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fulfern

FSUIPC 4 visibility setting

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Hi Pete,

I've recently bought and registered FSUPIC 4.16, to use the extra features

I know there are some issues with FSX visibility setting via FSUIPC, as you clearly state in the manual, but mine seems not to work at all.

I've tried both with downloaded FSX weather and with custom set weather, but nothing works, neither the graduated visibility, nor the fixed visibility limit, (used one at a time or together)

Of course, I have my "allow changes to FS own weather" box checked.

Do you have any idea?

Thanks in advance

W/XP SP2, FSX SP1, ATI XT800 XT

Fulvio

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I know there are some issues with FSX visibility setting via FSUIPC, as you clearly state in the manual, but mine seems not to work at all. I've tried both with downloaded FSX weather and with custom set weather, but nothing works, neither the graduated visibility, nor the fixed visibility limit, (used one at a time or together)

Of course, I have my "allow changes to FS own weather" box checked.

Many of the weather facilities in FSUIPC4 currently only work with external weather control programs. However, since FSX SP1 was released I've had some success with operating on FSX's own weather. You should note that all the weather changes are "phased" in, they aren't immediate. They may take up to 30 seconds to have a gradual effect, and in an area where there are many weather stations this may be defeated rather as the aircraft flies through their areas. FSUIPC4 tries to apply the effects to 9 of the nearest stations. It's a complex process which really didn't work at all before FSX SP1.

I'm still pressing Microsoft for the facilities I need to make these all work correctly and predictably though. Really I don't hold out much hope for weather improvements this year as MS have so much on their plate with performance and bug issues still, plus the DX10 / Vista stuff. However, they are pledged to continue developing SimConnect facilities, not waiting for FS11 -- a marked changed to previous version-to-version changes. If I thought I'd need to wait till FS11 I'd start hacking into the WEATHER.DLL again, but that is literally 1000's of hours of work.

That said, if you have no joy anywhere, even in relatively sparse areas of the world, I'd be interested in more details to see what is happening. I'd need your FSUIPC4.INI file, and a log of a session with Weather logging enabled (option in the Logging tab). You'd have to describe what you set and what you saw and I'd try to correlate that in the Log. ZIP files before sending to petedowson@btconnect.com.

Regards

Pete

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I'm doing some testing and will send you the logs, and my comments.

I've received your email with Logs. Thank you.

Unfortunately I am tied up over the weekend, but will examine them on Monday.

Briefly, in your email you observe that FSUIPC appears to "modify only the downloaded weather". Of course it is supposed to be able to affect all weather, from any source -- FSX downloaded or externally injected. I don't think I can influence "themes" except by turning them off -- which is possible, but might confuse or annoy folks. The one thing which may have changed with SP1 is the way User Defined weather is implemented -- this use to affect individual weather stations' "local" weather, which is what I am trying to manipulate. Maybe now it is only setting the "global" weather and I am missing it. Not surprising as the global weather setting hasn't been used in FS since FS2000. Well, it has, but only as a default source of weather info for stations as yet unset. All global weather used to become localised, and it is the latter I attack.

Maybe I can find a way through this. Oddly, I don't think many folks directly set their own weather in the menus -- the downloaded stuff is so good.

I'll be in touch next week.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

just to be clear, I'm definitely not a fan of weather themes or manually setting the weather in FS, I have done it just for test purposes.

I always use downloded weather, and agree with you that is quicker, and generally better.

What I'd really like to do is setting a general limit to the visibility in FSX, like I did in FS9, because I feel the standard visibility limit of FSX is way too high (from my experience, even on the clearest days, you cannot see more than 40-50 miles away).

Take you time to see the logs, no need to rush.

Again, thank you for your very professional support, many other authors should learn from you.

Ciao

Fulvio

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Take you time to see the logs, no need to rush.

I've had a good study of the Log you sent, and here's the main problem -- FSX is not actually doing what it is told, still, for some timeeven with SP1 applied:

187656 Weather Received (type 5 request, Nearest): "LIMU&A220 081422Z 00000KT&D0NG 100KM&B-1720&D6072 CLR 15/05 Q1013 "

187656 Setting Weather: "LIMU 081424Z 00000KT&D0000NG 16KM&B-1720&D6072 CLR 15/05&A0 Q1013 "

...

192609 Weather Received (type 5 request, Nearest): "LIMU&A220 081424Z 00000KT&D0NG 100KM&B-1720&D6072 CLR 15/05 Q1013 "

...

