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[DBS]TH0R

Expert visibility - contrast change dependent on zoom level

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First, let me start by saying how much I love the work devs have been putting into this game. From the plane sets and change from Eastern theater to the new functions and features built in over the last couple of patches. And I know the game will be improved even further.

 

As I've been quite vocal lately in several threads about my problems with visibility in this game, I thought best to capture it on a video. Main focus of clips shown below is the abrupt contrast change dependent on the zoom level - sun reflections simply fade away if you zoom in to the contact you're looking at. I've been experimenting with the sharpness filters on and off, both in-game and in NVIDIA control panel. First clip is with sharpness ON, others are with it OFF (best viewed 1440p native):

 

 

Next to the increased rendering distance, IMHO the ALT mode was a step forward. Especially the contact size being constant no matter the zoom level (often called the "inverse zoom effect") enabled more realistic spotting at wide zoom levels - at ranges up to 10 to 12 km. The same goes for the sun reflections enabling more easily to spot targets far away. Unfortunately IMHO, there are few problems with the new spotting features:

 

  • Since ALT mode is not used on the majority of servers due to the unrealistically long rendering distance featured by the "ballooning effect" of overblown contact size, majority of servers use Expert visibility. When fully zoomed out, contacts are drown at the size of a pixel. Which makes them very hard to spot, almost impossible unless you zoom in and fly with narrow view most of the time.
  • The newly added effect of sun reflecting off plane surfaces (e.g. wings) is gone depending on the zoom level. As you can see in the video, a fully white contact can go to completely dark icon or LOD when fully zoomed in.

 

Both of these effects I believe, by large, contribute to the "invisible plane bug" that was and gets reported every now and then (first clip with sharpness ON is a nice example).

 

If devs don't have the time to put more work hours into this, at least make the sun reflections constant no matter the zoom level. Just like when you're driving your car on a sunny day - the blinding sun reflection from other cars and objects doesn't go away depending on the zoom level. :)

 

EDIT: I am running no additional mods or tricks to help with spotting. No Reshade, no super low gamma etc... Completely stock game, playing around with settings that I have at my disposal.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R
running no mods, Reshade, gamma etc.
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Imho sun reflection on distant aeroplane should look more like effect we can see on water (shine reflection) not the  object representing plane filed  with  greyish pixels. Sometimes I see greaysh objects flying across water witch do not reflect at all. 

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17 hours ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

First, let me start by saying how much I love the work devs have been putting into this game. From the plane sets and change from Eastern theater to the new functions and features built in over the last couple of patches. And I know the game will be improved even further.

 

As I've been quite vocal lately in several threads about my problems with visibility in this game, I thought best to capture it on a video. Main focus of clips shown below is the abrupt contrast change dependent on the zoom level - sun reflections simply fade away if you zoom in to the contact you're looking at. I've been experimenting with the sharpness filters on and off, both in-game and in NVIDIA control panel. First clip is with sharpness ON, others are with it OFF:

 

 we 

Next to the increased rendering distance, IMHO the ALT mode was a step forward. Especially the contact size being constant no matter the zoom level (often called the "inverse zoom effect") enabled more realistic spotting at wide zoom levels - at ranges up to 10 to 12 km. The same goes for the sun reflections enabling more easily to spot targets far away. Unfortunately IMHO, there are few problems with the new spotting features:

 

  • Since ALT mode is not used on the majority of servers due to the unrealistically long rendering distance featured by the "ballooning effect" of overblown contact size, majority of servers use Expert visibility. When fully zoomed out, contacts are drown at the size of a pixel. Which makes them very hard to spot, almost impossible unless you zoom in and fly with narrow view most of the time.
  • The newly added effect of sun reflecting off plane surfaces (e.g. wings) is gone depending on the zoom level. As you can see in the video, a fully white contact can go to completely dark icon or LOD when fully zoomed in.

 

Both of these effects I believe, by large, contribute to the "invisible plane bug" that was and gets reported every now and then (first clip with sharpness ON is a nice example).

 

If devs don't have the time to put more work hours into this, at least make the sun reflections constant no matter the zoom level. Just like when you're driving your car on a sunny day - the blinding sun reflection from other cars and objects doesn't go away depending on the zoom level. :)

 

This honestly explains alot. I think its worse at 1440p than 1080p too. A 2km planes on my screen are literally ONE pixel.

