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kentwerickson

SMP v4.7 Cloud Striations

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Background: SMP v4.7 + NOAA Weather plugin, XP10.51

Ever since I lost use of RWC (because of the recent NOAA HTTPS changeover issue), SMP is drawing lower level clouds/fog with distinct striations -- i.e., no smooth blending (see images below). Otherwise higher cloud layers are still drawn just fine. Is there anything I can do about this? Near as I can tell, my NOAA Weather plugin is also working fine. But I know nothing about how it interfaces with SMP (or vice versa), and particularly without the help of RWC.

Thanks in advance for your assistance (and sorry if this issue has been addressed elsewhere -- I couldn't find another thread dealing with this particular issue).

Btw, any update on the RWC/Gizmo fix?

Car_PC12_2.jpg

Car_PC12_4.jpg

Edited by kentwerickson

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I think increasing the "cloud / terrain blend softness" setting in SMP should help with that.

I haven't heard any update on the RWC / Gizmo issue. Meanwhile, you might want to consider updating to the latest version of X-Plane 11, which will allow you to use RWC in "automatic" mode and regain the more detailed cloud representations RWC can give you.

 

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14 hours ago, sundog said:

I think increasing the "cloud / terrain blend softness" setting in SMP should help with that.

I haven't heard any update on the RWC / Gizmo issue. Meanwhile, you might want to consider updating to the latest version of X-Plane 11, which will allow you to use RWC in "automatic" mode and regain the more detailed cloud representations RWC can give you.

I always run SMP with the blend softness maxed out (1000). But is this the only possible explanation? I seem to recall a period of time before I purchased RWC and was running just SMP + NOAA Weather together without this sort of problem??? There of course have been updates to both SMP and NOAA Weather since then. But I was at least hoping to learn, a bit more specifically, what exactly would cause SMP (internally) to draw clouds with puffy tops but perfectly flat bottoms (I don''t have another screenshot readily available, but this is the best way I can describe what low level cumulus clouds look like now -- as though someone took a sharp knife and cut their bottoms off). What's puzzling about this is again that higher level cloud layers seem to draw just fine. 

Also, for a variety of reasons (mainly the cost of repurchasing most of my payware) I have chosen to not upgrade to XP11 -- or at least not in the near future (unless maybe I win the Power Ball :D )

Edited by kentwerickson

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It looks to me as though you're seeing the intersection of cloud puffs with the ground. Since each puff is really a 2D picture facing you (for the particular cloud type you're showing in your picture), it creates a straight line where it intersects with the ground.

The "blend softness" control is intended to fade out the clouds as they approach the terrain, so you don't see that.

I just scoured our code trying to find a case where this wouldn't work as it should, and I did find one. If you're in a scene that only has ground fog present and no cumulus clouds, and you are using RWC, then it looks like this effect might not be triggered as it should. It's a bit of an edge case that should only happen under these very specific conditions.

I've fixed that for our next release, but in the meantime it might help to increase your cloud area covered setting if you can, which would increase the likelihood of other clouds being present in the scene.

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On 3/25/2019 at 5:00 AM, sundog said:

It looks to me as though you're seeing the intersection of cloud puffs with the ground. Since each puff is really a 2D picture facing you (for the particular cloud type you're showing in your picture), it creates a straight line where it intersects with the ground.

The "blend softness" control is intended to fade out the clouds as they approach the terrain, so you don't see that.

I just scoured our code trying to find a case where this wouldn't work as it should, and I did find one. If you're in a scene that only has ground fog present and no cumulus clouds, and you are using RWC, then it looks like this effect might not be triggered as it should. It's a bit of an edge case that should only happen under these very specific conditions.

I've fixed that for our next release, but in the meantime it might help to increase your cloud area covered setting if you can, which would increase the likelihood of other clouds being present in the scene.

Thanks again Frank. Just to be clear, I am currently not using RWC (I have it disabled/uninstalled) because of the NOAA web interface issue,  which I am hoping will eventually get resolved. In other words, I am currently constrained to using only SMP + NOAA Weather plugin. However before the interface issue cropped up, everything -- SMP+RWC+NOAA Weather -- was all working fine together.

The current cropping issue occurs not only in evenly distributed fog/overcast conditions (as depicted in my screenshots above) but also (occasionally) with broken low level cumulonimbus clouds, particularly in and around areas of high terrain. What's kinda' weird about this issue is that the cropping effect changes (will go in and out) as I change/re-position the camera angle. At the moment I am having difficult reproducing this latter phenomenon. But for comparison, I am attaching a few screenshots just to show that SMP does for the most part work with my version of the NOAA Weather plugin. I will add screenshots of the cropping issue the next time I notice it.

Cessna_172SP_6.jpg

Cessna_172SP_3.jpg

Cessna_172SP_4.jpg

Cessna_172SP_5.jpg

Edited by kentwerickson

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Some of those shots look pretty nice :)

I agree that the bug I found likely isn't the issue you're seeing. There is probably an edge case where clouds of a specific type at a specific AGL altitude don't blend as well as they should with the ground. If you do encounter it again, please see if adjusting the cloud/terrain blend setting makes any difference at all in its appearance. If you set it to zero, does it look even worse? If so, we may just have to increase how far up that slider goes.

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On 3/27/2019 at 4:04 AM, sundog said:

If you do encounter it again, please see if adjusting the cloud/terrain blend setting makes any difference at all in its appearance. If you set it to zero, does it look even worse? If so, we may just have to increase how far up that slider goes.

I actually have already tried precisely what you suggest here -- setting the blend slider to zero -- but could not discern any appreciable difference (actually, I was a bit surprised by this because it still looked to me that some blending was occurring). I also tried changing the cloud formation type, which also did not seem to alleviate the problem.

As you say, maybe I have just encountered just a fringe condition. And ordinarily this would not be a big deal except that I don't recall ever noticing this problem in the past (and I fly a lot). But again if it occurs again I will attempt to experiment some more and provide screenshots of what I am seeing.

Edited by kentwerickson

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OK - be sure to capture your log.txt as well if you encounter it again, as it well tell us what cloud type and altitude SMP was using. That might be important info for us.

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While looking into some reported issues with cloud altitudes being off in certain situations, I also stumbled across a bug that might explain what you were seeing there.

I've fixed it for SkyMaxx Pro 4.8 which is in the works.

 

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