The Views – Updates to a very important system

Once Ben is done fighting his war on HDR arthropods, Beta 5 will make its way out to the masses. In it, you'll find some very cool updates to the view system that we think will make sim-life much easier, more intuitive and more useful.

The first change is the removal of the "mouse look" in 3D mode. This was the mode where the mouse controlled your camera orientation just by moving the cursor around without clicking. We had some feedback on the feature and agreed that it's really not a very useful mode. The mouse is needed to click on various things in the 3D cockpit and to have your head bobbing around while you're trying to do that was just annoying.

To look around in 3D mode, you can still of course right click and then move the mouse to adjust the camera angle. You can also use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out of things. This has been in the sim throughout the 10.x run and will remain the primary means of controlling head movement (unless you use your keyboard or Track IR of course). Since many people find the right-click/scroll gestures to be intuitive and useful, I've gone in and made things more consistent. Now, no matter what view you're in, if head movement or zoom is possible, it's done with right click and scroll. It used to require a LEFT click and scrolling was not an option. This should immediately help people who had trouble with the left clicks activating their mouse-flying box.

The final change is a pretty important one. We've added a system called "Quick-Look" (QL from this point on). Technically, you already have QL but I didn't want to point it out to everyone until I had time to make some improvements to the system which I've done for Beta 5. QL allows you to get a view just the way you love it...and then save it to a hot key/cmnd that you can recall at any time later to go right back to the same spot.

For example, suppose you're flying the default King Air and you find yourself frequently positioning your head, tilting down and zooming in on the throttle quadrant to see how you have the aircraft configured. This can take some time to setup and if you do it often, it can really get tedious. Let's assign it to a QL then! Get the view the way you like it, and assign it to QL1. Now, no matter what you do to your views, when you press QL1, your head position, orientation and zoom goes right back to your memorized view of the throttle quadrant. It's not just for 3D cockpit mode either. It works in all aircraft-relative views so 3D Cockpit, Ridealong, Chase, Circle, Forward with Hud etc. The reason for that limitation, is that these views are saved a little differently than other things in the sim. These are aircraft specific preferences. This is necessary so that your views for the Cessna 172 stay with the aircraft and don't interfere with views for the King Air etc.

Currently, you get 10 QL views per aircraft and they're saved/recalled anytime you switch aircraft. The QL keys are number-pad 0-9 by default. So for example, to recall QL3, just press the 3 on your number pad. To save a view to QL3, just get the view the way you like it, then press CONTROL + Num-pad 3. CONTROL is the default modifier key to do memorization. Like most of the commands in X-Plane, these are customizable so you can wire them up to any button combinations that you want. Also, you can use your joystick buttons as well to recall saved views.

A word of caution...some of you may have already discovered the QL system in earlier betas. That version is a fairly limited prototype (it only works in cockpit mode) so please do not report any view bugs prior to testing Beta 5. Lastly, your aircraft QL view preferences are going to get trashed with Beta 5 so please don't spend hours tirelessly getting your views perfect for dozens of aircraft.

***EDIT*** Here's a quick video I took of some sample views that I setup in the default King Air.




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75 Responses to The Views – Updates to a very important system

  1. vonhinx says:

    I don't like instant view changes but there's a need for them where the viewpoint is somewhat remote from the point from which it's called. One could get a headache if QL scrolled views and you fired-off a few of them by some rapid clicks.

    Not so for the most delicious view feature inexplicably killed off by vs 10: the center-view command. The logic of this from the inside is that you can scroll (by whatever means) your view in any direction, but scrolling back to the default view is much more difficult, so center-view provided valuable assistance by scrolling to level pitch and zero heading in the cockpit. On external views, the level pitch and same zero heading served as a good orientation feature before lateral displacements.

    I know where everything is in a cockpit and can look anywhere without thinking. Getting back to default is the problem. Center View — plus — QL for external/remote views is where I see the silver lining. Without the former, if you permit me the colloquial expression, you're just dicking around.

    • Chris Serio says:

      I feel bad for you. You're never happy with anything.

