Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

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Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Janeway » 07 Jan 2013, 08:18

These tips are for anybody who does NOT have a high-end PC (those who do can skip this topic...)
After countless hours of meticulous experimentation, here are a few tips which might appeal to some of you...
It's downright annoying to have to wait for over FIVE minutes - or more - for FS9 to load !!!

ONE easy way to control - or cut down - on loading times for FS9 is by altering the number of AI planes in the ''Aircraft'' folder of FS9:
The loading times of FS9 are directly proportional the the number of AI in your ''Aircraft'' folder.

A simple way of achieving loading times of LESS than 30 seconds is to split up the AI planes into several folders.
For example, in my setup, I have the usual ''Aircraft'' folder in the FS9 directory (FS9 requires ONE ''Aircraft'' folder to function)
However, I also have these folders sitting right below it in the main FS9 directory:
Aircraft - MAIW [USA]
Aircraft - MAIW [EUROPE]
Aircraft - CARRIERS
Aircraft - AIRLINES

When conducting intensive experiments on Carrier AI planes, for instance, it really helps when FS9 loads in under TEN seconds flat....I assure you !!
All that's required is for me to rename ONE of the four folders listed above.... to ''Aircraft''. THIS is the one FS9 uses.
If I wish to experiment with Carrier AI, I rename the "Aircraft - CARRIERS'' folder to ''Aircraft.
If I wish to fly in the USA to enjoy the MAIW packages, I rename the ''Aircraft - MAIW [USA] to ''Aircraft''.
If I simply fancy flying to and from General Aviation airports full of airliners and single props etc, - anywhere in the world - and from any airfield (whether it's a short airstrip or a massive International airport), then I rename the folder ''Aircraft - AIRLINES'' to ''Aircraft.

The main thing is that only ONE folder at a time is named ''Aircraft''.
And using this method, there is no need to tamper with Traffic files, or switching off Sceneries etc.
Believe it or not, combining Aircraft Folders does NOT reduce loading times of FS9 in any significant way.
Neither does combining all the MAIW traffic files into ONE big MAIW traffic file.
I have logged countless hours - well over a hundred, if not two hundred man-hours - to explore this area.
Attached are partial extracts of the Aircraft.txt file and the Flightplan.txt file when I embarked on the project of combining aircraft folders; and also combining flightplans to create ONE major MAIW traffic file....in the hope of accelerating loading times of FS9. Since I am limited to just 250kb per file, I have had to trim down these two files from their original sizes of 328kb and 2.38 MB respectively. (If anybody asks, I am willing to email them the full-size files....)
After all the hard work and painstaking checking for any errors, I discovered that combining traffic files and/or aircraft folders does NOT produce any appreciable effect on FS9 loading times....
This is the reason I had to devise another way to speed up loading times.

Furthermore, THIS method has the advantage of allowing anybody to UPdate any MAIW package without having to decompile and recompile a single MAIW traffic file, or of having to locate where on earth the relevant AI planes are ''hidden'' in the ''Aircraft.cfg.'' file. Imagine having to locate and delete several F-15s from one ''aircraft.cfg.'' file which houses ALL the F-15s in the MAIW packages installed on your setup...!!!
Even though this is possible.....it IS very time-consuming to surgically remove ''old or outdated'' packages to install the newer version.
Isn't it ??

Utilizing this method, I now leave all MAIW Ai aircraft folders as they are originally named in a specific package.
Yes, this results in more aircraft piling up in the ''Aircraft'' folder. But ANY plane can be easily located.
Additionally, I don't have to worry about ''switching off'' traffic files in FS9 that are not being used.
As long as the AI planes are NOT found in the ''current'' Aircraft folder, FS9 ignores these traffic files, and no problems result from this (that I could detect....)
Since I also place the traffic files of a specific package - say Elmendorf AFB - in the scenery folder of Elmendorf AFB, then I don't have to worry which traffic files belong to which package....if an updated scenery pack comes available.
The late David ''Opa" Marshall was one of the apostles who preached that it's easier to maintain your AI packages if traffic files are located within each package (rather that lumped together in the usual place: FS9/Scenery/World/scenery).

IMPORTANT Note: Aside from the AI in each 'Aircraft'' folder, one or more USER planes should also be included. In EACH folder (or FS9 may malfunction).
Especially the User plane (or default aircraft) that you are currently using in your DEFAULT flight.
If FS9 finds your 'Default' user plane missing, FS9 will malfunction...not load...crash...etc.

