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rufowler

Let's talk about the weather

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I know this has been asked before, but it seems that most threads are from a couple of years back before the two popular and well-loved companies -- REX and Active Sky -- came out with their newer weather releases.

 

The consensus back then seemed to be that REX had prettier textures, but Active Sky had a better weather engine (possibly in part because of it's ability to load historical weather? not quite sure thought).  Since 2012 however, REX has come out with "Essential Plus with Overdrive" and AS released "Active Sky Next."

 

So how do they stack up now?  I realize some people run (or at least used to run) both programs simultaneously, but if they do similar enough things, I'd rather just get one.  Which would you recommend?  A couple of things to keep in mind about me:

  1. I'm still kind of a newbie and haven't played around with weather settings at all except for loading the few default FSX profiles now and then.
  2. In the real world I do most of my flying late at night after work, but in the sim world I prefer to do mostly GA flying during the daytime -- when that gorgeous Orbx scenery is visible.  Thus, having super accurate & up-to-the-second live weather isn't necessarily as important to me.  In fact, just having randomly generated weather that's geographically-appropriate would be just fine.
  3. My machine is so-so (see my system specs), and I'm not even sure if I should be getting a weather addon.  But if I do, I'd rather it be easier on the frames -- perhaps one that has a low res setting or something.

Thanks in advance for the advice.  :)  Cheers.

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Active Sky > REX by far.  REX is good for textures.  I own both, so this opinion isn't based on some video.

 

Now in addition to Active Sky you also have Opus, but I am not sure how that one stacks up since I don't own it, seems to be personal preference ASN or Opus.

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So Active Sky (event Next, their newest release) doesn't have any textures ... which I assume basically means it runs the blah FSX default weather textures?  Also, if some day for some reason I wanted to get both, is it a major pain to try to sync them up preflight?  Thanks!

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Nope, Active Sky Next does not have textures like their previous product did.  I am not sure why they did that,  not sure if you can buy the old one at a discount if you own Next,  I never looked into it because I have REX Overdrive, but I can tell you that Active Sky Next looks awesome with REX! 

 

They do say they are coming out with a graphics package.

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ASN plus REX4 Texture Direct is a good combo, since once is a great weather engine and the other is a great texture-only package.

 

REX is also making an addon called Weather Architect which you might like if you want to make up your own weather instead of using real-world weather.

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Ok, so the way I understand this is ASN is only a weather engine and is great at inserting live weather into FSX, but it has nothing to do with the way things look visually.  REX, on the other hand, primarily deals with textures, and while it makes things looks pretty it has a limited engine (or perhaps it doesn't do any weather generation at all?).

 

If this is the case, and since I don't really care about accurate live weather, I'm thinking maybe REX makes more sense.  I might be missing what they actually do / can't do differently.

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Ok, so the way I understand this is ASN is only a weather engine and is great at inserting live weather into FSX, but it has nothing to do with the way things look visually.  REX, on the other hand, primarily deals with textures, and while it makes things looks pretty it has a limited engine (or perhaps it doesn't do any weather generation at all?).

 

If this is the case, and since I don't really care about accurate live weather, I'm thinking maybe REX makes more sense.  I might be missing what they actually do / can't do differently.

 

REX has problems with things like smoothing the weather across boundries,  you will get abrupt changes, also the radar screen is currently broken.

 

Keep in mind that REX4 does not handle weather, it's only textures.  If you want both weather and textures from REX, you need to buy REX Essentials + Overdrive.  If you decide to get REX4 later, that is an additional purchase.  And REX4 + REX Weather Architect will be two separate products as I found out when posting in their forums.

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here's a link that explains things better than i could

 

http://www.rexdirectexperience.com/

 

I use Rex Essential Plus which is a weather engine/texture package.wouldn't use anything else

loads of stuff coming in the near future

 

Hmm.  Looks like that's a link to their Rex 4 site and that the Rex 4 weather engines are still in development and still in beta testing.  But assuming you've got "Plus with Overdrive," you don't have the issues that StubbinMyToe has -- which seems to be the one I've read about previous versions elsewhere?

 

REX has problems with things like smoothing the weather across boundries,  you will get abrupt changes, also the radar screen is currently broken.

 

Keep in mind that REX4 does not handle weather, it's only textures.  If you want both weather and textures from REX, you need to buy REX Essentials + Overdrive.  If you decide to get REX4 later, that is an additional purchase.  And REX4 + REX Weather Architect will be two separate products as I found out when posting in their forums.

 

I'm wondering if FSUIPC could help that out.  There's a setting in there for weather smoothness (both temps and winds), but I've never played around with it, 

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You could get ASN and free textures. HDEv2 came up via google. Good textures with poor weather depiction would be a pity... And ASN is awesome.

