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As there are a lot of environmental add-ons being released lately (2 already this week), I thought it might be worth mentioning that apparently xEnviro 1.10 will be releasing Q1 and is currently in closed beta at the moment. Now I, like many other xEnviro day 1 oweners, have felt rather burnt in the past by the xEnviro developers who sort of left us high and dry with promised updates that never materialized and whom consistently seemed to blame Laminar for their lack of progress. However, if the latest screenshots and videos are anything to go by, especially the ones released this week showing accumulating snow (in real-time) and stunning clouds, then all may not be lost. Better late than never as they say. If what they show is actually real (and does not render at 1 fps on a 2080TI), then X-Plane 11 as we know it would be absolutely transformed to another level

Anyway, I wanted to share this especially for those new to X-Plane 11 to perhaps wait and see how this develops (not to dissuade you from purchasing the good work of other developers though as this may never see the light of day it has been in development so long)...

https://forum.thresholdx.net/topic/241-110-development-screenshots/?page=12

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Pretty screenshots for sure, but I'm sure I'm not the only customer who has grown pretty impatient waiting for them to fix xEnviro and have just lost interest in pretty screenshots and videos. I still see two major problems with this addon:

- You can't set your own weather. If this continues on into 1.10, then you'll only be able to fly in snow if it is actually really snowing outside. By the time it comes out, it will probably be summer in the northern hemisphere and in order to try snow, everyone will have to migrate their flying to somewhere where it could be snowing in the southern hemisphere. 

- No Mac OS X version. Basically, throwing out a fairly large portion of users who may wish to purchase or use this.

- DRM which requires you to be always online to use it. Apparently this is for calculating the metars etc, but well, see my first point 🙂

It seems every man and his dog is now releasing some sort of weather/sky/environment addon, I think this week we saw xAmbience and xAtmoEngine. I'm expecting another 8 out next week 😀

Of course, I already own xEnviro so I'll get this update anyway, but I don't think I'll use it much if I'm stuck with real-world weather

 

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WOw, XE looks the best, i had watched one where they had the cloud moving , think it was 1.xx something.

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18 minutes ago, tonywob said:

Pretty screenshots for sure, but I'm sure I'm not the only customer who has grown pretty impatient waiting for them to fix xEnviro and have just lost interest in pretty screenshots and videos.

I fully agree and strongly recommend against buying xEnviro until 1.10 is released and 'proves' itself as not being too good to be true. As I said in my post, there is not much point in pretty pictures if it is unusable. Up until now the xEnviro developer's have had little respect for their customers who have paid a pretty penny for a fairly broken product with promises never achieved (can you believe it was 3 years ago?).

I agree also that it is annoying to not be able to choose your weather and this is a big no no for many. I personally don't mind too much but I did think like you did that by the time they release this, there will be no snowy places left to test in the Northern Hemisphere.

However, in saying all of that (and maybe I am being naive here), if they can release what they are showing their latest screenshots/videos in a usable working format, it would be an incredible leap forward for X-Plane 11. 

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No VR support as well, which means I won't be buying this.

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2 hours ago, tonywob said:

xAmbience and xAtmoEngine

Whut?

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I've always been an Active Sky man.  So, once they came out with an X-Plane version, I dropped xEnviro like a bad habit.  Granted, A/S's sky is not as pretty as enviro's.......yet.  But, I think the overall quality of their product is much better, they're a heck of a lot cheaper and they've been around longer and can be trusted to stick around and upgrade on a regular basis without breaking the bank.

Just one man's opinion. 😉

Edited by Bill Alderson
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35 minutes ago, Bill Alderson said:

I've always been an Active Sky man.  So, once they came out with an X-Plane version, I dropped xEnviro like a bad habit.  Granted, A/S's sky is not as pretty as enviro's.......yet.  But, I think the overall quality of their product is much better, they're a heck of a lot cheaper and they've been around longer and can be trusted to stick around and upgrade on a regular basis without breaking the bank.

Just one man's opinion. 😉

First, i just want to clarify i agree with all the points raised above by the other users.
And we can agree here about Active Sky as well, i used in FSX and i was very satisfied with it.

However the difference in the clouds must be remembered. Active Sky (and REX to this extent too) use 2d clouds with crisp textures. That's what they have always done and there is no indication of them changing idea (for now, who knows in the future).
x-Enviro 1.10 uses noise generated clouds. The technique is different, and so are the clouds which are NOT 2d textures and billboards, but actual volumetric objects.