Naturally, this method is not perfect and does have disadvantages: one major drawback is that AI that travel ''overseas'' - across the Atlantic (for example) would be inactive and missing from FS9.
Ideally, ALL the AI are in just the one ''Aircraft'' folder but unless you have a superfast high-end PC, the above method should provide a reasonable compromise for those who are willing to accept some drawbacks, while attaining short loading times...with less-powerful systems.
Attachments
Flightplans_MAIW.txt
Flightplans.txt file of combined MAIW
packages.
Partial file...
(213.96 KiB) Downloaded 52 times
Aircraft_MAIW.txt
Aircraft.txt file of combined MAIW packages.
Partial file....
(210.53 KiB) Downloaded 43 times
Last edited by Janeway on 07 Jan 2013, 12:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by campbeme » 07 Jan 2013, 08:52

Topic Moved by Moderator.
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by campbeme » 07 Jan 2013, 08:56

I think this method will accomodate both Retro aircraft and Current aircraft on one set up, sounds a really good idea instead of having two individual FS9 set ups. You will however need to leave your default user aircraft in each folder you create to avoid CTD...... C172 in my case.

Have you noticed any memory shortages, with FS9 constantly looking for AI that are in FP but not present in the aircraft folder?
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by delbydoo » 07 Jan 2013, 09:25

I have used this system before and yes it does make sense in some ways. If I put all of my civvie/mil/retro aircraft in one aircraft folder, I could wait anything up to half an hour for a boot up - which is why at the moment, I have three separate FS9 set ups. One of the downsides though, is that if you use ACA2005, it will fire back about every aircraft not being in a flightplan, as ACA specifically looks for traffic files in scenery/world/scenery - it doesn't allow for traffic files in individual scenery folders. I suppose the way around that would be to copy all traffic files and keep them in a separate but related folders to the aircraft folders you use; as in Janeways case:

Aircraft - MAIW [USA]
Aircraft - MAIW [EUROPE]
Aircraft - CARRIERS
Aircraft - AIRLINES

That way, when you come to run ACA (every time something new goes in) you just move the relevant traffic files temporarily to the world/scenery/world folder and run the program.
And I would be interested to hear about Marks comment as to whether there is any memory leakage....

Thanks for posting Janeway :D
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by f4nutter » 07 Jan 2013, 11:46

or do what i do, start FS9, take dog for a 3 mile walk, get back make a cuppa and a sandwich and BOOM! flightsim is ready to go :lol:

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Firebird » 07 Jan 2013, 14:55

I would not disagree with any points that Janeway makes here. All good ideas.

One thing that I have done and have noticed a hell of a speed up in one sense I designed to help me test fde work. For this purpose it is very time consuming to see something, make a change, reload FS9 again, and check again and so on and so on. I have literally spent days on one fde waiting for FS9 to keep reloading, as I have found that just reloading a plane does not mean that it picks up the change.

What I found is that Janeways methodology will indeed speed up loading up to the point of the flight selection screen, where you select your aircraft and starting point. To speed up loading of an actual test scenario. I found that if I created a new folder /Scenery/World/Scenery_Full and copied all my traffic files into that, leaving only the file(s) that I am immediately testing, then the load into game time is significantly reduced.

In simple terms what I believe happens is that when loading a flight the sim has to check its traffic file(s) and determine whether or not an aircraft is in the spawn area and whereabouts it should appear. The smaller the amount of traffic to check the quicker it loads.
Needless to say that the more traffic that you have installed the greater the time saving involved. It is also patently obvious that if you use one massive traffic file then no savings are possible with this method.

This may help developers more than anybody else but hey it is a tip all the same.
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by sr01 » 07 Jan 2013, 18:09

I'm REALLY in the junior learner stage ,but one trick I use with ADE is to leave FS9 open and move away from the airport you are working on .Re-compile it and then go back to the A/P and all changes show up including any changes to the library objects .
So far no crashes :roll:

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by MIKE JG » 08 Jan 2013, 01:34

THIS is a brilliant discussion so far!!!! (Says the guy with a 10 year old computer.....)
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Janeway » 08 Jan 2013, 09:52

delbydoo wrote: One of the downsides though, is that if you use ACA2005, it will fire back about every aircraft not being in a flightplan, as ACA specifically looks for traffic files in scenery/world/scenery - it doesn't allow for traffic files in individual scenery folders. I suppose the way around that would be to copy all traffic files and keep them in a separate but related folders to the aircraft folders you use; as in Janeways case:
Since I'm not infallible, it was necessary for me to check delbydoo's statement about ACA2005.
The attached screenshot illustrates that ACA2005 checks for Traffic files in other folders also: such as the Addon Scenery folder.
It does not look just in Scenery/World/Scenery. The red arrow and red line indicate thepathway where the traffic files are stored on my setup.

