOD Factor The relative distance at which object will switch between a medium LOD model and a low LOD model (actual distance is [size of model]*[relative factor]). O
Models\Medium LOD Factor The relative distance at which object will switch between a high LOD model and a medium LOD model (actual distance is [size of model]*[relative factor]). O
PerfSDK\Load Monitors Tells whether to load the simulation with performance monitors. E
RTSS\HS. Bone Limit The maximum number of bones allowed to be calculated by hardware skinning. Set to 0 to disable hardware skinning.
RTSS\Max Dynamic Lights (OpenGL only) The maximum number of dynamic lights which can be displayed on a single material.
RTSS\Use RTShader System Tells whether to use the real-time shader system.
Shadow\Enable Attached Objects Shadow Enables/Disables shadow being projected from objects attached to other objects.
Shadow\Enable In Video Camera Enable/Disables shadows in video camera rendering.
Shadow\Enable Self Shadow Enables/Disables object to/from showing shadows on themselves. When disabled the shadows will only be drawn on the ground. O
Shadow\Max Shadow Caster Range The maximum range that an object can be outside the frustum and still cast shadows into it.
Shadow\Max Shadow Distance The maximum distance between the camera and an object for the object to cast shadows.
Shadow\Shadow Render Technique The technique used for rendering the shadows.
Terrain\Buffers Threaded Load Use a secondary thread to load the buffers to the memory.
Terrain\Imagery Threaded Load Use a secondary thread to load the textures to the memory.
Terrain\LOD Distance Coefficient A number by which to multiply the LOD distances. A value of 0.5 will mean that objects in the terrain will be loaded at half their original defined distance.
Terrain\Point Light\Const Depth Bias A constant depth bias value added to all point lights. This prevents point lights from being hidden by the terrain. O
Terrain\Point Light\Default Min Strength The default amount of minimum brightness strength set for point lights. O
Terrain\Point Light\Slope Depth Bias A slope depth bias value added to all point lights. This prevents AGIs from being hidden by the terrain. O
Terrain\Texture Memory\Memory Limit The memory usage limit for textures in the terrain [megabyte].
Terrain\Texture Memory\Priority Range The terrain engine will load only full-detailed textures in the range between 0 and the ‘Priority Range’ [in kilometers].
Terrain\Texture Memory\Half Texture Quality Range The terrain engine will load half-detailed textures (or better) in the range between ‘Half Range’ and the ‘Priority Range’ [in kilometers].
Terrain\Texture Memory\Quarter Texture Quality Range The terrain engine will load quarter-detailed textures (or better) in the range between ‘Quarter Range’ and the ‘Half Range’ [in kilometers].
Terrain\Texture Memory\Terrain Texture Cache Size Reserved Memory for terrain textures caching [megabyte]. Important: if you set this too high, you might jam the card's memory that cause different problems may occur.
Terrain\Time Update Margin Percentage of time from a frame in which not to update the terrain.
Terrain\Track Controlled Tells whether to constantly have the controlled entity position ready. Ensures that switching the camera to the controlled entity will not generate a loading screen at the cost of extra resources.
Terrain\Track Generic 2D Tells whether to constantly have a low level 2d map. Ensures that switching the camera to 2d view will not generate a loading screen at the cost of extra resources.
Terrain\Use Instancing Tells whether to use instancing on simple objects.
Terrain\Valid Batch Range The range in which cameras can share the same batches [in meters].

Flags:

  • R - Read only.
  • E - Requires reloading the simulation to take effect.
  • O - Requires reloading the object to take effect.

