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Guest JSPuonti

Cloud Shadows Coming to FSX/FTX

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Below is a statement from the FTX website that I think is great for the simming community. The Features web page not only mentions cloud shadows, but other features that will make FSX be a great experience. I am totally excited about this product and looking forward to its release.From FTX Website:Further developments planned include real-time cloud shadows, dynamic texture swapping and real-time water variation based on weather data. Full integration with the FEX Environment Simulator will enable an unlimited variation of ground textures to accurately reflect conditions in real world for your region as you fly. More details about how Xenvision Technology will revolutionise ground textures will be published here on the FTX website in the coming months.Another excerpt:FTX will be able to place different crops in rural fields based on the actual planting seasons for that regionThe link:http://www.flightterrain.com/features.html

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"Further developments planned" being the key word there. I'm certainly looking forward to hearing how they plan on pulling it off.

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I don't think they would make wild clamins if they didn't think they could do some of this.JMO but IMO they will do this if they say they will do it.

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>I don't think they would make wild clamins if they didn't>think they could do some of this.>>JMO but IMO they will do this if they say they will do it.I didn't say that I think it can't be done. If I thought that, I would have said that. But they also didn't say they were going to do it, they said that they plan at some point in time they to work on it. That is a long way from saying it's in.I'm merely curious as to how they even plan on starting. An effect, I suppose, but I can't figure out how.

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>From FTX Website:>Further developments planned include real-time cloud shadows,>dynamic texture swapping and real-time water variation based>on weather data. Full integration with the FEX Environment>Simulator will enable an unlimited variation of ground>textures to accurately reflect conditions in real world for>your region as you fly. More details about how Xenvision>Technology will revolutionise ground textures will be>published here on the FTX website in the coming months.>OMG FTX will be able to dynamically swap textures? That would be incredible since they could add cloud shadows and darken the ground or water in overcast weather.Maybe ACES has added this capability in SP2?

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I can confirm cloud shadows will be in FTX, and further-more there is zero performance hit. We will show some screenshots of this in action as soon as humanly possible, because this is something we felt was needed to increase the depth of realism in the simulator and are therefore quite proud of.Kind regards,Chris Norris

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Hi ChrisIs this static or dynamic cloud shadows? Not sure how you could pull off dynamic cloud shadows, but even static ones will be fine by me. Better than nothing at all!Cheers,Christian

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It is dynamic :-) As your flying along you will invariably pass through cloudy areas of varying cloud cover and then into clear skies. The cloud shadows will relect the cloud cover, so when in the clear no shadows.I won't at this stage say how this was achieved, but we needed to look at the problem from a different angle, where it would not cost a single frame in performance terms.Kind regards,Chris

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>Below is a statement from the FTX website that I think is>great for the simming community. The Features web page not>only mentions cloud shadows, but other features that will make>FSX be a great experience. I am totally excited about this>product and looking forward to its release.>>From FTX Website:>Further developments planned include real-time cloud shadows,>dynamic texture swapping and real-time water variation based>on weather data. Full integration with the FEX Environment>Simulator will enable an unlimited variation of ground>textures to accurately reflect conditions in real world for>your region as you fly. More details about how Xenvision>Technology will revolutionise ground textures will be>published here on the FTX website in the coming months.>>Another excerpt:>FTX will be able to place different crops in rural fields>based on the actual planting seasons for that region>>The link:>http://www.flightterrain.com/features.htmlnow that is exceptionally COOL!I wonder why water variations werent included in FEX though?If you can vary the crops (the appearance of crops) then maybe we can have snow that actually only exists if its snowed in the area?that would be cool.

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Changing ground textures based on weather events, in this case snow, is a great idea. If the FTX guys see this, I hope they consider it. I for one, would love to see that. Wonder if any other simmers can post other good ideas for texture swapping, or anything else applicable to FTX that perhaps the FTX people can consider.

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I heard it's going to be so real, that if you take too long on a grass field, you can actually see the grass growing :-)

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Hi guys,try this: load a flight in FSX (or FS9, for that matter), anywhere outside the tropics, then switch to the Winter Wonderland weather theme and fly around for a bit. Notice something? You already paid for your in-flight switch-over to snowy ground ;-)The implementation of the transition isn't all that great but FS does place and draw textures as square tiles so it's difficult to avoid the checkerboard look while textures are being switched. Maybe some kind of fading could be implemented...Cheers, Holger

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>try this: load a flight in FSX (or FS9, for that matter),>anywhere outside the tropics, then switch to the Winter>Wonderland weather theme and fly around for a bit. Notice>something? You already paid for your in-flight switch-over to>snowy ground ;-)As long as FTX's solution does not require a "Please wait, loading..." popup that freezes the sim... ;)>The implementation of the transition isn't all that great but>FS does place and draw textures as square tiles so it's>difficult to avoid the checkerboard look while textures are>being switched. Maybe some kind of fading could be>implemented...I think you can see something similar when the sun is setting or rising and FSX gradually "lightens up" each texture block one at a time. It takes a while to go through them.

