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Captain Kitten

1.14 development

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As sailors of the sky we skip 1.13 and go straight for 1.14. With the luck we have had so far on getting what we want it should be a natural move to skip any instances that traditionally symbolize bad luck. So - after a vacation that lasts until the middle of this month - we will start on 1.14. MAYBE we will get a hotfix ready before that - for stutter and excessive haze. But that depends on the fix and if it is worth it to run after something that will be mended in 1.14.

[EDIT: we released 1.13 as a haze hotfix]

As mentioned in various social media and discords: this update will be all about performance
We have no less than five performance enhancing ideas. So screenshots will probably be far between since this is not a visual update.

We have no idea how much performance gain each path will result in so there is no way we can plan on anything or reveal what to expect. This is not like building a car where you can just add a component and know what approximate power you will gain. These paths need to be tried and tested. But since we have five of them we are cautiously optimistic that we will manage to get a good result. Worst case scenario we get enough to gain some so we can add in a couple of more optional features and smoothen out performance for everyone. Best scenario we gain enough so we can implement VR and Multi monitor support in addition to features we have planned.

So this update will NOT include:

  • VR
  • multi monitor
  • Night environment
  • or any other elements on the roadmap
  • free beer (sorry)

Lemme xplainatoriitze a bit more:
xEnviro is for the most part made on a 4 year old laptop. My previous computer (just changed last week) is 5 years old. And xE performs well. xEnviro is almost purely gpu demanding. So rest of system should have little to say unless you're bottlenecking there - hardware wise or task wise. As I mentioned there are many factors that play in for fps. And then the expectations of given fps is the major rest factor. xEnviro runs well on systems with 1050 gfx cards. And it runs poorly in some environments with 2080ti's

Your performance has to do with:
1: Your HW setup AND config
2: Your XPlane setup
3: Your addons and their setup.
4: Your Windows environment and background programs/services.
5: Your expectations of how it should perform. (this is huge for some users - stop looking at fps unless you need to!!)

So here are some additional facts:
Background tasks, Windows programs running, x-plane settings and clean ness of prf file / shader folder. All play a big role. So it may depend on your version of fluidity equals above 60 fps or if you are a bit more down to earth and see that a sim like this doesn't need more than 22-25 to look fluent. (preferrably 30+ though). If you can live with ~25-30fps you should be fine with a 1050 and above.

So, my system, where xEnviro is tested the most was (1.12 has been run on both systems new system is .... drumroll.... new):

4790k @ 4.6
32GB ram @ 1800
1070 ASUS ROG
SSD's and so on

Now I am on
3900x @ 4.6Ghz
64GB RAM @ 3600
1070 ASUS ROG
M.2's and so on.

My performance in x-plane has gone down some because of the single core clock being a tad weaker than the all mighty 5 year old veteran 4790K. But xEnviro stays the same because of the 1070 being the same. Now, my fps numbers or anyone others for that matter just don't reveal what you can expect from your system. It's all about your environment setup as a whole. I would wait if you have a lower tier gfx card than a 1050. It might work perfectly well. But the lower the tier, the higher the risk of borking your gpu.

WE KNOW PERFORMANCE IS AN ISSUE. It has been stated enough times. Next update will be solely performance focused. So yeah you may complain about it and criticize our choice of path to get to where we want but repeating it constantly gets very exhausting. (looking at social media keyboard jockeys that I know have read my comments).

Let me put it this way:
If we were to get everything to where we want it to be before we release we would not be releasing for another 6 months at the earliest. So since people have bought the previous versions and every update is free of charge within the 1.xx run we offer it to you now. And for most people it works fine. So feel free to try this one - if that doesn't work after looking in to the above mentioned factors, we have no choice but to say go back to a previous version or wait for the next update.

