124: Break the 10-Day Shade Cycle Limit

SHADE for FSX is built on the 10-day cycle of FSX.   Therefore, up to 10 different SHADE presets can be saved via the program’s GUI utility (Shade_gui.exe).

Actually, it is possible to crack the 10-day limit and extend the cycle to cover all days in a month.    And theoretically, it is even possible to use a different preset every day throughout the year and beyond, despite of the impracticality of the idea.

The concept of this tweak is pretty simple — when SHADE for FSX is executed, it will load the presets from the settings.ini created by Shade-gui.exe.   Therefore, if one can:

  • Prepare three different settings.ini each containing 10 different presets (totalling 30 presets)
  • Load them one after the other in every 10 days

Then, each day in a month can associate with a unique preset stored on these three settings.ini.

The tricky part is how to fully automate the swapping process of these three ini files according to a predefined condition without human intervention.

Here’s what I did:

1)
There are more than 30 presets already accumulated from various versions of SHADE for FSX.   Divide them into three groups as desired, such as what are shown in the table below.   Customized presets can be used as well.


101 and 102 are the versions where the presets originated or updated

2)
Go to the program folder of SHADE for FSX, and make a copy (not rename) of the current settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings_Backup.ini, just in case it is needed in the future.

3)
Open Shade-gui.exe and use the [Load Day n From A Preset] button to import the first group of presets (table above) from Day 1 to Day 10 to the program.

4)
Once completed, quit Shade-gui.exe and an updated settings.ini that contains the Shade values of the 10-day presets in the first group has been created.

5)
Make a copy (not rename) of the settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings-G01.ini

6)
Repeat step 3) and 4) to update the settings.ini for the second group of presets.

Then quit Shade-qui.exe, and make a copy (not rename) of the new settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings-G02.ini

7)
Repeat step 3) and 4) again to update the settings.ini for the third group of presets.

Quit Shade-qui.exe, and make a copy (not rename) of the updated settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings-G03.ini

8)
Once completed, make another copy for these three newly created ini files and name them

  • settings-G01_Backup.ini
  • Settings-G02_Backup.ini
  • Settings-G03_Backup.ini

These duplicates are used as backups as well as references for data checking.

9)
Now all three different ini files (settings-G01, settings-G02 & settings-G03) each containing 10 different presets are ready.

All I need is a utility that can check the current date, and then instruct the computer to automatically:

  • Rename settings-G01.ini to settings.ini to be used by SHADE
    — if current day is within the first 10 days of the month (1st to 10th); or
  • Rename settings-G02.ini to settings.ini
    — if current day is within the second 10 days of the month (11th to 20th); or
  • Rename settings-G03.ini to settings.ini
    — if current day is within the last 10/11 days of the month (21st to 31st)

By loading them respectively according to the calendar day of the month, each day will get a different shade.

10)
Based on the criteria, I wrote a utility named DayCheck.exe to serve the purpose to automatically select the corresponding ini files, according to the current day of the month.

By further adding the DayCheck utility to my FSX startup batch file, the launching of all necessary programs needed to run with FSX on my system are just a matter of a few mouse clicks.

==========

All files I created for FSX are shared on a “sent on request” basis.    Any subscribers of this blog are welcome to email me for a copy of the utility.    Others who are interested, please subscribe first and write me an email.

NOTE
Date Format is a crucial factor to correctly identify the day of a month for the utility.   I have written two versions of the utility for systems using MM/dd/yy or dd/MM/yy date format.   Anyone who is interested to get a copy of the utility should specify which date format is used on their systems.  Otherwsise, errors will result.

Also, backup your files first before using the utility although the utility is pretty safe and harmless.

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23 thoughts on “124: Break the 10-Day Shade Cycle Limit

      1. Thanks for the information Tom, but without the daychecker.exe utility, how can i automize the process of renaming the setting.ini ?
        Thanks in advanced.

        Paulo.

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      2. I see, Paulo. I sent you my other program, ShadeShifter. It is much better than the DayChecker I wrote. Install version 2 first and then use the update patch for the latest version 3. Tom

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      3. Many thanks Tom, i will try later. And just to confirm one thing… Is the version 2 already inside the rar file that you have send to me?

        Paulo

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      4. Hi Tom, can you send me v3 update of Shade Shifter please? It would be better if you could send me a link to download from. Many thanks in advance, Riccardo

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  1. Hello Tom’
    I recently started revisiting Shade and ran across your utility, I would be very grateful if I could give it a try.

    Thanks
    RW

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  2. Hi Tom
    Have just been reading about your excellent utility shade shifter, I have just subscribed to this blog, could you please send me a link for this fine utility.
    Many Thanks
    Alex

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  3. Hi Tom, maybe its because gmail cant receive exe file, may you send me in another way or format. Is not possible a simple download from somewhere? Many thanks

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  4. Hi Tom, thaks for this great post on Shade. I’d like to receive your utility for use with Shade. My date and time format is dd/MM/yy .

    Is there any problem (I think no) using it with ActiveSKy Evolution?

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    1. Hi Riccardo,
      The file is on its way to your mailbox. Do remember to check the README file first.
      The utility won’t cause any trouble to ActiveSky Evolution since it just checks the current day and loads the right settings.ini for SHADE accordingly.
      However, you’d better run the utility before ActiveSky if you are using ActiveSky to load FSX right after.
      Have fun!
      P.S. Pardon me for taking out your url.
      Tom

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    1. Hi Mark,
      The file has been sent to you. Do backup your settings.ini and read the instruction comes with the file. No worry, should have no harm to either shade or fsx.
      When you run Shade.exe, FSX will load automatically after it.
      Don’t quite get your question about REX. Do you mean the automatic weather engine?
      If so, you may need to test it out with the Shadenl.exe that will give you about 30 sec to load other programs before shade and fsx.
      If this is not what you meant, please explain.
      Tom

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