This i think is the only real and important feature x-Enviro is bringing and no one else is. The only similar approach have been used on FSW with TrueSky and in the new Il2-Sturmovik series. Everybody else is using 2d textures and billboards for the weather

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32 minutes ago, france89 said:

This i think is the only real and important feature x-Enviro is bringing and no one else is. 

This and the fact it can accumulate snowfall on scenery in real-time including orthophotos. It seems as well from the videos that the clouds move. Also to me what separates them (if the screenshots are to be believed) is the fact that xEnviro 1.10 is by far the most visually realistic looking whether depiction I have seen in any proper sim to date (on par with FSW TrueSky which I thought was really starting to look awesome before they gave FSW the chop).

Edited by steve310002
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5 hours ago, HumptyDumpty said:

WOw, XE looks the best, i had watched one where they had the cloud moving , think it was 1.xx something.

FYI, SkyMaxx Pro has had moving clouds (and moving cloud shadows) for a long time. This is not unique to xEnviro.

30 minutes ago, france89 said:

x-Enviro 1.10 uses noise generated clouds. The technique is different, and so are the clouds which are NOT 2d textures and billboards, but actual volumetric objects.

This i think is the only real and important feature x-Enviro is bringing and no one else is. The only similar approach have been used on FSW with TrueSky and in the new Il2-Sturmovik series. Everybody else is using 2d textures and billboards for the weather

Again, SkyMaxx Pro has had volumetric clouds for a while now. This isn't new or unique. 

I'm not trying to push SkyMaxx here; it's one of several add-ons I've purchased including xEnviro and ActiveSky, and I'm actually not using it right now. Just ActiveSky and default clouds, while I test the ActiveSky features. But sometimes the hype is over the top for xEnviro, when others have been doing similar features for years.

Personally, even though I bought it, I can't live with xEnviro's real weather only design with minimal adjustment. I fly light GA planes and helicopters in parts of the world with severe weather. I need enough manual control to back down the winds, and occasionally raise the cloud deck, or I can't fly at all. Not all of us fly tubeliners that can (mostly) ignore the weather. Also, I do most of my flying in the FSEconomy game, where I can't just choose to fly somewhere with better weather because I "own" two aircraft that are locked down to specific parts of the world. 

Regarding the new snow effect in xEnviro, if they add "historical weather" then this might solve the issue of choosing it when you want it. That still won't work for me, because I'm looking for "what's out there right now," with some adjustment so I can still fly. ActiveSky does that, along with some other nice additions like more realistic turbulence (when it's working) that I like for immersion when flying. 

I will still take a look at xEnviro's new update when it comes out (since I bought it), but I'm not keeping my hopes up for enough adjustment. The devs have posted in the past that manual adjustment will never happen, due to their server-side modeling.

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I kinda feel we're approaching an 'P3D vs X-Plane' type of debate here, where everyone is claiming that their software delivers the best results. Each have their favorite weather engine, that they prefer and one can't persuade or argue towards it. 

Why can't we just enjoy the screenshots and developmental updates from xEnviro and discuss the addon (which this thread was originally created for), instead of showing up with personal baseless assumptions, prejudice and subjective 'warnings' against software - which isn't even released yet?!

I'm sure that some critical or cautious expressions in here, is based on previous experiences - but come on... couldn't we just give the (poor) developer the benefit of the doubt?

I've been following the development of the xEnviro 1.10 beta for a while now. My personal note is, that it's looking promising and the technique does look impressive. I must say though, that I do miss some screenshots of different cloud types... 

That being aside, I do look forward to it and are eager to test it out. 🙂

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7 minutes ago, Anders Bermann said:

Why can't we just enjoy the screenshots and developmental updates from xEnviro and discuss the addon (which this thread was originally created for), instead of showing up with personal baseless assumptions, prejudice and subjective 'warnings' against software - which isn't even released yet?!

See, I have this old-fashioned idea, that when one pays for a product like I've done with xEnviro, one has a right to discuss how one feels about it. And to mention the limitations that might help others considering it. Any new update for existing software has to be considered in the light of what has already been released, and how developers have responded in the past. 

