Stephen Posted June 3, 2019 Report Share Posted June 3, 2019 Plugin Update : xEnviro v1.10 DarkSpace has released an updated new version of their environmental engine xEnviro to v1.10. Yes it's finally here... sort of. The ping pong story of xEnviro is going to be one for the grandkids, but we are holding in there and the release of v1.10 is at least a step forward. I will put my hand up and say I am a big fan of xEnviro, in reality it is absolutely everything I am against in buggy software, but I still use it... well v1.07 anyway which is currently over two and a half years old... v1.08... nah crap, v1.09 even more crap with seriously bad shadows on the aircraft (greyed out)... so we waited, and waited and well waited. So here is v1.10, and it is well... still extremely buggy but at least finally workable. A note in that because xEnviro is only available with real world weather (no history or save weather conditions) then this quick overview look at the new release is bound by the weather conditions I can find, as more different conditions come up I will add them in as they become available... but we can start here. The developers also have made a very long statements about the condition of the release and in that they are still wrestling with certain conditions (as we shall see) but think that at least we should at least (after waiting years) to get a working weather engine. As noted xEnviro is not even close to being an acceptable product, but even in this situation it is absolutely brilliantly good, as it is in the exceptional feel and look that it delivers to the simulator, that xEnviro delivers almost perfect visual realism feedback... it is always the total feel and look factor that really delivers here. First Look xEnviro have wanted to move to volumetric clouds and away from the slideshow image base, the cloud image way was actually not bad, because it was extremely efficient, the problem with volumetric clouds is that they are very processor hungry, note to Laminar's famous cloud "puffs"... and we all know how they at first all pulled down your framerate. The issues with the "puffs" was they were quite large, and of course the smaller you can scale them, then the better detail that you can get, the problem here is mathematics, the smaller you go the higher in the square goes the number required, so even if the lower initial resolution is minute the sheer volume of the order of magnitude then can simply overwhelm the processor again... in other words you are back to square one. So what is required is the volumetric clouds at an smaller efficient level, or at the same efficiency you currently have... so more for the same. So the first look at xEnviro v1.10 is really a look at the current situation of the progress and in reality this is still in the experimental stage. In reality currently (and DarkSpace) acknowledge this is the fact that to get the smaller resolution and also the magnitude required for the quality, it is not going to happen in our current systems. In yes they can make it work, but only at a severe framerate cost... Users note they are getting low single digit framerate drops with installing v1.10... but the fact is that the framerate drop is only 2-3 frames and in fact I am not really seeing a major impact of the v1.10 application on my normal simulation flying (there is however a tendency to rotate around frame rates, say 34, 33, 28 and back to 34...) this is usually present in any new software that is not yet refined... we are always aware that heavier weather will use more framerate so that aspect has to be also taken into consideration. So for those with their framerate issues with v1.10 then you have the usual plugin conflicts or your just overloaded in too many different (and sometimes too many artificial changes) of the basic X-Plane simulator software. I don't or will never change the basic X-Plane software no matter what enhancements that will give me... so funny enough I never have issues with new plugins or applications when updating or upgrading or mostly single digit framerates... funny that? First view of xEnviro v1.10 (above) is that it looked extremely good, it ran well as well (note the framerate number upper left of the screen at 41 fr) at my standard normal X-Plane settings. One noticeable area was the cloud shadow ground reflections (the dark bits), they are good, but overall always too dark, so the shadows are consistent and not variable between the lighter cloud formations and the darker more dense ones, so it comes across as blotchy, it looks okay, but different darker shades of grey could give it more realism as all shadows are not created equally. Worse is the reflected clouds are set out in blocks.... so you see the nasty outlines of the cloud reflection block zones as clouds can currently create formations at high levels or squared sectors of clouds... xEnviro note this is a bug and it is on