Edited by [TLC]YIPPEE
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You should try running these tests with Antialiasing set to 4x. Since you have it off that forces the display to choose between one pixel color or the other, with no blending. That can contribute to pieces of aircraft vanishing. At long range it will force a distant plane into a single pixel or none at all. 

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I have been running with 4xAA from day one I got this game, for a long time.

 

The reason for turning OFF Antialiasing was because it made the situation even worse, i.e. the blending was way worse than shown in the video.

 

Having AAx4 ON before, it felt like I had Myopia.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R

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7 hours ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

Having AAx4 ON before, it felt like I had Myopia.

4K can solve that problem. Ever consider a 4K screen? You can read the tail numbers on the other aircraft in 2160p

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We've been down this road before... How would that solve the problem seen in the video here? What about users with 1080p screens?

 

If 4K really is the requirement then the game should state as much in its description.

 

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14 minutes ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

We've been down this road before... How would that solve the problem seen in the video here? What about users with 1080p screens?

 

If 4K really is the requirement then the game should state as much in its description.

 

I doubt 4k is a magic bullet for spotting. I play at 1080p and don't have the spotting problems people seem to have here. Turning sharpen off in game made spotting slightly better for me but makes ID harder. I don't know if its worth it or not, I haven't had a lot of chances to fly much lately.

I think the reason the contrast changes abruptly at different zoom levels is that the bright reflection effects are  exaggerated when contacts are rendered small at long range to give the 'sunlight flicker' effect, but when you view them closer they dial that effect back. From what I can tell the reflectivity seems to be dependant not on the range of the contact but on the size of the render if that makes sense? That effect is why alt spotting gives me the 'white butterflies' at 25 km - the brightness is dialed up on distant contacts to make distant spotting possible, but in Alt spotting they also scaled up the contacts hugely. 

 

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24 minutes ago, RedKestrel said:

That effect is why alt spotting gives me the 'white butterflies' at 25 km - the brightness is dialed up on distant contacts to make distant spotting possible, but in Alt spotting they also scaled up the contacts hugely. 

 

ALT spotting is completely unrealistic over 10-12 km, that much I am sure most of us here will agree on.

 

IMHO the solution that could work is to have current ALT up to 10-12 km, and current Expert at ranges above 12 km. However, I am not sure whether such a thing is possible to pull off.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R

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1 minute ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

 

ALT spotting is completely unrealistic over 10-12 km, that much I am sure most of us here will agree on.

 

IMHO the solution that could work is to have current ALT up to 10-12 km, and current Expert at ranges above 12 km. However, I am not sure whether such a thing is possible to pull off.

I don't know that that would be much of a change tbh. But it would work for me. I don't have huge issues with normal spotting currently except for the difficulty in tracking contacts against the ground, which I feel is too difficult compared to RL. But alt vis  didn't really help with that for me.

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What we need is much better spotting out to 6km. That is currently the problem zone, 1-6km. Planes in that region absurdly hard to see

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1 hour ago, RedKestrel said:

I don't know that that would be much of a change tbh. But it would work for me. I don't have huge issues with normal spotting currently except for the difficulty in tracking contacts against the ground, which I feel is too difficult compared to RL. But alt vis  didn't really help with that for me.

 

The change would be with the contacts (almost fully) disappearing depending on the zoom level. ALT mode features constant contact size, also known as the "inverted zoom" effect.

 

Reflections on distant objects helped to some extent with spotting distant object, OTOH it also created new problems due to its inconsistency dependent on the zoom level and distance from target.

 

Both of the effects are visible in my video here.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R

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4 hours ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

If 4K really is the requirement then the game should state as much in its description.

Obviously 4K is not required for this or any other game. But higher resolutions have their advantages and just look really nice. That’s why you are using 1440p instead of 1080p I assume. 

I actually consider resolution the least important behind frame rate and graphic settings. But if you can run ultra settings and get a high FPS in 4K it’s absolutely worthwhile.  

4 hours ago, RedKestrel said:

I doubt 4k is a magic bullet for spotting. 