To be clear -- right now I think there are no perfect weather add-ons, largely due to the fact that X-Plane itself has an outdated internal weather model that limits what any add-on developer can accomplish. The ball is really in Laminar's court to improve the foundations, or else we'll never have something like a realistic model of a thunderstorm or approaching weather front.

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1 hour ago, Paraffin said:

To be clear -- right now I think there are no perfect weather add-ons, largely due to the fact that X-Plane itself has an outdated internal weather model that limits what any add-on developer can accomplish. The ball is really in Laminar's court to improve the foundations, or else we'll never have something like a realistic model of a thunderstorm or approaching weather front.

You are correct. Can't have very good weather if one doesn't have seasons either? Not important? Uh!

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8 hours ago, tonywob said:

Pretty screenshots for sure, but I'm sure I'm not the only customer who has grown pretty impatient waiting for them to fix xEnviro and have just lost interest in pretty screenshots and videos. I still see two major problems with this addon:

- You can't set your own weather. If this continues on into 1.10, then you'll only be able to fly in snow if it is actually really snowing outside. By the time it comes out, it will probably be summer in the northern hemisphere and in order to try snow, everyone will have to migrate their flying to somewhere where it could be snowing in the southern hemisphere. 

- No Mac OS X version. Basically, throwing out a fairly large portion of users who may wish to purchase or use this.

- DRM which requires you to be always online to use it. Apparently this is for calculating the metars etc, but well, see my first point 🙂

It seems every man and his dog is now releasing some sort of weather/sky/environment addon, I think this week we saw xAmbience and xAtmoEngine. I'm expecting another 8 out next week 😀

Of course, I already own xEnviro so I'll get this update anyway, but I don't think I'll use it much if I'm stuck with real-world weather

 

Valid points! On the plus side, not being able to set your own weather forces you to fly in different parts of the world you would never go fly in! If you have access to approach plates, this great because it's new and different and it really sharpens your IFR skills! 

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3 hours ago, steve310002 said:

This and the fact it can accumulate snowfall on scenery in real-time including orthophotos. 

You are right, that is the other unique feature out there.

3 hours ago, Paraffin said:

FYI, SkyMaxx Pro has had moving clouds (and moving cloud shadows) for a long time. This is not unique to xEnviro.

Again, SkyMaxx Pro has had volumetric clouds for a while now. This isn't new or unique. 

I'm not trying to push SkyMaxx here; it's one of several add-ons I've purchased including xEnviro and ActiveSky, and I'm actually not using it right now. Just ActiveSky and default clouds, while I test the ActiveSky features. But sometimes the hype is over the top for xEnviro, when others have been doing similar features for years.

Personally, even though I bought it, I can't live with xEnviro's real weather only design with minimal adjustment. I fly light GA planes and helicopters in parts of the world with severe weather. I need enough manual control to back down the winds, and occasionally raise the cloud deck, or I can't fly at all. Not all of us fly tubeliners that can (mostly) ignore the weather. Also, I do most of my flying in the FSEconomy game, where I can't just choose to fly somewhere with better weather because I "own" two aircraft that are locked down to specific parts of the world. 

Regarding the new snow effect in xEnviro, if they add "historical weather" then this might solve the issue of choosing it when you want it. That still won't work for me, because I'm looking for "what's out there right now," with some adjustment so I can still fly. ActiveSky does that, along with some other nice additions like more realistic turbulence (when it's working) that I like for immersion when flying. 

I will still take a look at xEnviro's new update when it comes out (since I bought it), but I'm not keeping my hopes up for enough adjustment. The devs have posted in the past that manual adjustment will never happen, due to their server-side modeling.

I apologize because my English terminology is limited so sometimes i might find it hard to express certain thoughts without using the usual words.
However volumetric clouds for me means the noise generated approach. And that is definitely not in SkyMaxx pro, who uses 2d textures and billboards for the clouds.
What do you mean with Skymaxx Pro having volumetric clouds? That clouds can appear volumetric by having layers of textures and billboards?
When looking at the clouds on Skymaxx Pro and x-Enviro 1.10, what differences do you see and what do you think made them so?

 

ps: i also think that historical weather is something they should look into. Mostly for those who like to fly in their own country but in this period of the year have really bad weather. Personally i would pick somewhere else to fly, but i can understand them wanting to do it anyway.

