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raynuss

FSX Effects Question

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I've created an fx file for FSX to show the steam coming from the cooling towers at power plants. I'm happy with the effect I've made...it's nice to see the white steam billowing up into the clouds..., but it acts the same way that the wave action on seashores does, ie it stops and restarts every time new terrain is loaded since it's priority in the scenery eschelon is set so low. As soon as it rises a few feet from the towers, it stops and restarts. As a result, when flying, you never get to see the steam rising into the clouds because it has to restart so often. The effect works fine when you're sitting on the ground, it's only when flying that the problem occurs.My question is this: is there any way to alter either the .fx file or the generated .bgl file so that the steam effect will have a higher priority and not have to restart so often?

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Is there any way you can attach the .fx file so that we could take a look at it?I suspect that you would not want an effect which pushed steam all the way into the cloud layer - for performance reasons. In reality, under most atmospheric conditions, steam wouldn't rise more than a few hundred feet. (I used to live near a paper making plant.) I suspect that an effect even that large would bring FSX to its knees, however.You may want to take a look at the default industrial chimney smoke effect, and compare how that effect was designed to your design.It sounds almost like these two effects would be very similar, so you could probably learn where the issue lies by studying one of the default (working) effects.Cheers,

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I worked at and presently live near a power plant and I can safely attest that the steam from the cooling towers rises several hundred feet into the air. My .fx file is set to have the steam rise 450 feet before dissipating. I used the default fx_Steam_Lrg.fx file to model the effect and just tweaked the numbers to make it larger. BTW the default effects react the same way...stopping whenever new scenery is loaded. I suspect that's why the chimney smoke and steam effects were not included in FSX default scenery as they were in previous versions. My steam effect has no noticeable effect on framerates. The only problem is it reacts like the default wave effects on the shores. Whenever new scenery reloads, the effect is stopped and restarted again. With the waves, since the effect loop is so short, it doesn't cause too much concern. With my steam effect, since it is continuous, it's annoying to have it only last a few seconds and then restart whenever new scenery is loaded.I developed the same effect for FS9 and in that version, it worked perfectly, even at power plants that had four towers. The effect never stopped even while flying and scenery loading had no effect on it. I suspect that something was changed in FSX to give priority to loading scenery and put effects at the bottom of the ladder. I'[m hoping that someone knows how to change the priority back to the way it was in FS9.

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Hi there,interesting question. I remember this issue from FS9 on my old computer but havn't seen it since, either in FS9 and FSX. If the effect re-start happens for you I suspect your system is not able to catch up with everything else (aside from texture mipmaps). Or does the issue remain even if you dial down heavy hitters like autogen, water effects, AI, and weather?Specific to your question, I don't know of any way to change the relative priority of fx files and, in fact, don't think it has changed in FSX; it is way down on the totem pole in FS9 as well.Cheers, Holger

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I normally run FSX with most of the sliders at or close to max and I get 25-30 fps in the area I'm using to test the effect. Even with the heavy htters cut back to minimum, I still get the effect stopping and restarting the same as when the sliders are maxed. I've noticed the same thing with the default shore waves and several others have posted the same problem. It has always been chalked up to the low priority of .fx files in FSX. I never experienced this problem with FS9. In fact, I used an .fx file in FS9 I developed that was very similar to the one I'm presently testing in FSX and experienced no problems whatsoever. If there is indeed no way to change the priority of the fx files, I guess I'll just trash my file. The whole visual is ruined by the stopping and starting and I'd rather not have the effect at all than have something that looks so unreal.

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Me again,not sure what exactly the issue is then. For Vancouver+ FSX I coded an effect file for a pulp mill that combines a column of "steam" with a slowly rotating "disk" of haze as a representation of an inversion layer. There's a screenshot of that effect in the AVSIM review about halfway down the page: http://www.avsim.com/pages/1207/VanPlus/VanPlus.htmWe haven't noticed any on/off issues with that effect and my current computer is by no means powerful (AMD3500+, ATI X800 Pro). Maybe it has to do with the way the effect is coded though I wouldn't know which parameters might be responsible and actually doubt that's the case.Cheers, Holger

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My steam effect is very similar to your effect except the steam is a little more dense as is typical of power plant cooling towers. It has a central column of steam with a swirling haze around it.I'll have to recheck the coding to determine if I can improve the performance of the effect.

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