3jClouds2 | Pimp Your Default Clouds Version 1.3
According to Jörn; I have tried to get the most out of X-Plane’s default clouds with this FlyWithLua plugin:
– More realistic cloud and sky colours
– Cloud shadows without flickering
– No more white-out when flying through clouds
– Dark rain clouds
– Easy configurable with settings window
How to install?
Install current version of FlyWithLua, if you don’t have it already, download it from this X-Plained.com link. Install my library 3jLib1 version 1.2 or higher (put jjjLib1.lua in ‘/Resources/plugins/FlyWithLua/Modules/’ folder, not ‘…/Scripts/’ folder!). Download 3jClouds2.lua from this page and copy it to ‘/Resources/plugins/FlyWithLua/Scripts/’ folder
Features in detail:
- Cloud colours: In general, the plugin makes the clouds a little lighter. The reflection of the sun is a little stronger.
- Rainy/stormy clouds: The higher the precipitation propability, the darker the clouds will look from below (to make it more real, they will still be nearly white from above). Very nice and realistic to see really dark thunderstorm clouds! (Not so nice from aeronautics point of view, of course…)
- Cloud shadows: Cloud shadows are activated in a way, that they do not flicker, at least only very little. If you are annoyed by cloud shadows on your aircraft or in your cockpit when flying above the clouds: Activate “Fade out cloud shadows when aircraft is above top cloud layer” in the settings window. As it says, shadows will be slowy deactivated when plane is above the clouds.
The cloud shadows on ground will disappear then too, but unfortunately there is no other way to do that with X-Plane in the moment, as far as I know…
- No white-out: No more “grey screen of death” when flying through clouds. Can be deactivated in the settings window.
- Sky colours: A little tweak of the sky colours, to get more blueish haze/scattering. Works only with HDR activated in the rendering options of X-Plane.
Usage of the lua script:
The plugin does everything by itself, depending on weather, aircraft position and camera position. In the beginning you may want do some configurations, to set it up how you like it.
To open the settings window:
Click in menu -> “Plugins” -> “FlyWithLua Macros” -> “3jclouds2: open/close settings”. Your settings are saved in the preferences file of the plugin (3jClouds2.prf) in the FWL/Scripts folder. The settings window is self explanatory, I hope…
This plugin should not change the performance of cloud drawing, but it makes the clouds a little “puffier”. Therefore you can try to bring down the “cloud puffs” slider in the rendering settings of X-Plane a few notches and clouds will still look good. This might give you some better performance in cloudy conditions.
– For X-Plane 10, tested with X-Plane 10.51
– You can try it with X-Plane 11 on your own risk (if it does not work, please don’t give a bad review – plugin is made for XP10)
– Compatible with RTH (Real Terra Haze) ***
– Compatible with cloud texture replacements
– compatible with weather injection plugins (like Joan’s NOAA GFS weather)
– Not compatible with any plugin that does it’s own cloud rendering (like SkyMaxxPro, xEnviro, …)
Compatibility with X-Plane 11:
I could not test the plugin with XP11, but some users reported it works well with XP11.01. By what I have seen of the new default clouds in XP11 on screenshots and videos, personally I don’t think this plugin is necessary anymore. But you can try and compare for yourself…
*** RTH (Real Terra Haze) sets it’s cloud parameters once every second. Some of them (cloud shadows and cloud brightness) are the same that this plugin sets regularly, so both plugins are somehow “fighting” which values to set. That can lead to an annoying flickering of clouds and shadows. 3jClouds2 will detect this problem and then opens an alert box to inform you about it. It gives you 3 options what to do:
- “PATCH”: The plugin will change the RTH script a little, so that it does not set these parameters, as long as 3jClouds2 is running. When 3jClouds is inactive or de-installed, RTH will work exactly as before. So you don’t need to worry, anything gets destroyed… (To be absolutely sure, a backup copy of RTH.lua script is saved: “RTH.lua_jjjLib_BACKUP”). This is the recommend option, as it gives you full clouds functionality of this plugin together with RTH doing all the rest of it’s very good job.
- “Rain cl./shad. OFF”: Simply turns off the “Darker rain clouds” and “cloud shadows” function of 3jClouds, to avoid the problems with RTH. If you should turn them on again later, the alert box will open up again to remind you about the problems.
- “Ignore”: Least recommended, only for those who want deal with that issue manually in any way. (Or those who like flickering clouds and cloud shadows.)
The plugin in some cases has to turn the clouds completely off and on again, when changing the configuration. On my system, in a very few occasions, that caused X-Plane to stop (after some black flickering of the screen). After you have found your favourite settings, usually you won’t change them anymore and so – I hope – this won’t be a big issue. A friend of mine had some more crashes and sometimes completely black clouds, but I could never reproduce that on my computer.
If you should have any problems, bug reports or support questions, please use the COMMENTS tab! Please do not use the reviews tab for this Kind of feedback, it is not possible to reply there.
This plugin uses some inofficial control parameters (so called “DataRefs”) of X-Plane. Though this is kind of a hack and something a programmer should not do normally, I did it because the effect of the plugin is really cool.
These inofficial DataRefs are undocumented and can change with every release or update of X-Plane. So it is not guaranteed at all, that this plugin will work with later X-Plane versions. When you install this plugin, please keep that in mind and don’t blame the developers of X-Plane, FlyWithLua or me, if the above said should happen!
DONATION to Jörn-Jören Jörensön:
It took me many, many hours neglecting my job and tons of chocolate to keep me awake to program this plugin. I did it for fun and to give something to the great X-Plane community. If you really like my work and you have a few bucks to give, you’re very welcome to make a little donation via PayPal -> https://www.paypal.me/joeren.
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