It’s not. Really the two most important factors are size and contrast of the target. 4K doesn’t improve on either of those. It makes identifying targets much easier and basically lets you use less zoom view to ID the same thing compared to 1080p. For example you can read all the tiny text in the cockpit without zooming in to look at it. Same advantage applies to ID ing other aircraft. 

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I can also read the text in 1440p while zoomed out, no problem.

 

The reason I am using 1440p and not 4K is because at 1440p you can run latest titles with most of the bells and whistles turned on at very high FPS. The same still cannot be said for 4K resolution which requires a lot of horsepower to do the same. For this reason, when I switched to 1440p from 1920x1200 resolution, I also upgraded my GPU to 1080Ti with 11GB of VRAM (before it was 980Ti with 6GB).

 

The way I see it, there are two options nowadays:

  1. VR (gen 2)
  2. desktop with very high (most often 144 Hz) refresh rate & one of the two available sync technologies

 

I went with the high FPS and hardware G-SYNC. If you haven't tried it, and feel free to read up on other people impressions, the jump feels similar to the move from HDD to SSD. Everything above 90 FPS on a monitor that has that capability feels so buttery smooth that it will make any other 60 Hz monitor feel like a potato.

 

Back to the subject...

 

Higher resolution might help with target ID, but it will not fix the problem of abrupt contrast change dependent on zoom level coupled with contacts being almost the size of a single pixel when fully zoomed out. ALT mode was a step in right direction, I do sincerely hope they continue working on it. As it stands now, due to its super long rendering distance of over sized targets - it is unusable for MP. Then again, for the most part, so is Expert visibility if you zoom out from normal view...

Edited by [DBS]TH0R

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I recorded this today, which gives an Idea of how this bug affects the combat in WWI.

 

The Spad had just bounced me, and since I did not see it coming (I was looking for him because flak was going off), I started recording to see what was going on. He disappears a first time, then he turns into a very pale tone, almost invisible, and then he disappears again. All this happening below a distance of 1.5km.

 

 

Best viewed at 1440p for me.

 

 

These situations happen all the time and in all weather, morning, midday, sunset. The way visibility behaves, plus the other bugs, it is borderline unplayable at the moment, at least for me, with an IPS 1080p monitor. I think the instances when they appear and disappear randomly dependant on the zoom level, sun position, creates a state of such confusion that people in general are just flying around and bumping into each other most of the time. 

Edited by SeaW0lf
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I think YouTube shows it nicely, if you play it at max available resolution. The same issue I had / shown in the first post here.

 

As of lately I am experimenting with slightly different settings. First and foremost - not ever using wide view, or anything above normal zoom level. Because as people can see for themselves here - the game just doesn't render contacts (i.d. renders them as tiny pixels) when you zoom out of the normal view in order to get a better peripheral vision. This is IMHO by far the best tip anyone can give on the spotting subject out until devs get back at fixing this.

 

Changes from the OP graphics settings I am testing now:

  • SSAO: OFF ... this makes the canopy much more clear for the cost of slightly worse looking shadows in the cockpit, it makes it easier to see out
  • Landscape sharpening filter: BLURRED
  • nVidia CP: Image Sharpening ON (default values ... Sharpen: 0.5 | Ignore Film Grain: 0.17)
  • Target FPS: 144 Hz

 

Edited by [DBS]TH0R
recommendation in bold
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1 hour ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

As of lately I am experimenting with slightly different settings.

I have tried all sorts of graphics settings but unfortunately the only solution that I have found (that isn't a solution at all) is to reduce screen resolution right down when flying on servers with alternative visibility enabled.

 

If I leave my monitor on its highest resolution with graphics maxed out aircraft will disappear as they get closer, there is also the "blinking" on and off reflections effect that become exaggerated and zoom is inverted. Unfortunately (for me) using a resolution higher that 1920 x 1080 is counter productive as no setting that I have tried really helps. 

 

I really appreciate all the work the developers have put into BOX but I find myself wishing for a return to how spotting use to be prior the major update.

One thing that is also slightly concerning is that Multiplayer numbers definitely seem to be down recently.

 

Edit: I know the developers don't currently have time to look at this issue but I really hope that they take a second look  in the near future.