209640 Weather Received (type 5 request, Nearest): "LIMU&A220 081424Z 00000KT&D0NG 16KM&B-1720&D6072 CLR 15/05 Q1013 "

Now FSUIPC is reading weather for up to 9 stations near and around the aircraft. It is then immediately modifying this according to your settings and sending it back. Above is just one example, for LIMU. You can see that even after 5 seconds the 100KM visibility wasn't reduced to 16KM (10miles). However, it did get set correctly within a further 17 seconds. I think this is the "phase in" time I mentioned -- though instead of phasing in gently it seems to simply delay then apply. Checking my code I was setting a delay of about 5 seconds for "phasing in" -- I'll try setting 0 and see if it helps at all.

I noticed also that FSUIPC is omitting to do this operation with the GLOB ("global") weather, which is what gets set initially (before it localises) if you set "user defined" weather. So, I've made changes so that it filters the GLOB weather too. Even then I don't think it'll work correctly yet, but it might be betterit seems a little better here.

Really I don't think this sort of problem is going to be fully solvable until Microsoft sort these weather setting facilities out. However, I'll send you a revised version to try later today. Let me know.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

I've tried your new FSUIPC beta (4.163) and these are my findings:

Now I can set a general visibility limit but, oddly enough, I see periodical white "flashes" in the sky (I see them at the top of the video, more evident when I fly without panel).

Then I've tried the graduated visibility.

On climbing from the top of the surface layer, I thought the visibility would gradually diminish, to reach 100 miles at 25000 ft.

Instead, while you climb (no horizontal motion, vertical slew mode) you go through many "visibility borders".

The effect is like climbing out of a low visibility layer, when you see the white layer below you, then, suddenly, you are again in another low visibility layer, then you climb out, and so on.

Thanks for any suggestion

Kind regards

Fulvio

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Now I can set a general visibility limit but, oddly enough, I see periodical white "flashes" in the sky (I see them at the top of the video, more evident when I fly without panel).

Strange. I've seen such once. Not often, but I think there's a bug in the weather rendition code in FSX.

Then I've tried the graduated visibility.

Instead, while you climb (no horizontal motion, vertical slew mode) you go through many "visibility borders".

The effect is like climbing out of a low visibility layer, when you see the white layer below you, then, suddenly, you are again in another low visibility layer, then you climb out, and so on.

Yes, it is utterly horrible, isn't it? I reported this soon after FSX came out last year. It makes any attempt at setting upper visibility pointless. You can get the same results manually, setting visibility layers. It makes that facility in FSUIPC useless at present.

As soon as I can make things work the way they should, by actually directly changing the visibility as I could in FS2004 and before, I'll be onto it, don't worry. But it obviously won't be this year as Microsoft are fully committed.

Regards

Pete

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I've tried both with downloaded FSX weather and with custom set weather, but nothing works, neither the graduated visibility, nor the fixed visibility limit, (used one at a time or together)

Of course, I have my "allow changes to FS own weather" box checked.

Hi Fulvio,

Since we last spoke I've been doing some experiments to see how to improve the way I can influence the visibility in FSX without the excellent control I had in previous versions, and I've managed to improve it quite a bit -- to the extent that I think the graduated visibility function, as well as the limits, are generally usable. There still might be the odd glitch -- I try to ensure I get and change the 3 WX stations which impinge on the ambient weather at the aircraft, and do so by changing the 9 nearest WX stations in a sort of 3 x 3 grid fashion. I do know, though, that some of the triangulation used in FS to work the 3 affecting WX stations is rather odd, so in some areas I suspect it won't work so well.

Please try it though and see what you think -- FSUIPC 4.167, available now in the FSX Downloads above.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

I'm back after a couple of tests.

-----------------------------

GRADUATED VISIBILITY TEST

Aircraft in slew mode.

No horizontal motion

no weather in FSX

With the aircraft standing still in the air, the test was repeated at 3000, 10000, 25000 and 40000 ft, (see the screenshots I sent to your account)

I started with no weather, and no FSUIPC visibility setting, then I checked "graduated visibility (0,25000,1000)", cleared all weather and clicked OK.

I took two screenshots, before and after the visibility change.

I expected to have no impact at 25000 and 40000 ft, but instead I got a heavy visibility decrease

Oddly enough, the graduated visibility set at altitudes >25000 ft should be 100 miles, but it seems less than the fixed visibility (60 miles) set in the next test

------------------------------

FIXED VISIBILITY TEST

Aircraft in slew mode.

