ErichB

AS16 - weather radar 'grid'-like appearance

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I may have missed this discussion before but I've noticed on PMDG birds that AS16 sometimes displays radar returns in a meshed, grid like appearance.  I also notice sometimes that my clouds appear like streets - very straight rectangular clouds running for miles. Certainly not realistic.   Is this a known 'thing' or is there a setting I need to adjust.  Unfortunately I don't have a pic to post, but if you know what I'm on about, please do comment.

 

thanks

erich

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38 minutes ago, ErichB said:

I may have missed this discussion before but I've noticed on PMDG birds that AS16 sometimes displays radar returns in a meshed, grid like appearance.  I also notice sometimes that my clouds appear like streets - very straight rectangular clouds running for miles. Certainly not realistic.   Is this a known 'thing' or is there a setting I need to adjust.  Unfortunately I don't have a pic to post, but if you know what I'm on about, please do comment.

 

thanks

erich

 

I don't  see that at all in the Majestic Q400 radar. Looks like a normal radar return. 

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Clouds appearing like a street running for miles actually is a realistic phenomena, could you be witnessing one of those? Such cloud formations are sometimes called a cloud street, but would more correctly be referred to as a horizontal convective roll vortex. Here is a satellite picture of one having formed over the Eastern US:

800px-Jan_2011_Cloud_Streets_North_Atlan

Beyond this phenomena, cumulous clouds do tend to form in 'streets' anyway, as they drift downwind from whatever heat source it was on the ground which was causing the clouds to form. It's actually a good way to locate the source of a thermal when gliding if you see such a cloud street, then head upwind along it until you hear the variometer tone rise.

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Erich,

Yup as soon as I saw the topic title I knew what you were talking about.  I saw this just last night in the NGX at EDDF.  There was a solid overcast with light rain falling over a large area, but the radar display looked like a google street map...the green precip returns formed perfect squares on the display and the handful of stronger yellow returns were all embedded in the borders of the squares.

Unfortunately I can't really help with the 'why'.  I shut everything down including AS/ASCA/SF and restarted at the same location and the radar looked more 'normal' the second time through.  All I can do is confirm I've seen the odd radar behavior as well.  It was late so I didn't get to test any more scenarios.

Kevin  

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I also noticed this today at FACT, on the ground in the Q400. Radar was not on, but in the ASP4 weather map it showed exactly this pattern. Green base reflectance returns in squares surrounded by yellow to orange returns at the borders. Was solid overcast there with moderate rain most of the day. Seems to be something to do with very overcast, rainy weather - something about the way ASP4 is mapping the dense clouds and widespread rains.

Just completed a flight FACT to FAPE, and the rains in FACT have stopped. Now the clouds look normal and of course no precipitation returns in the weather map over there, just normal patches of returns en-route to Port Elizabeth as the front moves eastwards.

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5 hours ago, Kevlar01 said:
3 hours ago, geolpilot said:

Radar was not on, but in the ASP4 weather map it showed exactly this pattern. Green base reflectance returns in squares surrounded by yellow to orange returns at the borders

 

 

3 hours ago, geolpilot said:

Green base reflectance returns in squares surrounded by yellow to orange returns at the borders

 

Yup, that's it.  

 

5 hours ago, Chock said:

Clouds appearing like a street running for miles actually is a realistic phenomena

I agree, I've seen them myself.  But in my sim's case the cloud formations are completely linear representing exactly what has been described 

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Sounds like some sort of graphics glitch then, presumably a patch will sort it if lots of people are seeing it.

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if it continues, open a ticket at Hifi and they'll sort it out.

 

Vic

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5 minutes ago, Chock said:

Sounds like some sort of graphics glitch then, presumably a patch will sort it if lots of people are seeing it.

I'm about to hit the sack - I would have posted a pic but have forgotten how to post pics here - will look at it tomorrw.

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31 minutes ago, ErichB said:

Suuuu-perb!   

Although I could have sworn I had it set to detailed,

Thank-you Vic

You're welcome. With all the possible combinations with AS, ASCA, SF, Envshade, PTA it is VERY difficult to keep track. :biggrin:

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Interesting info, however I don't think the knowledge base issue described above is the same one we are seeing now.  The issue above is that if you don't have clouds set to detailed, instead of smooth 'bloobs' on the radar you will get what look like little lego bricks all over the place; sort of looks like a deranged Tetris game!  Follow the PMDG link at the bottom of the article and they have a shot of the 'failure' mode.  I checked anyway and my P3Dv4.1 settings were Detailed clouds and Maximum density already.

Wish I could insert a screenshot here, but what we are seeing is smooth shapes but they somehow are lining up to form grids just like on a street map overview.  Very strange.

