FS Water Configurator is a freeware addon utility for Microsoft Flight Simulator X designed to modify the look of the reflective water in the game. It will increase the realism of the reflections and lighting of the water and is completely controllable by the user. If you prefer glass like reflections or very subtle water reflections, FSWC is the utility for you.
The program works by editing the shader file associated with FSX shader model 2 water, then clearing the shader cache. Settings such as horizon and vertical reflections, reflection intensities and curves can all be modified easily within a user friendly graphic interface, designed to look much like the default Flight Simulator X interface. It works with all 2x water settings enhancing the look of 2x low up to 2x max.
FSWC vs default FSX
FSX has a very limited shader model for water. It uses the same shader effects for all water in the sim regardless of weather conditions. So if you are over rough seas in stormy weather you get the same reflections as if you are over a calm lake on a clear day. FSWC enables the user to modify the shader effects to suit the flying conditions.
With default FSX water there is not much difference in the reflection intensity in relation to the viewing angle. In the real world this is very apparent as water reflects far more if you are near the water looking towards the horizon than if you're high up looking straight down. FSWC adds this distinction to the game in a user controllable way. You have independant control of the intensity of both horizon and vertical reflections and the blending curve between them.
FSX's default water also has a very strong glow effect created by the moon. This looks especially bad when there is a full moon high in the sky, creating an almost milky appearance to the water. With FSWC you can control the intensity of this glow as well as the intensity of the moon and sun's specular reflections.
FS Water Configurator features a profile and preset system, where multiple settings can be saved and loaded at any time. This gives the user the ability to create multiple profiles which can be used depending on the users’ preferences, as well as flight conditions. Presets are also included with the program to give the user rough starting points, including some special effects presets such as 'Night Water' and 'Glass Water'..
3rd Party Compatible
Unlike other water enhancements for Flight Simulator X, FS Water Configurator does not modify any textures, waterclass or water animations, so it is compatible with most of the popular 3rd party texture addon packages.
If you’re disappointed with the default FSX water, if you feel that the reflections are too intense or the colour too drab, if you hate the way the water glows under a full moon, then FS Water Configurator can help address these problems. Do remember, however, that whilst FS Water Configurator can modify the overall look of the water, it doesn’t change any animations, or base textures. It is for this reason that we suggest you also get a 3rd party environment texture package, such as Real Environment Xtreme, to further the quality of Flight Simulator X’s water and help to make FSX ‘as real as it gets’.
FSWC:Lite is a stand-alone, cut down version of FSWC. It features all the enhanced shader abilities of FSWC without any slider controls. It enables the installation of all the main FSWC presets, from "Ocean Rough" to "Glass Water", in a simple, easy to use interface.
As it uses a very simplified interface, it should work on systems that get an error message when trying to run the full FSWC program.
Also, as a special bonus for those using FSX in Direct X 10 mode, there is a special DX10 shader featuring all the new enhancements coming in FSWC+. So finally DX10 users can benefit from FSWC.
FSWC+ is currently in development. It will feature many new controls and features as well as full Direct X 10 compatibility. In addition to the original controls from FSWC 3.15, FSWC+ will also include a new modification to the shader file to enhance the '3D' look of the waves and reflections and new controls including; base texture brightness and diffuse lighting dynamic responce.
FSWC+ will give the user the ability to modify the wave animation effect created by the water bump mapping. Controls will include wave scale, wave height and wave speed. These controls are fully compatible with all 3rd party wave animation maps. You will also be able to control how the bump map effects the reflections with a new reflection distortion control.
In addition to all the new controls, FSWC+ will also give the user more options to refine the look of the sun and moon specular reflections. Controls including specular focus, specular gain and specular blend, will help to create the most realistic specular shine yet seen in a flight simulator.
FSWC+ will feature a DX10 mode with all the new controls from DX9 plus a few extra ones! There will also be compatibility modes for both FSX SP1 and ATI HD cards.
Keep an eye on our forum for up-to-date reports of FSWC+'s development.