Edited by france89
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3 hours ago, Paraffin said:

FYI, SkyMaxx Pro has had moving clouds (and moving cloud shadows) for a long time. This is not unique to xEnviro.

Again, SkyMaxx Pro has had volumetric clouds for a while now. This isn't new or unique. 

I'm not trying to push SkyMaxx here; it's one of several add-ons I've purchased including xEnviro and ActiveSky, and I'm actually not using it right now. Just ActiveSky and default clouds, while I test the ActiveSky features. But sometimes the hype is over the top for xEnviro, when others have been doing similar features for years.

Personally, even though I bought it, I can't live with xEnviro's real weather only design with minimal adjustment. I fly light GA planes and helicopters in parts of the world with severe weather. I need enough manual control to back down the winds, and occasionally raise the cloud deck, or I can't fly at all. Not all of us fly tubeliners that can (mostly) ignore the weather. Also, I do most of my flying in the FSEconomy game, where I can't just choose to fly somewhere with better weather because I "own" two aircraft that are locked down to specific parts of the world. 

Regarding the new snow effect in xEnviro, if they add "historical weather" then this might solve the issue of choosing it when you want it. That still won't work for me, because I'm looking for "what's out there right now," with some adjustment so I can still fly. ActiveSky does that, along with some other nice additions like more realistic turbulence (when it's working) that I like for immersion when flying. 

I will still take a look at xEnviro's new update when it comes out (since I bought it), but I'm not keeping my hopes up for enough adjustment. The devs have posted in the past that manual adjustment will never happen, due to their server-side modeling.

I used to be a big fan of SkyMaxx but with each new update, they have gotten more billboard looking! The last update was horrible looking! Its sad when the default clouds look better than the payware! 

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14 minutes ago, strider1 said:

I used to be a big fan of SkyMaxx but with each new update, they have gotten more billboard looking! The last update was horrible looking! Its sad when the default clouds look better than the payware

I'm not seeing that. Looks fantastic to me. The only complaint I have about SM is certain clouds FPS impact but seems, they all have that issue with XP.

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1 hour ago, france89 said:

What do you mean with Skymaxx Pro having volumetric clouds? That clouds can appear volumetric by having layers of textures and billboards?
When looking at the clouds on Skymaxx Pro and x-Enviro 1.10, what differences do you see and what do you think made them so?

Well, let's start with the claims on the SkyMaxx Pro sales page:

Quote

"truly 3D clouds. VR compatible too!"
"3D volumetric cloud layers adjustable up to 320KM wide"

 

So either the clouds are 3D and "volumetric," or they're guilty of false advertising. 🙂 I think there is a clue in VR compatibility, because that's where 2D billboard clouds vs. full 3D clouds is so easily seen.

I don't have VR so I can't test that. However, In terms of what I see on my 2D monitor when I fly the sim with SkyMaxx Pro running, I don't see billboards, except maybe in the more distant clouds that may be 2D for the sake of efficiency.

When I actually fly in and out of a cumulus cloud puff, it looks like a 3D object to me. I don't get the sense that it's stacked 2D layers at close range to do that. If it is, then it's doing a good job of masking the effect. And at that point, I don't really care how they do it, as long as it looks like a 3D cloud as I fly through it. It's down to semantics at that point.

And again, I'm not really promoting SkyMaxx Pro here over anything else. But we need to be clear about what each different add-on has to offer, as well as the weak areas. SkyMaxx Pro has some problems looking realistic up in the flight levels, for one thing. I mainly fly at low altitude where I like how it renders clouds in mountain valleys. But the default XP cloud rendering is good enough now, that I haven't bothered to re-enable SkyMaxx Pro lately. I'm just using default XP clouds with ActiveSky now, and waiting to see what ActiveSky brings out later in the year with their own (extra cost) cloud depiction add-on.

I'm basically keeping my eye on everything, and will buy any likely candidate for improving the weather in X-Plane. Then choose whatever works best for the way I fly. 

Edited by Paraffin

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1 hour ago, Paraffin said:

Well, let's start with the claims on the SkyMaxx Pro sales page:

So either the clouds are 3D and "volumetric," or they're guilty of false advertising. 🙂 I think there is a clue in VR compatibility, because that's where 2D billboard clouds vs. full 3D clouds is so easily seen.

I don't have VR so I can't test that. However, In terms of what I see on my 2D monitor when I fly the sim with SkyMaxx Pro running, I don't see billboards, except maybe in the more distant clouds that may be 2D for the sake of efficiency.

