FSX: Relief for the Blurries

Blurry ground textures must be near the top of many ‘simmers’ complaints about both FS9 and now FSX. I’ve tried tweaking the fiber_frame_time values in the fsx.cfg file, but alotting more thread time for processing textures has a negative performance impact on my aging computer, and the tradeoff wasn’t worth the effect in my opinion. Last night, I stumbled onto an Avsim forum thread that provided me with another way to attack the blurry problem, one that fixed it nicely. Note: this fix is only for nVidia video cards. I’m not sure if or how you could do the same with an ATI, but it might be possible.

Recently, Gary Summons noted that adding the line “MipBias=6″ to your fsx.cfg file would stop the sim from reverting to lower mips for ground textures in the near distance. I tried it, and it’s true. However, the other problem that then resulted on my system was an unacceptable shimmering in the textures. I found it more distracting than the original blurring, and backed out the change. The forum thread I read last night mentioned a companion tweak that makes MipBias viable: in addition to adding that line to your fsx.cfg, alter your video card settings to set “Negative LOD Bias” to clamp, instead of allow. The two fixes, in combination, made a dramatic difference in the sharpness of my FSX world without any noticable performance impact.

To recap, here are the two changes:

1. In your fsx.cfg file, find the [DISPLAY.Device.xxx.0] heading. The “xxx” will be replaced with a reference to your video card. Under that heading, add this line: MipBias=6 (Phil Taylor says users have reported good results with numbers from 5-7, but 6 is a good place to start.) My fsx.cfg display entry now looks like this:

[DISPLAY.Device.NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS.0] Mode=1280x1024x32
TriLinear=1
AntiAlias=1
MipBias=6

2. If you use an nVidia video card, go into your video settings. Using the “Advanced Settings” view, find the “Negative LOD Bias” setting, and change it to “Clamp”.

If your results are like mine, the next time you start FSX you’ll be shocked at how sharp and beautiful the ground textures are. And without sacrificing frame rates! Now that’s my idea of a great tweak. Thanks to Gary, Phil, and weeniemcween for the info.

19 comments… add one

  • reply Ted October 4, 2007, 10:57 am

    Could you please tell me exactly where the fsx.cfg file is? Forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea and these blurries are driving me nuts! Thank you.

  • reply Ted October 4, 2007, 10:57 am

    Could you please tell me exactly where the fsx.cfg file is? Forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea and these blurries are driving me nuts! Thank you.

  • reply spotlope October 4, 2007, 11:08 am

    “Where’s my fsx.cfg file” is a question I’ve seen asked often. A quick Google search turned up this: http://flyawaysimulation.com/postt23414.html

  • reply spotlope October 4, 2007, 11:08 am

    “Where’s my fsx.cfg file” is a question I’ve seen asked often. A quick Google search turned up this: http://flyawaysimulation.com/postt23414.html

  • reply Capn Biggles November 20, 2008, 8:24 am

    the ‘mipbias=n’ must be for older versions of Nvidia cards. When added to my fsx.cfg it caused my graphics to ‘shimmer’. (EVGA Nvidia 260)
    But thanks for the tip.

  • reply Capn Biggles November 20, 2008, 8:24 am

    the ‘mipbias=n’ must be for older versions of Nvidia cards. When added to my fsx.cfg it caused my graphics to ‘shimmer’. (EVGA Nvidia 260)
    But thanks for the tip.

  • reply spotlope November 20, 2008, 8:29 am

    It’s a two stage process, Capn. You have to include the mipbias line in your fsx.cfg, and set your Negative LOD Bias to “Clamp” in your nVidia control panel. Together, they work well. If you forget the negative LOD bias, you get shimmering.

  • reply spotlope November 20, 2008, 8:29 am

    It’s a two stage process, Capn. You have to include the mipbias line in your fsx.cfg, and set your Negative LOD Bias to “Clamp” in your nVidia control panel. Together, they work well. If you forget the negative LOD bias, you get shimmering.

