153: Shade Shifter Version 3 Released

The version 3 of my Shade Shifter utility has been completed.   It will be ready for download within a week.   In addition to code optimizations and user-interface enhancements, major features added to the new version include the following:

When the utility is started, it will automatically check and display the current Day Cycle of FSX for users’ reference.    This minimizes the needs of calling up the Day Cycle Calculator for just today.

For example, the Day Cycle of today — May-14, 2012 in FSX — is 2.   It will be shown as “Today’s Shade 02” when Shade Shifter is started.   (Refer to Post 116 for more information about the Day Cycle Calculator.)

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149: Shade Shifter Version 2.1a Released

Another minor update of the Shade Shifter program which now shows the current Preset name has just been released.   It will help users to easily decide whether to keep the current one or to go to the Selection Screen for another Preset.

All existing users can make use of the same download link sent to you before to get the new version.

NOTE that the ONLY file you’ll need to replace is ShadeShifterV2.exe.    The new one has a modified date of 15-April-2012.   You will also find Shade Shifter v2.1a  at the top left corner on the Preset Selection Screen.

The next major update with some sorts of randomized Shade Preset selection feature, though a bit behind schedule, is still under development.    Any suggestions of new features are welcome.

145: Shade Shifter Version 2

Version 2 of my Shade Shifter program will be released in the next few days.   The code has been rewritten completely for better efficiency.   Other changes include:

1.  Improved program interface;
2.  All presets now grouped under a specific sub-directory; and
3.  All buttons could be renamed by users.

However, I am not going to send this update out to all subscribers as I did for the first version because obviously not all simmers have Shade for FSX.    So any subscriber who has Shade for FSX and would like to get a copy of this update, please jot a note in the Comments section below.    Download link will be emailed later once the testing of the new version is completed.

Again, only subscriber requests will be entertained.

143: Notes about the Shade Shifter

Got some emails from subscribers asking about the ShadeShifter.    Here’s the note:

My ShadeShifter is an additional utility written for the pay utility “Shade for FSX“, which allows the changing of atmospheric effect in FSX.   Many information about it could be found from the sub-category of Tools in my blog or on the internet.

“Shade for FSX” comes with a number of presets, and each of them brings a different effect.   However, switching from one preset to another through the interface of the program itself is a bit clumsy.   Therefore, I wrote this ShadeShifter to make the switching more easily and user-friendly.

I can make up somethings to render similar shade effects without the program itself, but that’s not fair to the developer.   So, if any of you don’t have “Shade for FSX”, I am sorry that my ShadeShifter is of no use to you.   That’s why I just sent out a link instead of the ShadeShifter itself in order to give you a choice to decide if you really need it.

To me, “Shade for FSX” is a necessity for my FSX setup.    But note that I am in no way associated to the developer of “Shade for FSX”.    I just found the program a good one and there are many “conveniences” I can do about it to serve my own needs.    And this ShadeShifter is my newest addition if you read my previous posts about Shade.

142: The Shade Shifter

UPDATE (21-JAN-2012):
Download link for this ShadeShifter has just been sent out to all subscribers.  If you are a subscriber but didn’t get my email, plesae let me know.   Hope you all like it.

Haven’t written any post these days since I am still deeply submerged in holiday mood as Chinese New Year is coming the next Monday.   Even my FlyZone Switcher project which is waiting for refinements and there are zones to complete, I put them aside as well.

Anyway, I have just created another utility for the SHADE for FSX — seems like I should claim for some commissions from the developer for all the assisting utilities I have developed……just kidding.

Back to the utility.  I call it the Shade Shifter — the name is inspired by the shape-shifter, a goblin in the TV drama series, Supernatural.   I found the name quite amusing.

From Post 124: Break the 10 Day Shade Cycle Limit, I wrote a utility to call up a Shade Preset according to 1) the day within the Shade cycle and 2) the actually date within a calendar month, so as to allocate a different Shade for each day in any month, and in particular, to create a randomized effect.

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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:

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122: Day Cycle Calculator goes Mobile

Here’s the mobile versionof the FSX Day Cycle Calculator customized for iPhones and smart phones.

When started, SHADE/Day cycle of today will be shown.    Still, users can effortlessly select another day or month as with the desktop version.

From now on, one can find out the SHADE/Day cycle of today in FSX, anytime, anywhere, even without a computer.    Just bookmark the following link in the browser of the phone.