    • Murmur says:

      Uhm... Wouldn't assigning one QL view to the center position be exactly analogous to a center-view command?

      I agree on the instant view change though, some people might prefer that to a scrolling view.

    • Greg says:

      Often times, the default centered view in a given airplane is NOT the default view you'd like to use.

      Assign a QL view for your preferred aligned and positioned view, and you can bang around the cockpit as you see fit with one key to get you back not only to a centered view, but YOUR centered view based on the airplane in question.

      • vonhinx says:

        So instead of look-left, look-down, look-back to center it's look-left, look-down, jerk back? It's unnatural when sitting on "the seat." Fine if you want a view from the back of the plane or top of the VSTAB. If the default is not the view I'd "like to see" I change it in Plane Maker in an instant. What I intend to fly regularly gets a generic .lua plugin to disable 2D view, fix the altitude dial, add missing sounds, and animate the viewpoint.

        -- I feel bad for you. You’re never happy with anything.

        I'm very happy with the way things work in 10b4, and have said so a number of times. See my comment in the Great War?

        • vonhinx says:

          I stand corrected. Just downloaded the video. QL can serve as n excellent center-view command. It's very nice indeed, and a welcome addition to XP10. I'm even happier now… wheee~!

        • Greg says:

          More and more usability features like this and the new quick-flight launching screen will start to break down the established, if not undeserved reputation that X-Plane is not only different, but difficult to use.

          It's a good thing! 🙂

  2. Dimitri says:

    This feature works even better than advertised: the camera pans and rotates when switching from one view to another: very cool.

  3. flo says:

    I like the quick views a lot. Gives me a good 3D feeling, is easy to set up and makes life easier. And it gets even better.
    Headaches? Not yet 😉

    But maybe it's nevertheless possible to make the panning and rotating optional (special view option). On a really big screen or a multi-monitor-setup I can imagine you could get dizzy...

    Flo

  4. NLS says:

    OK progress. Good thing.

    Two questions.

    1) Will QVs have some default? Would be a great starting point.

    2) Mouse wheel will not be used to -/+ knobs? (only OVER knobs of course, else zoom) Or at least allow for this to be configurable? I am pretty pretty sure most people agreed that this was the way to go, back when you asked about this.

    (CHRIS'S EDIT)***NO BUGS ON THE BLOG! YOU KNOW THIS***

    • Chris Serio says:

      1) If aircraft authors want to ship their aircraft with defaults, that might be nice. Perhaps we'll do the same at some point. Right now in Beta 5, it's just going to include the system with no defaults.
      2) No, mouse wheel will not control or spin knobs. This is not on-topic here but the summary is it's not a gesture that we feel is appropriate. Buttons/Knob control will remain a left click operation thought we do have some improvements planned.

      • NLS says:

        I don't mind the edit, since you read it and know (I suppose before my post) that this is still there.

        I would post #2 "on topic" but it is not a bug, so it cannot go to bug report and I don't think anybody reads new comments on very old blog posts (including the authors), so I don't see a way I could post this.

        Anyway, nice system, video looks great, indeed panning and tilting instead of warping between views is great.

        • Ben Supnik says:

          Your bug is not going to be fixed by filing a bug report that Chris then redacts from the forums. Chris did not file a bug report based on your comment.

          To fix a bug it _has_ to get into our bug base, and that happens via the bug report forum. File a bug report. Anything else is a waste of everyone's time.

          • NLS says:

            Well since being "treated" is not something that takes out the best of my character (which is not the best anyway), I am not filing anything. The bug is there, you know it, filed by me or not. Someone possibly has filed it already (or will eventually) and most probably you see it yourselves (pretty hard to miss).
            You don't have to publish that comment.

          • Ben Supnik says:

            If you don't want to file the bug, that is fine; we do not want anyone to file bugs who does not want to. All that we ask is that people who _do_ want to get information to us get that information to us in a channel that is useful and makes less work for everyone, not more. Please respect our guidelines for commenting on this blog in the future.

      • NLS says:

        I hope for button mapping, except the 10 QV buttons you add two "previews/next QV" buttons. Would be great for joystick mapping.

