It looks like, for the next major patch, we’ll be able to get a few features in that authors have asked for:

  • Exclusion of scenery elements from shadowing for pretty much all scenery elements.
  • Use of “conditionals” (see the OBJ8 spec or previous post) to use different textures when HDR is on or off for facades, ter and pol files.  (This is available for OBJs since 10.0 – this is an extension to other scenery formats.)
  • Texture size limit bumped up to 4096 x 4096 max.  (The max panel size will remain 2048 x 2048.)

The one other authoring request that we heard loud and clear in Mallorca but will probably not get to in the next major patch is an option for seasonal textures in third party add-ons.  It’s a slightly more complex  change and will have to come in a later patch.  (But we have moved the priority of this feature way up in response to developer feedback.)

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.

32 comments on “Conditionals, Shadows, Big Textures, Etc.

  1. Speaking of seasonal textures, how is X-Plane’s engine designed to handle the actual texture changes? Will they be subtle as the year goes, or from a location with a seasonal pack installed to a location without it?

    I understand this is still not fully implemented, but I’m just curious about what’s the general idea behind it.


    1. The general idea is to swap textures based on a dataref. The change will be instant, not subtle, and when changing on the fly, the response won’t be instant (it’s not an animation system).

      1. Seasonal textures my not be be on the top of any one’s list (It is now), but I used Winterworld extensively.
        To fly from Dubai and landing in the bleak London landscape defined the reason that this feature should have been on the table a lot longer than before now, I understand the reasons that the X-Plane9 platform was not configured for such features and that XP10 is
        But it will transform XP10 as much as anything we have now…

        I am a little confused Ben on the comment above, you say…”The change will be instant, not subtle” then say “the response won’t be instant” so will the change be like WINTERWORLD were you have a line across the landscape or a more gradient effect.

        1. When the season changes, it will change instantly.
          But from when the season SHOULD change (e.g. you grab the date slider) to when you see it will take time.

          So the delay is long, the duration is short.

      2. Got it. Question Ben – say for instance that I’m flying KORD to SBBR in February (Winter in the North, Summer in the South). As I am flying and transition from the northern to southern hemisphere, would X-Plane then pick the right texture for the just changed season? Would X-Plane load textures ahead of time (just as it does now), but take into account how the latitude change affects the season to load?


        1. Since we have not added seasons to our default scenery (and are not planning to do this in the short term) _none_ of this would happen.

          I cannot emphasize this enough. We are adding the ABILITY for third parties to add seasons. We are not adding seasons themselves. Those things are totally different and two VERY different scales of work. Making the sim “season-capable” for third parties is a moderate size coding task just for me. Adding seasons to X-Plane, the default sim with all of its art will take the art team and myself a bunch of time. That’s not happening now.

          So the question about latitude is moot. When you fly to an area with an add-on, the add-on will be loaded with the right textures for the current season. If you then change the date, the sim will change the textures, unloading the winter ones and loading the spring ones for example.

          This feature is very much being driven by FS X developers who want to port their add-ons to X-Plane..they do not want to see their product be less capable on X-Plane than it was on FS X and they already have the seasons.

          But I think they’re also right to want the feature…not having seasons looks very wrong in some locales!

          1. I guess I didn’t get my question clearly explained. I get that LR will not add seasonal textures. That said, season _is_ relative to latitude. And time of the year.

            To make my question clear.. Is X-Plane aware that winter doesn’t happen at the same time in both hemispheres? Will third-party textures be loaded correctly if I fly north-south?

          2. Right. The answer is: X-Plane is not aware of this because the code is not done yet, and I do not know what the behavior will be at this point.

  2. “Texture size limit bumped up to 4096 x 4096 max. (The max panel size will remain 2048 x 2048.)”

    Yay – that sounds like very good news – thank you 🙂

  3. Glad to see the bump up to 4k maps. Its going to be interesting to see what people do with that power. And with great power comes great responsibility. 😛

  4. I don’t want to read too much into this but does this mean that we might actually have seasons eventually in X-Plane? … I think hell is actually starting to freeze over.

    1. For now we are putting in an ENGINE capability for third party use due to popular demand. This is not the same as modifying all of LR’s assets to be “seasonal”- that will take a lot longer, as we have a lot of textures. I have no idea when that will happen.

      1. Thanks Ben, actually this was what I was hoping to hear that the engine would soon support seasons. I had pretty much thought that the horizon for this feature being added to the engine would have been a long time from now, probably after the v10 textures were finalized. But having the support for seasons in the sim happen earlier is welcoming news.

      2. The general impression seems to be that the X-Plane team, despite the recent additions, is significantly lacking manpower in the “art assets makers” area. Are there any plans to improve this?

    1. They might! But if texture size isn’t the framerate limiter, it doens’t matter, and in some cases if the author uses bigger textures, but _fewer_ of them, that can be the same or better performance.

  5. Ben, i have a problem in getting the 10.04 release.
    I have the demo of v10 (ordered the global edition last week, and hope it comes next week since i live in India), the demo is 10.04r3, when i go to the NEW Installer/updater and try to update, it says that your X-plane version is up to date??

      1. Thanks A lot Ben, since 10.05r1 came out, my installer could update to that, but before, it could not install the 10.04….
        Anyway, now that i have the latest version, still playing around with the demo, and eagerly awaiting the ring on my doorbell with a courier person who will give me X-Plane 10, WAITING!!

  6. Is the bug with poor performance on high-end ATI video cards going to be addressed soon? I have a 6970 and I didn’t know about this bug when I paid the $80, so I am hoping the bug gets fixed sometime soon (pretty please :)).

    I have tried the clouds and cars, but this doesn’t fix the problem, just about a 15fps increase.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Alex,
      I appreciate that you are frustrated (I do not blame you!) but I also think that everything that can be said has already been said.
      – This is one of our top priorities.
      – We can’t reveal what we discuss with the GPU vendors – we’re under NDA.
      – Therefore _if_ there is ever an ETA on a fix, I won’t be in a position to announce it.

  7. Also, in regards to my post above, would running XPlane on Linux fix the problem, and will my current disk even work on Linux?

  8. Hi Ben,

    Love the new features; just made my first succesful conditional, great stuff 🙂

    Now working on normal maps… first results are promising, but I’m having some trouble with specularity; I seem to remember that it should be possible to combine specularity within normal maps, I want to add specularity for the windows only.
    I did some attempts with the alpha channel, but that channel is lost whenever I save as PNG…

    And then there is the option to make a specularity-only gray-scale PNG, that could be useful as well; but what should I call that file, does it take the place of a normal map, or is it in addition to it?

    Bear with me, I’ll learn eventually 😉


    1. Hi Oscar,
      Yep, gray-scale only no-alpha PNG should load as specularity. But find another program like GraphicsConverter to get control of the alpha channel – photoshop doesn’t treat it well.

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