The Nerd’s First Impressions: REX WeatherForce 2020 for MSFS
Written by PD on October 1, 2020
REX WeatherForce 2020 for MSFS, The Nerd’s First Impressions
THE PRODUCT: REX WeatherForce 2020
THE PRICE: $21.95 USD
WHERE TO BUY: https://rexsimulations.com/weatherforce.html
INTRODUCTION: This is my first REAL review of ANY Flight Simulator product. I hope the following evaluation will give you a good perspective on what to expect from REX WeatherForce.
First of all I must set the stage. While I have been flying with Microsoft and REX products for MANY years, I am, by NO means a hard core flight simmer. It has been over 10 years since I upgraded my PC for Flight sim. My old machine was getting tired and barely pulled the load for FSX and P3D. I would not even consider trying XPlane11 because of the age of my machine. Needless to say I haven’t actually flown a productive sim in a couple of years. I had actually lost interest in flying altogether.
BUT!! Upon hearing of the hearing of the pending release of MSFS, my interest in flight sim began to come back. I signed up for the pre-release “Insider” program only to find out my old machine did not qualify for any kind of testing( it was Win7 based and MS was looking for “EVIL Win10” users). I get it. This was going to be an ALL NEW thing!! So, I settled for following the announcements, and as with most of the Flight Sim World, I was SHOCKED to hear surprise annoucement of the upcoming release date of MSFS! I just HAD to act, and ACT NOW! While others were waiting, I was breathlessly looking for the best build I could do without losing my lovely wife(Mrs.Nerd)in the process.(Married guys know what I mean.)
So, I went to building the “almost perfect beast” (Forgive me, I have nothing against Intel. I’m just an AMD Fan.)
Win10 Pro 64 bit
Aorus X570 MoBo
Ryzen 9 3900XT
Corsair Liquid Cooling
32GB DDR4 3600 RAM
MSI Radeon RX5700XT 8GB
850W 80+ Gold PWS
1TB M.2 SSD (OS and Programs)
2TB M.2 SSD (Storage)
FRAMES: Locked at 50 fps(Normal performance for my machine is 40-50 fps) Smooth operation with an occational screen stutter (no more frequent than 5-10 min apart.)
The reason I write all the above stuff is to EMPHASIZE your results may vary. AND judging by the discussion in the REX Discord Channel….results are all over the place. Comments like “Works great for me!” to “this thing is totally borked”(whatever that is supposed to mean.) So take all this with the proper context.
WEATHER FORCE IS THE NEW METAR-BASED DYNAMIC REAL-TIME WEATHER ENGINE FOR MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR
By utilizing inter-process communication with the simulator via fine granular control, you will experience automated, dynamic, and smooth weather transitions from real-world reporting metar stations.
Weather Force also includes a wide range of proprietary dynamic, changing (non-static) weather scenarios. These scenarios are unlike the static weather presets that ship with Microsoft Flight Simulator.
REX WeatherForce is NOT an ALL INCLUSIVE weather and texture addon the MSFS. It only enhances the generation of REAL TIME reported weather using the EXISTING MSFS graphics structure(which this writer believes is AMAZING.)
My download occurred a few days after the initial release of REX WeatherForce, but prior to the update on 9/29. The download went well, without any issue or ill effects. Registration went flawlessly.
The problems began when I DID NOT read the instructions FULLY. Initially, I got no weather injection upon starting up WeatherForce because I fired it up before getting MSFS up and running FIRST. By “up and running”, at the moment it means having the flight plan loaded, aircraft on the ramp and aircraft engines running. Then, and ONLY THEN will the REX WeatherForce engine kick in. (So, basically, go through flight planning, preflight and startup BEFORE starting the REX WeatherForce engine.)
