Colonel X

X-Enviro 1.10 progress....

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They have something cooking there for sure... I know it's a delicate topic, considering the fact they keep on showing us the next big thing and don't care the actual release (1.09) is a buggy mess for the most part. But you can't deny their target is very ambitious.

 

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I'd kind of given up on this X-Enviro but that video is IMPRESSIVE! I hate to suggest this overused and abused term, but dare I say: gamechanger?

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This is at TruSky level or better. As has been said, remains to be seen the quality of the final implementation, and also the performance cost.

 

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I hope they decide to put more color in the low altitude appearance (both cloud shadows and sky color) but it does look quite good.  If they use physics to create sky colors based on weather then we should get some amazing sunsets, sunrises and every other condition where haze is unevenly lit.

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I already saw a lot of impressive shots and videos about the upcoming version of xenviro, but i also saw a lot of them in the previous versions, and the result was so disappointing that my expectations are very low regarding anything related with xenviro, and worst the devs are not there to deal with any kind of criticism, not going to talk about their "support".

Fortunately Active Sky for XP is around the corner, and until them Ultra Weather XP and FS global RW make a pretty good job dealing with my XP weather.

Xenviro is dead to me!

 

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4 hours ago, Colonel X said:

(1.09) is a buggy mess for the most part.

Yes, unfortunately I've had to disable it just to be able to fly XP11 ... but they continue working on it with 1.10 and will release "when ready".  It looks very promising if they can pull it off.  I'm temporarily using FSGRW but find it pretty hard on performance when the weather is bad, xEnviro was very good on FPS and got rid of the 24/7 haze in XP11.  I like the idea of all in one solution for "environment".

1 hour ago, dmarques69 said:

Fortunately Active Sky for XP is around the corner

I keep hearing this ... it's a very long corner 😉 ... but I haven't heard any word on when?  Can you post any info on "around the corner"?  HiFi does an outstanding job with P3D V4.x so I'm very curious what they can do with XP11.

Cheers, Rob.

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3 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

I keep hearing this ... it's a very long corner 😉 ... but I haven't heard any word on when?  Can you post any info on "around the corner"?  HiFi does an outstanding job with P3D V4.x so I'm very curious what they can do with XP11.

Rob i applied for the beta team of Active Sky for XP and i received an answer, i cant share what it was, but i assure you that is around the corner 😉

Anyway, theres some info here:

https://hifisimtech.com/forums/showthread.php?9657-Development-News-Update-Summer-2018

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9 minutes ago, dmarques69 said:

Rob i applied for the beta team of Active Sky for XP

Thanks for the link.

Cheers, Rob.

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I hope the X-Enviro team adds an option for not always needing an internet connection. The new 1.10 looks impressive.

Edited by Pugilist2
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16 hours ago, Pugilist2 said:

I hope the X-Enviro team adds an option for not always needing an internet connection. The new 1.10 looks impressive.

No hope for that. XE calculates the weather/clouds on a server - the only way this grand vision is possible at all (actually this server/client based rendering paradigm is the future for gaming, for example, the environmental [buildings] destruction of the new Crackdown 3 game by Microsoft also relies on this - because the client, your computer, wouldn't be able to do it due to CPU performance). I don't mind that, an internet connection is one of the smaller problems of modern life (unless you're in Pakistan or suffer from paranoia). But some Americans might be reserved to the idea that their flight sim depends on Russian servers, I get that.

I think there's quite a few here (me included) that bought XE, fiddled around with every version, only to uninstall it and run with other solutions for now. But veteran X-Plane users know that your sim is always temporary, and will evolve over time. Default weather is fine for now (with things like better cloud art, X-Vision and the like - it's all still static in terms of visualization [except for SkyMaxx maybe which animates clouds in the wind nicely, but the rest is underwhelming], which is my major gripe), but there's a big next step for weather. That is potentially X-Enviro, or Active Sky, of which I've seen nothing yet ("Q4 2018 Release" - take my money!). XE seems extremely ambitious, that's for sure.

Personally, I wish Laminar would just buy into TruSky or another nextgen readymade weather engine and roll it out with XP12, but they seem to want to cook their own soup. There's also no reason in the world they haven't hired Greg from World Traffic to make it the official X-Plane Ai - but oh well, it's up to Austin.

Edited by Colonel X
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The developers were talking about making weather themes that would not require an internet connection, but do not know if it is still planned.

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6 hours ago, Pugilist2 said:

The developers were talking about making weather themes that would not require an internet connection, but do not know if it is still planned.

Yeah, that should, of course, be possible - to include themes with the install data. If they decide to implement it. But it's only half the fun.

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On 9/6/2018 at 12:37 PM, Colonel X said:

No hope for that. XE calculates the weather/clouds on a server - the only way this grand vision is possible at all (actually this server/client based rendering paradigm is the future for gaming, for example, the environmental [buildings] destruction of the new Crackdown 3 game by Microsoft also relies on this - because the client, your computer, wouldn't be able to do it due to CPU performance)

I guess possibly the reason is that they get their weather from multiple sources, but I doubt that they are doing anything particularly CPU intensive that would require that to be off-loaded to a server. My "personal" opinion is that it is simply a way to enforce DRM and protect their products from piracy, and I guess in this day and age you can't blame them.

Anyone remember the last version of Simcity? They also claimed it was online only as it was the only way to process the lives of all the sims living in the city because the CPUs weren't powerful enough. Turns out that this was quickly discovered to be false (amongst other problems in the game), and eventually I believe it was allowed to run offline (or at least I heard people found a way of doing it).

