In a statement on VATSIM’s website, the organisation has announced that they have instructed X-Plane client developers to implement code which will disconnect users from the VATSIM network automatically if they fail to maintain an average of 20 frames per second. The new change implemented with immediate effect from the Board of Governors has been established to prevent issues from a programming decision by Laminar Research.
Written in the statement, the team clarified that currently, X-Plane will automatically slow the simulation rate when the frame rate drops below 20 frames per second to maintain the flight model stability. The disruption of the simulation rate change causes for both pilots and ATC impacts the overall quality and enjoyment when on the network. According to the post, controllers experience challenges when sequencing pilots – this is particularly troubling during busy periods. For pilots, it causes delays and to cause unexpected missed approaches.
Moving forward, future versions of xSquawkbox, xPilot and Swift will have new code that will look at the user’s average framerate. If the user consistently holds less than 20 frames per second in a specific time period, their client will automatically disconnect them from the VATSIM network. Users will be able to reconnect after disconnection through this method. It is also made clear that previous versions of X-Plane clients will no longer be able to connect to the network.
To help counter the issue, VATSIM are recommending that users who consistently experience less than 20FPS should tone down their rendering settings until they can maintain the frame rate required. In addition, the network has recommended using the 3jFPS script along with the FlyWithLua plugin. Those combined will adjust the rendering settings automatically to maintain 20FPS. Finally, the team have also said that the FPS Booth and the Auto LOD plugins are suitable to improve the experience. What VATSIM is not recommending is the use of the autospeed plugin – which essentially impacts in a similar vein to what causes the issues for pilots and controllers.
Whilst VATSIM are fully aware that this may not be a popular change with X-Plane users, it has been deemed important to the vast majority of people after a year and a half of data collection. With many pilots and controllers reporting the issue, VATSIM deems it necessary to take these measures.
The original statement can be found on the VATSIM website, along with a list of tools available to help users get the best frame rates for a smooth experience on the VATSIM network.