 

Edited by 6./ZG26_Custard
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The only server with Alternate visibility that I know off is Finnish Virtual Pilots server (or Air War, typing from memory now). Other 3 most popular servers are all running Expert visibility (KOTA, Combat Box and Wings of Liberty).

 

While abrupt contrast change is also apparent in the ALT visibility, this topic is mostly related to the Expert visibility.

 

As for MP numbers declining, I don't have that impression. On the contrary. They are as high as ever.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R
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9 hours ago, SeaW0lf said:

I recorded this today, which gives an Idea of how this bug affects the combat in WWI.

 

This right here is the worst issue atm.  BTW latest Reshade allows for turning off in game AA and use SMAA and other techniques. 

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1 hour ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

The only server with Alternate visibility that I know off is Finnish Virtual Pilots server (or Air War, typing from memory now). Other 3 most popular servers are all running Expert visibility (KOTA, Combat Box and Wings of Liberty).

 

While abrupt contrast change is also apparent in the ALT visibility, this topic is mostly related to the Expert visibility.

 

As for MP numbers declining, I don't have that impression. On the contrary. They are as high as ever.

 

Flew on KOTA last night.  It is definitely Alt vis. mode. The planes are 2x the size zoomed out and glow white 30+km away.  I was following a formation of 4, 109s that were 2km higher than me that were close enough to be change from glowing white dots to black silhouettes.  I was thinking that by the size of them that they must at least be 110s until they started moving toward me then shrunk down and got close enough to be seen for what they really were.  I never even worried about getting jumped because I could see everything coming to me from 20km away.   That doesn't happen in Expert Vis mode.  

 

Now, on Combat Box which definitely runs Expert vis, I still have to worry about the one I didn't see getting me, even if it is easier to see them coming compared to the pre-new vis mode(s).  

Edited by Mobile_BBQ

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5 hours ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

I think YouTube shows it nicely, if you play it at max available resolution.

 

You are right, I'm not sure why YouTube had set me for 720p (my standard is 1080p). It looks really nice at 1440p. And thanks for the tip, ShadowPlay is much better than OBS and the Windows app.

Edited by SeaW0lf
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4 hours ago, Mobile_BBQ said:

Flew on KOTA last night.  It is definitely Alt vis. mode.

 

Just checked on their Discord, and someone else fired off the same question. One of the admins, @-[HRAF]Roland_HUNter says they are using Expert for a long time now.

 

EDIT: I was wrong, they were testing ALT yesterday. Now it is back on Expert visibility.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R
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5 hours ago, [DBS]TH0R said:

 

Just checked on their Discord, and someone else fired off the same question. One of the admins, @-[HRAF]Roland_HUNter says they are using Expert for a long time now.

 

EDIT: I was wrong, they were testing ALT yesterday. Now it is back on Expert visibility.

We used Expert for some mission and we used ALT for some others, because as you said we tested it.

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1 hour ago, -[HRAF]Roland_HUNter said:

We used Expert for some mission and we used ALT for some others, because as you said we tested it.

 

OK.  So the one mission I was in on was set to Alt vis .  When I asked in the server chat 3 times, nobody answered.  Very Euro. 

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1 hour ago, Mobile_BBQ said:

 

OK.  So the one mission I was in on was set to Alt vis .  When I asked in the server chat 3 times, nobody answered.  Very Euro. 

If the admins wasnt on the server they can't answer.
I said my answer on discord aswell.

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6 minutes ago, -[HRAF]Roland_HUNter said:

If the admins wasnt on the server they can't answer.
I said my answer on discord aswell.

 

Roger that. 

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IL-2 Visiblity is "non tactical", "not useable" !

 

Consistency within a WVR (within visual range) "Bubble" ? = Non existent.

Aspects like sorting, targeting, intercepting, engaging or seperations - especially as flight, wing or package (2-ship or more), almost impossible under currenct visibility conditions.

Nothing more to say. I mean, if you can not execute the basics of aerial warfare due to rendering issues, what else to add?

 

 

Note: Zoom FOV was not used as reference or benchmark

 

Recommendation to https://il2sturmovik.com/ 777Studio Developers: read IMPROVING TARGET ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION PERFORMANCE IN AIR-TO-AIR FLIGHT SIMULATION by Gary Serfoss free "available" by Google ;)

 

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=IMPROVING+TARGET+ORIENTATION+DISCRIMINATION+PERFORMANCE+IN+AIR-TO-AIR+FLIGHT+SIMULATION

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Been fooking around with settings (who didn´t).. so far.. the best visibility results i get with - see below ... ( i can work with that ...)

