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Thread: Let's talk about the weather

  1. #1
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    Default Let's talk about the weather

    I know this has been asked before, but it seems that most threads are from a couple of years back before the two popular and well-loved companies -- REX and Active Sky -- came out with their newer weather releases.

    The consensus back then seemed to be that REX had prettier textures, but Active Sky had a better weather engine (possibly in part because of it's ability to load historical weather? not quite sure thought). Since 2012 however, REX has come out with "Essential Plus with Overdrive" and AS released "Active Sky Next."

    So how do they stack up now? I realize some people run (or at least used to run) both programs simultaneously, but if they do similar enough things, I'd rather just get one. Which would you recommend? A couple of things to keep in mind about me:


    1. I'm still kind of a newbie and haven't played around with weather settings at all except for loading the few default FSX profiles now and then.
    2. In the real world I do most of my flying late at night after work, but in the sim world I prefer to do mostly GA flying during the daytime -- when that gorgeous Orbx scenery is visible. Thus, having super accurate & up-to-the-second live weather isn't necessarily as important to me. In fact, just having randomly generated weather that's geographically-appropriate would be just fine.
    3. My machine is so-so (see my system specs), and I'm not even sure if I should be getting a weather addon. But if I do, I'd rather it be easier on the frames -- perhaps one that has a low res setting or something.

    Thanks in advance for the advice. Cheers.
    HP Pavilion p7-1446 / Windows 8.1 (64bit) / AMD A10-5700 @ 3.4 GHz / 8 GB DDR3
    Radeon R7-260x / 2 GB / DDR5 @ 1600 MHz / 2 x 24" LCD monitors (1920x1080)
    Orbx FTX Global Base / Orbx FTX Vector / Orbx NA Regions / REX Essential / My Traffic X

  2. #2
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    Default

    If you do some searches in this forum you'll find a LOT of recent posts on Active Sky Next, so no need at all to rely on old information.

    You can try ASN for 7 days for free to decide if it works for you. It does not include replacement textures, so whatever you are using now to do that will work fine.

    There are several settings you can use to tune the performance of ASN to your machine.

    To get the most out of ASN's setting options, consider this hints and tips thread:

    https://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/showt...xt-Discussions

    -Pv-
    Last edited by pvarn; 07-02-2014 at 04:54 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Ooops. Not I feel like an idiot. I googled "REX vs Active Sky" (or something similar) and mostly what I got were threads from at least a couple years ago on this an other forums. I'll do some more homework. Thanks for the link above.

    I'm gonna guess, btw, that you're more of a ASN fan?
    HP Pavilion p7-1446 / Windows 8.1 (64bit) / AMD A10-5700 @ 3.4 GHz / 8 GB DDR3
    Radeon R7-260x / 2 GB / DDR5 @ 1600 MHz / 2 x 24" LCD monitors (1920x1080)
    Orbx FTX Global Base / Orbx FTX Vector / Orbx NA Regions / REX Essential / My Traffic X

  4. #4
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    Default

    No need to rely on Google. Go right to the horses mouth and look it in the teeth.

    http://www.hifitechinc.com/products/activeskynext
    Use it until you get your 2012 fixed. You don't have to uninstall or modify your AS2012.
    Use ASN for 24 hours and you will NOT want to return to 2012, but of course you can.

    -Pv-
    Last edited by pvarn; 07-01-2014 at 12:57 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I don't actually have AS2012 -- or any weather addon -- so there's no fixing I need to do. But yes I definitely will take advantage of their demo.
    HP Pavilion p7-1446 / Windows 8.1 (64bit) / AMD A10-5700 @ 3.4 GHz / 8 GB DDR3
    Radeon R7-260x / 2 GB / DDR5 @ 1600 MHz / 2 x 24" LCD monitors (1920x1080)
    Orbx FTX Global Base / Orbx FTX Vector / Orbx NA Regions / REX Essential / My Traffic X

  6. #6

    Default

    I have REX, brought it a while ago when it was on sale. I couldn't get on with it and found their Customer Service/Technical Support abysmal.

    Recently tried ASN trial and it was OK, certainly more user friendly than REX. But considering all the hype I was not overly impressed with the clouds which I thought looked a bit blobby.

    To be honest, at the moment I'm quite happy with the FSX Real World Weather.