  • reply MICHAEL February 4, 2009, 7:36 am

    please detail how to get into video settings, advanced settings.
    thanks

  • reply MICHAEL February 4, 2009, 7:36 am

    please detail how to get into video settings, advanced settings.
    thanks

  • reply spotlope February 4, 2009, 8:17 am

    Michael,

    It depends on which version of the nVidia drivers you’re using. In my current setup (driver version 178.24), I right-click on my desktop and choose “NVIDIA Control Panel”, then select “Advanced Settings” from the menu at the top of the panel, “Manage 3D settings” from the select a task column, and the “Texture filtering – negative LOD bias” item from there. Older versions of the driver work differently, but this should be how recent versions of the driver work.

  • reply spotlope February 4, 2009, 8:17 am

    Michael,

    It depends on which version of the nVidia drivers you’re using. In my current setup (driver version 178.24), I right-click on my desktop and choose “NVIDIA Control Panel”, then select “Advanced Settings” from the menu at the top of the panel, “Manage 3D settings” from the select a task column, and the “Texture filtering – negative LOD bias” item from there. Older versions of the driver work differently, but this should be how recent versions of the driver work.

  • reply Daniel July 15, 2009, 4:58 am

    Hi, Thanks but i have set Negative LOD Bias to clamp in the Nvidia control panel and i’ve added the line MipBias=6 in the fsx.cfg, but still my textures are shimmering.

    Thanks for your help

    • reply spotlope July 15, 2009, 5:08 am

      If you’re still getting shimmering, the next thing to try is to bump down the “mipbias=” number by one at a time. So try 5 next and see how it looks. If you have to, move it down to 4.

  • reply Daniel July 15, 2009, 4:58 am

    Hi, Thanks but i have set Negative LOD Bias to clamp in the Nvidia control panel and i’ve added the line MipBias=6 in the fsx.cfg, but still my textures are shimmering.

    Thanks for your help

    • reply spotlope July 15, 2009, 5:08 am

      If you’re still getting shimmering, the next thing to try is to bump down the “mipbias=” number by one at a time. So try 5 next and see how it looks. If you have to, move it down to 4.

  • reply Dimitri February 20, 2010, 11:01 am

    hi guyz!…i found out something, that could change your VFR flights forever.In FSX, when you start your session, if you press the F12 key on keybord,you’ll see your airplane from above..now, if you “zoom” out of it (a lot out of it),you’ll see a BIG circle around your airplane.This big “circle” represents the “LOD RADIUS” in your fsx.cfg file…now if you noticed, the default setting goes like this: LOD RADIUS=4.500000 ….This means that the “level of detail around your plane” is curently showing the ONLY 4.5% from your 100% detailed ground textures.I changed it to 12.500000 and now my detail is much more clearer around…but beware though!! I have only 4GB of Ram and it almost reaches the full capacity of my memory….sometimes the game crashes…So…i came to the conclusion that if i use more then 4GBytes of Ram, then i could turn the LOD RADIUS much more higher….well thats it for now…i hope it was helpfull :)
    …Dimitri from Greece….

  • reply Waters, James June 25, 2010, 3:21 pm

    FYI – I have found that ultimately, the texture blurries relate to the aircraft you’re flying moreso than the scenery or the settings. I am an owner of the Coolsky MD-80 pro pack and it flies beautifully with very little blurry textures and virtually no hesitation in appearance.

    FSX is curious because it seems to operate seamlessly with an FPS under 7. Other payware airliner aircraft that are in FSX cause both blurries and FPS hesitation. The way to solve the texture blurries is in the aircraft!

    • reply Bill Womack June 25, 2010, 3:29 pm

      James, I’ve found that it’s a stepped process. Setting the mipbias and negative LOD clamp assures that the sim won’t drop to lower mips too agressively. From there, it’s up to your performance to determine if the system is too resource-starved to maintain high mip levels. So in a sense, I agree with you – if your rig can’t cope with a particular add-on, all the mipbias settings in the world won’t help you. They’re a good baseline, though.

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