As Open Beta versions of DCS World go, 2.5.6 has been one of the longest stretches of inconsistent performance issues in recent history. There are frame rate drops and visual glitches all over the place in 2.5.6 and so if you’re one of those experiencing problems right now… You’re not alone.
Inconsistent frame rates and visual artefacts
DCS World has always been a bit of a performance hog but then find me a flight simulation in history that wasn’t one. Performance stutters going back through the years have been a constant problem for flight sims and also a vital part of the experience to give you that smooth feeling of actually flying an airplane.
High end PC’s and lots of performance tweaking has always been a necessity to get most sims to run well. Most of the time in recent history, I’ve been able to get DCS World 2.5 working at a very good clip with a near constant 50-60fps and only occasional glitch. That’s a good experience and one that I like to see in most of my sim titles. X-Plane 11’s struggle to reach beyond 25fps has been a major point of annoyance for me and so the recent upgrade to Vulkan for that sim and the jump that most users are seeing has me excited for the future there. Unfortunately, DCS World in 2.5.6 has been very inconsistent.
The worst experiences I’ve had recently are in the Fw190A-8 and the F/A-18C. In single player the Fw190A-8 was a huge problem with one of the performance sucks apparently being the visual effects for the propeller blade – reducing my performance to 12-15fps from my stated average of 50-60fps. Fortunately that one issue seems to be fixed and the Fw190A-8 is much better now!
Then there is the F/A-18C Hornet which is fine sometimes and a total disaster other times. It’s apparently a combination of an nVidia driver version, the SA page (for datalinked contacts) and the bypass switch on the countermeasure dispenser. Say what? Yeah, you can read more about that here.
In multiplayer, just sitting on the apron at Al Dafra air base caused me to see frame rates in the teens with most players in the chat reporting that it might get better as I flew away from the airbase.
It did… until I turned on the SA page.
Even outside the plane the SA page ate into the frame rates. Obviously something is wrong here.
Another plane recently experiencing a problem is the DCS: MiG-21bis. Awaiting some upgrades from Leatherneck/Magnitude 3, right now if you turn on your radar and it connects at all with ground clutter you’ll see a major frame rate loss. Multiple people have posted about that recently.
Then there are the sometimes random flashes of light. You may have seen these and worried that your virtual pilot was being abducted by aliens.
Every plane in my four person group landing at this airbase had the same experience. A couple of them were so blinded that it caused them to crash their aircraft at a critical moment. It’s obviously not an isolated experience.
That said, it’s not all bad either. Flying aircraft like the F-5 Tiger II the other night and I hardly saw a stutter. The same was true with my recent flying of the F-86 Sabre which flew smoothly and my frame rates stayed just as smooth – even in multiplayer!
It started with 2.5.6
While 2.5.5 had been fine tuned into a really smooth experience and if you’re on the public release structure right now, you’ll still experience that relative smoothness of that release. If, however, you’re on the open beta as most who play DCS World multiplayer are, it’s a whole other world.
I suspect many of the changes came in because of the lighting changes. 2.5.6 looks better than DCS World has ever looked and that likely came with some deep changes to the rendering systems. While some of those changes have resulted in some stunningly beautiful scenes, they are also likely at least partially responsible for all of the issues.
You’re not alone
The thing that strikes me right now is that a lot of people are asking everyone else, “hey is your frame rate bad in DCS right now?” And when they ask a lot of people respond in the affirmative. It’s a wide spread problem and it’s also one that Eagle Dynamics community managers are aware of.
Replying to messages on Facebook, Reddit, and on the official forms, we’ve heard from BIGNEWY and NineLine that the team is aware of the problems and are working on fixes for them. This is part of the open beta experience that so many in DCS World are signed up for and while the problems being spotted by the community have no doubt proven useful in tracking down bugs and squashing them… it does remain a sometimes frustrating experience.
So, with some hope, I do think we’ll see a lot of these issues go away and performance to improve but it may be a patch or a few away yet. DCS World 2.5.6 still has not yet moved to the stable branch yet and that tells me that Eagle Dynamics knows that these need to be sorted out.
I do hope to be able to scream through the skies at 60fps again very soon!