Now that the final season of Breaking Bad is over, we can finally all get back to work on X-Plane!

I kid – while it is true that we maintained an internal betting board on the ending of the fifth season of breaking bad, we’ve actually all been heads down working on new code for the last few weeks.  A few bits of status update:

It looks like we will cut a 10.25 with new art assets after all.  Currently in the queue: Albert’s new terrain textures, a few library tweaks to get the sim ready for DSF recuts, revised urban terrain textures for cold wet climates, and texture optimization for the airport scenery library.

About those urban terrain textures: Alex has revised urban terrain textures for cold wet climates, and they’re a nice improvement over what we shipped.  Our goal is to use the new revised urban textures for all climates, but we don’t have the variants yet.  I’m going to put the cold-wet ones into 10.25; we’ll get the rest out when they are available.  (Why delay a fix for New York just because we don’t yet have a fix for San Diego?)

I’m working with Robin to try to get some user-submitted lego-brick airports into the update.

Alex has a bunch of partly done autogen work, but based on my last discussion with him, it looks like it needs to go into a bigger AG update and can’t be distributed in pieces, because a lot of the autogen shares common textures and objects for performance.

10.25 won’t be a big code change – we’ll have a fix for Foreflight compatibility and a few other small bug fixes, but 10.30 will be the next major code-changing release.  The goal of 10.25 is just to get art out.

Alpilotx is re-importing OSM data this weekend; I’m not sure what the time frame will be for DSF recuts, but my goal is to make sure that 10.25 can run recuts.  This way we can push recuts before 10.30 if that’s how things get done.

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.

51 comments on “Now That Breaking Bad Is Over…

  1. Thank you Ben for the update.

    Just wanna ask you about two things :
    – Don’t you plan to include some new sky textures (like those of skyMaxx or HDR Env. II) with the next update? (they greatly enhance the sky colors and make it look more vivid)
    – In X-plane the water shader is very good but I think it’s more suitable for lakes and rivers than for seas and oceans. Any plans for a new water shader for seas? (with sunlight reflections etc).

    Thanks for all your efforts and keep up the great work!

    1. There are no changes to the sky textures for this update.

      We have a number of ideas on the water, but that’s not for this update either.

      The big problem with the water shader is that, when the water is far away, the textures used to form the ‘seed’ of the wave pattern “blur” out to a flat, glassy water surface. This post talks about the problem with conventional normal mapping for far surfaces and how it can be fixed with LEAN or CLEAN normal maps.

      So there is tech out there that could be a starting point for fixing the shader…

        1. They’re proprietary – developed by LR for x-plane’s rendering engine.

          The one exception to this: we use FXAA for some of our deferred anti-aliasing – FXAA was written by Timothy Lottes for Nvidia.

          1. Just curious, for what software is the render engine developed for and will you proceed to find a way to incorporate LEAN og CLEAN in the future, is it even adaptable to the current proprietary shader?

            Last question is in regards to shading, in XP we have several options for casting shadows. But the one I think is a better choice in regards to performance vs estetics are “overlay”, could it be an idea to look into these options and purhaps make a cleaner more efficient shading option?

          2. The rendering engine is specifically and only for X-Plane.

            I don’t know if we’ll use LEAN or CLEAN – if we do it will probably only be for the water; LEAN and CLEAN normal maps tend to increase the VRAM cost of normal maps, and anisotropic normal map filtering isn’t a huge problem for the scenery, only for the water. It is adaptable.

            I think the shadows can be improved by tuning.

    1. Unknown. The big ticket item for autogen is a mix of daytime textures and buildings that get used like lego-bricks. So if Alex gets those done and has them ready for release before he has matched lit textures, I’d probably release them first to get more AG out sooner. If he has it all done at once, then it’ll all go out at once.

  2. Good luck on the upcoming codes and patches

    As a 3D designer using 3ds max I would wish there was made a plugin so that our creativity could be used in x-plane? Will we ever see this?

      1. Thanks, was not aware of this. See the PRO version only support up to version 2012. I will for sure keep and eye on this site and use version 2012 just for x-plane design 🙂

        PS.. Can I have the render engine tooo LOL 🙂

        1. You can discuss buying a license with Austin, but since he’s not interested in licensing he’ll probably quote you a trillion dollars or something. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the good news Ben! Can you tell us for which release do you have planned the optimisation of the OpenGL-engine? I have some very big impacts on the HDR-function, even with a GTX Titan. And i’ve read that this could be optimised and that you know about this, is it correct? Thanks for info.

      1. Do GL changes fix the FPS drop-down by VRAM paging on approaches? Can we wait that DSF loading during the flight be more smooth with new code?

  4. Can we expect some basic fix in the next releases for the abrupt weather changes? Smooth transitions will be much healthier for the aircraft, instead of “getting the current METAR smacked in the face”

  5. Great news. Did I take that correct, that there will be some kind of airport-autogen? By the way, talking about airports: is there any database public available in what we can see, which airports were already submitted to robin?