At the end of the day, we either use such internet-only products or we don't and use something else 🙂

 

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I believe that for this or that reasons any weather injector will require na Internet connection. If not only for observation updates, aldo in order to fetch the data from it's weather source(s).

Of course most will couple DRM to it 😁

Actually the closest to a standalone weather injector we have is Aerowinx PSX with it's Global Weather Model, one of those Unique features that this Unique flight sim actually provides, And, btw, Aerowinx while using online updates that require internet access, doesn't use DRM...

 

Edited by Von Target

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8 hours ago, tonywob said:

I guess possibly the reason is that they get their weather from multiple sources, but I doubt that they are doing anything particularly CPU intensive that would require that to be off-loaded to a server. My "personal" opinion is that it is simply a way to enforce DRM and protect their products from piracy, and I guess in this day and age you can't blame them.

I believe there's actually a bit more to it with X-Enviro. But even if it's just sourcing weather from multiple sources to build the environment - my CPU is thankful for EVERY BIT of load taken off its shoulders. DRM is a thing too, of course, I don't mind it (unless it's so restrictive that it locks you out from your own purchases at one point, but I haven't had that at least in flight simulation).

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3 minutes ago, Colonel X said:

I believe there's actually a bit more to it with X-Enviro. But even if it's just sourcing weather from multiple sources to build the environment - my CPU is thankful for EVERY BIT of load taken off its shoulders. DRM is a thing too, of course, I don't mind it (unless it's so restrictive that it locks you out from your own purchases at one point, but I haven't had that at least in flight simulation).

I doubt any load is being taken off your CPU with XEnviro's server-based method. It's not downloading graphics, just their equivalent of METAR text data. That kind of data is incredibly efficient to download, especially if it's compressed.

Then the plugin on your computer takes that data and does the heavy lifting with CPU/GPU to render the weather graphics, same as with any other weather plugin. The impact on frame rate will depend on how efficient that client-side rendering process is. For example, the first (current?) version of XEnviro took some shortcuts by rendering clouds as 2D billboards. The frame rates are a little better with that method than using 3D "volumetric" clouds like SkyMaxx Pro.

The XEnviro method might actually work your CPU a little more than other plugins, if the data is encrypted. There are probably also some handshaking protocols involved with authorizing each contact with the server, compared to the way other plugins grab METAR data from an open, public source.

So in some respects, XEnviro may actually work your CPU a little harder than other weather plugins or the default XP11 weather. Although with any modern computer capable of running XP11 at a decent frame rate, that kind of processing should be well hidden in the background so you don't notice it.

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METAR / TAF, specially in Europe, are such a tiny variable in the comnplex formula of complex weather injcetion...

If a weather injector has access to GRIB data ( or other formats ) for Global Weather Forecasts, it's task will be 90% trying to integrate in space, and time, that information , create a smooth transition between what it suggests should be the weather aloft and what acutal observations say down bellow minimum sector altitude, deal with adjacent zones where sudden changes in the various variables occur, etc...

Having this work done on the server side is indeed what makes more sense, and the fetched data is already massaged, properly taillored to the formats used to comunicate with a given simulator platform, and optimized for the areas that, for instance, are closer to the route or aircraft track and position.

X-Plane 11 fetches itself METAR, SIGMET and some GRIB data for winds and I belive also temperatures aloft. But AFAIK it doesn't do that harmonization work, a true "latice maze" computation on-the-fly, at the same time trying to adapt it to the limitations imposed by the rendering engine of the specific simulator.

Edited by Von Target
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41 minutes ago, Von Target said:

METAR / TAF, specially in Europe, are such a tiny variable in the comnplex formula of complex weather injcetion...

If a weather injector has access to GRIB data ( or other formats ) for Global Weather Forecasts, it's task will be 90% trying to integrate in space, and time, that information , create a smooth transition between what it suggests should be the weather aloft and what acutal observations say down bellow minimum sector altitude, deal with adjacent zones where sudden changes in the various variables occur, etc...

Having this work done on the server side is indeed what makes more sense, and the fetched data is already massaged, properly taillored to the formats used to comunicate with a given simulator platform, and optimized for the areas that, for instance, are closer to the route or aircraft track and position.

X-Plane 11 fetches itself METAR, SIGMET and some GRIB data for winds and I belive also temperatures aloft. But AFAIK it doesn't do that harmonization work, a true "latice maze" computation on-the-fly, at the same time trying to adapt it to the limitations imposed by the rendering engine of the specific simulator.

It's only an advantage server side if the resulting weather in the flight sim is a better match to real conditions than other plugins can create, using different (and less proprietary) data sources. 

I bought XEnviro when it first came out and ran it for a while. I finally removed it because it had some odd visual artifacts, too many server drop-outs leading to sudden weather jumps, and because the real-weather injection was all or nothing. It can't be manually adjusted to suit the type of aircraft and areas I fly in. During that time I was testing it, I never got the impression that it was doing a better job of representing the real weather outside my window or in airport webcams than default XP11 weather, or the NOAA plugin, or SkyMaxx Pro. I saw no apparent advantage in server side processing other than convenient DRM for the developer.

That said, X-Plane itself is a major limitation here, until Laminar gets off their collective etc. to improve the internal weather engine. Right now, all weather add-ons suffer from having to cram whatever data they're using into a few horizontal layers for winds and clouds, not a full 3D matrix. There is no point in having more sophisticated server modeling than will fit into the sim. 

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