Floyd’s Epic Clouds & User Guide

A free cloud pack for Microsoft Flight Simulator including a set of Big Cloud variants to fill your landscapes to the horizon! Each cloudscape has been tested over mountains and plains to optimise them for a broad range of environments.

Download & System Requirements

The Epic Clouds contribute to the load on your system. If you get near to system limits you may see boxes appear in the clouds as the raytracing technique reveals itself under strain. DLSS can exacerbate the situation by retaining lingering after-images. You can mitigate these issues this by turning down your settings and checking your configuration.

  • Currently the AMD graphics cards have less capable ray tracing support than their Nvidia  equivalents, but the 7000 series may change that.
  • Currently the MSFS DX11 graphic library is more efficient than DX12.
  • Get Help!
    Refer to this user guide if you have problems installing, uninstalling or want to know more.
    Check the ‘Please Read’ folder inside the package.
  • Help in Return!
    Credit the clouds with a mention and/or link so your audience can find them if they want to.
  • For more FPS
    check this Channel LFD page

What’s New in Version 1.5

There are some changes in this release to accommodate all the cloud twiddling I’ve been up to.

  • The numeral in the cloud name has been replaced with a cloud cover ratio in 1/8th steps. MSFS sorts the names into order so the highest cloud coverage is at the bottom of the lists.
  • The image in the dropdown list is now an opaque screenshot. The sides are transparent to let the colour due to the time of day to show through.
  • I am tracking all the properties of all the cloudscapes to make sure they are not repeated and are within appropriate range.
  • The Gathering Storm cloudscape has been the most interesting one to create and the most difficult to balance. I will probably make some variations of it in future releases. The low volume of the thunderclaps is due to Asobo’s implementation.
  • Be sure to update the barometric pressure in the cockpit if you load a new cloudscape.

Research for Future Development

I would like to be able to drive the Epic Clouds dynamically using an external app. Contact me here if you know of any code samples I can refer to.

Videos

The Original Trailer

The following video was created to show how the original cloudscapes #1 to #6 looked. Each of the cloudscapes are a variant of the same type of clouds and have roughly the same ‘clear vs cloud’ ratio.

The Expansion Pack Trailer

The expansion pack was developed as a separate module, but has merged with the original cloud set from #7 to #12. They are a little more mixed in nature, and the whole set was analysed and rebalanced after bringing them together.

Featuring or Reviewing the Epic Clouds

EasyJetSimPilotPie in the Sky ToursPilot StuddCarbon Pixel (+ another)
RyotaSimFlyEagle 23McLares AviationRobert GrzegoreksouljabunnY

If you credit the Epic Clouds in your video notes I will be able to find your videos and viewers can find the clouds.

A rather nice 60 second time-lapse by Zidoo Multimedia Boxes. I’m obviously looking at the sky rather than the ground though. People never do what you want them to do eh :o)
(click to enlarge).

If I’m not mistaken, Havoc23’s before and after videos seem to show the Clouds have increased performance by about 10 fps.

Installation

Check here for how to locate the community folder.

How to Install the Presets

!! Note !!
v1.4 replaces the Expansion Pack

You install in the same way as other addons:

  • Uninstall any previous versions you may have loaded
  • Download the file and unzip it
  • Put the ‘Floyds Epic Clouds’ folder into your community folder
  • Restart the sim
  • The new presets have been added to the Weather presets list
  • If you do not see the presets, check the Troubleshooting guide on this web page.

How to Uninstall the Presets

You uninstall in the same way as other addons:

  • Move the ‘Floyds Epic Clouds’ folder out your community folder
  • Restart the sim
  • The presets will no longer be in the Weather presets list.

Troubleshooting

I Don’t See the Epic Cloud Cloud Presets

There are two reasons why the clouds might not show up in the sim:

  • You didn’t restart the sim after you put the clouds into the community folder
  • You may have too many folders nested inside each other.

The directory structure you will need to end up with is:
…\Packages\Community\Floyds Epic Clouds

Boxes or Stripes

If you see boxes or stripes in the clouds, this is an indication that your computer in general and your ray-tracing hardware in particular is nearing its capacity.

Note that using DLSS antialiasing in MSFS will magnify the problem, but this effect varies as Asobo adjusts each DLSS update.

Potential workarounds:

  • Try TAA antialiasing instead of DLSS in MSFS General Options. This works well in combination with the OpenXR Toolkit FSR upscaling.
  • Try turning down the Raymarched Reflections setting in General Options

Be aware that:

  • AMD’s ray tracing tech is a generation behind Nvidia’s for equivalent GPUs, so are more vulnerable to stress.
  • The MSFS DX11 graphics library is currently more efficient than the DX12 graphics library.
  • MSFS Cloud setting ‘Ultra’ is best but ‘High’ is reasonable and captures the majority of the subtlety.
  • Try easing the load by by adjusting settings – here is a guide you can use.

Thunder Volume

The volume of the thunder claps that follow some of the lightning strikes seems low. This is down to Asobo’s implementation, but it might be affected by the very low storm intensity I have used in an effort to make the strike frequency more natural.

Learn How to Get the Best Out of the Cloudscapes

The quickest way to be able to appreciate the differences between the Epic Clouds is to do the following:

  • Start a flight in a jet so you can quickly traverse distance and altitude
  • Go to 15000 ft
  • Choose a cloudscape
  • Keep moving to ensure you are not inside a cloud when the cloudscape loads
  • Set the time of day to sunrise, noon or sunset to get a feel for how the clouds respond

Some of the cloud cloudscapes cast big shadows and leave large open areas as well. This contrast often increases the colour range for mountain peaks and fields exposed to the sun. Some of the clouds have drizzling mist and rain beneath them if you would like a temporary change of environment. Nice!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can the Epic Clouds drive the live weather?
    Microsoft have isolated their live weather system and there isn’t a way to access it at the moment.
  • Do these presets replace the standard clouds?
    The Epic Clouds can be added to and removed from the dropdown list of cloud presets that are already in the sim. They do not replace any other clouds that are available so there no reason not to try them out :0)
  • How do I know what type of cloud I am loading?
    Each cloud type comes with its own preview image that appears in the sim’s drop-down list of clouds, along with a descriptive name.
  • Is it possible to show airline wings fading into cloud cover? (aka ‘wing fade effect’)
    Default MSFS doesn’t show this effect even on maximum cloud densities. There is a forum topic about this you can contribute to.
  • The clouds didn’t show up, what’s happening?
    The trouble-shooting section of the installation guide on this web page will reveal all.

Need More FPS?

If so, you can follow this link to find all of the settings in a PC environment that affect how well the sim runs. It was written for VR users, but a lot of it applies to non-VR uses as well.

Gallery

Joni Mitchell: Clouds

A classic song delivered with style in the year 2000 by Joni aged 57. Her thoughtful words and rich singing style is focussed on the airborne mountains of vapour that hang in the air on a regular basis.

2000 (57)

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Some Statistics

This screenshot (right) shows occupation of the Featured section, the Trending Right Now section (the third time back on top) and the This Week’s Best section.

After release 1.1 the Clouds entered the Trending Now section for the 4th time after 1000+ were downloaded in 24 hours.

Statistics:

  • Downloads: 9586 at the time of measurement.
    • No comment: 9542 (99.54%)
    • Comments: 44 (0.46%)
      • Positive comments: 28 (64%, 0.29%)
      • Neutral comments: 11 (25%, 0.11%)
      • Negative comments: 5 (11%, 0.05%)

The most common request/complaint was that the Epic Clouds don’t drive the live weather system and a handful of users gave the clouds a low star score for that reason.

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