If there’s one thing I hear over and over from our users, it’s this:

Why are there so few farm animals in X-Plane?  The deer on the runway are my favorite feature in the whole sim!  Why aren’t there more animals in X-Plane?  Please add more!!!

Now first, I’m going to let slip a little secret, because I know you guys are desperate for tidbits on X-Plane 10.  The big feature in X-Plane 10 that is taking us so long to get right: moose! While the deer on the runway aren’t going to clock in at much more than 300 lbs, a fully loaded bull moose weighs about as much as a C152 at MTOW.  (At least, according to Wikipedia…I’m not convinced a C152 that weighs as much as a moose can get off the ground.)  Trust me, you don’t want to hit one of these things, even in a 747.

But that’s not the big news here.  The big news here is a new simulator product we’ll be releasing this fall: X-Farm.  X-Farm will be the first animal simulator to work entirely from first principles.  X-Farm will use shoulder-blade-element-theory to calculate the forces on each part of each animal’s skeletal structure to simulate what the animal would do in the real world.  Wanna put the head of an alpaca on a gorilla?  Go for it!  (Actually, that’s a terrible idea – Camelids spit.)  Think Rover would look cute with 6 legs and a stinger?  Our animal-modeling application Animal-Maker will let you fully customize your animals.

X-Farm will feature a completely rewritten Animal Traffic Control (ATC) module, with AI Animals that wander around the farm on their own, and herding dogs to chase after them.  (The initial version will feature only 20 animals at a time, but we’ll be able to scale this number up over time; the animal AI is fully multi-core for great performance on your new Core i7.)

It’s too soon for me to give specific hardware guidelines, but I’m thinking a DirectX 11-class video card will be best for X-Farm; we’re putting a ton of new shader features into the core engine to support fur on the animals and grass for the fields.  The facade system is greatly enhanced and can be used to build a variety of fences and paddocks to keep your animals where you want them.

Finally, I think we’ll eventually be able to get plugin support into X-Farm, so that you can customize the behavior of your animals and create custom animations.  Hopefully Wade and I will have time to port XSquawkBox to X-Farm (new name: XSquawk), so that you can create flocks of birds and let them loose in your favorite VATSIM ARTCC.  I hear ZBW loves that kind of thing.

*EDIT (By: Chris): I added some screenshots for all the impatient followers who just can’t wait another second to get some sneak previews of some farming. Obviously these are still rough drafts. I’m still working on getting the farmer to look as muscular and rugged as I really do. It’s close but not quite right just yet. Please do NOT ask for more screenshots. We have a pact here as developers that I’ll explain to you a bit since Ben already let the cat out of the bag about the product. Each time we get a request for more screenshots we do two things: 1) We drink from our glass of scotch 2) We go to our whiteboards and move the release date of the product out by one full week. We do this to be spiteful of course. We have so many products stocked up here just waiting for release but it’s more fun to watch the mania ensue. Coming Soon; Surgery Simulator “Demonstrate that steady hand as you remove the remote control that your dog swallowed from his upper intestinal tract”. We’re still working on the price of this one but let’s just say we’ll be doing a wallet-ectomy on you. Post Office Simulator “You get to live the life through Postal Employee Newman’s Eyes. ‘The mail never stops!’ Stack and sort bag after bag of mail trying to beat your best score.” and finally Department of Motor Vehicle simulator “Take a ticket and get back in line”. We’re hoping to release this one around fall of 2012 but that depends on how many screenshot requests we get. This one is very unique. You can play the worker at the counter handing out tickets. You also get to instruct people to get into the wrong line and then laugh at them as it takes them 45 mins to figure it out. There’s also a level where you have to put your “Next Agent Please” sign up as fast as you can. Beat your previous times. Play with your friends on multiplayer! Who gets to take their 4 hour break first?!

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.

31 comments on “X-Farm: Because You’re All a Bunch of Animals

  1. Now finally you guys are starting to come to your senses. This is what I have been longing for all along! The only reason we were complaining about X-Plane´s friction model is because we spend so much time taxiing around international airports, chasing deer and birds!

    I think I will be able to convince everyone on the IXEG group to trash what we have on the 737-300 so far, and start with a clean sheet on some PMDG-level animals!

