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1.17 Development

Captain Kitten

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Hi, I really appreciate your work because it is thanks to you that xplane has a weather and visual engine that allows you to fly in a unique and realistic way, even with limits. Unless xp12 is a miracle, I would like to continue using your product, which has been with me since my final transition from p3d to xp, and therefore for a long time. That said, I have some small but important questions about the future version 1.17. In the meantime, I know, don't give a release ETA, okay, but just for information, do you plan to release it in the early part of 2022 or beyond? Then, in 1.17 will there be a simulation of thunderstorms? Last, very important thing, will there be any further improvements in performance? Thanks and good job.

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On 2/16/2022 at 2:00 AM, gianlucaballoni said:

Hi, I really appreciate your work because it is thanks to you that xplane has a weather and visual engine that allows you to fly in a unique and realistic way, even with limits. Unless xp12 is a miracle, I would like to continue using your product, which has been with me since my final transition from p3d to xp, and therefore for a long time. That said, I have some small but important questions about the future version 1.17. In the meantime, I know, don't give a release ETA, okay, but just for information, do you plan to release it in the early part of 2022 or beyond? Then, in 1.17 will there be a simulation of thunderstorms? Last, very important thing, will there be any further improvements in performance? Thanks and good job.

1.17 is the last line of performance upgrades we had planned. So yes.
We don't even give estimates on timeframe so I can't answer when we have planned the release even as vaguely as that. 
Thunderstorms will most probably be the next update. 

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So, where are we now?
Haze haze haze haze. It's been about haze all the way for the past weeks and it's a b***. It yet again reveals 20 year old bugs in X-plane which have been a chore to get around and in some circumstances we just have to accept that they are there. For example we were harshly reminded of the limited drawing distance of the mesh grid and the gaping holes it leaves when you let visibility go far enough. But... we're wrapping up haze this weekend regardless. 

Haze development results: xEnviro 1.17t97




Whats next?
Cloud math needs to be aligned with haze math before we introduce the remaining features back in to the build. 
To the ones following my Nürburgring analogy: We're in Brünnchen now. Road seems clear. Crossing fingers for smooth sailing to finish line.

Following screenshots are made on an old i5 / GTX960 machine (1080 x 2560) and has 20 fps... Lets have that as a loose bar on where we are on performance. We have probably reached the point where we know how performance will be. Performance gain varies from system to system but we see numbers ranging from 20-100% performance gain compared to high settings in xE quality settings. and from 10-40% from medium settings. Of course the extreme numbers won't stay and what you get depends on many factors but we're optimistic now. Knock on wood - crossing fingers - avoiding mirrors and removing cats from under ladders. Beta run will show much more on where we stand on performance - I will announce when we're in beta when we're in beta 😉

As mentioned, cloud math needs to be adjusted with haze math. Screenshots below are from the old computer so they are of lower resolution.
First images with haze and clouds:





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  • 3 weeks later...

I am obviously not going into detail about any of the following, but I think our current radio silence needs to be explained. Team members of Threshold and Dark Space both have family and friends in both Russia and Ukraine and some of us are either directly or indirectly affected by it all. Both because of the shock of how close the war is to us all and actions that have had to be taken in some of our lives, has delayed our ability to coordinate a statement.
xEnviro development is directly affected by it all and things are moving slow and halting completely at times. We had hoped to be close to the beta stage now but we're unable to commit fully these days so our internal ETA's are dissolved.
We're all mortified about what has taken place and is still going on. Our thoughts are with the ones suffering from the appalling actions taking place and we want to bring your attention to the donation programs that are set up by the community as described in this article: https://www.thresholdx.net/article/ukcris
Please support the ones in need!
xEnviro team

EDIT: (13.03.2022)
Things do not look good 🙁 All development is on hold for the foreseeable future.

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  • 4 months later...

Numerous reasons for not releasing a beta. Besides that it's not in a state you would enjoy. And once it is in a state you would find usable it would be shortly before release anyway. 

Situation has not changed a lot since last update. Here is my announcement in the xE discord from 15/6 2022:
It is sad to say that even after such a long time not much has changed. There has been some progress in the past month but it is hard for our main developer do get back in the code after constantly being dragged away from it by the external situation inflicted on him. Which is still going on.... One would think that human kind would have evolved away from this shit, but here we are. Still... And before anyone asks if we could replace / aid our developer with someone else: I have yet to meet anyone on this level of expertise in the fields needed for this work. And that someone would have to get introductions from the very person that is absent. Anyway, we hope that the situation will change sooner than later. But forgive me for not being very active on updating here. If the situation changes I will let you all know.

