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Graphic tips and tweeks for FS2004

Many of these tips will required editing your 'FS9.cfg' file. Please be advised that
editing this file is not recommended and can rendor your FlightSim useless. Should
you decide to edit this file, ALWAYS make a backup first! I take NO resposibility
should any of these tweeks cause damage to your game, system, or hardware.
*Note - Some tweeks are shown using Nvidia cards, so i can not verify if these work
with anything else.
USE THIS INFORMATION AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Where is the 'FS9.cfg' configuration file now located?
Code:
It will be located in your personal Application Data folder.
On Windows 2000/XP systems:
C:\Documents and Settings\{user name}\Application
Data\Microsoft\FS9\FS9.cfg
On Windows 9(x) systems:
C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\FS9\fs9.cfg.
NOTE - The Application Data folder is hidden, so you will need
to enable viewing of hidden files/folders under the Folder
Options in your Explorer.

How can I improve the framerates even more?


Code:
Open your fs9.cfg file, and find the [GRAPHICS] header:
Look for 'TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD = X':
Change the current number (X) to any of the following:
1024 - high texture details (low FPS)
512 - high texture details (low FPS)
256 - medium texture details (medium FPS)
128 - low texture details (High FPS)
(The lower the number, the 'blurrier' the textures but the
higher the framerates.
I use '256' for good performance.)
---Save the file and exit.---

How can I turn off the Flying Tips?


Code:
This option is located under the Realism settings on the primary
Settings screen. Open the Realism window. It is a check box in
the upper right.

How can I improve the look of the ground textures?


Code:
Open your fs9.cfg file, and modify the following lines:
TERRAIN_DEFAULT_RADIUS=9.800000
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_RADIUS=4.800000
TERRAIN_EXTENDED_LEVELS=1242456
---Save the file and exit.--*Note - This works EXCELLENT for clear, extended ground
textures.

Where are my saved flights stored?


Code:
This depends on which Windows version your using.
On Windows 2000/XP systems:
C:\Documents and Settings\{user name}\My Documents\Flight
Simulator Files
On Windows 9(x) systems:
C:\My Documents\Flight Simulator Files
Note - if there are several users on a Win9x machine, there
might be several subfolders in the folder path above

How can I get good looking clouds and reduce the 2d clouds imposters?
Code:
Use Ms ultra high default setup:
-Set your clouds draw distant to 40 mil,
90/100%, or with the lower slider at the
to MAX.
-Higher system, clouds draw distant more
percentage to 90/100%, clouds density to

clouds percentage to
bottom clouds density
than to 40 mil, clouds
MAX.

How can I change runway light settings?


Code:
Make this change to the fs9.cfg.
Under the [DISPLAY] header:
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_SURFACE_SCALAR=1.0
(scales edge, center,end,touchdown,runways)
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_VASI_SCALAR=1.0
(scales VASI lights)
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_APPROACH_SCALAR=1.0
(scales approach light bars)
RUNWAY_LIGHTS_STROBE_SCALAR=1.0
(scales RAILs and ODALs)
Note - The more you LOWER the numbers, the more the light will
decrease in size, 0.5, 0.005 etc.
---Save the file and exit.---

The panning is too slow. How can I speed this up?


Code:
In your fs9.cfg file, look for the line:
PAN_RATE=400
Change the 400 to your own desired number: (eg. 900).
---Save the file and exit.---

Can I bypass the opening screen?


Code:
Make this change to the fs9.cfg.
Under the [STARTUP] header:
DEMO=0
LOADSIM=1
LOADWINDOW=1
SHOW_OPENING_SCREEN=0 (Change this from 1 to 0)
STARTUP_DEMO=0
---Save the file and exit.---

Do you want to see low/high/average FPS?


Code:
Make this change to the fs9.cfg.
Under the [MAIN] header:
Location=316,222,964,756
HideMenuNormal=0
HideMenuFullscreen=1
Maximized=0
Ave_Frame_Rate_Display=1 (<---Add this line)
---Save the file and exit.---

How can I pan the outside view when in 2D cockpit mode?


Code:
Make this change to the fs9.cfg.
Under the [CONTROLS] header, add this line:
PAN_IN_COCKPIT_MODE=1
---Save the file and exit.---

How do I turn off the red "brakes" messages?