 

Mike

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If I may chime in...

 

I am an owner of REX (older version) and one thing that struck me is the way the clouds tend to be too transparent.  I also have FSGRW, which I believe just provides weather conditions and works off of the textures from FSX.  Now, with that said, I do tend to customize my own weather so I take the real-time need out of the equation.  Working from the default FSX textures appears to be pretty realistic if you take the time to create a weather theme for the flight.  No I'm not knocking anyone else's weather programs and I'd have to say for an overall experience, REX does a pretty good job with all textures, just the clouds appearing as they do.  Now maybe their newer versions are much better, in which case REX may seem like a better choice as they have been around a long time...basically, they're weather people. :)

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Hmm.  Looks like that's a link to their Rex 4 site and that the Rex 4 weather engines are still in development and still in beta testing.  But assuming you've got "Plus with Overdrive," you don't have the issues that StubbinMyToe has -- which seems to be the one I've read about previous versions elsewhere?

 

 

I'm wondering if FSUIPC could help that out.  There's a setting in there for weather smoothness (both temps and winds), but I've never played around with it, 

 

It might, but there is just so much more.  I prefer many things in ASN over REX down to how the clouds look.  There is a video on Youtube that compares ASN, Opus, and REX.  It all boils down to personal preference really, there is no "best".  I owned REX before buying ASN :)

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I do not have the ASN, but I do have REX4, AS2012, Opus and FSGRW.

 

I currently have REX providing the textures, FSGRW providing the weather. I have been very happy with the results.

 

Once FS2Crew is released for the 777, I might upgrade my AS2012 installation to ASN in order to use the weather radar integration.

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REX is also making an addon called Weather Architect which you might like if you want to make up your own weather instead of using real-world weather.

 

So this may be a dumb question, but if I don't care about real-world weather conditions because (as I mentioned above) I'm almost never flying live, either of these programs will still be able to just generate some random weather that's appropriate to the geographical location and the season, time of day, etc., that I'm flying in the sim, correct?  Guess I'm just not sure how these work.  :-/

 

 

It might, but there is just so much more.  I prefer many things in ASN over REX down to how the clouds look.  There is a video on Youtube that compares ASN, Opus, and REX.

 

Ok, but ASN can't actually make the clouds look all that different since it's not replacing the actual textures, no?

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I am not sure how it does, but an educated guess is it changes the opacity and density.  Check out the video

 

I think that is it,  all of them are using the same REX textures yet they look different.

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I use REX Es+OVD and it does weather and textures. The upcoming Architect sounds interesting, but mother nature does allot of this work for you!

 

 

For me, there is zero interest in flying on pretty days all the time. REX ES+OD has archived weather. When you get home from work, just tell REX to load the weather from whatever time you want, and you will be able to fly live all day and night with the weather that was happening for realz at that time.

 

I can't begin to tell you how really cool this is. I travel for work, and I always have an eye on the sky to spot interesting weather. I keep a little pocket notepad and write down the location and time, then fly it when I get home... But to be perfectly honest, what I saw and what REX puts up is 50/50, cloud wise. There have been a handful of times when it was exactly what the weather really was, and that is always freaking cool.

 

REX also allows you to search weather, and you can plop yourself in whatever weather your looking for... Mother nature doing all the Architecting after all... Architect would be nice to drum up some local conditions to fly in, like practicing cross wind landings and what not.

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I am not sure how it does, but an educated guess is it changes the opacity and density.  Check out the video

 

I think that is it,  all of them are using the same REX textures yet they look different.

 

Ah, I didn't realize you meant ASN with vs without REX.  Got it.  Video looks interesting.  I think in an ideal world it seems I should be running both.  Thanks!

 

 

I use REX Es+OVD and it does weather and textures. The upcoming Architect sounds interesting, but mother nature does allot of this work for you!

 

For me, there is zero interest in flying on pretty days all the time. REX ES+OD has archived weather. When you get home from work, just tell REX to load the weather from whatever time you want, and you will be able to fly live all day and night with the weather that was happening for realz at that time.

 

I can't begin to tell you how really cool this is. I travel for work, and I always have an eye on the sky to spot interesting weather. I keep a little pocket notepad and write down the location and time, then fly it when I get home... But to be perfectly honest, what I saw and what REX puts up is 50/50, cloud wise. There have been a handful of times when it was exactly what the weather really was, and that is always freaking cool.

 

REX also allows you to search weather, and you can plop yourself in whatever weather your looking for... Mother nature doing all the Architecting after all... Architect would be nice to drum up some local conditions to fly in, like practicing cross wind landings and what not.

