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HUSSAR

HiFi Developing Active Sky for MSFS

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Live weather has been spotty from day one of the Alpha and it hasn't really progressed since then. I'm not optimistic that it will ever be accurate.

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2 hours ago, Mike S KPDX said:

Meteoblue is a private company that produces payware products for an international consumer market.  The idea of 'opening' their processes, systems and algorithms to the general public for free use is would be insane.  The idea that this was even asked of them is brutal, but then to go on to vilify them and their customer (MS/ASOBO) is an embarrassment to our hobby.

I don't think anyone asked for Meteoblue to open up their intellectual property.  What was asked was for MS/Asobo to open up the weather portion of the sim to allow the weather engine to be replaced with a custom weather engine (with its own data sources).

I never expected it to happen though, because the weather is a flagship feature of the sim.

Edited by marsman2020
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It's good that people can have options, even if they never intend to use them.

I think people have forgotten how many problems we had with Jeppesen weather in FSX.  It was bad enough to spawn several companies successfully making weather engines. 

Active Sky gave us more than just a weather engine.  We got a complete weather map plus the ability to fine-tune a lot of weather related parameters plus historical weather which I used fairly often.  I bought my first version of Active Sky while Jeppesen weather was still functioning, and I have never regretted it, and Active Sky kept getting better as time went on and new versions were released.

When I was still flying P3D I used windy.com real world weather to do my weather planning and had no problems with what I was getting from Active Sky.

I trust Active Sky to get it right.

Hook

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Larry Hookins

 

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And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

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@Cmcollazo71, one of the truly exciting things for me as an instructor is that this sim could be a really nice supplement for some students in the cross-country phase of training. Coupled with the incredible visuals, the ability to use an actual aviation weather briefing product from 1800wxbrief.com, Aviation Weather Center, ForeFlight, etc. to practice planning and “flying”VFR cross-country flights is an incredibly valuable practice tool. The problem with “live weather” in the sim now is that the weather the sim depicts doesn’t sufficiently approximate what is forecast in those tools (at least in the US). Obviously a forecast isn’t perfect and I appreciate the potential for variability just like you have in real life. But as it stands today, it isn’t close enough to provide value. Worse, with weather reporting in the sim being as broken as it is, there’s no way to tell what the conditions actually are.

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Chris

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I have been impressed with the weather over Europe and the Uk recently, today for example i flew from one of the Greek Isles to Newcastle, during that trip the weather changed from sunny skies on the departure, to a gradual change in the weather to high wind , and variable cloud cover over Europe, and descending into mist and low cloud into Newcastle UK. Was it accurate, to be honest i don't know. But what it did do was give a very realistic feel to the flight.

Flying in the US at times, seems to be  a lot of sunny weather, sometimes even cloudless,  for days on end... i find that strange, but maybe that's the weather you guys have, i don't know. I did notice before when the lightning issue happened virtually every flight in the US for me. Yet in Europe when everyone was reporting lightning everywhere i only saw it a couple of times.

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These guys have a customer here. Always relied on active sky to get things right when flying the big iron. 

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Although I like ActiveSky but I won't give up on MSFS real weather advanced system. As I said before , is MS and Asobo job to fix it and improve it. The idea is, if we start have things like weather system being fixed by a third party application, then we will be back to P3D circle where depending on third party applications is essential and many of us here don't want to have three applications running along the sim. 

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2 hours ago, marsman2020 said:

..., because the weather is a flagship feature of the sim.

Exactly!  This just blows my mind why Asobo didn't NAIL this feature.  Live weather needs to mean live...current...real world etc.  I get Meteoblue is a forecast-based entity....but so are sites like Windy and their GRIB winds aloft are always like spot on for me (or were when I was flying) in P3D / ASP4 and XP11 / ASXP

edit:  I just read this to myself and what I meant to say was Windy uses GRIB forecasts for their graphical site and in turn, I use these for my flight planning (because who doesn't love tailwinds lol)...and they are almost always spot on.  Windy isn't a forecast company from what I understand.