Until we return: Happy flying - if you have issues contact support at xEnviro.net

Ceers
Magnus

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Sorry guys no beer for me but a Jack Daniels will be fine, I've been very patient so far with my 4K that cannot run Xenviro 1.12 except in CAVOK conditions, so it feels dry here, I definitely deserve my Jack (a solid friend)

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39 minutes ago, Pit Petersen said:

I didn't know the XEnviro followers were such drinkers. 😋 But while we're at it. Then I would like Brinkoffs. The typical Ruhrpott beer.😎

Auch nicht schlecht, guter Vorschlag 🙂

 

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So... silence....

Yes, silence.. We're hard at working on performance. One thing that will be fixed in the first performance path we are neck deep in; is sector borders. (not to be confused with bad sectors which is server side and missing or corrupt weather data - this is hard visible lines in clouds between sectors.) The fix of this issue is an effect of the performance path that we are heading down first. Larger sectors makes it easier to control these lines. Another plus is that our clouds now reach even further to the horizon and are now drawn 360km around any given viewpoint. We're still not leaving cloud layers and going for full volume in-atmosphere-cloud-rendering since that will eliminate any performance advance we would get at this stage and be a step back in that regard. Depending on the results at the end of this run we'll consider it though. The potential of unlimited cloud layers and cloud height is so tempting. But one step at the time.. X-Plane isn't doing us any favours at this point and Vulcan does not seem to be as huge of a benefit as many had hoped for. Yet we are optimistic with what we have planned.

So, what are the results so far? Well, the huge expansion of the cloud range come at no performance cost and a slight fps increase in general but a significant decrease in fps drop in and around clouds. Stutter should be eliminated. This, when finalized will be a great steppingstone for the remaining four performance paths. Which we calculate will have a better general performance boost. We have no idea at this point what to expect but we dive right in and see what we can find.

ETA? none. Hope is that we'll finish this before the decade is over.

IMAGES ARE FROM 1.14t03 and are NOT representative of the final release (at all). Test versions are stripped down versions of the final product and a LOT looks grainy, nondefined, buggy and bad when in fact it's just missing parts that will be added in later. Please keep this in mind when commenting. Don't let me regret posting test version screenshots 😉 And yes, I know I'm giving fuel to the haters who will pick up on the way things look and ignore what it is we're actually working on. But I stopped caring a long time ago and want to show those of you who are genuinely interested what we are doing.

I hope to have more to show and more substantial results to share the coming weeks. Until then: back to work 598480330_2019-10-2718_46_53-(2)SneakPeek!andUpdateonScrappy!-YouTube.jpg.bdcc754cbd774b162541caa7ab96f45a.jpg

1251288778_2019-12-0719_05_44-AsPowerBar.jpg.c3511a6c0524b44b90022b449512b88a.jpg611322693_2019-12-0719_04_41-AsPowerBar.jpg.1bca2f9d195da9b7bdc41f7625cc4062.jpg756463995_2019-12-0719_03_35-AsPowerBar.jpg.e67b19fcee8ad7e0456143f7c96d472d.jpg537608173_2019-12-0719_03_20-AsPowerBar.jpg.a2fd368155920e64fe585d1a3995ab99.jpg

 

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Thanks for caring sharing... these types of updates are actually high moments of excitement for us.. keep it up, we look for it.

Edited by Bakr
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Thank you for sharing with us screenshots at this test stage and please continue doing so. Pictures look very promising. Forget about the haters; what we need is passion and optimism for the right progress. Have enjoyed xE since 1.06, Greetings! 

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Images look great, can't wait until you guys achieve the full volume in-atmosphere-cloud-rendering as that would be a giant step for X-Plane as a whole. Keep up the great work and yes, please do share more screenshots!! We love em'!!!

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On 12/7/2019 at 7:12 PM, Captain Kitten said:

The potential of unlimited cloud layers and cloud height is so tempting.

 

When you reach that point you might as well sell the whole thing to Austin 😄
So this would become the standard, it´s acutally crazy, that this had to be done by a 3rd party dev...

