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SkyMaxx Pro v4.9.3 Update Released!

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Hello All,

This will serve as a formal forum announcement that we have released the version 4.9.3 update for SkyMaxx Pro. All customers who have purchased SkyMaxx Pro v4 up till now have been sent an e-mail by X-Aviation with complete instructions on how to obtain your update. We have made this a very simple process! For those that purchase SkyMaxx Pro v4 from today forward, your purchased download will already be updated to version 4.9.3 for you.

What if I didn't get the update e-mail?

If you did not receive your update e-mail don't fret! X-Aviation has updated our system to allow all customers to update with ease, regardless of whether you received an e-mail for the update! Here's what to do:

1. Login to your X-Aviation account here: https://www.x-aviation.com/catalog/account_history.php

2. Find your original SkyMaxx Pro v4 download and re-download the file. It will download as the latest version!

This release has experimental support for Vulkan if you are a Windows user.

For Mac users, please be aware Metal is not supported. You may still enjoy this v4.9.3 update when running X-Plane in OpenGL mode. You may read why here.

The following is a list of additions/fixes included:
 
What's New / Changed:

  • Fixes some cloud shadow anomalies
  • Fixed cloud drawing anomalies in Vulkan / HDR when using some third-party aircraft
  • Improves cumulus and overcast cloud lighting
  • Adjusts some cloud textures

As always, thanks for purchasing from X-Aviation!

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Seems a bit improved.  Maybe performance is a little better, but still too heavy for practical VR IMO.  Also, in VR, continue to get strange lines and bad convergence on close-up clouds and overcast skies, so can't use in those conditions.  Also curious is that sun now gets completely lost in haze at midday (just see a hazy spot in the sky and no form to the sun).  Sun does show later in the day when its closer to the horizon (also, sun continues to appear extremely LARGE in VR--way, way bigger than IRL).  It's still experimental, I know, and still using on beta X-Plane 11, so don't take as complaints, just comments.

20200513181700_1.jpg

Edited by Gildahl

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I think those "strange lines" will go away if you turn up the cloud/terrain blending option in SkyMaxx Pro's settings. We used to recommend keeping that at 0 in VR, but it should be working OK in 4.9+. Cloud shadows also function in VR now, but likely aren't worth the performance hit in that setting.

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So I'm not sure if any changes were made regarding how the clouds appear at various altitudes. The last build, 492 had a good spread of cloud layers. Now it's back to pretty much a single layer of clouds. Plus I'm not sure I like the new cloud colors. In time I could get use to it. Maybe as an option down the road to select the cloud colors? idk. But the main issue is the clouds are at one altitude. So I'm going to re-install 492 using the previous installer. I have flown two times with v143. Both flights only displayed a single layer of clouds. I use FSGRW and real wtx connector with it. I had FSGRW set correctly under settings to pull from it. I think you are doing a wonderful job with keeping this product up to date and always improving it. So please don't take this as a complaint, it's not. I'll just wait till your next update and will try it again then. That's why everyone should keep their old installers, so you can bounce back and forth. 

Thanks,

Dave. 

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There were no changes to how clouds are positioned in 4.9.3.

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2 hours ago, sundog said:

There were no changes to how clouds are positioned in 4.9.3.

Huh.  Okay, well I guess it's just how the city pair worked out for these two flights. I'll try another flight or two and see how things go. 

Thanks. 

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Regarding cloud color, I was also going to comment too.  I'm a new user, so I don't know if color has changed, but I find that the darker parts of cumulus clouds do have an unnaturally brownish color to them during times of the (virtual) day when I wouldn't expect any color at all.  I'm looking out my window now (IRL) at a sky full of similar clouds at 9am and the darker areas are distinctly colorless (gray).  A relatively minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but I'm thinking cloud color may be more saturated than it needs to be. 

Edited by Gildahl
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16 hours ago, xZone said:

Can you please upload the 4.9.2 installer? 

Yes or no ? 