    Last edited by 1redbarron; 07-02-2014 at 05:38 AM.
    Windows 7 Home 64bit - 525GB Crucial MX300 SSD - 2TB Master Hard Drive
    Intel Core i7 4+4 Core 2600K 3.4Ghz 8MB L3 CACHE - ThermalTake Contac29 Cooler
    16GB DDR3 2133Mhz Patriot Viper V3 Red Performance/Gaming RAM
    AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB PCI-E 3.0 Ready Graphics - GSX - FS Cabin Crew - ASN SP5

  7. #7
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    Active Sky Next has nothing to do with the appearance of the clouds. ASN uses whatever textures you currently have loaded. The default built-in FSX weather generator uses those same textures. You can use REX to replace the textures, and there are some freeware cloud texture libraries out there, or owners of AS2012 can use that to replace the textures.

    The primary job (and this is how ASN works) or ANY weather generator is to gather real world weather data off international weather servers, interpret this data, and instruct the sim to present it in the form of cloud height and altitude, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction with gusts/turbulence, and precipitation. ASN also provides additional weather experience based on complex calculations comparing many local data conditions together to simulate storm fronts, microbursts, wind shear, wake turbulence and hail to name a few. The FSX default real time weather cannot simulate these things, nor does it know anything about weather over the large areas of the world like oceans and third world countries where metar weather data is sparse or non-existent. ASN has access to International Airmets and Sigmets which the built in cannot. If you are into gliders or fly GA planes around dramatic terrain, the built-in WX cannot simulate these conditions which ASN can. ASN also totally eliminates all the troublesome default experiences such as wind shifts and instantaneous weather changes

    One drawback ALL weather generators in FSX have is the further north you fly, the more clouds get stretched vertically. This is a calculation which FS performs internally which is unavoidable.

    The actual shapes and colors, lighting, transparency, etc of the clouds is determined by the cloud files loaded into the FSX textures folder. When FSX is not running, users can swap out these texture files manually, or by using texture replacement tools. Even without these tools, where you fly, what time of day, and density of the clouds have very dramatic differences from hour to hour, and even how high and fast you fly can make a difference as well as your cloud distance and detail settings. Even without texture placement, FSX can present vast differences in how clouds appear to you just based on changes in weather conditions, lighting and season.

    The result of all this is unless the weather conditions are EXACTLY the same between two flights comparing weather generators, and your plane is flying the same route at the same time of day, same direction, altitude and location, your comparison observation will be inaccurate.

    For everyone for whom the accuracy, challenge and immersion of weather during the simulation is as important as the scenery and aircraft you are flying, third party weather generation is almost mandatory.

    A possible analogy is moving into a neighborhood with free wifi. You can use that and get some email a few times a day and at good times load a web page or two in a few minutes, or you can pay for high speed access.

    -Pv-
    Last edited by pvarn; 07-02-2014 at 06:14 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pvarn View Post
    If you do some searches in this forum you'll find a LOT of recent posts on Active Sky Next, so no need at all to rely on old information.

    You can try ASN for 10 days for free to decide if it works for you. It does not include replacement textures, so whatever you are using now to do that will work fine.

    There are several settings you can use to tune the performance of ASN to your machine.

    To get the most out of ASN's setting options, consider this hints and tips thread:

    https://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/showt...xt-Discussions

    -Pv-
    Just to clarify it is a 7 day ASN trial and not 10 day trial.
    Dave Opper
    HiFi Support Manager
    HiFi Technologies, Inc.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Right. I'll stop saying that.
    -Pv-

  10. #10
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    Default

    Wow, pvarn. Thank you SO much for such a clear and detailed response! For a newbie like me, it's actually hard to find a straightforward description of how the basics of weather works in FSX. Awesome.

    Having said that, here's a possibly dumb question:

    If I don't care all that much about real-world weather conditions because, as I mentioned above, I'm almost never flying "live," and because sometimes (like tonight, for example) I might want to fly in wintery conditions even though it's July, can either of these programs just generate some random weather that's appropriate to the geographical location, the season, time of day, etc? I definitely like the idea of a program like ASN making conditions realistic & complex in the way you described above. But what if I'm less concerned about actual real life, up-to-the-minute accuracy and just want to fly in conditions that are random, yet still appropriate to the fictional time & place?

    Hope that makes sense. Thanks!
    HP Pavilion p7-1446 / Windows 8.1 (64bit) / AMD A10-5700 @ 3.4 GHz / 8 GB DDR3
    Radeon R7-260x / 2 GB / DDR5 @ 1600 MHz / 2 x 24" LCD monitors (1920x1080)
    Orbx FTX Global Base / Orbx FTX Vector / Orbx NA Regions / REX Essential / My Traffic X

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