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TurboKen

REX weather for MSFS opinions?

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First off I will say I use REX skyforce for P3d and HIGHLY recommend it. I have always been amazed with there weather products. However Asobo has stated only limited weather options are opened up for developers, so I'm wondering if REX can work enough of there magic to make it worth this product at this time. Really the only complaint I have about the weather now is the popcorn cloud effect we see sometimes. Thoughts?


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I've learn to appreciate FS2020 clouds, as it is way better then what the other sims offered stock. I'm sure clouds will get final touches down the road..

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Carlos Franklin

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59 minutes ago, TurboKen said:

First off I will say I use REX skyforce for P3d and HIGHLY recommend it. I have always been amazed with there weather products. However Asobo has stated only limited weather options are opened up for developers, so I'm wondering if REX can work enough of there magic to make it worth this product at this time. Really the only complaint I have about the weather now is the popcorn cloud effect we see sometimes. Thoughts?

I personally would not recommend Rex weather because it is metar based.  You could be flying towards fog, low cloud, rain or a weather front but rex will not show it in the distance.  Take off from an airport next to the coast in fog and fly into sunshine - turn back and the airport you just left will be in sunshine!

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If your only complaint about the live weather option in MSFS is the appearance of the clouds, I don't think Weather Force will address it. As stated above, WF provides a weather depiction that is consistent with the local METAR. That's important to some people, not so much to others. I know of no add-on that provides alternate cloud depictions.


John Wiesenfeld KPBI | FAA PPL/SEL/IFR in a galaxy long ago and far away | VATSIM ZNY C1/PILOT P2

 

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Posted (edited)
On 10/6/2021 at 4:58 PM, MrBitstFlyer said:

I personally would not recommend Rex weather because it is metar based.  You could be flying towards fog, low cloud, rain or a weather front but rex will not show it in the distance.  Take off from an airport next to the coast in fog and fly into sunshine - turn back and the airport you just left will be in sunshine!

If ATIS is any clue then MSFS is using METARs for all weather engines, REX WF, Unreal Weather, and MSFS default.   At times it picks up all three as the same.  At other times it does not.  I have had three occasions in the past few days where REX WF was up to date within an hour and the other two were not.  In some cases MSFS appears to fail to load weather from one or more  of the three.  Then this: Instead of using the horrid MSFS ATC, I tune ATIS along my path to get altimeter readings.  I am finding clearly here in the USA that despite tuning an ATIS frequency for an airport some miles ahead, when that ATIS comes live it states it is reporting the weather for the station I have tuned, but instead it is reporting weather from a station I am passing over or have just passed. 

I fly with the Fltplan Go iPad app and can easily verify the METARS for stations along my flight path.  So yesterday I had KHOU, Houston, Texas, tuned on the ATIS freq. MSFS was telling me here is the weather for KHOU by phonetic call sign,  But the weather it was feeding me clearly and undeniably was weather from KAUS, Austin, Texas, which I had just passed.  I have had this happen several times now.  So no matter what weather engine is in use, I now believe the issues are with MSFS digesting and injecting weather, regardless of source.  I surmise it may be loops or delays in datastream, and they are clearly not just momentary. 

Another verification of this is that Unreal Weather when active will show you the METAR it is loading.  But then conditions and ATIS in MSFS do not match or even approximate that METAR.  And may not come into sync until sometime later, or not come into sync at all before the end of the flight.  I believe there is something amiss in MSFS itself.

Edited by fppilot

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4 hours ago, fppilot said:

If ATIS is any clue then MSFS is using METARs for all weather engines, REX WF, Unreal Weather, and MSFS default.   At times it picks up all three as the same.  At other times it does not.  I have had three occasions in the past few days where REX WF was up to date within an hour and the other two were not.  In some cases MSFS appears to fail to load weather from one or more  of the three.  Then this: Instead of using the horrid MSFS ATC, I tune ATIS along my path to get altimeter readings.  I am finding clearly here in the USA that despite tuning an ATIS frequency for an airport some miles ahead, when that ATIS comes live it states it is reporting the weather for the station I have tuned, but instead it is reporting weather from a station I am passing over or have just passed. 

I fly with the Fltplan Go iPad app and can easily verify the METARS for stations along my flight path.  So yesterday I had KHOU, Houston, Texas, tuned on the ATIS freq. MSFS was telling me here is the weather for KHOU by phonetic call sign,  But the weather it was feeding me clearly and undeniably was weather from KAUS, Austin, Texas, which I had just passed.  I have had this happen several times now.  So no matter what weather engine is in use, I now believe the issues are with MSFS digesting and injecting weather, regardless of source.  I surmise it may be loops or delays in datastream, and they are clearly not just momentary. 

Another verification of this is that Unreal Weather when active will show you the METAR it is loading.  But then conditions and ATIS in MSFS do not match or even approximate that METAR.  And may not come into sync until sometime later, or not come into sync at all before the end of the flight.  I believe there is something amiss in MSFS itself.

