• Review: xEnviro Version 1.09 for X-Plane 11

    Review: xEnviro Version 1.09 for X-Plane 11

    By Rohan Nair

    X-Enviro

    Weather. It decides if you can fly or not. It decides how high you'll fly. It decides how fast you can fly. It also decides the route you'll take. It's also moody. When it's happy, the going's good. When it's snappy, which it can become in mere minutes, you'll be wrestling with it and your terrified passengers will hang on to their seats as the craft they're in is tossed about in the endless blue. Or can it be the endless grey at times? Regardless, weather seems to be an important person because it governs so much of flying. Keeping that in mind, I can say that flight simulation enthusiasts across the globe seek an accurate representation of weather phenomena in flight simulators. The Microsoft based franchises have their own of set of mature and performant weather engines. Combine one of those with an excellent texture pack and you'll get yourself a great looking sky to fly in. That's the MSFS side of things.

    X-Enviro

    Laminar Research's X-Plane has been steadily moving forward to becoming a feature rich, capable, and third-party developer friendly flight simulator. X-Plane, since version 10 I feel, has been capturing the loyalty of newcomers to flight simulation and even veterans who have firmly been with Microsoft based flight simulators for decades. It's only natural that users of X-Plane too yearn for a realistic and attractive environment to fly in. Given that X-Plane has been around for quite a while now, and that it is growing in popularity, there are already a few contenders in the arena of environment enhancement add-ons for X-Plane. Largely like the MSFS franchise, a conglomerate of different add-ons is needed to bring some color and life to X-Plane's environment. But that's about to change because of the sort-of new kid on the block: xEnviro. xEnviro strives to be the ultimate all-in-one environment simulation engine for X-Plane 11 going beyond merely weather depiction by introducing realistic visual and acoustic fidelity to the simulation environment. Can this ambitious project live up to what it states it can? Read this review to find out.

    X-Enviro

    xEnviro has been around for much more than a year now and, even as you read this, is being actively developed. The add-on supports both X-Plane 10 and 11 and aspires to be an environment simulation engine that processes, injects, and renders real world weather into X-Plane. xEnviro adds additional enhancements in terms of textures, colors and ambient noises. Typically, without X-Enviro, such enhancements would mandate the synergy of more than a couple of add-ons at the least. Perhaps, this is the rationale behind xEnviro being priced as much as X-Plane 11 itself at about $70. I thought I heard you say "Whoa"! This is a product that isn't yet available in the FS Pilot Shop. You can download the installer from X-Enviro's official web site and purchase a license key for it by following the links there to one of the stores that sell it. The latest version of xEnviro at the time of writing this is version 1.09. At the official web site, you'll also find the product manual and the development roadmap which talks about known issues and what is planned for subsequent releases.

    The system requirements, quoted on X-Enviro's web site, are shown below:

    X-Enviro

    Perhaps it's need of some updating as I've used version 1.07 and 1.09 with X-Plane 11.20r4 with any version specific compatibility issues. Why have I used two versions? We'll get to that later in the review. What's interesting is that xEnviro may not work in conjunction with a number of other add-ons that alter the atmosphere, colors and lighting of X-Plane. Take a look at the screen shot below (taken from the official web site of X-Enviro):

    X-Enviro

    Tags: x-enviro, xenviro

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