The Making of the Cloud Enhancement Pack - Part 2

In January 2023, two important things occurred which transformed this project from being one of the many new features of SWEP 2.0 to a whole pack of its own, and possibly one of the biggest undertakings to date in an Armstrong Powerhouse product. Firstly, discovering how to extend the scope of the pack beyond the original plan of 12 unique cloud layers. Secondly, that there is a more efficient and effective way of photographing clouds than constantly driving out 5 minutes to a cold and windy field. Whilst I had settled on the 12 layers as the most realistic prospect, I did often wonder whether they could be an extension to this at a later date via a sophisticated installer or program which allows the user to select the cloud layer they wish to use before loading the simulator. There was always a nagging feeling though that this was simply too complex and cumbersome for most people to bother with. What was required was a method within the simulator itself to select the cloud of choice

The Making of the Cloud Enhancement Pack - Part 1

Clouds have often been a neglected part of the Train Simulator world. Generic, ill-proportioned, low resolution, over-exposed, under-exposed; at least one of these words can usually be used to describe what has come before. Naturally, trains and railway infrastructure are always going to be the main focus of Train Simulator but considering the sky dominates the upper half of the scene, we think they are vital to providing proper immersion. As well as just being nice to look at, they also inform the player what the weather is doing, what it is likely to do and often the time of day too. In the creation of the Sky & Weather Enhancement Pack (SWEP) 2.0, I set out to see how far Train Simulator's ageing 'sky dome' system could be pushed to create something more realistic and convincing than had come before. I never imagined this would be the start of a 7 month project and what would be achieved. This blog is the story of that development. I hope you enjoy it. 16th Novem