Terrain settings

The following table describes the regular options available within terrain settings:

Name Description Flags
Enable Dynamic Airports Enable the generation of dynamic airports. E
Load Global World Tells whether to display a low detail terrain of the earth around the local terrain. E
Load Terrain Tells whether to actually load the terrain. Used for GIS only terrains. E
Main File The main flt file of the terrain. R
Water\Ocean Render Technique Tells whether to use the geometric water system. E
Water\Water Height The height of the water in the terrain [in meters]. E


The following table describes the advanced options available within terrain settings:

Name Description Flags
Alpha Rejection DXT1 The alpha rejection value used in the terrain for DXT1 format images [0 - 255]. Used to solve issue with semi transparent objects. E
Alpha Rejection Gen The alpha rejection value used in the terrain for most images [0 - 255]. Used to solve issue with semi transparent objects. E
Light\Daytime Intensity Max Maximum coefficient for the color intensity of lights during daytime.
Light\Daytime Intensity Min Minimum coefficient for the color intensity of lights during daytime.
Light\Light Table File An Extra file used to set point light group attributes. E
Low Quality Distance The distance of the lowest quality terrain as defined by the LOD records [in meters].
Treat as Transparent Tells whether to treat all images in the terrain as transparent. E


Flags:

  • R - Read only.
  • E - Requires reloading the simulation to take effect.
  • O - Requires reloading the object to take effect.

Commonly used settings

Limiting memory consumption

For the full article see: Graphic Engine - GPU Memory Limit

There are some occurrences in which the amount of memory in the GPU is insufficient to hold all the data that is requested of it. This situation may result in a crash of the system. The graphic engine settings can be used to limit the amount of memory used by the graphic engine.

Debugging

For the full article see: Graphic Engine - Debugging

The graphic settings has multiple parameters which are useful for debugging the simulation. This is especially true for the area of the AGI system.

Improving visuals / framerate

Shadow render technique

Use the Shadow \ Shadow Render Technique to control the rendering of shadows. You can use this parameter to disable rendering of shadows thereby improving the framerate.

Anti-aliasing

Use the General \ Anti-Alias Level parameter to set the anti aliasing level. Anti-Alias is used to smooth jagged edges when rendering a scene. Note that using higher value of Anti-Alias level will better smooth jagged edges. However, this will also increase memory consumption and lower the framerate.

General settings

Render system

You can switch the render system used by the graphic engine by setting the General \ Render System parameter. This can allow you to switch from Direct3D 9 to OpenGL.

Performance wise Direct3D 9 is usually better than OpenGL. Direct3D 9 also usually better supports advanced features. However, certain project require OpenGL as it allows to interface with the graphic card outside of the graphic engine code. This allows 3rd party products who use OpenGL to be incorporated in the rendering process with relative ease.

Graphic settings dialog

Graphic Engine Setting Dialog

The graphic engine setting dialog allows easy access to the graphic engine settings. This dialog can be accessed through the simulation setting under View->Advanced->Graphic Settings option.

Setting dialog interface

  • Engine / Terrain Tab - Allows moving between the engine settings and terrain setting sections.
  • Filter - Used to filter the options with in the settings in order to find a specific option quickly.
  • Property page - Lists the available graphic engine settings for the given section. Use this section to view and change the different setting options.
  • Show Advanced - Click to show advanced graphic settings along with the regular settings.
  • Reset value to default - Click to reset the currently selected setting in the property page to its default factory settings.
  • Save - Saves the graphic settings to the disk. Note that this button is specific for the engine setting section you are in.
  • Load - Loads the graphic settings from the disk.

Saving and loading settings

In the graphic engine setting dialog, the operation of saving and loading the settings are done per the setting section the dialog is set to.

When saving the settings under the engine tab, the user will be prompted to give the setting configuration a name. The settings will be saved to a configuration file under:[Resource Directory]\GraphicEngine\Yoda\Config\usr_[Configuration Name].cfg. By default when the simulation loads the configuration called "Default" will be loaded. However, this can be changed using simulation properties.

When saving the settings under the terrain tab, the setting will be saved to a file along side the loaded terrain. When loading the simulation with a given terrain, any changes to the terrain settings are automatically loaded.

Note that when processing the terrain through the terrain optimization tool a configuration file is created that controls terrain settings. It is advised you configure your terrain settings in the terrain optimization tool rather than through the graphic engine setting interface.

Property page coloring

Different parameter names / values in the property dialog may be colored differently:

  • Green - Simulation needs to restart in order for a change in the parameter value to take effect.
  • Blue - Object requires to be reload / recreated in order for a change in the parameter value to take effect.
  • Red - Advanced setting.
  • Gray - Read only attribute.
  • Bold - Parameter is not the default value.