MSFS does not base its weather solely on METARs.  This was all discussed in the latest Q&A.  It currently uses a world weather model from Meteoblue and tries to "patch" in specific details from METARs (I think it might just be wind and temp) around your aircraft.  Since the Meteoblue model is actually a simulation itself (see link below), this will invariably cause some discrepancies with what you expect to see and what the sim shows whenever their predicted weather disagrees with the latest live reports from the weather stations.  Thats the current source of frustration.

METARs by themselves are only tiny point samples of the world's weather state, only at airports, and they are inadequate to represent the entire world.  Solutions like REX & Unreal that ONLY use METARs are at best an awkward compromise as a result, and you have to be willing to live with odd transitions where the entire skyscape changes when you fly between airport weather stations.  With them you also lose the best part of MSFS's weather which is the ability to see weather fronts in the distance as you approach them.

https://content.meteoblue.com/en/specifications/data-sources

The link above is a nice read to understand what Meteoblue is doing.  They start with measured data from national weather services.  Even the best sources, however, are somewhat sparse when trying to model the complete weather across the globe, so those data points are fed into a simulation of the ENTIRE planet that fills in all the gaps and is recalibrated to the reported weather on an hourly basis.  In between the calibrations, however, their simulation predicts what the weather will do (how it will change and flow, etc) minute by minute.  Thats why you see the weather within MSFS changing continuously and consistently over time - something METAR sampling programs cant do.

According to Jorg, the ultimate plan going forward is to have Meteoblue itself include the live METAR data in their global calculation as additional sample points.  Their reports will be fed directly into Meteoblue's global model as opposed to being 'patched' in afterwards by MSFS 2020.  We'll then have the best of both worlds in that it will be accurate at the airports AND the reported weather at those locations will have a ripple effect on the calculations of the surrounding areas which will automatically create a consistent blend and will have the added benefit of modifying the predicted weather "downwind" in a realistic manner.

THAT will be pretty cool when it happens!

The big question will be the lag time between real world weather reporting and the time the blended model makes it out of Meteoblue and into the live weather in sim (similar to live traffic issues).  On one hand if the weather within the sim is consistent so that, for example, in game ATIS reports match what the sim weather will show, that would solve the problem for most.  The main people effected by a lag would be VATSIM users for whom controllers are basing their directions on realtime info.  We'll have to see how that goes - convince the other sims to use the same predicted weather source and we're all good? ... (ducks out of the way of incoming projectiles 😉  )

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20 hours ago, fppilot said:

So yesterday I had KHOU, Houston, Texas, tuned on the ATIS freq. MSFS was telling me here is the weather for KHOU by phonetic call sign,  But the weather it was feeding me clearly and undeniably was weather from KAUS, Austin, Texas, which I had just passed.

I think that this reflects how products like Unreal Weather and Weather Force work in conjunction with MSFS. Because the latter displays which airport's weather it's depicting, one can see that it effectively "injects" a weather present into the sim that corresponds to that locale. Since WF only updates the weather at discrete (selectable) intervals, it will stick with that weather depiction until the timer completes the requested cycle and so you're likely to be miles away while still depicting that same weather. On top of that, there are other delays inherent in the METAR cycle (only once an hour in the US, I think, barring the issuance of special weather observation), as well as in the propagation of those data into the vendor's servers, CDN, etc. In the example provided by @fppilot, it would be interesting to know if the ATIS would report the KAUS weather at every airport, since that would be the only weather that UW was providing to the sim at that moment.

Having been a VATSIM controller now for ten years or so, I can assure folks that every flight on the network flies in its own weather. It's especially noticeable at center positions where everyone has their own winds aloft. This sometimes requires mental gymnastics on the part of ATC in order to keep required spacing, but it doesn't stop everyone from enjoying the experience.

 


John Wiesenfeld KPBI | FAA PPL/SEL/IFR in a galaxy long ago and far away | VATSIM ZNY C1/PILOT P2

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, jrw4 said:

I think that this reflects how products like Unreal Weather and Weather Force work in conjunction with MSFS.

First let me repeat I was not pointing out a weather injection issue.  I was pointing out an issue with MSFS ATIS/AWOS broadcasts and that the metar weather broadcast from MSFS was for a station other than the station that was tuned.

It is not an issue with REX WF or Unreal Weather apps.  I clearly determined that it is the other way around.  It (ATIS broadcast) is how MSFS is interacting with the weather it is fed.  a) It happened the same with with MSFS broadcast of its own default weather; b) Unreal Weather shows  you right in the MSFS Time/Weather menu what metar it is using, including not only the station ID but the full metar itself; c) Rex WF in the app shows you what station is live and its current metar.  So the ATIS broadcast is an issue within MSFS itself. 

So when I had tuned the frequency for Houston, MSFS was reporting that it was giving me Houston, but the metar data it was reporting was clearly Austin, the nearest airport to me at the time.  Once again let me reaffirm, I was tuned to Houston, not Austin.

Edited by fppilot

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"I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." - John Deere

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Posted (edited)

I don't complain about MSFS weather because it is generally spot-on.  When it is not then I guess that I just don't care enough and certainly not enough to complaing about it knowing that weather depictions can ALWAYS be better.