the list. ... but either fix it or remove the cloud shadows, as they are noticeably distracting. You also immediately see the artifact issue, and it is not pretty, In reality this is not good enough for a pro application, but I will note that those images were taken not adjusted and sometimes the whole window has the artifact effect... There is a "Blur Level" slider that can minimize the worst, or soften up the clouds a little but you can't really get around the core of the visual artifacts until they are addressed. With every new xEnviro version then the setting menu usually is vastly different... again this is the case. With v1.10 a lot of the original settings that have been taken away compared to v1.07. Removed from V1.10 has been: Resolution slider has been removed. Complexity slider has been removed. Reflections range slider has been removed. Detailed range slider has been removed. Maximum drawing distance slider removed. Post processing checkbox removed. Remove scenery shadows under overcast checkbox removed. Billboard clouds have been completely removed. Crepuscular rays temporary removed. Draw crepuscular rays checkbox has been removed. Camera shift slider removed. Somehow you feel too much adjustment has been taken away like the removal of the "Shadow Range". Crepuscular rays have also been temporary deleted. Not much is left in the menu really is there, but two new ones added are really interesting... Top new slider under Effects Settings is the "Maximum Ozone %" that adjusts the Ozone layers density % percentage... Below is the "Camera Blue Filter". this adds a blue tinge to the feel. Another new slider is the special feature.... Snow! xEnviro have work on the idea to create a blanket snow, in not changing the internal textures, which is a slow cumbersome and very time consuming business to simply change seasons, all we really wanted is an easy change of seasons, and snow is the most visual... they have done that effect here and the results are magnificent... the bottom slider is adjustable from 0% to 100% snow coverage. Percentages set here are 25% - 50% - 75% - 100% Around 65% it is about the best seasonal setting I have yet seen in X-Plane... totally brilliant. Landing at EGCC - Manchester of where I have some winter textures, it is very good, far better than my winter custom made ones. The effects will partly cover the runways as well, it worked some times, but not others and like the snow percentage slider itself (If we could always have the manual control of the slider, that would be a great bonus)... so that is all another WIP. How they achieve this with just software I don't know, but it covers any custom scenery, houses and traffic.... Any mountain range that requires the mountain snow effect works as well... ... currently however one downside to the snow is the snow effects on the screen and the aircraft... you get these little snowflake objects that don't look yet realistic? called "precipitation which follows the camera" (in other words static) and It looks still like another WIP, personally I think it should be dropped in the release version until perfected or fixed as it one of the biggest visual intruders... The cloud effects around mountain areas have had a lot of work done, overall it is now quite perfect, but in some instances there is a slight horizon line around the mountain shapes and on the actual horizon, but certainly not as intrusive as that nasty horizon line in v1.07... Visual effects are spectacular in the right regions, here is Innsbruck... we will compare the default X-Plane11 weather ( left) with xEnviro v1.10 (right)... The feel and mood in the valley is excellent.... twilight is sensational. One of the major things that made me dump v1.09 besides the grey out, was the airport lighting disappeared as you approached the runways, this was fixed in an update, but I didn't bother as I couldn't use v1.09 anyway... but here it is thankfully definitely fixed.... The sheer versatility of xEnviro is in situations like this, here we have a heavy summer shower, but the bright sunlight is just behind you, so you are flying into the rainstorm, but the bright side sunlight light is in there also... ... for realism in these conditions it is very, very good. Overcast cumulus that spreads from horizon to horizon is spectacular, and it comes with not a big penalty hit on your framerate as well, I lost two frames for all this magnificence so it was worth the damn two frames... New: I saw these excellent "Lens Flare" scenes so I had to add them in. Yes Lens Flare can be switched off in the settings menu, as it can be very bright in many conditions, but I love it... Note this brilliant lighting scene here (below left) at Page Field. Fl. The three sequence of images above shows the excellent lighting effects of the Lens Flare from full exposure, to partial exposure behind an object, then a full blockage of the lighting via