The rate of comments on this blog sky-rocketed when I mentioned that beta 16 was the last beta. (As it turned out, beta 17 is the last beta, because I had to fix a stupid bug I introduced in beta 16.) I would describe this as “fear of missing the train” as it leaves the station.
What will be the impact of actually shipping 11.0? The short summary:
- We will keep fixing bugs.
- We will be able to fix some bugs that we were not able to fix late in beta because the changes are complicated and need more testing time.
- X-Plane 11.0 users who don’t want to deal with unstable betas can simply stick with 11.0 until a patch goes final. This should make the whole beta process more pleasant for everyone.
- We will have to write compatibility code for add-ons that depend on 11.0’s behavior.
- The set of major features of 11.0 won’t change – we’ve made our “big plays” for the version.
In other words, post 11.0 will probably be like now but less stressful for everyone. I expect we will do at least one bug fix patch – we’ve had to do one for every major patch we’ve done but we don’t have a specific plan. We’re waiting to see what gets reported after 11.0.
Will It Blend?
We’ve pushed hard to get compatibility and SDK bugs fixed for 11.0 so that third party developers can “get going”. There is one area of the sim where we’ve had a pile of bug reports that, realistically, aren’t going to be fixed in 11.0 and might have some impact.
X-Plane draws translucent, blended effects (lights, smoke, clouds) in a fixed order. Because these are translucent effects, they must be drawn from farthest to closest or they won’t look right, but X-Plane draws them in a fixed order. The results are not good – when the order that X-Plane picks is backward, you get rendering bugs.
X-Plane has been like this for a very long time, and a lot of these bugs are present in X-Plane 10, and only more noticeable in X-Pane 11 because of lighting changes.
My concern about these bugs is that they may affect third party plugin interfaces. My goal is to get this resolved as quickly as possible to avoid surprising people.
The good news is that this is a pretty narrow part of the sim – if you’re not using plugins to draw, or you’re making an aircraft, or non-plugin-enhanced scenery, this probably doesn’t affect you.