Getting the best weather depiction for your type of flying

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Active Sky 2012, as well as the prior versions, have many options which can be used to fine-tune the depiction environment based on your flight parameters and expected results.

With all of these options, it may be a bit confusing for those who are not familiar. We'll attempt to break this down a bit to help you in your journeys.

DWC, Winds Aloft and Cloud Depiction:

FSX and FS9 have many internal issues with interpolation and overall depiction of aloft winds. We've spent many years trying to overcome these issues and provide an accurate, smooth and consistent winds aloft simulation using real data. We were finally able to achieve this using our unique DWC (Direct Weather Control) depiction mode.

When using DWC, there are some tradeoffs. Cloud coverage depiction is limited to "global" depiction mode which means that in general, cloud conditions depicted are for the entire globe, and cannot be individually set for various stations. We've attempted to add some variability, which can be enabled using the "Local Station Writes with DWC" option, but this does not always provide the kind of area-based variation that some may desire.

If you prefer area-based variation, using "station-based" weather depiction, look into the other depiction modes: Standard and Smooth Cloud Transitions. These modes do not provide accurate winds aloft depiction and smoothing, but do a better job in the clouds department.

In general, we recommend DWC for airline-style flights and those who are using realistic planning procedures where winds aloft accuracy is paramount to an enjoyable experience. For lower-altitude flight where winds aloft are not as critical, we recommend Standard and Smooth Cloud Transitions mode.

Difference between Standard and Smooth Cloud Transitions depiction modes:

Standard mode uses traditional station-based weather depiction. Cloud conditions are depicted individually for each station/area. There may be a performance penalty during weather updates in Standard mode as FS needs to perform internal processes and redraw the graphical conditions for each station update. There may also be "flashes" of the upper sky area during write updates (FS graphical issue). During weather condition changes, the cloud depiction will change instantly during "weather writes". To minimize visual cloud shifts during these writes, we have provided a "Local Range Suppression" feature which will inhibit changes of station data within the specified Local Suppression Range (200nm recommended). The area ahead of your flight path will continue to "update" until you get within visual range, where it will then stay locked, to avoid shifts. This mode is recommended for those who wish to have 100% accurate cloud and surface weather depicted at all areas at all times.

Smooth Cloud Transitions mode is similar to Standard, but there are a few advantages. First, the flashes of the upper sky are eliminated. Second, changed weather conditions will not result in visual cloud formation shifts. They will instead change gradually over 30 seconds. Finally, the performance penalty of Standard mode is eliminated. One drawback with Smooth Cloud Transitions mode is that internal FS interpolation issues can sometimes result in unexpected cloud coverages in some areas. This mode is recommended for those who wish to have generally-accurate cloud coverage and completely smooth cloud transitions.

Using DWC and the "Prevent Cloud Redraws" option:

The "Prevent Cloud Redraws" option prevents changes to the global cloud environment after departure/refresh. This prevents any visual cloud formation shifts during all updates. With this enabled, the cloud-scape will not change unless you also have enabled "Local Station Writes with DWC". With both of these options enabled, the global environment will not change, but local areas (within approximately 15nm) will change accordingly, with smooth cloud transitions, to provide variability.

We do not recommend using Prevent Cloud Redraws if you desire accurate cloud depiction that matches weather data throughout your route of flight.
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