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VonS

Moving clouds and different wind strengths and patterns

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Hello fellow flyers,

 

Thought I'd open a new thread for this topic...was studying the environmentsys.ini file further this weekend and stumbled upon a few interesting discoveries that help with realism in FE/FE2. Weather speed and patterns for custom missions and campaigns should be tweaked in the relevant MSN files for missions/campaigns, but for single missions here are some good values to use to increase challenges and realism in game. It also gives slowly moving clouds/cloud patterns - set the time factor to x8 while parked at an airfield to notice this, although at windy settings it is noticeable at normal time factor (x1) too.

 

I'm including four zipped environmentsys.ini files, for no wind, light wind, moderate wind, and strong wind patterns. Make a backup of your default environmentsys.ini file before installing. These files can be used with the weather/cloud mods I included with the ver. 8.6 update of the FM pack (to improve frame rates on low-end graphics cards). If you are using the Panama Red environmentsys.ini, make a backup of the original, then make four copies of the file and paste in the following settings.

 

For no wind, include under [Weather]:

 

WeatherAlt=4600
WeatherThickness=460
ContrailAlt=9200
WindGustingAmount=1.39
 
And under [baseWindSection]:
 
BaseWindSpeed=0.0
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=3.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=18.06
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=36.12
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=6.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=22.22
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=44.44
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=12.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=26.39
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=52.78
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=20.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=21.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=30.56
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=61.12
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=15.0
 
For light wind, use:
 
[Weather]
WeatherAlt=4600
WeatherThickness=460
ContrailAlt=9200
WindGustingAmount=11.11
 
[baseWindSection]
BaseWindSpeed=4.17
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=3.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=25.00
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=50.00
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=6.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=27.78
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=55.56
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=12.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=33.33
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=66.66
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=20.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=21.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=38.89
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=77.78
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=15.0
 
For moderate wind, use:
 
[Weather]
WeatherAlt=4600
WeatherThickness=460
ContrailAlt=9200
WindGustingAmount=16.67
 
[baseWindSection]
BaseWindSpeed=6.94
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=5.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=30.56
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=61.12
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=50.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=8.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=33.33
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=66.66
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=15.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=41.67
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=83.34
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=26.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=45.83
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=91.66
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=25.0
 
For strong wind, use:
 
[Weather]
WeatherAlt=4600
WeatherThickness=460
ContrailAlt=9200
WindGustingAmount=22.22
 
[baseWindSection]
BaseWindSpeed=11.11
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=5.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=36.11
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=72.22
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=50.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=8.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=40.28
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=80.56
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=15.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=47.22
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=94.44
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=26.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=51.39
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=102.78
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=25.0
 
The weather alt. value is typical of max. height of weather kites (2000-3000 meters) and weather balloons (3000-4500 meters) of the WWI period. 500 hPa (of modern weather forecasts) is at 5500 meters, 1000 hPa is at sea-level or slightly below ground depending on terrain. Typical WWI measurements would be to about 400 or 420 hPa if you look at the ceilings of the kites and balloons, which is about 4600 m alt. Weather "thickness" (a confusing entry that took me a while to figure out) is thus distance between 420 hPa and 1000 hPa, with the last zero removed from the value, giving 460. (For WWII and jet-age, use higher values for thickness, basically the weather alt. value with the final zero taken off, such as 1000 thickness for 10000 meters alt., 600 for 6000 meters alt. and so on.)
 
Some of the effects of the modded environmentsys files are subtle, but improve realism. I did a few more ground loops than usual in a Fokk. E.IIa while trying to take off, with the moderate wind settings, especially if blipping the rotary engine off too frequently or not frequently enough - perhaps the result of wind gusts. Also, at moderate and strong wind settings, I found it more difficult to hit anything in a dogfight. You'll also notice that at higher wind settings, archie bursts and smoke trails, also engine exhausts tend to drift from time to time, or have zig-zag patterns.
 
Will include these mods with a ver. 8.9 update of the FM pack.
 
Happy flying,
Von S
 
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Small correction to the notes above: 420 or 400 hPa should read as 580 or 600 hPa since hPa increases towards sea level (with lower alt.) - but this doesn't alter the weather "thickness" value for the modded files.

 

Von S

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More tinkering has led me to the following BaseWindSection entries as the best ones for realistic visuals of moving clouds. I've increased the wind speed amounts by 50kph for cloud-level winds, across the entries (now ranging from about 100kph for low-wind to 200 kph for strong-wind settings...this is for cloud-level stuff, to create realistic movement of clouds...the previous values were too slow by about 50kph). Also, I've toned down the "SpeedRate" values since this is possibly a multiplier, rather than a meters/sec value. At any rate the results look better now. Cloud movement is now visible to the eye (even at x1 time factor). Also, flack/smoke/fire movement is now more of a nice, serpentine "s" than a rough, zig-zag line in crosswinds.

 

Only the BaseWindSection values have been modified. Here's what to paste into the environsys file (will include these with a ver. 8.9 update of the FMs). Moving clouds look particularly nice in overcast conditions, with a plane parked on the airfield.