There has been some progress but it is very slow. Here are some images from that progress.

Performance with these screenshots is around 30 fps on a 1060(mobile) at 2560x1080.





2022-07-09 14_02_50-2022-06-28 22_16_55-unknown.png (2560×1080) - Vivaldi.jpg - IrfanView (Zoom_ 371.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Update on progress


Since the launch of 1.16 (The Vulkan hotfix for 1.15) on January 1st 2021, a lot has happened. 
The development cycle of 1.17 has been a nightmare timewise, and we acknowledge that the timespan has been very long. I will not elaborate on the events since all the factors involved are private.
But significant external factors such as Covid and the war in Ukraine have been fundamental for the dev team members and had their toll on available development time. 

In January 2021, we started on the “Spherical Buffer path” since it is the last performance-increasing direction we had on our list.
We chose this last since we knew it would take a while to finish and so we could release 1.15 (later 1.16). 1.17 was anticipated to take 6-8 months.
In pure development time, this is approximately where we are today. 


X-Plane 12
X-Plane will be released as a public Beta. xEnviro will not be released in this Beta run. 
Laminar Research has closed off all access to the platform by not giving access to the 3D draw callback, depth buffer and so on. X-Plane 11 was already limiting us and thus demanded a lot on performance to work.
Especially when Vulkan was released, and our dynamic seasons got abruptly cut off. 

However. We are in a dialogue with Austin on the matter, and I am optimistic that we will find a solution to our limited access so that we can release 1.18 in XP12. Regardless of when this access is given, we must finish 1.17 in XP11. 

Where are we now?
We have tried not to get “greedy” with the possibilities the SphericalBuffer has given us. We could never foresee the impact the SphericalBuffer would have on performance. But some new features are built-in into this version:

  • Full volume rendering
  • Unlimited layers of clouds and layer mixing
  • Full 3d uninterrupted and non-divided smooth volume rendering
  • Different cloud types (Including towering CB’s)
  • Dynamic cloud density
  • VR groundwork for future VR compatibility

We are currently finalizing the rebuild of xE and getting the beta test team back up and running. I am still afraid of publishing a time frame. The situation for the development team is still uncertain.
But the progress we have had the last month has me optimistic, albeit no ETA will be given…


To return to a, for some, familiar analogy:
We’re at the final stretch before the chicanes that lead to the finish line.


1: Start / Finish line
2: We are here

Again, no ETA will be given. We don't give any regardless but times are, as I said, uncertain. 

Performance so far
Performance wise it is impossible to say what the result will be for you. But it does look promising at the moment. Here is one example:
On a Laptop 1060 GPU @ 2k resolution (2560x1080) we see a 40-100% FPS increase. This WILL vary from system to system since it depends on many factors but we are pretty sure you will see a good boost from previous versions. 


Beta testers needed

We are soon entering beta. And we are looking for beta testers. As mentioned xE1.17 will be for X-Plane11 but as soon as we get the access we need from Laminar we will embark on XP12 immediately. 
You can PM @Captain Kitten if you are interested.

The following images show dynamic density in clouds. From Low to high density.





Some more teasers from various stages in development. 






All images are from 1.17 developoment. Current version is 1.17t148

I'll update on next stage - when we have started beta runs. 

scale (1).jpg

Cloud density (4).jpg

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thanks for sharing xE definitely makes a difference on my XP-11 and I'll stay with it for a long time, it's still too early to migrate to XP-12 better wait for things to stabilize, be stable, when XE 1.17 is ready will it be available on the X.Plane.org store?

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And we're again struggling with our limited X-Plane access.... It's pretty frustrating at times but we're pushing through. We chose our bed and we're laying in it. 
But we will have to sacrifice visuald over performance... Still. Both will be seriously enhanced from 1.16 but we're hitting limitations left and right still that shapes our path to completion. 
We will have quality sliders still... So everyone will be able to tune xE to their system / visual preference. 

Alright, here are some screenshots from 1.17 b17-23

2022-09-26 19_23_28-AsPowerBar.jpg

2022-09-26 19_31_28-AsPowerBar.jpg

2022-09-26 19_32_21-AsPowerBar.jpg

2022-09-26 19_34_04-AsPowerBar.jpg

2022-09-26 19_36_50-AsPowerBar.jpg

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