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SkyMaxx Pro 2 will have cloud shadows!


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They said it couldn't be done! Today, beta testers received Skymaxx Pro 2.0b7, and with this release we've cracked the nut on rendering shadows from SkyMaxx's 3D clouds! Actually, I said it couldn't be done too. But, we came up with a new shadowing technique never before seen in X-Plane that allows us to draw shadows using the existing X-Plane SDK. Clouds will shadow anything below the clouds, including your own plane, and with little to no measurable framerate hit.

 

SMP2-Shadows.jpg

 

Cloud shadows in SMP2 will also move as the wind blows the clouds in the scene.

 

You might also notice the new high-resolution cloud option in SMP2 in this screenshot. SMP2 also includes a new lens flare feature, new towering cumulus clouds in stormy conditions, and many improvements to the lighting and visual quality of the clouds.

 

We will probably be casting a wider net for beta testers soon, so please monitor this forum if you're interested in early access. Stay tuned for more information as we grow closer to a release.

Edited by sundog
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They said it couldn't be done! Today, beta testers received Skymaxx Pro 2.0b7, and with this release we've cracked the nut on rendering shadows from SkyMaxx's 3D clouds! Actually, I said it couldn't b

Here's a much nicer screenshot one of our beta testers, Emma Bentley, took of SkyMaxx Pro 2.0 beta 8. We're still tweaking the appearance of the clouds for beta 9, but I think it's shaping up pretty n

SkyMaxx Pro 2's shadow settings are completely independent from X-Plane's built-in settings - it uses its own shadow system for clouds. There is a checkbox to enable them, and a slider to adjust their

Looks fantastic, will the new SMP2 clouds go further out to the horizon?

Would it be possible to use lower poly clouds to do that so as to minimise fps hit?

As I do mostly airliner flights this helps with immersion.

 

Glad to help out with testing if you need a few extra people.  ;)

 

Dave

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Looks fantastic, will the new SMP2 clouds go further out to the horizon?

 

In the current SMP, the clouds extend to a distance that is a function of the "draw distance" slider in the SMP configuration and the current visibility. Right now the cloud layer can be as large as 150km across if visibility permits, and you've cranked up the draw distance all the way.

 

I can bump that up further if needed, but first make sure you've increased the draw distance slider and your visibility is high in the weather settings to get the most clouds.

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Clouds will shadow anything below the clouds, including your own plane, and with little to no measurable framerate hit.

 

Just to clarify, you've managed to stop the clouds casting shadows on the plane if it's ABOVE the clouds as well? That's great if you have because in my latest 10.3b5 shadows are still being cast above the clouds.

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Just to clarify, you've managed to stop the clouds casting shadows on the plane if it's ABOVE the clouds as well? That's great if you have because in my latest 10.3b5 shadows are still being cast above the clouds.

 

Correct; shadows will not be cast on the plane if it is above the cloud layer.

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It's not tied to the 10.30 release, although it does take advantage of a few 10.30 features if they are present. We'll release SMP2 to X-Aviation as soon as we're confident the bugs have been identified and resolved.

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As a customer I am very impressed with the continuing development of the product.  Every release cycle I feel better about purchasing SkyMaxx Pro.  Regards the "eye candy" aspects of flying through beautiful cloudy skies, SkyMaxx is state of the art.  Very much looking forward to the towering cumulous !

 

If I understand correctly Ben/Laminar are currently working "bugs" that cause X-Plane to incorrectly render cloud bases (and tops ?) regarding altitude.  If KXXX airport is reporting a ceiling of 800 agl, X-Plane draws the ceiling at 500 agl and so on.  Do these issues affect SkyMaxx at all, or rather does SkyMaxx have any influence on these issues ?  Or are you, like the rest of us, hoping all these are sorted out in the 10.30 beta run ?

 

Regards IFR flying, two very common scenarios.

 

The first of course is "breaking out" or descending through a solid cloud layer to an MDA or DA while on an instrument approach (breaking out is always associated with a sudden reduction in "pucker factor").  There have been some discussions about the difficulty of simulating a solid layer of opaque clouds with a definite base (to break out of); any work on this in this latest iteration of SkyMaxx ?

 

The second scenario is simply climbing through thick layer(s) on your way up to the flight levels or descending through layer(s) on the way down to the destination airport.  These can be a real icing hazard and offer real challenges to pilots depending on how much anti-ice gear the plane has.  Still dealing with the ability to render a solid layer with some ceiling altitude and some top altitude.

 

How will SMP2 do in "hard IFR" flying ?

 

Thanks for a great product,

 

Terry

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As a customer I am very impressed with the continuing development of the product.  Every release cycle I feel better about purchasing SkyMaxx Pro.  Regards the "eye candy" aspects of flying through beautiful cloudy skies, SkyMaxx is state of the art.  Very much looking forward to the towering cumulous !

 

If I understand correctly Ben/Laminar are currently working "bugs" that cause X-Plane to incorrectly render cloud bases (and tops ?) regarding altitude.  If KXXX airport is reporting a ceiling of 800 agl, X-Plane draws the ceiling at 500 agl and so on.  Do these issues affect SkyMaxx at all, or rather does SkyMaxx have any influence on these issues ?  Or are you, like the rest of us, hoping all these are sorted out in the 10.30 beta run ?

 

Regards IFR flying, two very common scenarios.

 

The first of course is "breaking out" or descending through a solid cloud layer to an MDA or DA while on an instrument approach (breaking out is always associated with a sudden reduction in "pucker factor").  There have been some discussions about the difficulty of simulating a solid layer of opaque clouds with a definite base (to break out of); any work on this in this latest iteration of SkyMaxx ?

 

The second scenario is simply climbing through thick layer(s) on your way up to the flight levels or descending through layer(s) on the way down to the destination airport.  These can be a real icing hazard and offer real challenges to pilots depending on how much anti-ice gear the plane has.  Still dealing with the ability to render a solid layer with some ceiling altitude and some top altitude.

 

How will SMP2 do in "hard IFR" flying ?

 

Thanks for a great product,

 

Terry

 

Superb questions Terry.

This is all stuff I hope the Xplane guys can get right.

 

It sounds like for you, and me, the sims are a true training tool and attention to these sorts of real world details are absolutely critical to be of actual training use.

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