No horizontal motion

no weather in FSX

With the aircraft standing still in the air, the test was repeated at 3000, 10000,25000 and 40000 ft, (see the screenshots I sent to your account)

I started with no weather, and no FSUIPC visibility setting, then I checked "fixed visibility(6000,2000,2000,1000)", cleared all weather and clicked OK.

I took two screenshots, before and after the visibility change.

In this case there was a visibility reduction, the same for each of the four altitudes. (OK)

------------------------------

From the performance poit of view, the graduated option seems to be quite heavy, at least on my system, but I think it depends on FSUIPC constantly changing the weather, as you explained.

If you need some more info, please let me know.

Thanks

Regards

Fulvio

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With the aircraft standing still in the air, the test was repeated at 3000, 10000, 25000 and 40000 ft

How do you stand the aircraft "still" in the air, without pausing? If you pause I think the weather engine pauses, at least to some extent, too.

(see the screenshots I sent to your account)

Not arrived yet. I'll look tomorrow.

I started with no weather, and no FSUIPC visibility setting, then I checked "graduated visibility (0,25000,1000)"

You set the maximum upper visibility to 10 miles!!??? This is topsy-turvy. The visibilty will have to decrease! I don't think I programmed for thatbut maybe it will work. I've never tried anything so strange!

I expected to have no impact at 25000 and 40000 ft, but instead I got a heavy visibility decrease

Ah, good. So it worked -- heavy decrease to the 10 sm you set!?

Oddly enough, the graduated visibility set at altitudes >25000 ft should be 100 miles, but it seems less

That's because you set 10 miles, not 100. 100 miles in 1/100ths of a mile would be 10000, not 1000.

From the performance poit of view, the graduated option seems to be quite heavy, at least on my system, but I think it depends on FSUIPC constantly changing the weather, as you explained.

Yes. Any filter action, when enabled with "change FS's own weather" checked makes FSUIPC not only read the 10 stations nearest (including Global weather), but for each it has to write back the changes. It isn't very nice. It will be faster when you have FSX SP2 because the traffic is going by a faster route. You can also influence it by changing this paramter in the INI file:

WeatherReadFactor=n

If n=0 the weather read/write cycle is totally disabled. This is only for testing -- without that cycle application programs won't get any weather data either.

The larger "n" is (up to 30 I think) the less often will the weather be read and updated. I think it is roughly 1 = 1 second in the current version you have, but I'm changing that. Basically, with 10 stations to scan and update a 1 second rate will take 10 seconds per iteration, so that pretty well limits the "smoothness" of any visibility changes.

All this gets much more important in my next interim release, where I have a crude form of wind smoothing working, using the same technique. Unfortunately, this generates an even bigger performance impact and, to avoid terrible windshear altogether, the cycle time has to be kept low, making it worse. I'm going to release it as an "experiment", for evaluation so that folks can see if it is worth pursuing further.

Both of these techniques could be made to work much more efficiently and reliably if FSUIPC could get hold of the ICAO IDs of the 3 WX stations contributing to the ambient weather at the aircraft, as then it could operate just on those three and be sure of good results. I'm pressing Microsoft on this, and may start trying to find them for myself.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

with reference to your notes:

>>> How do you stand the aircraft "still" in the air, without pausing? If you pause I think the weather engine pauses, at least to some extent, too.

As I wrote in the heading of each test, I was in slew mode, I was NOT pausing. In my FSX setting, the joysticks are disabled when in slew mode, so the aircraft doesn't move, unless I use F4, F1 (vertical motion) , or arrows (horizontal motion)

------------------------

>>> Not arrived yet. I'll look tomorrow.

I've sent the zip files again, just in case

------------------------

>>>You set the maximum upper visibility to 10 miles!!??? This is topsy-turvy. The visibilty will have to decrease! I don't think I programmed for thatbut maybe it will work. I've never tried anything so strange!

Sorry, there was a typo in my post. Really the setting in FSUIPC for graduated was 10000 (100 miles) and the test was actually done with the right setting

-------------------------

>>> Ah, good. So it worked -- heavy decrease to the 10 sm you set!?

The actual setting was 100 miles (see above)

-------------------------

>>>That's because you set 10 miles, not 100. 100 miles in 1/100ths of a mile would be 10000, not 1000.

The actual setting was 100 miles so the visibility should have been set to 100 miles. Please, have a look at the screen shots

-------------------------

Regards

Fulvio

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I've sent the zip files again, just in case

Not arrived yet.