      • Tony says:

        Mousewheel control of knobs is one of the best features of FSX and I am amazed it hasn't been brought over to XP. Make much more sense and far more useful and realistic than "mouse zoom".

        That being said, and seeing as so many users agree, why not simply add it as an option in the setup?! Just like you can assign buttons to everything else, make an option for the mousewheel to either zoom, or control knobs.

        I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it is moving the mouse ever so slightly to the right or left to "turn" a knob or change a letter on the GPS in the KingAir, for example, only to accidentally move the mouse just enough while clicking to reset what I just entered, having to start over.

        • Chris Serio says:

          Button/knob control is not on-topic here and I'm not going to reopen this can of worms right now. It's already been given it's own blog entry and users have already chimed in with their feedback.

          At the present time, scroll wheel manipulation is not something we're going to act on. We will however be making adjustments and improvements to the existing button/knob control to improve user experience.

          • NLS says:

            To wonder why user opinion is ignored, is on topic or not?
            So that we know.

          • Chris Serio says:

            User opinion is not ignored...User opinion is heavily taken into consideration. Users however do NOT have:

            1) Our schedule
            2) Our feature roadmap
            3) Our source code and an understanding of the way the internals of the sim work
            4) An understanding of how legacy aircraft work that we need to continue to support

            We know what users want but there's a cost to everything and at the moment I write this, the cost of scroll wheel manipulation is too great. That can change tomorrow, next week, next year or in v11 but you're not going to see it in X-Plane 10.10 Beta 5 and that's what this blog post is written about.

          • Markus says:

            I doubt that using the scroll wheel like that is a major user wish. E.g. with trackpads it would be very difficult to control.

          • JJ says:

            Markus, go ahead and read
            http://developer.x-plane.com/2012/04/manipulators-and-the-scroll-wheel/ and you will see the overwhelming responses.
            I am sure Laminar Research must have a very good reason to ignore such a strongly demanded feature.

          • Markus says:

            oh, believe me, I read it all here (with high hopes for new hints to 64-bit every visit). But I am also a professional in all-things-internet and know very well how to take such stuff. Mostly the unhappy speak out. Or those that come from FS and have difficulties to adjust to different behaviours of the sims.

  5. This has to be one of the best features added to XP10. As a developer, and one that is working on a 3 place cockpit, there was some talk about how people will intuitivly use the Flight Engineer station. Now there is no question that it will be as intuitive as any other view and more fun now as well.

    Thank you so much!

  6. Stuart says:

    I have to say, I like this new system. In the past I have not had the multi-monitor setup and dont have a track IR system so using detailed 3D cockpits has been more of a bother when I want to actually fly. This feature will definatly expand my view, so to speak, of 3D cockpit aircraft.

  7. carrotroot says:

    Wow! That's look'n pretty smooth Mr. Chris, BTW there are a lot of people named Chris it's getting hard to track you all ... let's see there's you Chris S, Chris k, Chris the Impatient, and I think there is another Chris or two ... but I digress.

  8. Rodrigo Damazio says:

    How about those with keyboards *without* a numerical keypad? (Apple's bluetooth keyboard in my case) Can we reassign the keys?

    Also, can airplane makers assign some defaults, or even better - make some built-in camera views that we can assign to QLs as we like?

    Finally, looking forward to testing with by assigning the views to buttons on my SpacePilot Pro (which I've been using successfully with X-Plane to control the view).

    • Chris Serio says:

      Yes, as I mentioned in the article, you can assign the commands to any key/joystick button that you'd like. And yes, Aircraft authors can ship defaults if they'd like.

      • cestomano says:

        QL are a good improvemnt! I love them in beta4.

        About "you can assign the commands to any key/joystick button that you’d like" it could be a great idea to add two new commands: "next QL" and "previous QL". In fact, when I used Pilot View commands, I had assigned two joystick buttons to "next view" (1 -> 2, 2 -> 3, ...) and "previous view" (10 -> 9, 9 -> 8, ...) and were very usefull !! 🙂

  9. Simon W says:

    I'm happy, looks great Chris. Typical, you guys achieve an excellent feature and just get more complaints!

