[UPDATE June 9 1221z: We reached out to HiFi for clarification regarding the absence of mentioning FSX or P3Dv3 in their update. Response included below]
HiFi Simulation Technologies, the company behind ActiveSky – the renowned weather engine for P3D and FSX, has provided a development update on their forum.
The first talking point that Damian delves into, is the ActiveSky for X-Plane product that was announced some time ago. The team has been rather quiet about this since then.
Damian tells us that ActiveSky for X-Plane has been high on their priority list and that the team has been working on this for quite a while. At one point they had worked for over a year before deciding they needed to scrap what they had and return to the drawing board.
The good news though, is that Hifi expect to be releasing previews of their work so far within the next month or two, and their current timeline sees a beta release planned for Q3 2018, with a final release Q4 2018.
Although the jump to X-Plane has been keeping the company busy, Damian does say that development has not stopped on their existing products for P3D and FSX. He tells of Lockheed Martin making their job a little more difficult by breaking compatibility with ActiveSky when P3D updates are issued, and the team then having to work hard in order to update ActiveSky with the fix.
Additionally, he describes a next-generation product for P3D being in the works which will bring a number of new technologies and features borrowed from their ActiveSky for X-Plane efforts.
The current timeframe for this product is a Q1 2019 beta.
Active Sky Cloud Art is also due for a refresh soon, with Damian setting our expectations for the inclusion of many more cloud textures, sky colours, cloud models and additional categories. They’ve also been working hard on enhanced immersion for thunderstorms, with updated effects and visuals set to be included, too. If that were not enough, he says users are in for a surprise, with a few new unexpected features also set for inclusion in version 2.
ASCA version 2 is currently set a timeframe for a Q1/Q2 2019 beta.
We’re also told that the team are working on some secret projects, with details being kept close to their chests, but Damian says the developers feel that these products will “will provide greatly enhanced realism for all popular sim platforms”. Hints and teasers are expected in the coming months.
Lastly, HiFi has put the call out for developers and beta testers, for not only the X-Plane product but their updated FSX/P3D offerings, too. Anyone who fits the bill of Graphics Artists, Web Developers, Programmers, Project Managers, 3D Modelers, Audio Engineers, or anyone else who feels their skills would aid the development, should fire off an e-mail to [email protected].
Simmers wishing to put their hand up for joining the beta team are encouraged to end as much information as possible about yourself and your simming experience to [email protected].
We’re keeping a close eye on the development of all of these products mentioned, and we’ll bring you the updates as we have them.
Update June 9 1221z:
It was noted that in the Development Update, Damian did not make mention of FSX or P3Dv3 throughout the post. FSElite reached out to Damian directly to clarify if this meant that HiFi was planning to drop 32-bit sim support. Here’s what he had to say:
We will continue supporting sim platforms/versions no longer in development in “maintenance mode”, for the foreseeable future, to address any issues that come up, but we are reserving new features and major enhancements for sims currently under active development. […] AS16 for FSX and AS16 for P3D (v3) may receive updates but no new features or major enhancements are planned at this time. Previous products including ASN, ASE and AS2012 are end-of-life and will continue to be supported generally with no further updates planned (but online access and customer support are provided for the foreseeable future).
So as it stands, it appears that FSX and P3Dv3 users can expect that they will not have the opportunity to try out these new products from HiFi upon release.
With more and more developers moving this way, is it time 32-bit simmers made the move to 64-bit?