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As the developer of Tileproxy I'd be pulling my hat if you can do this.The only way that I think this is remotely possible would be by hooking either into the DirectX API or by somehow intercepting calls between FlightSimulator's own DLLs (internal APIs).Moving cloud shadows would certainly require texture intervals of several updates per minute to look realistic.Christian

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>As the developer of Tileproxy I'd be pulling my hat if you>can do this.>>The only way that I think this is remotely possible would be>by hooking either into the DirectX API or by somehow>intercepting calls between FlightSimulator's own DLLs>(internal APIs).>>Moving cloud shadows would certainly require texture intervals>of several updates per minute to look realistic.>>Christian>>Not to mention doing dynamic sun position calculations as well as object collision detection for buildings and such to ensure you're not putting shadows where they can't go. ;)

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I was the one who originally discussed dynamic texture swapping with Peter Wilding 2 years ago as a programmer who knows how to accomplish this feat. You *WOULD* have had changing weather and cloud formations on the fly. He and I were going to work together and make that a reality over a year ago. Unfortunately I had my own business which ended up taking up most of my time and I could no longer pursue this back then. Needless to say, Peter wasn't happy with me that I didn't respond to his emails or MSN messages in a period of weeks and decided to send me quite a negative email. I have no ill will toward him as I understand his zeal for quick pursuits and I just couldn't spend the time that he was looking for back then. My apologies to you all and congratulations for his sticking with moving forward that I'm sure many people have enjoyed the newer offerings.

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Matt Tomkins and I are the texture guys who paint the ground canvas, and soon Peter will be doing the same for FTX_EU. Chris Norris however, is the coding guru who makes a lot of these cool things possible inside the FSX runtime environment, and yes, it is a black science which I don't fully understand. One thing I do know, if Chris says he can do it I have no reason to not believe him based on what he's shown us thus far.To the naysayers, realtime intercepts at DLL level while the sim is running is not magic nor impossible. In fact Christian does this sort of thing with TileProxy. Just give us time to get the tech working and the rewards will be there for us all.I also agree with Holger that the quick and dirty way to get snow happening is to use the Winter Wonderland theme; that's how I did it in Australia for the alpine regions in rural/crops valleys where there should have been snow during mid winter. However, the step we're taking further is to allow the user to define the snowfall patterns so it's persistent based on seasonal variations. Again, don't expect all of these goodies "out of the box" - FTX is a long term project and all the candy will take time to bring to market.The main thing is, that we've got the vision, the skills and the motivation to do it, and that's what counts ;)

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Intercepts... intercepts of cloud renderings so you know where they physically are? Their size, density? What about lightning strikes and their effect on shadowing?Sorry... but as a developer I know that FSX offers no such information... which means you're hacking into the core of FSX itself to get there. If you're having to hack that deep... I'd be extremely wary about placing such stuff in my FSX, personally.

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>Intercepts... intercepts of cloud renderings so you know>where they physically are? Their size, density? What about>lightning strikes and their effect on shadowing?>>Sorry... but as a developer I know that FSX offers no such>information... which means you're hacking into the core of FSX>itself to get there. If you're having to hack that deep...>I'd be extremely wary about placing such stuff in my FSX,>personally.Well then Ed, don't select that option in FTX. All these visual extras will be optionally selectable from the front-end, so you can use your own discretion for enabling those features or not.

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>Well then Ed, don't select that option in FTX. All these>visual extras will be optionally selectable from the>front-end, so you can use your own discretion for enabling>those features or not.Then you intend to provide information regarding what features required you to hack FSX and what features did not? So it is known how to completely disable any of the hack code?I'm not trying to be a jerk here... but I, as a professional developer and a consumer, don't like it when I purchase software that sneaks behind the scenes and monkeys with other software I purchased. It tends to break things in a hidden manner, which makes tech support for the primary software as well as any other add-ons that are potentially affected a flippin' nightmare.As a case in point... someone, somewhere out there released either a freeware or commercial add-on gauge(s). The gauge(s) required the use of the Glass Gauge font that ships as part of FS. However, they modified the base Glass Gauge font, left the name the same... and "stealth-installed" it on user's systems who installed the gauge(s). The end result was some seriously wonky font displays on systems that had the modified font file. It was initially being reported as a bug in the software, yet... it wasn't.

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