10.30r2 is Out and Will Probably Go Final

X-Plane 10.30r2 is out now.  You should go get this RC and try it.  I believe it is very likely to go final in the next week.

There are known bugs* in 1030r2 – the plan is to put 1030r2 out as final, then issue 10.31 in perhaps a week or two to mop up about a dozen bug fixes that didn’t make in.

  • By getting 10.30 out now, third parties can stop holding their breath and ship aircraft that use the new GPS.
  • By giving 10.31 another week or two we lower the risk profile on some of those extra bugs.
  • There’s always one big bug that gets reported as soon as we go final, so a 10.31 is inevitable; we might as well plan for it.

X-Plane 10.30 has had an incredibly long beta period, so our goal is to get it out now and unblock third parties.

* I know, you are shocked, right??

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Posted in News | 17 Comments

The Cloud Texture Layout Didn’t Change

I heard quite a bit from the cloud and weather tweakers when we started 1030.  At the beginning of the beta, I thought I’d have the visibility and fog improvements ready to go, and so I posted about possible changes.

Those features got pushed out to a future patch.  The cloud lighting did change.  So what was the total set of changes?

  • Scattering and lighting did not change, and there are no changes to art controls.  So hacks to atmospheric scattering are unaffected.
  • The format (size, color format, usage) of the cloud textures did not change – if you have a replacement cloud texture set, you can keep using it.
  • The actual default cloud textures did change – I beat them up a bit in PhotoShop.   Hence if you have custom cloud textures installed, the updater will yelp.
  • The lighting and placement of the cloud puffs has changed, so color choices for custom textures may have to be revisited.
  • Art controls to kill clouds are still there – but if you want our clouds gone, use the new override_clouds dataref!
  • There are new art controls controlling the (now redone) white-out effect.

So the total impact on cloud and atmosphere tweaks should be relatively low – but the lighting definitely changed on cloud puffs.

My expectation is that when the scattering art controls change (and they will change someday) it will be due to a change in the scattering code itself that will be “worth it”, e.g. a major iteration to improve the look of scattering itself.

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Posted in Development | 18 Comments

Where Did London Go (Linux Testing Needed)

Update: several people have volunteered, and the installers are now tested – thanks!

One of the remaining bugs in 1030: when you install a 1030 update after having received DSF recuts (e.g. the update from 1030b8 to 1030 RC 1)  the Aerosoft custom EGLL pack disappears.

It turns out this is a bug in our installer/updater – the bug has actually been in the installer/updater for a long time but normally didn’t act up (unless you modified your installation in some very unorthodox ways).

I am working on a new rev of the installer (3.22) that will fix this.  But I need Linux volunteers to test, especially the 32-bit edition.  If you can run 32 and 64-bit apps on Linux, please email me (ben at x-plane dot com) and I will set you up with test apps.

There are a few straggling bugs that we’re hoping to fix in RC2 this week.

Update: I totally forgot this announcement for Linux users*: the new 3.22 installers come in 32 and (for the first time) 64-bit flavors.

This means that with X-Plane 10.30 and the new installer, all X-Plane apps come in a 64-bit app, and you don’t have to install multi-arch gunk on your 64-bit Linux install to run X-Plane.

We will continue to support 32-bits on all platforms for the lifetime of X-Plane 10, and the installer, Airfoil-Maker and Plane-Maker will remain 32-bit on Mac/Windows, where 32 bit support is guaranteed without any hassle.

* This is what happens when I sleep even less than normal.  You can only imagine how good these installers must be. :-)

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Posted in Development | 10 Comments

The Gateway Lives

It’s official:

August 28, 2014, Columbia, South Carolina. Laminar Research is pleased to announce the release of its Airport Scenery Gateway, as well as an updated and improved version of its airport scenery tool, World Editor 1.3. The Airport Scenery Gateway can be accessed on the internet at http://gateway.x-plane.com and the new and improved version of World Editor is available for download at http://developer.x-plane.com under Scenery Tools.

The Airport Scenery Gateway was created to facilitate the populating of X-Plane with 3D airport sceneries that are consistent in quality and appearance, error-checked, and will work with a standard installation of X-Plane 10. During the past several months Laminar Research has received hundreds of airports designed by World Editor users. World Editor is an airport scenery creation and editing tool for Laminar’s X-Plane 10 that allows the typical X-Plane user to create airport scenery.

By establishing an internet gateway for scenery submission, it is now possible with World Editor 1.3 for users to automatically submit airport scenery contributions directly to the Airport Scenery Gateway. X-Plane users can visit the Airport Scenery Gateway to search for airport scenery submissions. The scenery can then be immediately downloaded into X-Plane 10 before it appears in a scheduled X-Plane update.