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51 minutes ago, xZone said:

Yes or no ? 

I do not have that file available, sorry. I just happened to have the old component files the installer needs to run, so I replaced them on the server.

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On 5/15/2020 at 6:52 AM, sundog said:

I think those "strange lines" will go away if you turn up the cloud/terrain blending option in SkyMaxx Pro's settings. We used to recommend keeping that at 0 in VR, but it should be working OK in 4.9+. Cloud shadows also function in VR now, but likely aren't worth the performance hit in that setting.

Unfortunately, with cloud/terrain blending turned to max, the lines continue to show--though they may be a bit more subdued.  But still quite noticeable and distracting (cloud shadows are turned off).  The more disruptive thing, however, are the left-right eye convergence issues in VR, which are bad enough that I can't really use the overcast settings.  If you look at the first picture pair below (taken at the same instant) and can manage to cross your eyes to see the 3D picture, you'll see that there is a kind of mirage effect that is produced in the terrain due to the images in the left and right eye seeing two different versions of the haze and ridge line (compare the panel's well converged appearance with the view out the window that refuses to converge). When in motion, it is quite dizzying.  In the second picture pair over Boston, it might be even easier to see, even without crossing your eyes, that the level of haze in one eye is distinctly different than the other along the center haze line, which again in motion, is really too distracting and uncomfortable to use (remember that these picture pairs are taken at the same instant).  With that said, flying in fairer weather clouds at at distance doesn't have this problem; but it is definitely an issue in VR with hazy/foggy weather effects.  With the stock overcast/fog effects I don't see these sorts of artifacts in VR.

 

20200516180832_1_vr.jpg

20200516182924_1_vr.jpg

Edited by Gildahl

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Not doubting you, but if I apply the same weather conditions in vanilla X-Plane, I've never seen convergence issues like this before.  I mean, its very obvious and creates a kind of double-vision that I'm pretty sure I would have noticed before I started using SkyMaxx, though admittedly I don't fly in the fog a whole lot.  Do you have a post to reference or a scenario I could try to see this?  I would certainly rather report this to LR if the problem is on the XP side.

Edited by Gildahl

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4 hours ago, Gildahl said:

Not doubting you, but if I apply the same weather conditions in vanilla X-Plane, I've never seen convergence issues like this before.  I mean, its very obvious and creates a kind of double-vision that I'm pretty sure I would have noticed before I started using SkyMaxx, though admittedly I don't fly in the fog a whole lot.  Do you have a post to reference or a scenario I could try to see this?  I would certainly rather report this to LR if the problem is on the XP side.

On the ORG in the h11.5b9 topics its being discussed by multiple people.

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Another minor issue. When fist loading XPLANE it seems to grab the sim to download weather and thats fine, Better to have it done at beginning of flight, but I lost my internet, and if left in auto it simply pauses the sim every couple of minutes had to force it to use XPLANE weather, than it stopped. Thanks again.

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4 hours ago, mjrhealth said:

On the ORG in the h11.5b9 topics its being discussed by multiple people.

link? (I don't know what the ORG is)

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48 minutes ago, Gildahl said:

link? (I don't know what the ORG is)

X-Plane.org

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Hmm.  I'm pretty active in that thread and don't see anything regarding this issue (if there is such a post, please direct me to it).  Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called "floating hills" issue which I actually entered an official bug report to LR for.  That is a distant horizon issue (and definitely an X-Plane issue since I personally confirmed that it happens in a brand new install of X-Plane and can be suppressed by setting renopt_planet  to zero in X-Plane.prf).  Rather, this is purely a cloud/fog, left/right eye convergence problem in VR that I've only ever seen in SkyMaxx Pro generated close-up cloud/fog conditions.  Completely separate issue.  But again, if it is being discussed as happening in vanilla X-Plane, please point me to at least one specific post and I'll gladly follow-up there. 

