soaring_penguin

weather fronts finally in X-Plane

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I removed all of my plugins and started to add them one by, just for the sake of fixing broken frame rates :) .

So I did a flight the other day without noaweather from Annecy to Nice, using the default real weather.

It was cloudy when I started (3 levels of scattered stacked on top of each other).

But when I passed to the Provence near Sisteron, the skies cleared. And not like they used to do, with a complete redraw and suddenly finding myself in clear blue skies. This time, I left a wall of clouds behind me, and I could fly back into it if I wanted to (I didn't as I almost crashed into a mountain just minutes before :biggrin:). In front of me, it was all blue skies, as far as I could see.

To me, the front was drawn as I would expect it in real life, a bit too much to the south tough.

I will leave noweather out for now for sure, as that one redraws the weather every 15 minutes or so.

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2 hours ago, jh71 said:

So I did a flight the other day without noaweather from Annecy to Nice, using the default real weather.

Actually, X-Plane always depicted some sort of weather fronts when using default real weather, since it places clouds and weather according to METAR readings, and the fronts tend to form naturally from that, albeit I presume not always perfectly.

NOAAweather sets global weather (without using METARs) so it produces uniform weather and no fronts.

The remaining problem with the default weather is that it is static both in place and time, although this may not be so important especially in a fast flying aircraft.

 

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4 hours ago, Murmur said:

The remaining problem with the default weather is that it is static both in place and time, ...

It's also static in terms of graphics. I remember installing SMP (1.0 at the time), set a strong wind and the moving clouds looked spectacular.

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5 hours ago, Murmur said:

The remaining problem with the default weather is that it is static both in place and time, although this may not be so important especially in a fast flying aircraft.

That's one of the remaining problems, there are others.

My pet peeve is that it can't model towering thunderstorms as discrete objects, with vertical convection up and down within the storm. There is no way (and no need) to duck between two thunderstorms in X-Plane because the current horizontal layer system just can't model it. We need 3D weather and the ability to model discrete weather systems around the plane.

I think it has to be done by Laminar as a default weather feature, not something added with a 3rd party plugin. I may be wrong about that, but I haven't seen any plugin so far that actually replaces the weather system, and models clouds vertically as well as horizontally (i.e. across "layers" instead of being locked into a layer).

It's my standard rant, I know, but worth repeating once in a while. :happy:  Just because we shouldn't fly inside a towering CB doesn't mean they shouldn't be in the sim. It's one of the main hazards real-world pilots deal with.
 

1 hour ago, Colonel X said:

It's also static in terms of graphics. I remember installing SMP (1.0 at the time), set a strong wind and the moving clouds looked spectacular.

Right, the moving clouds in SMP are mostly noticeable when sitting on the runway. But if you're flying low enough to see cloud shadows (especially on water), you can see the shadows moving slowly, and in the right direction relative to the wind.

SkyMaxx Pro does a few other things that are mostly noticed by us low-level flyers, like the way the cloud edges merge smoothly against terrain in mountain valleys, or the way rain occurs under individual clouds, not universally. You have to be flying low enough to notice this, not zooming over the clouds in a tubeliner.

Even with all that, we need full 3D weather that will require a re-write of all these weather plugins eventually.

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13 minutes ago, Paraffin said:

I think it has to be done by Laminar as a default weather feature, not something added with a 3rd party plugin. I may be wrong about that, but I haven't seen any plugin so far that actually replaces the weather system, and models clouds vertically as well as horizontally (i.e. across "layers" instead of being locked into a layer).

There is actually a method to model updrafts and downdrafts, but it requires hacking some datarefs (I even experimented simulating a downdraft with windshear, and the results are very nice).

But as you said, I don't think any of the weather plugins does that.

And probably you're right, in that the best results could only be obtained if Laminar itself expands the capabilities of the weather engine. But alas, as far as we know, there's nothing in sight for XP11...

 

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We do get updrafts near mountain ridges for gliding. I don't know if that's actually tied to the weather engine, or just an input to the flight model for increased lift near that specific terrain. 

Anyway, yeah... the way things are going, it looks like any drastic improvement in the weather may have to wait for v12. Laminar has a lot on their plate with performance and graphics this time around. A better weather engine would probably hit the CPU/GPU enough to hold back those plans.

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You all just amaze me! Where the heck do you guys get all this information and understanding! 

Honestly, I read some of your posts and I just am in awe of what you have been able to learn.

Amazing!  

Bob

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Frontal systems are Mesoscale... There's really a poor interconnection ( other than pressure and wind direction variation ) between METAR-based weather generation and the depiction of such systems...

METAR are localized observation, most of the time ( in Europe but not only ) restricted in altitude, and distance from the observation point. METAR are Observations. When the sector altitude is like 5000', or even lower, most frontal system clouds aren't even going to be reported at all...

What X-Plane has is a much more stratified vs convective way of rendering cloud systems, probably sometimes giving the impression of frontal systems being portrayed...

Mountain winds have long been simulated to the level of upslope and downslope movements, but mountain effects like the basic mountain thermals aren't specifically simulated. We get thermals irrespective of the terrain bellow - well, I guess Austin once mentioned he did something to lower thermal generation overs seas ?... 

There have been at least two plugins that focused on the modelling of thermal and even mountain wind effects like wave, but both weren't anything special, mostly due to the limitations imposed by how X-Plane dataref read/write allows for fine tuning of it's weather engine.

For most types of use - X-Plane isn't meant to be used for instance as a soaring sim... - the way weather is depicted in the sim is more than enough, provided visibility, lowest cloud layer base and wind are simulated.

Any weather injector capable of dealing with more complex, extended weather types requires a merge between METAR/SPECI/SIGMET/PIREP and one or more weather forecast models, and if possible also the post-processing of satellite images on the various channels available to allow for the precise determination of high, medium and lower level cloud layers not reported in the METARs.

 

 

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