ActiveSky for MSFS

Well blow me down…a few days ago HiFi Simulation Technologies have announced, and somewhat out of the blue I must add, that ActiveSky FS is coming for Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Actually by the time I got around to writing this it is already out.  ActiveSky FS is officially available for MSFS as of 18 April and many of the Twitch and YouTube content creators have already begun showcasing the new weather engine.  Before I provide my opinion, let me say the following.

In the olden days…

Back in my FSX and P3D days, ActiveSky was an absolute must have in the sim.  It was truly a game changing 3rd party product.  When MSFS first came out and because Asobo/Microsoft didn’t open up the API for 3rd party weather systems, HiFi Simulations made the announcement that at that time there would be no way for them to bring live weather into the sim.  I discussed this in greater detail in this blog post titled “Confused in Cleveland – Weather Addon for MSFS“.  According to what I’ve heard, Microsoft has made no changes to the sim as we know it to allow any 3rd party weather systems to function.  So essentially ActiveSky FS must have found a way for it to finally work.  But it appears all ActiveSky FS is doing is reading the METAR and using default MSFS clouds and other weather elements to depict what is going on around you.

After the initial release of Microsoft Flight Simulator almost four years ago, the built-in weather engine wasn’t very solid.  But over the years and especially the last 2+ years that I’ve been using MSFS exclusively, there have been vast improvements made to the weather engine and I personally have been very pleased with what I experience in the sim.  I’ve actually been so pleased with it that I really haven’t felt a need to think about any sort of 3rd party weather add-on.  Which is why the announcement from HiFi Simulation Technologies comes as such a surprise to myself and many others.

My Impressions

First, let me state up front that I do not own ActiveSky FS for MSFS.  Some could argue and question why I would even write a blog post about something that I don’t have any first hand experience with.  While this could be a good argument, I’m stubborn and this is my blog site and I can write about what I want to write about and you can read what you want to read.  LOL  I have plenty of loyal readers of this blog site that look to me for honest reviews and opinions and while I haven’t purchased and used ActiveSky FS, the information I do have is certainly worthy to share.

Like I said, I have viewed several hours of content from both YouTube and Twitch in the past 24 hours and have come to the conclusion that in the grand scheme of things, at this immediate point in time  there is no discernable difference between what I saw with my own eyes when showing MSFS with built in weather active versus with using ActiveSky FS.  If anything….one of the content creators who I watch often, discovered a couple of bugs in ActiveSky FS which are worthy enough to take  a more wait and see approach to this add-on.

I do believe in time, ActiveSky FS would be something I would purchase if and when 3rd party developers such as PMDG, Fenix etc. are able to connect into the ActiveSky FS API for possible weather radar depiction functions which obviously still are missing in MSFS.  However, I just can’t see a reason to spend my money on something that at this time doesn’t offer anything better than the default MSFS weather.  Of course, one other big advantage of ActiveSky FS at this time is the historical weather options which have been sadly missed in the default system.  But this isn’t something I use very often and honestly haven’t missed it that much over these past few years.

The other slightly disappointing fact in my observations with regards to the new ActiveSky FS is their UI or User Interface.  It’s basically the same UI from years ago.  Of course one could say if that works, why change it?  If felt clunky way back in the days of FSX/P3D and still looks the same way today.  Perhaps this is something they’ll change in time.  But who knows.

Like I said, I’ll keep an eye on ActiveSky FS and hopefully in time the product will offer a lot more than what is available in the default MSFS weather systems.  While ActiveSky FS is reasonably priced at $24.99, it’s just not something I’m ready to commit to at this time.  But I would encourage anyone reading this to do their own research.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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