 

 

UI Game:

 

- Shadows (high is nice enough saving some fps here and there)

- HORIZON DRAW DISTANCE (which is misleading by name, as it has nothing to do with terrain visibility distance, but more so with adding "HAZE" into the athmosphere.

more "haze" (40km clarity) means more white-ish "fog" contrast against "black dots" (bandits)

- Landscape filter : Sharp.. as it seems to be the only way to make far-tiles not "shimmer" (what anisotropic filtering is supposed to do usually) - and flickering far terrain is bad if bandit is infront of that

- Antialiasing ..4x !! (using 2080 here).. 2x does it too though (if your system is weaker)

- all the nonsense on the right side (boxes) .. OFF (SSAO and HDR off too.. wrong in the pic)

 

Startup.cfg file:

 

reduce gamma = 0.70000 (to 0.6 to 0.7) - that works good for spotting dots (saw a dude posting a video about that). The backside of that, the cockpit becomes too dark, and that i simply compensate with Reshade, Tonemap.fx .. gamma (see pics)

 

GFX card settings (nVidia) included in pics:

.

.

 

 

Demo Video (just did it).. was good example on the BoX server.. long and extended (distance and turningroom) fight  (visibility wise) vs a "pretty not bad opponent" :)

 

1440p stream

 

 

 

 

 

 

bandicam 2019-11-07 21-50-42-558.jpg

bandicam 2019-11-12 02-25-01-285.jpg

bandicam 2019-11-12 02-23-22-122.jpg

bandicam 2019-11-07 21-48-20-823.jpg

bandicam 2019-11-07 21-48-18-759.jpg

bandicam 2019-11-07 21-48-01-562.jpg

Edited by A_S
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6 hours ago, A_S said:

UI Game:

 

- Shadows (high is nice enough saving some fps here and there)

- HORIZON DRAW DISTANCE (which is misleading by name, as it has nothing to do with terrain visibility distance, but more so with adding "HAZE" into the athmosphere.

more "haze" (40km clarity) means more white-ish "fog" contrast against "black dots" (bandits)

- Landscape filter : Sharp.. as it seems to be the only way to make far-tiles not "shimmer" (what anisotropic filtering is supposed to do usually) - and flickering far terrain is bad if bandit is infront of that

- Antialiasing ..4x !! (using 2080 here).. 2x does it too though (if your system is weaker)

- all the nonsense on the right side (boxes) .. OFF (SSAO and HDR off too.. wrong in the pic)

 

Thank you for your input. Interesting points about the Horizon draw distance.

 

I stopped using Antialiasing few months ago in this sim, both due to the rendering in front of the clouds and the spotting problems. Thus I cannot recommend it to anyone. The new nVidia Image Sharpening filter from CP is much better than the in-game AA and global Sharpen options IMHO.

 

Have you tried Landscape filter: Blurred option?

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Have you tried to sacle the native resolution to 78% and then sharpen it :) ? (you can do that with you enable scaling in global option under "new" sharpening)

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Wanted to, I only get scaling ON and OFF with the two individual settings (1080Ti here). Any tips on making it work?

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In order to generally enable the "scaling feature" of the new "nvidia Sharpening" you need to :

 

- go to Global Settings

- enable Sharpening

- SELECT GPU SCALING

 

- here you can set up sharpen and grain value OR you do it individually per game under the next tab program settings and after creating a GFX profile for each game (add game).

 

Then you will have a NEW reslution available in your game (similar to DSR upscaling), but this time downscaling (78%) size of native resolution.

This downscaled size (usually introduced to reduce the 4K laod and yet sharpen it without using Anti-Aliasing) then is sharpened to counter the "blur" by reduced resolution.

 

I wonder what happens if i use DSR to upscale it.. then downscale it again ?? and sharpen it without using Antialiasing LOL?

 

Side-effect is .." interesting" in IL-2 .. in terms of visibility !?

bandicam 2019-11-12 15-59-52-068.jpg

Edited by A_S

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I am trying it atm..

