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Peter Lürkens

CumulusX! 1.8 released

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I am very happy to announce the new version 1.8 which is available for

download as of now!

The new features are:

* More realistic ridge lift with slip-stream effect if higher terrain upwind

* Thermal leaning adapted to differences between wind at ground and at altitude

* Better placement of thermals in mountains

* Lee-side thermals allow climb in lee-side conditions, with reduced lift.

* Realistic vertical propagation of lift during thermal lifecycle

Bonus functions for licensed users only:

* Smart tow-plane, avoids flight into mountains and finds a nearby thermal (if visible)

* Return of tow plane to the airport (not in mountains yet)

* Higher realism by turbulence effects

* Wing pointing to thermal center lifts slightly upon entry into a thermal

* New CumulusXDLL for improved smoothness of operation included in package

Please go to my website for download at

http://luerkens.homepage.t-online.de/peter/index.html

where you can download the new version. If you are a licensed user your current license

files remain valid also for this release.

best regards and have fun,

Peter Luerkens

16.07.2010

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Just wanted to say, I was having trouble downloading with a download accelerator (DAP to be exact), so I ended up downloading with the regular Windows downloader and it worked fine.

THANKS Again for providing a free version of CumulusX!, Peter, though I'm really thinking I should be looking into going with a licensed version. Thanks for your great product.

Scott

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Thanks for all the hard work Peter and helpers. I highly recommend the licence version of this software. I will be buying another licence simply because it is very reasonably priced for what you get, and I want to encourage Peter to keep up the good work! A couple of us are trying to encourage the REX team to make special HD clouds for CumulusX users who buy REX2. No luck so far but we keep trying ;)

Cheers

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Thanks for mentioning the helpers, HarryO, I believe I have been leaving them out. Thank You beta team, without you, it would take a lot longer to release products such as this. You provide much valuable feedback that Peter uses to make CumulusX! even better. THANK YOU!

Scott

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Just a very small point. The debug window in version 1.8 says the CumulusXDLL is not enabled when it seems to come default with the installation. However so far alas is gut :)

I must elaborate a bit on the ORBX Tasmania FTX freeware. It is a must see for glider pilots just do it! The detail is breathtaking at all VFR altitudes :jawdrop64_s: with no serious impact on FPS. Also download the freeware AI Traffic and terrain mesh from the same site:

http://fullterrain.com/product_demos.html (watch the gliding video!)

http://fullterrain.com/freeware.html

I am not trying to plug the product. I have no interest in it other than I personally have experienced it's wonder both in software and support. The FSX community is small and we should stick together!

A wonderful FSX gliding mission could be made from this scenery for anyone talented out there.

Cheers,

Harry

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In demo mode the DLL is only active around LOWI. Put your aircraft there and it will switch to "True".

If this does not happen, an entry in DLL.XML might be missing. Open the CumulusX! main panel, deactivate and reactivate "AutoStart". This creates the required entries.

best regards,

Peter

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Congrats to Peter on another landmark release of CumulusX!

Hodge, as you've been asking, the 'slipstream effect' that Peter refers to is the shadowing of terrain from ridgelift if there's high ground upwind. There are many examples of this from the Sion valley to the ridges in PA, USA. So if you see high ground upwind don't assume the simulated ridgelift will be impervious...

Obviously the real science is in the improved thermals and ridgelift, but for me the most entertaining aspect of the 1.8 release is the 'intelligent' behaviour of the tow plane especially around high ground. You can get the fun of taking the tow with the towplane actually *turning* (it's more fun than you think), but also on release you can watch the towplane turn, move onto a pattern, and land. It's not mentioned in Peter's post but in the beta release you could adjust the performance of the tow plane and I found the challenge of a tow with a fully ballasted ASW 28 *much* more realistic with the tow speed reduced to 75 knots. Honestly in RL it's a bastard to avoid dropping a wing as you start the tow and for the first bit of airborn flight you feel like you're flopping around like a dead fish (with the towplanes I've flown with anyway).

If you're a Win 7 user (particularly 64) the licenced/DLL version may be essential - Win7 alters the way FSX responds to an addon, and you need a 'DLL' to provide the millisecond response. XP is much more relaxed about the 'exe'/'dll' relative response times.

B21

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1.8 looks like a great upgrade. Thanks for all your good work on this Peter. I am exited about the wing pointing in the licensed version when entering a thermal and also the terrain shadowing all of which will make the flying more realistic and make future missions more technical. I am looking forward to getting set up with all these new mods.

