“Well little Johnny, when a KC-10 and a 747 love each other very much…”

On a more serious (kinda) note, this is a shot of what happens when ATC fails at spacing its aircraft properly. These two planes flew all the way down the ILS like this which is obviously a bug…but fun to have a chuckle about as well. If you look off into the distance, you can see some other aircraft, also on the ILS lined up against the golden sky…very dramatic!

(Notes: This is v9 scenery, v9 planes, a slow debug build…nothing special here)

About Chris Serio

Chris is an electrical engineer and commercial pilot who got roped into software development by Ben because misery loves company.

42 comments on “Mommy where do baby airplanes come from?

  1. How do you fit in with the ILS lineup Chris, does the system leave a gap for you to slot in?, and do the ATC aircraft follow the STAR’s into the lineup?
    my point is if i follow my usual STAR into a airport area, will that put me in or out of sequence or will i have to follow just the ATC directions….

    1. The spacing for v10.0 will happen on the runway…meaning one of those aircraft should have been given a go around because they were too close to one another and can’t possibly use the runway at the same time. It’s crude but more realistic spacing will come in future updates. The same is true for SID/STAR. You can always expect ATC to vector you on to your approach right now whether it be visual or an ILS.

      1. Can you tell me whether you’ll have anything (anything at all, even simple flight following) in terms of VFR ATC service in store for 10.0?

        1. For 10.0, there is no VFR support. I do plan on getting to that in the 10.x lifecycle for sure. It’s definitely on the short list of future features. I’ll be writing a blog post about ATC features soon.

          1. IFR is no. 1 of course. If you read this, we just discussed with my boss what will be important for us, of course the better we can simulate real-world ATC the better, but here goes:
            * IFR approach services with
            – vectors for precision and non-precision instrument approaches, or full approach clearances where no APP service exists
            – speed control by ATC for sequencing where necessary
            – holding patterns
            capability to request higher/lower/course deviations for turbulence/wx with AI doing this too
            These are the IFR musts, but as much VFR stuff as you can cram in will be nice as well! No pressures and as I’ve said many times, thanks 🙂

          2. That closely matches my list as well….though not for 10.0 unfortunately. Much of that functionality will come with future updates. ATC is an evolving system now…I’ll be blogging this in more detail in the next day or so.

  2. Well, that leads to the question how many engines the baby airplane will have. But not going into biology here.

    The picture brings up a another question. Will AI-planes always land perfectly? Since they run with a “real” flight model they should, especially in bad weather, “be able to” do hard landings, bad landings, bump-landings. I remember Austin talking about go-arounds but I am not sure if that refered to blocked runways…

    Great stuff coming along with XP10 – keep going!

    1. Will planes ALWAYS land perfectly? No probably not but I have to say, I’ve seen them land really well in conditions that I’m certain most X-Plane users couldn’t. 🙂 Austin’s AI pilots get to do a mathematical analysis every frame…human pilots don’t have that luxury. If they can’t get her down, they go around and try again.

  3. I thought it was one of those “fuel saver” flights!

    Wow, just like real life controllers who are “tipping” a few on the job!

      1. Ah yes, I see now. It looks like they’re nearly touched down, but they’re actually still pretty high up. Nitpicking terminated… for now!

  4. The autogen algorithm could be improved to not place hot air balloons near the planes’ route, right?

    1. What? You don’t like flying through hot air balloons? 🙂 Honestly that’s not something we’ve discussed. I keep them off 99% of the time. Their function is more that of “eyecandy” than “traffic”. Perhaps we can be smarter about their placement but there are much much bigger features i need to spend my time on.

  5. It will be cool to see and have realistic ATC and traffic patterns/ landing lineups in the sky. Looking forward to 10.0 and update patches rolling out

  6. I just hope there’s plenty of random layers built into the AI otherwise cool new features become annoying soon. That’s why I turn off birds, balloons and deer. If I saw, say, only two balloons in a week or a herd of deer every two months in an appropriate setting that might be delightful. A similar logic applies to aircraft spacing. Too regular and too often where not appropriate could become boring soon enough.

    1. This i think is important, to have a random element to the ATC, certainly as they arrive would provide more realism, i like the idea in a future update that you have periods of heavy traffic and other times almost non at all, if it could be timed into the daily clock that would be better still, most airports usually have the notion of one hour arriving, then one hour leaving in peak times.

      One last note, what if you are a ditherer on the runway after landing!
      Does the the ATC shout “get off the runway, man….now”

  7. I know i’m only speaking for myself, but build-in ATC is somewhat not important for me. For me, users should use VATSIM if they want ATC. I don’t think you can get more realistic than that. More important than built-in ATC for me is good water textures (tropical for example), and good clouds (not the rotating ones, nor the repetitive ones like REXPlane for example). I know the clouds in V10 will be much much better, but there was no word about the water textures. You seem to be spending a whole lot of time working on that ATC engine. X-plane 10 should have included a partnership with VATSIM or something like that, a built-in plugin that connects to the servers for ATC. It would create more users on VATSIM, and would increase the realism of both VATSIM and X-plane, while FSX is being left out. More and more in PC Games in the world, people want good multiplayer and realistic behaviour of other players. Nothing beats humans at that. I know I’m completely out of scope of your post here, and completely late with that comment, as V10 is imminent, but the priorities should be: Excellent 3D cockpits with tough checklists (like the JRollon CJR for example), and realistic scenery (which I think we will get in V10!!! which is great!!!!!)

    anyway, a couple weeks ago I switched back to fSX just to see if I had evolved in flight simming over the 2 years I’ve been using X-plane. I don’t think I’ll do that again, and I’m happy that I took the couple hours it took to learn how to use VATSIM.

    thank you
    Patrick Bureau

    1. First, you do realize that I’m not Ben right? One of the main reasons for LR hiring me was to work on ATC. That’s been my “job” all along. Second, Ben and I are the authors of XSquawkBox which IS a plugin that lets XPlane connect to VATSIM servers. It’s free and to install, you drop it in the plugins folder. What more integration do users need?