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1 hour ago, silv3rsurf3r said:

When you reach that point you might as well sell the whole thing to Austin 😄
So this would become the standard, it´s acutally crazy, that this had to be done by a 3rd party dev...

Well... if we had full access to the sim we would be able to deliver that today. Easy.

With full access we would:

  • Cut bug spawns by a factor of ten (would be such a relief)
  • Gain 20% fps instantly from base CAVOK conditions
  • Gain 20% in cloud conditions instantly
  • Improve both of the above much more easily over time
  • Get lower difference in FPS between cloud conditions
  • Completely hide grain and have high definition cloud rendering steps
  • Have VR support / multi screen support
  • Implement full volume rendering and aim for infinite cloud layers
  • Have complete terrain and object wind projections
  • Render all cloud types and full feaured thunderstorms
  • Implement my all time whish of aircraft on cloud draft effects
  • Add all major weather phenomena
  • Immideately add full featured percipitation shafts and cloud drooping
  • Show how cloud on cloud shadows are actually done
  • Sprincle the world with real time rendered rainbows
  • Finally get aircraft on cloud shadows and true illumination effects
  • Also immideately introduce cloud illumination from Cities
    • Which would lead to object on cloud illumination (bridges, skyscrapers, masts and so on)
  • Explore sand storm and pollution effects on large weather systems in deapth
  • Finish the project of true Night environment
  • ... Our whish list is very long and bold. Much much more is on that list than I am going to mention here now.

But....

There are reasons for them to not open up for this which I am not going to discuss in public. Some of the reasons for certain elements are very much valid. Other aspects are a bit... lets say; we would like them to reconsider. We have enough experience taming this beast in to the tight space X-Plane leaves room for to exploit everything we need to make msfs look like a cartoon. (That says a lot since msfs2020 looks freaking awesome!)

Selling xEnviro is not exactly something we want.. Neither Laminar nor we would probably be happy with any deal proposed by the other part.

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Based on above, this means Laminar should rather do a surgery operation to its SDK to give the 3-rd party developer the extra power to do its things.

Clearly you are limited by x-plane SDK by now...

I hope once they finish the Vulkan Transition to start immediately looking into these improvement areas listed above ... my eyes where captured in daze while enumerating them - giving us feel of expectation of next-gen x-plane.

MSFS2020 really is now causing pressure for x-plane to really work-outside the old box and streamline the api to enable the REAL IMMERSION stuff.

Talking about immersion , One of things that bug me - despite all the VR goodness -is the FMC - whereby the buttons are hard-rock - clicking on them is like clicking on sheet of glass - despite all other dials are getting operative - this is only an example of how old short-cut design paradigms still exhibit themselves .

We hope you make your points clear to Laminar, am sure they will be interested to listen to you - especially these days - and a serious strategy has got to be in place to stay relevant with the competition.

 

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We will never get full access. And we'd never expect to get full access. So the list above is definitely a dream for the distant future regardless of how LR meets our needs.  Vulkan won't help us one bit though and the access will be even further limited. Not exactly sure why they take that path and this is where we disagree. We will probably manage but the hopes of Vulkan giving xEnviro a push in the right direction were not met. So we'll see where we end up and take one step at the time.

We have just started our performance paths which will help regardless. How much we'll see in the coming weeks.
I'm not very optimistic that we'll get 1.14 out on this side of New Year, but we're hard at work and will try our best to get it done right.

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Have you ever thought of creating your own virtual world - that connects to x-plane, whereby the whole rendering path is purely in your control.