Hodge

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I can't download CumulusX 1.8 or the manual. It zooms along to about 730K bytes then just stops. Is there any alternative source?

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Hi there

Thanks so much for your efforts, truly it is wonderful to fly gliders in FSX with this software.

I have a question about an "issue" regarding thermal cloud base. I use a weather engine with CumulusX. At first ASE, now I am trying REX2. I notice that sometimes perhaps later in the afternoon(?), the thermal cloud base is no longer on one layer. For example most thermal clouds both REX and CumulusX may be at 5000 feet, but then in some regions close to the glider, the CumulusX clouds be as low as 1000-2000 feet. It looks a bit strange. Is this phenomenon because of my weather engine having issues, or is it something in CumulusX or is it both? I am expecting to see all the thermal cloud bases in the immediate area around the glider to be at one level. This is mostly what you find in the real world. I must admit that occasionally when I observe the real world, there can be a thermal cloud base at a lower level than most. Usually such clouds are near mountains and form differently to the typical weather formation over the surrounding plains.

On another related question, at higher altitudes, the rate-of-change-over-time slider in FSX is bugged and causes both REX2 clouds and CumulusX clouds to sprout out of the ground on occasion. However thankfully I can turn that slider to zero and REX2 and CumulusX can depict clouds at high altitude locations (>=4000 feet).

Cheers

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Hi Harry,

well the determination of the thermal ceiling is a bit tricky. CumulusX! does the following in this sequence:

1) if there are cumulus cloud layers reported by FSX METAR locally at the position of a thermal then CumulusX! takes the lowest as ceiling for this thermal and its cloud

2) if there are no cumulus cloud layers reported locally, and if FSX weather engine has any global cumulus layers defined, than CumulusX! uses the lowest of the global layers as thermal ceiling and cloud altitude

3) if neither 2) or 3) is given, then CumulusX! takes a random altitude from the range which is defined on its settings panel. This random altitude is changed every three hours and it's repeatable for a given time of the day and date. CumulusX! does not show own clouds (blue thermals)

There are some other cloud constellations which exclude thermals at all, but the local condition always prevails over the global. Details are in the manual.

It might be a bit confusing that FSX itself does not use the global weather data at all, if it operates in real weather mode or in custom weather, and you defined weather locally. However, it remembers the most recent global weather data setting until you change it by selecting a weather theme, or redefining global weather.

This allows the user to prevent CumulusX! generating blue thermal areas (by setting a global cumulus layer, e.g. by selecting fair weather theme first, before switching to custom weather and adjusting local weather stations) or to allow blue thermals in between (by selecting clear skies first and then adjsuting the local weather stations). As the global weather data goes into the weather files of FSX-flights these configurations can be shared with other users, also in a competition. This method works also with real weather.

It's difficult for me to say how REX2 comes into the play. It may be well that REX uses special cloud textures for creation of effects and may even engage other cloud types than cumulus clouds to mimic a better cumulus appearance. That one can disturb CumulusX! heavily, as CumulusX! does not recognize the actual visual of a cloud but its identifier in the FSX METAR. So if an add-on replaces stratus cloud models by cumulus cloud models to create a better visual for cumulus coverage it may happen that CumulusX! stops making thermals at all, as it reads from FSX METAR a presence of stratus clouds which are considered detrimental to thermals in general.

What you can do is, if such a case happens again you may open the weather menu, switch the weather mode to "custom", which probably is already, and then investigate the cloud layers at the surrounding weather stations. That should give some information on which data is seen by CumulusX! for formation of the CumulusX! clouds. Btw, I have also the weather rate set to minimum.

Cheers,

Peter

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Hi Harry, well the determination of the thermal ceiling is a bit tricky

Wow thanks for that detailed information! This type of detail is worth gold. My ears pricked when you talked about the global weather station. I reset that to start with. You have encouraged me to dig deeper into the weather data and for once I can report that the algorithm's are all working together perfectly deterministically. There are two weather stations in very close proximity to each other (<1km) in the simulation (very odd but that's the way it is). One reports cumulus clouds at 3000 feet, the other reports cumulus at 10,000 feet. REX2 depicts the cumulus at 10,000 feet across the entire region most likely because there is a third station in the area reporting 10,000 feet cumulus. However CumulusX depicts 10,000 feet cumulus over this third station but for a significant region over the two very close stations, depicts the cumulus clouds at 3000 feet overriding the other very close station which says 10,000 feet. This is exactly what I expect and this is why I am seeing two different cumulus cloud bases but only in CumulusX. This is good and this is what the data says so let's stick with it.