Thanks for your input, Firebird.
However, you might wish to contemplate what I have to say here about your statement that ''in simple terms what I believe happens is that
when loading a flight the sim has to check its traffic file(s) and determine whether or not an aircraft is in the spawn area and whereabouts it should appear.
The smaller the amount of traffic to check the quicker it loads.

When FS9 loads, the one ingredient it does check thoroughly is the AIRCRAFT in the ''Aircraft'' folder.
FS9 is all about flying and hence Aircraft are the key item of the program.
Consequently, FS9 knows what Aircraft are present - or not - from the moment it loads up. Please remember this !!
This is why I concluded that loading times in FS9 are directly proportional to the number of aircraft present in the Aircraft folder....after extended periods of observation.
Whenever we launch FS9, virtually all the loading time of FS9 is dedicated to compiling a detailed list of ALL aircraft present.
(Naturally, FS9 also performs other vital tasks such as reading the Scenery configuration file etc.)

Anyway, according to this ''theory'' of mine, since FS9 makes a detailed list of ALL aircraft present at load up....then when FS9 begins to load up traffic files after a flight is launched...FS9 does NOT need to check for ''missing'' aircraft in ANY flightplan BECAUSE it already knows what planes are present.
While FS9 is reading through the flightplans of all traffic files present, it probably ignores the missing planes because it knows they were not present when FS9 loaded up all the aircraft. They are not on the FS9 ''list'' of aircraft....so in all likelihood FS9 just reads through the flightplans once...and if the aircraft required are not on its ''list'' loaded at startup, FS9 just goes on merrily with its next task and not giving a second thought about ''missing'' planes.
Of course, ACA2005 would ring alarm bells all over the place about ''missing'' planes in flightplanes etc.
But again, guys, please keep in mind also that ACA2005 is not FS9....and ACA2005 is just a tool. Nothing more.
What really counts is what FS9 thinks about the ''missing'' planes...and not ACA2005.
And this is the essence of my long-winded explanations here.

A sensible conclusion to all this is that FS9 is not likely to go searching or calling up planes just because they're on a flightplan, when it already knows these aircraft were NOT loaded up in the first place.
It's not a perfect theory, but until something better shows up, it's a simple way to speed up loading of FS9.
What do you think ?
Attachments
ACA2005 finds Traffic files scattered in FS9.jpg
Traffic files in ADDON scenery folder

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Firebird » 08 Jan 2013, 15:04

What you say makes sense. I would tend to agree that it builds a list of all aircraft only at it's initial start up.

Where I see a speed up in my situation needs is purely from the load to airfield part and from then on. What I mean by this is that the chances are that most, if not all, of us have experienced some stutters when FS9 loads new traffic. It tends to be more noticeable when watching some AI aircraft coming from a no traffic area, i.e. from over water, towards a large populated airport. From no traffic to masses of active and static traffic can really hit a system refresh. Far more noticeable on older systems than newer ones but still applicable.

This new traffic loading process occurs on a regular basis, by the shear nature of what you need to happen, therefore logic dictates that the least amount of traffic that it has to check then the quicker that a spawn process will be completed and the least impact upon the system. I don't know whether FS9 builds a matrix of traffic only at initial load time or whether it does it on the fly.
Common sense would seem to say that it builds an index, like the aircraft on the system, however if it does then the shear amount of traffic that some of us has would mean that it would have to page this index in and out of memory which would cause it's own issues.

I would imagine that each time that it scans the traffic file(s), or matrix, it would use it's already built index of aircraft to spawn any new traffic. There would be no reason to rebuild the index each traffic refresh. If this is not what happens then I would consider it a serious programming logic flaw and I can't believe that the MS team would plan the application any other way.

In short Janeway's methodology, I believe, would quicken the initial system load to the flight menu and my observations would quicken FS9 on loading to aircraft and every traffic refresh cycle after that.