    1. Not autogen. Users are making airport building layouts using the lego bricks that come with the sim. We’re looking to include the submissions if possible.

      There is not a public listing of what has been submitted; I think such info would be nice to have.

  6. It sounds like 10.25 + alpilotx’s upcoming HD recuts might make use of a new zoning algorithm. Though, without new 3D art assets ready it’s kinda difficult to envision how cites might look with the current incomplete set as a stand-in. My guess is that it might look a lot like what we have now? But maybe with a bit more natural groupings of buildings? Well hopefully it won’t be very long.

  7. good day

    just wondering if the random stutter is on the bug list ? if not I will submit a bug report. this has been happening a lot. Every 5-10 minutes, the simulator hangs for a couple of seconds, then let go, then hangs quickly again, then runs smooth again for the 5-10 minutes. This can be very annoying.
    Again, just wondering if it’s there already.
    I will submit if not.

        1. I don’t think it is an overload of the computer. I am running 50-60 fps at cruising altitude and it still happens at a somewhat regular interval.

          Weather update is set to 15 minutes and it happen more often than that. I’m with CAL AIR (CAX) and there were similar posts on this before from other users.
          Also, The weather updates regularly without the stutter.

          will submit

          1. Maybe just simply the so called “scenery shift”? The point where X-Plane has to swap out and in quite a “few” MBytes of scenery (and prepare it for rendering in memory etc.) … This usually leads to some “stutters” (depends on the number of cores of your machine and other “characteristics”)

          2. To Alpilotx,

            I have 3770(8 core) and GTX680 and still have the same problem. I sow it happens when XP loads new DSF tiles. Depending how heavy they are I get decrease from 37 FPS to 5-7 FPS for 5-15 sec..
            That is why I ask Ben to try to make DSF load more smooth and time extended.. VRAM paging is also make crazy me and people who I know. How can it be that when you see the airport on approach you have 5 FPS?? Then after some point it’s again over 30.. I am not sure, but I have in this moment not more texture loaded than my 2Gb VRAM. I need to check it again and write a bug report more precisely.
            Again, I am happy with X-Plane performance now.. I sow P3D v2 and it’s performance much worst with all shadows and HDR staff.. But the “features” like a VRAM paging or FPS freezing stop people from flying X-Plane and develop scenery/addons. Try to fly some HD livery aircraft in our UKKK or Sidney.. This is also very actual to use your HD Mesh.
            Decreasing texture quality gives very poor picture and is not solution for me. Milky cloud(fog) layer is another thing and I hope it will be fixed in 10.30 or with SilverLining (SkyMAXX)..

    1. It’s in a temporary hold until we sort out the internals of the airport layout databasing process. Once we have that ironed out, I’ll probably push 1.2.1. The idea is to modify the ‘export for global database’ format in WED to meet our databasing needs.

  8. Hi Ben,

    Hope you are well.

    Is there a chance you might be able to tell us when the next beta might be arriving into our hot little hands?

    Thanks mate!!


    1. Hi Tom,

      I deleted your other longer post. It contains links to competing commercial products, and I can’t really allow X-Plane’s servers to provide PageRank to competing products. (The post is also wildly off topic. 🙂

      The short answers are:
      1. I am aware of all of the GL technology links you pasted.
      2. We think hardware tessellation is really cool, and we took steps starting in 10.0 to migrate our terrain technology to be prepared to take advantage of this hardware capability. I think Alpilotx and I have already commented on this in the past.
      3. There is no new news on hardware tessellation at this time.

      1. Thanks Ben for deleting those files and keeping X-Plane up to date include this blog..

        I guess you know I have an discussion on X-Pilot with Alpilotx regarding mesh and elevation, please join in if there is something to say. I guess the bottleneck if one can see it like that is the 2D triangle mesh right now. It seems that prevents more detailes.

        Just a final question.
        Is there other solutions to have textures place outside the 2d triangler structure?

  9. Ben,

    Will ATC be much improved in 10.3? A lot of users have been patiently waiting for that since the release of XP10 and rumor has it that it’s coming in 10.3

    Also, spawning of AIs on top of one’s AC is another ‘bug’ that has been on holding pattern for quite a while. If fixing that is problematic, would it be possible to add an option in WED to exclude certain start points from spawning AIs so as to reserve those for one’s own AC? Another option would be to have the sim default to a previously saved Situation (to be defined in the initial start page for location and weather, etc) on start up that isn’t one of the start points in the airport file.


    1. The spawning-on-top bug actually is fixed a bit in 10.30 – no other ATC changes though. No ATC changes in 10.25.

      For spawning without overlap to work, an airport needs more than one ramp start – a lot don’t have this, which can only be fixed by adding ramp starts.

      1. I always put more than one ramp start in my airports. I’d like to submit a suggestion for a defined Situation that is loaded by default when the sim starts up. The default start situation could be named “default.sit” for example. Thanks for the response.

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