    First package will be “the big five” for continental africa (or your local zoo). But PLEASE make the trees climb-able – or we have to model the leopards with a very complicated plugin…

  2. OMG! Please, please, please can I get about 9000 screen shots of this project RIGHT NOW! When will it be released (and I NEED that down to the millisecond)? Will I be able to start developing jewelry for the X-Farm menagerie? Can you please front-burner a beautiful GUI to edit the arcana of the underlying objects? I also need you to provide fully accessible minutia to access each and every fiber of their virtual being (for third party development, of course). Oh and while we’re at it, can’t you just make it a free upgrade/side-grade?

    Seriously, Ben (et al)… you are doing exquisite work and I applaud your every effort. Thank you for the fun, both from your coding and your comedy… 🙂

    x o j

  3. I initially scratched my head over this news… What the Hell, they don’t know when XP10 will be released and now they are thinking of another sim… but then I took a glance at the calendar and everything got clear 😉

  4. Will you make use of elevation data in order to correctly place autogen local animals?
    Also, are you aware of any OSM tag that could be useful to define farm areas?

  5. It’s about time you clowns at Laminar Research got your heads out your backsides and made a real sim! Something I and I know the whole world has been dying for. I can imagine that this will be the single best selling piece of software ever created!

    How much will it cost? I’m prepared to pay big $$$

  6. hilarious…. You saved my day. As a aerial radio communication instructor the term Animal Traffic Control gets a whole new meaning to it :-). I’d also love the idea of sending these Bird flocks into VATSIM. We would probably need slots for the Hudson River.

  7. Well that sounds like a lot of fun. But given that my favorite animals are fish, i have to wonder if it can handle those as well? And if it does, will we be able to go fishing. After all, if fish are in there anyway, how hard would it be for ATC to have some of the fish be attracted to bait?

    Also i would like some hamsters in there, if at all possible. I just think hamsters are awfully cute, and would like to live in world without them, and as an added bonus i think my GF would like X-farm too if it featured hamsters. Oh and horses, of course.. she’s a girl after all you know.

    On that note, i asssume we’ll be able to ride the animals as well, right? We’d need a seperate selection menu where you can pick the animals you want to ride. I always wanted to experience life from the perspective of a bug.. it must be a wonderful world where blades of grass are the size of trees.

    Anyway.. looking forward to this amazing sim, can’t wait to get my hands on it 🙂

  8. Amazing Pigs DO fly after all, Monty Python was right!

    Will they still have ILS capture and Farms named after 5 letter ICOF codes?, Farmway routeing, Animalmaker, Farmeditor, plug-ins, MED, costumes, Silos, real soil in the packaging…..
    and i thought that only politicians had their noses in the troughs, but it can’t be as politicians can’t fly, unless a} they don’t pay for it, B} they go 1st Class, C} only travel for handouts from developers, so it is a perfect match politician’s flying in pigs to farms, and when they land they can both put their heads down in the merde and feel at home.
    Bring on Xfarm…the scenery will be out of this world.

    Will there be a USB dongle in cowskin?

  9. Awesome. Just one question: will XFarm keep the 50nm limit? Because it would not be so nice to have animals disappearing and reappearing constantly when using XFarmTraffic (I presume it is already in the making).

  10. Ben – you need to call me. The developmental plugin X-Cow Tipping has run into problems. Can you update the SDK? I’ve had a serious injury on the beta team, because you implemented gender modeling and didn’t tell me or the beta team about it. Someone tried to excute the plugin, it didn’t gender check, and they ended up tippin’ a bull!!! The bull was NOT impressed!!

    The following need to be added to the SDK:

    ATTR_bull / ATTR_cow
    ATTR_Moose_not_bovine (should then call the following below)
    ATTR_really_bad_idea (this could be variable off a random generated dataref?)

    And please, lots of requests for this one:


  11. I knew this had to be an April Fool joke when I read the comments. An X-Plane user with a GF – As if!

  12. Can’t wait to see the smokin’ bull-patties. Thank goodness April 1 is only once a year. Now someoneplease post something for April 2 😉

  13. Is there any truth in the rumour that intial plans were to include an abattoir mode in X-Farm but that it was dropped because a key developer said they would walk if it did?


  14. Funny post guys, great to let off some steam!

    So, will you release ‘animal maker’ soon- all animals will look like deer, but can have different attributes, and the put the 3d model over it? Suggest replacing the smoke with…you know what I mean

  15. I heard that there is this really cool website called “Farmterra” that has like awesome scenery for farms and stuff… I think Laminar should contact them 🙂

  16. I wish I would have read this on the first, but this absolutely made my day.

  17. Not gonna be fun unless the view distance is at least 100 light years, gotta be able to see pigs fly on a distant planet.

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