It Is Too Soon To Update Your X-Plane 10 Add-On To V11

The title says it all: it's too soon to update your add-on to X-Plane 11.

Here is why: if your add-on does not work with X-Plane 11, you (and we) do not know if this is because of an intentional removal of functionality (some of which has happened) or because of a bug.

If the problem is a bug and you modify your add-on to work around the bug, it's very likely that a future public beta will simply break this new work and you would have been better off with the old functionality.

Updating to X-Plane 11 and the public beta need to follow some specific steps:

  1. Testing and discovery. If you have an add-on, please do test it and report bugs and incompatibilities. X-Plane is incredibly complex and there are almost infinite combinations of features used in add-ons, so we can't just look at the code and go "oh, X will work, Y will not" - sometimes we get surprised.  The bug feedback we've gotten so far has been great.
  2. Official Statements of Deprecation. We (LR) will provide solid guidance on things that are specifically removed and may require updates.
  3. Updating add-ons. Once you know that an old feature is gone that you relied on, it is "safe" to invest in updating the add-on to use new tech, because you know the old feature is gone for good.

We have tried to keep good notes internally and we'll get them posted as soon as we can. In the meantime, please hold off on reinventing parts of add-ons until it's safe to do so.

Here is a short list of a few things that are and are not deprecated that have come up a lot with third party planes.

A few things on the "gone" list:

LIT panel backgrounds: _LIT panel backgrounds are gone in X-Plane 11. They look bad and have been obsolete since X-Plane 8. If you used the _LIT panel for 2-d lighting, make a -2 or -3 or -4 2-d overlay for lighting.  If you need 3-d lighting, use 3-d cockpit lights in PlaneMaker.

3-d Panels: The panel texture, when used in a 3-d cockpit, is always built out of a day and night texture in X-Plane 11. If you used ATTR_cockpit_region or GLOBAL_cockpit_lit you were already getting this behavior in X-Plane 10.  If you use GLOBAL_cockpit without ATTR_cockpit_region, your panel will be lit when it was not before.

The fix for authors is to put 3-d lights into the cockpit in Plane-Maker to cast light on the panel, and to use real instrument lighting (glass or additive/mechancial o the instruments themselves).

Gamma: X-Plane 11 does not support the old Mac 1.8 gamma from OS X 10.5.8 and 2008.  If you have PNGs at 1.8 gamma you'll need to convert them to sRGB.  If you have DDS at 1.8 gamma, re-grind them with the latest X-Grinder.  All authoring for X-Plane 11 (and 10) should be sRGB.

All of these removed features have had better replacements for at least five years, the replacement techniques are fully compatible with X-Plane 10 (or even 9), and produce significantly better results than the old techniques.*

Here are some things that are not supposed to be broken:

XPLMNavigation API: the XPLMNavigation API is now "powered" by the new FMS on aircraft saved in X-Plane 11's Plane-Maker; however, our intention is full API compatibility. There are some known cases in X-Plane 11 public beta 2 where working XPLM code will fail with the new XPLM. Philipp has some fixes that should help in public beta 3 and beyond.

If we find that there are uses of the XPLM API that we cannot support, we'll post docs in the future, but to start with we're assuming that these are compatibility bugs.

Other Panel Stuff: other than two-texture 3-d panels and lit backgrounds, nothing else is deprecated in the panel system; transparency in panels was fixed in public beta 2. If you use ATTR_cockpit_region or GLOBAL_cockpit_lit in X-Plane 10 with no _LIT panel background, you should see identical results in X-Plane 11; if you don't, please report a bug.

If you are looking at upgrading your add-on now, hopefully this list gives you some guidance as to where to spend time vs. where to wait.

Finally, the dataref list that ships with X-Plane 11 public betas reflects the included beta list. If a dataref has been removed and your add-on depends on it, please file a bug and try to describe what problem you were trying to solve with that dataref.  We may be able to restore it or provide a reasonable work-around.

* One of my concerns about the public beta has been the number of aircraft I have seen that were developed or updated in the last year or two and yet use authoring techniques that were in the "obsolete but supported" bucket for X-Plane 10. The window of compatibility where we provide support for old and new features doesn't help if people don't migrate.


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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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42 Responses to It Is Too Soon To Update Your X-Plane 10 Add-On To V11

  1. Steve.Wilson says:

    Ben, you didn't mention that the GNS430 folder has been deleted by Philipp. While this folder only amounts to about 80mb on disk, it's not going to be available, despite the fact that developers have written add-ons that depend on it. This means either rewriting their data parsers or acquiring and providing data that they now must provide themselves in the aircraft folder.

    It seems to me that this process of moving forward is quite innovative, but shortsighted. If the data files that are being used by the XPLMNavigation function are of a completely new data format, give them a new name so that they can co-exist along the older dataset filenames, and thus be easily distinguished without the need for a dunning message and an aborted load when X-Plane launches and finds custom data that doesn't taste right. This preserves the legacy mindset LR has had for many X-Plane generations and completely removes the need to rewrite navigation routines, as long as XPLMNavigation hasn't been disturbed by the "innovation" of revising all the data formats.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      This isn't as simple as "just don't delete the old files" - we have an entirely new data set, data model and process for the nav data...this entire thing would have to be back-ported to the old format.

