Series S customers report missing major objects

Hi! Starting around June (2023), Xbox Series S (not X!) customers report
missing major scenery elements, such as terminal walls or even entire
terminals. We do not own a Series S (only X) for tests, but such issues were
never reported before June. Please advise what can be done about that or how
to troubleshoot the issue. Our Xbox products already have 50-75% lower texture
resolution, 50% lower ground resolution, and many detail objects removed for
optimization, such as people, animations, static aircraft, interior details,
and static cars. Apparently, there is not much left :smiley:

Having similar issues. Would be good if someone could assist us both.
<https://devsupport.flightsimulator.com/questions/17000/objects-do-not-appear-
on-xbox.html>

In our case, this is solely a Series S problem too.

Hello @DrzewieckiDesign
@MKMatt It is likely caused by the console running
out of memory. We have a process that will start unloading objects to avoid a
crash in such case. We would need the list of packages your users have
installed to try to reproduce the issue ourselves and see what’s the best
course of action. Regards, Sylvain

In my case I used fresh MSFS installation on Xbox series S. Nothing else
installed but Dublin (through Marketplace).

Ok, we will try to reproduce this here then and I’ll come back to you when I
have more information. What aircraft were you flying when you had the issue?

@FlyingRaccoon Tried a few default planes, mostly Cessna and A320. There was
no difference.

I guess if Dublin generates issues then our KEWR Newark will too, as it almost
certainly is heavier. But we need to keep in mind that those products work
correctly on the Xs and (at least in our case) the reports about Series S
started to appear only about a month ago. Customers did tests on default
aircraft with AI off.

The user confirms testing products with no other content in the Community
folder and with a default aircraft.

@FlyingRaccoon any luck on reproducing this
one? Are there any specific vertex/drawcall limits for series S consoles?

Do the objects have multiple LODs ? If the LOD strategy in the SDK docs is
enforced on Xbox, to be sure your objects are not removed outside your
control, they must have at least 3 LODs, at least this is what the docs are
saying.

Hello @MKMatt We have been able to reproduce the
problem. That is also a problem we have with some of our own airports so this
is already tracked. I can’t tell yet if that’s an issue on our side or if the
sceneries in question need to be simplified further. Regards, Sylvain

Hi Sylvain. @FlyingRaccoon So I guess we do
not know much more than we did before, correct? There is one issue with
simplifying products - customers have to get the same price, screenshots, and
descriptions as in “full”, PC-dedicated products. Even though the Xbox version
is significantly simplified. Some of the users are a bit frustrated about that
and I can understand why. Additionally, you can see that in ratings - our
products mostly have 5 or 1 stars. Frankly, 5s are from PC users and 1s are
from some of the Xbox users. There is rarely anything in between. If products
just crash, 1s are perfectly logical. Unfortunately, we do not have any stats
of Xbox vs PC product sales but I wonder if it is viable to sacrifice product
ratings for Xbox sales…

They do indeed.

Hello @DrzewieckiDesign We haven’t moved
forward on this yet unfortunately. I am still following and will let you know
when we do. As for the way the product is presented on the Marketplace, this
is more of an editorial subject than a technical issue so you want to discuss
this with your partnership program contact. Regards, Sylvain

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Hello Sylvain @FlyingRaccoon . Do we have any progress regarding this matter?

The Marketplace presentation is indeed not your issue, but on the other hand, such limitation on Xbox products results in a completely different product being sold for Xbox than the one presented in screenshots…

Anyway, the disappearing objects is the main concern here. :sob:

Guys, I am really sorry, but I just need to bump up this topic. :sleepy:

Hello @DrzewieckiDesign,

This issue will not be solved with SU13, it is still being investigated.
I’ll update this topic when we make some progress.

Regards,
Sylvain

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FYI this is happening in Montreal as well. Last Marketplace 1.1.0 release.

There’s only one building missing all the time. Even though we significantly optimized the scenery it still won’t show up.

