One of the major benefits of P3Dv5 was the integration of Enhanced Atmospherics (EA) and TrueSky. From the very early days of my experiences with P3Dv5, I had issues (both performance and visual quality) with EA enabled. Of course, in the early stages EA was very much beta. But with each P3D update, I optimistically tried EA only to find myself disappointed in the outcome.
Today I’m running the very latest version of Prepar3D v5.1 (with hotfix 1) and while I’m glad to say that performance is no longer an issue with EA, the over visual quality is still absolutely terrible. I’ve read as much as I possible can, watched countless videos and the look with EA enabled is an over exposed, blurry sky with no defined cloud textures.
While I’m running a few extra texture add-ons such as TOGA Projects EnvTex and EnvShade along with ASCA, Reshade, and the Lucas Cavatoni preset, these don’t have any impact (good or bad) to the overall experience with EA enabled in P3D.
I’ve even followed a few steps to ensure my monitor is correctly color balanced (it was already), but double-checked. I’ve also read (can’t remember where) that EA just will not work with a non-4K monitor. However, I believe I’ve debunked this theory when speaking with a few others who have the exact same experience I’m having on 4K setups.
The bottom line (at least for me) is an assumption that Enhanced Atmospherics still just isn’t ready for prime time. Hopefully Lockheed Martin will continue to work through these issues. But for now, I’m enjoying a very stable, well performing P3Dv5.1 HF1 without Enhanced Atmospherics.
Until next time…
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted to this blog. My life has been rather busy and hectic the past few weeks. As some of the DIY projects were wrapping up a few other household problems began to surface. The largest was a plumbing issue with a portion of my sewer mainline. This resulted in having a portion of my basement floor jackhammered up and about 15 feet of pipe replaced. As a result of all this activity, I haven’t really had much time to spend gaming. In addition, I also have spent time in my garage woodshop turning pens and other small wood items. If you are interested in taking a look, here’s a link to my Etsy store. With colder weather moving in, the amount of time I have to work in the woodshop has been reduced considerably. But I digress….
The last time I wrote about P3Dv5 I had mentioned that I managed to finally get it dialed in and running smooth. As many will know, this is not always an easy feat. Nothing in flight sim is plug and play. Especially if you choose to run various add-ons which all need to be carefully and painstakingly configured. Everything we install into the sim fights for resources and in some instances one must choose to sacrifice some settings and FPS in order to achieve what we want to experience visually.
The Prepar3D v5.1 update was released by Lockheed Martin a few weeks ago. I initially held off on updating as I almost always do. But around that same time I had been experiencing a few little glitches which I had hoped the update might resolve. As is the case many times, little things will often become bigger things which I would find out soon after updating.
Two Steps Forward, Three Backwards
The little glitches I just mentioned became slightly larger ones after updating to 5.1. My frustration level was high and I was truly beginning to second guess my decision of moving away from P3Dv4.5. I went to bed one night with the plan of uninstalling P3Dv5.1 and going back to P3Dv4.5. But with a BIG cup of coffee and a bit of hope, I decided to try to resolve the issues one last time.
Success At Last
After a few hours of going through some of the basic P3D troubleshooting steps which in this case led to a complete uninstall of my GPU drivers via DDU, updating to the latest Nvidia drivers and clearing shader cache in P3Dv5.1 all was once again stable. I ran in this configuration for a few days just to make sure all was truly fixed.
One of the big changes with the P3Dv5.1 update was Enhanced Atmospherics (EA) going from beta to full production. Honestly, on my system with EA enabled the view out of the cockpit windows appears as if I have a really bad case of cataracts. I didn’t like EA before v5.1 and still didn’t like it after the update. Apparently I’m not the only one. So Lockheed Martin has much more work to do on this.
Lack of Eye Candy
In my P3Dv5.1 setup, I was missing the level of eye candy which I had in v4.5. The sky and cloud textures were boring and just too plain for my liking. Of course I knew this would be the case as it takes time for developers of 3rd party add-ons to make the move from one version to the next. When I heard the TOGA Projects Envtex and Envshade along with ASCA were all compatible with P3Dv5.1 I decided to invest the time to install and configure them. I had used this combination with much success in my P3Dv4.5 setup and had hopes it would work equally as well in v5.1. I did make one small change with the addition of using the popular Reshade add-on to further enhance the visuals.
As you can see from the images below, the sky/cloud textures with using Envtex, Envshade, ASCA and Reshade look a lot more natural and vibrant. The images below were taken during a early morning departure out of KRDU (Raleigh-Durham) in the PMDG Boeing 738.
I still have a bit of tweaking to do, but all-in-all I believe it’s looking much better. I’ll try to get all my settings documented and available for Envtex, Envshade, ASCA etc. etc. in the very near future.
Until next time…