Sorry, there was a typo in my post. Really the setting in FSUIPC for graduated was 10000 (100 miles) and the test was actually done with the right setting

Well, that's indeed a puzzle then, as I cannot reproduce anything like that here.

Please, don't both to send me pictures. Send INI settings plus a save FLT + WX + FSSAVE set. I need to be able to reproduce things, not view pix. Thanks.

Also, if you enable Weather logging, I can see what it is trying to do in the FSUIPC4.LOG, so include that as well please.

So far, in several days of testing I cannot make the graduated visibility go wrong at all, so I need to know how to make your odd problems occur! I hope you are not mixing up low visibility due to clouds with the real visibility settings.

Regards

Pete

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Pete,

I've redone the whole test several times, and now the graduated option seems to be working as expected.

Maybe I was messing up something with the settings and I didn't realize it.

So far so good...

Thanks again

Fulvio

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So far so good...

Okay, good! Maybe you'd also like to check the wind smoothing I'm doing, using the same technique? It isn't anywhere near as good or efficient as in previous versions, but I'm hoping it will be useful until I can get better facilities sorted out in FSX. I don't think it will make the performance any worse than the graduated visibility does -- and I've put the adjustment factor in the Wind options page so you can experiment.

I'll probably put up an Announcement about it, maybe tomorrow or Monday.

Regards

Pete

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The latest interim version, 4.169, now available, is more efficient in performing the visibilty graduation and other filters, only writing back the weather when it has changed sufficiently. If you are still testing 4.168 or before please change to 4.169.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

I'm currently running FSUIPC 4.20.

I was hoping that SP2 would carry some good news (for you and us) about weather interpolation among stations and wind smoothing, but it doesn't seem so.

What is the current state of the art?

Thanks in advance

Regards

Fulvio

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I was hoping that SP2 would carry some good news (for you and us) about weather interpolation among stations and wind smoothing, but it doesn't seem so.

There's no differences at all in the FSX weather between SP1 and SP2, nor the original release and SP1.

[LATER]

Sorry, I wrote that when I was too short of time to expand upon it. Let me do so now.

Basically, the bugs in the weather system that were in FS2002 and FS2004 are still in FSX. One of the possible problems in getting them fixed over all this time is that not enough people have actually complained directly to MS about them, and part of the reason for that might have been my fault for finding work-arounds via FSUIPC.

That said, there are some work-arounds appearing bit by bit. The changes in FSUIPC4 have lessened the problems of sudden wind reversal, but not overcome them completely. It can do better, but currently only at the cost of introducing what are, to me, unacceptable stutters. I am hoping to get over this in due course, but the investigations are extensive, time-consuming, and utterly utterly boring (so any easier facilities to add take precedence).

The same really applies to visibility smoothing and graduation. The best results are achievable at far too high a cost. Maybe that can be solved, but I currently do not know.

The best results to date are available with the latest update to ASX. Because ASX takes over complete control of the weather (being a source) -- something FSUIPC4 cannot -- it can and does manipulate what weather is being fed to FSX to try to prevent or greatly alleviate the sorts of problems which arise from the otherwise realistic METAR downloads normally used. So, unless you are really strapped for cash, ASX is my recommended solution.

If and when I make any progress in FSUIPC4 weather smoothing it will of course be announced in the normal way here (in the FSX Downloads Announcement) and in the History documentation supplied, but there is no development foreseen in this area in the short term. I am investigating as and when I can.

Regards

Pete

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I was hoping that SP2 would carry some good news (for you and us) about weather interpolation among stations and wind smoothing, but it doesn't seem so.

There's no differences at all in the FSX weather between SP1 and SP2, nor the original release and SP1.

After many hours slaving over disassemblies of FSX modules, and trying to trace through what is happening, I think I've managed to make some improvements with wind smoothing. I've not got anywhere with visibility, but please try FSUIPC 4.215 (or later) available in the FSX Downloads announcement and see if the winds are more amenable.

Please note that the "fix" is rather messy, involving some interference between modules in FSX, and it will only work as intended if you have FSX SP2 or Acceleration installed.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete,

as always, thank you very much for your efforts.

I've just installed v. 4.217 and it seems to work well.

Just a dumb question, just to be sure:

The "Allow changes to FSX on weather" must be checked for both visibility graduating and wind smoothing, right?

Thanks

Regards

Fulvio

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The "Allow changes to FSX on weather" must be checked for both visibility graduating and wind smoothing, right?

Yes. Otherwise FSUIPC is not writing anything of its own accord, so cannot smooth anything.

Pete

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