Regards

bs

Edited by bean_sprout

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2 hours ago, fppilot said:

So the ATIS broadcast is an issue within MSFS itself. 

And that's why I have never used the ATIS provided in-game. I just work off of the METAR as reported by Weather Force which corresponds to the local weather. Of course, I don't use the ATC either, because it's really not adequate to the task. If I'm enroute and want to know the arrival weather, WF makes that information available to me. Of course, this is of little use to those who fly in VR.

Perhaps this is something that Asobo will work out in due course. They seem quite committed to getting the weather depiction to correspond more closely to that which is reported in the real world. That would be the best outcome of all, but at the same time I really hope they make it possible to obtain in-game METAR information in a less awkward manner than the way it works now. 


John Wiesenfeld KPBI | FAA PPL/SEL/IFR in a galaxy long ago and far away | VATSIM ZNY C1/PILOT P2

 

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Just now, jrw4 said:

And that's why I have never used the ATIS provided in-game. I just work off of the METAR as reported by Weather Force which corresponds to the local weather. Of course, I don't use the ATC either, because it's really not adequate to the task.

+12 

The reason I point this issue out is that it needs to be corrected rather than ignored.  A notable 16 year old simulator was better.  Way better.

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Frank Patton
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Honeycomb Alpha & Bravo, Crosswind 3's w/dampener.  
Former USAF meteorologist & ground weather school instructor. AOPA Member #07379126
                       
"I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." - John Deere

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1 hour ago, bean_sprout said:

I don't complain about MSFS weather because it is generally spot-on.  When it is not then I guess that I just don't care enough and certainly not enough to complaing about it knowing that weather depictions can ALWAYS be better.

Regards

bs

When I read these I routinely ask where you do most of your flying (world region) as over time I have perceived there may be a regional difference in experiences.


Frank Patton
MasterCase Pro H500M; Z490 WiFi MOB; i7 10700k 3.8 Ghz; H100i Pro; 32GB DDR4 3600; RTX 3070 TI 8GB; Gold RMX850X PSU; ASUS VG289 4K 27"
Honeycomb Alpha & Bravo, Crosswind 3's w/dampener.  
Former USAF meteorologist & ground weather school instructor. AOPA Member #07379126
                       
"I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." - John Deere

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2 hours ago, fppilot said:

So when I had tuned the frequency for Houston, MSFS was reporting that it was giving me Houston, but the metar data it was reporting was clearly Austin, the nearest airport to me at the time.  Once again let me reaffirm, I was tuned to Houston, not Austin.

During the recent Q&A, someone (I think it was Jörg), specifically said that at present, because of the very large size of the MetroBlue model, MSFS cannot fetch METARS for other than the aircraft’s current location. I am hoping that will change. There are some METAR-related enhancements coming in SU7, but things like accurate ATIS will probably have to wait for the more substantial overhaul will of Live Weather that is supposed to happen sometime in 2022. 


Jim Barrett

Licensed Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic, Avionics, Electrical & Air Data Systems Specialist. Qualified on: Falcon 900, CRJ-200, Dornier 328-100, Hawker 850XP and 1000, Lear 35, 45, 55 and 60, Gulfstream IV and 550, Embraer 135, Beech Premiere and 400A, MD-80.

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5 minutes ago, JRBarrett said:

During the recent Q&A, someone (I think it was Jörg), specifically said that at present, because of the very large size of the MetroBlue model, MSFS cannot fetch METARS for other than the aircraft’s current location. I am hoping that will change. There are some METAR-related enhancements coming in SU7, but things like accurate ATIS will probably have to wait for the more substantial overhaul will of Live Weather that is supposed to happen sometime in 2022. 

Thank you.  I had not see that.
So what happened to the technology that was put into use in 2006?


Frank Patton
MasterCase Pro H500M; Z490 WiFi MOB; i7 10700k 3.8 Ghz; H100i Pro; 32GB DDR4 3600; RTX 3070 TI 8GB; Gold RMX850X PSU; ASUS VG289 4K 27"
Honeycomb Alpha & Bravo, Crosswind 3's w/dampener.  
Former USAF meteorologist & ground weather school instructor. AOPA Member #07379126
                       
"I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." - John Deere

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I bought Rex Weather Force pretty much the day it came out, and was quite satisfied with the way it protrayed the weather at the starting location, at least visually. 

However, over the last year this changed - I now find the MSFS weather depiction much closer to what I see when I look out the window (I live fairly close to my home airport) or check webcams (admittedly somewhat unscientific impressions and tests).

Hence, I haven't used Rex Weather Force at all over the last months or so. 

I'm also not a big fan anymore of having to start external programs before launching the sim, programs that often hog additional resources. On my old clunker of a PC I need every kilobyte of RAM for the sim. 

I also don't really have a time to fiddle with a program before the main gaming session. MSFS, for me, is pretty much set it and forget it. 

I don't regret my purchase at all, as I like supporting REX the company, but the app itself is collecting dust on my desktop.

IMHO and YMMV.

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