XE differs from SkymaxPro in that XE scopes the full environment, not only the skies, this means - in theory (at least to my humble understanding) that you can take lead to :

  • live stream 'say google earth' ortho
  • open-street-maps roads that blend well with landscape (similar concept to Outerra)
  • full blown unleashed XE wish-list
  • speed trees
  • adapter to x-plane to get airplane position data-ref (this may open door for other platform adapters) - in same manner the pannels are viewed via ipad or other screens.
  • utilize RTX / hardware ray tracing where applicable

this is only a wishful thinking, whereby one would start x-plane and have a second monitor depicting your virtual would-be environment -  

 

Edited by Bakr
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Thank you Bakr & ML alias CK very much for the very interesting conversation above and those insights described by CK. I truly believe in the power of xE but also I am sure that LR will never provide full access due to various reasons. Maybe LR has to learn it the hard way! They have their own agendas, priorities like going mobile, Vulkan etc.; I do not agree with their priorities, but it is also non of my business. I think that in the future they have to either spend more time, efforts and money on own resources or simply  cooperate  with selected, trusted partners and their genuine products like xE in our case, if they want to hold it up with Microsoft of course. Even Microsoft did not develop the new simulator with their "own own" team but got ASOBO, an external developer, EXPERTS in their field, on board to create a much better product. Austin Meyer said that with the arrival of AS-MSFS2020 the situation will be like back in 1993. Which means for me: Microsoft dominates the market and X-Plane is a niche product innovative in some areas. OK, even if I do not agree with him, I tell myself, no problem with that: for us the "flightsimmers", competition is the life of progress and will lead to better products, more customers, more interested people in "flightsimming" etc. and I will of course not forget that, once MS decided to abandon FSX - which was a shock for me, X-Plane simply continued and is today one main driving force for further development of "flightsimming". However I am so happy that we have xE, due to many reasons and the fact that the default weather engine of XP is horrible; "basically I could not imagine flying XP without XE" 😉 (feel free to use it as a slogan 😄). Can not deny that I am not looking forward to AS-MSFS2020, on the other hand I am very much looking forward to the further development of XP and of course xE. I strongly hope LR gets more involved with xE in the future: xE THE EXPERTS for environment simulation. @CK: keep up the super work, thank you for your restless efforts, your patience, your transparency and your time keeping us always informed. Much appreciated! Greetings!

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On 12/12/2019 at 1:56 PM, Bakr said:

Have you ever thought of creating your own virtual world - that connects to x-plane, whereby the whole rendering path is purely in your control.

XE differs from SkymaxPro in that XE scopes the full environment, not only the skies, this means - in theory (at least to my humble understanding) that you can take lead to :

  • live stream 'say google earth' ortho
  • open-street-maps roads that blend well with landscape (similar concept to Outerra)
  • full blown unleashed XE wish-list
  • speed trees
  • adapter to x-plane to get airplane position data-ref (this may open door for other platform adapters) - in same manner the pannels are viewed via ipad or other screens.
  • utilize RTX / hardware ray tracing where applicable

this is only a wishful thinking, whereby one would start x-plane and have a second monitor depicting your virtual would-be environment -  

 

This is actually a pretty sweet idea, No clue if something of the sort could be done by the guys but as a whole the theory behind it is impressive

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It just doesn't work this way. xEnviro is to a large extent already a standalone program. Which is crammed in to X-Plane.

But with what you want here we would just be making our own simulator. Trust me, we have contemplated actually doing that. That would make xEnviro a breeze to work with and we would be able to concentrate on our other projects and present them to the public.

  • live stream 'say google earth' ortho
    This is just plainly impossible - One is access to Google Earth where the licence is unobtainable and another is to replace the terrain in the sim which isn't something that we have access to. This is not what we want with xEnviro either. We're not replacing anything other than the atmosphrere. Everything else is just altered.
  • open-street-maps roads that blend well with landscape (similar concept to Outerra)
    Same as above and without the above: no use.
  • full blown unleashed XE wish-list
    Still need full access to the cores of X-Plane. Which we don't have.
  • speed trees
    Not sure why even with the above.
  • adapter to x-plane to get airplane position data-ref (this may open door for other platform adapters) - in same manner the pannels are viewed via ipad or other screens.
    Not our thing. At all.
  • utilize RTX / hardware ray tracing where applicable
    This will be a part of our future when possible. But we still need better access to the sim or we have to continue doing it the "dirty" way as we do with a lot of things already.
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Vulkan VS xEnviro

It has literally erupted lol...
So let me try to extinguish a Volcano....

