Working With Datarefs

I’ve been hoping to increase the quality of the sky colors and clouds in X-Plane 11. While I have used xEnviro for some time and have liked it very much, I don’t think it always looks great in VR (especially in how it handles haze). I had downloaded a number of free cloud and sky enhancements over the past few days, but none of them looked right (or even much like what I saw in the screen shots online). Today I realized that part of the problem was that I was running the wrong version of FlyWithLua — I need the “complete edition” if I (or other scripts I install) are going to modify art datarefs (data refs are the variables X-Plane uses to run its world). Things immediately got better once I had the correct version installed, but I also continued down the path of playing with different cloud and shadow datarefs in search of a mix that suits my eye.

I’m getting close and have attached screen captures below of various cloud decks. These use the FSEnhancer sky colors (free) and set 2 or 3 (I can’t recall which) of the Unique Clouds Variety Pack (also free). I’ve modified quite a few datarefs in getting this look (and they load in via a little LUA script I’ve written), and in addition to the clouds looking good I am particularly happy with the look of the cloud shadows — something that I think the default X-Plane release handles quite poorly. Things look good in VR as well, with one exception: the cloud shadows rotate when you move your head. I’ll work on figuring that out next, and once I have it nailed I’ll post the LUA code here.

M20R_Ovation_6

M20R_Ovation_5

M20R_Ovation_4

M20R_Ovation_3

M20R_Ovation_2

M20R_Ovation_1

Thank You SimVim

A few posts back I reviewed the awesome GNS 530 unit from RealSimGear. It’s a great piece of gear, one that I find extremely true to life (especially when running the RealityXP GNS 530), and one that I was very happy to not have to build myself. I also did not have to pay for it as it was a courtesy unit sent to me for review, but in candor I would pay for it if I did not have the good fortune to have one.

Along the way the good folks at SimVim have sent me a note to make mention of the fact that the unit uses their Arduino board and firmwear, and a user of this GNS 530 also downloads their ArdSimX plugin for use with X-Plane. I just wanted to mention that here in the interest of proper credit being placed where it’s due. This is also all an excellent example of how the different parts of our simulation community work together to create amazing things for us to use in our hobby or real-world practice.