      An alternative: as an add-on maker, get the files directly from the vendors.

      • Steve.Wilson says:

        Sure - you have a new dataset. Give it a new set of file names. That allows *everything* from X-Plane 10 to continue as before for the add-ons that depended on GNS430 data and the old, but non-deprecated data format. This is especially valid since the old format files will continue to be updated by Aerosoft and Navigraph, from what I've been told.

        And the point of my posting is that add-on makers shouldn't have to get the files directly from the vendors. That's many people doing the same action as LR did a number of times during the XP10 run. Do it one last time for X-Plane 11.00 and remove the hassle for add-on makers.

      • Steve.Wilson says:

        The point of the matter is that perhaps we're not connecting. I would not dream of suggesting at this late date the "new" data model be backported to the old file format. The old and the new can live alongside each other. Maybe I'm being daft, but I fail to see how the old filenames are sacred to a new dataset, data model and process for nav data. And I'm not trying to be a pest - I just want to make sure we're really connecting conceptually.

        • Ben Supnik says:

          We have new data. If we leave the old files in and don't back-port the new data, the nav data won't actually be the same, and the data we get from everything on the X-Plane side will mismatch your add-on.

          We -could- leave the old files unmodified- this is cheap to do. But it's a pretty ugly way to get backward compatibility...with intentionally mismatched data sets.

          • Steve.Wilson says:

            Now that is perfectly true, and I understand. But what's better, ugly or have the add-on authors all recode their file paths and force them to provide a single, likely non-updated (and just as ugly) set of data files?

            There's nothing saying that as time and sub-version releases progress, LR couldn't acquire (at zero cost) a new set of six month old data for users that don't really object to dated data, and provide it in an update. (Say that three times fast). Those that do care are likely to provide their own in the Custom Data folder anyway, and if they acquire both the older format data and the new at the same time, then their data would be in synch (presuming unique file names as suggested). It would be more costly, to be sure, but until a means of more easily accessing the new datasets via XPLMNavigation is available, it might be preferable. The complexity of the new format is not something I would want to try to parse and organize into waypoint data. The older set was hard enough.

          • MarRog says:

            Yes please, Ben and Philipp, go forward! Don't look back! For the add-on makers: when in Rome, do as the Romans do; when in X-Plane 11, do as X-Plane 11 does! (I know, I know, I am exaggerating... Easy to say for me, I don't have a big investment that suddenly can't generate a revenue anymore...)

            The new unified data format is an excellent choice to bring the sim to new levels of IFR-simulation with the built-in GNS430, G1000 (net yet) and generic CDU. I'm dreaming of a white christmas for 2016 and new a Navigation API for 2017 that can read all details and update the flightplan of the new navigation computer, so that we can write external primary flight and navigation displays and custom CDUs.

            Marc

          • Steve.Wilson says:

            I could not agree more with Marc in one respect. A new navigation API (with attention paid to legacy areas 😉 ) is what we really need, and Philipp has indicated he's interested in producing. Over time, if we can more easily access new functions that in turn more easily expose the complex tasks that add-on authors have been laboriously cobbling together in their plugins, future plugin revisions stand a chance of being not only more reliable, but more authentic as well.

            Right now there's a scramble effect. It's the Christmas season, and authors want to have the best product available. The need to quickly adapt so that products can be "X-Plane 11" ready is important, while at the same time LR is scrambling (a bit?) to iron out many details.

            But "It Is Too Soon To Update Your X-Plane 10 Add-On To V11."

            Then again, when has life itself not been a moving target? What is, is, and I'm sure in the end the dust will settle and we'll all adapt.

          • MarRog says:

            Oh no, they are not ironing out bugs, they are stomping them out! Ben's own words...
            Or is it like whack-a-mole? Kill one, and 2 others appear?

          • Ben Supnik says:

            The ratio is hopefully better than 2 to 1... 🙂

          • Steve.Wilson says:

            There's a video game product idea in here somewhere.... 😉

      • Saso Kiselkov says:

        My only issue with the new navdata format is that it's missing a couple of pieces of information that were important to my add-on (X-RAAS), notably the optimal runway glidepath angle and threshold clearing height. For XP11, I had to do quite a few extensions to try to glean this data by dynamically calculating it from PAPI/VASI/GS antenna positions relative to the runway threshold. It's not perfect, but it seems to be "close enough" to not cause me to tear my hair out.

  2. Alan Shafto says:

    Hey Ben

    Related with external plugins; what is the availability of FMOD for external addon aircraft currently? Can we access any guide or basic direction to start implementation into addon aircraft?

    Thanks Alan

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Third party aircraft will be able to use FMOD to do their sound just like the Cessna. We have not published guidelines yet because we have not finished the work to make sure that interfacing our airplanes with third party planes will work right. We've prototyped it to prove that it can work, but we definitely need to dot our i's and cross our t's before we have people go off and do this in production airplanes.

