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Announcing SkyMaxx Pro v5


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Hi, I recently purchased SMP and RWC so am pleased V5 is offered at a discount !
However I am unsure whether to upgrade because my system performance is already near its limit (i7 16Gb laptop with nVidia GPU).
I've also had to turn down/disable some features of SMP v4 or use lower res clouds and even use some xplane defaults(eg skycolours) because of known bugs.
So will I still benefit from V5 or does it require more system resources/higher spec PC ?

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Captains,   It is with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement that I get the opportunity to announce SkyMaxx Pro v5 to you today! Version 4.0 was our longest major version run, and it's time to turn t

Hi @Honey56, This is a pretty extreme comparison. If $19.95 USD is going to cause you a life or death situation, you should probably re-evaluate flight simming. I'm sorry that you're in tough tim

This is already the case for v5 voxel clouds. Ambient light and how it scatters within the cloud based on the sun or moon position are factored in. Yes, they will remain the same.

Posted Images

3 hours ago, Autopilot1957 said:

Hi, I recently purchased SMP and RWC so am pleased V5 is offered at a discount !
However I am unsure whether to upgrade because my system performance is already near its limit (i7 16Gb laptop with nVidia GPU).
I've also had to turn down/disable some features of SMP v4 or use lower res clouds and even use some xplane defaults(eg skycolours) because of known bugs.
So will I still benefit from V5 or does it require more system resources/higher spec PC ?

In general I would say that the new volumetric clouds in V5 are usually GPU-bound instead of CPU-bound. So if CPU is what was maxing out your performance in V4, it's likely that V5 will perform better. That's the case on my system and the others we used to test it. We can't guarantee performance will be better though, as everyone has a different system and add-ons installed which can change the equation. But the odds are good.

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Good news, thank you! Looking forward for next week :)

I´m building a fullsize 737 homecockpit with 3 TV´s runing at 1080p with outside visiuals only.

My question: Does V5 also support X-Plane´s Multi Monitor features  like V4 did?

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1 hour ago, sundog said:

In general I would say that the new volumetric clouds in V5 are usually GPU-bound instead of CPU-bound.

So, this means that SMP 5 is faster one CPU side than SMP 4? This is good new as I need a faster GPU anyway but sadly neither AMD nor NVidia can deliver their products. Do you think a GTX 1070 is good enough to maintain 60 FPS at 1080p? Currently I'm limited by my pretty fast CPU when using SMP 4.9.6.2.

Edited by FlyAgi
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35 minutes ago, FlyAgi said:

So, this means that SMP 5 is faster one CPU side than SMP 4? This is good new as I need a faster GPU anyway but sadly neither AMD nor NVidia can deliver their products. Do you think a GTX 1070 is good enough to maintain 60 FPS at 1080p? Currently I'm limited by my pretty fast CPU when using SMP 4.9.6.2.

I just went from 1070 to 2070 there helped me run AA at higher setting maybe a 5 fps gain, 1070 should be fine but more like 50 FPS. but than anything above 30 is fine as far as I can see.

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1 hour ago, leinsters said:

would love to see a video of these clouds in action with an FPS counter

thnx

I'm sure someone will do that on a stream pretty quickly once it's out there. :)

Speaking personally, I don't have the time for it at the moment due to travel. Once I'm back I'm solely focusing on the release at that point.

I'd also say no matter what software it is, an FPS counter with video is not going to be representative of performance. The recording of video alone is going to chew up processing power, therefore not giving you an accurate representation. Screenshots with FPS counters are probably better. 

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On 1/13/2021 at 8:40 PM, Cameron said:

When you set cloud shadows all the way up, you are telling SkyMaxx Pro that you want cloud shadows to completely block all light from the sun. So, if a cloud shadow falls over your cockpit, it will go black. Set it to a more realistic setting, like the default of 0.5. That said, I know that the shadows don't affect the terrain as strongly as it should - this is a limitation of X-Plane's HDR pipeline that prevents us from totally blacking out the terrain. Disabling HDR will give you darker shadows if that's the look you're aiming for.

Will the shadows work in VR? That's my main issue with SMP in VR at the moment, can't use ground shadows at all. 

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Will there be an improvement from what the metar says to what is displayed? I use RWC and SMP4 with ASXP, but I sometimes have issues where the weather shown by ASXP is not translated by RWC and SMP4. If I go in the plug-ins menu and deactivate RWC and SMP4 and regenerate the weather, I then get the correct metar. Quite often it’ll show broken or overcast, but RWC and SMP4 will display few or clear and I can only get the correct weather by switching them off. Other times it all works perfectly and looks amazing. Either way I’ll be upgrading to v5

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5 hours ago, rawdmon said:

Will the shadows work in VR? That's my main issue with SMP in VR at the moment, can't use ground shadows at all. 