Read more from this press release.

A few notes:

  • If your airport is not already in X-Plane 10.30, please use the Gateway to share it via WED 1.3; do not send it directly to Robin.  At this point Robin should only be getting navaid patches.  You must use WED 1.3 to upload to the Gateway!
  • The airports that are already in 10.30 are uploaded by ‘WEDBot’, which is an account we used to transfer our existing collection into the Gateway.  As users share data, we will start to get good attribution; I think this is important because we will know who to contact to sort out issues with airports.
  • If you could not upload an airport due to a missing ICAO, we are working on this now.
  • We are working on a Linux build of WED 1.3 and will post it as soon as we resolve the chaos of shipping a working app on multiple distributions.  mroe has done great work to make Linux happen.
  • We will periodically ‘roll’ shared airports into X-Plane via point releases to the sim.  I do not recommend collecting a huge pile of Gateway custom scenery packs; they will simply conflict with newer data from X-Plane when it comes out.  The ability to download a pack directly from the Gateway is meant for authors who want to view the state of a pack and possibly modify it.  The gateway is not meant to be a scenery file sharing site.

Finally, I think this has been discussed before, but…custom scenery authors:

Always put exclusion zones around your custom airports!  Even if there are no 3-d buildings at an airport today, they may appear in the next update.

With the Gateway open, 3-d is going to appear quickly!

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Posted in Development, News, Scenery | 22 Comments

I Am Not Really Here

Technically I’m kind of out on paternity leave right now, but a quick update on some, um, stuff!

  • X-Plane 10.30r1 is out.  Honestly, if you don’t know where the bug base and release notes are now, it’s too late.  We’re in RC already!  (I cut this RC about a week later than expected due to said paternity leave above – I’m sorry for the chaos this has caused third party developers who want to ship add-ons requiring the new GPS.)
  • WED 1.3 and the X-Plane Airport Gateway should debut in the next week I think – I’m cutting an RC now.
  • Philipp is working on updating our Oculus Rift support for the new SDK and DK2 dev kits. The SDK for the Rift changed a lot recently, and the docs/sample code are actually out of sync with the SDK, so I’m not sure how soon he’ll be able to tie this up.  We’ll cut a 10.31 with this code as soon as we have it.
  • We will update Steam to 1030 once it goes final.

 

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Posted in News | 46 Comments

Re-recuts and Last Minute bugs

It looks like the next cut of 10.30 will be a release candidate.  I am not sure when we’ll release it, but I am hoping for this weekend.

If you installed 10.30b8 on a full beta, and thus downloaded 500 MB of DSF recuts, I’m afraid to say you’ll end up re-downloading them again for the RC.  A user reported bad edge matching between the recuts and the original tiles for one airport.  The underlying bug is one that could affect any seam between a recut and an original tile, so to be safe I’m recutting the entire recut set with the fixed code.  So…I apologize for the bandwidth hit, but I think better safe and sorry here.

If you do find a last minute bug that you have not reported, please be sure to:

  1. Report it on the bug reporter.  If you haven’t used that page, we don’t know about it.  Blog comments do not count, forum posts do not count, and random emails to people with x-plane.com email addresses do not count!  Don’t send a bug to a place where it will be lost this late in the game!*
  2. Please make sure the bug is complete, with detailed instructions to reproduce it step by step and a way to get the reproduction materials necessary.  This close to RC, we no longer have time to spend a few days going up and back to understand the bug and then realize we don’t even have the payware ACF we need!

There are two features that will ship whenever they ship, e.g. in 1030 if they’re ready, or we’ll cut a 10.31 in a week or two if we have to:

  1. Oculus Rift support.  There is a new SDK for the Rift, and it’s not backward compatible with the old one, so Philipp has some coding to do there.  I think we’re going to enable the Rift as soon as it’s done, but given how few sets are already sold (since they’re just low-res developer previews right now) we’re not going to halt 1030; we’ll cut a quick bug fix release if we need to.
  2. Cylindrical Projection.  Austin reworked cylindrical projection for pro users for 1030; if we find we need to get a few more refinements into the warping code, that may go into a bug fix release too.

My goal is an RC by the weekend, but that’s more of an aspiration than a promise.

* If you like a bug and don’t want it fixed, perhaps emailing me directly or posting it on the forum is the best thing you can do!

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Posted in Development | 36 Comments

X-Plane 10.30 Beta 8 is Here – Authors, Test Your Aircraft!