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Has there been any progress on this in the last few months?

I just did testing on Cloud (which I’m led to believe is Series S specs?) this weekend and my latest scenery is not performing well, even after spending months on optimization of assets throughout my extensive library (only a portion of which are used in the scenery itself).

These optimizations followed the SDK guidelines to the best of my interpretation, flattening models, instancing lights, having multiple LODs at ~50% reduction, LOD1-2 gets rid of the Normal and Comp for memory reduction, and then the final two LODs are 300 verts (5% screen space) and 150 verts with the final only being vertex paint or (in rare occasions) a 64px texture.

Some models share textures (such as some vegetation), but most are using a single texture sheet (Never more than 4k resolution) so that drawcalls are kept to a minimum (even though that’s less of an issue in MSFS - and seamless workflows have proven to be better for memory management on larger projects).

If I configure my local copy to run on the “high” settings preset (which the SDK seems to suggest should be on par with Xbox) the Statistics profiler shows that the scenery is currently using 359MB of Texture memory and 21.8MB of non-texture (models). Of course, these stats do not include anything other than models and textures, but for testing, I am running the default wheeled Beaver which is 916.65MB combined (texture+model) for a total of 1.18GB texture and 85.72MB non-texture for everything currently loaded in the statistics profiler.

Furthermore, my entire PC GPU memory usage has never gone above 5500MB and that is for everything running on it. Which, from what I can find online, everything I have mentioned should be well within the capabilities of the Series S.

However, the scenery behaves as if the Xbox is running out of memory. Using the Beaver, things go well for the first 10 minutes or so, but after that, LOD transitions begin to slow down with lower LODs swapping in a lot sooner than they are designed to. Eventually this progresses to the point where last LODs are showing at a very close distance. I can put the camera right up to my hangar and it just gets stuck on LOD3 of 4. And then, give it a bit more time and some more panning around and some models just stop loading completely until it eventually crashes.

I can repeat the same thing with the Savage Cub, but it just takes a lot longer since the Cub uses considerably less memory than the Beaver.

Now, this confuses me, because as I have shown above, this scenery is barely using anything for texture memory. Though, it is fairly detailed (across a somewhat small area) with around 4100 active occurrences of models - 3D trees, vegetation, etc.

So, the only theory I can come up with that makes sense to me: All these optimizations I have done per the SDK are actually working against me in how much detail I provide in the addon. The Series S (seemingly) does not manage this properly and just keeps caching instances of materials/textures as the LOD transitions happen over and over again.

It makes me wonder what the result would be if I actually removed around half or more of the LODs per object? Or if the cutting of Comp and Normal textures on LOD 1&2 is actually compounding the issue (due to MSFS seeing them as new materials to load) and I would just be better off not doing it at all?

Issues like this are hard to test for. My PC will run the scenery at 60+FPS on ultra (as long as I use DLSS). So, testing in my local environment is a guess at best. Then, pushing to Xbox, as most of you know, takes at least 1-2 weeks before I can even see the results of my changes in action. This is quite cumbersome if your are adjusting dozens of models each time, and I can see it taking months of time just going back and forth to tweak objects.

Two things that would be flippin’ fantastic right about now: The ability to quickly reiterate and test on Xbox - or the ability to mark an addon as only being compatible with (limited to) the Series X. It is a bit cruddy the lengths that some of these devs have to go to, butchering their addons so that they might run (just a tad better) on the Series S, when the Series X is often more than capable of running them as they are.

Sorry for the long wall of text, but I wanted to provide plenty of detail and explanation for everything I observed. I don’t think it has to be said that most of us are frustrated with the Series S.

Xbox makes up a big portion of Marketplace sales. We can currently push to Xbox and take the risk of 1 star ratings, hurting our entire seller account, or not release to Xbox, have the community gripe at us for something they don’t understand and miss out on half or more of Marketplace revenue. Neither of which is ideal, but it’s the cards we get dealt.

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