I am back from Mallorca. I will try to post more info on X-Plane developer conferences soon, but for now I will only say: it was great to meet a bunch of developers and friends in person (indeed, one of the things I like most about flight simulation is that it brings people together, often from across continents) and any picture you see posted of me with copious quantities of beer or other alcohol are photoshopped.
We’ll be cutting an RC2 of X-Plane 10.04 pretty soon with a few minor changes – it should be ready in a day or two.
I am also looking at better memory error reporting for 10.05. The crash reports now show memory usage at the time of crash and it’s clear that almost all of the crash reports we now get are memory exhaustion. (Well, address space exhaustion, technically.)
I spent part of today looking at whether I could detect this case and put up a clean error message. It turns out it’s very hard. X-Plane uses multiple cores to load scenery, and as a result, we can run out of memory simultaneously on several cores. On my 8 core machine, it’s like having 8 race cars heading toward a brick wall at 200 mph and you only have one airbag. Often a second thread will run out of memory and explode while we’re coping with the first one.
Clearly the long term solution is 64-bit, something that we are working on. But I am hoping that for X-Plane 10.05 we can at least recover enough to put up a useful error message (e.g. “you ran out of memory”). This will help users easily differentiate when they have to turn down settings vs. when they have found a real bug.
And speaking of using up memory…Andras has posted HD meshes, and they look awesome!
Finally, one last note on ATI Windows performance – I know everyone is itchy for an update, but here’s the thing: we have NDAs with AMD, NVidia, Apple, and Intel. Therefore when we get information from them, I can’t post it here. So unfortunately whether a bug is not being looked at, being looked at, understood, being fixed, or already fixed and just waiting to make it into some kind of release, I have to say the same thing: very little. I know that that’s frustrating, but I think we’re better off having close relationships with these companies and being able to solve these problems. If there’s ever a chance to put a work-around in X-Plane, we do that.
So I can’t give you any new news on ATI Windows performance, and I am sorry about that. I can only say that it is my top priority.