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Microsoft Flight Simulator X takes a long while to load?

This is a discussion on Microsoft Flight Simulator X takes a long while to load? within the PC Gaming Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Compared with other games the above can take over 3 minutes to load. The game as purchased is about 13GB


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Old 02-09-2009, 12:55 PM   #1
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Compared with other games the above can take over 3 minutes to load. The game as purchased is about 13GB but with all the add-ons it is now showing at 39GB. Could this be the reason? If so I will trim it down but do not want to delete add ons unnecessarily if this is not the cause.

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Old 02-10-2009, 12:33 AM   #2
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Defrag your HDD. Adding this much data has probably fragmented your HDD so much that it's the cause of the slowdown.

Could you please post your system specs.
Thanks

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Old 02-10-2009, 08:02 AM   #3
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Also, how much free hard drive space is left? There should be a minimum of 15% for Windows to run efficiently. If the drive is heavily fragmented, I would run defrag 2 or 3 times.

What size is your paging file? Control Panel > System > Advanced tab > Performance Settings button > Advanced tab > Virtual Memory Change button.

Check the CPU and RAM usage in Task Manager (ctrl-alt-del) under the Performance tab while loading Flight Sim to see if either are being pushed to 100%.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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good defragging utility - Auslogics defrag
http://www.download.com/Auslogics-Di...dlPid=11000862
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flingstop1 View Post
Compared with other games the above can take over 3 minutes to load. The game as purchased is about 13GB but with all the add-ons it is now showing at 39GB. Could this be the reason? If so I will trim it down but do not want to delete add ons unnecessarily if this is not the cause.
Here is the situation....

What you are seeing is correct as far as the size of the FSX installation. This program is HUGE! When you start the program, the main game engine fires up and starts to load the User Interface (UI), program files, scenery and aircraft. The latter of the list is where the "slow" boot time occurs.

When you add scenery updates/addons to FSX you see the "Please wait while Flight Simulator builds the new scenery database", message. This actually loads EVERY time you start FSX. The ONLY time you see this message is when you ADD NEW scenery, however the database still has to be read and loaded into the FSX game engine.

The other contributing factor is your "<%USER%>\...\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\SimObjects" folder. If you are anything like me , you probably have a BUTT LOAD of 3rd party aircraft in there.

A LOT of the 3rd party aircraft, actually the majority of them, are converted from FS2004:ACF. FSX incorporated a new texture and modeling format; compared to that of FS2004:ACF.

First the Modeling...

If you go into your "...\...\SimObjects\Aircraft" folder, choose any aircraft, and then the "MODEL" folder, you will see two(2) .mdl files; usually called "***_interior.mdl" and "***_exterior.mdl". They are EXACTLY what they say. You will notice that they have different files sizes, as well. This SPEEDS up the "in game/flight" graphics processing; thus making the FPS (Frames Per Second) smoother for the user.

Example: When you are in the cockpit, either 3D or 2D, hit "shift+Z" 3 times to display information in the top left corner of your screen. Now watch you FPS. Note the FPS number displayed. Now, hit your 'S' key to go to spot plane. Notice the hesitation and the drop in FPS. This is because FSX is only "loading" a VERY small portion of the 3D Model (your airplane) when your are in the cockpit (ONLY what you can see from the Captains Seat!). When you switch to "Spot Plane" view, FSX has to "load" the ENTIRE 3D model, consequently dropping your FPS.

Secondly, the TEXTURES....

For EVERY livery (paint job) in 2004, there had to be a COMPLETE set of textures for that livery. So if you had, say, the Cessna 172 with the stock textures - say 5 of them; blue, red, white, orange and green - then added three new liveries, you would have a total of 8 textures/liveries folders.

Now say that each livery had a total of 10 .dds/.psd texture files to paint the aircraft. Each one of those 10 files is 5MB each. ONE livery then consumes 50MB of .dds/.psd file space on your drive; even worse 2004 had to read that each time it loaded.

So for the 172 ALONE, with 8 liveries, the disk space and amount 2004 had to read is 400MB! THAT'S A LOT!

Now back to FSX...

When authors of textures/aircraft convert their project to be used in FSX, they usually "just make the paint job" show in FSX. They don't COMPLETELY convert to FSX.

