Add-on Compatibility with ASXP
Posted by Damian Clark on 21 December 2018 01:47 AM
Many users have requested clarification on which add-ons are compatible and which are potentially in conflict when using ASXP.|
We've created this article to clear things up and provide further insight into the potential for conflict. This is an "in-progress" article that will be updated as we learn more and can provide further guidance.
Firstly, it is important to note that ASXP is not a traditional wx add-on product for X-Plane. Terms like "engine", "injector", "script", have been used to describe certain add-ons and their method of weather "control". Active Sky has been considered a "weather engine" for 2 decades, with the term "weather engine" meaning that it creates weather in the simulator. This "weather engine" term has evolved over the years and it's meaning diverged depending on platform and use of this term by other products, but in the scope of Active Sky, "weather engine" refers to any add-on or script that controls weather.
To avoid further confusion, we'll refer to "weather engines" as "weather add-ons" within this article. Any product, add-on, script, tool or program that attempts to inject weather, control it at any level, or augment it, is considered a "weather add-on".
Different weather add-ons can control the weather at different levels. In the case of some LUA scripts for example, they attempt to enhance or control turbulence and/or crosswinds. This is partial weather control. Other add-ons can provide simple levels of "METAR injection" which more fully control the weather, intending to simply inject live data into the simulator. More comprehensive add-ons, such as ASXP, use detailed synthesis and realism modification, multiple and/or hybrid approaches to weather depiction, and use multiple API mechanisms for different parts of weather control, controlling the weather in high detail at high frequency. There is also another class of weather add-ons which completely replace the entire X-Plane graphics/visuals in regards to weather/clouds depiction, and similarly control the weather in high detail.
In regards to weather add-ons, ONLY ONE can be installed/active at a time. Use of more than one will surely result in conflict and unwanted interaction. For example, a simple LUA script or add-on intending to slightly enhance turbulence may take complete control of the weather environment, unintentionally, by setting what is known as "weather DataRefs" (one of the API tools available in X-Plane). If a program like Active Sky is also installed and active, the weather mode will become mis-synchronized every time the turbulence script/add-on tries to control the turbulence level. This results in completely wrong depiction and loss of control of weather by Active Sky.
Products/add-ons we consider a "weather add-on", of which only ONE can be installed/activated for proper weather depiction include, but are not limited to: xEnviro, FSGRWX, XWindHandling LUA script, Turbulence Enhancer LUA script and NOAA weather.
Please make sure only ONE weather add-on is installed/activated at a time to enjoy proper weather depiction as the add-on intends.
There are also some products which are not primarily weather add-ons, but have weather add-on features and similarly attempt to control the weather. With these add-ons, it is important to TURN OFF any weather controlling/enhancing features. Products/add-ons we are aware of that match this description include XP Realistic Pro (when turbulence options are enabled), and VATSIM or other ATC network client software (when weather control is enabled).
Please make sure to DISABLE any weather add-on features in such add-ons to avoid unwanted interaction and improper depiction.
Any conflict/interaction issue can result in: Improper weather depiction, wrong or missing winds, lost aircraft position, X-Plane or add-on stability/crashing issues, high CPU utilization issues and much more. When experiencing any problem like this, it is very important to consider conflicts and take inventory of your add-ons, ensuring a conflict-free environment.
There is another class of add-on which we'll call "Visual Enhancement add-ons". These do NOT attempt to control the weather at any level, and instead enhance/replace certain content/graphics/artwork/shaders that is visible/affect visuals in the simulator. These add-ons work OK with ASXP and any other weather add-on. Visual Enhancement add-ons include, but are not limited to: Ultra Weather XP and Reshade, and many other freeware and commercial add-ons (clouds, sky, water, etc.) that enhance visuals without controlling weather. These add-ons can and usually do affect the realized depiction in various ways, but do not attempt to control the weather itself. Therefore, there are no conflicts.
Regarding some weather-addons mentioned earlier, which completely replace the entire X-Plane graphics/visuals for weather/clouds depiction: These can also be Visual Enhancement add-ons (combination weather + visual enhancement). In this case, however, these add-ons are visually enhancing the content of their own replaced visuals, not the general simulator content/graphics/artwork/shaders.