THE FIRST FLIGHT: That being said, after I figured that out I planned a flight where I knew I should experience some kind of weather aside from the clear skies I have typically seen in the “box stock” MSFS. I loaded up the TBM930 in KACK(Canton-Akron,OH) destination of KYNG(Youngstown,OH) via a few waypoints to the south at a cruising altitude of 14,500ft, trying to keep the same reported wx conditions for departure and arrival. This was a night flight. After starting up the aircraft, I initialized WeatherForce and was immediately greeted with the rainfall and cloud cover reported at KACK, something yet to be presented in MSFS alone. All steady as I taxied out to the runway and took off. On climb out, I experienced shifting winds, and the cloud cover immediately began closing in. As I continued to climb, the OAT(Outside air temp) began to drop. As the OAT began to drop, light rime icing developed on the windscreen, wings and control surfaces(while this is actually a product of the MSFS simulation, the stock MSFS weather engine seems to lack the ability to do this in real time and at altitude layers.) Using the MSFS effects, REX smoothed out the weather dynamics of the simulation. Cruise at 14,500ft was just a bit above the tops but, I did duck in a couple of times. Icing went away and all was good. Winds aloft were “dead on” with all of the resources I was monitoring at the time.
During the descent into KYNG(reported vis of 6 miles and light rain,) I experienced the same climbout icing until I reached an altitude where the temps were not a factor anymore. The rain never stopped(unlike MSFS, where it comes and goes.) I was able to see the runway environment at about 7 mile final. Continuous light rain and slight shifting winds on final approach. All in all, a very good experiece.
THE SECOND FLIGHT:
Then came an Update for both MSFS and REX on the same day. And again much discussion all over the place about “this not working” and “that is broken now…..” MUCH to my surprise, (because I’M THAT GUY that always has install issues) there were NO such issues for me! I planned another heavy weather flight from the South Carolina coast to Northeast Florida, basically flying right along the line of heavy storms that lingered on the East Coast all day. The rain was there, as reported. On departure climb I went into the bases of the clouds at the reported altitude. The climb to altitude was bumpy as expected with the conditions. Again my planned cruise altitude was 14,500ft. Tops were reported at 14,000 and I was indeed bumping across the tops when I got to 14,500. I decided to climb to 16,500 to get above the choppy ride. As the flight progressed, I was faced with Towering Cumulus and no way around ot over them. I decided, what the heck, this is a simulator. No one is gonna die. I flew through the NASTIEST thunderstorm I have ever encountered in a flight simulator. My weather radar was totally RED for miles around. Lightning and moderate turbulence for the next 20 or so miles of my flight. On approach the destination airport was reporting a broken ceiling at 2000 AGL, overcast at 6000 with tops at 10,000. As I becgan to descent, again, all the real world weather numbers matched accurately with what was in being painted in the sim.
The post update experience for me was just as good or better. Following the same step by step startup of MSFS then the REX injection, everything went flawlessly! Every transition was smooth from one reporting station to the next. All barometric pressures, winds aloft, OAT and cloud tops stayed accurate with the most current weather data I could find.
Prior to using WeatherForce, MSFS transitions were inconsistent, at best. One section of the flight may depict wind, cloud cover and accurate temps at altitude, the another segment might be depict clear skies where the actual weather wasn’t reported to be clear.
I noticed no drop in performance at all in either of my flights. My framerates stayed at the 40-50 range. For all you FPS junkies out there Flight Sim is diffent from the faster paced environment of Gaming. A good 24+ frame rate is really all you need, as long as your simulation is not stuttering or freezing up. Smooth is the key!
THE NERD’S FINAL ANALYSIS:
I mentioned at the beginning of my review that based on your hardware, installation and operation of MSFS and REX, your results may vary. The discussion forums prove that fact. Yes, things are getting released quickly and sometimes with some bugginess. Yes, some of you are probably have an issue or two. Keep in mind, updates are coming just as fast and they are automatic and free! The first update came less than a month after the initial release. But, for me….AS TESTED…REX WeatherForce 2020 does EXACTLY what it claims to do! And in this writer’s humble opinion, it does it very accurately and VERY WELL!! If you have already dumped $60, $90 or $120 into MSFS, you have seen amazing weather TEXTURES. BUT, if you are like me and are less than enthusiastic about the weather ENGINE performance, REX WeatherForce might just be the product to bring your MSFS experience to the next level. At a price point of $21.95 USD, you can’t go wrong with REX WeatherForce 2020. In my humble opinion REX WeatherForce 2020 should be the first software add on you get for MSFS.