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So, anybody has the time to post some screenshots? Kind of hesistating to install it again after 4.5 has been what I believe a completely borked release.

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I installed it and then uninstalled it 10 minutes later as usual :) I fly jets and the square box of clouds around me at 30000ft ruins my immersion. Also it cost me 20 - 25 fps compared to default clouds. 

My specs:

The towering clouds just look like a bunch of small clouds piled on top of each other, sorry did not have time to make screenshots.

 

 

Edited by Glenn_C
fixed link to specs

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1 hour ago, Glenn_C said:

I installed it and then uninstalled it 10 minutes later as usual :) I fly jets and the square box of clouds around me at 30000ft ruins my immersion. Also it cost me 20 - 25 fps compared to default clouds. 

My specs:

The towering clouds just look like a bunch of small clouds piled on top of each other, sorry did not have time to make screenshots.

 

 

Well since 4.5 there is this issue that clouds need CPU time - an absolute no go. Default clouds and older SkyMaxx versions were running solely on GPU - the way it should be. If it's still the case, well, SkyMaxx is no viable option anymore. I never had a problem with the "square box" of clouds, but 4.5 introduced really bad cloud lighting (at dusk in the first place) coupled with massive performance issues because of CPU load. Looks like that hasn't changed - I will install it later anyway and check. But probably it will also be a 10 minute thing.

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10 hours ago, Colonel X said:

So, anybody has the time to post some screenshots? Kind of hesistating to install it again after 4.5 has been what I believe a completely borked release.

Care to elaborate? I'm not aware of any big issues in 4.5.

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Spent just a little time with the SkyMaxx Pro 4.6 update today. It's looking good, and I'm getting higher frame rates than with the previous version at the same plugin settings. Here are some examples of the the extended cloud draw area that mitigates the "box of clouds around my plane" effect. 

First shot, X-Plane default scattered clouds preset. This is the highest frame rate I've ever seen on my rig (103 fps!), although take note that this is in a window on a 1920x1200 monitor, not fullscreen, and over non-taxing terrain. Nice cloud shadows.

SMP4_v46_01.jpg

Next up, using the XP map to raise the plane up to 16,000 feet (where a DC-3 crew should be on oxygen), and changing the default XP weather to "low visibility" for additional cloud layers and overcast. The "box" effect isn't that noticeable here at the altitudes I do most of my flying at, even though I have the cloud draw distance set to just 5,000 sq. km:

SMP4_v46_02.jpg

Same SMP settings below, raising the plane to 30,000 ft. where a DC-3 has no business being, but what the heck. Okay, with a 5,0000 sq. km cloud draw distance, you can see the "box of clouds around my plane" effect at this altitude:

SMP4_v46_03.jpg

However, if I keep that altitude of 30,000 ft. and increase the cloud draw distance to 50,000 sq. km, I get this:

SMP4_v46_04.jpg

Not bad, and I'm still getting 70 frames per second. I think this new version might have optimized performance at higher cloud draw distances, and I'm not even at the maximum setting yet. This is with just a GTX970 GPU, but again, I'm running a lower screen res than some folks here.

My frame rate does slow down considerably as more cloud layers are added, which also happens with default XP weather. The "Stormy Weather" preset on the ground drops it down way too much, to like 27-30 fps once rain effects are in there, so I'm still experimenting with the "bad weather" settings.

As a final note, there is something odd going on with the PBR bare metal reflections on that DC-3. It looks like it's reflecting the surrounding terrain as if the clouds aren't there at all. I don't know if that's an XP11 bug or something to do with the SMP clouds. I'll have to see if the same thing happens with default clouds.

 

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7 hours ago, Paraffin said:

 

As a final note, there is something odd going on with the PBR bare metal reflections on that DC-3. It looks like it's reflecting the surrounding terrain as if the clouds aren't there at all. I don't know if that's an XP11 bug or something to do with the SMP clouds.

I don´t think that this is odd, it is simply the way how SMP at the moment has to draw its clouds: There simply are no clouds, they are only drawn into the picture at a later stage.

But this will be changed in  the future. X-Plane will gather draw requests and eill draw these features by itself in the correct stage. Otherwise a change from OpenGL to Vulkan would mean that the plug-ins would need totally diffewrent draw systems.

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16 hours ago, fkane said:

Care to elaborate? I'm not aware of any big issues in 4.5.

- Performance of 4.5 was horrible due to a sudden requirement of CPU time (previous versions only requested GPU time). This -seems- to have been sorted out in 4.6 though.

- Cloud lighting is still very problematic: it looks good when using the new sky model (which is quite good also!), however this produces ugly artifacts at dusk/dawn, when the horizon and sky color simply don't match (it's also expected taking into account how the new sky model is integrated). When using default sky colors (or custom ones), the could lighting doesn't match - also expected since the cloud lighting seems to be optimized for the new sky model.

- Overcast depiction is also a game of compromise: the flat layers are just plain ugly. Using "HD Cloud Puffs" works ok in conjunction with crisp puffs, however if you have chosen "fast puffs" because you dislike the "textury look" of the crisp ones, you overcast will still have that textured look (meaning the aesthetics of light and heavy weather simply don't match, as if you were using two different products). Why not offer fast puffs for overcast depiction? Then you could at least have it consistent...

Bottom line is that for now, one may be better off using default clouds (or at least start from there and tweak). They have become a lot better since XP10 and especially the performance is outstanding (back in the day performance was the main reason to switch to SMP). Don't get me wrong, I am a long time supporter of SMP and bought every version - but I think you have to up your game to stay competitive, especially with new X-Enviro versions looming on the horizon (how fitting). This includes adressing all the small quirks (I have mentioned a few), and be inventive to work around the constraints (why not have random cirrus textures instead of forcing the user to deal with this? Why not fade out the new sky model before dusk to avoid sky color problems? Why not have adjustable cloud lighting or presets to deal with different sky colors? There's a lot that can be done to push SkyMaxx forward, but I think those cosmetic mini patched once every 6 months won't cut it for much longer...

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Colonel X, that's useful feedback. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

 

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