• FlightSimCon 2017 Interviews

    Damian Clark Founder / CEO HiFi Technologies, Inc.

    Damian, could I begin by asking you, what do you see as being the biggest advancement to simulated weather in the past ten years?

    Since FS2004's new 3D cloud depiction system developed by Ninian Wang of Microsoft many years ago, we haven't seen any really big breakthroughs in any of the desktop sim platforms, and in general things have remained very stale, with weather receiving very little attention by the platform developers. Lockheed Martin's P3D v3's volumetric fog feature and related cloud depiction improvements have been very welcome, but there is much more work here to do. Regarding add-ons, fortunately, our customers and supporters have enabled us to continue development of Active Sky and bring out some very cool new things. Cloud position awareness and associated synchronized precipitation and effects, which was introduced in Active Sky Next, is probably the biggest thing on our side. A close second may be dynamic cloud and sky textures, changeable on the fly within the sim session, introduced by AS16 and ASCA.

    Active Sky 2016 from HiFi Technologies

    Second question; X-Plane has long been screaming out for third party weather engines, so is this a direction you'd be tempted to explore?

    We've been working on X-Plane for a while now, but the weather-related API functions and weather depiction system in general is fairly limited in comparison to FSX/P3D, which has been a challenge. For a realism-based weather simulation solution, having only three cloud layers, of only a few potential types with no cloud type, structure or independent coverage control has been the main setback. We are still a ways out with our X-Plane solution, but it is coming and we're pretty excited about it. Some nice examples of what is possible have been shown in products like SkyMaxx Pro and X-Enviro. We look forward to joining the mix here soon and helping push each other to raise the bar even further.

    Video review by Michael Hayward for FlightSim.Com

    Lastly Damian, what particular area of simulated weather do you think needs the most improvement?

    Visibility. The depiction of visibility, both within and when above/below fog/haze, "volumetric fog", mountainous/terrain intersection with fog/low clouds and other related visibility visuals are probably at the top of the list. While recent platforms/versions (P3D v3 for example) have made great strides here, there is still much to be desired. Improving visibility depiction and experience is one of our main goals moving forward from the add-on side.

    HiFi Technologies web site:

    FlightSim.Com would like to express its thanks to both Stefan and Damian for taking the time out of their busy schedules to complete these interviews.

    We look forward to seeing them both at FlightSimCon and wish them all the very best for the future!

    Will We See You At FlightSimCon?

    FlightSimCon 2017

    FlightSimCon is a great opportunity to meet the leading figures in the flightsim hobby as well as fellow enthusiasts. Will we see you at FlightSimCon? I will be there both days, and will be hosting the Flight Simulator Developer Panel that will be held on Saturday, featuring representatives from Dovetail Games, Laminar Research and Lockheed Martin.

    If you're coming please leave a comment below and let us know what you're looking forward to at the convention.

    Nels Anderson

    Tags: flightsimcon

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