by Thomas Williams
Date Added: Wednesday 17 May, 2017
SMP really does change the way you fly in X-Plane. As a student pilot, I absolutely adore how the divine allure of the big blue sky is brought to life in this plugin!!!
I finally took the flight I always wanted to in X-Plane, climbing from Van Nuys into overcast cumulus this morning and the ascent through the thick blobs of clouds was just breathtaking.
Streaks and wisps of vapor rushing by the windshield and occasional breaks showing the Earth falling away beneath me, total flight simming heaven!!! There is so much detail in these clouds that it is actually a pleasure to fly right through the middle of them!!! Finally, around 8000 ft, I topped the large offshore formations and was able to look around and admire the sheer beauty of the clouds the way I do in a real plane!!!! It's really something, the god rays are awe-inspiring, the lens flare is subtle and not "gamey" or annoying, and the way the clouds cluster around the peaks of mountains and settle in low valleys, it's stirringly realistic.
I really struggled on my pretty low level machine (by modern standards) to stress out my carefully-tweaked XP11 setup. SMP's performance has been obviously optimized!!!!! Only when I pushed the cloud draw distance to many tens of thousands of kilometers did my FPS implode, but 10k-30k (typical ranges for both lower altitude GA and high-altitude jets) was fine on my system. Crepuscular rays, lens flare, and higher resolution cirrus textures did nothing to slow me down.
Can't recommend this plugin highly enough. Combined with Real Weather Connector, I think I can now engage in some seriously realistic simulated cross-country flight planning around weather fronts that look, behave and feel like the real thing. Stellar work, guys!!!!