I've opened a support ticket over at HiFi (which was a bit of a chore!!) and attached several screenshots to show them what we are seeing.  I'll report back here with anything I learn.  Hopefully they will say I'm stupid because it's a simple config issue...I'm okay with that if it gets fixed!  :happy: 

Kevin

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Hi,

 

keep in mind that the radar depiction reflects the actual precipitation produced by certain clouds, so it's greatly affected by the cloud structures used in the sim. So, the "solid overcast" advertised by the cloud structure program you may use might also mean that the lateral "stitching" of the cloud structures is affected and while this may not become apparent when looking directly the clouds in the sim (unless maybe you look carefully), they are revealed when looking at the radar as these grid lines.

With ASCA (and the default fsx/p3d overcast models) we have full control where the cloud sprites are, so we avoid these issues altogether. We cannot ascertain however that it will show up ok in all cases regardless of the depicted cloud structure. The radar signals are just a vertical projection of the depicted cloud model (assuming all of it contains precip).

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6 hours ago, Kevlar01 said:

I've opened a support ticket over at HiFi (which was a bit of a chore!!) and attached several screenshots to show them what we are seeing.  I'll report back here with anything I learn. 

Great thanks Kevin.  Please let us know.  I haven't gone back to my sim but I'm pretty sure I have 'detailed clouds' set.  I definitely have them set to max density.

 

1 hour ago, kterz said:

So, the "solid overcast" advertised by the cloud structure program you may use might also mean that the lateral "stitching" of the cloud structures is affected and while this may not become apparent when looking directly the clouds in the sim

So how would you explain the linear appearance  cloud cover.  I have had this issue with ACSA and with Skyforce, but each of them use the AS16.  I have also had the grid-like appearance on the radar happen when I have used ASCA - so it is not an anomaly specific to the cloud structure program.  It must be an 'issue' with AS16 or with a setting on my AS16 config (that's what I thought it would be anyway)   I think Kevin has exactly the same problem I do, so I'll be keen to hear what you chaps come back with.

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1 hour ago, ErichB said:

So how would you explain the linear appearance  cloud cover.  I have had this issue with ACSA and with Skyforce, but each of them use the AS16.  I have also had the grid-like appearance on the radar happen when I have used ASCA - so it is not an anomaly specific to the cloud structure program.  It must be an 'issue' with AS16 or with a setting on my AS16 config (that's what I thought it would be anyway)   I think Kevin has exactly the same problem I do, so I'll be keen to hear what you chaps come back with.

It shouldn't be there when ASCA overcast cloud structures/ models are installed. I remember working on this specific issue more than a year ago and made adjustments to the radar code (when working with the ASCA model) in order to fix this issue. Keep in mind that any adjustments I make to the radar code have to be model specific (cause as I said the "stitching" of the cloud models is different each time). There is no "generic fix" on this one, cause this is not ActiveSky's problem per se. It's the overcast model's design that leads to it (in an attempt to make the overcast more solid)

So, are you sure the ASCA overcast model was properly installed when you tried this with ASCA? If yes, I'll need more info and proof (screenshots etc through a support ticket), to see what's going wrong.

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1 hour ago, kterz said:

are you sure the ASCA overcast model was properly installed when you tried this with ASCA

How do you ensure the 'overcast model' is installed correctly?    In my case, probably not because not everyone has this issue.  But I didn't know the installation of an overcast model was a thing that required specific attention other than selecting the usual options.

 

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Just a quick update so this doesn't fall off the...radar!  :tongue: :tongue:

The first HiFi tech support guy got back to me in less than a day and asked for some additional info (logs, etc.) and said the issue had been forwarded to the development team (maybe even Kostas from this thread).  Anyway I've provided everything I can think of and it sounds like they are looking at it.

Btw earlier this evening I was watching a flight sim video on YT that I'd picked almost at random (which I sometimes do because I learn a lot of stuff). I don't remember the channel name but the guy was doing a flight out of CYYZ in the FSL A320X during a snowstorm.  Shortly after take-off he switched to a standard VC view that included the radar return on the ND and...there it was a big green grid array pattern on the display just like we've been talking about here.  So it is occurring on different systems and with different aircraft that use the AS weather radar interface.

I'll come back again with any updates I get from HiFi.

Cheers, Kevin

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6 hours ago, Kevlar01 said:

Just a quick update so this doesn't fall off the...radar!  :tongue: :tongue:

The first HiFi tech support guy got back to me in less than a day and asked for some additional info (logs, etc.) and said the issue had been forwarded to the development team (maybe even Kostas from this thread).  Anyway I've provided everything I can think of and it sounds like they are looking at it.

Btw earlier this evening I was watching a flight sim video on YT that I'd picked almost at random (which I sometimes do because I learn a lot of stuff). I don't remember the channel name but the guy was doing a flight out of CYYZ in the FSL A320X during a snowstorm.  Shortly after take-off he switched to a standard VC view that included the radar return on the ND and...there it was a big green grid array pattern on the display just like we've been talking about here.  So it is occurring on different systems and with different aircraft that use the AS weather radar interface.

I'll come back again with any updates I get from HiFi.