      1. Speaking of XSquawkBox, I know it isn’t an LR product but does the underlying data feed from XP require a re-write of plugins like XSquawkBox?

        (And thanks to both you and Ben for XSquawkBox in the first place.)

        1. No, Ben’s very picky about making sure that all plugins that SHOULD continue to run (because authors wrote them properly) will continue to run with new versions of XPlane.

    2. Hi Patrick,

      We’ve had VATSIM support since X-Plane 6.0 via XSquawkBox. Chris and I wrote it, long before we worked for LR. We’re not going to not code ATC just because you don’t use it. It’s there if you want it, it’s not if you don’t. VATSIM isnt for everyone. Built-in ATC isn’t for everyone. ATC isn’t for everyone. In fact, not every feature will be used by every user.

      My frustration is this: I see a ton of posts and comments from many users that basically say “I wish LR wouldn’t work on X, because I don’t use X, instead they should focus on Y.” But we have a diverse set of users…we’re not going to have a feature set where every user says “I like every one of those things.” We have to pick out the big items and make some judgment calls.

      I have proposed a simple solution to this kind of thing in the past: users who want different features should engage in a cage match to the death. Whomever wins, we will code ONLY the features that THAT user wants, because frankly, we will be terrified of that user. 🙂 🙂

      1. I realize my post has been misunderstood. I did not say to NOT code ATC, I said priority should, I think, be put on improving some things in Xplane that, I believe, are lacking: they are the weather, and water textures. That’s my opinion. Doesn’t mean I won’t be happy with what’s going to be released. So let me rephrase what I said above.
        Not that I don’t WANT ATC. I just think some graphic features are currently lacking and we are not given ANY insides that they are going to be improved, by either posting screenshots or showing us the new great features (like when you were posting autogen pictures for V10)

        Now, that being clarified. My frustration is that we are never shown any screenshots related to the scenery and new weather features. It’d be nice to see that. I guess I’m being impatient, which should be interpreted as me LIKING your product. Otherwise I would NOT spend time reading this thread everytime there is a new post, or commenting on it.

        1. We pick features that (hopefully) appeal to the most amount of people. User A wants ATC, User B wants better rain, User C wants different species of birds that poop on the planes…we can’t possibly work on EVERYTHING. When it seems that the general population wants improved water, that’s what we’ll work on. At this moment, our notion was that ATC was in dire need of an update so that’s been my task to work on.

          As far as screenshots, I think I speak for all LR employees when I say that we’re exhausted repeating ourselves on this topic. I don’t mean this as an attack on you Patrick and I hope it doesn’t come off that way…I just hope other people read this and get a better understanding of what we’re going through.

          When we post a screenshot…no matter how trivial, it gets torn apart and scrutinized with a fine toothed comb and we spend the next week fighting off false assumptions that people make about the 100 other things in the screenshot that were not even part of our original reason for taking it to begin with. It’s a waste of our time and it seems to get the whole community in a dither…gossiping and speculating.

          We don’t HAVE to post screenshots of our products before they are released. Does Apple release screenshots of their operating system and products during development? No way! They keep things secretive for this very reason.

          We release a fully functional demo of our product so that people can test it before they decide whether or not to spend money on it. Isn’t that better than a staged screenshot?

          With that said, we LIKE to post screenshots. We’re proud of our hard work, we’re proud of the progress we make and we like getting feedback from the community, but unfortunately we have to limit what we display because some people just can’t seem to grasp the concept.

          1. thank you very much for your time to answer specific posts like this. It is much appreciated and shows how much you guys are hard working and I understand that.
            Thanks again for all the good work you are doing.

            Makes a lot of sense on the screenshots. Sorry for asking!

            Hopefully we get better deer that don’t all look in the same direction (just kidding….)


          2. new ATC is going to be amazing, one of the biggest highlights of v-10 also, the water already looks great being improved in v9. Weather, was given attention on blogs and news posts, no need to fret there.

            As much as I love and want more screen shots, trust me, Chris and Ben know… it would be a bad plan and a waste of time to divulge each aspect and feature too early. The wait is not too much longer, IMO once Thanksgiving hits , its all down hill.

          3. speaking of water, despite the new weather system and textures, what would lack still is realistic tropical water colors. users donot like having to use crappy painted like textures from MSFS ported over in XP from developers island packages, but at least when flying in st Marteen, it looks way more real in color sense/ However, the reflection and waves of Xplanes water is astounding. Someway to combine this would be outstanding! Any word on this?

  8. Is there some specific code for every plane that participates in ATC or could usual addon planes participate in ATC as well?

    1. Add-on’s should work just fine…as long as they’re not EXTREMELY difficult planes to handle. Unstable aircraft might not be flow too well by the Artificially-Intelligent pilots.

  9. Has there been any discussion of being able to have collision detection between aircraft?

  10. And one big user of ATC will be us, the flight schools, using XP10 Pro, Patrick. That way I don’t have to play controller for a student, but can rather focus on teaching them to *fly*.

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