 

my native resoltion is 2560 x 1080

with scaling option its down to 2178 x 918  and nvidia sharpened.

 

However.. straight lines are "jaggy" now.. thus added Reshade SMAA (post processing AA without FPS loss) ..

 

testing.....

 

Edit:  hmmm not sure..  visibility "seems" better with bandits (on berloga) ..but game looks a bit shitty that way lol.

Edited by A_S

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16 minutes ago, A_S said:

I am trying it atm..

 

my native resoltion is 2560 x 1080

with scaling option its down to 2178 x 918  and nvidia sharpened.

 

However.. straight lines are "jaggy" now.. thus added Reshade SMAA (post processing AA without FPS loss) ..

 

testing.....

 

Edit:  hmmm not sure..  visibility "seems" better with bandits (on berloga) ..but game looks a bit shitty that way lol.

 

It is such a pity that we can only resort to these extreme solutions. I can live with the horizon at 70km (40km it too much in my opinion, found about it last week), but I would never go that far to lower my native resolution or to set gamma at 6. Mine is at 8 and I think it is near the limit. I just hope that they place the visibility fix (the bugs and spotting in general) as a top priority, since it is the 101 of air combat. Has anyone heard any word from them?

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since it is the 101 of air combat   <<< !!!!!

 

right on

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Did some searching on the web about how to use the image sharpening.  Seems that the consensus from what I found is that the default settings do nothing...you have to change them either higher or lower to see a change when not scaling.

 

Also the film grain only works with programs that have support built in...don't think Il2 does, they recommend turning it off....set to 0.  Still playing around with it ....running a 1080ti with my native res of 2560x1440.  Going to try sharpen at 30 and film grain at 0 to see how it looks.

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Well played around in SP and came up with sharpen at 33...what I did was us my cockpit photo for reference....paused the game as I was zoomed in on the photo and started to change the

settings....I was using reshade... as even paused the changes are dynamic.....started at 1 and worked by way backwards.  since my eye sight is not the best this was what I came up with.

My system is an i7-7700k at 4.20Hz....32 Gig or ram...win 10...1080ti....a Dell S2716DG G-sync monitor....trackir....etc..etc...nothing ultra powerful....I have not had any stutters offline or online...if it was a micro-stutter I did not notice it....sorry guess I am one of the lucky ones....but the Image sharpen does work...will give my settings just in case it might help someone...will include the pic I used..was in a P38 as the pic is right there and easy to see....

 

 

2019_11_13__15_3_25.jpg

Untitled.jpg

Untitled2.jpg

Untitled3.jpg

Untitled4.jpg

2019_11_13__15_3_25.zip

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@No.322_Cathaoir I would recommend turning off SSAO. You're sacrificing some shadow quality in the cockpit, and gaining a much more clear view out the canopy glass.

 

Also, do try it without any AA. For me, it was night and day (better with it off). Especially now that NVidia offers Sharpening within CP. You just don't need it.

Edited by [DBS]TH0R
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yeah.. the MOST effective way so far.. no using Antialiasing at all ...   pitty

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On 11/5/2019 at 10:17 AM, SharpeXB said:

4K can solve that problem. Ever consider a 4K screen? You can read the tail numbers on the other aircraft in 2160p

I thought it was "worse" with a larger screen

 

so which is it sharpie?

 

enlighten us

 

Obviously some people (you included) have found a way around the issues many of us are facing. and seem to be fighting tooth and nail to keep your unfair advantage over people who do not have the magic hardware/software settings that somehow solve this issue. 

 

but it goes to figure in a game where people stack 50:20 servers to fly 109's and beat up on inferior aircraft 

On 11/12/2019 at 11:26 AM, SeaW0lf said:

I just hope that they place the visibility fix (the bugs and spotting in general) as a top priority, since it is the 101 of air combat. Has anyone heard any word from them?

the salty people who don't have an issue with spotting (somehow) won out and the devs changed it back. AFAIK they have no plans because "they are too busy"

 

that really fun week where you didn't have to squint to sometimes see an aircraft in the distance will probably be the last time this game was accessible to all but the people with the time and money to massively tweak hardware and settings...and that's the way they like it (see above post) 

Edited by gimpy117
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