Service Pack 1 for AS16 and ASCA has been officially released after several months of testing, both internal and public via our OPEN BETA testing cycle. Thanks to everyone who participated and provided great feedback to help make SP1 as solid and fine-tuned as possible!
SP1 for AS16 incorporates significant enhancements, adjustments, fixes and tweaks to further increase realism, immersion and functionality. Highlights include new P3D visibility improvements, cloud motion effect improvements, improved restricted visibility depiction, new jet-stream and wind-layer shear turbulence influence effects, interpolation improvements, generation depiction improvements, additional API functionality, P3D v3.4.18 support and much more.
SP1 for ASCA brings brand new softer cloud textures, a new cirrus set, revamped original cloud and sky textures, new natural sky color sets, new integration and API capability, improved overall resolution, improved overcast depiction, new geographic wx-influence profiles, and several new UI features including new option, plus more!
Both SP1 upgrades are available absolutely free of charge to all AS16 and/or ASCA users. Visit our downloads page to download right now!
AS16 (Active Sky 2016) is HiFi’s latest full-featured reality-based weather and environment engine. ASCA (Active Sky Cloud Art) is a dynamic sky and environment graphics package with breakthrough features including real-time cloud texture dynamics and brand new cloud structures, completely transforming your skies. Both are designed to run fully integrated or stand-alone, and are fully compatible with all other add-ons including weather engines and graphics enhancements.
A free fully-functional 7-day trial of AS16 SP1 is available to everyone, even if you’ve tried AS16 before. All trials have been reset.
Visibility Improvements, Effects Improvements, New API Features and More!
Redesigned P3D visibility depiction was overall a great improvement to debut in AS16, but many users had different needs and expectations, and asked us for enhancements in several key areas including elimination of excessive haze at the horizon, elimination of occasional sudden visibility shifts around 10,000ft, and better restricted visibility depiction, both surface and aloft, without harsh lines in certain scenarios. We’ve reworked the visibility depiction again, and significantly improve these areas (and several others) with SP1. Cloud motion effect detection/synchronization and general speed sensation and particle effect placement was another area our users asked us to work on, and we have spent considerable time improving this for SP1.
Beyond the visibility and effects improvements, there are also new user options, improved turbulence effects, jet-stream and boundary-layer turbulence effects, general depiction and interpolation improvements, and hundreds of minor fixes and adjustments in effort to make AS16 even better.
Finally, many new API functions and capabilities have been added, enabling all kinds of developers to tightly integrate with Active Sky technology in all aspects including getting and setting weather, controlling weather modes and more.
New Cloud Textures, Cirrus Clouds, and Sky Colors
You asked, we listened! Newly improved overcast models, 6 new soft-style cloud texture sets, 7 new hyper-natural sky color sets with improved high-altitude saturation, vibrance and brightness graduation, a new cirrus cloud set, reworked and improved original cloud sets and sky color textures, remapping of all associations and definitions, new UI-based weather influenced configuration, and a new Art Tools API are just a few things that have been added in ASCA SP1. Improved overall resolution, better dynamics, new geographic selection influence, and more user options are also included.
You can now create your own custom content and make it ASCA and AS16 compatible with full dynamics capability, with just a few clicks of the mouse – enjoying full weather and geographic profile selection influence. Currently, Sky Color textures are supported, and more categories are planned to be added soon.
We hope you’ll agree that ASCA SP1 is a major step forward in the ongoing effort to provide the most realistic and dynamic weather visual experience possible.
Adjustable Full Dynamics Overcast resolution setting
You can now customize overcast to the resolution of your choosing.
Art Tools API
One of our newest additions to features is our Art Tools API which allows users to create and share their own ASCA/AS16 content – Currently enabled for Sky Textures only
WX Influence Configuration!
Get only the looks you want! The new Wx Influence Configuration utility (available via the Settings Screen) allows user to adjust Wx selection profiles and geographic profiles for all content
While ASCA and AS16 work great together, they are also fully compatible (either alone or together) with any other graphics add-on and weather add-on. You have full flexibility to mix and match any aspect and selectable feature set within these add-ons.
Learn more about our products by visiting our product pages below!
Click Here for the Active Sky 2016 Product Page
Click Here for the ASCA Product Page
All screenshots on this page are unedited, brought straight from the simulator, with only a frame border applied for presentation. What you see is what you get!