With the same example as above, FSX has a new, more effiecient, way of doing the same thing. When you go into a PROPERLY textured aircraft file, there will be a MAIN TEXTURE folder. This folder will contain ALL the textures needed to display the aircraft correctly. If you go into ANY of the other texture folders you will see 1 - n (n being the last number of files to complete the new "paint job") texture files and a texture.cfg file.

This is where the FSX magic happens! This "texture.cfg" file is used in place of ALL the UNECESSARY extra files, i.e. the cabin, prop, etc textures. The files in the folder are what was changed ONLY, and the .cfg file points FSX to the MAIN TEXTURE folder to retrieve the rest of the textures.

So the disk/file size goes from 400MB to 60-80MB. QUITE A DIFFERENCE!

NOW BACK TO YOUR QUESTION!.....

These "EXTRA" files on your system is what is causing FSX to load slowly. As you increase your Aircraft Library, you increase the amount of time it takes FSX to "read" all these files.

If you would like to contact me about setting these 3rd party aircraft up to the new FSX standards, I will post my email at the bottom, and will respond as fast as I can, with instructions on how to do so...

Any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing! HAPPY LANDINGS!

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Old 02-10-2009, 10:19 AM   #6
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Hi Sven, welcome to TSF and thanks for such a detailed reply.

We prefer that all help is given in the forum rather than via email so that others with the same problem can benefit from your advice. If flingstop1 decides to accept your offer of email help, can one of you please post the results back in this thread when you've fixed the problem? Thanks.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:30 AM   #7
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Welcome to TSF Sven2157!

that was beautiful explanation of FSX!
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koala View Post
Hi Sven, welcome to TSF and thanks for such a detailed reply.

We prefer that all help is given in the forum rather than via email so that others with the same problem can benefit from your advice. If flingstop1 decides to accept your offer of email help, can one of you please post the results back in this thread when you've fixed the problem? Thanks.

Thank You... No problem... and You got it Bubba!

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Originally Posted by Mcninjaguy
Welcome to TSF Sven2157!

that was beautiful explanation of FSX!
Thank you... and Thank you, again!
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koala View Post
...please post the results back in this thread when you've fixed the problem? Thanks.
Actually this is not really a "problem". Its more of an annoyance. The program is just SO large that even a clean install can take a couple mins to load; depending on the machine running it. Then, when you add MORE to it, this increases the time it takes to load/read all the files.

The "solution", for lack of a better phrase, is to eliminate EVERYTHING you can, while maintaining the originall files and the liveries of your aircraft.

Somethings to also try.....

1. - Remove ANY aircraft from the "...\SimObjects\Aircraft\" folder that you don't use or plan on not using at all.

2. - (AS mentioned in the originall post) Convert Textures of 3rd party aircraft to the NEW FSX file structure.

3. - Buy a BIGGER, FASTER Computer; particularly the Hard Drives, proccessor, RAM and graphics card: To read the files faster.

4. - Just wait untill it loads!

I will post detailed instructions, on how to change the textures to FSX format here, when I complete them...

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Old 02-11-2009, 02:56 AM   #10
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I am most grateful for all the replies particular that from Sven which is amazing and so detailed and will take a while for an amateur like me to take in. I was perhaps wrong in describing FSX as a game, it is more a way of life and never fails to amaze me with its accuracy and attention to detail. I started Flight simming in 2000 and have all the later editions. With each new issue I think to my self 'How can they possibly improve on this' but they do! I am running both FS2004 and FSX on my system as I am reluctant to get rid of the additions to the earlier one. I have a 279GB hard drive with about 160GB to spare so I would not thing that is the problem. I updated my computer in 2006 to a specification similar to that recommended by PC Pilot magazine which at that time was I think as good as was available with a GeForce 7900GX graphics card and indeed apart from the slow loading performs well and is more than adequate for running FSX. As you say Sven I cannot resist downloading additional aircraft as they are so realistic and have many more than necessary. I will now go and digest the various replies to see how they tie in with the 'annoyance/incovenience' I thank you all for the replies and I certainly have no objections to the matter being discussed in the forum as suggested. I do defrag about once a fortnight and did another on receipt of the first replies. I did get the time of one load down to 1min 15secs but as has been suggested it depends on what type of flight you want.

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