X-Plane 10.30 beta 8 is now (after 27 hours of syncing!) live – more bug fixes listed here.

Aircraft, scenery and plugin authors: this may be the last beta; if things go well we’ll cut an RC next week.  If you have been ignoring 1030, go get beta 8 immediately! If you have been ignoring your users reports of problems with 1030, please start investigating.

If there is something in your add-on that doesn’t work with 1030, we don’t know about it and we can’t fix what we don’t know about.  Please get this beta and make sure your add-ons work as expected!

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Posted in News | 38 Comments

Some Recut DSFs for X-Plane 10.30

X-Plane 10.30 beta 8 is mirroring to our servers now; this beta contains a pile of recut DSFs, fixing some of the worst DSF bugs.  I will post a complete list of recut DSFs in the release notes; what follows are just a few hilights from really prominent DSFs.

I’m not sure how long the mirror will take to finish; I’m hoping we’ll go live with the beta tonight or tomorrow.

The X-Plane updater will download scenery updates if (and only if) you have the base scenery installed. So if you have the entire world installed, you’ll get the entire set of updates (the DSFs themselves are about 500 MB); if you only have the US, for example, you’ll get some tiles but not others, and if you just have a demo, you’ll just a core file update.

If you install scenery later, simply run the updater again (the install-scenery function gives you a chance to run an update at the end of DVD scenery install) to get any fixed DSFs you might not have gotten at the time.

(Alpilotx had a good suggestion for the installer that I’d like to do in the future: an option to skip scenery updates.  This would let users get a sim update immediately, and then fetch the scenery later if bandwidth is tight.)

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Posted in News, Scenery | 49 Comments

X-Plane 10.30 Beta 7 Is Out – Fixes Scenery Load Issues

X-Plane 10.30 beta 7 (finally) went live this morning.*  More bug fixes made it in, and the bug in the airport library that was stopping so many scenery packs from loading is now fixed.

* The master server was busy doing a backup and thus took forever to push out the beta to the download sites – I actually cut the beta Sunday night.  I ended up pausing the backup temporarily but not until we’d lost a day.

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Posted in News | 29 Comments

X-Plane 10.30 Beta 6 – a Hilights Real

X-Plane 10.30 beta 6 is out; as with the entire 10.30 beta 6 run, complete release notes are here.  The release notes are meant to be a complete reference; what follows is a few of the major things you might notice in beta 6 (if you’ve managed to update).

Frame Rate

Beta 6 fixes a major performance problem from the X-Plane 10 betas.  Beta 6 also sets the cloud graphic settings to match 10.25, so at this point 10.30 should be as fast or faster than 10.25 in all cases.

Airports

We used the X-Plane Airport Gateway to consolidate over 750 airports that users sent to Robin since X-Plane 10.25.  These updates include over 300 new airports and hundreds of updates. You’ll get these lego-brick airports automatically with the update.

I’ll post more about the gateway in a future post, but I believe that at this point WED 1.3 and the gateway are ready to go into beta shortly.

Please do not send any more airport updates to Robin; the gateway will go into beta soon, and we’d like to use it to collect all future changes.  (You can only imagine how much work it was for Robin to gather up 750 airports by hand!  We imported them into the gateway ourselves to test the gateway and get control of the process.)

GPS In the Default Aircraft

With beta 6 we now have the new GPS in the C172, the Kingair, and the Baron; all have the full res GPS in the 3-d cockpit, and the Kingair even gives you dual GPSs.

Still More On the Todo List

There’s still more bugs to fix.  On the top of my list is fixing bugs with the cloud visuals, and with their base height (which sometimes doesn’t match what you set in the weather settings).  I am also working on getting a few majorly borked DSFs fixed in the next beta (Sydney, Rio, etc.).  I’m hoping for another beta by Tuesday, which will also fix the auto update bug.

Where to File Bugs

I say something about filing bugs using the bug report form in every post, and yet readers try to post bugs on the blog.  Since writing “don’t do that” in each post clearly doesn’t work, I’m going to try it using the Swedish Chef translator.

Fur zee lufe-a ooff ell thet is mooppet, pleese-a du nut pust boog repurts tu thees blug. Pleese-a use-a zee boog repurt furm – a furm dedeeceted tu nutheeng boot…boog repurts. Iff yuoo pust a boog repurt tu zee blug, I veell delete-a it. Bork Bork Bork!

So…you have been warned – keep posting bug reports to the blog comments and things will only get sillier.

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Posted in News | 49 Comments