Here is a comprehensive list of changes and additions in Service Pack 1!
AS16 for FSX / P3D Service Pack 1
– P3D Compatibility Updates for v3.4.14 and v3.4.18
– Added new warnings option for “prompt on exit”
– Added increased occasional light chop turbulence in clear air
– Added boundary/jet-aware aloft clear air turbulence influence
– Added new cloud sprite->radar echo randomization processes to cumulus clouds for better radar visuals and less patterns
– Improved cloud motion effect for increased apparent speed, better positioning and better detection
– Added new night-based lighted cloud motion effect when landing light is on
– Added new geographic influence capability with ASCA integration for latitude-based sky color influence
– Added additional Navigraph options for NDB
– Updated Audio Engine for better performance and compatibility
– Added new option “Use Navigraph data for VORs and NDBs” allowing user to disable navigraph data for VOR/NDB stations, utilizing legacy database and allowing user customization (i.e. for adding historical/fictional navaids) – default ON
– Added new option “Show connection lost messages” which will prevent pop-up messages (that may cause loss of simulator focus at critical times) and instead show these error connection messages in-sim when connected to sim and AS16 is not in focus – default ON
– Implemented better handling of stalled/error of ASCA installation during theme reload, so that AS16 weather will not stall (and an error message will be shown indicating ASCA error, while weather depiction continues)
– Updated documentation, Performance Considerations chapter, to mention CLOUD_SHADOW_TEXTURE_SIZE setting recommendation of 256 (vs 512) to improve performance
– Added new Warnings option for cloud density slider setting warning
– Attempted wake encounter filtering when flying helicopters, using ATC aircraft ID against known helicopter ICAO types (requires aircraft to use proper ICAO types, and not all add-on helicopters do)
Visibility Improvements for P3D:
– Further redesign and improvement in visibility depiction and configuration
– Adjusted volumetric fog / surface visibility layer to be dynamic based on conditions – for better overall visuals in most cases
– Eliminated visibility-related flashing at certain altitudes
– Adjusted visibility layer selection processes to reduce vis changes when flying in variable mountainous terrain
– Adjusted visibility graduation to be exponential for more realistic depiction
– Various adjustments to improve/increase apparent visibility in appropriate conditions
– Various adjustments to decrease apparent haze near horizon in higher-visibility conditions
– Adjusted Automatic Upper Visibility Adjustment logic to bias towards higher visibility
– Added volumetric fog + overcast awareness and special depiction mode for more realistic experience
– Further volumetric fog smoothing adjustments
– Eliminated auto adjust upper visibility options when Volumetric Fog is enabled (now automatically adjusted for best results)
– Added volumetric fog smoothing delay when overflying temporary/occasional areas of reduced visibility, to prevent significant back and forth changes in such conditions
– Added detection, re-syntehsis and automatic refresh on user-initiated change of P3D volumetric fog option (no longer requires AS16 restart)
– Adjusted visibility depiction to remove 2nd visibility layer when Maximum Upper Visibility setting is 200 miles, which can improve performance
– Visibility depiction improvements to prevent depiction anomalies in low visibility especially in mountainous terrain
– Changed default Maximum Upper Visibility setting to 199sm (the maximum vis with 2 visibility layers)
– Further adjustments to apparent visibility graduation ceiling, providing quicker clearing of skies when climbing above surface level when volumetric fog is enabled
– Fixed lingering crash on sim exit issue
– Corrected ENFB data station location
– Fixed an issue with dynamic CDD reverting to 60 with a low cloud strain score
– Fixed an issue preventing SimConnect from reconnecting in a networked configuration when sim restarted
– Fixed a corrupt interpolation data message possible in conditions screen in some cases
– Fixed an issue with “Disable Winds Aloft” option not being respected
– Fixed issue related to flight plans with airports as intermediate waypoints
– Fixed rare ASConnect load issue + ambients error related to some Vista installations
– Adjusted installer update processes to not launch “delete saved data” routine in update packages, but only in original installation item, to attempt avoiding looping uninstall process
– Adjusted icing depiction to allow icing in precipitation when precipitating clouds themselves have no icing (i.e. freezing rain, inversion layers)
– Updated XGauge docs section (titles and organization)
– Small adjustments to reduce high altitude CU frequency (unless convective activity is present)