    Maybe slow the transition down a tad? not major though.

    As a video nut, I find the mouse control far too jittery, could you make it dreamy smooth or an option? Xp9 was lovely. Especially for the freecam shots.

  10. Flightime56 says:

    At the moment I use the izicam plug-in, And if I want to duplicate an Aircraft file (Say I want a default Qantas Version) I can copy the izicam.prf into the new file and get those set views on the new Aircraft file.
    Can you Chris copy the view .prf to another file?

  11. Heiko says:

    hi,

    ql is the best improvement i discovered in 10.10, i used it immediately. surprinsingly there was not too much hype about it in the forums but it is very valuable - the whole view system is so much better than any other sim 😉

    well done, keep up the great work!

    regards,
    heiko

  12. Markus says:

    This all sounds good, but very much focussed on users with a mouse (scrollwhell usage etc.). How do Trackpad (notebook or magic trackpad) users benefit from this and what is your advice on using the new features with that device?

    • Chris Serio says:

      It really shouldn't be any different. The device still sends scroll commands to the operating system. The new QL system will certainly help reduce the need for lots of 3D cockpit movement.

  13. Gracias. excelente trabajo

  14. Kristian Lundin says:

    Thank you for QL - a very welcome addition, indeed!
    Mouse-scroll-wheel for input-manipulation should be a no-brainer.

  15. Larry thompson says:

    Just noticed on the beta site that you said that " ■The HDR pipeline has been severely thrashed in an attempt to improve the look of translucent scenery." is that a good thing it sounds like you destroyed it

    • vonhinx says:

      I take that to mean it got a thorough examination and tweak. I agree with Simon W that mouse views need some smoothing, if that's what he said, and the QL transitions would benefit from some slowing.

  16. Yves Terweduwe says:

    Great addition to X-plane ! When I was still flying MSFS years ago, I used this addon "Active Camera" (http://www.anticyclone.be/Active_Camera/Home.html see Virtual cockpit and pilot views) which did pretty much the same.

  17. Pingback: » ALERT: XP10.10 beta 5 released Xsimreviews

  18. tim gordine says:

    "Xp9 was lovely. Especially for the freecam shots"
    For me (and a large number of XP users) I feel that ALL the views and cameras were very smooth ,intuitive and easy to use in 9 .Great for flying and video Any views you didn't have could be done with izicam, pilot view etc. As a result the improvements in 10 have been overshadowed by the new chase view , moving horizon etc.That said, QL is a real winner and the return of 3d/2d toggle ( or indeed centre)is great news.Thank you for your work.

    https://vimeo.com/34098897

    some v9 vid examples

  19. tim gordine says:

    yes mouse view smoother, the QL transition speed might depend on what you fly.
    747 @ 30,000 agl -switch on seatbelt sign, then causally drift over to adjust cabin temp.
    or F16 @200ft agl upside down selecting 3 targets whilst resetting the fmc!.I like beta 5!

    • tim gordine says:

      Ah may have spoke to soon , misunderstood no 3d/2d toggle.Drat oh well
      also QL was better in beta 4 ( btw easily assign centre to QL 0.Hit 'W' then control 0!) Now if you move from left cockpit to right using for example QL '2' and QL '3' the camera moves up through the centre and then right , rather than smoothly panning from one side to the other.Can this Please work as it did in Beta 4?)

      • Chris Serio says:

        Huh? I have no idea what you're referring to. If it's not working right, submit a bug report and include a video or something. I just tried what I think you're doing and it works exactly as expected...smoothly scrolling from one view to the next.

  20. BWolf7 says:

    I'm really happy with this update, it simplifies things a lot. =)

  21. tim gordine says:

    "It’s not just for 3D cockpit mode either. It works in all aircraft-relative views so 3D Cockpit, Ridealong, Chase, Circle, Forward with Hud etc."Should this mean I have 10 x QL presets per view type ie chase ,circle etc or 10 presets across all view types.As is for me right now it is the later.Great feature thanks

  22. Deane Morris says:

    By the way, thank you for the update. Now small rant.

