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bandman

Still on the fence about buying ASA

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I have been on the fence for several months about buying ASA. What I am most interested in about ASA is that it fixes some of the bugs that MSFT left in the weather model. From reading the forum and the HiFi website it seems that ASA fixes some of the bugs but others are not fixed and it seems likely that they cannot be fixed by anyone except MSFT.This is a list of the bugs as I see it in the FSX weather model. Before I buy ASA I would like to clarify which of these bugs ASA fixes.1. Solid haze layers2. Precipitation above clouds3. Low visibility above clouds4. Clouds sometimes lack permanency - "popping"5. Vertical air movement not modeled - updrafts and downdrafts6. Poor depiction of overcast conditions. Blue skies during storms happen all too often7. No cumulus congestus clouds modeled8. Abrupt transitions between weather stations9. No clouds ever depicted near the horizon making the world look flat10. Downloaded weather does not always coincide with local observed weather11. No impact on flight dynamics due to icing conditionsIt looks like ASA fixes items 1, 5, 8 and 10. HiFi is working on trying to solve items 2, 3, and 4 but it doesn't look promising. However I haven't seen any mention of items 6, 7, 9 or 11.So my question is do I have this information correct and what is the status of items 6, 7 or 9? I am assuming 11 is outside the capabilities of a weather add-on.

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4. Clouds sometimes lack permanency - "popping"
I think popping has nothing to do with any weather generator - it has to do with the graphics capabilities in FS and happens also with terrain, autogen, etc. There are techniques, specially with clouds, to mitigate this behavior.
11. No impact on flight dynamics due to icing conditions
I don't think this has anything to do with capabilities of any weather generator. It is up to individual aircraft simulation to implement degraded flying qualities in the presence of icing.

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I think popping has nothing to do with any weather generator - it has to do with the graphics capabilities in FS and happens also with terrain, autogen, etc. There are techniques, specially with clouds, to mitigate this behavior.
I'm no programmer so I'm not familiar with what is the root cause but on the forum HiFi mentions trying to work on this issue.
I don't think this has anything to do with capabilities of any weather generator. It is up to individual aircraft simulation to implement degraded flying qualities in the presence of icing.
Didn't think so as I mentioned but this was just my complete list of what I have noticed as weather related issues with FSX.

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Hi,Thanks for your interest!Can FSX even model cumulus congestus? If it can't, then there is no way to add it.The maximum cloud draw distance in FSX is as far as we can draw clouds.The effects of icing is modeled way back with ASv6 and FS04. No, you will not visually see the icing, but the effects are there.Thanks,

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Unless you are flying an expensive addon aircraft (such as Maddog or PMDG) in which case you have to dissable all icing because it happens randomly regardless of whether you have the aircraft anti-icing systems on or not! :( Neil

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Hi there,You are pretty much right on with your assessment of ASA capabilities vs. FSX limitations and issues. Here are some notes:2. Precipitation above clouds - Happens in some situtations due to aircraft being located above the visual rendition but still within the 'maximum' boundaries, an issue related to the way 3d clouds are represented in FSX. We will look at other potential workarounds for SP2.3. Low visibility above clouds - Latest beta version just released should improve things here and continued work planned for SP2 as required.4. Clouds sometimes lack permanency - "popping" - Improvement in latest beta but occasional quick pops are a normal FSX artifact and can't be completely prevented in a weather engine, however there are some graphics tweaks folks have used with success (see main FSX forum, search for flashing clouds and/or cloud shader and/or SwarmCloud.fx).6. Poor depiction of overcast conditions. Blue skies during storms happen all too often - We have plans for improvement here in SP2.7. No cumulus congestus clouds modeled - We are working on this and other cloud types, longer term (post SP2, or next version).9. No clouds ever depicted near the horizon making the world look flat - Cloud draw distance is a technical / performance limitation associated with FSX. We can't adjust that. However, note that visibility restriction features in ASA can help 'mask' this (but lead to problems noted in #3).11. No impact on flight dynamics due to icing conditions - There are actual flight dynamic changes in icing conditions. This was tested long ago by our team with both FS9 and FSX (early versions). Test steps: Set freezing temps and near to ground overcast layers globally, enable pitot heat, takeoff C172 full throttle on autopilot and fly at 3000ft in a straight direction (suggest area with limited terrain features!). Confirm Icing conditions and clouds via FSX wx dialogs (adjust as desired for testing). After approximately 30 minutes of flight in the freezing cloud layer you will begin to see an slight decrease in performance (airspeed decreases at consistent throttle, altitude, temperature and pressure). One hour later you should have a measurable performance problem affecting the flight. After 2 hours you may not be able to maintain altitude. These times for performance affect were approximate and from memory, using I believe the highest rate of icing. I cannot confirm if this icing simulation has changed at all since earlier versions of FSX, but it did work as described in FS9 and early FSX version tests. Beyond this, there is nothing presently that we do in ASA to affect icing simulation other than compute and define icing conditions and intensity levels within clouds. Future possibilities exist including an icing accumulation computation, display (amount and rate), detection (amount thresholds), and effect (apparent performance reductions triggered on detection).Hope that helps, and remember, regardless of your decision to purchase ASA, we have a tell-us@hifisim.com address where you can make suggestions for future versions.Best,

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Damian,I really enjoyed reading your response. Like I said, I'm not a programmer but my younger brother is a ECE, formerly at Intel. I also had an opportunity to work with an in-house development team to create a CRM package several years back. Additionally, I have traveled to India and evaluated most of the major IT services companies there. It has been my experience that programming is still an art and not a commodity. With a good SDK and a talented, determined programmer most things can be tweaked and worked around enough to arrive at viable solutions. I can tell by reading your response that you have the right approach and that if anyone outside of MSFT can find a way to get the weather engine to work better HiFi will do it.I appreciate the extra effort it took to write up a detailed response to my question. So let me say that the effort was worth it. You have definitely given me the push I needed to get over the fence now and buy ASA; knowing that it is backed up by a team that is putting forth the effort to deliver the best possible product and has the capability to do so.

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