That being said I would NOT say that my traffic observations and speed up tip is of more value. On the contrary, if we all wanted to reduce the amount of AI traffic on our systems we wouldn't spend a lot of our time hanging around forums such as MAIW :lol: .
My observations are really most valid on the limited basis for testing. Of course the next logical thought is that if you don't tend to housekeep your traffic then over time you will start to waste cycles checking traffic that isn't on your system any more or that you don't want any more.

On the subject of whether it is best to keep one large traffic file or lots of smaller ones I have never seen any concrete evidence either way on which is best and therefore believe that it is best left to the individuals choice as to which method suits them better.
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by MIKE JG » 08 Jan 2013, 20:17

Remember that one guy on here who had thousands of AI aircraft in his folder, his sim used to take like 45 minutes to load up!!!! :shock:
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Victory103 » 09 Jan 2013, 05:39

Last count when I log in to VATSIM with FSInn, over 12k in FSX. Of course FSX may handle traffic.bgl's differently. Need to time it next time, but <10 minutes.
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by flyerkg » 09 Jan 2013, 18:11

This is all great to know since I still have a rather slow PC. I have pretty quick load times for my FS9 (1980s) configuration and my (1960s) configuration is still very lightweight with AI. And similar to how I run FSX: I have multiple Scenery.cfg files that contain scenery for specific regions. i.e. Scenery_USA West.cfg Scenery_Europe.cfg, Scenery_AETC Texas.cfg

Each of these configs load specified traffic folders in my addon scenery folder such as: Traffic_USA West\scenery\traffic_USA West.bgl and only addon scenery for areas west of Oklahoma as an example.

The administrative delay is renaming the scenery.cfg. If the load time is directly influenced by the number of AI aircraft found in aircraft folder then I would say there is not much time savings from my strategy since all of my AI planes still fall under the same directory. So far we are all making the most of all sorts of available ideas.

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Greg » 11 Jan 2013, 17:14

Just a small addition here: it's not the number of aircraft folders but the number of model folders which has an impact on the loading time.

An aircraft folder with 20 different model folders for different layouts has the same impact on loading time than 20 aircraft folders with only 1 model folder each.

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by petebramley » 11 Jan 2013, 17:47

Greg

Does this mean that I would be better putting (for example) all my HTAI f16a's into one folder
rather than a separate folder for each country ?
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Greg » 11 Jan 2013, 18:13

petebramley wrote:Does this mean that I would be better putting (for example) all my HTAI f16a's into one folder
rather than a separate folder for each country ?
Yes, it does. As long as they all use the same model folders (model.agm65, model.air, etc.) you will speed up the load time of FS if you combine all the HTAI F-16A's and F-16C's into one folder.

Although Janeway states in his original post: "I discovered that combining (...) aircraft folders does NOT produce any appreciable effect on FS9 loading times....", I 've seen pretty good results. Maybe that's because he found 5 minutes loading time annoying already while mine took around 20 minutes on my old PC WITH folders combined to have as few model folders as possible. Before, it took around half an hour. Everything is relative. :wink:

There's one caveat if the paints were done by Graham King: he often researched the lights configuration per country and changed the [lights] section accordingly. Combining folders for the same aircraft means you may lose this extra bit of detail in these cases.

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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by petebramley » 11 Jan 2013, 18:58

Cheers Greg

More things to mull over. Its not so bad now as my new rig loads in under 10 minutes, but with my old box it was closer to 45 mins (that's walking the dog time, & I don't have a dog). Will keep in mind for a quiet day when its raining outside. :D
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Firebird » 11 Jan 2013, 19:21

petebramley wrote:... but with my old box it was closer to 45 mins (that's walking the dog time, & I don't have a dog)
Time to steal a dog, take it for a walk and take it back then. :D
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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Garysb » 12 Jan 2013, 09:35

Ive got two Labs they are always ready for a walk :D

What you need is a good computer crash, start from scratch it loads really quick then :D


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Re: Speeding up LOADING of FS9 by varying ONE parameter only

Post by Firebird » 12 Jan 2013, 10:12

One thing I am going to try is installing a nice little Samsung 840 SSD, Amazon were having a special on Boxing Day.

What I intend to do is get my FS9 up and running in its complete mode, time it and then transfer the whole thing to the SSD. I won't do that on a clean system, I want a heavily modified one. That is a real world test that might interest people.
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