High Altitude Sky colour and stars

  • Hi all!

    I've recently been doing some high altitude flights in the F18 and i've been noticing how bare and un-natural the sky at 30kfeet + looks. The top edge of the haze in the distance is very sharp and it doesn't fade nicely into the sky colour. Also even at 60k or 80k feet the sky seems to be all one colour rather than a nice fade to almost black directly above you. Also I noticed a lack of stars when you get up to that height.

    One of the other sims that I play a lot is DCS which is clearly a different kind of sim, but it does do the high altitude sky very well. So over my lunch break today I decided that I would take some screenshots in both AFFS2 and DCS1.5 from the same heights and then photoshop the DCS sky into AFFS to show you how different it looks. I think you can agree that it certainly makes the rest of the graphics in AFFS2 really pop once the sky is more dynamic.

    --- Rick click and hit "open image in tab" to see the full size images ---

    Remember this post is not "AFFS2 Sucks! DCS is so much better!" I'm simply saying that down the line I would love to see the sky look somewhat like this up at altitude.

    Here is a video of the sky in DCS to show you as well if you aren't familiar = https://youtu.be/01linz-wtSM?t=1m51s

    Also here are a couple of IRL shots from high altitude.

    [Blocked Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/View_from_the_SR-71_Blackbird.jpg]


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  • There was a long thread about the night display in the mobile section about a year ago. Some people wanted a perfect dark environment, eye-adapted view where everything is quite bright at night. Others wanted a real cockpit with dimmed instrument lights, near black unlit-ground type view with almost nothing visible unless it was lit as in an urban environment. I think IPACS favour a bright look, it might be because they don't do ordinary ground lights.
    If you look at U2 flight videos there is quite a lot of variation in how the horizon looks, sometimes it looks like both versions (although wide angle lens videos do make the transition falsely sharp), it must depend on the amount of water in the air where the plane is flying. It is also hard to reproduce a very wide range of brightnesses on a monitor, perhaps the glowing top layer is a little bit overdone, biased towards variation in the sky transition rather than down towards the distant ground or cloud layer?

  • I'm not talking about flying at night... both of these scenarios were at 12 noon. The sky gets awfully black at 80k feet, and stars are quite visible, but its very much still daytime. You should pretty much always get that fuzzy glowing horizon during the day from that height because of all the scattering of the sunlight in what at that height is a thin strip of atmosphere... This is something that is visible from an airliner at 35k feet as well.

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    • Official Post

    [...] You will never get an image like your last U2 over San Francisco pic in Aerofly.

    Why not? DCS seem to have found the right parameters for their shaders, why shouldn't Aerofly be able to do the same? Its just a matter of spending couple of hours fine-tuning the parameters to get that nice white horizon brightness that we all know from high altitude photos or our own experiences. I have this also on my wishlist btw. :D

    FSX looks very muddy compared to Aerofly FS 2... :D

  • Yes I got that, I just meant Aero is biased towards a flat muddy look, apart from Android AF 1, Switzerland. You will never get an image like your last U2 over San Francisco pic in Aerofly.

    Well not as it currently is... sure. But thats the whole point of this post.

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