Do you ever get frustrated at how some of your add-ons render really quickly (the exterior aircraft model), while others take a few seconds to display when you switch from a cockpit view to an outside view ?
Well this is often down to whether the 'aircraft texture files' (the files that make up each livery), have been saved as 32bit or DXT3 textures.
Full 32bit docs look the best BUT draw heavily on your CPUs performance.
DXT3 docs are almost indistinguishable from 32bit, unless you zoom right in to detailed areas of the plane .....
... and DXT3 files load ONE HECK OF A LOT QUICKER !!!!!
So, I found this EXCELLENT free utility on the Internet, with which you can load up all of your aircraift textures (one at a time I'm afraid), and CONVERT them from 32 bit to DXT3....
I was utterly amazed at some of the results I got - one example was the Wilco CRJ ...... I always had problems with the Air France livery being slow to render, and really jumpy.
When I uploaded the textures into this new tool, I found out why - all of the texture files (even those that are barely seen) were 32 bit.... I converted them all to DXT3 and reloaded FS2004 ... WHAT A DIFFERENCE!
The plane looked almost identical but now the graphics loaded INSTANTLY and the plane is so much smoother.
So here is the link;
- Launch the tool
- Select FILE and LOAD EXTENDED IMAGE and then browse to your AIRCRAFT folder and then to the TEXTURE folder of the plane you want to convert.
- select each texture doc in turn and select OPEN.
- Now a small box of the texture illustration will display.
- Simply select SAVE and on the "file type" box, ensure each texture has "DXT3" as the file type.
- Ensure you do NOT "include MIP" when saving
- repeat on all textures; any files that have a DXT1 texture, leave them as they are, don't convert to DXT3.
- Don't change any "extended 32 bit" or "DXT" files to DXT1, FS may not run if you do !
..... it sounds fiddly but once you're used to it, you can convert an entire add-on (aircraft) in about 5 minutes.
You only need to do this one and WOW, all of your add-ons will display faster and smoother.
Be aware that some newer add-ons are already using DXT3 textures only, so you won't see a difference on these textures obviously.
Thanks for the tip! It's funny, I used to imagine that the longer I used FS on this 3 year old laptop (1 gig ram, 64mb NVIDIA Go card, 1.9ghz processor), and the newer the addons I buy, the worse my performance will get.
I definitly stand corrected now! Thanks to little utilities like this, FSAutoStart, the amazing people at LDS and PMDG who figured out how to not tax your system when making things look good 😉 , and so many other tips from people on here that I'm seeing better frame rates today with the latest scenery/aircraft addons than I ever was before they came along!
That's a really interesting program. I think I'll download it and try it.
Thank you for that link. You have no idea how much less resource use DXT3 gives you. This is going to get a workout here. 😀
Pro-sim Quote - "The plane looked almost identical but now the graphics loaded INSTANTLY and the plane is so much smoother"
"almost" being the operative word.
A word of warning - if your interest is producing good screenshots then converting 32 bit textures to DXT3 will undoubtedly give very much poorer results. They will probably be infested with 'jaggies'
How do the original painters feel about the conversion from their original 32 bit textures? BTW How many nano-seconds do you save.
The free software quoted is indeed a very handy tool but I would suggest that the delay of loading the paint in the 'Spot the plane' view is more do do withyour graphics card and its settings than texture format.
screenshotman, clearly the above link is of no interest to you, cos you like the extra detailing that 32bit gives.
But for the rest of us, who notice some planes taking at least a few seconds to render and do not have bottomless pockets to upgrade their graphics card, i think the links great.
I do not believe that the original developers will be crying themselves to sleep because we are choosing not to get the exact experience that they intended from their texture rendering.
if we don't like the effect it has we can "vote with our feet", but at least we have the choice now.
Spuddi - couldn't agree with you more. My only motive being to warn those simmers who want the best quality possible in their screenshots.
The link was of no interest to me, not because it was bad software, but because I have the software and have used it , There have been several similar free software packages available on the Net for some time -so you have had the choice - and I applaud Pro-sim for bringing the software to the attention of those simmers who were unaware of this - just don't expect to win any screenshot competitions with DXT3 rendered pics - and before you tell me that you are not interested in s/s competitions, I already presumed that - I joke 😀