X-Plane 11.00 public beta 10 is out today – if you are an X-Plane 11 user, you should get an auto-update.
Linux Users: Beta 10 won’t run on Linux. Something went wrong with the build process, truncating the last 1/3 of the executable. I’ve been building X-Plane releases for over a decade now, and I have literally never seen this happen. I’ll get this fixed as soon as I can. In the meantime, you can download the correct executable here. You may need to chmod it to run it. Correct MD5 signature is 985dc19a246f303fbb0d484937cfab7c.
Update: Beta 11 is out and fixes the bad Linux version of X-Plane. If you hand-installed the fixed version, you’ll need to tell the installer to replace the previous version you downloaded.
As we get toward the end of the public beta program, one thing we’re trying to do is get our interfaces in order for creating airplanes and scenery with X-Plane. Beta 10 brings two new features for authors.
Metalness in Scenery. Finally, you can now use NORMAL_METALNESS in any art asset that uses the standard shader. That means facades, roads, forests, draped polygons, line-work, draped objects, and anything else I forgot can all mark their normal maps for the metalness work-flow and use the blue channel to specify the metal/dialectric property.
What about BLEND_GLASS? Sorry, not only is BLEND_GLASS limited to objects, but it is limited to objects that are attached to airplanes and set to glass-interior or glass-exterior lighting. Basically the airplane rendering code has a special “blending” pass that runs outside deferred rendering, only for glass, and only aircraft have access to it.
Someday we may have scenery-system access, which would let us finally solve translucency problems in control towers, etc., but until that happens, BLEND_GLASS simply won’t work in those cases. So that’s a scenery system extension for another da – it won’t be in 11.0.
One more note on the scenery system: When X-Plane 11 calculates the smaller mip-maps for a normal map, it will increase the roughness of a normal map’s alpha channel based on the bumpiness of the’s normals themselves. In other words, if you burn rivets into your normal map, it will mark those spots as rough in the reduced-res version where the normals aren’t visible.
This process runs on PNGs; you can also convert your normal map to an RGBA-format DDS and pre-build the mipmap chain yourself with DDSTool; if you do this, you can customize the roughness of the lower mips. If you find your bumpy models look “too shiny” from far away, this can help. If you find a case where X-Plane’s reduction doesn’t do a good job but your hand-built mipmap works well, please let me know!
2-D GPS Units
Public beta 10 features pre-made 2-d instruments for the X430, X530, and FMS CDU, all with the bezel and buttons attached and fully functional; simply drag them onto your 2-d panel and fly.
These new 2-d instruments exactly match the pop-up window versions of the instruments, and this gives you a way to customize the pop-up window’s appearance. Simply customize the 2-d instrument’s textures the way you would any other pre-made instrument, and the popup window will match its appearance. You can use this technique to customize the popup even if you don’t use the 2-d instrument on your panel.
We now have both 2-d and “screen-only” versions of both GPSes and the CDU. The screen-only version is meant for use in a 3-d cockpit, where panel space is only used for screens. The 2-d versions are meant for users building their own 2-d panels at home and as a way to skin the popup windows.
If you are building an advanced 2-d panel, you can either use the pre-made 2-d instruments or use the screens and build your own bezels out of generic instruments.
Plane-Maker 11.0 does not provide access to the legacy FMS and GPS – while they will work in v10 aircraft for compatibility, new aircraft must be authored with one of the new GPS or FMS choices. Our goal is to set a time-frame for deprecating the old FMS/GPS code and getting to an entirely modern GPS/FMS implementation.
Can I pop up my plugin windows? Not yet, and not for 11.0. This is a high priority for us for the next X-Plane SDK revision, but it isn’t quick to do; we need to write a bunch of new code to expose some of the new UI tricks to plugins.