      • Vistek says:

        Great. The sound developers need that tool (XP11+FMOD) so much! X-Plane need a lot attention in sound dept. Will it be possible to attach sounds to the ground coordinates or objects outside the airplane?

        • Ben Supnik says:

          Ground objects and scenery: eventually, yes; right now sound is only on the airplanes (including AI aircraft when FMOD is in use). I expect to get ground vehicles/scenery in an early patch. (The same applies to the scenery system and particles: the new particle system works with aircraft now, we still need to make more docs, and the scenery system will come in an early patch.

          • Eric says:

            These particles would be cool as you fly in and out of rain clouds !?

          • Torsten says:

            Hi,

            Will it be possible to place sounds which are coming from behind ? I have a 5.1 sound system attached. At the moment it seems that only the front speakers are populated with sound...

          • Ben Supnik says:

            I think so. FMOD mixing is completely 3-d; whether it produces 5.1 on your system will depend on your sound hardware, drivers, and FMOD, but FMOD does support 5.1 on some hardware.

          • Steve.Wilson says:

            Yay! I've been watching for the scenery particle system ever since it was teased a few years back. This will make for interesting add-on possibilities beyond just smoke and stuff.

  3. Omar says:

    Hey Ben, will X-Plane 11 be released on Steam? (I need to know whether I should plan to publish my new X-Plane 11 scenery add-on on Steam or not)

  4. Andrzej says:

    Hi Ben,
    I am sorry if I missed the reply but I experienced rather strange behavior.

    In XP10 my aircraft does a nice takeoff roll, rotates around 140-140 KIAS with wings not rocking except from the gear CONS values set in PM.

    In the same plane in XP11 at around 80 KIAS it starts weer off the runway so I need to use nose gear/rudder input to keep it on the runway.
    It causes consequent left and right wing drop to the point plane loses stability and although I manage to take off, the effect is very unrealistic in my opinion.

    Does it have to do something with new tire behavior I have read in threads or something else was changed causing it.
    I can make a video if my explanation is not clear.

    At the end I wanted to say thank you for XP11 and constant work on it's development.

  5. quantumac says:

    How long do add-on makers have to report issues and get them resolved during this public beta period?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      There's no hard cut-off, even after the beta.

      But the probability that we can fix your bug and not leave you high and dry goes down with time. So sooner is a LOT better than later; if you report after we go final, expect a broken add-on. When beta 3 comes out, please look at your systems and physics and get feedback to Austin ASAP.

  6. AlfaMike says:

    Directly to Austin and/or through the bug reporter?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Bug reporter, unless you've got something really, really, tweaky about the physics you want to discuss with him. That kind of thing goes to him -if- you file a bug anyway.

  7. Mike says:

    Hi Ben,

    You say:

    Finally, the dataref list that ships with X-Plane 11 public betas reflects the included beta list.

    Where do I find the list?

  8. quantumac says:

    Are *.obj files suppose to be read from livery directories same as textures? The reason I ask is I have a livery I would like to be "NORMAL_METALNESS" (i.e. unpainted metal) while the other liveries not (i.e. painted). Essentially I have one livery which is bright shiny unpainted metal whereas the others wouldn't be so reflective as they aren't unpainted metal. I tried copying over by fuselage object file to the metal livery and adding "NORMAL_METALNESS", but it didn't seem to take.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Mmmm...this is kind of a design limitation, but not a fatal one. OBJs are not used in liveries right now. The fix is:
      - Use NORMAL_METALNESS on -all- of your normal maps by putting it in the OBJ.
      - Set your blue channel to a reasonable default (e.g. I think we default to 4% or so) in normal maps that don't need the full metalness treatment.

  9. Michael Maar says:

    Ha, I found the nodding doll in the glove compartment in the Cessna 172, and I placed it on the dashboard - cool. However, it was the best joke I've seen for a long time :-). Is it a merchandise to buy when X-Plane 11 is released?

  10. Richard Sennett says:

    Hi Ben:
    Not even sure you will see this but here goes luv the new XP11 - being a P3D user since day one and now abandoned - I will be only using XP and have a request

    I hope you will consider - at night its very dark cant see anything on ground or the aircraft externally - in P3D you could raise the night lighting via hdr settings - brightness - bloom - saturation this gave the user quite a bit of control over how the lighting looked at any time of day

    Hope you can consider something like this in XP - not sure if it is planned as its hard to tell in demo with the sky texture issues and being new to XP no idea what was possible in the past nor would it matter considering the new PBR - thanks for listening and looking forward to a great XP11 RTM product

    Regards, Rich

    Rsvette12

  11. Andy says:

    Hello Ben,

    as XP11 beta doesn't really run smooth on my hardware I'll have to continue
    using XP10. It's off-topic here, but will the external visuals-bug in X-plane 10.51
    be addressed? I thought I read a comment of you somewhere that you were
    working on it.
    Thanks

    • Ben Supnik says:

      We have a potential fix. If you would like to test a build with this fixed, please file a bug and indicate that you'd like to try the "fixed" version.

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