X-Plane 10.10 Beta 3: Rapidly Beating HID Into Submission

X-Plane 10.10 Beta 3 is here.  To avoid having to type it each time, all of the info about betas is now on the release notes page here.  Please read it carefully!  Please: no bug reports on the blog, only on the bug report form!

You may have noticed the large number of joystick-related bugs in X-plane 10.10, something that is unusual for X-Plane betas.  There is a reason for this: Chris totally rewrote the joystick IO code from the ground up for 10.10.  We had been living on the same old dubious code for perhaps 5 years before; the new stuff is literally brand new.

Chris is working through the joystick bugs at a pretty quick pace.  We will continue to push betas frequently as long as there are bugs that interfere with us collecting other bug data (e.g. crashes, joysticks totally inop, etc.); then we’ll slow the pace of betas down to get more fixes in per beta.

What possessed us to send Chris off into HID land on a quest for new IO code?  The new IO code is meant to support a number of features, a few in 10.10 but most coming in a future build:

  • Hot swapping (here now).
  • Correct hat switch operations (here now).
  • Preferences bound to more than one stick without resetting (here now).
  • Automatic configuration (coming in the future).
  • Better descriptions of the hardware in the UI (coming in the future).
  • Ability to easily open source the Linux IO code (coming in the future).

The new code sets up a unified interface to the hardware, with the hope of sharing configuration info and being able to open source the low level IO code.

The long term goal is to make it really easy to work with X-Plane joysticks: plug it in, go through the absolute minimum configuration just once, and you’re flying.

What, You’re Not Root???

Linux nerds: X-Plane 10.10 moves from the joystick API to the input API for joystick IO.* The input API gives us a modern interface with better meta data about the hardware.  However we have seen cases where the access control list on the “event” device for the joystick isn’t user-readable even when the “joystick” device is.

Chris is still discussing what we can be done with knowledgeable Linux types, but my view is: this seems like a bug.  If the device is safe for users as a joystick, it’s safe as an input event source, and it shouldn’t be necessary to make a udev rule and/or chmod the device entry to use the joystick-type device.  So perhaps at some point we can push corrected udev rules up into upstream distributions.

But this isn’t something that Chris and I have any expertise in; if you are a Linux X-Plane user and have expertise in the area, please keep an ear open for when we get closer to a resolution on this issue.

(In the meantime, you may have to take the sudo-hammer to your joystick in 10.10.)

* Our preferred interface would be a HID interface, but we don’t have our own HID descriptor parser; we use the OS X and Windows one.  There are two show-stoppers to speaking raw HID. One is the lack of a parser on Linux and one is that the raw HID-as-report device has similar permissions problems to the ones mentioned above for weird joysticks, except the permissions are root only all the time.

So some day in the future perhaps we’ll get to reading raw HID (which would give us perfect similarity to Mac/Win) but for the time being we expect to ship on the unified input interface.

***CHRIS’S EDIT*** I _think_ I’ve squashed all kinds of Joystick related crashes and Joystick calibration issues. These are issues where the stick would not move smoothly from one end of travel to the other. I also think I’ve squashed issues where certain devices/axis were just not showing up. If you have a device that’s still having problems with Beta 3…PLEASE FILE A BUG REPORT. I definitely want to know about it. Always include a Log.txt from a sim run that had the device attached.

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19 Responses to X-Plane 10.10 Beta 3: Rapidly Beating HID Into Submission

  1. sothis says:

    Please don’t call it ‘hammer’. People mustn’t be afraid of running stuff as root :)

  2. Bill (sparker256) says:

    You can count me in to help where ever I can.

    Bill

  3. M. Müschenborn says:

    If I am the >2 person asking, ignore me. But Why does it show X-Plane 9.7 almost everywhere during the updates?

  4. Łukasz Grochal says:

    On a (somewhat) side note – 10.10b3 is not available as demo. No matter if I tick the ‘beta’ checkbox or not, I get 10.05r1 when using the demo installer. Is it a glitch? Or a change in policy?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Neither? I just ran a demo update and was able to get beta. If you can’t make this work, please contact tech support.

      • Łukasz Grochal says:

        Ah, OK. It’s the web cache down here, problem solved. You might however want to let the person who runs the Apache that serves http://www.x-plane.com know that for Squid web-caches (and so, possibly, for other brands too), the max-age cache-control directive takes precedence over the Expires header. And while for /_lookup_10_/server_list_10.txt the latter is perfect, the former is set to 1209600 seconds. Which means, that once a Squid caches this file, it considers it good for the next two weeks. Which was what bit _me_ in the head.

  5. Mike W says:

    Man! Wish I would have read all this before one of my two CH sticks hit the wall. How do you say, “My bad!”

  6. chris says:

    with all these crash reports we send in, please look into seeing why 10.10 so far crashes so frequently., eve with lower settings than 10.05, pan view , sitting on runway, anything it crashes. Note- this is in some cases bad alloc memory and some not. I monitor the real memory.

    filed bugs and submitted crashes but no luck in any beta thus far.

  7. florian says:

    Speaking of input devices I wondered what happend to the improvement of the mouse/drag/knobs manipulation that was mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Has it been quietly implemented or is it still to come?

    I think the decision for/against mousewheel manipulation of knobs is also important when it comes to finalizing airplanes for v10. I know you already made a decision but regarding the numberous votes for mousewheel/manipulation -implementation you maybe gave this solution a second thought.

    Best regards
    Florian

    • Ben Supnik says:

      There’s new code in the beta but I haven’t announced the OBJ commands because I am still not sure exactly what will be released..it’s experimental, and so far I’ve been fighting nasty fix-now bugs.

  8. Patrick Bureau says:

    OK I finally got to try X-plane 10.10 Beta3. It seems like the safe mode works. Funny however because when launching in safe mode, the default rendering settings are applied. Then you change them to where they were and boom it works fine!!!! you shut down xplane after your flights…. and you can’t restart it, it crashes on startup. Then when you start it again, it asks: safe mode with previous settings ? I say Yes!!!! and boom it works. Anyway, I finally tried it.

    WOW!
    major major major improvements. I am really impressed. This feels very different now. Much smoother. Few things feel too bright or the shadows on the ground from the clouds move very fast depending of your view which is strange. However.. MUCH SMOOTHER on ATI. I am one of the ATI users :-) and I can say that I now have the flights that I never thought I would get on XP10. I run in a weird 3monitors display at high settings. And I could run 100% clouds, extreme res at 3840×1024 resolution at 21 fps below clouds (overcast) and 28 over cloud coverage, which is simply amazing.
    Everything feels smoother.

    Few things to tweak with the autopilot though but I assume you already know about these bugs. If not let me know and I will file them. There are quite a few autopilots that are not working anymore.

    thanks for that great update and looking forward to the next release.. and the 64 bit release

    :-)

    Patrick

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Glad fps are better on ATI – between general perf improvements and the map buffer fix things should be better.

      I don’t know of anything broken in the autopilot. Please file bugs on them.

      Generally, no one should assume that we know about a bug. You’d be shocked at the number of times that everyone thinks someone else reported it!

      • Patrick Bureau says:

        Ok I submitted the bug. Hopefully youll be able to reproduce but to me this is pretty serious as it worked before in 10.05.
        thanks for looking at it!

        Pat

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