Yes, although you will see a frame or two delay between movement of the shadows and movement of the viewpoint in VR. This seems to be due to some sort of internal buffering that we can't control. Normally it's not an issue but if you have the shadow intensity turned up and move your head quickly you can notice it.

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33 minutes ago, mataus said:

Will there be an improvement from what the metar says to what is displayed? I use RWC and SMP4 with ASXP, but I sometimes have issues where the weather shown by ASXP is not translated by RWC and SMP4. If I go in the plug-ins menu and deactivate RWC and SMP4 and regenerate the weather, I then get the correct metar. Quite often it’ll show broken or overcast, but RWC and SMP4 will display few or clear and I can only get the correct weather by switching them off. Other times it all works perfectly and looks amazing. Either way I’ll be upgrading to v5

That's usually a timing issue where ASXP has sent new METAR after RWC has already built up the scene around you. It should check again in 30 seconds or so, or you can use the "force weather reload" option to make it happen sooner. Be sure "never change visible weather" is off in RWC or it won't pick up the new METAR automatically unless you leave the area and fly back into it.

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18 hours ago, berniegtr said:

Good news, thank you! Looking forward for next week :)

I´m building a fullsize 737 homecockpit with 3 TV´s runing at 1080p with outside visiuals only.

My question: Does V5 also support X-Plane´s Multi Monitor features  like V4 did?

If 4.9.6 is working for you then I expect 5.0 will as well. I can't think of any changes that might affect multi-monitors.

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This looks very exciting, and since I'm a full-time VR user seeing that the rotating cloud issue has been solved is particularly good to see.  At the top of my list, however, is to know whether the convergence issues in low visibility/fog has been solved in VR.  This was the #1 reason why I ended up uninstalling v4, since under these conditions it was basically unusable on my Index due to the double vision effect--and while I think the $20 charge for this is completely fair, I wouldn't want to purchase unless this issue has been solved.  Since cumulous clouds are the focus of this release, I'm thinking probably not, but please let me know if it is.

Edited by Gildahl
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3 hours ago, sundog said:

Yes, although you will see a frame or two delay between movement of the shadows and movement of the viewpoint in VR. This seems to be due to some sort of internal buffering that we can't control. Normally it's not an issue but if you have the shadow intensity turned up and move your head quickly you can notice it.

Cool, I'll have to try them out once it's available and see how it goes. I'd like to point out that a well known open source truly volumetric cloud plugin (you likely know which one I'm talking about) casts shadows on the ground somehow via shaders and doesn't have that buffering problem with them. You guys might consider investigating how they go about doing that and possibly coming up with a better way to generate the shadows which doesn't cause them to wander like that. I find that properly working ground shadows are pretty essential to proper immersion in VR with clouds. Otherwise you're flying through all of these ghost clouds which don't cast shadows and it feels odd. I look forward to trying out v5 when it drops. Thanks for your reply. 

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2 hours ago, rawdmon said:

Cool, I'll have to try them out once it's available and see how it goes. I'd like to point out that a well known open source truly volumetric cloud plugin (you likely know which one I'm talking about) casts shadows on the ground somehow via shaders and doesn't have that buffering problem with them. You guys might consider investigating how they go about doing that and possibly coming up with a better way to generate the shadows which doesn't cause them to wander like that. I find that properly working ground shadows are pretty essential to proper immersion in VR with clouds. Otherwise you're flying through all of these ghost clouds which don't cast shadows and it feels odd. I look forward to trying out v5 when it drops. Thanks for your reply. 

Yes i have posted pic showing frame rates further back be interesting to compare. Actually do cause minor stutters when panning outside with wall to wall clouds but ok inside, really puts a load on GPU. Hopefully these will be more fps friendly.

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7 hours ago, Gildahl said:

This looks very exciting, and since I'm a full-time VR user seeing that the rotating cloud issue has been solved is particularly good to see.  At the top of my list, however, is to know whether the convergence issues in low visibility/fog has been solved in VR.  This was the #1 reason why I ended up uninstalling v4, since under these conditions it was basically unusable on my Index due to the double vision effect--and while I think the $20 charge for this is completely fair, I wouldn't want to purchase unless this issue has been solved.  Since cumulous clouds are the focus of this release, I'm thinking probably not, but please let me know if it is.

I spent a lot of time trying to reproduce this issue you reported awhile ago. The new volumetric clouds are not based on billboards at all so I don't think they could have convergence issues like what you're describing, but it is entirely possible there is some strange issue on the Index that I'm just not seeing on my Vive Pro. It may be prudent for you to wait to hear reports from other Index users to be sure.

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7 hours ago, rawdmon said:

Cool, I'll have to try them out once it's available and see how it goes. I'd like to point out that a well known open source truly volumetric cloud plugin (you likely know which one I'm talking about) casts shadows on the ground somehow via shaders and doesn't have that buffering problem with them. You guys might consider investigating how they go about doing that and possibly coming up with a better way to generate the shadows which doesn't cause them to wander like that. I find that properly working ground shadows are pretty essential to proper immersion in VR with clouds. Otherwise you're flying through all of these ghost clouds which don't cast shadows and it feels odd. I look forward to trying out v5 when it drops. Thanks for your reply. 