Code:
Make this change to the fs9.cfg.
Under the [SIM] header, add this line:
SHOW_BRAKE_MESSAGE=0
---Save the file and exit.---

How to disable the AGP Texture Acceleration without disabled from DirectX?
Code:
Make this change to the fs9.cfg., under your display graphics
cards:
(DISPLAY.Device.NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 with AGP8X.0)
Mode=1024x768x32
TriLinear=1
TextureAGP=0 (<---Add this line)

What are the following settings in the '[TERRAIN]' section of the fs9.cfg
file?
Code:
- TERRAIN_ERROR_FACTOR=96.000000
This is a value from 0 to 100 that control the DEM radius (it is
linear in area)
- TERRAIN_MIN_DEM_AREA=10.000000
This the lowest value used to calculate the DEM radius based
upon the TERRAIN_ERROR_FACTOR
- TERRAIN_MAX_DEM_AREA=100.000000
This is the highest value used to calculate the DEM radius
- TERRAIN_MAX_VERTEX_LEVEL=19
This controls the DEM resolution:
18 = 150m DEM
19 = 75m DEM
20 = 37m DEM
21 = 19m DEM
- TERRAIN_TEXTURE_SIZE_EXP=8
This controls the terrain texture size. Valid values are:
8 = 256x256
7 = 128x128
6 = 64x64
- TERRAIN_AUTOGEN_DENSITY=4
This controls the autogen density
- TERRAIN_USE_GRADIENT_MAP=1
This turns on/off the gradient map (cliffs).
- TERRAIN_EXTENDED_TEXTURES=1
This turns on/off the extended texture ring
- TERRAIN_DEFAULT_RADIUS='x'
This is the default radius in textures for all rings, default is
2.5
- TERRAIN_EXTENDED_RADIUS='x'
This is the radius used for the inner ring when the extended
texture ring is turned on, default is 4.0
- TERRAIN_EXTENDED_LEVELS='x'
This is the number of rings to add when using extended texture
rings, default is 1
---Save the file and exit after any changes.---

When I switch views, I get colored, 'popping' textures (brown, red etc.)
How can I fix this?
Quote:
Under the [DISPLAY] header:
TEXTURE_BANDWIDTH_MULT=40 (<---Change 40 to a higher value (ex:
400))
Note - This setting controls the rate at which textures get transferred to the
video hardware. Higher numbers will result in the textures getting to the
hardware faster and avoiding "popping" textures when switching views but
may increase stutters and require more physical memory on the video card
(not recommended for video card with less than 128Mb).

How can I pan the view in the 2D cockpit?


Quote:
In the fs9.cfg file add this line in the [CONTROLS] section:
PAN_IN_COCKPIT_MODE=1

How can I add visual damage effect to aircraft?


Quote:
Add the following line after the ui_variation line in the 'aircraft.cfg' file for
each aircraft you want to display the damage effects:
VISUAL_DAMAGE=1
You must also check 'Detect crash and reset situation' in the simulator
realism settings.

How do I disable the warning message on startup about non-compatible


modules?
Code:
Add the following lines to the fs9.cfg file:
[OldModules]
name of dll=1

How can I stop the autopilot from automatically turning on the wing
leveler?
Code:
Add the following lines in the 'Autopilot' section of the
aircraft.cfg file for each airplane you want to change back the
AP behavior to the FS2000 way:
use_no_default_bank=1
use_no_default_pitch=1

How do I back-up from a gate?


Code:
With the push-back function: SHIFT+P to start going back,
SHIFT+P then 1 (main keyboard) to back and turn left, SHIFT+P
then 2 to back and turn right, and don't forget SHIFT+P again to
stop moving.

How can I customize the panel lighting?


Code:
Here's my setting I use for my Hawk panel which looks cool and
is subtle at night:
(Color)
Day=255,255,255
Night=20,20,20
Luminous=170,170,110
...and one of the settings I use for my private DC-3 panels:
(Color)
Day=255,255,255
Night=60,21,21
Luminous=140,85,2

Performance Boosts
Code:
-Enable T+L (transform and lighting)
This should increase your performance near 4 fps
-Antialasing
The Antialasing inside fs2004 will reduce your performance
greatly. Uncheck (in display settings) in FS2004 and ONLY use
the Antialasing from an external tweaker or from your driver
display settings.

Better performance in 2d panel mode and others area.


Code:
By disabled the AGP Texture Acceleration, your performance will
increase especially with 2d panels and other areas. (You will
not nead to turn of the AGP Texture Acceleration under your
DirectX, it's the same function inside fs9.cfg)
In your fs9.cfg under (DISPLAY.Device.NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200
with AGP8X.0)
Mode=1024x768x32
TriLinear=1
TextureAGP=0 (<--- Add this line)
PanelAsTexture=0 (<--- *Add this line)
*Note - By adding the 'PanelAsTexture' line, your performance
will even increase especially with 2d panels and 3rd party
aircraft, but it may cause 2-d panels to 'blank-out' if you've
enabled AA inside FS2004, so uncheck AA in fs2004, and enable AA
from your prefered tweaker or your driver display setting.