Edited by Gildahl

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SkyMaxx Pro generally doesn't have anything to do with the drawing of the terrain or haze/fog effects in the first place.. but if it is caused by us somehow, I'd try changing your settings for overcast representation in SkyMaxx Pro. See if "solid procedural" behaves better for you.

 

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That was actually the first thing I tried when I first encountered this issue, but it doesn't help.  I just tried setting to solid procedural again, but to no avail.  Here are a few more observations (again, all only happen in SkyMaxx and not with standard clouds)

1.  If I am flying in low visibility (like the screenshots above), the haze representation varies dramatically as I turn my head in VR independent of the plane's motion.  In fact, if I pause the simulation, this behavior continues.  All I have to do is turn my head and the haze line against the ground moves in sync with my head motion (this can also be done while the simulator is paused).  This in combination with the fact that the haze line is not aligned in the same location for both eyes seems to be a large part of the issue (if, while paused, I open one eye and close the other, the line shifts in appearance and location--not normal parallax--even though the scene is not moving at all.).  This, by the way, should be very easy for you to reproduce and observe.

2.  The effect is not limited to terrain, ground fog or low visibility.  If I fly under dark overcast skies and look up with no ground or terrain in the background, I get the same sort of convergence issues, like my eyes want to cross as I'm looking at these clouds, and the effect magnifies as I fly closer.  If I pause the simulator under overcast skies and shake my head back and forth, certain cloud textures will remain perfectly in place while others will do a "dance" (rotate around a central point, back and forth as I shake my head).  This doesn't happens with fair weather cumulus or cirrus type clouds.

Please keep in mind that although this sounds like a gripe, I fully understand and appreciate that this build of SkyMaxx is called experimental and I'm using it on a beta product (most vendors won't even release for a beta), so I don't want to sound like a complainer, but hoping that at the very least you can duplicate this and put it into an known issue state for VR users.  Like I said, right now I can't really use SkyMaxx in VR for overcast/fog due to the bizarre and unrealistic effects this is producing.

Edited by Gildahl

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OK, I think I understand what you're describing now. I bet you are using Real Weather Connector; it cannot use "solid procedural" or "broken procedural" unless the overcast skies extend to the horizon at the same level in all directions, which rarely happens. So you're falling back to the remaining overcast settings in that case, which use very large billboards - and large billboards and VR just don't get along well.

We will continue to try and find a better solution for this case.

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Excellent.   Yes, I do use the Real Weather Connector--but it happens in overcast conditions whether or not I have that installed.  Also note that its not just the "procedural" cloud types, but any of the overcast types.  Thanks for looking into this, and hoping for that better solution so I can use it with VR again.

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I may have found a fix for the "double vision" on large clouds in VR under certain circumstances. I was just testing it in Seattle which currently has conditions similar to what you were describing, and didn't notice it. Hopefully the next update will clear this up for you.

Honestly it's a tough thing for me to see in the first place; the resolution of my Vive Pro makes it hard to see subtle errors like this.

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3 hours ago, sundog said:

I may have found a fix for the "double vision" on large clouds in VR under certain circumstances. I was just testing it in Seattle which currently has conditions similar to what you were describing, and didn't notice it. Hopefully the next update will clear this up for you.

Honestly it's a tough thing for me to see in the first place; the resolution of my Vive Pro makes it hard to see subtle errors like this.

I will be anxiously awaiting this, and thrilled if it can be addressed.  I suppose the VR platform might make a difference in how noticeable it is (I'll have to give it try on my old Vive), but it is unmistakable on my Index.

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Hello,
I installed version 4.9.3 to see the improvements.
I am still evaluating the performance and quality and I would like a clarification on the design of the clouds as the attached images. They do not seem very realistic, mainly due to the quantity in columns. Is there anything I can configure to improve this?
Thank you.
Jeffersonskm3.thumb.png.d37ff8d9c901db30b9adce0aaebdfaaa.pngskm4.thumb.png.40380ea81926830da69a6b65c9a2f8a5.png

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