    It's really going to suck for me having to click to use my mouse to move the view. It reminds me of Apple's unthinkably lame move of removing scroll-bar arrows in Lion without giving the option to keep them.

    I like to have one hand on my joystick and one hand on my mouse/track-pad, and like to be able to just move my left hand/finger around to fluidly control my view. Having a button clicked down all the time will not work with my carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Bad move.

    And PLEASE make it possible to confirm ATC with a joystick button. Hitting return and moving a mouse up to the "Readback Transmission" and clicking is nothing short of ridiculous when I'm trying to do the thing the ATC is hounding me to do in the first place.

    • Chris Serio says:

      You don't have to use the mouse to move your views...you can move the view with your joystick, with your keyboard or with Track IR.

      ATC confirmation through the keyboard/joystick has been there since 10.00's first release. There's a command called "Contact ATC" to open the box and it uses the generic General Commands like Up/Down to move and make selections.

      • Deane Morris says:

        I WANT to use the mouse or trackpad to move my view around without having to click anything. Now I can't move the view with my trackpad/mouse at all. Furthermore, I have flaps, trim, gear, and speed brakes taking up all the buttons on my joystick. Not only do I not have enough buttons available to assign activate-ATC, and move-around-the-ATC-menu actions to them, I don't want to be fumbling around with navigating through a silly menu, when all I want to do is READBACK-TRANSMISSION... something a pilot should be able to do by pressing a button on a joystick (and parroting).

        • Chris Serio says:

          We cannot cater to every possible usage case out there. We offer the flexibility to do customize most things and you can tweak it to your heart's desire. Where customization ends, plugins step in to do just loads more. Mouse-Look was only around for a very short time. It didn't exist in v9 and quickly became useless in v10 since most users have a mouse and use it to click on things in the 3D cockpit...so a view that followed the cursor was rarely if ever used. If we're wrong and find that a lot of users really miss it, it can be added back but if it remains limited to a small niche group, perhaps its better implemented as a 3rd party plugin.

          As far as the ATC commands, as the system grows, the need for the user to pick things from the menu is going to increase. What are you going to do when you're asked which approach you're looking for, or when you need to request a different altitude or report traffic in sight? As a small trick in the meantime, the system remembers where you last left the menu selection so if you open the menu and select "readback"...then you can just double click the "Contact ATC" command button (if it's assigned to your joystick or keyboard) and it will do a readback. The first click will pop up the menu selecting the readback item, the second click will pick it.

    • Deane Morris says:

      The computer I am flying on doesn't even have a mouse. I have a track pad. I can't look any direction. I tried command-clicking, option-clicking, control-clicking, function-clicking. I am a trackpad user and I can't move my view with the "mouse" any more. Bummer guys. I like quick-look, but with my limited keyboard, I have to use all kinds of modifier keys to get to them. This means it takes two hands to use Quick Look and still have enough keys assigned to basically run x-plane. Now I might as well not even have 3d cockpit. This is a silly move guys. Just silly to remove basic features like that. Dang!

      • Chris Serio says:

        That's why I said you DO NOT NEED TO USE YOUR MOUSE. Use your keyboard, use your joystick. Everything is reassignable to just about any key or button including the quick look commands. Better support for trackpads is on the TODO list but until then, you have options.

        • Deane Morris says:

          I used to be able to fly through the grand canyon in X-Plane and fluidly look around the plane as if I was turning my head in a 3D environment. I could fly the plane with my right hand and look with my left hand. I could compensate airplane movement fluidly with a small gesture with my left hand and keep what I was looking at in view. Now you give me only clunky movement options and tell me it's better without understanding my problem in the first place. You don't listen to me at all. You're basically saying, since I don't have your control setup, or like controlling it like you do, that removing basic view functionality is warranted. I can't believe how short-sighted and righteous you are Chris.

          • Chris Serio says:

            I've given you a list of all of the options you have available to you. There's nothing else I can say that's going to please you. If mouse-look indeed turns out to be a throughly-missed feature, it'll come back but right now you're the one and only complaint we've seen.