At these moments I shake my head that the simulation makes sense to me. Thank you for prompting me to make more efforts to discover what is going on. I suspect that the memory of the global weather station has been a contributing effect at other times, when I was using ASE direct wind control which uses that very global station and this may have left some old data before I switched to REX. As for the REX cloud layer manipulation, I'm pretty sure they do it in a standard way.

Thanks again Peter. Look forward to more enjoyable thermal flying and inevitably more questions. For this short moment in time, all questions have been answered in my mind. It will not last long.

Enjoy :)

Cheers,

Harry

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It is not possible to download CumulusX 1.8. Download stops in the middle till time out. Could anybody give me a hint? Thanks.

Best regards

Depp

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Hi Peter,

I am having the same problem with the download!

Sorry to bother you :blush:

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I, too, cannot download CumulusX.

With IE it gets to 22% and no further every time.

With SeaMonkey it often won't even start but on the rare occasions when it has, 22% again seems to be the finish point.

Can anyone help, please?

Thanks!

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Hi,

(Well I downloaded it multiple times these last days without any problems.. Using Firefox it should work. Otherwise you can try some kind of downlaod manager that can resume a download if it comes to a stop for some reason.)

Thanks for the great program Peter !

A while ago I used CumulusX in conjunction with sim_probe and I was easily finding steady ridge lift where i expected it.

Lately I installed v 1.8 and I have my doubts about my Cumulus X installation.. sometimes I'm flying parallel to a slope and I got absolute wind direction perpendicular to the slope but I don't get any lift or just disturbed up and down wind but nothing that can give me some extra feet. Watching the Debug Panel I got confirmation about wind direction and effective slope but the lift is not at all steady and goes from + to - all the time. I'm using REX2 weather engine with built in "realistic updraft" option. I didn't find any difference with or without the REX2 weather engine so I left it on and as far as the debug window shows right information I guess it should be working correctly.

Edit: and I renamed the defaut Thermal file in FSX Folder as stated in the CumulusX Manual.

Any ideas ?

(I usually put manual weather with a wind of 16 knots, 90° to a slope in the valley of Sion Switzerland I'm about 1000-2000 feet from the bottom of the valley and the mountains go up to 10'000 feet or so, I try to fly on slopes exposed to the sunlight to get some additional thermal lift, I'm using FSGlobal2010 and the Discus Glider X.)

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Most likely you hit upon the new feature of slipstream effect. If there is a lot of high terrain in upwind direction, the slope is shielded and lift will be reduced and turbulence arises. This was requested from RL glider pilots which found it unrealistic when lift extends to the ground of cut-in valleys.

The shielding effect decreaes if you climb up the slope and disappears once your are higher than the preceding ridges or if they are far enough away.

regards,

Peter

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Okay, I'm gonna try to go a bit higher to get out of the turbulent areas then.

Thanks for the reply and fly high =)

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hi :)

I already tried several times to download cumulusX but the zip file is corrupted somehow.

the download starts ok then slows to a stop then takes a while to get going again.

anyone got an alt. download site pls? :)

thanks!

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I already tried several times to download cumulusX but the zip file is corrupted somehow.

the download starts ok then slows to a stop then takes a while to get going again.

You have been PM'ed,

regards,

Peter

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(I usually put manual weather with a wind of 16 knots, 90° to a slope in the valley of Sion Switzerland I'm about 1000-2000 feet from the bottom of the valley and the mountains go up to 10'000 feet or so, I try to fly on slopes exposed to the sunlight to get some additional thermal lift, I'm using FSGlobal2010 and the Discus Glider X.)

It's worth checking to see there isn't high ground upwind that is spoiling the ridge lift - i.e. are you in a wind shadow from the other side of the valley? The simple check here would be to slew up the mountainside until you know for sure you are higher than the ground directly upwind, unslew, and check the ridge lift there. In the FSX Alps you can sometimes see the effect of this 'wind shadow' when you fly along the ridge with a distinct obstacle directly upwind of where you are - you feel the ridge lift improve when you pass out from behind this upwind obstacle, or weaken as you enter its 'shadow'.

B21

**edit** lol oops major necro on my part - somehow I didn't notice the age of the post and also didn't see Peter had already answered the same thing. Might have been the effect of beer.

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