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At what altitude(s) does PQS terrain / surface stop rendering?


WI'm planning some large, high part-count, space stations. For Mun & Minmus specifically.


I want them low enough that regular trips to the surface for large ships don't have high dV requirements, but, ideally, not so low that my FPS gets tanked by having both high part-count ships and the higher-detail planet terrain kicking in.


At certain orbital altitudes the terrain of a planet becomes more detailed, as the procedural terrain (PQS; 'Procedural Quadtree Sphere') fades-in. At higher orbits, just the scaled space is rendered. But, despite lots of searching, this is all I could find in an old thread about it:

On 1/5/2015 at 5:13 PM, HarvesteR said:

The scaled-space version of a planet (aka, the far-away version of it) is always rendered. In fact, the atmosphere is only present in scaled space, so even at the surface, the scaled-space version is active. Being just a static mesh, it's got minimal overhead to it.

The noticeable increase in performance is indeed very likely the PQS (Procedural Quadtree Sphere) surface being turned off after completely fading out of view. The crossfading is quite necessary for the transition to not look terrible, but once fully faded out, the terrain turns itself off and stops updating. This definitely would help increase performance quite a bit, especially if you're already running on the low end of framerate, so good tip there. If you plan to build big, build it at a high(er) orbit.



What is not fully answered in that thread is at what altitudes, for what planets, does the 'noticeable performance impact' of PQS stop, as that is 'turned off completely'.


Does anyone know where I might find this information?

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On 5/15/2019 at 10:14 AM, Cooper42 said:

At certain orbital altitudes the terrain of a planet becomes more detailed

I don't know the exact altitudes, but you can control when the terrain detail kicks in via the minDistance variable in settings.cfg

        name = Low
            name = Kerbin
            minDistance = 4
            minSubdivision = 1
            maxSubdivision = 8

I would suggest trying a value of 2 or 3 for Mun and Minmus.

You can even name a new preset other than the existing Low, Default, High if you want to be able to switch back and forth easily.

The range of subdivisions (per HarvesteR) appears to be 0-11.

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There is a value associated with each celestial body that forcibly shuts down/switches off the PQS at a certain altitude. (Though you most likely see it disappear a few 10s of kilometers before this, it can still be active in the background) The values for the stock bodies have been exported from the game via the Kopernicus and KittopiaTech mods.

Moho: 115,000m

Eve: 130, 000m

    Gilly: 180, 000m

Kerbin: 160, 000m

    Mun: 120, 750m

    Minmus: 180, 000m

Duna: 120, 000m

    Ike: 180, 000m

Dres: 115, 000m

Jool: Doesn't have PQS so this doesn't apply

    Laythe: 160, 000m

    Vall: 330, 000m

    Tylo: 330, 000m

    Bop: 180, 000m

    Pol: 180, 000m

Eeloo: 120, 000m

Please try the other or both options if one doesn't work though. (mine and/or FleshJeb's) I hope this helps!

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