xEnviro 1.12 Released by Dark Space

By
Alex John
Monday, October 28, 2019

The latest update to Dark Space's popular weather plugin, xEnviro, has been released today. The main highlight of the update is a reduction in grain of the volumetric clouds, without compromising on performance.

1.12 is a continuation from 1.11 and contains a series of additions, changes, and removals in a variety of areas.

"After a discovery where we found a way to reduce grain without losing performance," wrote project manager Magnus Lorvik on the Threshold Forum. "Of course it was not as easy as we had hoped from the stat but we managed to get through.

"We added another season feature as well: Fall. So now you have snow and fall to play around with. If you don't like it turn the season slider down. Same with water - turn "control water waves" off and you should be able to use your favorite water fix or default."

Lorvik continued by addressing the cloud sector issue: "The squared sector issues should be solved. So there should be less "bad sectors" but we can not control bad meta data other than picking up on the sectors reported by users in our discord channel. We then change or update the source to fix it. So you may come across bad sectors but they should be much less frequent. Sector border lines are seen from the underside of the clouds and will be something we attack soon. We have a plan but need headroom in performance."

The changelog is as follows:

Added features:

  • Aircraft lights now illuminate clouds.
  • Full clouds coverage checkbox
  • Seasons (fall and snow now present but with issues.
  • Seasonal changes intensity slider

Changed:

  • Scattering equations for low sun angles
  • Better sector mixing to reduce squared appearance
  • Noise mixing law for base shapes
  • Noise mixing law for cirrus clouds
  • Noise mixing law for stratus clouds
  • Scenery light visibility law adjusted
  • Control water waves now controls water textures too
  • Wet aerodrome surface checkbox affects particles exhaust effect too
  • Snow application logic changed to remove yellow tint from the default X-Plane sun.
  • Rendering Settings renamed to Environment Settings
  • Environment settings presets changed to Simple and Realistic.

Removed:

  • Maximum intensity slider for clouds
  • Maximum snow coverage slider

Lorvik admitted there are known issues in 1.12. These include:

  • Artifacts when clouds clip terrain (this is a hard one)
  • Sector lines
  • Contrails and particle effects make clouds invisible
  • Performance is still bad on 4k
  • Low horizon detail (some jaggedness may occur)
  • Artifacts on horizon when on ground ([occasionally])
  • Grain is reduced by 40-60% but will have "hot spots"
  • Grain prominent when clouds are lit up by landing lights - and clouds look flat
  • Volumetric lights not adjusted for every air frame.
  • Terrain line at dusk/dawn (depth clip)
  • Snow may occur in impossible places (Seasons is not released snow and fall are "bonus" because we can.
  • Mountains vanishing at horizon (x-plane problem since x-plane only draws terrain 160 km)
  • Precipitation follows camera
  • Default X-Plane night triggers lights artifacts

He went on to state that these issues can be fixed once Dark Space can achieve better performance, which is the sole focus of the next update.

To stay updated with the development of xEnviro, you may read progress reports on the Threshold Forum, where in-development screenshots from the next version are also shared. Alternatively, you may join the xEnviro Facebook group or the Discord server.

1.12 is available to download on the main website.

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