– Fixed gusting winds issue where gusts would not be depicted above a 1kt gust factor in some cases
– Added a filter for light chop above 40kft, to prevent excessive turbulence
– Added a filter for cirrus clouds to prevent unexpected “thin line” depiction when flying above in some cases
– Fixed issue with VOR showing as User waypoint when attempting to add a waypoint in Flight Plan screen
– Added new configurable location-based effects using userEffects.xml definitions for thermals, drafts, windshear and thermals
– Extended GetAtmosphere C++ API function
– Added GetAtmosphere HTTP function
– Added GetMetarInfoAt HTTP function
– Added Wx Mode get/set HTTP functions
– Added ability to set custom wx by passing xml definition directly through URL
– Added custom effects setting HTTP function
– Added GetCurrentConditions HTTP function
– Added GetClosestStationWeather HTTP function
– Added LoadFlightPlan HTTP function
– Added export of clientIPaddress and httpPort through dll API vars + updated API docs
– Updated API Documentation
ASCA Service Pack 1
– 4 brand new “Ultra-Soft” HD cloud texture sets: Fusion, Oasis, Silk and Stratify
– 2 brand new “Soft Congestus” HD cloud texture sets: Meridian, Citadel
– 2 brand new Sky Color sets: Serenity and Horizon
– 1 brand new HD cirrus cloud texture set: Nautical
– Newly modified cloud base textures for all previous cloud sets providing better blending and realism
– Modified cumulus congestus cloud structures for better base depictions and volume
– Modified cumulonimbus incus and cumulonimbus calvus cloud structures for more blended lighting graduation in most cases
– Improved Sky Color texture contrast, saturation, vibrancy and darkness graduation adjustments for all previous Instinctive sets
– Improved both overcast models with reduced patterning/lighting issues in lower-light (sunset/sunrise) conditions
– Adjusted all sky color sets to incorporate more shading, contrast and shadows in cloud depiction
– Adjusted Instinctive 1-5 sky color sets for darker and more shaded cloud depiction in stormy/raining conditions, become brighter and more white in fairer conditions
– Adjusted automatic wx influence definitions for significant influence towards newest content
– Adjusted full dynamics associations for signficant influence towards newest content
– Adjusted all previous theme defintions for signficant influence towards newest content
– Adjusted stratus cloud models to reduce vertical scaling/stretching of certain wispy-style textures
– Adjusted error during theme install message to always be “topmost” to avoid errors being hidden behind other windows
– Adjusted UI processes to automatically select a new theme when created, when returning to main selection screen
– Redesigned standard and congestus-type overcast cloud models to eliminate “dark elongated” clouds that would look strange when viewing overcast from high above due to inherent simulator z-order issue
– Added new geographic influence capability (using AS16) for latitude-based infleunce of all items (currently used for Sky Colors, but user can configure any category)
– Added new option “Full Dynamics Overcast Texture Resolution” and defaulted this at 1024-32bit (was locked previously to 512-dxt) for user control and increase default overcast resolution in Full Dynamics mode
– Added new ASCA server news message at startup
– Added new ASCA version checking with new update notification
– Added new Wx Influence Configuration screen/utility (available via the Settings Screen) allowing user to adjust wx selection profiles and geographic profiles for all content
– Added new Art Tools API allowing users to create and share their own ASCA/AS16 content – Currently enabled for Sky Textures only
– Added file handling adjustment to clear potentially erroneous temporary files from a sim crash or other windows issue, which could result in a failed activation in some cases
– Added more failsafe file copy/transfer routine during activations to prevent potential failures during intermittent connection stability issues in some networked configuration cases
– Added additional work file cleaning routine to prevent potential issues during previous failed activation/installations
– Added small delay during cirrus file copying/backup/work file deletion steps to prevent potential installation errors in some cases
– Fixed issue with Full Dynamics not working leading to Low Resolution and Static texture depiction
– Fixed problem where unchecking Cloud Structures option might not restore cloud definitions to default, resulting in potential cloud texture issues / missing clouds when cloud structures disabled in ASCA
– Fixed problem when using Cloud Structures but not Cloud Textures, where the models/definitions/metadata was not properly set in sim to activate ASCA cloud structures
– Fixed problem related to creating a new theme that could result in application crash
– Fixed problem in Nautical cirrus set causing installation/activation errors
– Updated documentation for recent changes