 

For no wind, use:

 

[baseWindSection]

BaseWindSpeed=0.0
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=3.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=31.95
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=3.12
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=6.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=36.11
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=4.44
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=12.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=40.28
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=5.78
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=20.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=21.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=44.45
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=6.12
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=15.0
 
For light wind, use:
 
[baseWindSection]
BaseWindSpeed=4.17
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=3.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=38.89
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=5.00
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=6.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=41.67
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=5.56
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=12.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=47.22
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=6.66
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=20.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=21.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=52.78
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=7.78
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=15.0
 
For moderate wind, use:
 
[baseWindSection]
BaseWindSpeed=6.94
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=5.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=44.45
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=6.12
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=50.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=8.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=47.22
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=6.66
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=15.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=55.56
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=8.34
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=26.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=59.72
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=9.66
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=25.0
 
For strong wind, use:
 
[baseWindSection]
BaseWindSpeed=11.11
BaseWindDirection=280
WindChange[01].ChangeTime=5.5
WindChange[01].ChangeChance=80
WindChange[01].SpeedAmount=50.0
WindChange[01].SpeedRate=7.22
WindChange[01].DirectionAmount=70.0
WindChange[01].DirectionRate=50.0
WindChange[02].ChangeTime=8.2
WindChange[02].ChangeChance=60
WindChange[02].SpeedAmount=54.17
WindChange[02].SpeedRate=8.56
WindChange[02].DirectionAmount=50.0
WindChange[02].DirectionRate=40.0
WindChange[03].ChangeTime=15.3
WindChange[03].ChangeChance=40
WindChange[03].SpeedAmount=61.11
WindChange[03].SpeedRate=9.44
WindChange[03].DirectionAmount=35.0
WindChange[03].DirectionRate=30.0
WindChange[04].ChangeTime=26.1
WindChange[04].ChangeChance=30
WindChange[04].SpeedAmount=65.28
WindChange[04].SpeedRate=10.78
WindChange[04].DirectionAmount=25.0
WindChange[04].DirectionRate=25.0
 
The data under the [Weather] sections is the same as in my post from yesterday (no changes there). For those interested, general values are as follows across the files: no wind - 0kph wind with gusts to 5kph, light wind - 15kph with gusts to 40kph, moderate wind - 25kph with gusts to 60kph, strong wind - 40kph with gusts to 80kph (anything higher than that approximately and WWI aircraft would probably remain in the hangar for the day).
 
Happy flying,
Von S
Edited by VonS
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Hi VonS

Another good idea of yours! :smile:

I've implemented the wind changes in Panama Red's Realistic Campaign weather files, but I've only flown one mission yet and in that mission "Random numbers" gave me a mission in clear weather with no wind.

 

A question: Why is the BaseWindDirection the same for all weathers?

Best Regards

vonOben

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Hi Von Oben,

 

Glad to hear that you like the moving clouds idea - for the basewinddirection, I chose 280 degrees since that fits well with the dominant wind (westerly), blowing from the west, slightly north and from the west - that was to the advantage of German planes and a problem for Entente flyers trying to get back to their lines after a fight. The direction works well for most of the top-half of the globe, including the Eastern front.

 

Here's a link to wind degrees:

 

http://www.uni.edu/storm/Wind%20Direction%20slide.pdf

 

Prevailing westerlies, from what I've read, should also be dominant for the mid-east theater since this accounts for the way that sand dunes/waves are whipped up - and most storms would be from the west too (with top speeds exceeding, sometimes, 30 or 40 m/s - as a base speed). Easterly winds also work for the mid-east theater (the Palestine map), but should be used less frequently, something like a 90 degree wind (for the base wind direction, from the east), and a base wind speed around 1.39 m/s with gusts, under the weather section, to about 10 m/s.

 

Was testing the modified environmentsystem.ini files further and I'm happy so far with the modified results (using the latest tweaks suggested in my previous posts above). Parked on the airfield, I see nice, realistic cloud movement now - not too rough, but not too subtle either so as to remain unnoticeable.

 

Was also testing the MSN files for custom missions and those seem to benefit from the same tweaks applied to the environsys.ini files.

 

The relevant section of the MSN files (maybe the same type is used for campaigns too - didn't test for campaigns), is the following one:

 

[Weather]

WeatherType=SCATTERED
WeatherAlt=4000.0
WeatherThickness=500.0
FogAmount=0.6
ContrailAlt=8000.0
StartWindDirection=180
StartWindSpeed=2.57222
WindGustingAmount=2.57222
 
I've modified that section in the MSN file to:
 
[Weather]
WeatherType=SCATTERED (this one can be changed of course to the weather you want)
WeatherAlt=4600
WeatherThickness=460
// FogAmount=0.6 (I've edited this out, it can also be deleted - experiments with this did strange things with the clouds, sometimes putting them at ground or below ground level, better to let the fog amount entries in environsys.ini deal with this)
ContrailAlt=9200
// StartWindDirection=180 (not needed, better to use basewinddirection in basewindsection)
// StartWindSpeed=2.57222 (I edited this out because manipulation of the numbers would give ridiculously fast-moving clouds, better to use basewindspeed in the relevant section)
WindGustingAmount=11.11 (this is a gust to 40 kph, can be modified of course, should always be kept under Weather section, never under basewindsection since there it has no effect from what I've been able to test)
 
I included, in the MSN file, one of the tweaked [baseWindSection] entries included in the posts above. This then gives me more realistic cloud movement for custom-made missions too. Might be of use for tweaking campaign weather too, to follow this pattern of weather tweaks. What's also good about these tweaks is that they give more dynamic, moving smoke for burning trucks, also from ship smoke stacks.
 
Happy flying,
Von S
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