Cheers, Kevin

Thanks for that Kevin.

 

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When I saw this problem as noted in my earliest post her about very overcast day at FACT, I know I was using ASP4 with SkyForce. So the overcast model in play would have been an SF model. Could that difference in how REX have structured this model (their overcast is very solid and complete compared to ASCA), be the source of this radar pattern. I really have not noticed it before using ASP4 + ASCA.

In the other hand, if users like Erich are seeing this pattern and not using SF, then HIFI needs to look at this. Just find it a bit coincidental that reports of this problem suddenly surface after SF was released. Or else maybe it was the November 2017 update to ASP4 that did something.

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2 hours ago, geolpilot said:

When I saw this problem as noted in my earliest post her about very overcast day at FACT, I know I was using ASP4 with SkyForce. So the overcast model in play would have been an SF model. Could that difference in how REX have structured this model (their overcast is very solid and complete compared to ASCA), be the source of this radar pattern. I really have not noticed it before using ASP4 + ASCA.

In the other hand, if users like Erich are seeing this pattern and not using SF, then HIFI needs to look at this. Just find it a bit coincidental that reports of this problem suddenly surface after SF was released. Or else maybe it was the November 2017 update to ASP4 that did something.

 

I actually had a number of photographs taken with my phone of the grid like pattern - and that was definitely using ASCA and AS16.    And its not just the radar pattern, it's sometimes the cloud layout as well.  Dead straight,  linear looking cloud alleyways.   Not a natural phenomenon in this case.  Definitely a graphical or utility glitch.  Too perfect, 

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Just now, ErichB said:

definitely using ASCA and AS16

Thanks Erich for confirming that this is not due to the use of SF. Yes I have seen those linear cloud alleyways before, but obviously saw those in the sim, but did not have the radar on to see how that would look. When I have see these false cloud streets in sim, its mainly altocumulus, and I may not have thought to turn on the radar as they did not look like precipitation clouds (would not show radar returns anyhow) or dangerous in any way.

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1 hour ago, geolpilot said:

(would not show radar returns anyhow) or dangerous in any way.

Exactly, you don't necessarily see both.  And yes, mine were also altocumulus in the main.

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On 1/8/2018 at 2:53 AM, ErichB said:

Great thanks Kevin.  Please let us know.  I haven't gone back to my sim but I'm pretty sure I have 'detailed clouds' set.  I definitely have them set to max density.

Hi Erich, I used the quote above to hopefully generate a notice to you next time you're on the forum so you'll come over to check...this forum doesn't appear to get a lot of traffic compared to the main P3D forum.

As promised I've continued to work this issue with Kostas at HiFi over the past several weeks.  He's been very helpful and came up with several different test scenarios for me to try along the way, which is why it took a while.  In fact I could probably write several pages on what we did but I'll try to keep this mercifully brief.

As you and I noted that grid pattern is really present in the radar even with ASP4 +ASCA, but it's much more obvious with ASP4+SF.  It's related to the overcast model for each product and how it's implemented.  Obviously with ASP4 and ASCA both being HiFi products, they've been able to do some additional tweaking to help reduce the 'strength' of the grid pattern for that case.  Once of those differences results in a file called ASCAModelDefs.dat in the following location:  ...Lockheed Martin\Prepar3Dv4\Weather\Clouds.  Whatever this file does, it seems to help attenuate the grid pattern when used with ASP4+ASCA but my testing shows it has the exact opposite effect if it's present in a ASP4+SF config...it actually strengthens the grid-like returns somehow because it's not made to work with the SF overcast model.

So while in the ASP4+SF configuration (ASCA clouds disabled), go and see if you have the file noted above in the ...\Weather\Clouds folder; if so make a copy/backup and then delete it (or just move it out of that folder, whichever you want), then restart ASP4, SF and P3D and you should notice that the radar grid-like returns will be more subtle.  It won't eliminate them entirely, but they should be reduced.

Another thing that I've noticed with all this testing is that at least on my setup, for the same weather conditions in the same location the radar return images under ASP4+SF will almost always indicate stronger storms than with ASP4+ASCA.  A dark green patch under ASCA may show up as mostly yellow with SF at the same location, and so on.  And this is with the same gain setting on the NGX, 777, etc., radar console in each case.  So another thing I'll be doing if I go back to ASP4+SF is to run with slightly lower gain settings on the radar console in the aircraft to see if that matches up better with what I'm used to seeing with ASP4+ASCA.

That's pretty much it without boring you further.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like there's a 'magic' setting or tweak that will completely eliminate the grid returns in all cases.  Which begs the question, why isn't everyone noticing these grid patterns and yelling about them?  I can't answer that one; maybe it's a complicated combination of resolution settings, graphical detail settings, etc., across different setups that makes it more obvious in some cases. 

Let me know if you have any questions.  Maybe Kostas will happen by on this thread again and correct any obvious errors in my summary above.  

Cheers, Kevin 

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