Colonel X

X-Enviro 1.10 progress....

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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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