Edited by ryanbatcund
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I think basically HI-FI had no choice in the long run in trying to develop for MSFS, as MSFS develops in complexity of aircraft and systems and becomes the number 1 flight sim without question (it's still slightly up in the air) the mass market might not be there for companies like HIFI to stay in business in the long term.

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I respect ActiveSky and have always relied on their addons for live weather in the past. But with MSFS, I seriously do not want to go back in those FSX/P3D times where I have to run so many 3rd party add-ons upon starting up the main sim. That was such a PITA. I just want everything included into the CORE sim itself. I am hoping that Asobo will continue to work on making the weather engine inside the sim better overtime. But if not, it's good for HIFI to offer ActiveSky for MSFS for those who want/need it. Either way, it's good news.

Edited by captain420
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Thanks for the support, and even the criticism - it is very motivating either way!

It is very much understood by us that a decent amount of MSFS users in the community are against weather add-on developers having SDK access or any support from MSFS.  They seem to want MSFS weather only, no add-ons with weather (but any other add-on/category is OK and encouraged) and think that any kind of extensibility (like allowing an advanced 3rd party airliner to access wind data via FMC) is against the vision of MSFS and MeteoBlue and will only hurt development.  They may be looking back at previous FS versions and wondering why wx development stopped, and have blamed that on third party developers like us.  We disagree with this thinking, but we can understand and respect that this perspective is out there, and it's popular.  We don't want to see MSFS weather development slow or stop either.  We want to co-exist, and interface with official SDK functions that permit easy interoperability, backwards compatibility, etc.  We want to work on things that MS/ASOBO DO NOT want to or CANNOT work on.  In the thread that was quoted, I've brought out examples from FS9...  when that came out, it was a similar deal with a brand new weather system and was great, but within a few months the MS developers decided they were "done" with it and the community wanted more.....  so as add-on developers, we worked hard, for a long time, and brought out many features that our customers wanted. 

It is also very much understood that another chunk of users fully support our competitors and others bringing our weather add-ons, they just don't want HiFi getting involved at all.  We understand this is mainly just a competitive thing, they are trying to protect the developers they support and don't want them to have any competition. We also disagree with this, as competition has done amazing things in weather and all things in our hobby.  It pushes everyone forward.  As a matter of fact, I wonder, in all the years of Active Sky, have any of our features influenced any other sim or other add-ons features?  I'm thinking we've influenced at least a few.

Finally, we know there is yet another group of users who realize that Asobo/MS can't do everything they've come to expect or have wishes for, despite any intentions they have, and have come to respect our approach to weather simulation development and perhaps our marketing and support style, and despite not having official support, would like to see us do what these other developers are doing to bring an even better weather experience, in our style, despite the challenges against us.

We have not formally announced our development efforts here, that is all coming later.  I responded to a MSFS forum thread that suggest that REX and perhaps other developers be "shut down" by Asobo/MSFS since we haven't been given "official support".  I disagreed and tried to set the record straight and mentioned we will be doing similar things as REX/Orbx/Unreal.  I think ALL DEVELOPERS should be given a fair chance, and of course that means our competitors too.

 

Edited by Damian Clark
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Damian Clark
HiFi  Simulation Technologies

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4 hours ago, HUSSAR said:

I do not think that anyone would imagine Meteoblue to open their process, all I am hoping for is for HiFi to find a way to integrate their weather expertise with the existing MSFS weather system and make it even better. If that is not possible I am sure they will make an incredible weather engine for MSFS.  

but... but... that is literally exactly what we requested on the MS forum, to "Open up the weather system to 3rd party devs" ?

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Great response from HiFi!

For users who want nothing to do with 3rd party weather or 3rd party devs...just go use Xbox haha.  

(That's a little joke - I use Xbox too but am very happy to have more 3rd party devs onboard!)

Asobo touted Community and 3rd party developers before MSFS RTM.  I think it's time they actually do this.

 

Edited by ryanbatcund
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|Ryan Butterworth|

| i7 4790K@4.4GHz | 32GB RAM | EVGA GTX 1080Ti | ASUS Z97-Pro | 1TB 860 Evo | 500GB 840 Evo Win10 Pro | 1TB Samsung 7200rpm | Seasonic X750W |

 

 

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