          • vonhinx says:

            Have you tried the MouseMovesView plugin? It'll pan when the cursor nears the edge of the screen — no need for a click.

  23. carrotroot says:

    I am glad the mouse look option [Shift][0] has been sent to the glue factory, the QL keys are much faster and practical for moving about the cockpit.

  24. flo says:

    Regarding beta5: In beta 4 the quick views panned and zoomed directly from the last position to the next.
    Now it always goes back to a centered (default command view?) view and starts from there. It's distracting in my opinion and not the natural way to look around. It kind of zig-zag when moving from right down to right up or to left down beacause actually it moves from right down to centered to right up...
    Is this intended, feature or bug?
    Anyway, I prefered the beta 4 version in this regard.
    I like the new outside-views control. Works fine.

    Flo

    • Chris Serio says:

      You're the 3rd person to say this and yet I still have no idea what you are referring to because I just don't see that on my end. Can someone take a video of this and post it on YouTube in a bug report?

    • vonhinx says:

      Yes, b4's viewpoint to viewpoint scroll was better, and I'm really glad Chris is heading that way. However, things are never that simple:

      In internal views one simulates a pilot more than a camera, and the shortest route between an internal aft-right view and an internal aft-left view is not through the neck-breaking 180˚ cardinal point but by the 0˚ cardinal point (Linda Blair in Exorcist excepted ;-). It's a small point that can be ignored unless one is already trapping for internal versus external views.

  25. Fellbatzen says:

    Good update. I used to look around with the mouse all the time, but it was a bit annoying to have the camera following the cursor when I wanted to click stuff in the cockpit. I am flying with the X-Plane Remote app on the iPod touch and it is pretty fun this way!

    I am pretty sure that there already is a bug report for this, but the livery loading is broken again.

    Also there is a problem with small airports having autogen trees on the runway. I discovered quite a few of them, you can take icao EDEN (Bad Hersfeld) as an example.
    Should I file a bug report for this? I am not sure if it is a bug or a problem with the way autogen currently works. Runways should be always free of stuff. At least, there is no collision with the trees. 🙂

    Can you add options for real world weather / time and livery selection to the quick flight screen? Would be cool.

  26. Flightime56 says:

    Good Job Chris...
    One question, In the Key set up menu what is the difference between.
    quick_look_1 and/or - quick_look_1_mem ?

    • Chris Serio says:

      The "_mems" are the assignment keys. So they should almost always be the same as the quick_look keys but with a modifier. So by default 0-9 for quick_look and CONTROL+0-9 for _mems.

  27. Tom Knudsen says:

    Thank you for QuickView

    PS.. Will saved views be removed during updates?

    • Chris Serio says:

      There's no plan to trash your settings if that's what you're asking. 🙂 It's a preference file just like any other but i will double check with Ben to make sure the installer won't delete files it doesn't recognize in the aircraft folder.

  28. tim gordine says:

    "I see the problem now. This will be fixed in Beta 6. It is indeed annoying".
    Phew! thanks Chris, thought I was going mad.Bring on 6!

  29. Jayden B says:

    I loved the 3D cockpit with a simple move of the mouse. Now i cant look around my 3d cockpit at all. What the hell did you guys do? I understand there were people who hated it but you could have left that option for those who loved it. thanks alot.

  30. Mike B says:

    I think this has been discussed in the past, but I find the click and drag method of rotating knobs very difficult. Take the 747 ALT setting on the 747 for example. I get about 300 feet per drag, so setting it to 35000 is an afternoon's work. Also if you drag out of the x-plane window (easy to do if you are not full screen) then it undrags you as you come back. Grr. Is there a quicker way to do this?

    Is there a keyboard way to lean forward and look down? I can't find a keyboard way of seeing the nav radio frequency without the knob obscuring it. I can do it with the mouse though.

    I think the quick look is a great improvement (especially as I suggested it some months back) :-). Seriously though it all works much better.

  31. Carl Nelson says:

    I like the sign in procedure but would like to be able to select a Livery if I decide to change what I am flying with. a button that could be selected might be a nice thing. the way it is now you load the defaule then go to change the livery and you have to go through the aircraft download again.

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