When I actually fly in and out of a cumulus cloud puff, it looks like a 3D object to me. I don't get the sense that it's stacked 2D layers at close range to do that. If it is, then it's doing a good job of masking the effect. And at that point, I don't really care how they do it, as long as it looks like a 3D cloud as I fly through it. It's down to semantics at that point.

And again, I'm not really promoting SkyMaxx Pro here over anything else. But we need to be clear about what each different add-on has to offer, as well as the weak areas. SkyMaxx Pro has some problems looking realistic up in the flight levels, for one thing. I mainly fly at low altitude where I like how it renders clouds in mountain valleys. But the default XP cloud rendering is good enough now, that I haven't bothered to re-enable SkyMaxx Pro lately. I'm just using default XP clouds with ActiveSky now, and waiting to see what ActiveSky brings out later in the year with their own (extra cost) cloud depiction add-on.

I'm basically keeping my eye on everything, and will buy any likely candidate for improving the weather in X-Plane. Then choose whatever works best for the way I fly. 

It would be hard to describe the difference. But the effect will actually be neat. Skymax has to use textures to create clouds. You don't actually fly through them but around them. The noise based rendering is more like particles and you fly into them. Volumetric just means three dimensional. Xenviro is completely different from traditional flight simulator tricks. Just saying...

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If anyone is complaining about the wait, I don't think they fully grasp the magnitude of what XE is trying to achieve here, especially given the enormous limitations xplane has put on them.  I'm disappointed its taken so long too, and i am even more disappointed that 1.1 wont support VR as I won't fly without VR.  But I am most disappointed in LR's unwillingness to give us even basic weather improvements like snow for goodness sake, it's ridiculous.  How can you have a flight simulator without weather.  I hope XE is a massive success and that they release the VR compatible version soon after, I can't stomach XP without it.  

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6 hours ago, Paraffin said:

See, I have this old-fashioned idea, that when one pays for a product like I've done with xEnviro, one has a right to discuss how one feels about it. And to mention the limitations that might help others considering it. Any new update for existing software has to be considered in the light of what has already been released, and how developers have responded in the past. 

 

If you feel that strong about it, then you can start a new thread every week to discuss your gripes with xEnvrio; or plug Skymaxx.

The problem is when a constructive conversation gets muddled with "grudge" posts that only serve to distract from the OP. You obviously have an agenda that is against xEnviro. 

Whatever 1.10 will be, it took a developer trying something new, taking a risk, and practically starting over from scratch to re-deliver a product that pushes the barrier. Would you happen to know anything about that type of determination?

 

Edited by FlyBaby

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1 hour ago, Pilot53 said:

But I am most disappointed in LR's unwillingness to give us even basic weather improvements like snow for goodness sake, it's ridiculous.

Could you provide any concrete documentation that shows LR has said they are "unwilling" to make the weather improvements as you claim?

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1 hour ago, JGregory said:

Could you provide any concrete documentation that shows LR has said they are "unwilling" to make the weather improvements as you claim?

20 yrs?

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4 hours ago, FlyBaby said:

If you feel that strong about it, then you can start a new thread every week to discuss your gripes with xEnvrio; or plug Skymaxx.

I'm not plugging SkyMaxx. I've gone out of my way to say that, and to also say that I'm not currently using it after buying it. That's hardly an endorsement.

Quote

 

The problem is when a constructive conversation gets muddled with "grudge" posts that only serve to distract from the OP. You obviously have an agenda that is against xEnviro. 

 

Wrong. I have an opinion about xEnviro, as someone who paid for the program, and it's not meeting my needs. That's not an "agenda." It's an opinion of someone who bought the add-on.

You may have noticed that others here are also voicing their opinions about it, pro and con. That's how these forums work, unless you only want to see positive opinions?

Quote

Whatever 1.10 will be, it took a developer trying something new, taking a risk, and practically starting over from scratch to re-deliver a product that pushes the barrier. Would you happen to know anything about that type of determination?

Sure, I see it all around me with various developers trying to approach improvements with add-ons in different ways.

I've also seen it in real life, in the businesses that I've run, which you know nothing about. So let's drop the ad-hominem in this discussion okay? And let's talk about these products and how they do or don't fit our individual needs in a flight sim.

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