More Airports in X-Plane 10.51

Our original plan for adding more X-Plane scenery gateway airports to 10.50 was to add two batches: one at the beginning of beta and one at the end.

We are changing that plan - I think our new plan is going to be an X-Plane 10.51, a week or two after 10.50 goes final, with new airports.

The reason to wait is that X-Plane 10.50 is further along than WED 1.5 - we have an RC for X-Plane but we're still on beta 1 for WED.

New airports uploaded for X-Plane need to come from WED 1.5 (for both new features and much stronger validation checks) but they also need to come from a better tested WED 1.5. So we'll wait for WED to be a little bit more mature.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: don't panic if your airport isn't going to be ready; X-Plane 10.51 will not be the last time we add more airports to X-Plane.

For now if you are working on an X-Plane 10.50-compatible airport my suggestion is:

  • Use WED 1.5 beta 1 and X-Plane 10.50 rc 1.
  • Don't upload to the gateway yet.
  • Do test your airport and report bugs against WED and X-Plane - especially X-Plane.

I will post here when we have a WED that we think is solid enough to upload airports with.


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About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.
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24 Responses to More Airports in X-Plane 10.51

  1. Andreas Paul says:

    Thanks for the info! I am wondering if there will be an update to the Laminar Library in the near future? The choices are alright but, on the other hand, quite limited considering what is available elsewhere. I think the gateway is a great opportunity for X-Plane but the library is lacking, unfortunately.

  2. Jan Vogel says:

    Thanks for the post, Ben - this was exactly the information I (and I am sure quite a few others) have been waiting for. A good roadmap, I think!

    Jan

  3. Steve.Wilson says:

    Suggestion for the Gateway: Bulk download. Simply put, it's great to have thousands of airports available. Totally awesome, in fact. But downloading and installing one at a time is a bit on the tedious side. How about adding a checkbox for each search return, and a "check all" option, that would permit the download of all items selected at one time?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      I am not in favor of this, but I think my opinion is in the minority.
      My not liking this is for a simple reason: the way to get all of the airports is to get X-Plane, and we (LR) should focus our efforts on shortening the cycle time for real releases of airports, rather than creating a "back door" so that a small number of savvy users can manually install the airports.

      Manual installation makes a total disaster out of upgrades - the manually installed airports will hide future updates that come down with the sim and have to be manually managed and updated. The user experience will be bad. So the way I see it we can either:
      1. make the official releases more frequent (and focus on improving distribution options within the sim and cutting the internal time to approve airports) or
      2. provide an all-airports distribution with no help for installation and update, helping a small number of users and causing support problems when people get 5 copies of one airport and don't know what's going on or
      3. build a really sophisticated way to distribute and update bulk airports separately, duplicating the work we do in our installer.

      As you might guess, I am in favor of option 1. In my view the main purpose of individual download is to be able to examine the specific state of airports.

      Finally, it's worth noting that the biggest limiting factor on getting airports out right now is _Tyler's_ time. It typically takes him an entire week to take an export and then deal with all of the goofy @#$@ that users have done and uploaded that causes problems in the sim. We've been hoping for this to get better but it continues to be a problem after several cycles.

      So my priority is in trying to make WED validation better so that once an upload is uploaded, we know that certain things are simply not wrong with it.

      As long as it takes that much of Tyler's time, I can't possibly say "let's get on a 4 week release cycle" - it would be -insane- to commit 25% of Tyler's time to just packing airports. The process has to get significantly more robust and automatic.

      • Michael says:

        Ben,
        although I'm one of those impatient users and gateway "artist" (never ever has anyone called this old geek such:), I'm completely with you on this one.

  4. Christer says:

    It would be nice if WED could automatically include a preview of the airport building, so users can see how the airport's building look like before downloading it. For example ESOK has two or three different ESOK airports from different contributors, but you don't know which is closer to the real world (non of them are close to the real building!!!) until you download them. A preview picture of airports should save both time and space for users.

    • Dan says:

      That should be up to the designer to take screenshots and have and ability to show them in the gateway

  5. Detailed reporting of errors for validation is the main objective, as just passing or refusing to pass the scenery leaves you in a place of where do I go to fix this?

    Red lining items in the world box list would be a great start... SD

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Funny you mention that - I just got done reorganizing the underlying _code_ that does most of validation last night. The old code would just go until it found the first problem. The new code generates a master list of all issues.

      Now: the UI still stinks (it just tells you the first problem and bails) but with that list the UI you describe is possible, and is not that different from what I was thinking:
      - Marks in the hierarchy for objects involved in a validation error. (Clicking the mark goes to the validation error in a list.)
      - Clicking a validation error in the master list selects all objects involved.
      We're not getting new validation UI for 1.5 - no time left. But maybe for 1.6 or 1.7 we could do such a scheme...we now have the underlying data to drive it.

  6. Steve.Wilson says:

    Perhaps I just didn't understand the process, Ben, largely because I didn't read the whole intro paragraph.

    "You can download any approved airport, but only moderator-recommended airports **will be included in X-Plane updates.**"

    Thanks for the lengthy reply, and I sympathize. I do have X-Plane, and I do update. That works just fine for me. Clarification then: Are the airports listed in the release notes "Moderator Approved?"

    • Ben Supnik says:

      No - they are moderator recommended. Julian can correct this if I screw it up, but an airport is approved if the moderator checks it and it doesn't have major show-stopping problems. But only a single airport is recommended, and that's the one we take for a given airport.

  7. Can you please take car about the NOAA address change ?
    We cannot use real weather any more....

    Thanks

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Please file a bug ASAP!

      • DreamKeys says:

        Already did one some days ago ...
        'E/NET: Download failed with error: 6 for URL &var_VGRD=1'
        is the only indication in the log and the weather download percent counter running 3 times in a row, but that might be for each item separately (metar, winds, turbulence).

        Ronny

  8. Michael says:

    One caveat though:
    Make sure to use WED1.5 with the X-system folder option pointing to a 10.50rc1 installation. 10.45 will not do.
    Otherwise you will not see the new static aircraft objects provided now, nor will the deprecated old static aircft objects be flagged by the validation code.
    Also, the validation code in WED 1.5b1 seems to not (yet ?) flag static aicraft placed ontop or nearby ramp starts - you still might start out doubled up with the static aircraft.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Hrm - static aircraft on top of ramp start was never in the validation checks. The reason is: we never check -any- obj-vs-other-stuff conflicts because we can't know whether the giant pile of OBJs you have made is a good idea or bad idea. For example, if you have an OBJ with ground markings, it -should- be on top of a ramp start.

      We could flag our own static aircraft but that's a drop in the bucket - a user can go get a third party library of airplanes, dump them on the ramp starts and .... splat.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, that makes sense.
        From trying densely parked size A prop ramp starts it seems to me the static aircraft autoplacer does some checking and only populates position that do not result in overlapping. True ?

        • Ben Supnik says:

          Yes. It does run-time proximity checks. This is necessary because you can have a pair of parking spots targeting different plane sizes (e.g. CRJ goes here, A340 goes here) that share a gate and overlap - they will be mutually excluded from use by proximity checks.

  9. Capizolano says:

    hello, i can´t use real weather, always hard and constant turbulence. you now why? thanks

  10. Wim van Dijk says:

    Could ATC-routes also be used for CTAF equiped airports?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Not right now, no, so we are not actively encouraging people to make taxiway routes for non-towered airports. If you're going to do taxi routes, your time is definitely more valuable where there is a tower.

      We may someday have AI operations at non-towered airports and at that point we will need them.

      The routes do not harm anything though.

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