an object.... in the very first image a partial blockage is created by the fun park wheel of just metal spokes, shows the fine tuning of the lighting detail. If you don't look to close you can't doubt the amazing vistas... No more above cloud grey-outs... yeah! and the cockpit windows now also blend in or are translucent, which was very noticable in v1.07. As noted earlier, I can only show what I can see or use currently, if any new vistas are visited and are worthy of a viewing then I will add it into this update review, so please check back for any changes. More notes... to get the best current settings with xEnviro v1.10 you need your Antialiasing set only at 4xSSAA+FXAA... if you go to 8xSSAA+FXAA you get a blank vista, lower and the clouds get far more artifacts... for Settings then the "Wet Aerodrome" selection tickbox NEEDS to be off to clear a matrix effect (Precipitation follows camera), and if you are using the Librain plugin, then the "Windshield Effects" has to be off as well. Summary To sum up there is one big notable thing to say... I'm still using v1.10, and that in itself is a huge step forward. Older issues have been (finally) addressed, but the change to volumetric clouds is still very much a work in progress. Main issues are (very) visual artifacts, poor cloud shadows (now non-adjustable), matrix screen and noticeable snow effects on the aircraft... if you can accept all that, then the benefits of this application are excellent with great atmospheric conditions and highly realistic cloud formations.... when you get the right conditions then xEnviro will blow your mind with the results... New features include the global snow effects and they are simply brilliant, Ozone and Blue filters are in there as well. It is not like the past where you sort of stepped backwards, and stepped forwards at the same time, this a step forward... but by how much is debatable. Problem is still the old problem, the developer in not fixing the basics and always going for the global scale, so we may be stuck with v1.10 for a fair while with no intermediate bug fix updates. It will be also interesting and this why I think v1.10 suddenly appeared at this point, that the Coming FlightSimExpo in Orlando at the weekend 7/8/9 June is that I think the developers here are wanting or hoping the Vulkan/Metal API improvements will be included or announced... certainly a tie-in between the power of the new API's and xEnviro may be critically important, the developer noted this in his notes, that far more processing power is required to achieve the required results. No doubt the supreme result is there, you can see it and almost feel it, but xEnviro still feels of too much an early demonstrator of the technology than the completed form. I will keep using v1,10 and see where it goes... v1.07/8/9 is free to all current xEnviro registered users, just go to the xEnviro site to update : xEnviro.net ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the xEnviro Environment Engine v1.10 by Dark Space FZE is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : xEnviro Price is US$69.90 Sorry this plugin is Windows only at this point, But Mac is coming eventually! xEnviro Features: Load real-time meteorological data with download interval from 5 up to 60 minutes taking into account following factors: Wind direction and speed on ground and aloft, temperature, turbulence areas, icing areas and dangerous phenomena (thunderstorm& windshear) Simulate visual effects of different types of precipitations and phenomena: rain showers, snow, fog; Simulate visual raindrops effects on windshields both in 2D and 3D cockpits (if it's loaded in aircraft model); Simulate in-cloud visual effects; Simulate visual effects of shades and aircraft lightning in clouds (Strobe lights, beacon lights, navigation lights, landing lights) Simulate landing lights screen� effect during in-cloud and foggy flight; Volumetric lights effect; Simulate lightning on clouds surface from cities lights; High-detailed cloud shades; Custom cloud density and range; Simulate realistic breaking action effect; Display saturation, color gamma and cloud density, depending on weather conditions and time of day with real-time changing (automatically) or manually. Requirements Minimum X-Plane 11+ Stable Internet Connection with data Speed no less than 512Kps Windows 7/Vista/ 8/8.1/ 10 - Not Mac compatible at this time 2Gb VRAM Recommended X-Plane 11+ Stable Internet Connection with data Speed no less than 51 Mbps Windows 7/Vista/ 8/8.1/ 10 - Not Mac compatible at this time 4Gb+ VRAM Current and review version: 1.10 (last updated June 2nd 2019) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Plugin Update by Stephen Dutton 5th June 2019 Copyright©2019: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) sqrt(-1) 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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