There is hefty discussions going on. Based on this comment from Ben:

81046222_2421828958067402_2264439820832997376_n.jpeg.9cf0e423d4c73efc2b925f7070669bcb.jpeg

Thanx Ben...

First of  all: Yes, we have been prepared for Vulkan. Ever since we heard of Vulkan coming to X-Plane, we have prepared for it. Problem is that we are not prepared for how Laminar chooses to make Vulkan accessable to us. Simply said: what areas they choose to let us work with and what not is up to LR. As it looks now we will not get access to the parts we would like to. There are various reasons for this and we have tried to have a dialogue on it but quickly got the feeling that this is not something they want, or want to put man hours in to. Since we know that there is no such thing as "impossible" in this profession just a matter of how much you want it - and are able to allocate time to it; We gave up on trying to convince Laminar that they need to open up for us. We will probably manage with or without their help anyways.

Will 11.50 break xEnviro? No

OpenGL is still available and we will still be usable. OpenGL is staying in X-Plane-11's life line. And in that time we will probably have found a way to go around the closed doors LR are guarding. It won't be much different than the daily fights we have today and we're not giving up.

Laminar has done a LOT of right throughout X-Plane's life line. But there are moments where I shake my head and wonder if they either have something extraordinary up their sleeve or if they're just stubborn beyond belief. I seriously hope they have a Royal Street Flush hidden in Austins Cargo Pants because a quartet of Aces is about to land on the scene.

But!
And let me add a note here at the end:

Nicolaj (14) -"I'm not going to buy another addon for X-Plane! The best simulator is best and it's not X-Plane! All glory to Microsoft and I'm going to enjoy that now!"

Well, you're not though. It's not even released yet and people flock like Lemmen over the edge. I'm not saying that fs2020 won't deliver, it looks great and probably will. But they won't deliver for at least another 6 months at the very earliest.. Until then - I for one am not going to jump ship and let everyone who has invested in xE or other addons down.

So seeing people leave and waving a middle finger in our faces on the way out is kind of insulting to be honest. Feel free to leave - just do it with dignity and show some respect for the ones who would like to see X-Plane being competative when the fat lady starts singing.

If you would like to see that: Tell Laminar what you think is needed!
I think the thing to do here is for the community to put pressure on Laminar. Not abandon the sim.

And remember! We will most probably manage regardless. Like we have till now.

BTW - first performance path for 1.14 gave us 10 fps gain across the board...Knock on wood we are able to carry it over through the 1.14 beta - which we are starting this weekend.

Back to work!

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21 hours ago, Captain Kitten said:

BTW - first performance path for 1.14 gave us 10 fps gain across the board...Knock on wood we are able to carry it over through the 1.14 beta - which we are starting this weekend.

Here are my 10 cents::

  • +10 extra FPS for 1.14
  • +10 extra FPS for 1.15 (post Vulcanization)
  • +10 new features from the wish list gets materialized for 1.16 (to be added as re-utilization of new headroom)

I guess, a lot of trans-formative upgrades are going to happen within the next three months ... let alone the six months to match day zero of respectful FS2020 - or ever OUTSHINE in some respect... as i suppose they (MS) have frozen the environment features already.

 

Edited by Bakr
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Why xEnviro team don't do as Hifisimtech and insted of release 1.14 to public as "final version" release as "Beta 1.14" to avoid issues like on 1.12 that were fix on 1.13? Receiving some feedback from community and just after that release the "final version", i think that it would be better.... I do not mean a real public beta, just the "final version" called as Beta for a short while for general feedback. 😉

 

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