To be clear, the "shadow wander" problem in VR is a LOT better than it was in v4, at least in my tests. I'm just being transparent that it's not perfect. It's possible it's as good as the other product; I don't know as I haven't used it.

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Ok, thanks for being up-front with this.  I'll wait for reports--though something like a time-limited demo of the software would be preferable since user opinions on this sort of thing are sure to be subjective. 

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On 1/14/2021 at 9:10 AM, AtariX said:

Yellowish clouds again? When will they be white, as in nature?

I've been a long time user of SMP and RWC and have found MAXX FX a great little utility to tweak the visuals to nicely bring out a little more contrast in the clouds as well as making XP look soo much better over all.  The only yellow clouds I see is at sunrise and sunset and (since I don't often see that where I live) I've been able to tone down some of the reds and yellows to make things look more like my little corner of the world (not to mention I can adjust it seasonally).  Since Gizmo is already installed for SMP, MAXX FX has really no fps hit that I've noticed.

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16 hours ago, sundog said:

To be clear, the "shadow wander" problem in VR is a LOT better than it was in v4, at least in my tests. I'm just being transparent that it's not perfect. It's possible it's as good as the other product; I don't know as I haven't used it.

Awesome, I can't wait to give it a try and see how things look.

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On 1/14/2021 at 12:54 PM, sundog said:

As Cameron said we're not taking anything away. As always, SkyMaxx Pro will represent cirrus, cumulonimbus, towering cumulus, stratiform, and cumulus clouds. Users of FSGRW may also see the occasional cirrocumulus as well.

The new "volumetric" clouds are only an option for cumulus and overcast cloud types, but we have tuned them to look consistent with the other particle-based clouds when they appear together.

Wow, thank you, I am poised credit card in hand for release day, bring it on!

Fabio

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BEWARE!!! The Ides of March + 1 week! B) (March 22nd would be the final day to take advantage of the 50% price reduction for SkyMaxx v5 for all current owners of SkyMaxx v4)<----SUPER!

WoW...sounds and looks fantastic Cameron! Nice to come back to X-Plane/X-Aviation after a half year mostly off (under doctors care unfortunately) and running into a new iteration of Skymaxx.

Looking forward to this.  Looks like excellent work :)

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6 hours ago, TimeTraveler said:

BEWARE!!! The Ides of March + 1 week! B) (March 22nd would be the final day to take advantage of the 50% price reduction for SkyMaxx v5 for all current owners of SkyMaxx v4)<----SUPER!

WoW...sounds and looks fantastic Cameron! Nice to come back to X-Plane/X-Aviation after a half year mostly off (under doctors care unfortunately) and running into a new iteration of Skymaxx.

Looking forward to this.  Looks like excellent work :)

Happy to see you back! :)

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I don't know if this is the best place to post this but - since we're having a discussion about the much-anticipated new SMP - I thought I'd mention it here.

I am one of those low and slow people that miss the cloud reflections and the precipitation system of SMP.  When Cameron described his system for testing the new SMP, I decided to set my XP back to OpenGL from Vulkan and I saw my performance go UP!  I have absolutely no explanation for that one.  I did not change any of my other setting nor the area in which I was flying nor the plane I was using.  This has born out consistently for three days and that's with reflections in the water.  Go figure . . .  

X-Plane 11.51 r1, GeForce RTX 2080 8GB RAM, i7-9700 3.6 OC with SMP clouds out to 30,000 with crepuscular rays and shadows turned on.  Oh, BTW, screen res is 2560 x 1440.  (I will admit I'm not using too many plug-ins.  SMP, RWC, ASXP, and MaxxFX, a couple of small lua scripts, and XPRealistic.  The plane I was using at the time also had Simcoders REP package loaded.

This scene at Bella Coola (and it's snowing on top of everything else going on) is clocking at 38 fps. Under Vulkan, it would hover around 30.  Just thought I'd share this experience in case anyone else might want to try it and see what happens.

(Cameron, if this should be under a different / better category, please feel free to move it.)

Cheers and Blue Skies :)
 

BC.jpg

Edited by manidep271
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1 hour ago, manidep271 said:

This scene at Bella Coola (and it's snowing on top of everything else going on) is clocking at 38 fps. Under Vulkan, it would hover around 30.  Just thought I'd share this experience in case anyone else might want to try it and see what happens.

That's interesting. I don't have any experience with Vulkan vs OpenGL, really, but I can say on the Mac side Metal is an impressive uptick in performance for X-Plane as a whole over OpenGL. That said, since SMP only works in OGL on Mac, I stick to that.

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