 

Very cool, indeed.  Sounds like the weather archive is a nice option too.  :)

 

Just curious (for anyone commenting here): Is there a big hit your framerate with either or both of these?  Like I mentioned, I have an ok / not great system at the moment, and it struggles sometimes despite tweaks.  I wouldn't want to swap a prettier sky for a soul-crushing 5 fps in my Orbx regions. ;)

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rufowler

 

i have been an active sky user for many years (apart from a short time on the initial rex way back when ??) ... i thus can't offer too much comment about rex / opus etc.

 

but like you i prefer to "fly" at a different time to my real world (daylight after dusk !!) & have thus needed active sky's historic weather to much better depict real world weather suited to the simmed time of day in a specific geographic area.

 

one option you have is to try as2012 with its very capable weather engine & for mine good HD textures (to match that weather), then perhaps upgrade to asn for an even better engine, yet stll use as2012 texture loading as i do, given my history of owning the past versions of asa, ase etc.

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but like you i prefer to "fly" at a different time to my real world (daylight after dusk !!) & have thus needed active sky's historic weather to much better depict real world weather suited to the simmed time of day in a specific geographic area.

 

one option you have is to try as2012 with its very capable weather engine & for mine good HD textures (to match that weather), then perhaps upgrade to asn for an even better engine, yet stll use as2012 texture loading as i do, given my history of owning the past versions of asa, ase etc.

 

Hmmm... That does sound like an interesting option -- a creative way around things I suppose.  I wonder why AS stopped making textures when their previous versions had them.  Weird.  Thanks for the input!

 

Does 

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rufowler

 

i should have added http://www.hifitechinc.com/products/active-sky-2012 for more ... with a discount !!

 

i believe sooner or later they will add textures to asn, but in the meantime they are more than busy with the asn radar integration/s.

 

besides, many like me had as2012 anyway .. which you use before starting fsx & then switching to asn B) !!

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So this may be a dumb question, but if I don't care about real-world weather conditions because (as I mentioned above) I'm almost never flying live, either of these programs will still be able to just generate some random weather that's appropriate to the geographical location and the season, time of day, etc., that I'm flying in the sim, correct?  Guess I'm just not sure how these work.  :-/

 

REX WA is not available yet, there's an info page here: http://www.rexdirectexperience.com/architect.html

 

Other versions of REX that I've used (REX 2, maybe REX ES+OD) have a "random weather" feature, and you choose the approximate conditions you want and it generates them, but I don't know yet what all the capabilities of WA will be.

 

You  might also want to look at a program called Ideal Flight (on sale this weekend at PCAviator), which will help you come up with a flight plan and automatically generate some suitable weather. I don't have that program either but thinking about getting it at the sale price.

 

Either of those programs plus a texture package such as REX4 Texture Direct or the freeware HDEv2 cloud textures would work well together.

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REX WA is not available yet, there's an info page here: http://www.rexdirectexperience.com/architect.html

 

Other versions of REX that I've used (REX 2, maybe REX ES+OD) have a "random weather" feature, and you choose the approximate conditions you want and it generates them, but I don't know yet what all the capabilities of WA will be.

 

You  might also want to look at a program called Ideal Flight (on sale this weekend at PCAviator), which will help you come up with a flight plan and automatically generate some suitable weather. I don't have that program either but thinking about getting it at the sale price.

 

Either of those programs plus a texture package such as REX4 Texture Direct or the freeware HDEv2 cloud textures would work well together.

 

Thanks, fshobby!  I actually do have have Ideal Flight 10.  It was one of the first addons I got a couple of months ago.  And I was thinking about it recently when I started thinking about finally getting my first weather addon.  I like IF, and it has some nice features, especially the way it randomizes not just the weather, but also the date you're flying, the cargo/passengers you carry, your assignment/mission, etc.

 

But after I got FsPassengers, and especially after I got Air Hauler (which I use most often), the "career" aspect of IF feel a little thin.  Depending on how much it costs (or how deep your pockets are), I'd say it's worth a shot.

 

Anyhow, that "random weather" option in REX  seems promising.  Thanks!

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Nothing beats flying through a real hurricane in ASN :)

 

If I were you I would just pick up REX4 for the great textures, then add on some ASN for weather.

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Well, as luck would have it, I happened to see in my inbox today an email about a big sale at PCAviator this weekend, including 50% off REX products!  This might be the nudge I needed to dive in since it's only ~$22 usd. But I do realize that it's just a texture program.

 

I guess I might as well start somewhere.  I have a feeling I'll grab ASN or FSGRX when/if it's on sale somewhere ... or if I just feel like throwing a few extra dollars into this hobby which is likely to be the case.  wink.png

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Both ASN and FSGRX have demo's for you to try so it might be worth trying them before you make your mind, ASN has a 7 day full demo and im not to sure about how long the demo is on FSGRX.

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